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Comment 08 May 2013

Looking at expenditures only is an effective approach if one wants to wag his finger at the SEC for spending too much on athletics.  But expenditures only tell half the story; revenues are the relevant other half.  Using the 2012 expenditure and revenue data that came out yesterday, I calculated that the SEC had a surplus of $5.3 million per school (I deducted subsidies from the revenues).  By comparison, the Big Ten cleared $2.8 million per school. I freely admit that this discrepancy is largely due to the fact that Big Ten schools fund many more "non-revenue generating sports" than does the SEC, and I applaud them for that.  I think it's worth noting that while SEC schools are investing comparatively more in athletics, they are receiving a good return on that investment.  And despite what Ramzy suggests, there is evidence that some of that profit is returned to the institutions' general funds. 

Note: I invite others to double check my math. I should've double checked myself, but I really didn't feel like going back through the tedious calculations.

Comment 08 May 2013

Ramzy stated in the comments of his story yesterday that in 2011 Alabama retained all profits within the Athletic Department.  I have been unable to find anything to support that claim and it is obviously not true for 2012 (though he made no such claim wrt 2012).  What source was Ramzy's claim based on?

Comment 08 May 2013

Only Illinois and Iowa still attach fees to student tuition to help fund athletics. Every single other department is self-funded. Huge, mostly-full stadiums help pay those bills. The Big Ten Network is extremely helpful. Smart investments and licensing agreements are as well.

Failed to mention that at least 7 of the current Big Ten members receive subsidies from institutional funding. Want to see some serious subsidizing? Check out future Big Ten members Rutgers and Maryland. 

Comment 18 Feb 2012

Just so you kow, it was not my intention with the last sentence to insinuate that anyone had been disrespectiful or personally attacked me.  I was just trying to point out that even though I do venture into enemy territory to express what I know will be a minority opinion, I attempt to do so in a civil fashion as opposed to the type of fan who might come here with the sole intention of riling everyone up.  I also realize that I'm unlikely to completely change someone's mind, but maybe I'll give them something to think about; maybe I'll cause them to realize that the issue may not be as cut and dry as they previously thought.  And if they want to hate the SEC, I'm perfectly fine with that as long as they're not basing it on incomplete or inaccurate information.  If the end result is that some anonymous person that I will never meet in real life concludes that I'm insecure in the ligitimacy of my conference's practices, well, I guess that's just something that I'll have to learn to live with.

Comment 17 Feb 2012

Someone else tried making that same arguement, and I'm sorry but I don't buy it.  Coach Fitzgerald himself stated in his national signing day PC last year that they had room for 17 and signed 17.  Both Ohio State and Northwestern sign the number of players they need each year to get them to 85, but Northwestern has significantly less annual attrition than Ohio State does.  Trust me, I've looked but there's just simply not that much Northwestern attrition to be found, at least not on the internet.  Ohio State suffers signficantly more attrition than Northwestern does, therefore, Ohio State has to sign more recruits.

And this isn't an attack on Ohio State, but I think it does illustrate how a university's DNA affects attrition and therefore signing numbers.  For this next part, I'm speaking in general terms not absolutes.  In general, the student-athlete who chooses Northwestern is probably more concerned with academic and professional success (as opposed to football success) than a prospect that is recruited by and ultimately signs with Ohio State.  So what happens when each of these students finds himself buried on the depth chart after 2 years?  In general, the NW player chooses to stay, ride the bench, and get his NW degree.  While many OSU players will do the same, a percentage will choose to transfer somewhere else that they can get more playing time.

This same dynamic exists across conference lines too and partially explains why some schools have higher transfer rates.  Now, we can say that every school should be just like Northwestern and recruit student-athletes who are students first and athletes second, but ultimately, each university is free to determine the type of prospect that it wants to recruit and how much emphasis it placed on athleticism versus academics.  This determination affects future attrition within the program which then affects signing numbers.  Ohio State, Alabama, and Oregon could all choose to start putting much more focus into a recruit's academics and dedication to earning a degree, but they would do so at the risk of winning fewer ball games.  While it's true that that 5* with borderline academics may transfer if he doesn't pan out, he could lead your team to a championship if he does pan out.

