POSTED: July 14, 2020

Pac-12 Notes


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Pac-12 Notes

July 19th

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Report: Pac-12 Players threatening to boycott season 

From 247 Sports … Former Arizona State quarterback Rudy Carpenter recently revealed there’s growing unrest among a few dozen players in the Pac-12 about the upcoming college football season and that level of worry has now made it to the league office in an effort to increase health insurance past graduation and ensure enhanced player safety this fall during a global pandemic. Carpenter, who hosts a college football podcast and frequently appears on sports radio, wrote Friday in a string of tweets about a player group from the University of California that initiated these demands, that have since garnered support from other Pac-12 teams.

“Pac 12 football players have created a list of “demands” 4 the Pac-12/Universities 2 take into consideration, if the demands aren’t addressed/complied w/ the players R threatening to sit out the season..There is significant support growing among ALL 12 teams with 50 or More players on many of teams in support of this action/demands list,” Carpenter tweeted. “The initial idea was 2 create a players union, they decided time didn’t allow 4 this & figure the best way to create the change they want is 2 “boycott” the season.

“Things they r asking 4 is 50/50 rev share, 6 yrs insurance upon graduation, better Covid-19 testing & protocols etc etc…The player led group is being spearheaded at Cal Football & they have been holding phone calls with other Pac12 teams..There is some kinda of players only meeting/vote that will be taking place shortly.”

Continue reading story here

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July 18th

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Proposed Name, Image and Likeness legislation comes with notable guidelines

From CBS Sports … Amid the race against time with COVID-19 to implement fall sports, it can be easy to forget that there’s also a rush within college athletics to get monumental name, image and likeness (NIL) legislation passed. With a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill next Wednesday, the Power Five members of the NCAA have drafted a NIL proposal representing the next step towards a congressional bill.

To absolutely no one’s surprise, though, that draft contains numerous restrictions.

Obtained by Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated, the proposal, called the Student-Athlete Equity Act of 2020, outlines the ways in which the NCAA’s top conferences can govern an athlete’s NIL rights through so-called “narrow safeguards.” Those safeguards claim that an athlete:

  • Cannot benefit from endorsements until their second semester of college
  • Can be barred from entering into certain NIL deals that “violate university standards or that conflict with institutional sponsorship agreements.”
  • Must make NIL contracts public.

The proposal also permits the use of agents so long as they are regulated through a “Certification Office.” Finally, it requests that the “NCAA, conferences and institutions will not be subjected to inappropriate liability and preempts a patchwork of inconsistent state laws.” In June, Florida became the first state to sign a bill allowing college athletes to profit off of their NIL. That bill will go into effect on July 1, 2021.

“The ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC have been working together to encourage Congress to create a uniform national standard to allow student-athletes to seek payment for name, image, and likeness (NIL) licensing,” members of the Power Five said in a statement to Sports Illustrated. “The conferences are collaborating with members of Congress on developing legislative language to create NIL reform that is uniform, fair, and protects student-athletes.”

Continue reading story here

SEC, ACC and Big 12 not ruling out keeping non-conference schedules 

From 247 Sports … Non-conference football games have not been ruled out this fall in three Power 5 conferences.

In fact, three Power 5 conferences are actively trying to preserve their 14 non-conference games among the ACC, Big 12 and SEC after the Big Ten and Pac-12 opted last week to cancel all non-conference games as the COVID-19 pandemic grips the country.

Plans can change, especially with the SEC leading the charge to make a decision at the end of July concerning the upcoming season and the leagues’ football schedules. COVID-19 cases are on the rise and concerns of overloaded hospitals have put the season in danger, prompting college coaches and administrators to ask fans to wear protective masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

As those public-relations campaigns kick into high gear, so is the work behind the scenes to save non-conference games among Power 5 programs. The odd men out: FCS and Group of 5 programs. The three Power 5 conferences are discussing several scheduling options, which could also be tweaked over the next two weeks. It’s possible one or all three could move to an eight-game conference schedule with one or two non-conference games; a nine-game conference schedule with one non-conference game against a Power 5 opponent; and a 10-game, conference-only schedule.

Four schools could lose games if a nine, plus-one schedule is approved in late July: Florida State, Georgia, West Virginia and Georgia Tech. It seems likely an eight, plus-two schedule would keep all 14 non-conference games among the three Power 5 conferences but would lead to the cancellations of non-conference games against other FBS and FCS opponents. Unless, of course, the conferences decide on an eight-game schedule with one FCS/Group of 5 school plus one against a Power 5 team.

Continue reading story here

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July 17th

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Why didn’t Mike Bohn fire Clay Helton? Two words: “Guaranteed contract”

From USCFootball.com … No wonder USC had to keep this secret. Lynn Swann certainly did. Bump a coach up to right under $4.6 million a year and extend the contract for an unconscionable five years when no other single program in America was interested in hiring him is the definition of malpractice.

Too bad we can’t treat college athletic directors like we do doctors — and that’s not said to demean docs, coming from a family of them. Although what does that say about the adult supervision — or complete lack thereof — that the rookie AD, not to mention totally inexperienced manager/administrator, had at USC?

Who possibly approved that deal with its 43 percent raise after USC had been skunked by Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl? Where were the Board of Trustees members? Isn’t that why you have a Board of Trustees? With the billions that Max Nikias had finished raising at the time, and that thrilling Sam Darnold Rose Bowl not that far in the rear-view mirror, maybe this one salary didn’t look like all that big a deal.

All the big boys were paying that kind of money, right? And wasn’t USC one of the big boys? So?

Well, no it wasn’t as that 5-7 season made clear. But since USC is a private school and does not have to make its salaries public in real time, only on the IRS 990 which have a lag time of nearly two years when it must list its top five paid employees, do we have an opportunity to learn all the incredible details.

… And now those 11 days of indecision last offseason before new AD Mike Bohn announced that Clay would be returning to an outpouring of criticism from USC fans, seem to have a solid explanation. Like all of us, Bohn appears to have not known the details of Clay’s deal nor could he even have guessed at them before signing on. As an experienced AD, he had to know that the deal Clay got would have been unconscionable and unimaginable.

And that no professionally managed program would cut such a paralyzing deal. Only USC did.

We’re guessing Bohn tried for a time to see if there were any way out without paying upwards of $30 million to do get out of the deal. That also explains how what we were hearing that the big booster who was willing to underwrite completely an $8 million-a-year deal for Urban Meyer was willing only to help raise the money to buy out Clay. Even if that booster might have green-lighted the hiring of Clay after believing his talk that there would be a return to classic USC physical football — a power run game and play-action passing — and tough physical (there’s that word again) defenses that took John McKayJohn Robinson and Pete Carroll to seven national championships.

Do that and Clay would have been a bargain. But now he’s pretty much the greatest single survivor since well — since Larry Scott — with both ADs and every single assistant coach during Clay’s nearly five-year tenure having now departed the premises. And Clay rolls on at we’re guess-timating a deal worth more than $5 million per.

Continue reading story here

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July 16th

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NCAA President openly questioning fall sports taking place

From YardBarker.com … This is news that’s not necessarily too surprising given the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States right now. Multiple conferences have already canceled non-conference games heading into the 2020 college football season, and the head of the NCAA, Mark Emmert, is now questioning whether there will be fall sports at all.

His statement on Thursday is the clearest indication yet that there might not be a 2020 college football season at all.

“When we made the extremely difficult decision to cancel last spring’s championships it was because there was simply no way to conduct them safely,” NCAA President Mark Emmert, via the governing body’s official website. “This document lays out the advice of health care professionals as to how to resume college sports if we can achieve an environment where COVID-19 rates are manageable. Today, sadly, the data point in the wrong direction. If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic.”

The numbers relating to COVID-19 in the United States paint a bleak picture as it relates to the season starting late next month.

This country remains the epicenter of the global pandemic. College football powerhouse states such as California, Texas and Florida have been hit especially hard.

For the NCAA, it all seems to be about student-athlete safety. At this point, it simply makes no sense to start the college football season and put these young athletes at risk. As we have seen, multiple top-end programs have had outbreaks of the virus.

Starting the season with this as the backdrop wouldn’t be the best of ideas. And in reality, the NCAA will have to make a clear decision here within the next couple weeks.

NCAA issues list of COVID-19 Prevention recommendations

From NCAA.org … he NCAA Sport Science Institute has released the Resocialization of Collegiate Sport: Developing Standards for Practice and Competition to extend previous guidance and provide updated recommendations about the protection of athletes and prevention of community spread of COVID-19.

The guidelines are designed to inform schools in responding appropriately based on their specific circumstances and in the best interest of returning college athletes’ health and well-being.  Many sports require close, personal contact and require specially crafted guidelines.  Among the recommendations put forth:

  • Daily self-health checks.
  • The appropriate use of face coverings and social distancing during training, competition and outside of athletics.
  • Testing strategies for all athletics activities, including pre-season, regular season and post-season.
  • Testing and results within 72 hours of competition in high contact risk sports.
  • Member schools must adhere to public health standards set by their local communities.

