Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Uh-Oh....It Looks Bad, Maybe THAT Bad...

Well, it's finally here. For more details and takes check out

mgoblog.com and

The Victors

for their takes. My take for what it's worth: The NCAA has opened the envelope of violations of the Michigan Practices. The 20 minutes of overpractice or stretch time should be dismissed relatively quickly. However, where I thought they weren't going to find anything, it seams that one Graduate Assistant, Mr. Herron, was doing some bad things by first participating in the skill development of 7 on 7 passing drills and then denying he was there...If I haven't explained this clearly yet, this is why the role of "Student Manager" is so vital to athletic teams in NCAA. The student managers are non-paid and can therefore "observe" and then report on what's happening with the players during their workouts. And they can assist if necessary. They're just a student that is allowed to be around the athletes. But when you become a paid assistant, you need to follow the rules for ANYONE that's paid...And not only didn't Alex follow them, but it sounds like he lied about it....

It is alleged that Alex Herron, graduate assistant football coach, failed to deport himself in accordance with the generally recognized high standards of honesty and sportsmanship normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics for providing false and misleading information to the institution and enforcement staff when questioned about his involvement in and knowledge of possible NCAA violations outlined in Allegation No. 2-a. Specifically, Herron denied during his September 28, 2009, interview with the enforcement staff and institution that he was present for or involved in skill development or seven-on-seven passing activities that occurred over the summers of 2008 and 2009. Subsequently, during his December 15, 2009, interview, Herron conceded that he was present only briefly at the beginning of such skill-development activities but did not participate in those activities in any manner when, in fact, Herron monitored and conducted the 2008 and 2009 summer skill-development activities. Further, Herron continued to deny his presence at or involvement in seven-onseven passing activities when, in fact, he was sometimes present for and involved in such activities.

This one stinks...The rest of the allegations are in my opinion, very minor and shouldn't result in anything more than a couple of self imposed slaps on the wrist. But this one is bad.

While I was a Student Manager, this was one area that I distinctly remember was critical at the coaches and managers' meetings: If you are paid - YOU CAN'T BE AROUND WHEN THE PLAYERS CONTINUE PRACTICING ON THEIR OWN, ARE WORKING OUT AFTER PRACTICE, BEFORE CLASS, ETC. Student Managers, on the other hand, could be there the whole time. This was made very clear - EVEN during Spring Practices!

So, what happens now? Brandon, Rod and company get together and either defend or deny the allegations. My guess is they defend and deny and offer up some self imposed discipline. However, Mr. Herron is probably in deep doo-doo and we will learn very quickly as I suspect he won't stay quiet too long as to whether or not he was "instructed" to be at these workouts or was doing this "on his own."


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Texas and the Big XII Continued

Again, without much to read on "Those Who Cannot Be Called Michigan" I have been hitting some internet sites that are looking long and hard at the Big 10 expansion and the apparent Big XII "reduction". I actually started putting together the sequence in my own head that what if the Pac 10 acted first and somehow all came to agreement to let Colorado and Utah/BYU into the conference and would that diminish the earning potential of the Big XII and hurt Texas, forcing them to literally make a reactionary move in order to not be left out in the cold?

This Barking Carnival blog post is an EXCELLENT look at just such a scenario and what is possibly going through Bill Power's (President of Texas) mind at this point. What was most interesting about that post to me was the fact that Texas is stuck with it's political hands tied if it wants to act first. However, it makes totally logical sense that Texas can eventually thumb their nose at their legislature if they have the ability to say, "Look - I'm doing this for the well being and long term survival/growth of The University of Texas" if they make a "reactionary" move. Oh, sure, there will still be Texas politico's that don't "get" this thing from a financial standpoint, and they will stand up and beat their chests and profess how "Texas won't become part of the Big 10 on their watch", but they will quickly be drowned out when they get a glimpse of the Federal Money that is pushed into the Big 10 and CIC universities. If Texas can get a chunk of that money, well, you can bet that it will be a lot harder for any political pressure to be applied in order to stop this from happening.

