Neat little article here from SI, about unusual clauses buried in the new coaching class’s contracts. Here are some of the more interesting ones to me: Please note, Auburn does not trust Hugh Freeze for their life.
UAB: Trent Dilfer
Dilfer is contractually required to “maintain a reasonably mature and rational attitude, and keep emotions in control, and downplay defeats.” He is also allowed to appear on Ryen Russillo’s podcast and Colin Cowherd’s shows.
Arizona State: Kenny Dillingham
Academic incentives are nothing new in coaching contracts and are typically tied solely to the team’s NCAA academic progress rate (APR), but Dillingham’s has interestingly specific sweeteners, including how many Sun Devils enroll in the school’s honors college, according to an executive summary of his contract:
3–6 players: ($50,000)
He will also get $37,500 if the team GPA is at least 2.7; $62,500 if it meets 2.8; $100,000 if it hits 2.9; and $150,000 if it’s 3.0 or above. The ASU team GPA for the academic year of 2020–21 was 2.56.
Auburn: Hugh Freeze
If Freeze or his representatives negotiate for a new job in either college or the NFL without providing written notice to Cohen while under contract, the school is entitled to $50,000 directly from Freeze paid within 90 days. Auburn has sole discretion over what counts as a breach and the time of first contact with a prospective employer but will act in “good faith” to make that determination.
Clauses like these aren’t rare for coaches, but the specificity here is interesting.
Florida Atlantic: Tom Herman
If FAU terminates Herman without cause, the school can reassign him to another position in the university that he is qualified for, according to his memorandum of understanding with the school
Mississippi State: Zach Arnett
Arnett cannot proactively recruit, contact or direct someone to recruit or contact a verbal Mississippi State commit for 60 days if he is fired without cause or resigns from Mississippi State.
Plenty more here.
After starving the program for decades, Alabama administration has finally decided to get serious about baseball...at least to the extent of salary outlay.
The University of Alabama board of trustees compensation committee approved a five-year contract that will pay Vaughn $900,000 annually.
Alabama doubled Vaughn’s Maryland salary, and was able to still come in under a tidy mil. But this is where I remind you that the last time Alabama took a run at Cliff Godwin — who wanted the job — this 900k was less than Cliff’s asking price. And it was a price that the Tide would not meet on two occasions.
And, by the standards of the baseball arms race in the SEC, where half a dozen skippers make more than the average MLB manager, Vaughn’s $900,000 is barely above a pittance — good for just 8th in the conference. When OU and Texas arrive, it will be in the bottom third again, rather than at the tail end of low-average salaries.
The article ends with this little nugget:
“I sat in those exit meetings, and every kid that left, he gave them a hug and told them he loved them. That’s what makes JJ who he is,” Vaughn said. “You can take the skillset of developing pitchers and put it in one bucket, but the reason he’s created what he’s created is those little things.
“I saw that, then sat down with Greg and said, ‘This guy can’t leave.’ He’s vitally important to what we’re doing here.”
Irony is dead.
Vaughn was not the only one to receive a fat raise. The Board also approved raises and contracts for:
Murph got a 5% bump to $530K;
Kristy Curry got a 10% raise to $550k;
And the the new BBK assistant crop got paydays too.
The NCAA’s plan A, B, and C to get out of the legislative mess that is NIL is to beg Congress to write an over-arching law to supersede the various state laws across the country, and to pull back on some of the more “aggressive” tactics that have popped over the last two years.
Plan D? Enforce the rules on the books. Try not to laugh.
The NCAA on Tuesday sent a memo to schools “clarifying” various “questions” that the national office in Indianapolis.
The NCAA is setting up some interesting litigation with state legislatures who are trying like hell to insulate Home Town U from NCAA infractions arising from P4P and other NIL abuses. There have been some brazen ones too, most notably the Leges at Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma (color me shocked).
Schools now think they have legal cover to cheat to their hearts content: It’s legit under state law! And that’s the paper shield that many are using, too — Texas A&M has especially been sketchy and defiant.
We appreciate @GregAbbott_TX signing the revised NIL bill & appreciate leadership in the Texas House & Senate to make the proper revisions to modernize in this era of allowing our athletes to maximize their potential.— Ross Bjork (@RossBjorkAD) June 11, 2023
Until there are national standards, this is the pathway. https://t.co/Y2FfvBQaRL
More on the Ags’ in a second.