All this to basically say what I've already said a few times before.  Differentials in signing numbers are not evidence that players are being run-off or cut.

Comment 17 Feb 2012

I had to see if you got back to me. Shocker - yes you did.

Ouch! You really got me there.  Now it's my turn.  I triple dog dare you to not respond to me.  If you do respond now, it's only because I dared you to.  And if you don't respond, then you're a big chicken.  That's not juvenile at all, is it?

When I got done with the article I did not feel like the author said "THE SEC IS EVIIILLL!!! MWAH HA HA! - THE B1G RULES!!!" But it seems like you did

I'm sure to you the article just came across as a sincere attempt to assist the SEC with a problem.  Wait, what's the SEC's problem again?  Oh yeah, something about attempting to maintain an ameteur tax shelter while only offering 1 year scholarships.  Of course, this is something that no NCAA school has had an issue with over the 40 years that they've all been offering 1 year scholarships, but somehow it's an issue now for the SEC.

I got a different vibe from the article.  First, the entire concept is condescending.  "Since the poor, stupid SEC has been outmaneuvered by the B1G (yet again), I'll give them the solution that they've been so desperately seeking on their own but to no avail."  If you don't know where I'm getting this, please go back and read the 2nd paragraph of the article.

But I think the true purpose of the article was just to give the author the opportunity to take frequent pot-shots at the SEC:

"The calculated move was a not-so-subtle shot at "over-signing", a sinister practice perfected in the Southeastern Conference"

"So, I guess I shouldn't be surprised the great minds involved in the Southeastern conference fell for it"

"Derek Dooley, a Southern luminary"

"The SEC doesn't have a problem with guaranteed, multi-year deals when they are the beneficiaries, you see"

"the SEC's nurtured hyper-competitiveness, fueled by a collectively instituted "whatever-it-takes attitude""

"The true irony of this situation is crystallized by the the SEC's solution perhaps laying in a place a lot of Southerners don't even believe is real: Europe."

"Since the South is accustomed to swaddling its sports in the American flag"

Despite all those obvious jabs, I abstained from outright accusing the author of anything in my first 2 posts.  If you will go back and look, I simply asked why he chose to frame this as an SEC vs B1G issue, pointed out that oversigning and opposition to 4 year scholarships is in no way limited to the SEC, and kindly offered him a suggestion: if he's truly interested in coming up with a solution, perhaps he would be better served by leaving out divisive comments like the ones above.  After all, if he can offer his unsolicited but sincere advice to the SEC, surely I can do the same for him.

The author kindly said you were taking it out of context, but on you pushed.

Again, I guess we viewed things a little differently.  Whereas you viewed his comments as kindly, I couldn't help but notice the following:

"Their coaches, who have been given a "WIN AT ALL COSTS" mandate by their schools' trustees, do it because it allows them to bring an extra recruiting class every five years and lets them take risk-free waivers on somebody unfulfilled potential like Duron Carter."

"Instead of empty, ceremonial bylaws, I tried to offer a better alternative than whatever new way Nick Saban has found to rationalize lying to kids"

At this point, I concluded that the author has an obvious anti-SEC bias, and I pointed it out just as many (including yourself) have felt it relevant to speculate that I must be an LSU, Alabama, or SEC fan.

you have to learn that you can't come here and say "my facts are correct - yours are false" over and over

Thanks for the unsolicited advice and I will certainly keep that in mind, but if I see someone make a comment that is false or a misrepresentation of the truth, then I will continue to point it out.  Sorry if that upsets people.  But know that I do try to always remain respectful and not attack anyone personally.

Comment 17 Feb 2012

No, we are not the same person. 

And if an SEC blog posted a very anti-Buckeye/B1G article, I can pretty much guarentee you that there were be Buckeye/B1G fans defending Ohio State/B1G in the comments section.

Comment 17 Feb 2012

You are incorrect in assuming that academic issues are virtually identical at Auburn and Ohio State.  Ohio State has maybe 1 signee every other year that fails to qualify.  Auburn had 4 from the '08 class alone.  Also, they don't sign an equal number of JUCO players.  Ohio State signs none.  Auburn signs a few every year.  Since JUCO's only play for 2 years, the more JUCO's a schools signs the more signees it will have over time.  All of these factors add up, but the number of signees who fail to qualify is the biggest one by far.