But, as Frank the Tank said in his latest entryTemplate for Shooting Down Any Argument Against Texas Going to the Big Ten, what if we had to take Texas A&M along with Texas and the Big 10 wanted to go ahead and "make it an even 14"? Who would #14 be? If Texas leading the charge into the Big 10 isn't enough to get the Domers off the "pot" and get them to "shit" their NBC contract and some of the long term "rivalries" that they have (I mean after all, how many more times can they lose to Navy?) and finally join this conference, truly to hell with them as the Big 10 will have the pick of the litter of whoever is left once the revenue is understood. I would be surprised to even see someone like Tennessee or Kentucky re-align and merge with the Big 10 in order to get the revenue and also the Federal R&D money and I think they each have the academics to back it up.

In addition, some simple research by the Tank explains everything you need to know as to why the Big XII isn't going to get any better any time soon. Here's Frank:

First, let’s take a look at the population bases of the states comprising the 5 BCS conferences other than the Big East (which I’m only excluding because they have large states on paper but don’t really deliver the key ones that well for football).

Big Ten 67,379,505
ACC 59,697,664
SEC 58,581,019
Pac-10 54,047,294
Big XII 44,097,046

The Big XII, as of today, has over 23 million less people than in its footprint compared to the Big Ten. What’s worse is that it’s not even diversified, where around 24 million of those people reside in the state of Texas. The reason why the Big Ten and SEC have such massive TV revenue is that they are able to combine intense passion for their schools with fairly large population bases. There might be some intense passion within the Big XII, but it has nowhere near the population base to even come within the vicinity of the deals of the other conferences. Not only that, but Texas has to compare any prospective Big XII revenue to what the Big Ten revenue will look like with the Longhorns included, where the Big Ten’s population base would catapult to over 90 million people. On a financial level, the Big XII simply will not be able to compete with the Big Ten.

Second, there aren’t networks out there that would pony up that type of money. The main entity that can afford to pay the most in rights fees, ESPN, already has its best time slots locked in with – guess who – the Big Ten and SEC. The Big Ten dominates the 11:00 am CT time slot on both ESPN and ESPN2. At the 2:30 CT time slot, the Big Ten is guaranteed nationwide reverse mirror coverage on ABC/ESPN, where if a Big Ten game isn’t shown in a particular region on ABC, it is guaranteed to be shown on ESPN or ESPN2 in that region (which effectively gives the Big Ten nationwide coverage for all games in that time slot just like the SEC on CBS). Meanwhile, the SEC is guaranteed to have a prime time game on ESPN or ESPN2 every single week. As a result, ABC/ESPN simply doesn’t have any more room and, as a result, doesn’t have much incentive to pay much more than it does now for Big XII games.

With respect to the other networks, NBC is satisfied with Notre Dame football and, frankly, is the cheapest network out there when it comes to paying for sports rights. (Please note that the NHL is actually paying NBC for airtime as opposed to the other way around.) CBS has its own massive deal with the SEC for 2:30 CT national games, so it’s definitely not looking for any more college football games. Fox is committed to Major League Baseball for most of the college football season, so it doesn’t have any time slots on Saturday for college football along with having much less incentive to broadcast the sport after giving up the rights to the BCS bowls.

So, unless the Big XII thinks that Fox Sports Net or Versus is going to come through with a massive new offer, there’s literally not much upside to look forward to in the next conference TV contract.

This is so glaringly simple and hits another nail right on the head. Even if Texas gets a larger share of revenue from the Big XII, it's from an entirely smaller pie, a pie that is mostly it's own making. And there's no one left to televise. NBC could but it's "idiotic" contract with the Domers leaves it's hands tied to adding more college football to the Saturday lineup. And Frank also dives head first into the Texas Television Network and explains in some great detail why that will probably never get off the ground - at least not when the Big 10 is handing it a spot on it's network without having to lay out any capital or fund a television network in any way.

Yep, it's looking like something big is about to happen. What, exactly that big something is remains to be seen, but if I was a betting man, I would take a wager that Texas is somehow in the Big 10 in one way, shape or form in the very near future. And Texas A&M and maybe, maybe even those uppity Domers are in the mix as well......

