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WOW Headlines – 5/8/13

The SEC’s athletic directors are meeting in Jacksonville and permanent cross-division rivals are on the agenda
Suspended LSU RB Jeremy Hill now faces tougher probation restrictions following a recent arrest for simple battery
Georgia’s football team led the nation with 10 early enrollees this spring
Oddsmakers are making Georgia and South Carolina favorites to win the SEC East this wall with Alabama the favorite in the SEC West
Tennessee G Trae Golden was reportedly forced to transfer from the Vol basketball program due to “repeated plagiarism”
Georgia president Michael Adams predicts that the richest 65 schools will form their own division within the NCAA
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UGA Board Approves A 400K Raise For Richt

Mark RichtGeorgia coach Mark Richt will see his yearly compensation jump from $2.81 million to $3.2 millon thanks to a vote last night by the Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors.  It is Richt’s first raise in nearly five years.

Since finding himself on the hot seat following the 2010 season, Richt has led the Bulldogs to back-to-back East Division titles and compiled a 22-6 record overall.

Outgoing president Michael Adams said: “It was time for us to do something in a preemptive way without him or anybody representing him to have to come to us.  Just a statement of our support for and respect for him.”

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Slive Tries To Slow The BCS-To-Playoff Speculation

The Big Ten has a four-team plan with the national semifinals being played in on-campus stadiums.  Georgia president Michael Adams says an eight-team playoff might be in the offing.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive says… slow down.

Speaking in Nashville yesterday, Slive went in 180 degrees the opposite direction of UGA’s prez when he said:

“Really a lot of this discussion is premature, and I want to respect the process that we’re in… What would (a new system) look like and whether it’s actually going to happen, all of that is premature.  I think we need the time to sit down and analyze it.  We need time to take ideas back to our respective conferences and… a decision to be made sometime later this year as we being to talk about the… next format.”

As we noted earlier today, we believe there will be resistance to a no-playoff to eight-team-playoff jump.  It’s far more likely — at least in our view — that a four-team, seeded Plus One will be the answer.

Consider the Big Ten and Pac-12.  The idea to bid out the championship game site each year protects the tradition of the Rose Bowl.  It would not be part of a rotation which would cast one or both leagues out once every four years (as is currently the case).

How would those leagues feel about an eight-team playoff that might invite two schools (or maybe even three) from those leagues… thus leaving the Rose Bowl as Pac-12 #2 versus Big Ten #3 or even #4?

The safe money is on a four-game plan.  Even though Slive would probably say that we’re jumping the gun by going that far.

On a sidenote, the commissioner confirmed what we’ve been saying for a while: The SEC isn’t looking to go to 16 schools anytime soon.

“We’re at 14,” Slive said.  “It’s going to take us time to absorb.  I don’t know if you realize how difficult it is to take two institutions and move them into 12 other institutions whether it’s scheduling or the way we’re working together.  So we have our hands full for now.”

At least until the landscape changes elsewhere.

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UGA Prez: 4- Or 8-Team Playoff On The Way

University of Georgia president Michael Adams is one of the most vocal university presidents in the country when it comes to academics.  You know those guys that everyone goes to for a quote when there’s some debate about whether players are Students or Athletes?  Adams is one of those guys.  Heck, he’s the president of the Knight Commission, an organization that “has worked to ensure that intercollegiate athletics programs operate within the educational mission of their colleges and universities.

So when Michael Adams says this:


“My best guess is we’re going to end up with either a four- or eight-team playoff by the time we get to ’14,”


We listen.

Now, it’s no surprise that a playoff-scenario is in the works.  At this site, we suggested in December that Alabama and LSU — two teams from the same (hated) conference  – reaching the BCS title game might be enough to spur the other BCS leagues into action.  The day we wrote that, Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas came out and said a “Plus One” format should be discussed.

It was bad enough that the SEC was winning the national crown every year, but when they were then facing themselves in the title game?  Other leagues couldn’t abide with that.

In the past month, many ADs and presidents and commissions have mentioned a four-team, seeded Plus One as the most likely end result of this year’s BCS discussions.  Even NCAA president Mark Emmert has said that such a “Football Final Four” seems like a solid idea.  And by now you know what kind of money such a plan would generate.  What kind of television ratings it would grab.  All that’s been written and re-written, postulated and re-postulated ad nauseum.

In the last week, the Big Ten let word leak out that it, too, might be in favor of a Plus One.  That was big news in itself as commissioner Jim Delany has long been against any type of playoff.  Additionally, the league’s plan tossed out the idea of the two highest-seeded teams hosting the “semifinals” on their own campuses.

