The Price of NCAA Trash

I have been having a pretty interesting discussion off blog with Gulf Coast Pirate about the coaching carousel and big money in college football. The long and short is that his team, the Houston Cougars, has a hot young coach, and my team, the ASU Sun Devils, needs one. Enrollment wise, ASU is in the top five in size, has surprisingly good research and business sponsorship, fantastic facilities for football including a nearly 80,000 seat stadium that, with healthy attendance (especially full attendance) is a gold mine for cash flow. Oh, and starting in less than 30 days, we have our full share of this:

The Pac-10 — soon to officially become the Pac-12 — has agreed to a 12-year television contract with ESPN and Fox that will more than triple its media rights fees and be the most valuable for any conference in college sports.

The contract, which will begin with the 2012-13 season, will be worth more than $225 million per year — or $2.7 billion over the life of the deal, Sports Business Daily and The Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

Why does all this matter? Because hot young coaches, Like Houston’s Kevin Sumlin, do not come cheap. The former coach at ASU, Dennis Erickson, was making in the vicinity of $1.25 mil/yr. ASU was making backchannel offers to Sumlin reportedly in the vicinity of $2.5-3 mil/yr. Several key locals thought they had their man, and were all set to fly to Houston to make it official after the Cougars’ league championship game against Southern Mississippi today. But noooooo, the damn Aggies from Texas A&M up and fired their perfectly good coach, Mike Sherman, and they are hot to trot over Sumlin. Reportedly, the new asking price for Sumlin is now starting in the $3.5-4 mil/yr range. ASU has already bailed on that race.

The interesting dynamic here is that it is certainly not that ASU doesn’t have the money and facilities to compete with A&M; they do in spades. Not to mention that, while you may not beat them every year, ASU can easily be very competitive with USC and Oregon every year. The chances of consistent success are WAY better at a place like ASU in the Pac than they are at A&M where they have deteriorating facilities and will never consistently complete in the top tier of the SEC. Yet ASU threw in the towel. Why? I am not sure yet. Mostly, I think, we just have a crappy and weak AD, Lisa Love. Love should be toast along with Erickson to be honest.

Now the point here is not to pitch ASU as a destination, but just to show how wild the money in college football really is. It is easy to scoff at the giant sums of money paid to a coach like Kevin Sumlin to move jobs, especially in light of the skyrocketing tuition for students, depressed salaries for educators, and general costs of education. But, that said, the difference between 50,000 and 78,000 butts in seats at Sun Devil Stadium for fall Saturday nights is one hell of a lot of money. And huge for the local downtown economy too. So, yeah, when you really count the money it brings in, it is probably worth it. Not to mention that I live in a state with many idiots; there is a big and positive buzz about how UofA scored by hiring Rich Rod and how they were going to overtake ASU in football (they OWN our ass in basketball already, and most other asses in the Pac too). That cannot maintain (and never has in modern history), the Devils must do something!

So, onto the games!! Houston and Southern Miss for the Conference USA Championship (hey Brett, are you there?) is already underway on ABC. USM is actually a decent team (their coach, Larry Fedora also on the ASU list by the way), but Houston is going to move to 13-0 here and get a BCS bid. Baylor plays the Whorens for whatever title is at stake; go RGIII. The Georgia Gawgs are a good team, but LSU will run over them for the SEC crown. The glam pick is for the Sooners to upset Okie State in Big-12, I don’t think so. Lastly, the best game of the day (actually, this one at night, is the inaugural Big-10.2 Championship between Michigan State and Wisconsin. Sparty beat the Badgers at the end of the game on a bogus play earlier in the year. Even though this is in Lansing, I think Russell Wison, Monte Ball and the Badger Boys win in a great game.

I will add in some pros stuff in a bit. The music this week is by a little known guy, except in music circles, Jerry Riopelle. He was, still is I guess, really good. For bmaz trivia buffs, I think the girl with him in the duet and playing guitar, though not positive (it is bad video copy and has been a LONG time) is Llory McDonald, who I went to high school with and knew pretty well.

Make some Trash noise, will ya?

76 replies
  1. rosalind says:

    yeah! the tired, over-worked DWP crews hath restoreth the power to my neighborhood post-Windpocalypse, delivering me my tee-vee and computer.

    all rejoice.

    there will be football on the sabbath after all.

  2. emptywheel says:

    Rainy day here in MI. Could make it a defensive surprise there, bmaz.

    And WTF kind of game start is 8:17?

  3. emptywheel says:

    @emptywheel: I should add that it’s a FOOTBALL rainy day here: 43 degrees right now, but likely to drop some in time:17 for kickoff. Cold and rainy.

