No, nothing about Laremy Tunsil’s moment of honesty — before a PR (or assistant agent) hurriedly hustled him out of his press conference. Good times coming to Ole Miss.
The satellite camps are still allowed. This has been one of the sillier controversies of the spring.
The SEC and ACC pushed for a complete ban — and got one — on the camps because of paranoia and wanting to protect their natural recruiting areas. They can dress it up however they want, but it was only about protecting their own self-interests. And yes, Coach Pat Narduzzi was fully in support of such a ban, but I still don’t get it.
If he’s worried about Ohio State, Penn State or Michigan coming to Pittsburgh to run a camp; I’m just not seeing it. They are already close enough to Pittsburgh that they recruit regularly, and high school kids can make the trip to their camps near the school without a hassle. Such a camp actually occurring would be an annoyance for Pitt, but would not make much of a difference.
In the end the satellite camp thing was simply an overreaction to Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh going into the SEC (and ACC) recruiting area for a camp.
Here’s the bottom line: The SEC’s legislative crusade against satellite camps was the most transparent, cynical, foolish waste of time that college athletics has ever seen. And given the history of the NCAA, that’s saying something.
Though opinion is certainly divided about whether satellite camps are good or bad or whether the rules should be refined in some way to limit them, people throughout college athletics have spent the past several months mystified at the SEC’s lust to outlaw them.
Because not only did it look like the SEC was pushing a nationwide rule change in response to Harbaugh, which seemed petty enough, but there was never any evidence that satellite camps have made one bit of difference to anyone but an under-recruited kid here or there who might get noticed by a coaching staff and offered a scholarship they wouldn’t otherwise get.
In its righteous indignation about the scourge of recruiting camps, all the SEC accomplished was turning Harbaugh (of all people) into a martyr and exposing that the same people who hem and haw and throw up their hands over the issue of paying players can take action with SEC speed when it comes to protecting their own turf.
The ban has been rescinded for further and future consideration. Especially after a couple conferences claimed their reps on the vote, voted the wrong way.
I do think Narduzzi has a good point in relation to controlling support staffs for programs.
CBS Sports reported in January that Alabama spends at least $2.7 million on support staff for recruiting, scouting, etc. When asked about the idea of capping support staffs on the ACC Coaches Teleconference, Narduzzi joked that he would have to be the controversial guy. Narduzzi doesn’t have a number in mind, but he says there should be a limit, like there is with strength coaches (5).
“I think there has to be some limit. There’s a limit to everything. I guess the only thing there isn’t a limit to is your alumni contributions,” he said. “There’s a limit in the NFL, there’s salary caps, staff limitations. When you think about college football and the business it is, there has to be some type of limitations. I think they went through limitations in football, and football was behind where basketball was.
A lot of these hires are high school coaches moving up, too. Sometimes, they come from a key recruiting area. Jim Harbaugh hired former Paramus Catholic (NJ) head coach Chris Partridge for an off-field role. This offseason, Partridge was promoted to linebackers coach, and Michigan signed the No. 1 player in the country in Rashan Gary, who went to Paramus Catholic. Harbaugh is set to deliver the commencement address at the school this spring.
Narduzzi has no problem with high school coaches moving into college ball to further their career (or make more money), obviously, but he also worries what type of impact such an influx will have on the high school game. Facilities used to be the big arms race. Now, it’s becoming staff members. As revenues increase, the money goes somewhere.
“There’s a chance of ruining a great high school sport, because we’re stealing great high school coaches and people that do a good job mentoring young men,” Narduzzi said. “Where football starts, there’s no more important component to our game than our youth coaches and high school coaches.
“When you start hiring coaches to just get their players, that adds to the staff. If you want to hire a guy and make him your quarterbacks coach or a full-time assistant, it’s fine, but there’s got to be some limitations. Overall, talking to a lot of ACC coaches, I think everybody’s firmly behind that. I don’t care what it is. If we want to say there’s 55 assistant coaches, let’s go to 55. At least make a mark of where we are and where we need to go, so there is some even competition. Coaches in the NFL or college football, that’s all you want: the field to be level.”
