Advocacy group says college football players worth over $100K

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Thanks to another round of conference expansion and the start of the 2011 season, the issue of whether college football players should be paid that simmered over the summer has been shoved into the background.

Thanks to an advocacy group, that issue will likely be back out front yet again.

The National College Players Association, headed by former UCLA linebacker Ramogi Huma, will release a report Tuesday titled “The Price of Poverty in Big Time College Sport”, which will claim college football players at the Div. 1-A (FBS) level are worth on average $121,000 annually to their respective schools.  At schools such as Texas, that number would swell to over $500,000 a year.

The NCPA came to their conclusion by taking the pro models for revenue sharing and applying it to the collegiate level.

The report, obtained by the Associated Press ahead of its release, will apparently focus on three proposals for paying college football and basketball players:

  • Schools should be required to take revenues and put them into what’s being called an “educational lockbox”, which players could tap into after their eligibility has expired or they’ve graduated.  It’s unclear how this would help the players during their playing careers.
  • Players should be permitted to pursue endorsement deals, with some of the money earmarked for the “lockbox” as well as defraying some of the cost of attending college that a scholarship doesn’t cover.  Speaking of which…
  • Schools should make up the difference between what a schoalrship pays for and the actual cost of attendance.  The report will state that that number falls between $952 to $6,127, depending on the college.

As to the group’s points, the first one will likely never, ever happen, at least with the current group currently occupying the positions of power.  There are far too many hurdles to overcome, first and foremost Title IX compliance, to allow that to come to fruition.  There are also some concerns that, if the students are paid, they would then become university employees, which would open up the college game to unionization.  That’s the last thing the NCAA and school administrators would want.

“Dr. Emmert has been similarly clear that paying student-athletes a salary is in no way on the table,” the NCAA, which has not seen the report, said in a statement.

As to the second point, that likely won’t happen as well but it should, at least to some extent.  There is simply no good reason why players are not paid for their images being used in video games licensed by the NCAA, nor is there any reason why a player should not get a cut from the sale of jerseys with their number on it.

The third solution proposed by the group, has a very good chance of coming to fruition.  At a retreat last month that involved the discussion of myriad issues facing college football, school presidents/chancellors and conference commissioners were among the individuals who tackled the issue of “full cost of attendance“.  While no decision was made, it does appear to be headed in that direction.

Some schools in smaller conferences could, however, buck at such a proposal being enacted due to the costs involved.

The AP writes that “the Committee on Academic Performance is meeting this week to discuss the issue, and will make recommendations to the Division I Board of Directors next month.”

The report will also state that student-athletes — football and basketball players in particular — fall below the poverty line at 85 percent of schools due to the difference between scholarships and actual cost of attendance.

“The NCAA’s definition of amateurism has proven to be priceless to obscenely paid coaches, athletics administrators, and colleges but has inflicted poverty on college athletes,” the report will state.

Army on cusp of rare back-to-back bowl seasons for first time since 1984-85

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Army is taking on Temple on Saturday afternoon with a chance to punch the first postseason bowl ticket of the 2017 season. Other teams may already be bowl eligible, but Army will be the first team to have a chance to accept an invitation to a bowl game on Saturday if they can manage to get by the Temple Owls.

Army has a spot waiting for them in the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth as long as they are bowl-eligible this season. At 5-2, the Black Knights can start making their bowl plans as soon as they win one more game. If they do clinch their bowl eligibility on Saturday, it will be the first time Army will go to back-to-back bowl games for the first time since the 1984 and 1985 seasons. Army played in and won the short-lived Cherry Bowl in the 1984 season and the Peach Bowl in the 1985 season. After going to the Heart of Dallas Bowl last season for their first bowl trip since the 2010 season, Jeff Monken and his program are looking to make going to a bowl game a regular thing.

Army defeated Temple in the season opener a year ago, and Monken is aware that can be a motivating factor for Temple despite these Owls being a much different team from the AAC champions of last season.

”This is a tough football team that won their conference last year,” Monken said. ”They’ll have a ton of confidence and they feel as though they have to come in and win this game. We had the chance to come out with a win at their place, and I’m sure they’d love to return the favor.”

