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This and That in Early May in Auburn

By on May 3rd, 2018 in Football 6 Comments »

Alabama State’s marching band can put on quite the show!

     War Eagle, everybody! This week, I should be previewing Auburn’s second football opponent of the season. Auburn will host the Alabama State Hornets on September 8th. While I could try to make comparisons down through the various positions for this game, there really isn’t any comparison. Auburn should be able to name the score in this one, and I think everyone knows that.

     As an Alabama taxpayer, I applaud the Auburn brass for scheduling in-state schools for the annual FCS game. Why should Auburn hand money to FCS schools from Louisiana, or Tennessee, or Florida, when we have schools in this state that need the cash and would love the opportunity to come play a game at Jordan-Hare Stadium? I feel like it is just the right thing to do. We don’t have to send the money to Utah. Besides, the last time Auburn had Utah State visit, it took a late 2-touchdown miracle to avoid an upset!

     As to the game itself, it’s worth noting that Alabama State finished 5–6 last season, and averaged only 14 points per game on offense. Their lone FBS game last season was at Troy, where they were beaten 34–7. The season also saw losses to rivals Tuskegee, Prairie View, Alcorn State, and Grambling State.

     For Auburn, this game is a chance to fine tune things, and work on whatever issues remain from the season opener against Washington in Atlanta. Alabama State opens the season on September 1st at home against Tuskegee in the a Labor Day Classic White-out game.

     It’s that time of year again, where various rule changes and such are discussed. Of particular interest this year is that transfer rules are up for debate. Some of what is in the current canon needs to be changed, I believe, but I really don’t think wide-open free agency is the way to go. I don’t have a problem with players leaving, sitting out a year, and playing elsewhere at the same level. If they transfer to a lower division, they play immediately. Again, this isn’t a problem. What bothers me is when a school can block a player from transferring, or make it more expensive. The NFL gives us an idea of what to expect if the rules were really relaxed. Raise your hand if you think players hopscotching around the country from year to year has made that product more entertaining!

     The Ole Miss/Michigan drama involving quarterback Shea Patterson is an interesting one. Patterson has been allowed to transfer from the Rebels to the Wolverines and play immediately. Presumably, the rationale is that Ole Miss was hit with sanctions. And of course, both schools agreed to the deal. If sanctions are a valid reason for relaxing the transfer rules, shouldn’t that be part of the code? I think that needs to be addressed.

     Meanwhile, it’s that time of year for speculation around the country. Certain TV talking heads are touting the Mississippi schools as dark horses for the SEC West title this year. First off, I don’t think Ole Miss can win it, even if they go undefeated. Aren’t they still on probation? And their quarterback is suiting up for Michigan as well. In 26 years of division play, those 2 schools have exactly one trip to the SEC Championship game, and 1 co-championship.


  1. neonbets says:

    On transfer rules–I’m with you here. But it is difficult to resolve this issue without also addressing a payment stipend. Very quickly, we’re into the territory of fairness, compensation, and contractual obligation. On payments, for example, I think paying athletes sounds great until one gets into the details. There hasn’t been a real plan (ie one with details) offered that isn’t fraught with unintended consequences. I just don’t think it’s realistic.

    But if players aren’t going to be compensated monetarily, I believe their rights to transfer should (somehow) be on par with the school’s right to terminate a scholarship. [Which is rather amusing, considering that I just wrote about unintended consequences above!]

    Nonetheless… Bad Behavior? That cuts both ways. Of course get rid of the bad apples who carry guns and hurt women, etc., etc. But schools engage in bad behavior too. So, like Acid says, the NCAA should stand down with Patterson from Ole’ Miss. [And, what happens with a devoid-of-due-process-Title-IX claim? Why should a player–who can be deprived of a scholarship without any impartial hearing–not have the benefit of cutting ties with a school based on his (or her) own due-process-free claim of prejudice, racism, sexism (or any other ~~ism)?

    All this sounds just awful–so maybe students should get the benefit of an impartial hearing before getting kicked to the curb and having their reputations sullied. But hey–I’m old fashioned about things like due process. If not, if mere leegation suffices against the player—fine: Players should be able to move freely because of claims about ‘microaggressions’ and ‘institutionalized racism’.

