Friday, January 26, 2024

Remembering Coach Bryant- A Decade of Posts


As many of you know - I try to post something about Coach Bryant on the anniversary of his passing away on Jan 26, 1983. The site I have dedicated to Coach Bryant is full of special memories. Today marks a decade of keeping this tradition.

You can also find posts here:
Wordpress- Coach Bryant Memories

Another year to commemorate and remember Coach Bryant. Every year, I’m not sure what to write about, but then something always hits me. This year became much easier when Coach Nick Saban announced his retirement after 17 amazing seasons with the Tide and then the subsequent hiring of Coach Kalen DeBoer.

Before I get to the coaching change, I wanted to make mention of the privilege I had to attend the Jeremiah Castille Foundation Night of Champions Dinner that honored the 1973 Alabama team on Dec.16 at the Downtown Sheraton.

It was a wonderful event that highlighted an amazing team. Both Greg Byrne and Paul Finebaum both gave wonderful tributes to Coach Bryant and that team. By far my favorite speaker that evening was Ralph Stokes who spoke of the opportunities Coach Bryant afforded him by signing him to a scholarship at Alabama. He went on to write a book about that “One of the First” that details how he overcame the prejudices and challenges of being one of the early African-American players to come to the Tide on scholarship.

I doubt Coach Bryant will ever receive the proper recognition on those early moves and how his love for all his players, his ability to build team unity, and his effort to make sure they succeeded long after football was gone.

Last night, I attended the Alabama Football Coaches Association Clinic (ALFCA) held annually in Montgomery. The High School coaches there got to hear from a number of outstanding coaches and it was the first time that Coach Deboer spoke to the Alabama high school coaches. I though he did an excellent job. 

It made me go back to some memories about Coach Bryant's retirement.



Let’s do a little remembrance of the Bryant retirement and do some comparison and contrast and the challenges ahead.

Dec. 15, 1982 changed everything in the year I had with Coach Bryant.

It was written on the board in Bryant Hall for us to report to the annex. That RARELY happened.

When I sat down and saw all the extra people in there, I immediately knew I was observing history.

My memory fails me here a little- it seemed like he either read his speech before the media and then talked to just us. Or he talked to just us and then read the speech to the media.

His talk to us was animated, energetic, optimistic. He spoke of his plan to bring on his successor and stay on as Athletic Director. He said the next coach was going to need to be able to throw the football because of the rules and the way the game was headed.

Then, when he read his speech- he seemed tired and had no energy. It was like two different men! Again, 30 year old memory.......

Here is the transcript of the read speech:

There comes a time in every profession when you need to hang it up and that time has come for me at the University of Alabama.

My main purpose as Director of Athletics and head football coach here at Alabama has been to field the best possible teams, to improve each player as a person and to produce citizens who will be a credit to our present day society.

We have been successful in most of those areas, but now, I feel the time is right for a change in our football leadership. We lost two big games this season that we should have won, and we played only four or five games like Bryant-coached teams should play. I've done a poor job of coaching.

This is my school- my alma mater- and I love it. And I love the players- but in my opinion, they deserve better coaching than they've been getting from me this year and my stepping down is an effort to see that they get better coaching from someone else.

It is a great joy for me, personally, to have had the opportunity to coach at my alma mater. I know I will miss coaching, but the thing I will miss the most is the association I have had with the players, the coaches, the competition- all of those things that have made such a strong tradition at Alabama.

I can't say enough, or thank enough, the coaches who are with me now- and those who have been there in the past.

I plan to continue as Director of Athletics and pledge my support to my successor in every respect, particularly in recruiting.


The storm was in full brew now and a pressure was building.

The rumor was already in the works that Ray Perkins of the NFL New York Giants was going to be the new coach. Believe it or not- we practiced later that day. And it was so strange- it was not mentioned at all.

