Random Thoughts – Volume VIII – Polling; How NIL will hurt CU

Polling … 

On Monday, the CU men’s basketball program under Tad Boyle will set yet another school record. The Buffs came in at No. 23 in the Associated Press poll, marking the eighth time Colorado had earned a mention in the AP poll this season. After sweeping the Washington schools this week, that number will hit an all-time high of nine rankings in one season.

Nine total rankings in a season would be considered a disaster for a blue blood program (see: North Carolina, Tar Heels … UNC started out the season as the No. 9 team in the nation, moved up to No. 6 after opening the season 2-0, dropped out of the polls after week six, and is currently sitting at the bottom of the ACC with an 8-10, 1-6 record).

At Colorado, however, nine weeks in the polls is record-setting.

The Buffs came into the season with only 39 appearances – total – in the 70-year history of the Associated Press basketball poll. Only once before – during the Chauncey Billups-led run to the NCAA tournament in 1996-97 – had the Buffs spent eight weeks in the polls (that team reached as high as No. 15 nationally, finished the regular season ranked 18th. Those Buffs finished 24th in the final poll after defeating Indiana in the first round of the NCAA tournament before losing to North Carolina in the second round).

The nine-week run will also surpass the total number of weeks Tad Boyle-led teams have spent in the polls in his first nine years as CU’s head coach. Boyle’s 2012-13 team spent two weeks in the polls (high of No. 19), while the 2013-14 team lasted six weeks (high as No. 15).

Any way you slice it, two truths emerge:

  1. It has to be said … Colorado has a very weak all-time history of appearances in the Associated Press poll; and
  2. That Boyle’s 2019-20 team is one of the best in school history.

For another writer’s article on why it is difficult to understand why Tad Boyle isn’t receiving more adulation from the Buff Nation, take a look at the Daily Camera’s Pat Rooney, who posted, “Polarizing views on CU Buffs’ Tad Boyle perplexing” on Saturday.

Salary inflation … 

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron received a pay raise this week.

That in and of itself is not news. Orgeron led the Tigers to a 15-0 record and the national championship … and those kind of results lead to pay bumps.

Orgeron’s raise, though, was more than a little bump.

Orgeron and LSU agreed to a six-year contract extension through the 2026 season that is valued at more than $42 million, the school announced Friday.

The agreement, pending approval of the LSU board of supervisors, includes a base annual salary of $6 million. In addition, Orgeron will receive a $5 million split-dollar life-insurance policy paid out over the first two years of the deal.

But … while the new deal represents a significant raise for Orgeron, who was making $4 million per year in base salary going into the 2019 season, he still will rank behind Alabama’s Nick Saban, Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher, Georgia’s Kirby Smart and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn in base salary among SEC coaches.

Or, put another way … Ed Orgeron won the national championship, had his pay increased by over 50% … and he is still only the fifth-highest paid coach in the SEC.

The highest-paid Pac-12 coach?

This past season, according to a Jon Wilner story, was Washington’s Chris Petersen, who came in at No. 20 nationally, at $4.63 million.

Petersen, though, made less than South Florida’s Charlie Strong ($5 million), who was fired after posting a 4-8 record this past fall.

But wait, it gets worse for the Pac-12.

Here are some other comparisons between Pac-12 coaches and the rest of the nation:

No. 33. Washington State’s Mike Leach: $3.75 million, made less than Arkansas’ Chad Morris ($4 million). Morris was fired by Arkansas, while Mike Leach bolted for the SEC and a $5/year salary at Mississippi State.

No. 50. Cal’s Justin Wilcox: $2.85 million, made less than Georgia Tech’s Geoff Collins ($3 million). Cal went 8-5 this past season, while Collins guided the Yellow Jackets to a 3-9 record.

No. 58. Colorado’s Mel Tucker: $2.4 million, made less than Boston College’s Steve Addazio ($2.64 million). Yes, the same Steve Addazio who was fired by Boston College … and then hired by Colorado State.

