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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Archive for the category “Other Sports”

Thoughts on College Sports: Part I, Title IX

The folks over at Frank the Tank are having an outstanding debate on various topics influencing college sports, including payment of players.  The Confidential encourages you to add that blog to your regular reading list.  But it also got the Confidential thinking about Title IX.  In fact, the Confidential proposed on major revision…

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Off-Topic: Major League Baseball All-Star Game & World Series

Count the Confidential as hating the old system, where the leagues alternated hosting the World Series.  Under that system, a 100-win team from the A.L. or N.L. might be visiting an 86-win team from the opposite league just because it was an odd or even year.  The decision to link the hosting of the World Series to the All-Star game was an improvement.  That being said, the Confidential understands that some have serious opposition to a triviality like the All-Star game impacting which team gets to host the World Series.  So the Confidential posits these alternatives.

  • Option 1: Let the team with the best record host the World Series.  But let the winning league from the All-Star game determine whether a DH applies or not.  If the American League wins the All-Star game, the World Series uses a DH.  If the National League wins the All-Star game, the World Series would not use a DH.  This would give teams a few months to prepare for that eventuality too.  A National League team might trade for Jim Thome, just to get ready for the World Series.  An American League team might add yet another reliever or utility player to get ready for the World Series.  And so on.  Meanwhile, the best team for the entire season would get the privilege of being the home team for the World Series–a fair reward.
  • Option 2: Let the team with the best record host the World Series.  To make the All-Star game meaningful, let the winner of the All-Star game determine who is going to host the All-Star game in 4 years.  Kind of like the announcements of the Olympic hosts, the All-Star game would determine which city would get to host an All-Star game down the road.  Suppose the next team up for the A.L. is Detroit.  And the next team up for the N.L. is San Francisco.  The 2013 All-Star game would determine which of those cities would get the nod in 2017.  Fans in Detroit and San Francisco would certainly take an interest in the All-Star game.  In fact, if each league had a list of the next cities up for an All-Star game, even the other teams on the list would have a vesting interest to care.  After all, if Minnesota was after Detroit, an A.L. win would move Minnesota up the list so that the 2014 game would decide Minnesota’s fate.  And so on.
  • Option 3: Just let the team with the best record host the World Series.  Return the All-Star game to a merely fun event that takes place in July.   Nobody will watch anymore, but virtually nobody does anyway.

As you can see, the Confidential would really like to see a change to allow the team with the best overall record to host the World Series.  MLB is smart enough to come up with adequate tiebreakers.  Frankly, the Confidential likes Options 1 and 2 almost equally.

What do you think?

The NCAA: Screwing Student-Athletes Whenever Possible

With the denial of John Raymon’s transfer waiver request, the NCAA has proven that, once again, it is a completely out-of-touch organization looking out for everyone EXCEPT the student-athletes it purports to care about.  The Confidential does not know all the details of why Raymon sought a waiver and does not care.  The bottom line is that a kid of roughly 20-years-old was denied the right of changing his mind in a way that virtually no other segment of American society has to endure. If he was a 50-year-old coach, the move from Iowa to Syracuse would be swift and without penalty.

Look, the Confidential understands the transfer rule generally.  If there was no transfer penalty, then the recruitment process would be ongoing year-after-year for players already on rosters.  If that happened, every star player at Iowa State could be “recruited” to finish his final two seasons at Nebraska.  And so on.  That’s just not how American society chooses to operate.

Except… that is EXACTLY how American society chooses to operate.  If an accountant wants to leave his firm, he can give two weeks notice.  If a lawyer wants to start her own practice, she can give two weeks notice and do so.  If an engineering major wants to transfer from Iowa State to Nebraska, he or she can do so without having to defer pondering differential equations for one year.  If the President of Iowa State wants to become the President of Nebraska, he can do so without “sitting out a year.”

Of course, the response to that is that the NCAA is not a normal business.  No, it is not normal.  It is simply made up of institutions, dozens of whom now make $20,000,000 a year in television revenue.  It is made up of institutions who do not balk at asking alums for money to build stadiums.  It is made up of institutions that are willing to pay coaches $1,000,000+ to tell a bunch of young adults what to do on the athletic field.  The NCAA is not “normal business” anymore, it is big business now.  So, NCAA, spare the world your 19th century morals.  You gave those up long ago.

Indeed, the hypocrisy is astounding.  The NCAA does not punish a coach who chooses to take a job at a new institution.  But it DOES impose a transfer penalty on the players that were recruited to play for that very coach at that very school.  So there is freedom of movement for adult coaches, but not the young adult players who foolishly chose to play for a guy that abandons the program.  And that is just the head coach.  What about the assistants that are on the front lines of recruitment and in many cases closer to the players.  Assistant coaches are even more likely to switch universities–voluntarily or involuntarily.  Just ask the coordinators at Houston and Wisconsin that were fired before mid-September.