But the practice was terrible. To be honest, all of the practices had been terrible up to that point. The dorm was a sea of visitors that evening.
I just drifted into the background and listened.. watched. The Liberty Bowl practices never did pick up.

What did come into full view was that Ray Perkins was coming to Alabama.
All of the attention was about Coach Perkins and what his staff might be like and what his pro style offense may do to coaches and players.

There were some sad players, and even sadder coaches. Word was that some were being told immediately that they would not be back.

The last game was a thriller- Alabama beat a good Illinois team 21-15 on a bitterly cold Memphis night and carried the Bear on their shoulders for one last time.

Jeremiah Castille was the MVP for his Liberty Bowl record 3 interceptions and Coach Bryant was all smiles.
I was so relieved and proud- this is how it was supposed to end. Coach Bryant notched his 323rd college football win in his last stand.

I wrote about this in my last post: We all know the difficulty Alabama had replacing the legend.

But I do think there are STARK differences when I think about the end of the Bryant era and the end of the Saban era.

Facilities: The facilities at Alabama had fallen behind many other schools when Coach Bryant passed away.

Program Success: The program was not operating at the level we would call “Alabama standard” when Coach Bryant retired, he knew it more than anyone.

Sudden loss of Coach Bryant: In my opinion, this was also tough in that the traffic death of the beloved coach put a hamper on the program.

School and Athletics Leadership: The actual school leaders were not perceived to be strong. A lot of the power was held by trustees and boosters. In fact, until Coach Saban came, that weakness at the top created a fragile and unstable environment.

These factors could play a role in allowing Coach DeBoer to have continued success, but we all know it is a fragile time. The success rate of following a legend is not very high, but it is doable.

Things that could hamper Coach DeBoer are somewhat out of his control and that is the difficulties of recruiting and retaining elite players in that age of the portal and NIL difficulties.

A few days ago, I posted this information with some analysis of the cannibalistic actions and attitudes of fans with unrealistic expectations. Mass communication has given naysayers and negateers way too much access to voice opinions that are at times ludacris and juvenile.

But that is the soup that all coaches have to navigate….. It is not for the faint of heart!

I also referenced a few days ago about my short analysis of the Bryant vs Saban debate. I do want to not leave out the great job by Gene Stallings and the 1992 National Championship

I do give Coach Saban the edge on career success over Coach Bryant because of the challenges of the times- though both men had great intuition on how to evolve to survive.














Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Challenges Awaiting the New Coach

As many of you know - I try to post something about Coach Bryant on the anniversary of his passing away on Jan 26, 1983. The site I have dedicated to Coach Bryant is full of special memories.

https://bearbryantmemories.wordpress.com/

With so much happening right now, I thought I would give a brief preview of the challenges in the current Bama situation and will still post something with a little more Coach Bryant flavor a few days from now, including a recap of my experience sitting through Coach Bryant's retirement in 1982.

We all know the difficulty Alabama had replacing the legend.

But I do think there are STARK differences when I think about the end of the Bryant era and the end of the Saban era.

Facilities: The facilities at Alabama had fallen behind many other schools when Coach Bryant passed away.

Program Success: The program was not operating at the level we would call “Alabama standard” when Coach Bryant retired, he knew it more than anyone.

Sudden loss of Coach Bryant: In my opinion, this was also tough in that the traffic death of the beloved coach put a hamper on the program. If handled correctly, the previous coach can help... as well as hurt. But I think both men have enough humility to make it a positive.

School and Athletics Leadership: The actual school leaders were not perceived to be strong when Coach Bryant retired. A lot of the power was held by trustees and boosters. In fact, until Coach Saban came, that weakness at the top created a fragile and unstable environment.

These factors could play a role in allowing Coach Deboer to have continued success, but we all know it is a fragile time. The success rate of following a legend is not very high, but it is doable.

Things that could hamper Coach Deboer are somewhat out of his control and that is the difficulties of recruiting and retaining elite players in this age of the portal and NIL difficulties.  Mass communication has given naysayers and negateers way too much access to voice opinions that are at times ludacris and juvenile.

