NDtex25: Week 3

Yes, yes, I know a game has already been played in Week 4 and I’m horribly behind.  I apologize, but the job that actually pays the bills got quite a bit hectic this week.  On top of that, I attempted to write a conference realignment post which became worthless twice, so that was a fantastic idea.

Ideally my rankings will be up Tuesday or Wednesday before any football is played.  Some weeks it may not happen, but I’ll do my best to stick to it.

Anyways, the experiment that is the NDtex25 continues to be crazier than expected.  I thought I’d see a lot more stabilization this week. In some ways, I did.  In others, I had some more wtf results.

As of right now, I fear that I am too generous with my three plus possession multiplier in margin of victory (if you are lost, you should probably read the original post for this craziness).  I’m still hoping this will level out by season’s end; however, it is definitely clear that teams that beat some middle-of-the-road-opponents in such a manner (and I’m talking ranked around 50-80 or so) seem to be seriously reaping the benefits.  It’s taking a lot of willpower on my end to let this experiment ride out, but I definitely feel that this is an area that will need to see some serious tweaks down the road if this doesn’t level out in a few more weeks.

Having a preseason NDtex25 would probably help as well, but I decided not to do that…oh well.

Anyways, here is your NDtex25 for Week 3:

RankTeamFinal ScorePrevious RankAP RankCoaches' Rank
1Oklahoma State110.251576
2Ohio10822NRNR
3Oklahoma107.25311
4Texas105.581918
5Georgia Tech105.2522524
6Clemson10552122
7Nebraska1043499
8Boise State100.252144
9LSU981823
10Vanderbilt97.7516NRNR
11Illinois969NRNR
12Utah95.555NRNR
13Virginia Tech93.75371311
14USF90.571817
15Texas A&M89.253888
16Alabama88.751132
17Kansas State88.584NRNR
18San Diego State87.553NRNR
19Auburn87.523NRNR
20Texas Tech87.2585NRNR
21Stanford86.51455
22Wyoming86.586NRNR
23Florida85.5271515
24USC844223NR
25FIU8417NRNR

Knocked Out (Previous Rank): Bowling Green (1), Navy (4), UCF (6), Mississippi State (10), Kentucky (12), Houston (13), Michigan State (19), South Carolina (20), Arkansas (24), Missouri (25)

Just Missing the Cut: Michigan, Wisconsin, Houston, Louisville, South Carolina

Despite the Big XII completely falling apart at the seams and the fake Dan Bebee going on a Twitter rant of epic proportions, they are completely dominating the NDtex25.  There are six Big XII teams in the NDtex25, three of which are in the top five.  Believe me, this isn’t some kind of southern bias as all three of the teams in my own top five are vomit inducing.  All these teams have benefited, in the most part, from big wins.  Texas, however, benefits from holding on against teams that had a decently high ranking from last week, so I would expect them to start to plummet at their current rate, despite the blowout win against UCLA.

The conference with the second most (five teams)? The SEC (commence S-E-C chant for coming in second place to THE FREAKING BIG XII).

Everyone’s favorite BCS buster, Boise State, has finally cracked my top 10, but were leapfrogged by Ohio whose blowout wins against an overrated New Mexico State and Marshall, helped them jump from 22.  If any Ohio fan is reading this blog (highly doubtful), enjoy it while it lasts because your two blowout wins are about to be seriously devalued next week.  New Mexico State checks in at 85 and Marshall sits at 114.  So yes, the balancing out will continue for these MAC team that continue to be overrated.

The previous MAC-daddy on top of the NDtex25, Bowling Green, suffered a loss to the powerhouse that is Wyoming (hilariously ranked 22 this week for beating the “number one team”), which dropped them down to 35 this week.  My crazy formulas giveth and taketh away quite equally.

The worst team in the nation according to me: UAB.  Being blown out by Florida is forgivable, but being blown out by freaking Tulane is a joke.  Hang your head in shame.

