Well, The Roof Just Caved In…

Amateurism in the collegiate ranks is dead and will soon be buried. The highest court in the land just ruled that sports are no longer playing games but is now actual employment for the student/professionals.

The Supreme Court of the United States unanimously affirmed a ruling Monday that provides for an incremental increase in how college athletes can be compensated and also opens the door for future legal challenges that could deal a much more significant blow to the NCAA’s current business model.

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the court’s opinion, which upheld a district court judge’s decision that the NCAA was violating antitrust law by placing limits on the education-related benefits that schools can provide to athletes. The decision allows schools to provide their athletes with unlimited compensation as long as it is some way connected to their education.

Even though I agree with the Supreme Court’s ruling I do think it is sad that a whole wonderful and simple way of life in collegiate sports has now been completely lost. The beginning happened as soon as cable TV came on the scene and the big TV revenues were no longer restricted to the more popular “Big Dog” programs (Notre Dame, USC, Ohio State, Penn State, etc.) who played live on TV at 1:00 pm Saturday afternoons with Keith Jackson calling the plays.

However soon even crappy schools were getting big paydays through their conference TV contracts and that is when things started to change. Soon every school and its brother were getting kickbacks from ESPN. From there it just grew and grew.

Honestly, for me, what made college football magical is that it was accessible to almost every person at almost any time. If you were a student at Pitt you could walk into the Pitt Stadium stands with your friends during varsity football practice and watch the kids play out there and see the coaches coaching them. pitt-panthers-football-ticket_1_4bdb03bb5696a0e95ae2c10f5193a691Regular people could actually walk up to the stadium window and buy a ticket for that day’s game without having to take loans out for seat licenses (extortion IMO) and breaking the bank while doing so. Price to watch the National Champ Panthers in ’76? $7.00…

Football wasn’t dissected and micro-managed to the nth degree as it is now. When the game was over you either went to a bar, your dorm or home and then got on with your week ahead.

When you walked into a dorm you saw some of the players you had just seen out on the field. You sat next to them in class and ate with them in the cafeteria.

You might have envied them because they were getting a free ride on tuition and room & board but you knew they were just like you but with a talent specific to them. They were no better or worse than any other student when it came down to it.

Forget about that now – it has changed in ways that are almost unrecognizable to fans of a certain age. Back in the day a player might have some bucks slipped to them by a booster (Dorsett drove a Lincoln Continental and had $1,145 in Oakland streets parking tickets that somehow got paid when that was made public…”He’s an All-American scofflaw,” Angela Marasco, chief clerk of the city traffic court, said at the time.” ).

But that was Dorsett. The other 90+ players on the roster were pretty much regular students, especially when they actually went to class. They certainly weren’t on the University of Pittsburgh’s payroll like the current Panthers are about to be.

Does this bit mean all will be tied into academic performance and not what the athlete does on the field of play?

“Athletes playing Division I men’s or women’s basketball or Bowl Subdivision football will be able to receive benefits from their schools that include cash or cash-equivalent awards based on academics or graduation.

Among the other benefits that schools also can offer are scholarships to complete undergraduate or graduate degrees at any school and paid internships after athletes have completed their collegiate sports eligibility.”

Is the ‘pay’ to players based not on their athletic abilities but on “academics or graduation” standards and is paid out as either cash or more scholarship opportunities??? Who makes those criteria for standards applied in this case – the NCAA? The Conferences? The schools themselves?

Gee, won’t it be fun to see what West Virginia deems the standard for a player to be academically eligible for a salary. Maybe the accountants will start with this: if a WVU player can actually find the classroom they are supposed to have been in attendance all semester without having to ask for help, they will get the Federal minimum wage to start.

Inquiring minds want to know…

However things are laid out will we see a bunch of D1 athletes working harder in the classrooms to get the higher pay involved? Or is it that they have to meet a set standard of academic achievement to meet the “pay” criteria at all?

I can’t help but wonder about all the undergrad research assistants who work on the projects that UPMC will make tons of money on when the project is successful and monetized. Are those students (who might not even be on scholarship) not in exactly the same position that the athletes are? Their efforts result in money earned by a formal institution without them seeing a single cent so shouldn’t they get compensated just as players will now be?

Who knows what is in the future, but for me this is just another nail in the coffin lid of what was once a pleasant and enjoyable hobby – and that is what being a fan is supposed to be. Following the team and attending games should not be something that you bust your ass for to be able to afford, but should be one of the things one spends some hard earned money on because they like it as something fun to do.