“Any recommendation on a pathway toward a safe return to sport will depend on the national trajectory of COVID-19 spread,” said Brian Hainline, NCAA chief medical officer. “The idea of sport resocialization is predicated on a scenario of reduced or flattened infection rates.”

“When we made the extremely difficult decision to cancel last spring’s championships it was because there was simply no way to conduct them safely,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “This document lays out the advice of health care professionals as to how to resume college sports if we can achieve an environment where COVID-19 rates are manageable. Today, sadly, the data point in the wrong direction. If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic.”

The recommendations were developed in collaboration with the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory PanelAmerican Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) COVID-19 Working GroupAutonomy-5 Medical Advisory GroupNational Medical Association, and NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports Prevention and Performance Subcommittee. The guidance also takes into consideration recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is the latest update to the initial Core Principles of Resocialization of Collegiate Sport recommendations, providing guidelines and practices that schools should consider as they develop their own mitigation plans. The previously released Action Plan Considerations offered recommendations to help schools mitigate risks of COVID-19 spread as staff and student-athletes return.

For more information on the NCAA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit ncaa.org/covid-19

Arizona loses second three-year defensive starter to transfer portal

From AZDesertSwarm.com … Arizona Wildcats senior linebacker Tony Fields II has entered the transfer portal and will head elsewhere as a graduate transfer, he announced Wednesday on Twitter.

Fields was one of the few bright spots on defense for the Wildcats over the past three seasons, starting every game and logging 287 tackles (17 for loss), 8.5 sacks and a pair of interceptions despite having a different position coach every year.

While Arizona does have other experienced linebackers to fall back on, namely seniors Colin Schooler and Anthony Pandy, it does not have much proven depth after them, also losing Day Day Coleman to transfer earlier in the offseason.

Arizona lost another three-year starter this offseason when safety Scottie Young Jr. entered the transfer portal and eventually landed at West Virginia.

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July 15th

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Wrongful death suit filed against Arizona State

From ESPN … The father of a former Arizona State University linebacker has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the university and NCAA, alleging that his son’s suicide happened during a mental breakdown caused by the four concussions he suffered a few years earlier while playing college football.

Jason Franklin’s father, Gregg Franklin, alleged that flawed concussion management protocols contributed to his son’s developing the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which was discovered after his 2018 death, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in federal court.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status to cover all now-deceased ASU football players from 1952 to 2015 who were diagnosed in life or death with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy and other neurodegenerative disorders.

“Unfortunately, while defendants (ASU and NCAA) knew about the harmful and devastating effects of these sub-concussive and concussive injuries, they recklessly ignored these facts and failed to implement reasonable concussion management protocols to protect its athletes, including Jason Franklin,” the lawsuit says.

ASU and the NCAA didn’t immediately respond to a request Wednesday for comment on the lawsuit.

While playing at ASU, Franklin suffered one concussion in 2012 and three in the summer of 2014, according to the lawsuit.

Franklin, a native of Simi Valley, California, joined ASU’s team as a walk-on and played in a small number of games. He died in July 2018 at age 26.

Continue reading story here

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July 14th 

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With even the SEC’s concern for football “very high”, talk of spring football is gaining momentum

From ESPN … What if college football can’t be played this fall? Is spring football really a possibility?

Can you imagine Alabama and Tennessee playing on the Third Saturday in March, instead of the Third Saturday in October?

Ole Miss and Mississippi State playing in the Easter Egg Bowl?

The Rose Bowl kicking off on Memorial Day, instead of New Year’s Day?

After the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced last week that their teams would play only conference games, the 2020 college football season has reached a tipping point. With coronavirus cases surging in states such as Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, high-ranking athletic officials throughout the country have conceded that their pessimism has grown in regard to the likelihood of an on-time start to the season — and acknowledged the harsh reality that the season might not happen at all.

The information continues to change rapidly, and there’s no shortage of speculation, but with the fall season in serious jeopardy, conference commissioners and other power players have acknowledged that spring football, which once seemed like an only-if-we-have-to option, is becoming more and more conceivable.

“I think we need to be prepared to do it, and I think it should be viewed as a viable option,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said. “We’re going to learn so much from the NBA and NHL and Major League Baseball in the next few weeks, and if, for example, those efforts go poorly, it’s probably going to be a really critical data point for us, and we’ll argue for delay. If that occurs, I think you’ve gotta be open to the spring.”

There’s still a sense, though, that it won’t be discussed in much more detail until it has to be.

Recent decisions by the Pac-12 and Big Ten were made to give the conferences more flexibility in pushing back the start of the season and making up canceled games, if necessary, because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Big Ten and Pac-12 prefer a 10-game schedule, if feasible, but everything seems to be on the table.

SEC athletic directors met Monday at the league office in Birmingham, Alabama. The ACC, Big 12 and SEC aren’t expected to announce their plans for the upcoming season until later this month, but SEC commissioner Greg Sankey offered a dire assessment during an interview on Marty & McGee on ESPN Radio over the weekend.

“We are running out of time to correct and get things right, and as a society we owe it to each other to be as healthy as we can be,” said Sankey, who described his concern for the upcoming season as “high to very high.”

Continue reading story here

Name, Image and Likeness: Rivals posts answers to biggest questions 

From Rivals.com

Where does name, image and likeness (NIL) stand right now?

At its meeting in April, the NCAA Board of Governors supported changes to the rules that would allow student-athletes to be compensated from endorsement deals, according to a release by the NCAA. The board also supported compensation for other opportunities including social media campaigns, entrepreneurship ideas and personal appearances. Student-athletes would be permitted to introduce themselves by sport and school but logos and school/conference trademarks would be prohibited.

The next step is for the former proposal of these NIL rules changes to be submitted no later than October and then the NCAA board will vote on that proposal no later than January 2021.

The NCAA has said guardrails will be in place so no pay-for-play schemes can be implemented. So what would that look like?

Blake Lawrence of Opendorse: “There has been a reference at times of a third-party administrator when it comes to name, image and likeness, and that is of benefit to the NCAA, student-athletes, the institutions, the business, the individuals who are in the marketplace for a couple reasons. One of them is it potentially decreases the compliance burden on the schools. It puts them in a position where this third party tracks NIL activity, identifies parties that are in the market, the types of transactions that are under further scrutiny. One key aspect is making the compliance burden lighter.

“It also creates kind of an at-arms-length for the NCAA to be a little further from the activity so ultimately the NCAA is going to be in a position they’re going to have to put something in the market that is going to accomplish the impossible task of making everybody happy. If that third-party entity or group of entities is tasked in doing so it at least gives distance the NCAA would desire from being the sole party in making this work.

“If you think about 500,000 student-athletes, if the rules changed tomorrow, all of them, every single one of them, could get pitched a deal a day from someone and if you think it’s going to go through a paper process and a compliance office on campus, you’re thinking wrong.”

Can a local business, such as a car dealership, just hand out money to players and claim it’s their “fair-market value”?

Zach Soskin of Voltage Management: “It’s not going to happen quite like that and this is one bit of misinformation that’s out there. The NCAA is going to be very strict about what players get paid for certain things and establishing some sort of market value. From my point of view, the fact that they’re establishing a market value prevents the real market value from being set. It’s not a true free market. Because of the concerns about boosters paying kids what they call endorsement deals but what’s really a payment to go to a certain school, they’re going to be careful to monitor that. Every deal will go through the NCAA (or a third party) in some way.”

Will advertising budgets even be available for NIL endorsements in the age of COVID-19 and beyond, thus limiting what student-athletes can make?

Jeremy Darlow, brand consultant, former director of marketing for adidas football/baseball: “What I’ve been telling all of my partners is, from my perspective, what I see happening going forward is the 1 percent that was making money off their name, image and likeness post-graduation before are going to be the same 1 percent who are going to be doing it 12 months from now.

“The only difference is they may be doing that as juniors in college instead of post-graduation. That’s the thing we need to educate these kids on. I don’t see the money going up in terms of available endorsement contracts. If you think about this, the brands are going to have less money post-COVID than they did going into COVID. Which means when this NIL rules change kicks in, they might not have even as much money as they had prior to hand out endorsement deals.

“So the offensive lineman at Alabama or the kicker at Clemson may think they can now make money off their likeness, but the reality is these companies are hurting for cash right now, more so than they were going into the pandemic. That means they’re not going to be passing out checks like they may have in the past. There will be less money available for endorsements and that money would have already been earmarked to the 1 percent that was on their way to making that money anyway.”

Is this a situation where a school booster can just hand money to players and claim it’s for their name, image and likeness?