Monken took over the Army football program in 2014 after a successful run as head coach of Georgia Southern, then a powerhouse FCS program. His run at Army took a couple of years to get going, but Army has shed their losing ways under his watch, and that was highlighted by a long-awaited victory over Navy in last season’s Army-Navy Game. Picking up a win against Temple will continue to prove Army is continuing to improve as a program, and that also means Monken will potentially be finding himself on the radar in the coaching rumor mill. The Nebraska job has had some people mentioning Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo, but perhaps Monken would be a name to keep an eye on as well. As long as that means Army is winning games, so be it.

Keep in mind this would not be the first time Army would have back-to-back bowl eligible seasons since the mid-1980s. The Knights have had winning seasons on multiple occasions since last going to back-to-back bowl games, but the bowl game picture was quite different in the 1980s than it is today. With an oversaturation of bowl games available to schools today, Army stands a much better chance of going to a bowl game this season even with just six or seven wins than they would have 30 years ago.

Ohio State unveils alternate helmet for Penn State game

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Contrary to previous internet uniform rumors, Ohio State’s alternate helmet for their big division showdown with Penn State next week is far closer to home to the traditional Ohio State look than some of the outside-the-box helmet designs that had been floating around in various rumor mills in Ohio State circles lately.

Ohio State is rolling out with an alternate gray uniform, for some reason (recruiting!), next week when the Buckeyes host Penn State. And to keep the look from head to toe, Ohio State will wear a gray helmet with a slightly abstract pattern seemingly mimicking camouflage.

Two years ago when Ohio State hosted Penn State, the Buckeyes took the field in an all-black uniform. The Buckeyes have also worn all-white uniforms (excluding the helmet) for road games against Michigan and Penn State in recent seasons.

Penn State, barring any unforeseen announcements, will stick with their traditional all-white look for the road game. Although, Penn State did wear a specially designed uniform this season a few weeks ago. It’s a new era, so never say never.

Ohio State is off this week. Penn State hosts Michigan Saturday night. The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions meet in Columbus next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Big Ten lines up Thursday and Friday night football for 2018

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The Big Ten is planning ahead to buckle down and try to make Thursday night and Friday night football a thing in the conference. After breaking the ice on Thursday and Friday night football in the 2017 season, the conference has officially moved five games on the 2018 conference schedule to Thursday and Friday nights.

Purdue will host Northwestern in the Big Ten season opener on Thursday, August 30, marking the second straight season the Big Ten will kick off the college football season with a Thursday night football game. Indiana hosted Ohio State in a Thursday night season opener this season. The opening week of the season will continue the following night with Michigan State hosting Utah State and Wisconsin hosting Western Kentucky on Friday, August 21, 2018. This will mark the second straight season Wisconsin will open the season at home on a Friday night in Camp Randall Stadium. The Badgers hosted Utah State on Friday, September 1 this season.

The three games on Thursday and Friday night in the opening week of the 2018 season keeps the Big Ten on the primetime lineup on various TV partners between ESPN, FOX Sports, and the Big Ten Network, although the programming specifics will come later on. But the idea of adding games to Thursday and Friday nights has been designed to add programming to TV partners and add content across all partner networks as part of the latest contracts with ESPN and FOX, along with the Big Ten Network.

The Big Ten has moved two additional games Friday nights next season as well. Illinois will host Penn State on Friday, September 21, 2018. Minnesota will host Indiana on Friday, October 26, 2018.

In statement, Mark Dantonio says LJ Scott’s ‘status will be affected for Saturday’s game, but he will play’

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At least on the field, LJ Scott‘s latest boneheaded misstep won’t prove too costly.

Thursday, it was reported that Scott was arrested Wednesday for the seventh time in the last year and a half for driving on a suspended license or similar offense.  There was some question as to whether this latest off-field incident will cost the running back playing time for Michigan State’s game this weekend against Indiana.

In a statement, head coach Mark Dantonio said it would. Kinda.  Sorta.

In what has been a lengthy process, LJ Scott now has a valid driver’s license, free of any restrictions. He has resolved the matter completely, and has paid a price, both financially and publicly. His status will be affected for Saturday’s game, but he will play.

Scott currently leads the Spartans with 408 yards rushing and is tied for tops on the team with three rushing touchdowns.  He’s coming off a career-high 194 yards in last Saturday’s win over Minnesota.