  4. bmaz says:

    @emptywheel: I think DDay did too. It was a huge outage initially. Don’t know how many took as long as Rosalind though.

    Cold and rainy here too actually.

    Man, late start there in Sparta. Ought to downright miserable by the time that is over. Hope they have lots of liquor to sell the fans.

  5. emptywheel says:

    One more point: RichRod CAN put butts in seats. He had years of experience putting 107,000+ in seats.

  6. bmaz says:

    @emptywheel: Uh, this is Tucson, not the Big House baybee.

    Yer just trying to set me off again…..

    There will be an initial surge in excitement though, that part is true. Was for Stoops too. That petered out.

  7. rosalind says:

    @emptywheel: about 250k in L.A DWP, scattered all around, Pasadena got hit the hardest with dozens of homes red-tagged from the giant trees of death, and many still without power.

    on the plus side, a lot of trees that got no bidness being planted around here – i’m looking at you eucalypti – came tumbling down.

    and i actually lucked out, turns out my two neighbors and i are hooked up to a separate grid or something and we never lost power but the time-warner cable equipment went down so i lost phone, tee-vee and computer. very eerie to look out at at the city and see a sea of black for the last two days.

    a jpl climatologist explains why we had such a cold santa ana wind.

  8. bmaz says:

    @rosalind: By the way, kind of surprised you did not say anything about Riopelle, figured you would know of Jerry.

    Did you ever pick up any Be Bop Deluxe?

  9. EH says:

    Because hot young coaches, Like Houston’s Kevin Sumlin, do not come cheap.

    Is it heretical to call BS on this? Pay them union scale and let them compete for pro team or European jobs if they don’t like it. The students and the taxpayers get the rest of that ESPN money.

  10. dakine01 says:

    I don’t know if WKU put a similar clause in Wilie Taggart’s football contract as they have for their recent b’ball coaches, but they got tired of having their b’ball coaches poached by various Big 10+1+1 or SEC schools so a couple three coaches back, they started requiring that the poaching school be required to play WKU b’ball up to 4 home and home games as part of the release to the new school.

    I used to think that having alum coaches would help stop the poaching but it didn’t so if Taggart has another good year or two at WKU (which I hope he has a long, illustrious career at WKU), I imagine the rumors of him being on the upward move will commence.

  11. bmaz says:

    Man, Southern Miss has played a hell of a game here today. This performance is undoubtedly inspired by the exploits of Geezer.

  12. P J Evans says:

    Congratulations – I think. (It’s blowing today in the northwest valley. Welcome to Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, and especially Porter ranch. Hold onto your hat, your wallet, and your car, because they might go sideways without warning and stop only when they get to Mulholland.)

  13. marksb says:

    LA Times says UCLA offered Chris Petersen (Boise State) nearly $4mil with another $2mil for assistant coaches this week…and got turned down. UCLA’s got the half-empty Rose Bowl to fill–and that’s a lot of seats–but still, that’s a chunk of money when students are seeing 20%+ fee raises.

  14. bmaz says:

    @marksb: Ah, but if a guy like Peterson could fill the Coliseum up, he would easily be worth it. But UCLA is a tough gig; if I were a coach, I would take ASU all day over UCLA. Chris Peterson has a SWEET gig in Boise, he can win huge there; would take a LOT to get me to leave if I were him. And Idaho is killer beautiful.

  15. bmaz says:

    @Bay State Librul: GCP reports the Aggies announced halfway through Houston’s game that they had hired Sumlin for right at $4 mil and he is taking key staff with him. I do not doubt this; I knew there had to be a reason ASU bailed so fast….the deal was already cut and he was staying in Texas. Stupid move, but he may well, curiously, like Texas.

  16. P J Evans says:

    Athletics (football and basketball, mostly) is Important, they have to pay for good coaches because Athletics builds character and all that (and it brings in so much money for the school).

    I wish that was snark: that’s what you get told when you criticize them for spending millions on coaches and stadium at the same time they cut back on academic programs and cut pay to the rest of their staff…..

  17. emptywheel says:

    Wait. Who badly misinformed me that this game was in E Lansing?

    This 10.2 Championship is just a gimmick to try to schedule an interesting game in Indy’s dome, it turns out. Go Peyton!

