Morning folks. Remember Friday's mailbag and to listen to Press Row with David Paschall and the boneheaded TFP sports editor on ESPN 105.1 FM and here on timesfreepress.com from 3-6 today.
From the "Talks too much" studios, my Adidas, walk through concert doors and roam all over coliseum floors.
There is a change on the horizon, and it will make the new College Football Playoff look like a speed bump by comparison.
The NCAA meetings are going on in San Diego, and want to know what could change?
How about anything and everything? As TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer tells us here.
The first wave of change will be "full cost of attendance" and it will be the catch phrase for the big five conferences to dictate what the terms or the options the rest of college athletics will have to chase.
The SEC, the ACC, the Big 12, the Big Ten and the Pac-12 have made it clear that if they are not allowed to explore options to provide more money to student-athletes they will explore other options, up to and including breaking off from the NCAA and forming their own college sports organization. Without those 65 or so teams, the other 280-plus Division I teams would struggle to survive. But can the unfunded majority, who most likely will not be able to afford "the full cost of attendance" or a stipend and surely will not be able to match the numbers the Big Five conference schools can offer, be able to survive on a playing field made even more uneven by different rules for different members?
And yes, football has always been a slanted field, but are we ready for a day in the NCAA tournament when the UK point guard gets an extra $5K a year compared to his counterpart from Butler when those teams meet in the Sweet 16?
Add to that the entire wave of change that likeness and autograph rights may allow schools with high-profile stars and even higher-profile boosters. (And if you think Big State U. is not going to find a way to make sure a slew of its more accomplished players are not doing regularly scheduled autograph shows, and to make doubly sure that the crew of five-star high school seniors know about said perks, well, then, we don't know what to tell you.)
Yes, the NCAA needs an overhaul, a fact made apparently clear by the total debacle that has been a consistently mismanaged organization that is slow react and obtuse to the core and to its surroundings. It needs to be burned to the ground and rebuilt.
But the proposed changes of compensating athletes is not an overhaul, it's a distraction. It's a sleight of hand that is not the NCAA's idea or in its best interest. It's an opportunistic and well-timed strike by those that can afford it to get what they want and make sure they will continue to get the best TV deals, players and donations no matter what the future may hold.
Maybe it's time that athletes share in the pot of gold that TV dollars have delivered? Maybe not? Who knows, and those options should be explored under a new leadership model that is based on fairness and equality across college sports.
This is not that model or that scenario.
This is the big conferences continuing to strengthen their hold on the eyes and the wallets of college sports. This is an NCAA too weak to do anything but acquiesce and rather than be doomed to a complete reconstruction, Mark Emmert and the NCAA powers that be are willing to let the powerful rule as long as the NCAA gets to pretend its ruling the powerful.
It may be time to share with the players, and for those of us who have always believed and stated that they do pay players and college scholarships are worth the effort, well, that argument becomes a little watered-down when Nick Saban's making roughly $600,000 a month.
But if you are waving the banner of paying players out of fairness and agree with this direction, why should there only be select sharing and why is the NCAA protecting the power leagues?
This is no more about sharing or rewarding players than the NFL's new concussion rules are about safety. This is about plausible deniability and contract insulation. this about the NCAA - and more importantly the power leagues - protecting themselves from future lawsuits not unlike the one Ed O'Bannon is leading against the NCAA and EA Sports. This is keeping the revenue stream safe, not sharing the wealth.
Who knows? But we know this - change is coming and the radical change that may happen will forever change college football.
Will it be for the good or the bad?
The questions are endless about this year's NFL Final Four.
Does the quarterback make the team or does the team make the quarterback?
Will 20 points be plenty to win the fight that will be the Seahawks-49ers? And how much jawing will Richard Sherman and Anquan Boldin do through the game?
Is there a more fitting matchup that Manning-Brady in the AFC title game?
Let's expand on this last one.
Manning has authored a Hall of Fame career and has one Super Bowl title. He could - if his health and want allow - stick around for another three years and break almost every meaningful career passing number. Brady has authored a Hall of Fame career and has three Super Bowl titles. His numbers are not as overwhelming, but they never had to be. We can say that since he became the starting quarterback, Brady and the Pats have been more than a four-point underdog seven times - and one of those was being a 7.5-point 'dog against Houston last year in the regular-season finale in a game the Texans needed and was meaningless to the Pats. (New England is 5-2 straight-up and 6-1 against the number in those games, and are a 4.5-underdog Sunday.)