And to close, it’s time to focus on how these rankings treat Notre Dame and their opponents:

  • ND’s Rank: 32 (YAY victory against an overrated Michigan State!)
  • Opponent Ranks
    • USF: 14 (Man we make people look good)
    • Michigan: 26 (Michigan falling out of my own top 25 makes that loss that much harder to swallow)
    • Michigan State: 67 (Like I said, losses severely punished, previous rank was 19!)
    • Pitt: 61 (Playing a FCS team and blowing a 17 point lead does you no favors)
    • Purdue: 40 (Shockingly high rating in my opinion)
    • Air Force: 100 (Sucks to be them)
    • USC: 24 (Vomit…)
    • Navy: 41 (beating South Carolina would’ve helped)
    • Wake Forest: 54 (Again, surprisingly high)
    • Maryland: 65 (They can thank Miami for winning)
    • Boston College: 116 (losing to Duke hurts, also lolBC)
    • Stanford: 14 (Still holding on strong to their top 25 slot)

NDtex25: Week 2 (And Week 1 Corrections!)

Well, thank God I decided that I should back up results every week because after I entered in data for Week 2, I noticed that my code had some serious errors.  Taking a look back at Week 1, I noticed that some of these errors appeared there as well so I started over.

I knew there would be some crazy results, so things didn’t look so bad.  Glad I paid more attention this time around!

Although even my best intentions about blew up in my face when I managed to delete my entire database while trying to restore it (I swear only I could do that), I managed to do a lot of database rebuilding through a few files.  Thankfully didn’t have to re-enter everything manually and was able to piece everything back together.

Anyways, me being me and finding hilarious ways to screw up my own programming aside, I have got everything in order.  This should be the last speed bump and hopefully I can now start thinking of ways to input this faster to save myself a ton of time.

With all that being said, here are your corrected NDtex25 rankings for Week 1:

RankTeamScore
1Bowling Green111.5
2Clemson110.75
3Oklahoma109.5
4Mississippi State105.25
5Kentucky104.5
6Illinois104
7Texas102
8Missouri99.25
9Northern Illinois98
10South Carolina96.5
11Texas A&M96.5
12LSU96.5
13BYU92.75
14Stanford91.75
15Cal90.25
16Oklahoma State90
17Alabama89.5
18Colorado State87.75
19Ohio87.25
20Hawaii87.25
21FIU85.25
22Boise State85.25
23Maryland84
24Pittsburgh81.75
25Florida80.5

Just missing the cut: Ohio State, Michigan, USF, Auburn, West Virginia

Bowling Green bumps up from a #2 to #1 and previous #1 Mississippi State falls to #5 in the corrected rankings.  Boise State was another winning from the corrections, heading into the top 25, ready to bust up the BCS.

Notre Dame also benefited slightly with a one spot jump from 49 to 48 in the rankings as well.

Using these corrected rankings, we now move on to week 2:

RankTeamScorePrevious Rank
1Bowling Green1131
2Georgia Tech111.2576
3Oklahoma106.53
4Navy105.7583
5Clemson1052
6UCF10598
7USF103.2528
8Texas101.57
9Illinois100.56
10Mississippi State99.54
11Alabama97.7517
12Kentucky965
13Houston95.7542
14Stanford92.7514
15Oklahoma State9016
16Vanderbilt88.75101
17FIU8821
18LSU8812
19Michigan State86.7582
20South Carolina84.7510
21Boise State8222
22Ohio81.2519
23Auburn81.2519
24Arkansas80.2570
25Missouri79.758

Fell out of NDtex25 (Previous Ranking in parenthesis):  Northern Illinois (9), Texas A&M (11), BYU (13), Cal (15), Colorado State (18), Hawaii (20), Maryland (23), Pittsburgh (24), Florida (25)

Just missing the cut: Tulsa, Florida, Arkansas State, Cal, BYU

Where Is ND Ranked? 87 (I guess we can take solace that USF is ranked 7 now?)

There is quite a bit of movement this week.  This is mostly due to the fact so many teams had BYE weeks or played FCS teams which aren’t counted in the rankings.  It was interesting to note though, that many of the teams that stayed idle or played a FCS team, paid for it.

One exception though, is top ranked Bowling Green who hilariously holds on to their top spot despite facing a FCS team to stay basically idle.  However, the other shoe should drop next week as Idaho continues to fall in the rankings (now 79), which will make that victory’s W/L point total continue to fall.