Not sure I buy the “chance of ruining a great high school sport,” aspect, but this is becoming an issue that will likely be addressed. If for no other reason, that a lot of other schools are going to want to rein in some expenses.
I suppose this is the natural result of the money that is in college football. Every major conference program has done significant improvements to facilities and academic support for recruiting. Now that money is looking for the next outlet.
Meanwhile in the ACC, the question that looms out there is the future of an ACC Network. Reports came out last week that VT AD Whit Babcock said there would be a channel up and running in 2016. Um, no.
“I said that I hoped we would have some kind of clarity, one way or the other, by the end of the calendar year,” Babcock told me Tuesday evening via phone, “and we’d likely get an update at our meetings in May. That was it. I’m quite sure that’s what I said. I’m always very careful about what I say on the (subject).”
That’s likely as the ACC and ESPN have an agreement in their media rights contract that would force ESPN to pay each ACC member an additional $2-3 million per year if nothing is done by the end of 2016. Given the cost-cutting at ESPN in the past year, it seems unlikely they will want to tack on an extra $28-42 million per year on their ACC deal without getting anything.
This was a good breakdown on what ESPN and the ACC will likely agree to by the end of 2016. This is the most likely outcome.
The Hybrid ACC Network – streaming + TV
This is the model that’s gaining steam. Wes Durham has favored this model for a number of years, and there are some existing similar models. The WWE Network is subscriber based streaming network, that is starting to turn a profit having reached the break even number of subscribers of 1 Million a $9.99 at month. MLB.TV is also a possible model and maybe the likely platform model the ACC Network could follow.
That service remains limited to out-of-market games for live coverage, with the ability to watch in-market games on replay. MLB’s deal with Fox reinforces the idea that if you want to watch your home team play, you’ll need a pay TV subscription.
Just substitute ESPN here for FOX. There’s even team specific packages. MLB TV had over 3 Million Subscribers. If the ACC could just get 500,000 full subscribers at $100 a year for a Digital Channel that’s $50,000,000.
That is the most likely thing. The downside — in addition to fans having to shell out extra just for an ACC package — is that it makes it harder to grow popularity of the ACC teams if they are more limited in where they appear. To say nothing of being able to get together with friends in a bar to watch some of the games if they aren’t on the Mouse Monopoly.
Still, it could be worse. You could be stuck with the Big 12’s limitations or the continuing problems for the Pac-12 getting their channels shown.
They have come on board at a time of growing frustration with the Pac-12 Networks and the number of night games, and they are made aware of the issues by athletic department personnel that itself is frustrated and deals weekly with frustrated fans and donors.
The pivot point, in my estimation, came in early September, when Scott was furiously attempting to cut a deal for Pac-12 Networks carriage on DirecTV. The window he had waited for – AT&T’s purchase of the satellite carrier — had seemingly created an opportunity to jump-start the negotiations and reach an agreement. Scott cut the best deal he could and took it to the CEOs …
And it was rejected by an 11-0 vote, with one abstention (Washington State).
Eleven. To. Nothing.
The best deal Scott could get.
The situation left many wondering why Scott even bothered to ask the CEOs for approval in the first place. Didn’t he realize it was a bad deal for the campuses? Was he that desperate to save face, to close a deal with DTV to salvage his Pac12Nets? Did he understand the ramifications for the membership? (Scott told me he felt obligated to take the deal to the CEOs for a vote.)
Frustration is real and ubiquitous on the front lines, and the conference office is a few months away from I would term a nightmare scenario: Fans within the footprint being unable to watch football games on the Pac12Nets because of the push to regional programming.
As much as I hated how many of the Pitt basketball games ended up only streamed on ESPN3, it beats not being able to watch at all.