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FBS ADs seek clarity from NCAA
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 Posted: Thu Mar 19th, 2020 01:41 pm


W. C. Fields Quotes:

"Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake."

 “A woman drove me to drink and I didn’t even have the decency to thank her.”

 “I am free of all prejudices. I hate every one equally.”


As the college sports world comes to grips with the reality of life amid a global pandemic, athletic directors are advocating for a bigger voice at the table and further guidance from the NCAA on how to handle mounting questions.

This comes after the governing body’s decision to cancel all winter and spring championship events, headlined by the nixing of the men’s basketball tournament, which had been scheduled to begin Tuesday. That move has proven to be more costly than athletic administrators had initially imagined, with multiple people with knowledge of the situation confirming that the NCAA has a roughly $250-$270 million insurance policy against the nearly billion-dollar per year event. (USA Today first reported similar figures earlier Tuesday.)

“I just don’t understand why you would take a $250 million insurance policy for an $800 million event,” said one Group of 5 athletic director who, like others quoted in this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. “Would you put $250,000 worth of insurance on an $800,000 house?”

Most FBS ADs learned of those insurance figures for the first time during a Tuesday conference call that was organized by the Lead1 Association — the FBS athletic directors’ representative body — and featured remarks from NCAA president Mark Emmert.

While understanding that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus has left everyone in the sports world and beyond struggling to navigate uncharted waters, the feeling among many ADs is that NCAA leadership has been lacking in communication on a litany of pressing issues on campuses across the country, after not even consulting with its membership when making the choice to do away with remaining championships for the 2019-20 academic year.

“‘Well, those will be membership questions,’” the same Group of 5 AD said, quoting Emmert. “We’re like: C’mon, man. Everybody’s texting each other like: ‘This is just a joke.’”

Added one Power 5 AD: “The NCAA is a membership organization. To not confer with specific leaders (Power 5 commissioners) is not acceptable. They should be considered the biggest investors in a business sense. That group needs to be included in all decisions moving forward. They are also the schools most affected by the new state legislation and most NIL lawsuits.“

Multiple ADs echoed those sentiments but acknowledged that there is little the NCAA can do at this point, with one describing each institution abiding by “its own form of martial law” until further notice.

An earlier conference call between the NCAA and league commissioners bordered on contentious, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation, with SEC commissioner Greg Sankey in particular voicing his displeasure toward Emmert for the process that led to the cancellations.

Though the end result would have likely been the same, the fact that everyone in college sports learned of the news around the same time that the general public did was particularly irksome, especially for the SEC, which at the time had been hoping against hope that some semblance of the baseball and softball seasons could still be salvaged.

“We were not aware that the spring sports championships were going to be brought into play until you were aware. We found out the same time (the media) did. That’s not a position we’d like to be in,” South Carolina AD Ray Tanner said during a news conference Friday. “I said, ‘That’s down the road a piece. Was it necessary to take that action now? Did we have to move this quickly?’ I’m not saying it’s the wrong decision, but my personal thought was we could have paused and revisited spring sports championships at another time.”

“There could be better communication from time to time,” added Tennessee AD Phillip Fulmer during a news conference Tuesday. “There’s been some frustration, but that’s true in government and in other places.”

Sankey held a conference call with reporters for more than 40 minutes Wednesday — he was the first of his commissioner peers to take questions this week — and did his best to fill in the blanks on how the SEC is addressing matters with its institutions during this period of uncertainty.

He said that time has brought clarity about what the proper decisions were, while noting that he and his peers would like to know more about the NCAA’s decision-making processes moving forward.

When asked what the ideal path ahead would be as far as communication between the NCAA and the conferences, Sankey paused for six seconds and let out an audible exhale, before saying:

“Oh, I’d have to think about the last week to try to answer that question in an informative way. In fact, I was just reading before this call some of the messages Friday. I think Friday we received an update on the suspension of recruiting. I think there’s been a request for input on these eligibility issues. I think that’s helpful. I’m not completely clear on how and when decisions will be made in regards to these eligibility questions about which you have asked me because they are national issues.

“I think just like we’ve modeled in this conference — I’ve spoken on daily calls with my athletic directors. We’ve had three calls in a week with our presidents and chancellors and are scheduling those out weekly. My encouragement, I think we’re planning on doing this, is for the conference commissioners to have at least weekly communication with members of the NCAA national office, leadership and staff so that we can all be updated and have some interaction moving forward.”

When asked for comment about the organization’s basketball tournament insurance policy, an NCAA spokesperson pointed to a previously released statement that said: “NCAA leadership and membership committees are identifying and working through the considerable implications related to the decision to cancel remaining winter and all spring championships in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While some decisions can be made quickly like the suspension of recruiting activity, others may take time to reach conclusion. As details become available, we will share with our membership and the public.”

Multiple ADs expressed cautious optimism about the NCAA moving swiftly and liberally with student-impact matters while stressing the importance of engagement throughout this crisis.

For now, most administrators are trying to manage the welfare of their own personnel while working with their conferences for guidance on what comes next. A big piece of that will be financial, especially in light of Tuesday’s insurance revelations.

The NCAA grossed $1.057 billion in revenue during the 2017 academic year, according to its most recent available tax statement. Most of that stems from its March Madness broadcast deal with CBS and Turner, which agreed in 2016 to pay the NCAA $8.8 billion over eight years.

“They’ll be fighting insurance for their money for a while,” another Power 5 AD said. “No carrier is breaking loose with that kind of cash without significant documentation. It may take a year to clear up, so they will likely have to borrow against the potential proceeds and future TV revenues to make ends meet and keep the membership afloat. It’s one revenue issue for schools to deal with, but it’s just a piece of the whole puzzle to sort out.”

Triple Option

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 Posted: Thu Mar 19th, 2020 04:31 pm


All I know is if I was a terrorist, I'd forget about bombs and concentrate on contagious diseases. Who knew how easy it would be to shut the whole country down?


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 Posted: Thu Mar 19th, 2020 05:48 pm


Or the whole world.

 Current time is 04:48 am

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