The other interesting case are teams that fell in the NDtex25 while still winning their games: Kentucky and South Carolina.  It’s hard to feel sorry for Kentucky falling based on their absolutely horrid opening game and they very well could’ve lost to UCF last week.  I would definitely expect their ranking to continue to drop at this rank.  South Carolina has pretty much victimized themselves as well by letting opponents hang around, leading to low victory margins and ANTY.

Next week, I think we will start to see the first signs of stabilization.  Just about everyone has a game in against a FBS team with a couple of low ranked exceptions, and the initial blowouts against bad teams will continue to be exposed as the season moves on.  Plus, since we are taking averages for the other two metrics (ANTY and TO Margin), those too will level out as the season progresses.

I do have some concerns about the margin and ranking multipliers, but in all honesty that really won’t expose itself until late in the season as well.  As much as I want to tinker around with my formula on occasion, I will let this experiment ride out to the season’s conclusion, even if the rankings start going off the rails.

NDtex25: Week 1

After much coding, debugging, several headaches, and far too much data entry, the first ever NDtex25 is ready.

For those that are confused or need a refresher on my crazy attempt at a formula, I suggest you check out my post on the matter.  There is one addition though from that post: I have added tie breakers.  If two or more teams happen to have the same score after everything is said and done, tie breakers will be done according to the following rankings: W/L points, ANTY, and then Avg TO Margin.

If teams are still tied by then, hurray alphabetical order!

Anyways, as expected, week 1 did have some rather hilarious outcomes, but for the most part, it isn’t too outrageous.  If you remember, this week is a little strange since I had to do an “initial ranking” based solely on ANTY and Avg TO Margin which created some of the insanity that you will see below.  I would assume that if I came up with a preseason rating, things would be a little more balanced out, but overall, I’m happy with the results and some rather big name teams do make an appearance.

So without further ado, here are the NDtex25 for week 1:

Rank Team Score
1 Mississippi State 112.75
2 Bowling Green 112.5
3 Stanford 110.25
4 Oklahoma 109.5
5 Texas 108.5
6 Illinois 108.5
7 Clemson 105.25
8 Texas A&M 102
9 Northern Illinois 100.5
10 BYU 97.75
11 Missouri 96.75
12 LSU 96.5
13 Maryland 95
14 Ohio State 94.75
15 Kentucky 94.5
16 South Carolina 92.5
17 Florida State 91.5
18 Colorado State 90.25
19 Wisconsin 90
20 Oklahoma State 87
21 Auburn 85.5
22 Hawaii 83.25
23 Pittsburgh 80.25
24 Michigan 80.25
25 West Virginia 79.25

Just missing the cut: Boise State, Cal, Ohio, Syracuse, Alabama.

Your leader in the clubhouse is Mississippi State with the MAC powerhouse that is Bowling Green nibbling oh so close behind.

Other crazy notables in this initial ranking are Auburn despite damn near falling on their face.  Michigan somehow manages to squeeze their way in despite not playing a full game.  Even though Kentucky played something that really didn’t resemble football, they appear as well.

Stanford and Oklahoma though grab a rather expected high ranking, with Texas rounding out the top 25 to my surprise.  Texas A&M has also held on to their preseason hype by finding themselves in the top 10 as well.  LSU probably wins for most hosed after beating Oregon soundly.

The worst team in the nation? Congrats to San Jose State, who managed to mimick Terrelle Pryor’s wonderlic score of 7, creates plenty of distance between them and team number 119: Akron (final score: 14.5).

Where does ND fall in this ranking?  Well, despite the 5th best ANTY in the nation, the worst Avg TO Margin and an awful loss smacked the Irish down to 49.  You will find such powerhouses like FIU, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, and Kent State above them.

Four of ND’s future opponents, Stanford, Maryland, Pittsburgh and Michigan are in the top 25.  The rest of ND’s opponents rank as follows:

  • Michigan State – 81
  • Purdue – 40
  • Air Force – 66
  • USC – 32
  • Navy – 82
  • Wake Forest – 55
  • Boston College –  47

Like I said, overall, I’m pleased with the results.  I do expect things to move around quite a bit once the wins and losses start piling up and some of the “big wins” end up being laughable before it’s all said and done.  The main goal of the rankings worked fairly well though: teams that won rose well above teams that didn’t for the most part.  For those teams that played FCS games, they got punished worse than I thought.  Sparty and Navy for instance are ranked over 80, landing only above teams that got absolutely destroyed last week.  I guess that punishment is working quite well so far.