    OK, but what about performance? If player doesn’t perform, he or she can lose her scholarship. So what if the program underperforms? [Back to unintended consequences…] Why is the player bound to a standard, but the program isn’t? If you say the player was part of that poor performing program, well–the coaching staff was a part of the player’s inability to improve. It cuts both ways

    And then you have after-the-fact revelations–which would now be an issue because–fundamentally– we are talking about compensation and obligation. If it should turn out there was undetected fraud or malfeasance during the time of performance, there should be consequences. Take UNC basketball–it failed to provide even a basic education to many of its players for more than 18 years. Some of those guys couldn’t even read at a 3rd grade level upon leaving. Player responsibility? I don’t know–I’m all for personal responsibility, but this just seems like a travesty. Those players were defrauded of a legit education, and should be compensated after the fact with full academic scholarships replete with tutoring. The school took them on, knowing of their academic deficiencies, therefore it shoulders the burden of filling in the academic gap.

    Obviously, I’ve gone down the rabbit hole–as these issues that all get quickly intertwined. And I know my blathering here went well beyond the scope of what you intended with your post. But we’re in the doldrums of late spring and early summer, so what the heck.

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..Not at all. Now is the time to discuss these things!

      …..I think players are paid. They get a free education and books and supplies. Room and board and food. Pretty awesome food, I found out! With a Pell Grant, there’s spending money, too. Not “going nuts” spending money, but enough to go out to eat once in a while and such. If the player is paying for the entire cost of operating a car (tag, insurance, repairs, gasoline), then money is tighter, but still doable.

      …..A college education is a big deal in the professional world. Most degrees way more than pay for themselves over time. In addition, an Auburn or Alabama football player will have doors open for them all over the state, with opportunities the general public doesn’t see.

      • uglyjoe says:

        I agree….and if a player is good enough to get to the next level, they are looking at bigly (pardon the term) money when that occurs. If the player is not good enough, they just got a free college education. Out of state tuition at Auburn is $25K+ per year, plus room and board. That is a good salary for a kid fresh out of high school.

        Kids on an academic scholarship have to maintain grades to maintain the scholarship. Suppose they are working in a lab with a professor for a stipend as part of financial aid….if the professor gets a large grant for their research, the student is not entitled to a salary increase or a bonus….sort of a flimsy analogy, but I think similar to the money that college sports brings in…..

        As for the transfer rule and the coach’s power to limit new destinations, I think of it as kind of a confidentiality agreement, which are executed in the business world everyday – I have no problem with it…..If the institution is at fault, allow litigation to determine the course of action, as with the Ole Miss quarterback.

        • neonbets says:

          Yeah, I’m with you on compensation. I always try to insert ‘monetary’ prior to compensation when discussing a stipend because I agree–just because they don’t get cash money, it doesn’t mean they aren’t ‘getting paid’.

          But if the deal is Play-for-Education, then why should players be limited in where they decide to take their talents?

          Consider this:

          According to data of 28 Division I universities obtained by through open records requests, five schools provided multiyear scholarships to 10 percent or more of their athletes in 2013-14. Fifteen schools had 1 percent or less of their scholarship athletes on multiyear agreements. Five schools provided no multiyear scholarships.

          So, the 18 year old player (who needed guardian consent) signed a one year school-only option. Schools for the most part can terminate each year, but player cannot transfer (without significant penalty).

          But coaches can ‘transfer’. (Coaches can also sign multi-million dollar shoe deals.) Other kids on scholarship can transfer. But kids playing sports can’t transfer.

          Then, consider this ridiculous feature in these contracts: The schools are not required to provide healthcare to the injured athlete

          More unfairness.

          Now, you may say–‘So what? Player signed the deal, too bad.’

          But this level of unfairness–in contacts signed with 18 year-olds– may actually be too one-sided for the non-profit?! NCAA and its schools to actually enforce.

          I’m with Jason on this one.

  2. Jason Wright says:

    Not for, "players hopscotching around the country." But a rule change has been needed for a long time that eliminates a school's power to control a list of schools a player wants to transfer to. It's not right for a school or coach to have that kind of power over a student's future.

  3. jasonara says:

    I agree that college education is a big thing. It gives opportunities in the future. In addition, a lot of useful knowledge can be obtained from online resources. For example, how to make a Java calculator, how to a cv, how to make a presentation, etc. Therefore, it’s possible to combine these two methods of training, in order to have the most recent and valuable knowledge to date.