Matt Dudek, Michigan football director of recruiting: “Absolutely not and that’s what we’re explaining to them. According to the information we have, they’re going to be able to make money just like it sounds – on their name, image and likeness. So what does that mean? Everybody is saying autograph sessions. Sure. But I think that’s a very small percentage of what it’s going to be.

“Everybody is saying car dealership commercials. Sure. That could be the case. But you just don’t know until you’re given some type of guidance. We do feel when this does happen, with the Michigan network, with the people and our fans being so engaged in our program and the largest living alumni base, we feel like it’s going to be a great advantage for the University of Michigan.”

(and to Oregon, and USC, and Nebraska … but not Colorado) … 

Read full article here

Related … “Part 2: Who Will Make the Money?” … from Rivals

Related … “Part 3: How Athletes Build Their Brand” … from Rivals

Iowa State: Athletic Department stands to lose $40 million without sports being played this fall

From ESPN … Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard said the athletic department stands to lose $40 million in the next six months if sports cannot be played this fall.

In an open letter to the Iowa State community released Monday, Pollard also added that the university itself stands to lose millions as well as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. He said the revenue loss for its educational fund for the 2021 fiscal year is $41 million.

Since the start of the pandemic in the U.S. through Aug. 23, 2020, the revenue losses and costs at the university are estimated to be an additional $73 million.

“Some people have incorrectly framed the issue as safety versus revenue generation. The simple fact is that reality lies somewhere in the middle,” Pollard wrote. “As leaders, we remain committed to safety first.”

But because the revenue losses would be so significant without sports, he said the push is to play in the fall as safely as possible. “We understand there are serious health considerations that are implicated by moving forward with sports,” Pollard writes.

“However, we are confident that our department can provide a safer environment for the athletes in Ames, where they are motivated by their teammates and competition to modify their social behavior. We also feel confident that our mitigation efforts can reduce the risk for fans at Jack Trice Stadium. We will be transparent about these efforts so fans can evaluate and choose for themselves whether they are comfortable attending games or not.”

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July 13th

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Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh: “No expert view that playing sports will make COVID worse”

From Reuters … Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh isn’t ready to cancel or reschedule the 2020 football yet, even as cases of the coronavirus are surging in a majority of states.

In a Zoom call with reporters, the former 49ers coach said there is no evidence yet that sports will further the spread of the virus.

“COVID is part of our society. Wasn’t caused by football or caused by sports. And there’s no expert view right now that I’m aware of that sports is going to make that worse. It’s part of our society; we’re going to have to deal with it,” Harbaugh said.

“These kids are going to have to do the same thing. They’ve got to go to school. They’ve trained their whole lives for the opportunity to play their sport. That is my view with the knowledge that we have and time to learn more about it. It would be my responsibility, our responsibility and the players’ responsibility also, to keep themselves safe and get the schooling and training that they need.”

The Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday that 322 Michigan athletes had been tested through June 29, with two positive results. Both athletes were asymptomatic.

Harbaugh said that while his team wants to play — and he wants to coach — this season, he recognizes the time could come to call it off.

“Now, if it comes to a point in time where you say that we can’t play, it’s obvious, it’s clear, then everybody would be reasonable and know that was the right thing to do,” he said.

Continue reading story here

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July 12th

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If college football moves to spring, top players may bolt for the NFL: “They’re gonna bail … they’re done”

From The Athletic … Questions abound about the upcoming college football season’s vitality. Will it happen, and if so, when? Conferences have started hedging their bets by altering their schedules, but is flatlining inevitable?

It’s time to consider more, as in which players will stick around to see what happens.

That’s becoming a question on all levels of football as COVID-19 cases spike through numerous states, including college football hubs Florida, Texas and California. The Big Ten and Pac-12 announced moves to conference-only schedules after the Ivy League pushed all fall sports, including football, to the spring semester.

Based on social media reactions, such news surprised those hoping for, if not counting on, the return of college football. The players, particularly some projected top 2021 draft prospects, have begun considering such a dark timeline over recent weeks.

NFL certified agents begin recruiting players during the summer ahead of the annual April draft. This year that’s meant video calls primarily because of the pandemic, though some agents ventured out for in-person meetings.

“If this (COVID-19) really continues down the path that I think it’s going down, there is a very likely chance that there’s going to be some high-profile kids signing with agents in the next 60 days,” one agent told The Athletic.

With conferences reassessing their plans by month’s end, player decisions may come much sooner.

“They’re gonna bail. I mean, I’m recruiting some high-end kids,” another agent said. “I talked to probably four of them last night, and they all echoed the same thing. Like, they’re done. This is over.”

The 2020 college football season isn’t kaput, yet, but “It feels like we’re just postponing the inevitable,” one Power 5 athletic director told The Athletic’s college football senior writer Nicole Auerbach on Friday.

Continue reading story here (subscription required) …

Junior College football postponed until next spring

… which raises numerous questions as to schools’ ability to recruit and sign junior college players … 

From ESPN … The National Junior College Athletic Association is expected to approve a proposal that would move its football season to the spring, according to Dr. Christopher Parker, the NJCAA president and CEO.

The decision, first reported by The Athletic, will affect 54 football-playing members of its association, which is made up of 512 schools.

“This plan gives our student-athletes the best opportunity to have as much of a quality season in the spring for all sports, while also allowing some time and engagement when allowed by their individual institutions in the fall,” Parker said.

Under the NCAA Presidents Advisory Council’s proposal, football practice would begin on March 1, 2021, with games beginning on March 25. There would be a maximum of seven games allowed, with play wrapping up by May 15 and the NJCAA championship and bowl games beginning on June 3.

This fall, schools would be allowed to practice between Aug. 13 and Oct. 10, with two scrimmages allowed against outside competition if they feel it’s safe.

The proposal would also shift the seasons for all other fall and winter sports. Men and women’s basketball would begin practice on Jan. 11, with its season starting on Jan. 29. A maximum 29-game regular season would end on March 27 and championships would begin on April 19. Volleyball, wrestling, track and swimming would all resume practice on Jan. 4.

On Thursday, the California Community College Athletic Association announced it will contest all 24 of its sports, including football, starting in the spring season. Many sports will begin practicing in mid-January with competition beginning in February. The remaining sports will start practices in late March with events starting on April 10.

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July 10th

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Pac-12 going to conference-only games this fall; Statement from Phil DiStefano

From CUBuffs.com … University of Colorado Boulder Chancellor Dr. Philip P. DiStefano Statement on Friday afternoon’s Pac-12 Conference Ruling (full release from the conference below); Athletic Director Rick George will have a Monday teleconference at a time TBA (will notify all over the weekend):

Dr. DiStefano:

“We’re pleased about the Pac-12 Conference’s decision today. The other presidents and chancellors and myself feel this approach maximizes our ability to adapt to the evolving pandemic as we plan for fall sports. It also gives us time to develop the consistent testing and mitigation protocols across the conference that will protect the health and safety of all of our student-athletes, coaches, fans and campus communities.”

Press Release from the Pac-12 … Pac-12 CEO Group announced today that the fall season for several Pac-12 sports, including football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball, would schedule Conference-only games, and that it is delaying the start of mandatory athletic activities, until a series of health and safety indicators, which have recently trended in a negative direction, provided sufficient positive data to enable a move to a second phase of return-to-play activities.

The CEO Group made clear that it hopes to play football and all other fall sports provided that it can meet the health and safety needs of its student-athletes and obtain appropriate permissions from state and local health authorities.  Today’s decision will result in the start dates for the impacted sports being delayed. The decision is effective immediately across all Pac-12 member universities and was made following a meeting of the Pac-12 CEO Group earlier today.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “Our decisions have and will be guided by science and data, and based upon the trends and indicators over the past days, it has become clear that we need to provide ourselves with maximum flexibility to schedule, and to delay any movement to the next phase of return-to-play activities.”

“Competitive sports are an integral part of the educational experience for our student-athletes, and we will do everything that we can to support them in achieving their dreams while at the same time ensuring that their health and safety is at the forefront,” said Michael Schill, Pac-12 CEO Group Chair and President of the University of Oregon.

Pac-12 student-athletes who choose not to participate in intercollegiate athletics during the coming academic year because of safety concerns about COVID-19 will continue to have their scholarships honored by their university and will remain in good standing with their team.

The Pac-12 has developed a series of potential fall sport scheduling models including Conference-only schedules and delayed season starts.  Details on Conference-only schedules will be announced no later than July 31.

Larry Scott tests positive for COVID virus

From CBS Sports … The Pac-12 announced Friday that commissioner Larry Scott tested positive for COVID-19. This news just hours after the league announced its fall sports season will consist only of conference games while the nation continues to grapple with the coronavirus.

“After experiencing mild flu-like symptoms lat this week and out of an abundance of caution, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott was tested for COVID-19,” the Pac-12’s statement said. “The test for commissioner Scott came back positive, and as a result he is self-quarantining at the direction of his physician. Commissioner Scott is continuing to carry on his duties remotely as normal.”