I can’t wait to see next week’s results.  Remember, the W/L opponent rank will be determined by the previous week so we will likely have some more hilarity as teams with some clearly lopsided rankings benefit their opponents should they beat them.

Experiment for the Season: The NDtex25

For this season, I thought it would be a little fun to do a bit of an experiment with college football rankings.  I make absolutely zero promises on this working out to make any sense at all, but I figure it’s worth a shot anyways.  Yes, I know, it’s another crazy formula in a sport that has too many already, but I’m a sports nerd, deal with it.

My goal here was to make the formula as simple as possible, but also try to find good metrics to separate teams.  I want to keep conference biases out of the equation and I don’t want preseason rankings to matter either.  Also, despite them being removed from BCS rankings, I firmly believe that margin of victory matters.  Finally I want to make sure wins are valued dynamically, that is, if you beat presesaon #1 in OU and OU finishes in the middle of the pack, that victory isn’t nearly as impressive.

So here’s what I’ve come up with.

Wins/Loses

Simply put, wins and losses matter; however, not every win or loss is created equal.  We often here analysts talk about “style points” regarding the margin of victory, even though they have long since been removed from BCS equations.  Of course, running up the score is something no ranking should encourage, but I think I’ve found a happy middle ground here.  In my mind, there are really three types of victories in a football game: a close win, a comfortable win, and a complete blowout.  My ranking will put all wins and losses into these three categories, defining each as follows:

  • Close Win: Single possession victory (1-8 points)
  • Comfortable Win: Two possession victory (9-16 points)
  • Blowout Win: Three possession victory and above (17+ points)

The above will define some separation for the teams as far as “style points” are concerned, plus there will be little bonus for running up the score.  In my mind, once you are up by three possessions, everything else is just stat padding at that point.

The other major metric to add is the rank of the team you beat or lost to.  Victories against top ranked opponents should be rewarded as opposed to destroying a bottom feeder.  On the loss side, losing to an opponent that is clearly better than you shouldn’t drop you as much as losing to a team that is one of the worst in college football.

With all this in mind, I’ve come up with the following over-simplified formula:

  • W/L [1/-1] * Margin [1/2/3] * Opponent Rank [1-120] = Total W/L Points

The opponent rank multiplier will be initially based on their ranking for that current week and will change dynamically for the remainder of the season.  For wins, beating #1 means a 120 multiplier, but losing to #1 will result in a 1 multiplier.

Oh, and if a team schedules a FCS team, I will not be rewarding it, period.  I’m going to treat FCS games like a BYE.  Bowl games don’t count FCS wins, so I surely won’t.  I’ve thought about being extremely vindictive and penalizing heavily for pulling a Michigan and losing to a FCS team, but for simplicity of programming I won’t this year.

Other Metrics

While measuring wins and losses will be the bulk of my rankings, I wanted to add in something to provide a bit of extra separation between the teams (also, I need to have a way to initially rank teams for week 1).  I wanted to find some kind of stat to measure a teams overall effectiveness on both sides of the ball and try to find a way to incorporate special teams as well.  For this area, I will be adding in Average Total Net Yardage along with Average Turnover Margin.  The forumlas for each are as follows:

  • Average Total Net Yardage = [(Offensive Yards Gained + Punt Return Yards + Kick Return Yards) – (Yards Allowed + Punt Return Yards Allowed + Kick Return Yards Allowed + Penalty Yardage)]/Games Played
  • Average Turnover Margin = (Turnovers Forced-Turnovers Allowed)/Games Played

The Average Total Net Yardage (good God, I need to come up with a different name for now, I’ll use ATNY for this), will measure the performance of a team in every area of the game, including shooting yourself in the foot with penalties.  Turnover Margin is rather self-explanatory: good teams hold onto the ball, bad teams cough it up.

Now, you will notice that I’m taking the averages for both.  This should help give a better ranking as the season progresses so the rare explosions or complete brain-farts will even out by season’s end.