If Manning could get to and win another Super Bowl, he likely will be viewed as the best ever - two titles and his stats are going to win a lot of arguments. If Brady gets to another Super Bowl that would be a record sixth Super Bowl start, and if he wins his fourth, well, he would only strengthen an already strong argument as the best ever.
It's simply the best individual rivalry in sports today, and there's a lot on the line here. There always is.
Manning is 4-10 against Brady and the Pats overall and 1-2 against them in the AFC playoffs and 1-1 in AFC title games. Say what you want about "Most of those games were in New England" the numbers are the numbers.
Add to these singular stakes that Manning will have a neck examine in March, and while he has posted a season for the ages on his surgically-repaired neck, if the doctors come back and say, "Yeah, about that..." Dude, it's a neck injury and those are scary. This could be the last time we see this glorious match-up and this could be the final time Manning has a chance to become a multiple Super Bowl winner.
This one's going to be good.
UTC trio dismissed
Three UTC football players were dismissed last week for a violation of athletic department policy. TFP all-around ace Stephen Hargis has the story here.
The most notable name on that list is wide receiver Terrell Robinson, who has run the gamut of experiences at UTC. Running back Kenny Huitt and reserve Will Sharpton are the other two.
Know what this means in the grand scheme of things? Very little. There are 63-plus (the number of scholarships plus walk-ons) students involved in the football program, which would be roughly the size of a medium-to-big fraternity on most campuses, and after being part of a large fraternity in college, we can say with ZERO hesitation, there is way more trouble with the law and rules at non-athletic groups than with the sports teams.
That's the way it goes. And when that trouble finds a familiar name off one of the more popular teams, the story escalates. Does that mean this is nothing? Of course not. But it also does not mean that there is trouble in the UTC football house either.
How many dumb mistakes did you make in your late teens and early-20s? We made too many to count (and made most of them in a state that we could not remember anyway).
This is not a sign of trouble or a vendetta or any subertfuge tactic on anyone's part. This is not a precursor or a warning light.
This is life, and life happens. And how you deal with it is a measure of character.
Here's hoping Terrell, Kenny and Will find the next best path for them, and we continue to believe the Mocs program in general is on the upward track.
So it goes.
This and that
- The Vols beat Auburn 78-67, showing that the speed mismatch from November did not carry over to the hardwood. Make no mistake, we are still very leery of these Vols and beating Auburn is far from a good win. But "far from a good win" is way better than a bad home loss - like last Saturday.
- Mr. Wade (if you please) and the Mocs go to App State tonight for a college basketball game. You can follow TFP hoops beat David Uchiyama on Twitter (@UchiyamaCTFP) for live updates throughout and read complete coverage in Friday's TFP. Also, JR Reynolds will have the game live on the radio at ESPN 105.1 FM
- Clayton Kershaw aggreed to a seven-year, $215 million contract with the Dodgers. Wow that's a lot of cabbage, and Kershaw reportedly joins Michael Jordan as the only team-sport athlete to average more than $30 per year in salary. As Darren Rovell tweeted Wednesday, Kershaw will make about $147,000 per inning pitched for the next seven years; Sandy Koufax made $130,000 in his final season in the big leagues.
- But in regard to crazy salaries, former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden, who returned to action for the Miami Heat last night with six points and two rebounds, has made a shade less than $24 million playing basketball. After last night, the injury-plagued Oden has played 83 games.
- Word is that Georgia has lost another defensive coach as linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti has headed to the NFL. Does this mean that new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt could bring former UT DC Sal Sunseri, who coached linebackers under Pruitt at FSU last year, back to the SEC. Please say yes, please say yes... SAAALLLLL!!!
- Jashon Robertson, a stud lineman from MBA in Nashville has decommitted from Vandy and is now pledged to the Vols. Wow, the 'Dores class is getting slammed.
Apparently Adidas is bring back the old-school Stan Smith tennis shoe (the basic white shoe with the green trim).
What is your Rushmore of old-school sneakers? The white Nike with the red swoosh and the blue line on the side of the sole was a classic. So were Converse Weapons (we had an orange pair back in the day). The first line of Air Jordans of course. What are we missing?
Plainly, do you think college athletes should be paid a stipend or get revenue from their likenesses/jersey sales or autographs?
Discuss and release the hounds.