But that is the soup that all coaches have to navigate….. It is not for the faint of heart!

A few years ago, I posted a short analysis of the Bryant vs Saban debate (Saban vs Bryant 2016- Jayopsis ) and  I wanted to update some of the thoughts now that both men have bookends on their amazing careers.

I will comment a little more about this on the 26th.

Here is what I posted in 2016

I have no clue WHEN (Saban retirement) that may happen... but Coach Saban himself this year hinted that even he knows that it will come at some point..... and it will be a great challenge for him to stay the course.

HISTORY SHOWS US THAT THE BEAR DID IT........


In 1969, Coach Bryant's Alabama team went 6-5, was only 2-4 in the SEC (they even lost to Vanderbilt) and was beaten 47-33 by Colorado in the Liberty Bowl.

Can you imagine what a Paul Finebaum show would sound like during that stretch?

To make matters worse, the 1970 team went 6-5-1 including the famous opening loss to Sam Cunningham and USC. USC outgained the Tide by more than 300 yards (559 yds of total offense) and whipped the Tide 42-21. Cunningham ran for 135 yds on just 12 carries.

We know the rest of this story- Alabama shocked USC the next season- went 11-1 and won the SEC, finishing #2 in the nation. That sparked the 1970's as Bryant's best decade.

Coach Saban to be honest, never had to persevere the inevitable dip that hampers all programs He only had guide the ship through the hurricane of doubters and dissent in his first season, but fans were so hungry to win, they provided energy and optimism to push through.

We all recognize a huge problem in regaining that 'winning edge' and this modern era poses more peril than ever before... and deep in my soul I always stand amazed at the passion and energy of anyone to continue to do it. Coach Saban was so unique, any other mortal man would take his money, trophies, and ride his grandchildren on his boat.

In many ways... modern day football is a young man's game..... But Saban finished on top!

WHAT MOST FOLKS MISS- IT'S MORE THAN WINS

Now let me mention the HARMONY I find between the two coaches..... did you see it? It was on display... on the Alabama sidelines during games.

Whenever former players feel comfortable coming around and want to come around- you know that a special culture is at work. Alabama's sideline during big games was always packed with many adoring former players.

That is what both Coach Bryant and Coach Saban had in common. And the fact that Coach Saban has young men (including a huge group doing well in the NFL) in such high regard of him in a generation that is more prone to mock and disregard elders... this is quite an achievement.

Coach Bryant towered in a day when it was more common to follow the leader no matter what.

But men followed him with such a passion that the bond still stays strong today.

Coach Saban has managed the same thing. But his ability to transcend generation, race, socio-economic differences, and regional differences is impressive!

Relationships matter.... and winning coaches know how to invest in their players in such a way that the players go through pain and persevere out of love and inspiration.

From what I have read, Coach Deboer excels in this ability as well.

COACH DEBOER  BIGGEST HURDLE

I posted on X about this right after the announcement of the retirement:


A few years ago, I posted the most difficult hurdle facing coaches when trying to build programs, what I call, Cannibalizing Your Team

Cannibalization is literally 'eating your own team'. And cannibals can be found among any and all parts of a team or surrounding community. It can be players, coaches, fans, parents, media.... and usually is a combination of those that forms a 'contrary wind' to that team.

By the way, the cannibals are always there..... human nature is always breeding more. The existence of cannibals is not deadly unless there are too many OR the cannibals are KEY CONSTITUENTS of a team or organization.

Cannibals eat away so many things.... but the overall impact is a loss of opportunity, a loss of positive momentum/energy, or the erosion of core values.

SELF-FULFILLING DOOMSDAY

I once worked with a coach ( a great coach by the way) who was very upset about the way we did a certain aspect of our football team. This practice was a by-product of a fundamental piece of our philosophy.