So… if a 50-year old coach decides to abandon his $1,400,000 a year job at College A to take a $2,200,000 a year job at College B, he can do so without penalty.  If an 19-year old kid second guesses his decision to attend College A, and wants to transfer to College B, he must sit out a year.  Sure, the kid can still transfer.  But he cannot play his sport for one year.  The coach of that same sport need not sit out a year.  The NCAA is holding kids to decisions made on or before reaching adulthood, but allowing adults to have greater freedom of movement.

By the way, the NCAA has only recently decided that multi-year scholarships might be, say, a fair idea.  In the absence of multi-year scholarships, College A has been able to recruit a kid and decide after his first year that his athletic scholarship is revoked.  But the kid cannot revoke his own scholarship and seek one elsewhere.  Again, anything to screw student-athletes.  Fortunately, the vote to allow multi-year scholarships barely passed.  So at least now the kids restrained from transferring have a chance to bind the schools that bind them.

Of course, now the NCAA might want to drop the term “student-athlete.”  The Confidential is not sure what term will be used to describe who the NCAA screws in the future, but the screwing will likely continue unabated.   That’s just what the NCAA does.

 

The Penn State Penalties and the ACC

The world has had plenty of time to digest the NCAA’s penalties against Penn State.  While there is no question that the situation in Penn State was factually unprecedented, the NCAA will soon turn its attention to its more familiar tasks of punishing schools for secondary and major violations.  The ACC cares.  After all, Miami–one of the ACC’s marquee football programs–is likely “next up” in feeling the wrath of the newly emboldened NCAA leadership.

Actually, it should be noted that the NCAA, via its Presidents, imposed a new model for sanctions that imposed tougher penalties before the Penn State penalties were announced.  See http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/24156338/34441353.  In many instances, the penalties for violations will be tougher than what USC received for its penalties even!   This new model is effective as of August 1, 2012.  It is not clear whether these new penalties will apply to Miami, who does not expect to receive its penalties until next Spring (i.e. 2013).

But those penalties should be fairly severe.  Miami’s violations occurred over a several-year period and were well-publicized.  Although it is not clear that the evidence is as strong as claimed by incarcerated-informant Nevin Shapiro, there are recent reports that violations continued after Al Golden took over as coach.  Needless to say, there is going to be a lot of fingernail chewing in Coral Gables until the NCAA issues its ruling.

And, lest we forget, North Carolina was just issued penalties by the NCAA in May 2012.  Specifically, the NCAA ordered these as just part of its penalty for football violations:

  • Three years of probation from March 12, 2012, through March 11, 2015.
  • Three-year show-cause penalty for the former assistant football coach prohibiting any recruiting activity. The public report contains further details.
  • Postseason ban for the 2012 football season.
  • Reduction of football scholarships by a total of 15 during three academic years. The public report includes further details.
  • Vacation of wins during the 2008 and 2009 seasons (self-imposed by the university). The public report includes further details.

There is Internet scuttlebutt that a basketball scandal may now be brewing in Chapel Hill.  If so, the Tar Heels may find themselves in even bigger trouble.

And who knows what else is lurking out there for the NCAA to consider.  Although Penn State is not part of the ACC, the ACC needs to care about how the NCAA is punishing schools.

PSU: The United States Supreme Court Notes Your REAL Option

As previously discussed, the argument that the NCAA deprived Penn State of due process is weak.  It is even more weak given that Penn State agreed to the NCAA’s penalties.  Penn State is fully capable of marshaling a legal team to challenge the NCAA’s rulings, but chose not to do so.  The idea of appealing somehow is simply absurd.  However, Penn State fans have expressed concern that the Freeh report may be wrong–making the penalties unjust.  Fortunately, in the circumstance where the Freeh report is deemed inaccurate, Penn State would have options.

During the press conference by the NCAA to announce the penalties, a question was posed as to whether Penn State could do anything to reduce the penalties.  The question was not answered because of a desire not to delve into “hypotheticals.” However, a secondary concern by Penn State fans is what happens if the Freeh report is deemed to be wrong.  Apparently, this has happened with a Freeh report in the past.  And the upcoming trials may shed additional light on what the “evidence” is.  Is there anything that Penn State can do at that point?  The answer appears to be “yes.”

