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Jumbo Package: There are no grownups left in the room

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CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Whoogah! Whoogah!

Sound the klaxon: here comes one of my rants about our inept federal government. Feel free to skip this if you don’t care about the death of the college athletics.

The NLRB has absolutely no idea what the hell it’s doing with respect to college students.

Multiple boards have issued competing interpretations as to whether student athletes qualify as employees — and the law is pretty clear from the 7th and 9th Circuits, as well as the Gray case, that they are not — only to see that guidance overturned by the oversight NLRB in D.C. Nevertheless, just yesterday, the NLRB’s issued another Gen. Counsel memorandum, it’s second in three years, reversing course and stating that, yes, there some categories of student athletes that ought be treated as employees.

Just an absolute hot mess.

The SEC, for one, has had it:

And Sankey is right. This is Congress’s job.

But we can’t even get fractious House buffoons to agree that, “Hey, Comrade, maybe paving some roads is a good idea and you probably want to untether that from single payer health care” Or get some Machiavellian pricks in the Senate to discharge their constitutional duty to advise-and-consent on Executive judicial nominees, rather than be a hijacker-cum-gravedigger for the American Republic? And we certainly can’t get them to agree on which version of either they should do from moment-to-moment.

So, do you think for a second Congress cares about this? Then again, this is precisely the sort of relatively minor, hollow politicking where they very well may just act. And I will bet my very soul that the longer this drags on, the more it is screwed up.

And if Congress does act, it could very well turn out to be a Damoclean sword that hangs over SA’s heads. If they’re employees (and despite the fact they’re not, I can easily see a judicial interpretation that with NIL they would at best be independent contractors, compensated based upon their own skills and merits from outside markets), then say goodbye to guaranteed four-year-schollies. The NCAA has nothing left to say and has been finally neutered: State labor laws take over. And these “employees” become at-will in a majority of states.

Can’t punt after three games? We’ve decided to go another direction. Are you a 6th year linebacker that had to transfer to another conference because you were a bust? Better hope it works out there. Because they can release you too. Made a C+ in calculus rather than the B+ your contract requires? Tough titty — there’s a guy waiting for your spot we wanted to “hire” anyway.

College athletes have traveled an easy street, relatively speaking, with very few obligations owed with respect to the wealth of benefits they receive. If they become employees, you’re going to have a whole lot of 18- and 19-year-old kids learning some very harsh life lessons, including what happens when you breach a contract.

And how to get around this? Why, collective bargaining, of course. And that brings with it an entirely separate legal morass, not the least of which is a floor and ceiling on compensation. Great if you’re a backup guard player at Colorado State; less so if you’re the star quarterback at Ohio State.

I can predict two things fairly confidently though, should this be upheld: 1. The regulatory and administrative burdens imposed (to say nothing of the financial burdens and Title IX issues), will chase the vast majority of athletic programs out of the vast majority of sports, in turn costing countless opportunities in the long run for thousands of students a year: the money simply is not there. And, 2. what programs will remain will already be prosperous, and already successful; hoarding more and more and more talent, with more and more power increasingly consolidated in fewer and fewer hands.

The Alabamas and Ohio States of the world will never have a drought again.

For a handful of teams and fanbases, great. For everyone else, including broadcasters and fans and schools and prospective students suddenly without scholarship opportunities, it’s terrible.

Are there any grownups left in the room? In any room, for that matter.

Fin.

We now return you to Alabama news and notes, even as college athletics crumbles and dies in front of our eyes, pushed off a cliff by trial lawyers.

Man, talk about dissing everyone that has walked into BDS over the last two years. Yesterday, Nick Saban said that this week’s contest, hosting No. 12 Ole Miss, is “the first big game at home since 2019.”

Nope. Not you Auburn, or Tennessee. Not you even A&M last season. Not even Georgia.

Ole Miss.

Sure, some of it was ‘Rona; but even more is the fact that he simply hasn’t thought very much of anyone that’s come through those gates since the 2019 LSU game. I’m here for this shade.

“This is probably the first big game that we’ve had here for now like a year and a half. Because of last year’s COVID. I know we’ve had a couple of home games. But this is an SEC game at home for the first time in a couple of years. I hope our fans are excited about it as our team is.” Saban said it was “really, really tough” when Alabama played at Florida and hopefully fans can “make it that way for [Ole Miss].”

So, Nick wants butts in seats and especially wants a very vicious crowd. Do your thing, Gumps.

Nick Saban updated the health of three starters/contributors yesterday. BRob seems to be on the mend, as does LaBryan Ray. However, when it got to Henry To’oto’o, Saban was much cagier.

Lots of praise, little evaluation:

“Henry’s played really, really well for us,” Saban said. “He’s smart. He’s a leader. He understands the scheme. I think he helps all the other players on defense play better because he’s a good communicator as the signal-caller, and I think he gives everybody a little more confidence that we’re all on the same page. And I think communication is the key there, and he’s a really good communicator.

That tells us, that yes, Henry is everything advertised, and suggests that he’s probably still a little gimpy.

Lane Kiffin continues sandbagging and killing Alabama with kindness. Yesterday, it was declaring that Will Anderson looked like the late, great Derrick Thomas.

Sure, it happens to be sort of true, but that’s not the point. Stop being complimentary, Lane! I know what you’re up to.

“He’s a dominant player. He looks like Derrick Thomas, which is amazing at his age,” said Kiffin. “The guy’s just a freak...they’ve got some great players all over, but he’s the best of them all.”