As the season went on, he would say in the head-sets, "This is not going to go well". And he said it EVERY SINGLE TIME the game situation dictated that decision because of our philosophy. And this went on.... game 1, game 2, game 3,4,5,6..... and then, in game 7... his prediction finally happened. Oh my goodness!....the 'I TOLD YOU SO' that came from him was as loud and obnoxious as any I have ever even IMAGINED.

The next coaches meeting, he was armed and ready. When we got to that place in the film, it was obvious that the decision was what it was.... but the execution of the decision was the major problem for failure.

I stopped the film.... "you know... I have been listening to you on the head-set for 7 games in a row. You have predicted this EVERY SINGLE time. Your prediction FINALLY happened... but that is like me predicting rain everyday during a five year drought until it finally rains for 5 minutes. Congratulations!" You could have cut the tension with a knife.

And that coach did not stay in the program after the season was over. As good a coach as he was, his unwillingness to buy into this was a constant corrosion. He wanted to be SO RIGHT... that he was DEAD RIGHT.

A lot of teams begin new seasons with so many cannibals, that they are already losing... even with a record of 0-0. I often hear coaches tell me how frustrating it is when parents pass along a 'group think' of the sound bites of what is wrong with a program or coach before a season even begins.

About halfway through a season a team will be .500 or below and this group of parents will be right... want the coach fired... and feel so let down because the window of opportunity to play high school sports is small.

What they don't realize is that the negative talk became a self-fulfilling prophecy and they 'cannibalized' their own team.... 

I had a parent call me one time and was upset that a dad had begun a negative campaign against the coaches. He said that the reality was that many of the parents liked the coaches and were satisfied and he was afraid that all we hear about were the complaints. I asked the dad why he didn't confront the one parent who was the loudest and most vocal.... and sadly, he was afraid to.

Finally, the day came where the upset dad called me to meet.  He came in and in pretty bold and aggressive ways expressed his opinion that we were bad coaches. He spoke on the authority that he had played in college, coached these players in youth leagues, and couldn't believe the school even hired (our head coach) in the first place- "did you know this man has never even coached a varsity team, he was just a freshman coach in his previous job!"

Looking back, I probably should not have had this conversation. If I were doing it over today I would have sent him straight to head coach... but I was young and dumb enough to think I could help.

When it was my time to respond.... he didn't like what I had to say. 'Mr ________, your son came to me yesterday because he knew we were going to be meeting today. And I had a phone call from another dad recently. In both conversations, I asked them to come talk to you and both said they were afraid to.

This is going to be hard to hear, but you are hurting your son and a lot of parents are not happy with your behavior at games. Both have asked me to ask you to stop it.

You were a great college football player, I have heard a lot of stories about how good you were. But when you yell at your son from the stands on how to play his position, you are telling him to (do  a technique) that we don't use (we ran a different system) it is opposite of what he is being coached to do and it embarrasses him. 

There were more issues in the meeting- college recruiting - we weren't tough- it wasn't a great meeting and he was hacked that his son and that dad had gotten in tough with me.

"I love our coaches and I know they are doing a great job, loving your son, coaching your son. I'm asking to to stop being loud and negative... I don't think I will change your opinion... but you are hurting the team by spreading negativity. You are hurting your son! Go home and talk to him about that, and don't go off on him... he loves you and he is trying to live up to what you want him to be!"

It did not go over well. He got red faced and stormed off. He never really got loud again, but now I was on his list as well.

Sadly, this did not go away. It grew. 

We made the playoffs that season and went to an away playoff game. It wasn't our best effort in the first half. We threw two interceptions and were having a rough time against a great defense. As we were coming into the locker room, this same dad (and at least 4 others who believed as he did) were waiting on me at the chain link gate. We had to get outside that gate to go into the visitor locker room.

He stepped in front of me and stopped me! "What are y'all doing! Thus is embarrassing! Run the ball!"

I walked around him without saying a word, and he yelled in my ear as I passed him, "This is our last game!"