I won’t be throwing out the high & lows for either stat this season; however, much like the wins category, if there is a game against a FCS team, I won’t be counting the stats regardless of the outcome.  There should be zero reward at all for scheduling the cupcakes and that goes for the stats as well.

Putting It All Together

Ok, so with all these crazy numbers, each team will be ranked for each category 1-120 separately, with 120 points going to the top rank, descending appropriately.  Keeping in mind that wins and losses should be the big player here, I have come up with the following:

  • (W/L Points Rank + (ANTY Rank + TO Margin Rank)/2)/2 = Final Score

All teams will then be ranked based on their final score.  As I said before, week 1 will be a little bit goofy as I will have to do an “initial ranking” based on ANTY and TO Margin before the week 1 wins and losses can come into play.

Overall, I expect some seriously crazy and hilarious rankings early on in the season.  Once the season rolls on, and the losses start piling up, I am hoping that the ranking seems at least halfway feasible.

This should be a good bit of fun and hopefully this formula can be a good starting point for some slight tweaks in future seasons.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some programming to do.

Edit: Since this has been posted, I have added a tie breaker to my final rankings. The order of which is:

  • W/L Points Rank
  • ANTY Rank
  • TO Margin Rank
  • Alphabetical Order (because I’m lazy like that)

Paying the Players: My Proposed Solution

I’ve spent the better part of this series poking holes into some of the more popular arguments in regards to paying the players.  To recap, the series started with a look at what scholarships actually cover, directly answering the argument of players needing extra cash to live.  Then the revenue argument was discussed, examining just how much programs actually make from their athletic endeavors.  Finally, the previous installment of this series covered the Olympic model and pointed out, that while a good idea in theory, it fails to address the issue of keeping the student athletes in the classroom.

So what’s my big idea to solve this mess?

To start, we need to stop trying to think of quick “duct tape” methods to fix the problem.  The NCAA has quite the large issue on their hands and they have to take a look at how these issues keep on happening.  It’s becoming abundantly clear that the NCAA rulebook as it stands needs a complete overhaul.  It’s overcomplicated, full of loopholes, and poorly enforced.

Not only that, the NCAA needs to be honest with itself, most of the problems happen in FBS football, a system that they have let run completely out of control.  The BCS runs college football, the NCAA just attempts to enforce its rules on top of it.  Even if the NCAA swings the sanction hammer, the BCS could very well decide to leave their crowned champion alone for instance.  While we talk about out of control boosters giving kids free meals, gifts, and other illegal benefits, all the bowl games turn around and do the exact same thing.  That side of the equation just doesn’t quite balance.

Furthermore, unlike other sports, football has no minor league system.  Kids from other sports can go pro right out of high school save for football and basketball.  For football, the main issue is physical development as 18-19 year old kids simply aren’t physically ready for the demands of the NFL game (and for basketball, a laughable “one and done” rule is now in place, which I would argue is a complete joke and begging for issues–just take a look at O.J. Mayo).  Agents and boosters see this “minor league” gap and take advantage of it and the NFL won’t be making a minor league any time soon.

And why would they?  They know college football is there for free.

The fact is that the majority of athletes, football players included, know that a free college education is a great deal.  There are a select few that want theirs a bit early and are more than happy to cash in from boosters that have them convinced they deserve the world.  And of course, there are quite a lot of players that are falling into violation traps that range from “what, that’s actually a violation?” to “seriously, this is absurd”.

To start to truly solve this problem, the NCAA needs to light the current rule book on fire and start over.  There is very little doubt about this and you will be hard pressed to find anybody that will disagree.

Before any knew rules are made, the NCAA needs to fix it’s own organization.  They have no teeth.  If it weren’t for FBI investigations, jilted players, or angry boosters that end up blowing the whistle, the big scandals in college football would not have been uncovered.  The compliance offices that are supposed to enforce the NCAA’s rules are a joke in theory and the main reason is because the school’s themselves hire and set them up.  The NCAA needs to put their own people in these office and not only that, extend their function to include preemptive investigation.  Hire investigative reporters, hell make Chris Robinson your go-to guy if something smells funny if you have to.  There is no way the NCAA will ever get out in front of this situations unless they give themselves the power to do so.  It is far from a crazy idea, hell a rogue agent actually agrees with me.

