Sprints Hates Defending Mark Emmert, But Here Goes // 09.29.11

CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT NEWS

Leave Mark Emmert alone
There are few people that are more critical of Mark Emmert than I am. That's not entirely fair, only because there are a lot of people that are very critical of Mark Emmert. The thing is, Emmert gives anyone who wants to criticize him more than enough ammunition to do so. Which is why it was so frustrating to watch a lot of otherwise smart people decided to make fun of Mark Emmert -- for saying exactly the same thing they were saying to make fun of Mark Emmert.

"I think what came across (with realignment) is that all we care about is money and what we can do that is to our advantage," Emmert said in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press. "Nobody was talking about what this is going to do for student-athletes or intercollegiate athletic programs. It was all about let's make a deal."

And while I hate to differ with SB Nation so openly -- Emmert is right. And SBN.com is saying that in the same commentary where it's criticizing Emmert. There's nothing in that statement or the full interview that suggests that Emmert is saying conference realignment isn't about money; he's saying that it is all about money, or at least it looks that way, and it shouldn't be.

A lot of the other criticism -- from a lot of sources (I'm honestly linking to SBN.com because if I have to link somewhere, it's going to be us) -- is the old line that the NCAA is a business because it makes a lot of money. You know, like the Red Cross. Or any other large nonprofit. The idea that the NCAA is a business is something that a lot of people say to prove how cynical they are, without really questioning whether that cynicism is justified.

Think of it this way. Why do the Atlanta Falcons do what they do as an organization? Yes, they pay players, and they have some of the nicest facilities in the NFL. But at the end of the day, Arthur Blank is going to get a cut of the money for profit. Blank wants badly to win -- anyone who's followed his ownership of the Falcons knows that -- but he also wants to make money. That's why he, or any other professional franchise owner, is in the business.

Who makes the profit from a college sports program? Well, except for a few examples across the country, there's no unused money being made in the first place. Which is the first major difference. The second is that there is literally no one -- no team owner, no shareholders, no one -- who would pocket that profit if it existed.

That's the difference between a college sports program and a professional one. It is when the college sports programs begin to act like the professional ones that we run into trouble. And that's what Mark Emmert was trying to say. Too bad everyone was so busy looking for an opportunity to criticize him that they forgot to listen to him.

Chuck Neinas called Mike Slive a floozy
Not in those precise words, but pretty much.

Neinas, 79, compared the SEC to a "pretty girl and walks down the aisle" but that the Big 12 is the "one that’s tried and true and you know is going to be there."

Of course, the Big 12 is actually the girl who's tried and true but has a medical condition that could cause her to spontaneously combust at any moment, but let's not be picky here. The real news of this article is that Neinas basically admits that Missouri is trying to decide whether or not to leave for the SEC, which is only news because he said it out loud.

This is sure to win them over
And the Big 12's response is to depose the Missouri chancellor as the chair of the expansion committee, which makes sense to a degree but also isn't exactly how you win hearts and minds.

OTHER NEWS

Les Miles might get the chance to prove whether he's dumb
I'll just go ahead and say it: Les Miles is something approaching an idiot if he takes a job as an NFL head coach. I don't believe Miles fits in the NFL -- he is Bo Schembechler in purple and gold, and Schembechler also wouldn't have been a very good professional coach.

Before he went slightly insane and returned to the pro ranks, Pete Carroll used to essentially ask why he would go to the NFL and coach a team that could add just one first-round draft pick a year when he could recruit several to Southern Cal. It was an oversimplification that hinted at a wider truth -- Miles won't have access to the same talent differential in the NFL that he can build at LSU.

And Miles' coaching style won't work at the NFL level. It's a risk-averse league built on simply making sure you win enough games to get to the playoffs, and doing it in a conventional way so that you can't be criticized too harshly if things go wrong. NFL general managers look at Miles as a coach with a knack for the odd playcall, without realizing that those odd playcalls are part of what makes him Les Miles.

That's not to say Miles might not try it, though as an SEC fan I hope he sticks around for a long time. But if he goes, I doubt he goes to the playoffs more than once, and I'll be stunned if he lasts more than five years.

Their careers are alive and kicking. Maybe we should use another phrase there ...
Jordan Jefferson and Josh Johns are back with the LSU football team after a grand jury's decision Wednesday. The jury reduced a charge against Jefferson to a misdemeanor -- which we should note is still a crime, even if a far less serious one -- and essentially cleared Johns after a bar fight.

"We certainly don't condone participation in the incident, but the legal system has determined that their actions did not rise to the level originally charged, and their punishment to date related to football has already been considerable," Alleva said. "They will rejoin the team and begin practice immediately."

The question is whether LSU wants to mess with what's working so far by putting Jefferson on the field. Never imagined I'd live in a world where I would openly ponder whether a team should keep Jarrett Lee as its starting quarterback to help its BCS chances.

South Carolina gets another receiver who will watch Stephen Garcia's passes bounce five feet in front of him
Damiere Byrd is going to take the field for the Gamecocks for the first time against Auburn. This would matter if South Carolina had, you know, a quarterback who threw passes to receivers. Which is why it might not matter all that much.

Georgia players leave program because of 'things'
If Mark Richt somehow weathers this season and goes on to several more successful years, this will be a footnote. But it will be seen as something more foreboding if things continue to go downhill.

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