Bradley Associate Athletic Director Bobby Parker offers his take on Bradley Athletics and the sporting world in general in his "Blogging with BP" feature on BradleyBraves.com.
It's been a few days since I posted an entry and there are so many topics I want to address, but time is of the essence. Here are some random thoughts:
Johnny Football and the Future of College Athletics
I am a huge college football fan, but like everyone else, I am tired of hearing about Johnny Manziel (btw, my favorite spin-off nickname is Johnny Sharpie in Gene Wojciechowski's "Getting the Season Started" column today on ESPN.com). But the case of Johnny Manziel and his right to sign autographs for pay, coupled with the on-going EA Sports lawsuit, in my opinion is going to create a seismic shift in college athletics. As for the "pay-to-sign" scenario: the ban on such opportunities is tied more to old NCAA initiatives to create a level playing field for all moreso than maintaining amateurism standards, at least as I see it. Imagine how the bidding war for recruits would escalate if schools could guarantee $$$ for autograph signings. I have a solution that I think falls in line with the root of the EA Sports suit.
At the end of the day, many student-athletes believe they should be paid. I'm not talking about funding their education, but rather cash in hand. A former student-athlete myself (New Mexico State swimmer - I was so good they dropped the program, literally breaking the mold), I am against flat out paying student-athletes. With the ever escalating costs of higher education, the concept of funding that education, either in part or in full, and providing the long list of benefits that go along with being a student-athlete (travel, meals, gear, notoriety, tutoring, healthcare, personal training, etc.) is ample enough payment. However, I do believe student-athletes are entitled to profit from their own names and likenesses. Selling jerseys and likenesses by outside sources without payment crosses the line in my view.
Licensing organizations already are in place and they should be capabable of accounting for the sale of names and likenesses and the assignment of the appropriate royalties into student-athlete escrow accounts. I would make those funds available to the individual student-athletes only after graduation, but would be open to a discussion regarding the appropriate distribution of those funds. The more popular student-athletes would generate more royalties, which is how our society works. And back to the autograph angle, why not license those, too. Johnny Manziel and Joe Lineman all could sign away at the end of their annual NCAA compliance meeting. All items are registered with the NCAA Clearinghouse before being placed on the NCAA auction website. Ten percent of each sale is placed into the student-athlete's escrow account, while someone else higher up the NCAA ladder can determine how to spend the other 90 percent.
I mentioned the current pay-for-sign autograph ban and similar NCAA rules were created to support the level playing field. The basis is that all schools in Division I, Division II and Division III play by their same respective rules. I think Division IV is on the way, a division with no rules. If you can do it, then do it, don't let me stop you. If you think you can pay your student-athletes $100,000, go crazy. If you want 50 coaching staff members, hire away. Let the market dictate how you run your business, not a central rule-making office. This might be an extreme example, but the amount of money flowing into major college football programs, though still a select few, is pretty mind-blowing and they are getting more-and-more creative with how to spend that money. See the new Oregon Football Facility and the Alabama football staff as examples.
Change is coming.
Las Vegas Times Announced
The Missouri Valley Conference men's and women's basketball schedules are expected to be announced in the very near future, but as we await word on those 18 games, I do have one small update for the men's basketball schedule: Bradley's game times for the two games at the South Point Holiday Classic Dec. 20-21 in Las Vegas have been provided. The Braves will play Portland Dec. 20 at 5 p.m. in Las Vegas, 7 p.m. Central; and will face Pacific Dec. 21 at 5:30 p.m. local, 7:30 p.m. Central. Both games will be played at the South Point Arena and Equestrian Center at South Point Casino.
Wide Open Valley Soccer Schedule
The Missouri Valley Conference preseason men's soccer poll was released yesterday and it is one of the more bizarre polls I have seen. Better than 70 percent (5-of-7) of the teams received at least one first-place vote. With two first-place votes each, Bradley and Evansville shared the most, yet Bradley finished fourth in the preseason vote of head coaches. Only five poll points separated first-place SIU Edwardsville (40) from fourth-place Bradley (35). Another example of why we play the games. Nobody knows.
Welcome Back to the Bigs Rob
Former Bradley pitcher Rob Scahill once again has been recalled from Triple-A to the Colorado Rockies roster. Now in his third stint this season, and fourth overall, on the Big League roster, Scahill was recalled last week and pitched 2.0 scoreless innings of relief Saturday at Miami in a 3-0 loss. Working exclusively out of the bullpen, Scahill is 5-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 23 Triple-A appearances in between his stints with the Rockies. More impressive, Scahill has made 14 appearances out of the Rockies bullpen with a 3.86 ERA. He has allowed nine runs in those 14 appearances, but five without recording an out June 7 at San Diego. In his other 13 appearances at the MLB level, Scahill boasts a 1.71 ERA. Remove that one poor outing and his career MLB ERA drops even lower to 1.52 in 19 career appearances. It is just a matter of time until his solidifies a permanent spot in the Majors, and maybe with this last recall, that time is now.
My final stop on this random thoughts parade takes me to the local business owner. Big box stores have their place, but I try to support the local business as often as I can. One of my favorites in Peoria is Fred's Shoe Repair at the corner of University Street and Forest Hill Avenue in central Peoria. Though the store is focused on shoe repair, the staff at Fred's can do it all and I have yet to come across a more courteous staff. They have extended the life of numerous pairs of shoes for me and made repairs to all things leather in our household. I dropped off a pair of softball mitts this morning with the intent of having them re-lace one and repair the pocket of another. Rather than just take the money and do the entire re-lace job, the man behind the counter reviewed all of the options with me, outlining the prices for each, and made a much simpler and less expensive repair recommendation. I'll have both gloves tomorrow and I bet they both will be as good as new. Actually, even better than new, since they both already are broken in.
Until next time ...
Blogging with BP
Aug. 22, 2013: BP's Bucket List
Aug. 20, 2013: Bradley Soccer Promotions Review
Aug. 19, 2013: Bahamas Delinquency and Soccer Hype
Aug. 15, 2013: Random thoughts from the Bahamas
Aug. 14, 2013: A true Hall of Famer
Aug. 12, 2013: Perspective Check Monday
Aug. 11, 2013: Travel recap
Aug. 9, 2013: Live Stats for the Summer of Thunder Classic
Aug. 8, 2013: Bradley Athletics Provides Family-Friendly Entertainment Options
Aug. 7, 2013: Recapping the Bahamas Preview Luncheon and Scrimmage
Aug. 6, 2013: Check out the Bradley Team Store
Aug. 5, 2013: Introduction and Bahamas Preview
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