Scott, 55, has been commissioner of the Pac-12 since 2009. He helped the league reach its decision Friday to play only conference games in football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball this season because of the pandemic.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority,” Scott said. “Our decisions have and will be guided by science and data, and based upon the trends and indicators over the past days, it has become clear that we need to provide ourselves with maximum flexibility to schedule, and to delay any movement to the next phase of return-to-play activities.”

Pac-12 announces financial distributions: $32.2 million per school 

Press release from the Pac-12 The Pac-12 Conference today reported the financial performance for the financial year 2018-2019, highlighted by total revenues of $530M and distributions at $387M, representing an average of $32.2M per member university.  The year-on-year increase in reported revenues and distributions, at 7% and 9% respectively, is primarily a result of increases in media rights and post-season Bowl revenues. The equity value of the Pac-12’s full ownership of its Pac-12 Networks is not included in reported results.

For the six-year period since 2012-2013 when the Pac-12 began its media rights agreements with ESPN and Fox and launched the first and only member-owned conference network, annual member distributions have increased by 70% ($228M to $387M) and annual total revenues have increased by 59% ($334M to $530M).  The compounded annual growth rate for member distributions and total revenues over the six-year period was 9% and 8%, respectively.  The ESPN and Fox partnerships that began in 2012 resulted in more than four times the annual revenue of the prior Pac-12 media rights agreements.

In addition to reporting consolidated results and in order to provide enhanced clarity and transparency, the Pac-12 is providing a breakout of each of Conference and Networks performance (see chart set forth below).  For 2018-2019, the Pac-12 Conference reported revenues of $407M and net operating expenses of $42M.  For 2018-2019, the Pac-12 Networks reported revenues of $123M and net operating expenses of $90M.  Consolidated expenses for the Conference and Networks together decreased by 6% year-on-year.

“The Pac-12 continues to be focused on supporting our 7,000 student-athletes through the academic and athletic missions of our member universities,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott.  “Our continued financial growth, media strategy under which all of our rights will be brought to market in 2024, and expense management efforts, will enable us to best support this mission.”

“The Pac-12 CEO Group is committed to continuing to serve our student-athletes and educational mission through these challenging times,” said Michael Schill, Chair of the Pac-12 CEO Group and President of the University of Oregon.  “We are working closely with Commissioner Scott to explore all options for the successful launch of athletics in the coming school year provided that we can do so in a safe and prudent manner.”

Pac-12 Networks is the only conference network wholly-owned and controlled by its university members, providing an unprecedented platform to showcase the full breadth of Pac-12 sports to fans nationally across linear, digital and social media platforms.  The ownership model, under which the universities retain full equity in the enterprise, also provides a platform for innovation and the flexibility to adapt to and achieve full value from a rapidly evolving media landscape.  Revenue and expenses, but not equity value, from the Pac-12 Networks are included in the Conference’s reported financial results.

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July 9th

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Oregon/Ohio State & Washington/Michigan go by the boards as Big Ten scraps non-conference schedule 

From ESPN … The Big Ten on Thursday announced it will be going to a conference-only season for all fall sports, including football, amid “unprecedented times” during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are facing uncertain and unprecedented times, and the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, game officials, and others associated with our sports programs and campuses remain our number one priority,” the Big Ten said in a statement.

“… By limiting competition to other Big Ten institutions, the Conference will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic.”

The Big Ten is the first of the Power 5 conferences to make this type of a major change to its fall sports. The Ivy League on Wednesday ruled out playing all sports this fall.

If college football can be played this fall, Big Ten presidents and athletic directors preferred the conference-only model, which will eliminate some long-distance travel and help ensure teams are being tested for the coronavirus universally, multiple sources inside the league and around college football told ESPN.

Other sports affected include men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.

The Big Ten said it would release detailed schedules at a later date and continue to evaluate other sports.

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247 Sports Media pick the Pac-12 – Buffs not getting much love

From 247 Sports … 247Sports is home to an array of websites covering college football, and behind those publications are reporters with deep-rooted knowledge of the teams and conferences they cover day to day.

“Talking Season” heats up just as the temperature begins to climb in July. It’s when prognostications across the country gain steam as we gear up for college football and the annual trek to hotel meetings rooms across the country for conference media days. This year is different as Power 5 conferences move to virtual-only setups for its annual Media Days events, and while it might be a strange time, that doesn’t change the desire for predictions and storytellers.

Before the Power 5 conferences conduct their virtual Media Days in late July, 247Sports gathered experts across its vast network and conducted polls within each Power 5 conference to get a better idea of how the season might transpire.

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July 8th

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Ivy League scraps football and all other sports until at least January 1st

… It’s worth noting that whereas Power Five schools use football to generate income for other sports, the Ivy League, with no national television contracts, actually loses more money on football than any other sport …  

From CBS Sports … The Ivy League has decided that fall sports, including college football, will not be played at its institutions in 2020. The conference announced Wednesday evening that “it will not be possible for Ivy League teams to participate” this fall “as athletics is expected to operate consistent with campus policies, including restrictions on student and staff travel, requirements for social distancing, limits on group gatherings, and regulations for visitors to campus.”

The significant move comes as more questions and concerns arise about the feasibility of playing the 2020 college football season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Time is running out for the FBS season to start on time, which is leading many to wonder whether it will ultimately be moved a few months to the spring of 2021.

As to whether the Ivy League would consider playing football or its other fall sports this spring — a notion considered undesirable by the Power Five conferences as the sport weighs contingency plans — no decision has been made at this time.

“A decision on the remaining winter and spring sports competition calendar, and on whether fall sport competition would be feasible in the spring, will be determined at a later date,” the Ivy League said in a release.

There are also financial considerations to take into account for the Ivy League. The conference loses more money on football than any other sport.

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Stanford (with a $27 billion endowment) discontinues 11 sports

From CBS Sports … Stanford University announced Wednesday that it will cut nearly one-third of its Division I sports programs at the end of the 2020-21 academic year as the COVID-19 crisis has threatened to worsen an already existing athletics department deficit. The move will affect more than 240 student-athletes and 22 coaches, according to a letter from school leadership.

The 11 sports that will be discontinued are as follows: men’s and women’s fencing, field hockey, lightweight rowing, men’s rowing, co-ed and women’s sailing, squash, synchronized swimming, men’s volleyball and wrestling. University president Marc Tessier-Lavigne, provost Persis Drell and athletic director Bernard Muir signed the letter which detailed the “heartbreaking news.”

“The decision to discontinue these 11 varsity sports programs comes down primarily to finances and competitive excellence,” the letter said. “With so many varsity sports and limited financial resources, we would no longer be able to support a world-class athletics experience for our student-athletes without making these changes.”

Stanford joins a growing list of universities that have cut athletic programs amid the pandemic, which wiped out the 2020 men’s and women’s NCAA Basketball Tournaments, cut spring sports seasons short and is now threatening to disrupt college football, which is a major revenue source for most Division I athletic departments.

The Cardinal have long supported more athletic programs than most Division I universities. But the letter said that supporting a total of 36 teams had “become a serious and growing financial challenge.” Stanford is planning to honor its scholarship commitments to the student-athletes whose teams are being eliminated. The letter also said that contracts of affected coaches will be honored.

“The primary alternative to this decision would have been a broad and deep reduction in support for all 36 of our varsity sports, including the elimination of scholarships and the erosion of our efforts to attract and retain the high-caliber coaches and staff needed to provide an unparalleled scholar-athletics experience,” the letter said. “After considering the effects of this model, we determined that operating our varsity athletics programs in this manner would be antithetical to Stanford’s values and our determination to be excellent in all that we do.”

CBS Sports: Pac-12’s L.A. schools have the coaches ranked highest on hot seat ranking

From CBS Sports … Front and center, coaches. This your annual roll call, as unpleasant as it may be. The annual Hot Seat Rankings are upon us. (Actually, upon you.)

It figures to be a slow season for college football coaching turnover. Nearly one-fifth of the 130 FBS programs changed coaches (22) after the 2019 campaign, and most of them actually waited until the offseason to do it. That doesn’t mean there won’t be turnover, but considering the coronavirus pandemic may delay the season or even make teams less enthusiastic about executing massive buyouts, it may be less than we have seen in recent years.

The 11 coaches listed below are either in a “win now” situation … or they are getting close to it. They range from college football superpowers to Power Five programs still looking to climb to the top of the mountain in their respective conferences. Winning still trumps all, particularly in these days of unprecedented spending (and, at times, unprecedented debt).

The good news: Security has seldom been, well, more secure. A total of 67 coaches (52%) were rated 0 or 1 this year — either “untouchable” or at least “safe and secure” in their roles. The last time coaches were so snug in their jobs was 2017 when 78 of them were 0s or 1s.