As a college football fan reading about coaching salaries in January, I don’t have to tell you that the gap between the Pac-12 and other Power-Five conference schools is widening.

If Mel Tucker & Co. are successful over the next few seasons, CU – and it’s fans – may pay the price for the Buffs’ success, as other Power-Five conference schools will have the bank accounts to double or triple the salaries of Mel Tucker and his assistants coaches.

There was the story last week that offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic spurned offers from Missouri and Auburn – two SEC schools – to stay in Boulder.

In light of the Brink’s truck being delivered to LSU’s Ed Orgeron’s house this week, however, the question remains:

How long with Colorado – and other Pac-12 schools – be able to hang onto successful head coaches and promising assistant coaches?

Name, Image and Likeness debate about to become national news …

The NCAA held its convention this past week in Anaheim, California. The issues discussed didn’t generate a great deal of national buzz … but that’s about to change.

The name, image and likeness debate is about to move from the committee room to the national stage, perhaps as early as April.

From ESPN … The committee weighing the NCAA’s options on the future of name, image and likeness rules (CU athletic director Rick George sits on this committee) broke their discussion into three main areas: individual licensing, group licensing and “work product.” The third category — which includes things like athletes teaching lessons, running their own businesses or monetizing a social media following — is the most likely area to change in the near future.

“I think there’s a clear consensus that we need to get those rules changed,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said Thursday. “That, again, is making things look more like and feel more like you’re a regular student.”

The group working through the details of name, image and likeness issues is expected to present a report and potential proposals to the NCAA’s board of governors in April. Under the normal NCAA timeline for creating rules, those new rules would not be in place until January 2021, but Emmert said the board may move faster on some items if there is a reason to do so.

Several state legislatures are in the process of considering state laws that would make it illegal for colleges in their states to enforce the NCAA’s current restrictions on players making endorsement money. California has already passed a law to that end that will go into effect in 2023. Some other states are pressing to enact legislation as early as this coming summer.

… It seems like an easy fix, allowing athletes to benefit from their work product. After all, if a player writes a book or has a business, why shouldn’t they benefit from their off-the-court talents?

But what if their “talent” is to show up at a summer football camp, “sponsored” by a local sporting goods store? The athlete will show up, watch 10-12 year-olds run through some drills, sign a few autographs, and walk home with a big check.

Sounds innocent enough.

But what if we compare a summer camp in Boulder, Colorado, with a summer camp in Tuscaloosa, Alabama? What if the first camp draws several hundred participants, while the latter draws several thousand? What if the Alabama player pockets $4,000 for his day at summer camp, while the CU player pockets $400?

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Anyone think a Buff will be able to “monetize” his likeness to the same extent as a USC Trojan? An Oregon Duck?

Anyone think recruits won’t notice?

Anyone think that the name, image and likeness will not widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots of college athletics?

Stay tuned …


NOTE … As a thank you for reading this far, you get a bonus … The “CU at the Game Podcast” is getting closer to becoming a reality. I am very interested in your participation in this endeavor, and a “CU at the Game Mailbag” will be a part of the production. I will have interviews and other regular features, with the plan of having a few episodes this spring, working on some different formats as we get ready for the 2020 season.

So … if you have questions for the podcast … they can be about spring practices, recruiting, or basketball. I would also welcome any questions you have about the website – it’s history, coverage, etc. – are welcome.

Please send any questions to cuatthegame@gmail.com … and you may be a part of history … Episode 1 of the “CU at the Game Podcast”.



One Reply to “Random Thoughts – Volume VIII”

  1. Fun read.


    I was perusing ESPN and hit a tab that showed the Games for the week of August 29, 2020 (7 months)

    And for each game they say
    “Tickets available as low as and give a price


    Clemson Georgia Tech……………….$171
    Alabama USC…………..$110
    Michigan Washington $256

    CU CSU…………………$294

    What? I got connections……..I got some


    Lots of games………

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