Say goodbye to that my friends because lets be honest here – who in Hell do you think is going to pay those monies to the college athletes? It won’t be the NCAA or the Supreme Court or even the school themselves. No – it will be the fans who pony up via higher ticket prices and increased “club” fees along with higher prices for everything else related to the football programs.

I can see it now…

Narduzzi: C’mon Pitt fans , we need another 4* defensive line star and that salary won’t come cheap. Time to show us how much you really love the team.

Fan: What can we do coach? How can we help…?

Narduzzi: The very best fans can run out and buy even more season tickets and don’t forget to up your Pitt gear purchases either. That way you can brag to your friends that you are paying a 1,000th share of the next Pitt All-American nose guard. Regular fans can try to donate at least something you skinflint bastards. The last thing we Pitt family members want is a reduction of my salary to pay the players. That just wouldn’t be right.

I know this is the way of the world now and as I said above I agree with the Court’s decision in this matter. I just wish all we had to think about and do was just enjoy Pitt football without all the minutiae of everything else involved.

 

An Early Look at ’21 Georgia Tech

A Way too Early Look at GT’s Roster Changes

Pitt’s 2021 Opponent Series By Rich Hefner (Rich in SC)

I plan on writing a series of articles focusing on the offseason activities of Pitt’s P5 2021 opponents. I will touch on recruiting, transfer portal activity, list of players loss to the pros, list of players to “know” based on returning All-conference or 2021 preseason selections. Lastly, some data based on 2020 NCAA stats (I know you all are waiting breathlessly for that). Of course, I will add my opinion when I feel something needs to be pointed out.

(Editor’s Note: Rich will be doing more of these and if I can remember I’ll also post them in the week before the game against the opponents discussed…)

I will be using Rivals recruiting ranking data but 24/7 TP activity. If you want a quick update on the transfer portal, this is the link to the POV TP article I wrote.

 The Transfer Portal; (Recruiting Part 2) (pittpov.com)

Here is my POV article on 2021 recruiting.

College FB 2021 Recruiting – Part 1 (pittpov.com)

I am going to start with Georgia Tech’s (GT) and Pitt’s 2021 schedules.

Georgia Tech is in the running for this years ACC most favorite ACC schedule. They get a bye in week seven (the mid-season Saturday). Six games before the bye and six after… winnable games both before and after the bye. They are also the only ACC team that does not play on a non-Saturday. Though they do have a hard finish of the season with Notre Dame and Georgia in the last two weeks. GT fans are hoping they are not stuck at five wins going into the last two games, or they will be relying on APR to receive a bowl bid. Like Pitt, they also will face Clemson.

I do not know if I will show the following chart for every Pitt opponent, but I thought it was interesting. As you know, 2019 was Geoff Collins first year as head coach for GT. He went 3 – 9 (including a loss to The Citadel). Did his offense change in 2020? Defense in 2020? You bet both did. Offense for the better but defense regressed.

There is some interesting data in that mass of numbers. GT passed more in 2020 vs. 2019. But not as much as I thought they did. All around defense regressed from 2019, Mainly in pass defense. Maybe it was just due to a 10 game ACC schedule and UCF as the lone OOC opponent. Maybe it was that GT was one of four ACC that played both ND and Clemson (BC, Pitt and Syracuse were the other three.)

On to recruiting. How is the HC change working out? The last five years of recruiting even though there may be 2016 and 2015 recruits playing this year.

Overall a step-up in recruiting compared to triple option Paul Johnson. He moved the needle from an average 3* 5.5 recruit to a 3* 5.6 recruit per NNR. As we will see later and as I wrote in the TP article, Collins is going for immediate help with some longevity by using the TP as a recruiting tool. One thing in the breakdown of recruits by position, GT is still trying to beef up their offensive line. Sound familiar?

Any true “stars” on their roster last year? They had three named to the 2020 All ACC team. To expand the potential list of “stars”, I added the GT players that were named to the 2020 preseason All ACC teams by either Athlon, PFF or returning 2019 All ACC selections.

Harvin (the punter) is going pro. Gibbs is good. He made the All ACC team as punt/kick returner. I thought he would make it as an all-purpose back, but such is life.  Mason was a 2019 third team all ACC selection as a running back but was injured most of the 2020 season. I do not know much about the rest but the defensive backs’ did not do themselves proud in 2020.