Nevertheless, the Hot Seat Rankings can be fickle: Nebraska’s Scott Frost went from 0-5, and Texas’ Tom Herman went from 1-4. Such is the coaching life. They are far from alone, however, as there’s always room on the Hot Seat.

Below is our ratings key. Here’s how the 130 FBS coaches sort out. There are 11 on the proverbial hot seat entering the season with another 12 starting to feel the heat.

USC … Clay Helton … 5 … The best outcome for Helton may be football not being played. That gives him a mulligan year but would further infuriate a large portion of USC fans who demand change. When new athletic director Mike Bohn retained Helton, some loyalists threatened to withhold donations. The Trojans could easily win the Pac-12 South for the third time in five years under Helton. He has a better winning rate than Kirk Ferentz, Tom Herman and Dan Mullen. He has won the Pac-12 and a Rose Bowl. But the Trojans fans want national relevance, and they want it now. Mostly, they want Urban Meyer. 2019 rating: 4 

UCLA … Chip Kelly … 5 … Kelly lost seven games in four seasons at Oregon. He’s lost 17 in two years at UCLA. Add to that, players questioned Kelly’s program publicly last month amid COVID-19 concerns. If nothing else, you expected the Bruins to be exciting under Chip. They haven’t been. Kelly’s best ally in Westwood may be the balance sheet. New AD Martin Jarmond inherited an $18 million deficit in the athletic department. He may not be able to afford firing Kelly. 2019 rating: 2

Also … 

Nebraska … Scott Frost … 5 … You knew things slid at Nebraska when Frost said his program can be the new Wisconsin in the Big Ten West. What about the old Nebraska? Frost is one of the smartest, most refreshing coaches out there, but the turnaround hasn’t happened. It almost hurts. Frost is better than this. Nebraska should be better than this. JD Spielman was heading toward being the program’s career-leading receiver before transferring. If Frost (a native son) can’t get it done, who can? A bowl game — at least — is needed. 2019 rating: 0 

From the Pac-12 … 

Arizona … Kevin Sumlin … 4 … Whatever magic was left from Texas A&M is gone for Sumlin at Arizona. The Wildcats are coming off their worst two-year stretch since Mike Stoops started 6-16. Sumlin (9-15) just led a 4-8 second season in which the once-promising career of QB Khalil Tate ended. It doesn’t help that Herm Edwards is dominating up north. Sumlin’s salvation may be Sean Miller as the school probably can’t afford to replace both revenue coaches if it ends up needing to fire Miller. There’s no juice in Tucson, nothing to get excited about. Only Oregon State has given up more yards in the Pac-12 during Sumlin’s time. Arizona was 77th in scoring last year. Something has to change, fast. 2019 rating: 3

Arizona State … Herm Edwards … 1

Cal … Justin Wilcox … 1

Colorado … Karl Dorrell … 2 (all good, for now)

Colorado State … Steve Addazio … 3

Oregon … Mario Cristobal … 0

Oregon State … Jonathan Smith … 2

Stanford … David Shaw … 0

Utah … Kyle Whittingham … 0

Washington … Jimmy Lake … 1

Washington State … Nick Rolovich … 1

Name, Image and Likeness bill starting to take shape in Congress

From Sports Illustrated … Roger Wicker fumbled with the band that secures his surgical mask. The dang thing wouldn’t stay properly fixed on his face, always slipping down to expose his nostrils—a no-no in these pandemic times.

Even U.S. senators aren’t exempt from the difficulties of wearing a faceguard. Finally, Wicker (R-Miss.) had enough. He re-tied one of the bands, fastened it behind his ear and, voila, was appropriately shielded. “O.K.,” he tells a reporter after a recent Senate hearing, “I’m ready for the interview.”

If only everything could be so easy. Wicker will soon have much bigger matters to solve, issues needing a deeper solution than a 10-second knot. As the chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, he leads a powerful body that holds the most significant influence of any on Capitol Hill for college sports’ most troubling issue: athlete compensation, often referred to as name, image and likeness (NIL). Any federal legislation on NIL must pass through the Commerce Committee.

That makes Wicker the most important individual around the issue, controlling the figurative legislative levers from behind the curtain. He has the power to reject, accept or let die any NIL bill, and he’s got the influence to amend or strike details of any legislation. In short, an NIL bill will have Wicker’s fingerprints all over it. In fact, he’s expected to draft his own bill, which, because of his chairmanship, takes precedence over any other. “Wicker’s bill,” says one legislative aide, “would be the one that would really move because it’s up on his authority.”

What Wicker says provides meaningful clues to the future of a federal NIL bill. That’s why his comments last week in an exclusive interview with Sports Illustrated are significant. Minutes after the Senate Commerce Committee’s two-hour hearing Wednesday on NIL, Wicker hoisted up that mask of his and gave his thoughts: he believes, as the NCAA does, that a federal NIL bill is imperative to avoid varying compensation laws from dozens of states; he expects a bipartisan bill will begin moving through his committee somewhat soon; and he thinks a NIL bill could arrive on the floor of the U.S. Senate this winter—but in all likelihood, not before the presidential election.

“I wonder if in the highly charged atmosphere we have between now and the election, with as many convention breaks and the appropriation bills that have to pass, if we could get to it—I just don’t think we could,” he tells SI. “After the election, I think we’ll see some urgency to go ahead and get something done on a bipartisan basis. It shouldn’t be a right vs. left issue. With the 2021 effective date approaching in some states, we’ll need to act fast.”

… Many lawmakers detest the NCAA, have little confidence in the body and believe it has been slow to act on the topic. “This is an issue that has gotten away from you,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) told the panel.

The hearing included a vigorous debate on a number of NIL topics, exposing senators’ curiosities as it relates to this issue. Most notably, they wanted to know how many college athletes would significantly benefit from NIL; if the NCAA was the right body to enforce NIL rules; how NIL would impact an athletic department’s budget; and the ways in which NIL could muddy the already soiled waters of recruiting. Lawmakers fired off questions to a five-person panel that, for the most part, took contrasting sides: one arguing for more NCAA-leaning, restrictive legislation (Carter, Drake and Sankey) and the other (former Miami tackle Eric Winston and Baltimore law professor Dianne Koller) backing a more open, athlete-friendly approach.

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July 7th 

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Proposals made for eight-, nine- and ten-game seasons

From the San Jose Mercury News … According to sources who spoke to the Hotline on the condition of anonymity, there is some support in multiple Power Five conferences for exploring a nine-plus-one schedule.

The model calls for nine conference games and one non-conference matchup against a regional opponent from the  Group of Five or FCS.

The visitor could travel by bus, with the Power Five host supplying the necessary resources for testing and safety during game week.

After all, it would behoove any Big Ten or Pac-12 team to spend $25,000 or $50,000 to make sure its underfunded opponent wasn’t sending asymptomatic players onto the field.

But even the nine-plus-one model feels complicated and risky. The most reasonable scenario — the scenario that requires full attention right now — is a conference-only schedule.

It’s the best combination of manageable risk and necessary reward for the fall.

It allows for tight safety standards, controlled logistics and the TV paychecks every department craves.

Keep it in the family.

“It’s the only way there can be a season,” one longtime Power Five football administrator said.

But any plan — whether it’s for 12 games or nine, for the fall or spring — must account for disruption and delays, for isolation and quarantine periods.

With that in mind, we present the Hotline Plan.

Crafted by our crack research team following weeks of computer modeling using advanced algorithms taken from the NBA and Bundesliga schedules — just kidding: I thought of it while walking the dog — the Hotline Plan calls for the Pac-12 to play eight conference games.

Those eight would be slotted within an expanded calendar that includes a series of flex Saturdays for makeup dates in the event a team cannot play a scheduled competition.

Yes, the plan requires the Pac-12’s media partners, ESPN and Fox, to overhaul their broadcast schedules.

That shouldn’t be a problem given the adjustments required by the NBA and MLB seasons and, perhaps, modifications by the NFL and other college football leagues.

(The networks will have to roll with a fluid sports calendar like they have never rolled with anything before.)

Details of the Hotline Plan …

*** Delay the start of the Pac-12 season by two weeks, to Sept. 19, creating a cushion for schools to stop and start their way through training camp during this summer spike.

The delay would also account for possible micro-outbreaks on campus when students return for fall classes.

For the Pac-12’s seven semester schools, instruction begins the week of Aug. 24. If we presume a high-risk fortnight in the second half of the month, the Sept. 19 start date would come after quarantine and isolation periods.

*** Move the Pac-12 football championship game back one week, to Dec. 12, to create 13 Saturdays for the regular season.

*** Drop one of the four cross-division games for each team.

(Yes, this plan requires deft work by the conference schedule-makers. Also, the head coaches will just have to deal.)

*** Create a two-on/one-off rotation in which there are full slates of games for two weeks, followed by an empty (flex) Saturday.