But the NCAA pushed back on that notion Tuesday, with an emphatically worded policy statement and a damn-near litigation threat:
The NCAA’s memo states that since membership in the organization is voluntary, state laws are irrelevant when they conflict with membership guidelines.
Additionally, the memo reiterates that boosters may not have direct contact with recruits during the recruiting process to discuss potential NIL opportunities as a recruiting inducement.
“The Association has been clear and maintains that schools must adhere to NCAA legislation (or policy) when it conflicts with permissive state laws,” the memo reads. “In other words, if a state law permits certain institutional action and NCAA legislation prohibits the same action, institutions must follow NCAA legislation.”
The NCAA really is on good legal footing here too: It’s voluntary. You are free to contract away many of your rights as a general matter of law. In this case, the “right” to cheat under state law is given up so as to avail a team of the opportunity to chase that sweet, sweet CFP money. It happens every day in major sports leagues, for hundreds of athletes, unions and agents.
Where did this come from exactly?
Why, those very same Texas A&M Aggies mentioned above. The Ags “Foundation”, and the Miami Hurricane’s Lifelock empire, have become financial playgrounds for a handful of ultra-wealthy donors to literally pay for play. It’s as textbook a violation as you will see too. Despite the NCAA targeting them four months ago, the body has not acted. Yet.
My best guess is that this clarifying, plain language memorandum is also the NCAA’s legal cover: i.e., they’re going to eventually come charging hard at Aggie, Da U, and others.
“Let there be absolutely no mistake that what you’re doing is cheating; you are voluntarily in this organization, and must forfeit the protection of that law if you wish to continue enrollment. And, if you avail yourself of membership, then the organization may sanction you for violation of our agreements.” Or something similar.
Ross Bjork’s response? Condescending. Defiant.
“Gonna’ keep cheating,” basically.
“The state law is going to govern how we do business. ...in terms of this, the state law will will reign. And that’s how we’ll move forward,” Texas A&M Ross Bjork recently told ESPN.
Get your popcorn. This is going to be hella’ good...in about 3-4 years, when it finally goes to trial.
West Virginia’s Joe Toussaint will make a visit to Alabama, he told CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein, after making planned visits to Texas Tech and Kansas State. Toussaint also told Rothstein he will conduct video conferences with Miami and Gonzaga.
Toussaint is one of several West Virginia players who have entered the portal since longtime coach Bob Huggins stepped down last week following a DUI arrest.
This would be a very nice pickup for the Tide, honestly. Toussaint is a baller, and a tremendous defender. With UA losing Nimari Burnett out there, its most effective wing defense has been eliminated. And, with the Tide losing JQ, there is an immediate need for another ball handler. Toussaint plays the point, and is highly coveted, having visits with K State, Miami, Gonzaga, and many more: In total he’s looking at 10 schools.
In more good news, Tide 3B Bryce Eblin is returning to the Capstone. Last week, he joined the Portal with Colby (who’s already been purchased by LSU), but had a change of heart yesterday and comes back home to mama.
Eblin has spent three seasons at the Capstone. Last season, he saw time in 39 games, including 22 starts, recording a .272 batting average, 22 hits, 17 runs batted in, 16 runs, eight drawn walks, three doubles, two home runs, and a stolen base.
Finally, I leave you with this rerun...
From the 100 Things I Love Series, my piece on the National Coon Hound Cemetery in Cherokee, Alabama.
It should be more somber than this. Most cemeteries are.
But, the Coon Dog Cemetery (officially, the Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Cemetery)? It is a place of joyful repose, an introspective stroll in the woods acknowledging the special bond we share with dogs. It is far more these things than it is a place of memoriam. It is a beautiful place, a special place — and above all, a place filled with love. And you can feel it from the moment you enter the grounds.
After a very hard 14-15 month battle with cancer, my girl has begun to develop a cardiac cough and metabolic wasting. She’s miserable, depressed, and in constant pain. She is telling me it’s time to go, so I will listen to her. But, damn, nine years wasn’t enough; not nearly enough. If you’re lucky you get that of-a-lifetime pet, and if you’re blessed, you get Freyja.
When she passes next week, I will be interring her at the Coon Hound Cemetery, where all good boys and girls get the thrill of the chase forever. It’s a special place for special dogs.
So, get out there and go hug your loved ones today — of all shapes and sizes and species — and make every second count.
P.S. If you want to share your pet pictures or stories, this is as good a place as any. I’ll allow it!
Which school is cheating the hardest with alleged NIL deals?
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