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hook 'Em Horns??? It Could Very Well Be Texas as #12

When I read Brian Cook's take on the Big 10 adding Texas to the mix on MgoBlog and the fact that the move would more or less implode the Big 12, I agreed with it and as much as I would have liked to have Texas, it just didn't make sense. The Big 12 couldn't handle the loss....
But I was thinking like a FAN - not a UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT.....

Frank the Tank makes a GREAT ANALYSIS as to why Texas SHOULD want to join the Big 10 - Money, Television Exposure and security. Notice I didn't say anything about recruiting, playing "up north in the snow", rivalries or any of that other BS....While its an extremely long blog/article, its well worth the read. Frank the Tank is a Corporate Attorney that comments and blogs on a lot of different issues and I spent some time cruising his entire blog last night. You should read some of his opinions on everything to get a flavor for how accurate his analyses are. If you don't have time, here's the MMQ's synopsis. The argument is actually quite clear and simple - Don't think like a sports fan, think like a university president.

If Missouri, Iowa State or some other flea bag from the middle of the Big 12 joins the Big 10, that leaves the Big 12 as the smallest TV conference in college football. In addition, the Big 10 gets nada from bringing a team like that in...Except the Championship game and that's not enough....You need to look at the equation as:

11+1=13, not 11+1=11.5. NO ONE IN THE BIG 10 WANTS TO GIVE UP REVENUE!!!

And the discussion of bringing in 3 teams (two from the Big East and one from the Big 12) and making the Big 10 a 14 team "Superconference"? Re-read the above line in bold in case you haven't "gotten" it yet. For a 14 team conference to even work and have the equation look something like 11+3 = 15.5, you would need the likes of Miami (Florida), Rutgers or Syracuse and Mizzou...NOT GONNA HAPPEN....Not only that, but anyone that's worthy of joining the Big 10 from the Big 12 will leave Texas with even LESS revenue - plain and simple. On top of that, the stability of the Big 12 at that point would be very much in question. Colorado and Utah are natural candidates for the PAC 10, if they can ever agree to expand, taking away more revenue from the Big 12. To put it simply: Texas needs to look long and hard at the financial windfall ($10M annually from football alone) of making a decision to join the Big 10. From Frank's #1 Follow Up to his original blog:

So, let’s make it perfectly clear why any Big East school and probably any Big 12 school would leave for the Big Ten. Here is the annual TV revenue for each conference as reported by ESPN’s Outside the Lines last month along with the average for each school:

Big Ten: $242 million ($22 million per school)
SEC: $205 million ($17.08 million per school)
Big 12: $78 million ($6.5 million per school)
ACC: $67 million ($5.58 million per school)
Pac-10: $58 million ($5.8 million per school)
Big East: $13 million for football/$20 million for basketball ($2.8 million per football school)

Take a look at those figures for a moment – every single Big Ten school makes almost twice as much TV revenue every year as the ENTIRE Big East football conference and even makes more than the entire Big East basketball contract (which is that conference’s greatest strength). There is no rational president of a Big East university that is fulfilling his or her fiduciary responsibility to such university that would turn down an invitation from the Big Ten for any reason whatsoever (whether it’s what the basketball coach says or anything else). That’s not a personal knock on the Big East (as I’m also a law school alum of Big East member DePaul) but just a simple and glaring reality when you take two seconds to look at the numbers.

Back to your MMQ...Forget the rivalries - they can still play Texas A&M and Oklahoma with their open slots. Everyone else is old Big 8 teams that Texas tradition doesn't really give two hoots about. (It sounds like they don't really like having to play the likes of Baylor, Rice, and Texas Tech - and don't even bother to bring TCU and SMU into the discussion - those are like MAC teams down there at this point. The SWC was doomed...). The Big 10's television footprint would expand by almost 1/3, increasing the revenue and giving it an even stronger negotiating base when it comes to renewing television contracts.

It's a huge win-win for both the Big 10 and Texas!