Adams has taken all that a step further.  He has thrown an eight-team format into the discussion.  That’s not new on websites and blogs and messageboards, but it is a first in terms of real discussion.

According to Adams — who was speaking to the University of Georgia Athletic Association board yesterday — the Big Ten and Pac-12 have been the leagues most opposed to a playoff in past years.  Mike Slive pushed a Plus One idea several years ago and ACC commish John Swofford has also backed such a plan.  When Adams previously suggested an eight-team plan in 2008, it was dead on arrival.  But Delany’s change of heart on the subject is a “very significant development,” in Adams’ words.

According to The Athens Banner-Herald, Adams also said:


“The conference commissioners are finally coming together on that point.  There’s been great division among the commissioners the last six or eight years. The change in the conference realignments, the fact that most of the media contracts are up in either ’13 or ’14 are creating a situation. If there’s going to be a change, this is probably the natural time to do it…

I don’t say this about very much, but I think we were at the front of the train on that issue.  I could see it down the track and I think we will end up with something that I think the fans feel better about. We may never get anything that the fans feel perfectly happy about.  

One of my major concerns all along has been that I didn’t think we were paying enough attention to the fans who foot the bills for all this. I think that realization is beginning to come home.”


Back in December of 2008, we at put together our own “perfect” college football plan.  Eight teams.  First-round games hosted on campus sites.  It’s not far from what’s being discussed by Delany to the north and Adams to the south this week.

You can read the plan in full right here.  (And, yes, I’m sure there are some uncorrected typos in that piece somewhere.)

Once we put our playoff system together, we brought in one of the top sports business wheeler-dealers in the country to tear it to shreds.  Anyone can come up with a playoff plan.  We wanted to come up with a playoff plan that would pass muster with everyone from the TV executives to advertisers t0 university presidents.  So we asked Bill Schmidt — the former sports marketing head of Gatorade and someone who’s been called in to broker advertising deals between professional teams and mega-brands — to nitpick our idea.

He did.

The issue of venues became the Snake Canyon we could not jump over.  If you play with eight teams (seven games) at bowl sites, no fans are going to travel to three different locations to follow their teams.  Plus, moving 85 student-athletes from site to site isn’t near as easy as moving 10-15 student-athletes from site to site during a basketball tournament.

So we suggested the first round be played on campuses.  Schools would love a shot at extra gate, parking and concession revenue.  But what of the four teams having to travel to on-campus sites?  As Schmidt reminded us, schools like to use bowl trips — even crummy ones — as a reward to boosters.  In return, they hope to draw more cash out of their biggest backers for future years.  Would a booster enjoy a trip to Lubbock, Texas or Boise, Idaho if his school lost?  Where’s the day at the beach or in the casino?

Again, read the above piece and you’ll see our arguments for an eight-team playoff and you’ll also see a sports marketing guru’s pooh-poohing of said plan.  We’re surprised that things have come as far as they have on the playoff from since that piece was posted in 2008.  But who foresaw a season in which the BCS Championship Game would feature two teams from the same conference?  And that’s really what’s made everything else suddenly feasible.

In our view, a seeded Plus One system remains the most likely scenario to come of this year’s discussion.  For traditionalists, it would be easier to go from zero to four than it would from zero all the way to eight.  We also expect that the three games involved will be sold off to the highest bidder.  For travel purposes and fan ease, one site might get all three games.  For the sake of pulling in more cash, the semifinals might be given to one city while the finals are handed to a even higher bidder.

Whatever the format, the end of the college football season is about to change.  If that gives us a truer national champion, restores meaning to New Year’s Day, pushes the smaller bowls back into December, and stops the creep of games into mid-January… then we’re all for it.

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UGA’s Prez Would Be “Surprised” If Richt Weren’t Back

Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs have run off 10 straight wins.  They have won the SEC East with a gaudy 7-1 record.  The coach will be going for his third SEC title on Saturday against #1 LSU.

So finally someone at Georgia has indicated Richt will be back in Athens next year.  Probably.

“I would be surprised if Mark Richt weren’t the football coach here next year.”

So said UGA president Michael Adams at a press conference today.  Adams said no formal decisions about renewing Richt’s contract will be made until two or three weeks after the football season.

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UGA Prez Backs Richt, Sort Of

Georgia president Michael Adams was asked yesterday to assess Mark Richt’s job performance.  His response has been taken a couple of different ways.

Some headline writers have said “UGA Prez Backs Richt.”  But that’s not completely true.

Others have taken to messageboards and blogs to point out that Adams didn’t lend Richt his full support.  They see that is a sign that Richt’s a goner.

In reality, Adams called on fans to support Georgia’s team while tossing out a boilerplate answer about waiting until the end of the season to make a judgment on Richt.