Any transfer portal entries? Yes.

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Eight TP entries. Only one “Grad” transfer. Picked up a placekicker from the fire sale going on at Tennessee as GT kickers stunk. The best pickup may be Keion White from Old Dominion. He was unranked by Rivals in 2017. Old Dominion was one of three FBS teams that opted out of the 2020 season. During the 2019 season, White had 19 tackles for loss.

One of the things that 24/7 does is re-rank players in the transfer portal based on their college careers. Kind of makes sense as players are now competing against peers. In a way, it is unfair if a recent recruit did not play much at his old school due to age (2019, 2020 classes). BTW here is a link to 24/7 on their explanation of ratings. White has pro potential with a 3* 0.8800 rating.

247Sports Rating Explanation

One of the things I learned in digging into the TP was it pays to be in a recruiting hotspot. Florida State, Miami and Georgia Tech has a majority of their TP entrees from their home state.

Another new face for GT in 2021 is a transfer offensive lineman from 2020.

He opted out of the 2020 season but is back in the game. He started 32 games for Vanderbilt.

That is all for new faces. Did GT lose anyone? It is hard to tell if anyone is not returning. Outside of the punter, no one was an early entry to the NFL draft. GT did lose some to the TP.

A total of 16 players have entered the portal. That ties GT with North Carolina for most roster turnover in the ACC. The concerning thing to me is the three recruits from 2019 and two from the 2020 class. That does not look good for Collins recruiting prowess. Here is the link to GT’s 24/7 transfer portal page.

2021 Football Transfer Portal (247sports.com)

That ends my review. Any suggestions on what you would like to see on future articles?

Thanks, Richard

Note: Here is the Pitt 2021 schedule – disregard the upper left Austin Peay win of last season (you remember that game – that skewed stats so wildly that some thought our offense looked good last year 😉)

New Discussion Thread; 6/17/21

Will be on the road for awhile…in PGH actually…so here is a new post to discuss things.

NCAA Softball Tournament will be held at and hosted by Pitt in 2022:

https://triblive.com/sports/acc-will-bring-its-softball-tournament-to-pitt-in-2022/

Softball fans in the Steel City are going to enjoy watching elite softball right here at Vartabedian Field,” Pitt coach Jodi Hermanek said in a statement. “Pitt is ready to host a first-class atmosphere that will make for a championship tournament experience for our teams and softball fans.”

Another defensive recruit:

https://triblive.com/sports/pitt-lands-georgia-cornerback-for-its-class-of-2022/

In typical Pitt BB fashion, our best players bolts and good things happen with him:

https://triblive.com/sports/pitts-justin-champagnie-invited-to-nba-draft-combine/

Rich in SC has sent a couple good football articles that I’ll post closer to fall camp.

Enjoy, Reed

It’s Back! POV Golf Tournament!

After a Covid-induced hiatus Rick Caldwell (Erie Express) and Fran Lokar (Lastrowofsection4) have gotten together to do the preliminary arrangements for another POV Golf outing scheduled for August 21st in Lancaster, PA.

As you may remember each of these have been great fun and well organized. The golfing is good, the drinks are cold and the friendships, old and new, are superb.

pg-banner-main

Here are the basic details so that you can put this into your calendar to save the date. As things unfold I will keep bringing this post, updated with more details about the day or attendees, any changes to the tournament format or if Narduzzi gets fired, etc. stuff like that, to the front of the blog.

This is what we have so far:

Location:  Meadia Heights Golf Club, Lancaster, PA (where Jim Furyk played his junior golf)

Date:  Saturday, August 21, 2021 Time:  Noon to 1:00 pm tee times (dinner will be served after golf).

Format: four person team scramble golf tournament (18 holes) 

Cost: Approx. $85 per individual (includes golf and dinner – the club’s 19th Hole will be open prior to golf for meal & drink – additional cost to you). NOTE: The cost per player is the same as 2019!

Lodging: DoubleTree Hilton within a few miles and numerous other hotel options in Amish Country, USA

Below is a quick poll so that Rick and Fran can start doing some more detailed planning. This isn’t the final one – that will be done later.

Here are the 2019 attendees, 27 in all I believe, in full dress golf uniforms (Fran is the guy with the bad neck in the left front row). Note that people who actually hate each other on the POV are actually getting along for this one day.

Have fun…