And then I blew up in his face "This is halftime _______. Get away from me!"

Now what is bad about that was that it happened in front of everybody and it was a scene.

When I walked into the locker room, it was like a funeral.

Here is the crazy thing.... we were only losing 6-0!

But in that halftime, I had nothing I could tell my offense to muster them for a 2nd half charge. I tried, but they didn't believe in us, didn't believe it what we were doing, and there were just enough cannibals to let the season end....  kind of like a mercy killing.

Ironically, a few year later, we were in the semi-finals and were going in a halftime down six points. And instead of the angry mob- our fans were at the gate "Go Lions, Y'all got this! Way to go!" And we won in double overtime on our way to the state championship.

Now, am I naive enough to believe the difference in positive and negative reactions were ALL the difference? NO

But the prevailing belief (also called pre-supposition) can influence the outcome and be a type of self-fulfilling prophecy.

I used to have the newspaper article from Cleveland that had the headline story about the Browns firing Bill Belichick, "Goodbye to the Worst Coach in the History of the NFL". Belief is a pretty powerful thing!


WORK TO MAKE IT WORK

Here is another OPPOSITE illustration of negative cannibalism.

In 1999, we lost our ALL-State Tailback on a freak play to a torn ACL... the last play of the first half. It was mid-season, we lost the game, and people were beginning to wonder if we could win back-to-back state titles. It looked doubtful.

We played two more games with a quality back-up and personnel packages and won those. But we were not the dynamic offense we had been. We still had an elite defense and as far as our record, we were still a favorite to win it all.

Our head coach, Fred Yancey, surprised all of us in week 8 of the regular season by announcing a DRAMATIC move. We were going to take our starting SAM linebacker and move him to Fullback and move our Fullback to Tailback. What made this even more startling is that neither player had played those positions ALL YEAR! And the linebacker had never run with the football in his entire football life!

Immediately, there was the typical assistant coaching pushback...but Coach Yancey was adamant. This was a HC decision and he walked out.

I was offensive coordinator... but both defensive assistants AND offensive assistants kept pressing me to change Coach Yancey's mind.

I simply looked at them and said, "Guys, this is his team.. this is his decision. So, we have two choices.... gripe and moan OR get to work to make this work." And we did.

Now don't get me wrong... THIS WAS NOT EASY... and the early results were flat ugly... but we worked it with positive energy and we won the State Championship. The tailback was MVP of the game and the fullback scored on 3rd and goal at a critical time early in the game.

Winners, champions, and competitors learn early in their battles that cannibals never win. Dream killers and blame game hand wringers get it right by their own actions and beliefs. And then they get mad about it!

We do it to coaches as well..... I wonder how many programs would be more successful if they embraced their coach instead of tearing him down in endless opining of opinions. You know what a good play call is? One that works. And a bad play call doesn't.

I'm not saying that you never make changes... but I KNOW of teams who stole away their opportunities to be good because of cannibalism.

Now, one more important point is this. A lack of virtue is a type of cannibalism. We live in a world that seeks to tear down our rivals.

COMPETING WITH CLASS AND  HONOR

There is another winning edge that Coach Deboer can continue- competing with class. 

Bryant AND Coach Saban taught the State of Alabama to do it differently. They taught me as a fan and later, as a player to show class and respect toward the opponent. It is more honorable to beat a worthy opponent than to beat an unworthy one.

But we tweet 'hate week', and we spew venom, and we ridicule and mock the opposing team... so is it really a great victory if we beat them?

An example 1965 ALABAMA:

Alabama opened against Georgia on a blistering hot day in Athens for the 1965 season. Tom Brakefield was with the Bear Bryant show film crew, wiping away sweat, and enjoying every snap of a fierce contest pitting Coach Bryant against Vince Dooley.

Even though Alabama struggled all day, even going in at halftime down 10-0, Alabama rallied in the 2nd half and took a late 17-10 lead.