And there really isn't much the Big 12 can do to stop it from happening as Texas is the biggest player in the conference from an endowment and brand standpoint. What's really interesting is that the Big 12 is actually in a lot more precarious position financially than anyone thinks. They have tried a cable network (didn't happen) but the rumor is there wouldn't be enough revenue generation from the markets the Big 12 is currently in to make it work! The Big 10 network looks like it's here to stay and will provide additional revenue for the Big 10 for years to come. Again, think like that University President - years of revenue - even when YOU'RE team is having a down year....Another interesting fact: When the SWC collapsed 15 years ago, Texas petitioned the Pac 10 to join and of course, with the Pac 10's rule of needing 10 out of 10 votes to let a team in, they were rejected. Then they asked....Wait for it....The Big 10! But the Big 10 still had the moratorium on adding a team so soon after adding Penn State. So, Texas approached the Big 8 and took Texas A&M, Baylor and Tech with them...But there's not a lot of love for the other teams in that conference - not by Texas, anyway.

What I REALLY liked about the Tank's take on this whole thing? His analysis of the Domers and how stupidly illogical they actually are when it comes to joining the Big 10. While they are in the Big 10 if they CHOOSE TO JOIN (This may or may not be true. The Domers had the "cache" 10 years ago, but they may have diluted their brand to the point of not being someone the Big 10 wants to deal with), they are now financially hurting themselves IN THE LONG TERM and may forever be labeled as a team that "once was"...Back to Frank...

Notre Dame’s issue is that it’s almost impossible for it to take advantage of these financial changes by being outside of a conference unless it moves all or most of its games to cable (i.e. Versus, which is now a sister company to NBC in the new Comcast conglomerate), which defeats the main advantage of having an independent TV contract in the first place (nationwide over-the-air NBC coverage whether you have cable or just rabbit ears). As a result, independence has turned from Notre Dame’s greatest financial asset into possibly its greatest long-term financial liability.

Another interesting tidbit that I have been digging for more information on that Frank alluded to: The Domers were apparently very close or had even approached the Big 10 in 2003 when the ACC raided the Big East and took Boston College, Miami, and Va Tech...And DIDN'T EVEN CONSIDER THE DOMERS, even though Notre Dame Basketball is part of the Big East Conference.

So, what to make of all this? After reading Frank, it's very obvious to me that there won't be an addition to the Big 10 unless it makes complete financial sense, top to bottom. And simply adding a 12th team to generate $15M on a championship game divided 12 ways isn't enough to motivate the Big 10 to conisder it. But if you add the television footprint of Texas, well, now it starts to make a lot of sense.

Long Story Short - Look for the very realistic possibility that The Longhorns, Wolverines and Buckeyes all end up in the same conference sooner rather than later... It's the only adder that the Big 10 can look at and say 11+1=13. And Texas wins big, also.

And wouldn't that be amazing?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Drew Sharp is a Disease....

The WLA has an opinion post on drew sharp....

When will the Freep finally pull the plug on this guy? Go let him do what he does somewhere else, please. I think the community is more or less sick and tired of his antics and self serving journalism.

If he wants to start a blog, let him and that can at least be the end of it from the journalism point of view. Luckily, I have stopped reading sharp quite awhile ago and I am only forced to "review" some of his trype when the situation dictates it.

The Freep needs to get a clue.

Friday, February 5, 2010

SIGNING DAY - Why all the hype?

I don't follow recruiting that much, but with all the news outlets and everyone talking about "Signing Day" as if it were the NFL draft, it's kind of tough not to catch a few snippets of what is happening here and there.

Yes, Gatorland, the great Urban and company, appears to have landed the best recruiting class of the century or perhaps the millenium. And they haven't even played a game yet! Let's see where they are 3 years from now....

Anyway, for anyone that wants to know how Michigan did, the Maize and Brew blog did the best job of capturing and summarizing the recruits in one spot. mgoblog has these player broken down in almost insane detail which, quite frankly, bores the hell out of me. However, once these players don the Maize and Blue, I'll be looking and seeing what we've got.

Until then, sigining day is just that. Signing day. Michigan hasn't won another game, yet.

P.S. The Dorsey situation isn't worth commenting on, even though the Freep believes that this kid is "evil incarnate" and that Michigan has sold it's soul in order to win football games. Frankly, I believe if the kid deserves a shot and the coaches have talked to him, his parents, and they believe they can keep him in check, why should anyone challenge that decision? Unless, of course, it blows up and they have to throw the kid off the team - read Boubacar Cissoko.