Comment 17 Feb 2012

To illustrate the point that raw numbers without context do not tell the whole story nor do they prove wrongdoing.

Comment 17 Feb 2012

Funny, when asked why Oho State has had 20% more signees than Northwestern over the last 5 years, the responses I got from Ohio State fans were:

1. Academics

2. Underclassmen for the NFL

I agreed that those were very reasonable explanations and just asked Ohio State fans to give the same consideration to those factors when looking at the relative signing numbers of others schoools.  I guess that was too much to ask.

Comment 17 Feb 2012

Well, to be perfectly honest, the K-12 school system in the southeast is well below average as compared to most other regions of the country.  This results in a higher percentage of signees who fail to meet the NCAA's minimum academic requirements coming out of high school.  Many of these signees who failed to qualify then go to a JUCO, get their associate's degree, and sign with the same school 2 years later.  So, one player is counted twice in signing numbers.  Also, every JUCO player that a school signs has to replaced every 2 years as opposed to every 4 years for the typical players.  I know it won't be popular to say this, but the SEC also has had the most underclassmen declare for the NFL draft over the last several years.  All these factors contribute to higher signing numbers in the SEC without anyone being forced out.  Is there other attrition in the SEC (transfers, medicals, etc...)?  Sure.  But I think you'd be surprised at how much of that same attrition occurs in every conference.

Comment 17 Feb 2012

If you want to maintain high APR's like Alabama and Ohio State, then classroom performance is treated quite seriously.

Comment 17 Feb 2012

"Name a school that has lost 21 scholarships players between NSD and August over the last 2 years........... Give up? Alabama"

Well, Indiana has lost over 21 scholarship players over the last 2 years.  But to completely honest, a few were not insde the NSD to August period that you set.  "Ah hah!", you say.  But I find that timeframe to be pretty arbitrary.  Are we to assume that all the attrition that Ohio State has experienced the last few months is perfectly acceptable because it didn't occur from NSD to August?  If anything, that attrition should be viewed with more scrutiny because it very conveniently opened up enough room for Meyer to bring in 25 players as opposed to just 17 or 18.  Same thing happened with Sam Longo last year.  Numbers were getting tight, and a reserve player conveniently decided to transfer thus allowing Ohio State to bring in a recruit that it wanted more.

Now, I'm not really suggesting that Ohio State has done anything wrong.  But hopefully I've demonstrated what many of the oversigning critics look like when they point out attrition and allege that the coaches absolutely must have forced the players out with no proof.

Comment 17 Feb 2012

Are you sure about that?  Indiana lost 19 scholarship players last year alone.  Ohio State has lost 16 in the last year.  Michigan lost 14 last year.  In other words, all 3 schools had more attrition that Alabama or LSU.  And before yo claim it's just due to coaching changes, Ohio State lost 10 in 2008 and 6 in 2010.  The fact that you think 5-7 per year is a high attrition rate proves my point that most people have no idea how much attrition actually happens in college football across the country.

Comment 17 Feb 2012

"However your Northwestern-Ohio State example implies that those of us who don't agree with you are ignorant"

That was never my intention.  Some people are uninformed about the types and amout of attrition that happens in college football across the country though.

"Northwestern has either chosen to/been unable to have a full allowable slate of 85 scholarship players."

What did you base that assertion on?  I honestly don't think that's the case.  Northwestern has had much, much less attrition every year than Ohio State and that is what accounts for the difference in the number of signees.

"I like to call it forced attrition."

This is really the crux of the arguement.  Do I think that coaches sometimes encourage players to transfer because they have a poor attitude, or they're chronically late for practice/meetings, or they've neglected their responsibilities in the classroom?  Yes.  But I do not think that coaches are cutting players because of their performance on the field combined with the need to get the roster to 85.

Since I'm sure you'll ask me how "the march to 85" can take place without cutting players, I'll go ahead and answer that.  First, the coach may well be aware of eminent attrition that just isn't made public until after National Signing Day (i.e. Ohio State this year).  Second, a coach can use conditional greyshirts as Mark Richt explains:

“Let’s say you have space for 15 on signing day and you sign 20. Well, if five of those guys know up front if there’s no room in the end and they’re willing to grayshirt and willing to come in the next January in the end, if the kid knows, the mom and dad knows, the high school coach knows, everybody involved in the recruiting process knows, if they know there’s a chance there’s no space for you, if everybody knows that on the front end, then I don’t see anything wrong with it ethically. I personally think if everybody knows it on the front end, that’s fine.