What took place next in the game was recently ranked by The Bleacher Report as #3 of the 12 greatest plays in college football history.

Coach Dooley called it 'flea flicker' but today is more known as a 'hook and lateral'. Kirby Moore threw the ball to Pat Hodgson who then flicked it to Bob Taylor who ran for a 73 yard touchdown to bring the score to 17-16. Georgia converted the 2 point extra points to win 18-17!

The problem was.... it looked very clear to the Alabama faithful that Pat Hodgson's knee was down, thus making the play 'dead' on the catch and the touchdown should have been disallowed!


You have to think that Alabama fans felt snake-bit. It was the first game since Joe Namath had seemingly been robbed of a game winning TD in the Orange Bowl and now they lost the opening game to a missed call in Athens!
Tom Brakefield saw a clean angle and knew he had a camera all over it. He carefully noticed which canister was going to have the field level proof!

Sure, enough, the Bear Bryant Show crew had indisputable video evidence that 'Bama had been robbed by the Bulldogs!

When Coach Bryant came in that Sunday morning to prepare for the live telecast that afternoon, he shocked everyone! As soon as he saw the clip he stopped and said as clear and forceful as he could:
"Men, I never have won a game on Sunday because of film. Please take this clip out and give it to me."

When the show went live from Channel 13 that Sunday, Coach Bryant taught the entire state on how to lose with class.

And Tom Brakefield used it to teach an even bigger lesson!

"You want to know the biggest part of that story? We lost to Georgia, we TIED Tennessee- but still upset Nebraska in the Orange Bowl to win the National Championship. At Alabama, Coach Bryant started a lesson that, even today, we understand.... if you do it right... you always have a chance!"

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

I always make a plea to every athlete, coach, and fan reading this. Don't be a cannibal! Don't be that person who always focuses on the flaws. Don't create small circles of whiners and complainers who whisper in the dark and throw darts.


It was interesting how many complained about the color of the man's shirt when he was introduced at the basketball game last night- and it was a Bama shirt!

Winners are hopeful... even to the very last snap, he believes he can find a way to win. And in the end, that relentless optimism gave him MORE of a chance... where a doubtful pessimist robbed his team of the opportunity.


Here is how Coach Saban said it earlier this year (as the naysayers got louder)- at the time he was a little bit frustrated:

"People forget that we built this program on positivity"

"So we want to stay focused on the process of what we need to do to play winning football at every position. And I'm not here to create expectations for our team. Lots of people will do that. But expectations in some way are a premeditated way to create disappointment. I think you can look at it in your life and that's why I say we need to say process-oriented, not focused on the outcome, but focused on the things that we need to do to get the outcome that we want, and you know, if you have high expectations for what you want to accomplish and it doesn't work out, it makes you focus on the outcome and it doesn't work out and you're very disappointed."

Competition with honor is rewarding... win or lose.

Winning without honor... is never really a victory.

Football continues to display dramatic narratives and storylines- my favorite one is always the comeback story... someone who is cut down and counted out... but through perseverance and fight... finds victory once again.

I will cheer for the Tide no matter what and I also have a number of heroes throughout football that I pull for everyday- MEN WHO MATTER!

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Navigating the Rapids in Current College Football Trends

One of the wildest 4 or 5 days I have ever seen as the current in the 'River of Ever Change' in football surges into whitewater and waterfalls! My goodness!

Saban retirement, Belichick out, Pete Carroll, Debour in at Bama, Cadillac Williams out at Auburn…. Portal declarations, decommits, 10 million dollar contracts, and sudden change…


The change illuminates a harbinger of danger and demands daring protocols, policies, and principle promotion for future survival.


I get concerned that a lot of decision makers in these times are too hinged to the past and have little energy, creativity, or quickness to move, dodge, and corral these rapids… but there is a tremendous opportunity to dam the river and harness the energy for future success as well.