That flex Saturday every third weekend would be used for games that couldn’t be played as scheduled because of roster issues related to quarantine/isolation.

There would be one additional flex weekend after the conclusion of the eight-game schedule to allow for makeups needed to 1) crown division champions or 2) settle the postseason pecking order.

(How bowl berths will be decided in a shortened season is one of many questions that have not been answered.)

The format would be as follows …

* Games on: Sept. 19 and 26, Oct. 10, 17 and 31, Nov. 7, 21 and 28

* Flex Saturdays: Oct. 3 and 24, Nov. 14 and Dec. 5

* Pac-12 championship: Dec. 12

Central to the plan is that each three-week rotation creates the potential for a 14-day break from competition, allowing for the full Covid-19 quarantine and isolation periods (if needed to get players back on the field).

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July 6th

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Power-Five Commissioners: “By late July there should be more clarity”

From ESPN … As the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb throughout the country, the level of concern among college football’s decision-makers has risen, too, but the Power 5 conference leaders have told ESPN they still aren’t ready to make any major changes to the sport’s calendar, instead targeting the end of July to determine if the season can start on time.

“We said from the onset of this pandemic that circumstances around the virus would guide our decision-making, and it is clear recent developments related to COVID-19 have not been trending in the right direction,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement provided Monday to ESPN. “There are important decisions to be made in the coming weeks, and by late July there should be more clarity about the fall season. In the meantime, our athletics programs will continue to effectively manage the health and safety of our student-athletes as they continue voluntary activities on their respective campuses.”

The transition from voluntary to mandatory workouts is already here, as schools that open the season on Aug. 29 could begin required workouts Monday. For teams that begin the season Labor Day weekend, required workouts will begin July 13, followed by an enhanced training schedule that begins July 24 and a normal, four-week preseason camp starting Aug. 7.

West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons, who is chair of the Football Oversight Committee and helped spearhead the NCAA-approved, six-week return plan that was approved last month, said moving forward with it will have to be a campus-to-campus decision.

“For us in college sports and sports in general,” he said, “it’s not trending the way we were hoping it would.”

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Larry Scott’s salary cut by 12%; job in jeopardy?

From the Oregonian … Employees at the Pac-12 Conference and Pac-12 Networks were enjoying the first hours of a scheduled holiday week office closure last Wednesday when they were hit with a sobering staff-wide email from commissioner Larry Scott.

The conference bosses had ordered pay cuts.

Scott relayed the bad news to the staff via an email obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive. Scott wrote, “our CEO Group approved our conference budget for this coming year, which includes a 9 percent overall decrease in expenses along with salary reductions for employees making over $100,000 in annual salary.”

The salary reductions were effective immediately and will remain in effect for the next 12 months. Employees making six figures received pay reductions ranging from 5-10 percent. Scott, who makes $5.3 million, revealed in the email that he’d be taking a compensation reduction of 12 percent.

“You do the math,” one long-time Pac-12 employee said, “people are trying to survive in SF. Simply put, (Scott) should have cut his salary in half and saved the staff from cuts that crush staffers.”

Bloated living expenses have long been part of the equation for conference staffers charged with commuting to the downtown-San Francisco headquarters. Also, Scott’s clumsy and impersonal delivery has been an ongoing source of frustration for employees.

There was a previously announced hiring freeze and a travel freeze instituted at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the tone of last week’s email underscored the financial squeeze being put on the conference from the big bosses.

Also, it sparked internal conversations over the Fourth of July weekend about whether the Pac-12 CEO Group — the conference’s chancellors and presidents — might make an early move on Scott. His contract expires in the summer of 2022. The conference’s media rights contracts expire in 2024, and that date has long been viewed as the target opportunity for the Pac-12 to close the gap with its Power Five Conference peers when it comes to both exposure limitations and revenue shortfalls.

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July 5th

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Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott: “the situation’s a lot more perilous than it was a few weeks ago”

From CBS Sports … The status of the 2020 college football season has been in doubt ever since spring practices were abruptly shut down in mid-March amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Here we are now, two months before the start of the season, and nothing has changed. The clock is ticking, and Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott knows it.

“Unless we see a change in the trajectory of the spread of the virus and its impact pretty quickly, I think the situation’s a lot more perilous than it was a few weeks ago,” Scott said on the NCAA’s social series.

Scott went on to say that the surge in positive coronavirus tests over the last few weeks — the same time players returned to campuses for voluntary workouts — has cast doubt in the mind of college football’s power brokers.

“I think what we’ve seen over the last few weeks gives us reason to be concerned that when campuses open up, there could be real spikes and pressures on the health care system,” Scott said. “From my perspective, that’s really the biggest risk to college sports in the fall.”

COVID-19 cases have spiked over the last two weeks, including in California and Arizona. Other states outside of the Pac-12 footprint have also set record numbers recently, including Florida and Texas, both of which saw a massive decline in cases as recently as two and three weeks ago.

The fluidity and unknown nature of this environment has prevented commissioners, athletic directors and presidents from locking in on one specific process. That mystery has made it impossible to properly plan for what’s to come in the fall of 2020.

“This is a dynamic and fast-changing environment,” Scott said. “We’re going to need to stay flexible, and we’re going to have the data and information lead us.”

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July 4th – Happy Fourth of July!

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Paul Finebaum: Chances of playing this season “below 50%”

From YardBarker.com … While professional sports across the country are set to get underway in the coming weeks and months, colleges around the nation are still trying to figure out whether it’ll be safe to begin their seasons in the fall.

Many colleges and universities already have informed students of online platforms for classes, and it’s only a matter of time before fall athletics are postponed or canceled.

The college football season is the cause of most concern among analysts and sports fans, and while many originally thought there was a strong possibility of having a season, ESPN analyst Paul Finebaum says the chance of playing this season is now below 50 percent.

Morehouse College in Atlanta likely paved the way for many schools to cancel their fall athletic seasons after announcing last week that their college football team will not be playing games this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Bowdoin College in Maine also canceled its fall athletic season due to the pandemic, so it’s only a matter of time before larger schools make the decision.

Many Division I colleges across the nation have reported double-digit coronavirus cases, including Clemson, which has seen 37 football players test positive for COVID-19. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said in a Thursday news conference that if cases in his state continue to rise, then he won’t be allowing college or high school football to be played this fall — putting Clemson at risk of not having a season after winning two of the past four national titles.

Schools in Arizona and California also are in jeopardy due to a spike in coronavirus cases in each state. The outbreak has even forced the Pac-12 Conference to consider options for the fall season, including a delayed start or postponing of the season until the spring.

Ultimately, Finebaum says college football “is in peril right now,” and many are becoming more nervous as the weeks roll on and the college football season approaches.

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July 3rd

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Cal players required to sign “educational form” (not a “waiver”)

From Sports Illustrated … While some other schools have required athletes to sign a waiver or pledge before resuming voluntary workouts on campus, those at Cal were sent a set of guidelines titled “COVID Prevention Steps.”

The word “waiver” never appears in the document. Cal is calling it an “educational form.”

“We are asking our student-athletes to acknowledge that they understand the protocols for themselves and their teammates’ health and well-being during both team and non-team activities,” a Cal athletic department spokesperson said. “The intent is to establish a set of behavioral norms.”

The one-page sheet begins with this overview:

“Being a part of the Cal Athletics community means that each of us must take critical steps to stay protected and persistently safeguard each other on campus and in the community. Below are the steps that each of us are expected to take consistently during this time to be a part of the solution in containing COVID-19.”

The athletic department requires athletes to complete a Student Athlete daly COVID-19 Screening Form each day before returning to campus or any Cal athletic facility for any practice, meeting or game.

Athletes agree to abide by all state, local and university guidelines, including wearing a face covering, and to seek medical attention in the event of experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19. If they test positive for the virus, they must inform their team athletic trainer or team doctor.

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53 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes”

  1. Wilner TAKES CARE OF THE lost spring GAME w/ his inter-squad exhibition game proposal and it will, as he suggests, give each school a hands-on look at how to prepare for a limited crowd home game 2020 Football Season. I’m still in shock (from my March/April/Mindset) that I would even be typing words for a post about Fall College Football for 2020. Even at my age, there are still surprises!

  2. Stuart, You do know that Oregon’s governor Kate Brown is a CU grad. Of note she is as liberal a governor out there so it’s interesting how much she supports the Ducks.

    1. I did not know that Kate Brown was a CU grad … damn. I know that the “She looks forward to watching them crush the competition in the Pac-12” line was an attribution and not an actual quote, but … damn. It’s not like Colorado hasn’t had CU grads as governors, but I can’t remember a Colorado governor being so outspoken in favor of the Buffs … damn.