Once you have an organization in place that can actually do something, now the NCAA can move on to fix, and more importantly, simplify their rules.

Firstly, the scholarship situation needs to change.  There are still some things that scholarships do not completely cover like “recommended books” for courses, which is really the academic equivalent to a football coach opening the weight room for an “optional workout”.  There are also inevitably materials that are needed for classes as well: notebooks, lab books, pens, etc.  There is no reason that these shouldn’t be covered as well in a scholarship as well.  Doing this shouldn’t make athletes any more special than a student on a academic scholarship as well–those students should, in all honesty be extended similar benefits.  A school wouldn’t put an athlete on the field without proper equipment, why poorly equip them in the classroom?

The scholarship should also do a better job of ensuring basic living needs are covered and if the NCAA were able to set up their own compliance personnel, housing and food would be very easily managed.  All housing arrangements would go directly go through NCAA compliance, allowing them to see exactly how much each athlete’s living costs are, and most importantly, be able to do things like budget out living costs for gas & utilities to a similar level of an on campus student.  Furthermore, you can have NCAA compliance actually help the kids budget costs if they live off campus and there should even be some room for exceptions on an occasional basis (seriously, if teams can do an occasional meal, how about an occasional extra tank of gas?).  This should completely negate the “starving athlete” argument for good.

Next, its time to redefine what amateur status is.  To me, an amateur status means that you do not get paid professionally for the sport you play.  So if a kid has a game worn jersey and he wants to sell it, let him.  If someone really wants to pay for a kid’s signature, go for it.  Somehow, selling a jersey to go get an iPod is illegal, but a bowl game giving a player an iPod directly isn’t.  A booster can’t buy a burger for an athlete and a restaurant owner can’t give discounts to players as well, yet the Cotton Bowl hosts an all-you-can-eat prime rib competition at a steak house here in Dallas (tradition!).  The NCAA is splitting hairs and wanting to enforce rules that quite frankly, they can’t.

Now, I’m not saying that it should be ok for cash to be handed out to athletes at will.  There should always be a trade of goods or work involved in any cash transaction.  This should also include any endorsement deal as well.  I doubt you will see too many companies dishing out serious money for a kid (risky investment, in my opinion), but if they choose to, a kid should be allowed to capitalize on his market value.  Note though, that is a clear distinction of being paid to play as the athlete is being paid for endorsing a project, not actually playing his sport.  Yes, they’d be famous because of the sport; however, hairs are again needlessly being split there.

To keep a student athlete in the classroom, all such transactions or endorsements should only be made when they are academically eligible to play.  Furthermore, money in these deals should be going to both the school as well as the athlete.  The athlete benefits from the school he is affiliated with just as the school benefits by said athlete so money should be going to both entities.  Should a player be ineligible, they shouldn’t also be able to benefit off their school as well.

Caps should also be placed on how much a player can make while they are in school.  However, an athlete should be able to also make what the market thinks he is worth as well.  To split the difference here, the NCAA should institute a cap on endorsements, sales, etc. and anything that is in excess of that cap goes into a trust for the player.  Once he goes pro or graduates, he can withdraw that money, but if he is caught getting additional benefits, he forfeits that money to the school.  This again, is why it would be so important to have a strong NCAA presence at every school to help enforce such a cap and to ensure funds are going to the proper parties at the proper time.

Everyone benefits from this.  The athlete gets a chance to make legitimate money (and has reason to not screw himself out of additional money by breaking rules), the schools can even get yet another piece of the pie as well, and the NCAA can actually focus on larger issues and violations.  This also can protect an athlete that say, misses out on a chance to go pro due to injury and thus misses out on cashing in on what value he had.

The other missing piece is that the NFL, NBA, etc need to step in and control their agents.  Any agent caught signing a player early or giving benefits to convince a player to sign for them should be fined and suspended with repeat offenders barred from representing any player as an agent.  It makes no sense for the schools and athletes that had nothing to do with agent violations suffer.  The offenders themselves should be punished and there is no reason that professional agents can’t be held accountable.