3 Moods


I have often said that one must fight to keep a mood for the moment and many of these initial steps have more to do with gut instincts than sequential steps that get lost in committee. There are too many nuances and unintended results for one to feel safe in these calls of balls and strikes.


Mood #1: Principle based applications- In this day of rapid change and shoot outs a person has to be grounded in principles and virtue. It has to be a deep, wisdom laden, and disciplined recognition that power, money, and fame cannot bear the burden of life. This is what sport used to teach much better than all others: team concepts (we accomplish more together than alone, it is not good for man to be alone), sacrifice (we suffer together so we can share victory together), the Golden rule (treat others the way we would want to be treated), all humans have dignity as image bearers of the creator, delayed gratification, honesty.


Now, all of this is still undefeated- I promise you, the winners over time have a high understanding of who they are and what they believe that aligns with truth.


If the worldview is right, the values are right (more than lip service) and there is intentional effort for the greater good of all then the journey will end at a worthy destination.


Mood #2: Recognition and honor of the past but without nostalgia or unrealistic longing for the ‘good ole days’ that never existed in the first place.- this is a tough one. If we erase history, we will eventually cut our own throats. We must have a nod to the past and hope we receive care for us when we walk out to the pasture of forgotten though epic, heroic battles of yesterday. When we honor people and good deeds in the past, we model appropriate treatment of human beings. We also must honestly learn from the errors without throwing stones due to our imperfections. There is a difference in longing for the past and moving forward to the future while honoring the past. One is freeing and the other is a trap.


Mood #3: Our ministry must always be to build men more than millionaires. Materialism is an empty idol. The lasting coaches, the admired coaches, the wise administrators understand that this fast paced world of information, disinformation, and misinformation requires them to build leaders who desire to be entrepreneurs, lawmakers, and leaders; people who value societal revival more than personal portfolios. I'm worried that the current landscape of college football is too intertwined in glamorizing billfold, boardroom, and bedroom prowess and it over run by too many bottom feeders sleazing their way into the fray. We must somehow use the experience of being an athlete to create a thirst for men to 'not die rich' but 'die trying' to leave this world or even just their home a better place.


Guardrails


This is a hasty post, but not one without thought. 


When the Supreme Court handed down the Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) Verdict (June 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled against the NCAA in NCAA v. Alston where the court found that the NCAA's restrictions on name, image, and likeness (NIL) activity violate antitrust laws and also stated that the NCAA cannot restrict education-related compensation benefits for student-athletes) it opened a proverbial Pandora’s box with no boundaries.


What is left in the wake of this foul dust is a frontier that needs a good Sheriff. Elvis has left the building and he is not coming back; we must find a way to glean what is good and protect the sport from the evil lurking in the shadows. Here are my recommendations.


1. Unified Federal Laws- take the best of the state laws and codify rational boundaries.

2. No Caps on Collectives, but Payments Made in Consistent Amounts

3. Percentages Paid to Other Athletes of Non-Revenue Sports

4. Certification of “Handlers’

5. Education for Athletes in how to protect and grow the worth of their NIL

6. Insurance Collective for On-Field or In-Training Injuries

7. Utilization of Trusts and Mandatory Financial Advisors

8. Better calendars for coaches. Take better care of assistant coaches.

9. Stiffer penalties for violations.

10. Incentivize stability and completion of a season

11. NIL limits on HS athletes or portal players to discourage use of the value for recruiting

12. Re-institute football dorms or isolated living communities.

I don’t have space or time to write about these in detail but I can make a few example comments.


For point #2, I think the eventual collectives should not be restricted as far as value is concerned but I do think there could be a common pay scale that would be similar to how players are evaluated and paid in the NFL. Some positions are ‘valued’ higher than others. The QB room would in this situation would have a range or scale different than the long snapper.


For point #3- Require schools to take 15% of their yearly NIL collective for football and men’s  basketball and funnel it to all other university athletes. 


