The Weekender: Coaches Worry About Donors Becoming “Owners,” the Most Controversial Fantasy Sports Fight Ever and a Kentucky Assistant Wrestles a Reporter

By George Eisner on May 29, 2022 at 3:33 pm
Lane Kiffin stares into the sky with dread.
Matt Bush – USA TODAY Sports

Own the group chat with The Weekender, highlighting the biggest stories in college sports, standout writing from Eleven Warriors, and a glance at what's next.

Donor anxiety ramping up among coaches

In the wake of last week's show of fireworks between Jimbo Fisher and Nick Saban on the subject of NIL rules, the wild west environment college football currently finds itself in has become more magnified than ever. While much of the general controversy surrounding the legislation's implementation exists over specifically debating paying the players at all, some are cautioning that the greater issues in play will be ones that affect power dynamics at every level of a school's football operations.

Now, Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin is raising concerns over how donors could soon play a more direct, less shadowy role in dictating which players see the field ahead of others — as some owners are prone to doing in the National Football League.

Kiffin's lengthy conversation with SI offers a highly transparent glimpse of the knot college football find itself in at the moment. Relative to NIL, the head coach at Ole Miss also speaks at length on players accepting offers without visits, the widening gaps between Power/Group of 5 teams, and impacts on locker room dynamics.

Needless to say, everything becomes more complicated when money’s involved.

A fight over fantasy football

In an unbelievable twist in Major League Baseball, two athletes paid to play a game with a million unwritten rules are upset at each other over immaterial codes of conduct.

Joc Pederson committed the irredeemable sin of abusing his injured reserve roster spaces in a fantasy football league, then followed it up in the league's group chat by posting a bodybuilding GIF that included superimposed logos of three MLB teams. Put simply, it was a meme making fun of the San Diego Padres. 

As a self-proclaimed “big dog in Vegas,” “high-roller at many casinos” and a former Padre himself, Tommy Pham would not abide.

This story received a truly comical amount of coverage and follow-up journalism into the weekend. Of course, given how ridiculous the source of the disagreement is to begin with, the intense media attention actually seems quite appropriate.

The Reds have already won the first two games of their home series with the Giants, so it appears Pham's suspension for asking Pederson “What did the five fingers say to the face?” had no detrimental impact on Cincinnati's surprise winning streak.

Assistant coach wrestles media member

Bah gawd almighty, that's not The Big Show — it's Vince “Big Dog” Marrow!

Kentucky Sports Radio editor and rising prospective heel Drew Franklin paid the price for starting beef with Marrow over the airwaves earlier this week in the promotional run-up to an Ohio Valley Wrestling event in Lexington. Despite the thunderous impact of Big Dog's karate chop, Franklin quickly made up with Marrow, the Wildcats’ associate head coach and tight ends coach, outside of the ring afterward.


2022 NBA Mock Draft Roundup for Malaki Branham & E.J. Liddell

With Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals set to take place tonight between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, the NBA Draft is now less than a month away. Griffin Strom did the dirty work of organizing draft projections for each of Ohio State's anticipated first-round picks.

Both Ryan Day and Jerron Cage are Shining as Buckeye Fathers

It turns out the most recognizable leader of young men in Ohio is a pretty good dad, and helps mentor more pretty good dads. Day received honors from the National Father's Day Council this week, while Dan Hope spoke with Cage about how the birth of Jerron Jr. has reshaped his football career for the better.

The Big Ten’s Divisions are Currently Circling the Drain

Johnny Ginter worked very hard to photoshop Jim Delany’s face behind Saruman the White's beard. His look back at the “Legends and Leaders” debacle as the Big Ten inevitably prepares to reshape (again) is worth a click for the header image alone.

What's Next

  • Men's Golf: NCAA Championships, Monday-Wednesday @ Grayhawk GC — Scottsdale, AZ
  • Football Season Opener: vs. Notre Dame, Saturday Sept. 3 @ 7 p.m. — Columbus, OH
  • Football Big Ten Opener: vs. Wisconsin, Saturday Sept. 24 @ TBA — Columbus, OH
  • The (Revenge) Game: Saturday, Nov. 26 @ Noon — Columbus, OH
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