      1. Living in Oregon these past 25 years, I will say that Kate Brown is a fine governor. Just because someone is a Democrat, doesn’t mean that don’t love college football…

    2. Brown was elected by the people of Oregon to run the state Govt of Oregon so its not surprising at all. Heck I was even a fan of the Ducks during the Mariota years because their offense made them the most fun team in the entire country to watch. If nothing else maybe you should consider this as evidence that most political stereotyping is BS.

  3. Is Vegas taking odds on football being played this fall?

    Gonna be interesting to watch unfold.

    Population density seems to be a big piece of the conundrum.

    Go Buffs

    1. so far these appear to be the facts
      The virus is highly contagious (see the white house)
      There is no preventative vaccine or a a cure right now
      The death rate is 10 to 15 times that of the flu and there is evidence of permanent damage to other organs including the heart and kidneys.
      my opinion
      The reason there hasnt been 2 to 3 times the deaths by now is that people outside the major urban areas, and those inside who have escaped infection, have had some extra time to see what is happening and have been diligent with the masks and social distancing.
      I live in a rural area where there has only been a handful of cases, its easy to contact trace and we have ample testing. Of course there are about 25% of us who are knuckleheads and make it a point to talk in your face when you are wearing a mask. Kinda goes along with the political division.
      My take on opening up is go for it. It wont include me. The older I get (cue VK) the less I like being jostled by crowds. I havent been to a home game, with the exception of the spring game, for years.
      By now most individuals with 2 functioning synapses are aware of the risk and can make their own decision.
      Maybe enough will show up to make it worthwhile and maybe some of us will stay at home a little longer anyway.

      1. I’m with ya ep. we have been self quarantining in somerset for decades.

        Stop by your favorite brewery and get some beer to go.

        Go Buffs

      2. Why would the “experts” let us walk around for 1.5 months without masks if the virus was really that deadly and the masks were life savers? I know of no one who has the virus and I suspect many on this forum do not as well. Cant wait to be packed in Folsom shoulder to shoulder. Go Buffs!!

        1. yeah…you are right. The almost 100,00 deaths and the reports of besieged hospitals is all fake news and of course there really are no experts

  4. This just in. The PAC 12 will be cancelling the 2021, 2022 and 2023 seasons to protect players, staff and fans from the possibility of spreading Influenza B. There is great confidence of a season in 2024 but all contact sports will be no contact.

    1. And in an effort to make the PAC12 network viewable until the upcoming rights negotiations which will make it the richest conference (more than making up for all prior income disparities), they decide to replace all humans in all sports with puppies and kittens, thus also protecting humans from exercise and all sports injuries.

  5. This news that it is likely that some schools will compete and some not: won’t that just cause a lot of transfers? I mean, if my school is sacrificing my season while others get theirs, yikes! And add to it that being able to perform is critical to access to the nfl…. it seems it has to be all or none. Lots of collateral damage otherwise. Thoughts?

  6. Let schools that want to start practices early do it, if they want to be the test dummies for seeing how contact & practicing together, while monitoring players with testing (hopefully) actually works out.
    The other schools that choose to be more cautious can:
    a) Learn from those schools mistakes so when they do start they should have a better plan worked out.
    b) Avoid major problems if those early schools plans go bad & gauge if it’s even possible to begin practices.

    Either way (hopefully) our players will be safe & waiting a month or two to see how it works out may even become a benefit, what if one of the first teams that go back to practicing has a major breakout of the virus, how could that effect their roster?

    What if they find that the players are healthy enough that the whole team gets through it relatively OK? Then the extra time to recover before the fall may be an advantage, but if the opposite happens they could hurt their program more than they helped it by starting early.
    I’m OK with CU waiting to see what happens at those other schools.

  7. The NCAA can make all of the rules they want, like they did in the past, but here’s the difference: now the money is tangible to the players, and with that there is a clear way that the (with all due respect to Stuart) lawyers can be paid. I expect that every single rule and guideline that impedes someones ability to make money will be adjudicated.

    Here’s another practical issue: if I’m a football donor, where do I put my money? Do I “buy” autographed footballs from a recruit, knowing that donors at other schools are doing that? Or do I donate that money to the athletic department, knowing that it will pay for a fresh coat of paint in the training room, be siphoned off as university overhead, or something else that absolutely does not influence the quality of the players on the field? It’s a hypothetical question, but I’m pretty sure that I know what is going to happen.

    1. In my podcast interview with Rick George, I posed the hypothetical of a freshman Nebraska recruit coming to school on his first day, and being asked to head down to the local hardware store, where there is a line out the door of Husker fanatics willing to pay $10 for a poster; $10 for a signature; and $10 more for a picture, with the Husker freshman “earning” $1,500 before he has his first class or his first practice.
      All Rick could say was that they were looking into all of the different scenarios … not much more he could say, I’m afraid. It’s going to be the new normal, and CU is going to be left with the fuzzy end of the lollipop once again.

      1. Yeah, I listened to that one. By the way, your podcasts are really good. I love listening to Rick George because he gives a glimpse into what is going on. He is a very capable guy and I think he influences a lot more then is apparent.
        Rick George knows that this could turn into the wild west. The economics around these great “amateur” players is so far out of whack that the system is going to snap like a rubber band. It might be that the best thing that could happen is that some way is developed to funnel the 5 star level players directly to the NFL so that they can be compensated there and college football doesn’t have to deal with that kind of economic stress.

      2. Hey, I have been using your story as I talk about this issue with folks! One question. I saw the draft rules and it has a clause that the school nor the booster program can organize the payment. Do you feel it will be just worked around? I.e. if a group of businesses were to get together and organize this would they be considered boosters at that point? I think so but not sure and is this just a new place for schools willing to skirt the laws a place to do so. I did have one regret. I think those free autographs I have been getting at spring and fall games are going to dry up…. interested to hear your thoughts.

          1. That seems like the definition of a school helping the kids. Am I missing it? I would think that Nebraska could not “partner”. At best they could provide each kid contact information. Or is this the new normal? To be honest I think it would not take too much effort to set up a company that works like a mini agent for all kids in a program. Probably pretty profitable. Heck I would pay 100 bucks a year for a signed football, right now I get it for the cost of the football during spring and fall camp. But I have to go get the football, go down on the field after the game and stand in line. I think you could easily create a business model offering this sort of stuff. You would probably have to hustle a little more at CU than at Nebraska but if you got it done right I suspect you could get a reasonable amount. And that leaves the kids with about the same choice they had before. Very few kids were turning down Alabama or Nebraska or USC to come to CU unless they felt they could play more here. Practicing and not playing sucks. And at many of these schools you may get the basic default money for being on the team. But at CU you have a chance to be a star as a Freshman and start getting CU star money. Heck, the more I think about this the more I think there is a real bus8ness opportunity not just for the athletes but for someone taking 10% to do the hustle portion.

          2. Hi RobO, I have no idea how this is going to go. My guess is that “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission” will be the approach of many. Especially since the NCAA has become so weak. The last time those guys dropped the hammer was (I believe) against Reggie Bush and USC. I could totally be wrong on that, but think of all of the crazy cheating that has come to light since then.

  8. Wind was howling outside the last 2 days so I coordinated my exercise session with the draft. The first round is a no brainer. Maybe not exactly in the order but certainly with the names. I think there might have been one surprise pick. The second round was way more entertaining. Before each team picked the tube would display “Mel’s best available over all and some positions based on what he thought the team needed. I was amused to see that the folks actually doing the selections agreed with him once in the entire round. I was annoyed by his best 4 or 5 WRs available because Viska was never mentioned. Of course Viska and the Jags made him look silly anyway. …or should I say sillier.
    And all that Bronco talk about replacing Boles was just hot air. Be interesting to see if they take a tackle today. Everyone seems to be in agreement Juedy is the next Rice/Irvin/Fitzgerald…..hopefully not Brown. Go Broncos.
    And what about the Patriot’s first pick? Some guy from one of those double name Div 3 schools no one has ever heard of until now. I need to go back and write down his name and see how he works out

  9. Well, if there are no fall sports, or even if they happen, this definitely shines a light on the revenue generated by the lights on the front porch of every university, and why they actually matter.

    That may be instructive for certain people, regents at CU, etc.

    Go Buffs

  10. Ai yi yi
    the Maestas article says it will be around the middle of the decade….I assume that means 5 more years….before the ol college sports money machine gets cranked up again. Makes me think that if the money thing hadn’t got out of control in the first place the damage by the virus wouldn’t have been so bad. The pendulum swings.
    Sounds like I better work on my Spanish and learn to play a musical instrument in those empty 3 hours a few times a week for the next 5 years. Will anyone really miss baseball with the exception of nap inducement?

  11. Apple might be huge boost to the Pac 12 Network sell them the whole damn network! The worst that could happen is that the PAC 12 will have the worst media rights deal, biggest joke of a network, weakest conference and highest paid director! Sheeit! No brainer for the conference of. champions of sports that nobody cares about. Maybe then CU will finally get an under water basket weaving team that can compete with China!