Anderson has been a dominant force in Alabama’s defense from the moment he stepped on campus. The former 5-star linebacker started every game for the Crimson Tide in 2020 as a true freshman and registered 52 total tackles and finished third in the SEC in sacks with seven and tackles for loss at 10.5 to go with a team-high eight quarterback pressures. Anderson earned Freshman All-American and Second-Team All-SEC honors and was selected as the Shaun Alexander-FWAA Freshman of the Year.

Alabama has secured the commitments of the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the state, including the top running back in the 2022 class, Emmanuel Henderson. Henderson reached a very auspicious milestone this weekend, when he eclipsed 5000 yards for a career. It was part of a ho-hum, 13-carry, 251-yard, 5-TD first half.

Alabama has done quite well with all-time leading rushers from different states: Najee Harris (CA), Damien Harris (KY), and Derrick Henry (FL) come to mind?

Granted, there is a world of difference between Geneva County and the SEC, but Henderson oozes talent.

What is the state of Rebel fandom? Well, elated, as they should be.

For just the third time in 35 years, Ole Miss made it out of September without a loss (though, they have played a very forgiving schedule). Two of those three occasions were under Hugh Freeze, in 2014 and 2015, where I need not remind you that Ole Miss beat Alabama back-to-back for maybe the first time in series history (citation required. someone look that up).

Good stuff here on what they think they know about Ole Miss heading into the Game of the Century of the Week

When you sign the unwritten contract to become an Ole Miss fan, no one is brave enough to tell you that you’ve made, at the very least, an interesting life choice. You only learn this after putting enough miles on the emotional odometer to have lived seven lifetimes in a single lifetime.

While on this Mad Max highway, you also come to find out that a multitude of rare birds exist within the Ole Miss football ecosystem. One such bird is goes by the scientific name of Undefeated September.

Ole Miss just completed an undefeated September for the first time since 2015, after doing it previously in 2014. Prior to those two seasons, the last undefeated September for Ole Miss football came to pass in the Year of Our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Four. 1984!

One thing I do know: this was the wrong week to antagonize Kiffin with over the top personal attacks, providing even more motivation to a man who’s turned his coaching fortunes around. Yet, that’s exactly what the clowns at ESPN did this week — and LMFK is none too happy.

As if he needed more motivation to win a game that he wants to win more than anything in his life. Great, thanks.

And it is an uphill battle for the Rebs to face too: Nick Saban is now a perfect 23-0 against his former padawan, a record that is as amazing as it is unprecedented.

So, that much ballyhooed “get the CFP expansion rushed out the door”- thing? Nah. Likely ain’t gonna happen for years.

It’s an incredibly complex negotiation, in which four distinct camps have emerged — most of which are in opposition — and that all complicate the issue: the Rose Bowl (of course), the G5, the Power 5, and those who want broadcast rights diffused outside of just one Mouse Monolith in Bristol.

How far might this be pushed back? We’re talking past 2026, for the time being.

#BringBackTheBCS

One thing the NCAA may finally get right? Corrections to targeting; a rule so nebulously-defined, so poorly drafted — and yet simultaneously punitive — that even a 1L at Cooley would even get flunked out for writing it (sick lawyer burn).

One of the flies in the ointment? Securing a consensus, and when Greg Sankey is lining up against changes, then the move is already off to a bad start.

There is, however, a problem. At this point, a proposal does not exist to modify the rule that has universal agreement among the sport’s various bodies.

“I have not seen a sophisticated plan and structure,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey says. “I will be the first to say I’m open to alternative approaches, but they have to be grounded in eliminating these hits. The ejection and suspension from the next half of a game is a fairly blunt instrument, but it makes the point to change behavior.”

In yesterday’s presser, Nick Saban had some very interesting things that I have alluded to here and in comments: the nagging things that have just made the Crimson Tide seem “off”, if you will. Nick Saban has noticed it all season; spoken it about all season; and, even when he has publicly tried to get his team’s attention, hasn’t always been successful.

Their mind is good this week, and their practices have been focused. But he wants more from them. Because, “a day of reckoning” is coming otherwise and the outcome of that reckoning may not be as positive as people want it to be, nor relative to the talent level that this team possesses:

“Well, practice has been pretty good. Players seem to have pretty good attention and focus on what they’re doing, what they’re trying to do. This is a difficult preparation on both sides of the ball because of the way they play on defense is a little different and you know their offense is very multiple and they do a good job of taking advantage of whatever you do on defense. Our players have been really good. I talked to players afterwards about you’ve got to be accountable for your actions because there’s always a day of reckoning. And if you do the right things, you have the right effort, you have the right habits, you do the right things, you have the right words, you’re accountable to everything that you do, then your reckoning is always good. When you don’t do that, you know, sometimes things don’t work out so good when the reckoning comes.

Full quotes from his presser here.

We’ll be back later with some more for you. Giving Away Money will probably be in two parts and trickle out today and tomorrow — there are a ton of games to get through.

See you then.

Poll

What team finishes SECOND in the SEC-West?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Alabama — FIRE EVERYONE!
    (36 votes)
  • 43%
    Uncertain Ole Miss
    (336 votes)
  • 5%
    Inept Aggie
    (41 votes)
  • 45%
    Overachieving Piggie
    (351 votes)
  • 1%
    Peter Principle Coonasses
    (9 votes)
  • 0%
    Potato Gus and the Plains
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Dread Lazy Pirate
    (1 vote)
777 votes total Vote Now