For point #4- Allow Athletes to have only 1 ‘handler’ at a time (parent, uncle, mentor) and certify these representatives. Don’t allow these people to be professional agents and scrutinize them through audits and disclosure forms.


For point #5- Having a valuable NIL can help athletes make better decisions off the field.


For point #6- Buy a collective policy to make a fair compensation to any athlete who gets injured in a bowl game or playoff game, or who stays to finish their education and delay testing the NFL market.


For point #8- we are killing our coaches. We have to find a way to give them more time at home and with families.


For point #11. All HS athletes and portal players are ‘unproven’ and it is no crime to delay the growth of NIL opportunities until that is shown in reality and not in theory. My suggestion is to require all “non-team” money be capped universally and put in trusts.


For point #12- NIL athletes these days are not normal students, these are hybrid ‘employees’. I think it should be allowed and even encouraged to separate these players and allow coaches more time to mentor and more time to build community within teams.


BTW- this is coming to HS athletes as well. How can we use it for good and mitigate the harms? The time for action is now.

Monday, January 08, 2024

Why You Need to Fear Your Big Brother

I hope it isn't just the aging process that has me anxious over recent developments and discussions in our society. I also still feel jumpy over how easy I fell into a trance as Covid policies and restrictions enveloped me like a boa constrictor seducing me with a song of personal comfort and peace to quell my fears and panic. 

Globalism may have some limited positive aspects like increased connectivity, economic development, and cultural exchange, but the price could be too high as agencies and industrial architects need to limit freedoms of individuals to accomplish what they see as a 'common good'.

Some of this high price includes involuntary (and coerced) wealth redistribution, job loss, loss of cultural identities, insecurity, loss of national sovereignty and security, limitations on travel and speech... among others.

In this debate, I tend to land on the side that nations should be able to prioritize their own well-being over global cooperation.

We should avoid political and economic entanglement with other countries that limit our Bill of Rights. We have to seek ways to reverse the globalist trend and minimize our nation's involvement in international affairs and maintain a focus on our own domestic concerns as much as possible.

We have to be willing to push back or outright reject the proposals entities play significant roles in promoting globalist principles, fostering international cooperation, and shaping global affairs, particularly these:

United Nations (UN): The UN was chartered as a global organization that aims to promote peace, security, and cooperation among nations. Recent stances and policies cause concern, especially to countries in the West. 

World Health Organization (WHO):
The speed and veracity that the WHO used to push Covid practices illustrates to concern I have over these powerful entities!

International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank: Though these institutions work to stabilize international financial systems and provide financial assistance to countries in need, consolidating wealth can easily lead to coercion and confiscation of individual's money and property.

Globalist entities also include the following:

Transnational Corporations: Large multinational corporations often operate across borders and play a crucial role in shaping the global economy. Their activities, investments, and supply chains can influence trade, technology transfer, and economic development on a global scale. In many ways, these powerful corporations have more potential for harm if greed overtakes the priorities of their agendas.

Global Alliances and Agreements: Regional and international agreements, such as the European Union (EU), NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), and others, foster economic and political collaboration among participating nations. These agreements should always be limited to protect the rights of individuals.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs):NGOs, like Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and Doctors Without Borders, advocate for various global issues such as human rights, environmental protection, and public health. Though they often work independently, there could danger lurking as they collaboration with governments and international organizations for globalist conformity.

Philanthropic Foundations: Organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Open Society Foundations allocate significant resources to address global initiatives.

Media and Technology Companies: Global media outlets and technology companies contribute to the dissemination of information and the shaping of public opinion on a global scale. The need for these companies to remain avenues for dissenting viewpoints are crucial to avoiding the negative impact of globalist initiatives.

I have been somewhat disheartened that there doesn't seem to be Christian leaders and thinkers leading in this area. I'm happy for the warriors in the gap for the time being, but we need spiritual applications to these issues as well.

Love to know what you think.