In National Collegiate Athletics Association v. Tarkanian, 488 U.S. 179; 109 S. Ct. 454; 102 L. Ed. 2d 469 (1988), the United States Supreme Court ruled that popular UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian could not pursue a due process claim against the NCAA.  The Supreme Court observed, properly in the Confidential’s opinion, that the NCAA simply was not a government entity or somehow the equivalent of one because of its relationship with government entities.  However, in so ruling, the Supreme Court noted as follows:

Furthermore, the NCAA’s bylaws permit review of penalties, even after they are imposed, “upon a showing of newly discovered evidence which is directly related to the findings in the case, or that there was a prejudicial error in the procedure which was followed in the processing of the case by the Committee.” App. 107. UNLV could have sought such a review, perhaps on the theory that the NCAA’s investigator was biased against Tarkanian, as the Nevada trial court found in 1984.  The NCAA Committee on Infractions was authorized to “reduce or eliminate any penalty” if the university had prevailed.  [See Tarkanian, supra at 195 n.15 (citations omitted).]

Sure enough, the NCAA bylaws DO contemplate that an imposed penalty may be reviewed if there is “newly discovered evidence” or a “prejudicial error in the procedure”:

19.5.2.8 Review of Penalty.

19.5.2.8.1 Newly Discovered Evidence or Prejudicial Error. When a penalty has been imposed and publicly announced and the appeal opportunity has been exhausted, there shall be no review of the penalty
except upon a showing of newly discovered evidence (per Bylaw 19.02.3) that is directly related the findings in the case or that there was prejudicial error in the procedure that was followed in the processing of the case
by the committee. (Revised: 1/9/96)

19.5.2.8.1.1 Review Process. Any institution that initiates such a review shall be required to submit a brief of its appeal to the committee and to furnish sufficient copies of the brief for distribution
to all members of the committee. The committee shall review the brief and decide by majority vote whether it shall grant a hearing of the appeal.

19.5.2.8.1.2 Institution or Conference Discipline as New Evidence. Disciplinary measures imposed by the institution or its conference following the NCAA’s action may be considered to be
“newly discovered evidence” for the purposes of this section.

19.5.2.8.1.3 No Imposition of New Penalty. If a hearing of the appeal is granted, the committee may reduce or eliminate any penalty but may not impose any new penalty. The committee’s decision
with respect to the penalty shall be final and conclusive for all purposes.

19.5.2.8.2 Reconsideration of Penalty. The institution shall be notified that should any portion of the penalty in the case be set aside for any reason other than by appropriate action of the Association, the
penalty shall be reconsidered by the NCAA. In such cases, any extension or adjustment of a penalty shall be proposed by the Committee on Infractions after notice to the institution and hearing. Any such action by
the committee shall be subject to appeal.

It is difficult to envision a successful challenge to the procedure after the fact and given the agreement to the penalties by Penn State.  But the newly discovered evidence options provides hope. If the Freeh report is ultimately deemed inaccurate, there ARE steps that Penn State can take to have the NCAA re-review the penalties.  If Penn State has been fully compliant, and if the NCAA agrees that there were errors in the Freeh report, the NCAA bylaws would grant the NCAA the discretion to reduce the penalties.

So all is not lost for Penn State.  If the evidence changes, the NCAA has the power to revisit the penalties.

Random Thoughts on Sports, July 24, 2012

With the NCAA neutering the Nittany Lions yesterday, it is hard to believe that there are other sports stories of interest.  Here are a few that the Confidential is intrigued by:

  1. Ichiro Suzuki was traded to the New York Yankees for two players that, aside from relatives and perhaps a desperate groupie or two, nobody cares about.  Oh, and for the luxury of ridding itself of its most notable player and fan favorite, Seattle contributed money to the deal.  What?  Why give money???  If you are not getting a useful player back, make the Yankees eat his salary.  Otherwise, keep the money… enjoy some extra attendance for Ichiro’s presence… and move on.  To get nothing from the Yankees AND pay is just a terrible baseball move.
  2. The Big XII is shiny and happy at 10 teams right now.  Perhaps conference realignment can take a few years off?  Makes sense.  With the new playoff structure, the conferences and schools should give it some time to see how it plays out.  Perhaps the playoffs will be unfairly slanted towards the Big East, with Boise State winning four straight national championships.  Unlikely, but might as well play it out first.  Heck, maybe the ACC will win a few major bowls games.  Hey, it can happen.
  3. The Olympics are going to start soon.  In the old days, this was great.  An opportunity to see funny names.  Now we have televised NBA and NHL games for that.  It is still a great sports spectacle though.  Hopefully, it can be sports-focused and avoid scandals involving drugs and judges.  And let’s all hope that terrorism is not an issue.

NFL training camps open soon, with college football summer practices not far behind.  Remember to set the alarm on life to January 2013.

 

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