  12. Scott and others can say safety for student athletes this and student athletes that…Universities are not going to take that type of financial hit for something that looks to be less lethal than the common flu. ( I know, I know the social distancing saved us) I guarantee there will be a college football season starting on time in 2020. Enough with the insanity!!

  13. I just felt like I needed something new,” Young said in August 2019. “Everybody was saying … I matured. I feel like I blossomed into something different.”

    PASS
    Too many “I’s” in that comment.

    Buffs.

    Note: Daniels? Helicopter parents

  14. The WSU folks are really punishing themselves with that immense sacrifice
    move along, nothing to see here

  15. Costa Pacifica Tentative Tuesday Report: While the 1st of September is still a few months away, it might be of some interest, in light of yesterday’s announce by Governors Newsom (CA), Brown (OR) and Inslee (WA) of a coordinated response to reopening their states and restrictions on social distancing ALL Football and OTHER sports in their states are on hold until they say OK. Newsom and Inslee are already on record saying that even September seems rather tentative at best. That is 8 of the 12 in the PAC . This also includes ALL Pro Sports.

  16. So with Santa Clara officials stating there will be no football in their county until Thanksgiving, and if ( big IF) the PAC-12 says games will be played as scheduled, then will Stanford have to forfeit it’s home games? They could possibly convert those games to road games or try to negotiate with another college in the Bay Area to use their stadium for their games. Man o man what a mess.

  17. I always like to find a bio on some of these sports “writers” to see of they have anything in their history that might give them some real insight to their blather. The vast majority have none. I couldn’t even find a bio when I googled Fornelli so I guess he isn’t all that established.
    Going by his photo I can see why he used that metaphor. It screams middle school math teacher.
    He will hear from me when A&M fails “beginner’s algebra.”
    Even though A&M cranks out a lot of petroleum engineers I am willing to bet their players would fail horribly in class against the Buff players in real beginning algebra

    1. Jeez, I don’t know what that means for me as I struggled mightily in Frosh Algebra at CU. One teacher that I had was from India, and he had known Einstein quite well. I guess there was a real gap between Albert and me, even a greater gap then those Petro Eng. from Aggieland.

      There are so many young wannabe sportscasters, and writers attempting to make a living today, and most of them seem to come from the school that the way to make it is like Jim Rome did, the more outrageous the better, also many of them are really loud.

      1. Dang AZ frosh algebra isn’t much more than a rerun of 2nd year high school. Of course I may have used algebra twice in 40 ears in the normal course of events. For most of us the only math we need is enough to count our shekels.
        You are right about a lot of sports show hosts when it comes decibels. What is that? some sort of compensation? One guy I began to like after I listened to him a little more was Chris Childers. Maybe he is more enthusiastic than loud. Besides his take on things he also makes his show partner Neuheisel look like a stick in the mud. What happened to that free wheeling, guitar playing creek tubing guy that was in Boulder for a few years?

      2. And lots of shrill voices that talk so fast with poor enunciation it allows for extra swigs of beer.

        Most of ESPN is (and was before the virus) is un-listenable let alone watchable.

        Screaming heads.

        Buffs

  18. So the Aggies. I like the Aggies. Like the Mighty Buffs they bolted from being run by the shorthorns. I hope the have good teams the next couple of years. I hope we kick their asses..

    Buffs

    Here those SEC punks and their 8 conference games and 4 non con. It’s a chicken sheet conference. Course they win a lot in everything.

    So with all this crap going on and the aggie backass writer talking about the easy schedule I decided just to go look at the Buffs non con. As a reminder here it is.

    2020…………………..2021…………………..2022……………….2023
    @CSU………………..northern co…………..TCU………………@TCU
    Fresno………………..A&M…………………..@ AF…………………KNebraska
    @A&M………………..Minnesota……………@Minn…………….CSU

    _____________________________________________

    2024……………………….2025…………………2026…………………….2027

    North dakota s…………Georgia Tech……….@GT………………..Colgate
    @Knebraska…………….@Houston………….Houston…………..Northwestern
    @CSU………………………Missouri…………….@Northwestern….KSU

    _______________________________________________________

    Welp, the noncon ain’t an aggie schedule. It kinda does look like the schedule of old when the Buffs were a team “nobody wanted to play”

    I am looking forward to it.

    Nother Note:

    That frigging virus

    Taking daily
    vitamin
    A
    C
    D
    Zinc
    Iodine liquid (7 drops)

    Zinc and Iodine being the most important.
    Okay Be well Buffs

    Last note: If you gotta any of that Hydroxy stuff and wanna share let me know.

    1. Jeez VK. It sounds like you are running a pharmacy out of your house. If I hurry up to Boulder is the line long in front of your door, and what aisle in your house can I find toilet paper, paper towels, and kleenex? Do you have a limit on how many of those items I can buy.

      1. Yo,

        If I gave you the entire list of what I take each day you might thing I was as old as you. Ya know I’m gonna go make a list of em and post em. I gotta make a list cause I’m not really sure exactly what is in the cabinet by name. Memory. So ill have to make the list for ya. I just take 1 or 2 of each every day and well there ya go.

        Buffs

  19. Re: Above paragraph on Viska to the Broncos as 15th pick. It probably won’t happen, but watching the 49’er’s Deebo Samuel this year and the way they used him as a receiver but also incorporating him in an occasional running play certainly would be a great way to utilize Viska. When I watched the 9er’s this year and observed how they used Deebo in their offense I was thinking of Viska even back then.

    Hope he can stay healthy in the pros and have a great career and make all us Buff fans proud. I have said before though as a huge Cliff Branch fan it broke my heart that he spent all those great years after a wonderful career in Boulder with those Hated Raiders.

  20. Lets hear it for Jamie Pollard and his cooperating coaches. Finally a voice of sanity. Kinda doubt it will become a trend. Cant see the Alabamas and Ohio States of the world buying in. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if Nebraska followed suit? Could I see myself thinking twice before mocking them?
    naaah

    1. “ Lets hear it for Jamie Pollard and his cooperating coaches. Finally a voice of sanity.”

      Couldn’t agree with you more, EP!

  21. can college coaches be layed off like the rest of us without getting million dollar buyouts? The system is broke and maybe this is the kind of shock we need to bring reality back to college sports. I for one hope so

    1. Interesting point/question. I am not a contract atty, but seems some act of god/force majeur clause could apply. Seems it would only apply to that season though, vs contract termination.

      I bet someone perusing here practices law in that area. I know stu’s A lawyer, but not in that specific area.

      Either way, it could be an opportunity to recalibrate, right?

      Go Buffs

  22. The Pres says this will all be over in 2 weeks. Others are saying no football of any kind this year. Logic would say it will play out somewhere in between. If it does go to no football that would be described as the biggest non-lethal disaster this country could face, the exception of course a crippling return of the great depression.
    A lethal disaster followed by a non lethal one (or 2)might create a seismic culture shift in this country. Where will he public’s attention turn with no sports, concerts or other shoulder to shoulder gatherings? Instead of predictions of scores it will be interesting to here predictions from sociologists and psychologists. I suppose you could include economists in that crowd too but we hear from them already and I’m not sure if most are any more accurate.

      1. I heard that.
        So I got curious about Stenstrom. Doesnt look like anyone has picked him up yet and most of the other portal qbs have new homes.

  23. Read the article pretty neat actually so

    Buffs lose in the first round to LSU
    Holers lose tool-

    But the best was this:

    West Region first down

    (2) Penn State 35, (15) Michigan State 17: It’s a made-for-TV first-round matchup between two Big Ten rivals and a rematch, no less, from the regular season. The Nittany Lions ride their experienced, bruising offensive line to take down Sparty for a second time in 2020 in a game that’s never really in doubt. Afterward, Michigan State first-year coach Mel Tucker shuts off his phone and doesn’t take any calls from other athletic directors.</b<

    Pretty funny ol Mel got shaded

    Buffs.

  24. Why does armpit Sean Miller (and the other scum coach at LSU) still have a job?
    Because AZ wont fire him until he starts losing a few more games with players he cant pay for.
    What is taking the NCAA so long ? Is their another kind of bidding war going on behind the scenes?
    Professional wrestling has more integrity. At least all the players and or “teams” there are on the same page.

    1. Agreed, how Miller and Self have kept their jobs is beyond me. The NCAA is joke. It took them no time to ban Jeremy Bloom but these blatant cheaters keep collecting their millions. Very hard to take them seriously.

  25. I smell desperation in the sports pundit fraternity. The 64 team football playoff? puleeeeze.
    I wouldnt buy one, but these guys would probably make more money marketing sports related board games.
    or
    with a lot more time off maybe they can travel around the country and do some real in depth research before they launch into their next “way too early.”
    (thats a joke)

  26. It’s all fun and games until the Nubs get a number 6 seed and then I smack my head and wonder why these pundits love the arseholes in red.

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