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Jumbo Package: “Contracts” — The most insane idea yet from pay-for-play advocates

This may be the worst argument ever advanced by pay-for-play advocates.

SEC Basketball Tournament - Semifinals
I didn’t want to look at contract images. I did want to look at cheerleaders. #Creeper
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The bronze bomber comes up green

World Boxing Council heavyweight boxing champ Deontay Wilder was arrested for marijuana possession during a traffic stop Wednesday. Tuscaloosa Police charged Wilder, 32, with second-degree possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor. He was released on $1,000 bond.

Attorney Paul Patterson said the small amount of marijuana didn’t belong to Wilder, and that someone else had used his vehicle while he was out of town.“Deontay has been out-of-state for several days,” he said. “He returned home today from Georgia driving his Rolls Royce and selected his Cadillac Escalade from his fleet of vehicles to run errands.

I’m not sure if this affects Wilder’s WBC eligibility. It would be incredibly stupid, if so. Floyd Mayweather has beaten a dozen civilians and women in his career, and he’s fighting for almost a quarter of a billion dollars on August 26. I expect this charge, like ones previously attached to Brandon Chicken victims, to disappear. In Wilder’s case, with all of the people in his employ and with his large entourage, the pot very likely really does belong to someone else. Boxing requires exception cardiopulmonary functioning, and smoking of any sort is anathema to that. Besides, being a local guy, there have just been no other Wilder weed sightings or drug rumors. Reputation, and not celebrity, may very well be what helps him out with a Tuscaloosa PD that has nothing better to do with their time than pursue low level marijuana possession arrests.

If there’s one thing Louisiana can do, it’s corruption

"This marks the third announced camp in Louisiana that Texas was scheduled to take part in. And it's the third camp that LSU has worked hard behind the scenes to prevent from happening," Thamel reported.

There are layers to the story. LSU wants to keep in-state kids in state. This is the goal for every coach in every state, but there's good reason for this in LSU's eyes. According to NCAA numbers, Louisiana has the third-highest percentage of high school players recruited by a Division I school despite the fact that it's not an overly populated area.

When speaking of recruiting, most coaches talk of “building a wall” around their state, for Ed Orgeron he may be taking that literally (as well as personally, since Herman was offered the job before he was.) LSU has bent over backwards to pressure local institutions to cancel events, remove Texas and other shenanigans. This is getting increasingly bitter and I really only see a few options: LSU backs down (not a chance,) a lawsuit by one of the affected in-state institutions (deeply unpopular and not a chance,) a lawsuit by one of the prospective attendees (possible,) a lawsuit between institutions (slightly more likely,) and quick action by the NCAA — likely an overreaction. It would not surprise me to see the issue addressed by the time the season kicks off with, provided it can be tabled in time for next year’s NCAA meetings (usually only player safety rules are addressed on an emergency basis.)

Is this a bold prediction?

3. Tua Tagovailoa will become a steady part of Alabama's offense: It would be foolhardy to call a quarterback controversy before Week 1 of the season. Besides, Jalen Hurts was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year, according to the conference's coaches. But here's betting early-enrollee quarterback Tagovailoa, a five-star member of the Crimson Tide's 2017 recruiting class, sees the field sooner rather than later -- and eventually becomes a packaged part of the offense by some point in the season.

I don’t think this is exactly a “bold” prediction. Tua may even see substantive time against some of the meatheads on Alabama’s out of conference schedule, or when games get really out of hand. But, I don’t think we’ll see him very much in the heart of the Alabama SEC schedule, and probably none at all in the big games — especially FSU. Last year the Tide had a disastrous personnel issue at quarterback, one I doubt Saban wants to repeat needlessly. Besides, as we saw in the A-Day game, Tua still has a ways to go against SEC starting defenses.

I’m not sure I’d call that kind of play “steady,” but I’d be equally surprised to see athe number of meaningful snaps some writers are predicting.

Alabama Clemson Round 3?

The NBA has had the same championship matchup for three straight seasons now. Will college football follow suit?

God, I hope not. More importantly, I think not. Clemson loses four key defensive starters to the NFL/graduation and more importantly loses 81% of its offensive production. I can more readily seeing the Tide replacing starters on defense than I can see Clemson replacing four out of every five yards of offense it generated.

Absolutely no way will this see the light of day

The CFB Union Northwestern players released their big proposal yesterday, a college athlete contract, whereby the school promises to provide certain additional benefits for each student on top the over $100,000 in benefits each already receives (plus cost of scholarship and full cost of attendance.)

You will note that this boilerplate contract has several absurb features:

  1. It attempts to end-run the NLRB’s ruling that unions are not available for college athletes. There is no way that this is not prepackaged collective bargaining when only the names of player and institution vary. That alone is likely to invalidate them out of hand as contrary to law and/or public policy.
  2. You will also note that the student athletes make no additional guarantees of things they will provide (“consideration,”) above and beyond what is already included in the terms of a general scholarship offer. In fact, in case of material breach, student athletes still receive benefits. For instance, where in the arbitration provision is there determination whether to arbitrate (parties may agree to arbitrate is a wishy washy request)? What about those states that require arbitration? Who bears the costs? Where are mediation options? How are mediators chosen and what mediation rules are chosen? Who bears the costs of pretrial alternative dispute resolution? What are the enforcement mechanisms? Who bears the costs of enforcement, attorney fees and court costs? What are the school remedies for less-than-total breach by the student? You could write three horrible law review articles on just the stinky drafting going on here.
  3. This proposal would absolutely bankrupt any institution across the country if they were foolish enough to adopt it (and I promise you, not one is.) The proposed benefits would have to be available to every man and woman at every university for every scholarship sport. Again, I’m not sure where the proponents think the money comes from. Even if most schools could afford this, and they cannot, it would be a very select few who could maintain multiple scholarship sports. As I’ve vented about before, the very notion of pay-for-play (real, or as this case, a pay for play stalking horse) diminishes educational opportunities across the board, limiting the number of schools willing to offer scholarships, and even then, greatly reduces the number of scholarships available. That in turn has the net effect of being both disgusting and offending the notion of market inefficiency. By reducing the number of teams available, revenue similarly suffers -- no network is going to pay billions of dollars to watch the same 18 teams compete in one of two- or three-sports. This is, in other words, a trickle-up oligarch demand for the rich to get richer, for greater consideration than that already being compensated by half a million dollars a year, per player, in education, housing, health care, food and other in-kind consideration.

C’mon, Northwestern, I though y’all were supposed to be smart? Seriously, in order to come to the table, your upper demands, though ridiculous, must at least be feasible, and not so bizarre (and possibly illegal) such as to cut off all negotiations or be laughed at before they even get off the ground.

I invite you all to read the contract at the link above. It may be the most deranged idea I’ve seen seriously suggested to a problem, a problem that is largely non-existent in any event given the cash and in-kind benefits already received by one of America’s most generously compensated classes of young adults.

This just broke as I was finishing up. But, Alabama flipped the nation’s No. 1 punter from...of all places...Tennessee. DELICIOUS.

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