“We all know from signing date until they enroll in school, there’s usually attrition historically and usually there’s enough attrition to make room for any over-signing. If those five guys know they can come in if there’s room when everybody else comes in, come in with your class. If there’s not, you’ll come in in January. I don’t see anything wrong with that."

The point is, attrition happens.  You can either plan for it by oversigning, or not plan for it and wind up below the 85 limit.  I think both are perfectly acceptable.



Comment 16 Feb 2012

"I would have valued yours had you not been so hellbent on discrediting or dismantling anyone else here who had a different viewpoint than yours."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't two thirds of your contributions to the comments section devoted to questioning my motives (and sanity)?  We can go round and round questioning each others motives, but I think we can both agree that that would be pointless.  If you have something to contribute that actually furthers the discussion of the issue at hand, please feel free to provide it.  Otherwise, we're both just wasting each other's time.

Comment 16 Feb 2012

Hmmm.  That's an interesting theory.  But here's how I see it.  The average college sports fan is not going to go through the trouble to really research this issue.  Therefore, he will base his opinion on this issue on what he reads casually on blogs like this one, or a bleacher report article, or tweets.  All these sources will typically only offer one side of the issue, will be short on actual facts, and will be heavy on spin and rhetoric.  The average fan then forms his opinion on this incomplete and often inaccurate information.

That's where I come in.  When people claim that oversigning is something that only happens in the SEC, I provide actual facts to show that that is not the case.  When someone points to raw numbers as evidence of wrongdoing, I show that that is an unsound conclusion.

Could it be that you question my motives because I offer a different perspective from the one that seems so widespread among the bloggers and fans of your favorite team?  Have you read the opinions of so many like-minded Buckeye fans that you've convinced yourself that it must be the truth and any other view must by motivated by an alterior motive?

Comment 16 Feb 2012

You are absolutely right and that's another one of the factors that should be considered when comparing the relative number of signees between 2 schools.

I challenge everyone to consider factors like nfl departures and academic non-qualifiers (not to mention % of redshirts, number of Jucos, etc...) when looking at signee numbers even when the school that you're looking at isn't Ohio State.  A tall order, I know.  It's much easier to just point to the numbers and shout "SEC bad!!!!", but it's just not that simple

Comment 16 Feb 2012

Actually, it's an AP article not an ESPN article.  I could've just as easily linked the same article from USA Today's website.

Comment 16 Feb 2012

I've read it, and think it's a little naive.  I think that it is very rare for a player to have his scholarship not renewed.  I think what typically happens is that the coach sits down with a player and lets him know that it's now working out and this his chances of getting playing time would be greatly improved by transferring.  The player then chooses to transfer.  If he doesn't then the coach makes the player's life a living hell until he gives in and agrees to the transfer.  Most players aren't going to stick around when they know that they aren't wanted and, this way the coach avoids all those pesky appeals that Infante mentions because there is no appeal when the player chooses to transfer.  This process would not be affected by making scholarships 4 years.

Comment 16 Feb 2012

As I pointed out earlier, number of signees who fail to qualify factors into the number of prospects that a school signs over time.  At least I've gotten you to acknowledge that there's more to it than just raw numbers.

Comment 16 Feb 2012

Oh I agree.  I've never denied the competitive advantage aspect of oversigning although I think it is often exaggerated (see Ole Miss).

The arguement that I'm debating is the "oversigning is inherently unethical and oversigning schools are screwing over kids" arguement.

Comment 16 Feb 2012

Does the fact that Ohio State signed significantly more players than Norhtwestern over an extended period of time prove:

a) Ohio State is oversigning

b) Ohio State is running off players

c) Just a coincidence

d) none of the above

Comment 16 Feb 2012

Not a lawyer nor a statistician but I do know that raw numbers rarely ever tell the whole story.  See the Ohio State/NW signing numbers example that I used above.