Furthermore, NFL has set up some precedence with their recent suspension of Pryor to actually punish a player for violations in college.  The NFL should not be a safe-haven for NCAA violators to jump ship (coaches included) when they know things are about to hit the fan.  The NFL could always fall back on their “actions unbecoming to the league” punishment that they love to toss around recently.  While some people have an issue with this, I don’t.  It doesn’t matter to me that the violations and rule breaking happened outside the NFL umbrella, by running off before they were caught, they have given the NFL and the franchise they play for a bad name when they are.

Yes, I realize this part is a tad more of a pipe-dream and a possible CBA nightmare; however, as stated before the NFL is benefiting from college football as their free minor league system and they should work hand in hand with the NCAA to help discourage violations from athletes and agents alike.  The fact remains that while small steps can be made to make things better, the NFL and other professional league cooperating with the NCAA is still a major step in making sure that the NCAA rules are given more than lip service.

In the end though, there is no ironclad solution to stop cheating completely.  While I and other people can figure out a multitude of ways of trying to eliminate cheating from NCAA athletics, nothing will stop pure greed and devil-may-care attitudes from corrupting the game.  Nevin Shapiro was not the first nor will he be the last rogue booster that will decide he can do whatever the hell he wants.  Certain athletes will always feel entitled to a bigger piece of the pie no matter how many concessions the NCAA gives them as well.  The best outcome that we can hope for is that the NCAA tries to make serious changes in their organization and in their rules.  As of now, the NCAA is consistently focusing on the speck of sawdust in everyone else’s eyes while the gigantic log that is their own incompetence and hypocrisy in theirs.  The times have changed and the NCAA must change with them; otherwise, the boosters, agents and athletes will continue to run college sports.

Paying the Players: The Olympic Model

It’s time to get back on track with this thing. Football season is almost upon us and this series needs to be finished before then!

Thus far, we’ve covered what a student athlete can get with their scholarships and addressed the revenue argument for why players should be paid. Now it’s time to move on to another common argument to pay the players and that’s using the Olympic Model. Not only is this the next logical stop, but it also deals with another sticky situation in college athletics: endorsements.

For those that are unaware of what the current Olympic Model is, here is a quick run down. Originally, only amateur athletes would participate in the Games, but now pros are allowed to play, and individuals can receive endorsements and pay from their sponsors. One important thing to note here is that the players are not being paid by simply being on the team.

So the Olympics, to a point, are very much like college athletics. You have a large group of athletes on a national team ready to compete, but a select few are actually making money. The only difference here is that the athletes making money at the Olympics are doing so legitimately.

The Olympic Model also covers some sticky endorsement and merchandise situations as well. With this model, any likeness of the athletes can be used and easily compensated for plus if an athlete’s jersey is sold, they can receive royalties.  Simple right?

Well, not really.

First off, consider jersey sales alone.  Many schools, and ND is one, do not print names on the back of their jerseys (yes, yes, bowl game exception, I know).  Now while you can make an argument that a player would only receive money for the time they were at the school, but there are some issues there as well.  The #3 is still a huge seller at ND, and it isn’t just because of Michael Floyd, but because of Joe Montana.  The #1 as well is quite the generic number that many schools use in their jersey sales as well that has no relation to a player.

So this means players can get rather “lucky” by coming into a program with said famous numbers available.  What a nice little recruiting tool that could be used as well for a player looking to maximize their revenue.

Even when you consider third-party sponsors, another sticky situation arises.  If a player is making a considerable amount of cash, how do you keep him in the classroom when he is making considerable money?  In short, you really can’t save for the threat of said player becoming academically ineligible.  While a sponsor could simply just cut ties, but, depending on the money involved, a sponsor would likely want to keep their investment protected and would definitely cut a few academic corners here and there to help out.

If you think it’s hard to control renegade boosters, have fun with an entire corporation.

I’ll be honest, despite the fact that I am punching some holes into the Olympic Model argument, I do see it as having potential.  The NCAA could possibly use this as a starting point if they wished to go that route; however, it doesn’t completely cover the situations that exist in the college game.  Perhaps with some additional regulations, it could be a possibility (and I will discuss this in a later post), but on its own, it is still lacking.