Was it a vote of confidence?  No.  Do we believe it to be a sign that Adams has lost faith in Richt?  No, we don’t see it that way, either. 

Most likely, if Richt can manage to make progress over last season’s 6-7 mark — say 8 wins? — Adams and AD Greg McGarity will find a way to bring him back.  But if Richt’s team stumbles to another unexpected losing record, there’s not much chance for survival.

So if you’re Adams, what can you say?  Knowing, of course, that you can’t break it down in detail and hang a win-target over your coach and team.

Here’s what Adams did say to UGA’s Cabinet from yesterday:

“I don’t believe I have ever commented on any coach mid-season.  You know the answer.  What we do with every head coach — every head coach, not just the high-profile head coaches — but at the end of the season the AD sits down and makes a judgment.  Then he makes a judgment whether or not he needs to talk to the president about that.

The issue for me right now is I think this is the time for all of us to come together and get behind this group of guys who played a heck of a game last Saturday and deserve our support.  I’ve never folded on anything 15 or 20 percent into it, and that’s what we would be doing.

I’ve love to see the stadium full Saturday for probably what will not be the most high-profile opponent we’ll play this year.  I go to the locker room.  I know these young men.  I know a number of our student-athletes.  We had a heck of an effort last Saturday.  There’s nobody here who likes to win more than I do.  But it’s time for us as a community to get behind this team, support them from now ’til the end of the season.  And once the whole body of work is in, we’ll do what we do every year.  We’ll see where we are.”

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SEC Headlines 9/10/2011 Part Three

1. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott:  ”Our hope is that there is no expansions and all conferences that are at 12 stay at 12.”

2. Georgia president Michael Adams doesn’t think 16-team super-conferences are inevitable: “The Big Ten has said publicly that they’re happy with life as it is (with 12 teams). The Pac-12 has not quite said it that way,” Adams said, offering a smile with the last sentence. “I think some of the reports have gotten ahead of the reality.”

3. The ACC may raise the buyout to leave the league.

4. Documents show LSU QB Jordan Jefferson denied “any involvement in the altercation” that led to his suspension.

5. Jon Solomon: “Cam Newton’s legislative legacy continues.”

6. Mark Bradley on Mark Richt: “The Fulmer parallel is often invoked regarding Richt, and it’s apt.” Board members are worried.

7. Tony Barnhart: “Will this be Joe Paterno’s last game against Alabama?”

8. Crunching the numbers on Week 2 in the SEC.

9. TV schedule for Saturday college football.


10.  Probably not a good place to wear your Bears jersey.  Baylor purchases only 830 tickets for Texas A&M game.

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Recruiting Helping To Save Richt

Mark Richt is a good guy.  He’s viewed by most — including the folks at this site — as the best ambassador the Southeastern Conference has.  And he also happens to be a good recruiter.  Following his first losing season at Georgia, he inked the “Dream Team” in February and he just grabbed another handful of new commitments on Friday night.

According to Seth Emerson of The Macon Telegraph and The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Richt’s recruiting chops and his charm might help him save his job:

“If Georgia starts 0-2 — a very real possibility — the obituaries on Richt’s tenure at Georgia will be written like no one has ever seen.  But it will in all probability still be way too premature.

This Georgia administration is going to give Richt all the rope he needs.  And his success on the recruiting trail, adding to his goodwill within the Bulldogs fan base, is providing Richt with a lot of rope.  He’ll be able to withstand a couple of early losses.  At least that’s the smart bet.

Now if the Bulldogs are sitting later at something like 2-6, with losses to say, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Tennessee and the like, yes, a change will in all likelihood come.

But athletics director Greg McGarity and president Michael Adams will weigh everything, including recruiting.”

While we’re pro-Richt at, it must be pointed out that recruiting really doesn’t mean much if a coach can’t convert four- and five-star signees into victories.

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Basketball Investments Paying Off For UGA

Since 2007, the University of Georgia has sunk plenty of money into its basketball program:

* A new practice facility has been erected
* One coach was fired and a replacement hired
* Stegeman Coliseum has been given a facelift

And now those expenditures are paying dividends for the Dawgs.  As the Tim Tucker of The AJC points out, with a win over LSU tonight, Georgia will have gone from a 20-game loser just two seasons ago to a 20-game winner.  That’s a pretty good return on investment.

“There may be an institution — but I don’t know where it is — that in the last five years has made more of a commitment to its football and basketball programs than we have,” Georgia prez Michael Adams said last week.  “We are serious about being major players in all of our 21 sports, but in football and men’s basketball, we have a special interest because that is what pays the bills.”

Fans are responding — hoops attendance in Athens is up 20% over last year — and that will indeed help to pay some bills.

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