College Football’s Money Tree

George Will writes here about the college football money tree. He begins by describing the head injuries that are the necessary result of playing the game of football and continues by describing the income derived from the play of the players, and the salaries paid to head football coaches.

The suggestion, is, of course, that this is a world beyond the control of college administrators.

For my “Questions About the NFL Concussion Settlement”, that shows how those players and the league have settled the issues concerning brain injury, go here. There is a NCAA lawsuit as well, but no settlement soon, I am told.

NCAA and Baseball Culture- Sunday Ramblings for March 31, 2013-

NCAA: I just watched the Michigan Wolverines demolish Florida to get to the Final Four. We all know what Final Four that is as this is NCAA Tournament time and all eyes, well at least mine, are on every game available. This is true even when my wife schedules dinner with friends during the Ohio State game against Wichita State. my friend Tom Hull and I were sitting opposite each other thinking about the game and I pulled out my Galaxy Cell phone and liking to March Madness and we were then watching the game, although only exciting as Ohio State came to life near the end. My wife read to me this morning a Times column on ‘Digital Etiquette’ especially the part about never putting a device on the table, but you can’t read the score if it’s in your pocket.

The game was to determine which team would move to the Final Four. I saw a very interesting article on Brackets those branching diagrams of proposed winners and finally, after seventy two teams have been whittled to two, a championship game on April 8. it seems that 8,150,000 Brackets were submitted to someone like ESPN, however, before yesterdays games, only 19 remained unblemished. Of course, most of those can now be tossed unless the Bracket listed Wichita State over Ohio State and the other victors. This is highly unlikely. That is one reason why I stopped filling out Brackets. The other is that I can’t stand it when some fifteen year old asks how I could have possibly made the choices I made and not be able to present an intelligent argument.

My continuing observation is that there are lots to very good basketball players in colleges, an abundance, in fact, and that’s why this tournament is so good.

BASEBALL CULTURE: I have posted predictions for the Major League season and in those made mention of baseball culture. This is more than but includes properly referring to Clubhouses and not to locker rooms, the latter being in elementary school hallways, and places where the back and forth games are played. Not putting a hat on a bed is important too, do that and you will have your next line drive caught by the pitcher. You must respect each bat because it only has so many hits in it and if you waste those in batting practice, you may go 0 -20. This is why some players take their bats to the hotel with them or keep them in the trunk of the car so the hit capacity is not diminished by someone touching the bat improperly. There is much more, and I will add to the lore from time to time.

Today, however, I want to explain why each baseball game is two games in one.  The first game is one that lasts six innings. It has its own cast of starting pitchers, regular players and such who play to get an advantage going into the three inning game. This is the seven eight and ninth innings and these innings have their own cast of set-up men, short relievers, and closers, as well as pinch hitters, pinch runners and defensive replacements.

Managers keep out of the six inning game as much as possible limiting their role to making out the line up and rescuing an inept starting pitcher. The manager’s proper role is maneuvering players into the game at the right time.

Baseball pennants are won by those teams that win the fifth game, both teams having lost two of the preceding four. Teams that win the fifth game finish with a .600 winning percentage and those that lose it are at .400. Look it up, its almost guaranteed

The season starts tonight. Let’ I can’t wait to see what happens after 1500 innings have been played by each of the 30 teams.

A Big Week in Sports: Spring Training, NFL, Hockey, NBA, NCAA Tournament

It just occured to me that this may be the most sports intensive week of the year. Where no major championships are on the line, virtually every major sports enterprise is in the news.

First, the NCAA tournament selections will occur tomorrow and fans are eager to see if their team, mine being the Minnesota Gophers, will make the “Big Dance.” Thirty one of the sixty-eight selections are automatic and go conference champions like Belmont of the Ohio Valley Conference, Florida Gulf Coast of the Atlantic Sun Conference, Liberty of the Big South, and Harvard of the Ivy League. The first action is the play-in round with the bottom four automatic teams playing the bottom four at-large teams for tournament spots. The methodology for selecting the at-large teams is a convoluted statistical system that picks teams based on difficulty of schedule, big wins and stuff like that. I think is sounds very random. Because of that, my Gophers may just make it.

Second, we are near the end of baseball’s Spring Training and the World Baseball Classic. As for Spring Training, it is an interesting period but its relevance will disappear on April 1 when the real season starts. As for the World Baseball Classic, I must admit this event is gaining some traction with the media and, it is assumed, fans around the world. With Puerto Rico’s defeat of the USA team, my own interest in the outcome lagged, but my interest in the event increased as this will be a more important event as time goes by.

Third, the NFL has the ability to remain in the forefront of media reports with its free agent period and coming league meetings. The NFL and Vikings ability to dominate the local media is an indication of its overall dominate position. The Vikings dominate by trading a disgruntled receiver, Percy Harvin, and then dominate by signing a free agent ex-Packer, Greg Jennings. Of great interest is the proposed rule change suggested by the Commissioner to make illegal helmet-first contact by a running back outside the “tackle box, ” that area of the field between the tackles and extending a few yards downfield. This is a major change in the way the game is played but is necessary given the concussion problem. This would make my high school football coach, Eddie Willamoski, angry as he thought the way to play was to plant your head in a tackler’s chest like a battering ram.

Fourth, the NBA is heading for playoffs with the unbeatable Heat leading the way. That doesn’t get much play here as our Wolves are well out of it. This has been a very discouraging year for the Wolves, who started well. The loss of All-Star Kevin Love has been devastating, but the loss of a single player should not doom a team that is otherwise solid. so there is a lesson there.

Lastly, hockey is dominating the local news with the Wild in second place in the NHL’s Northwest Division. So the team is playoff bound. Such is the local interest that the NHL is covered on page C8 of the Star Tribune. The big hockey stories are about the University of Minnesota Women’s and Men’s teams that are advancing in the WCHA Tournament. Of these teams, it is the Gopher Women who get the most interest. The women are 38-0, that’s right, 38-0 this year, and are the most dominant team Minnesota has ever had since the First Minnesota stopped Wilcox Confederates at Gettysburg in 1863. It is my favorite team and I think they will continue to win for a long time. Considering in-coming freshmen, this team will improve next year.

We can look forward to the frenetic NCAA tournament starting next week and extending until The Final Four April 6-8. The NHL and NBA playoffs will come with most interest local, as baseball takes over until the World Series, and the NFL season captivates us until the Super Bowl. That will take us into the new year and it all starts again. It is a wonderful time to be a sports fan. Go Gophs