  18. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @emptywheel: EW – you can have a date with me anytime and anywhere but if you mean UM – UH, well, it appears not. Frak, I so like New Orleans. Great city. If you’re coming down I may still come to the game just for the date. :)

    OK bmaz – as you know the volume of correspondence in various forms has been voluminous since I’ve been home. I was just thinking of sending you an update but thought I’d check in here first. Many laughs and most of a very nice chianti later here’s the latest:

    This thing might blow up in everyone’s face. The locals have their ropes out and are looking for someone to string up. This must have been how it was in the old west when they caught cattle rustlers and horse thieves. Remember, this is the exact way it went down at Tulsa in 2007 when Briles left to Baylor taking RGIII and Gannaway with him (who were early commits to UH). Even if Sumlin were to stay he’s toast. No one would believe a word he says.

    Then, supposedly, the big money Ags who started all this are now having second thoughts. The way this whole thing went down doesn’t make them look very good and they’re thinking we’re going to pay 4 million for this? Having already fired their well respected coach who we all know doesn’t molest boys or let his players sell trinkets they’re now kind of in a bind. Supposedly the AD is the next to go because he didn’t want to fire Sherman.

    This morning Sumlin was on his way to cashing big time and tomorrow he may be back to an assistant.

    The big winner today was Larry Fedora. His team was ready and he had been mentioned for some of the same jobs as Sumlin. He kept his mouth shut and took care of business. My guess is someone snaps him up.

  19. bmaz says:

    @emptywheel: Uh, that would have been me! Interestingly enough, SJC and SASC, to mention Hanoi Harry Reid and the Senate, had a chance to reel me in and make me a reporting entity accountable for my Trash Talk spewage. Nope, instead they agreed to punt on that. I am unaccountable!! Why would this game be played in the stupid PeytonDome or whatever those Hosiers call it?? At least the Pac-Howevermany plays its game at the home field of the top seed.

    Who knew? But, it really was the only way to get a decent football game in that stadium.

  20. bmaz says:

    @GulfCoastPirate: This is SHOCKING even to me, but ASU may have been a net winner. Hard to credit Love with brilliance here though; she pussied out and lucked into being a winner for having done so. Ugh, kind of sad in a lot of ways.

  21. Bob Schacht says:

    No comments yet on the LSU-Georgia game? Georgia held LSU without even a first down in the first half! But they blew a number of important opportunities, and in the second half, LSU played more like it was expected to.

    And what about the MSU-WI game? First three possessions all scoring drives: WI 2x, MI 1x. Whose defense is going to rise up first?

    Update: WI recovers MSU fumble on the kick return, and scores a few plays later. Wisconsin’s O-line seems to have taken command.

    Bob in AZ

  22. Bob Schacht says:

    @bmaz: Yes, it is indeed, and Wisconsin came out strong after the half, but MSU has answered, and I had a nervous feeling even before the long TD.

    No one has control of this game yet. But good return by WI after the MSU TD.

    Bob in AZ

  23. Bob Schacht says:

    Well, it is somehow appropriate that both games between WI and MSU had huge plays, in the last minute or so, involving crucial rulings on the field, that determined the outcome of the game.
    In this game, the call of the (non-)catch on the sidelines (ruling against MSU), and the 80-yard run-back nullified by roughing the punter (ruling against MSU), were game changers. Wisconsin is fortunate to have escaped with a win.

    Bob in AZ

  24. bmaz says:

    @emptywheel: I think if Wisconsin uses the break time between now and then to really gameplan, they can give the Ducks a good game. But I think if Oregon comes to play at all, they just are way too fast for the Badgers. That is a classic Rose Bowl paradigm though. No matter how big and good the Big-10 team, they rarely seemed ready for the speed and execution of Pac teams. Been a little different lately, but was always how it was growing up.

  25. Bay State Librul says:

    @Bay State Librul:

    Sumlin has denied the Texas A&M offer.
    Is that like the Sox denying that Lucchino, rather than Amherst college
    GM Cherington, pulled the strings with hiring Bobby V?

  26. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @Bay State Librul: Well, he can deny it all he wants but he’s just being disingenuous. Here’s this morning’s article by the Chronicle’s A&M beat writer:

    Notice this little nugget of info:

    ‘Some influential Aggies, too, grew increasingly troubled over the past days over what appeared to be the single-mindedness toward Sumlin, driven by A&M regent Jim Wilson, a Sumlin running buddy. The idea being that A&M’s football future shouldn’t be determined by a sports-happy regent who tabs a coach because he gets to hang with him.’

    Technically, did he sit down and personally discuss the situation with A&M? No, but his agent surely did and I’m sure he had more than a few discussions over drinks with his ‘running buddies’. Plus, the agent defintely had discussions earlier with both ASU and UCLA (I’ve also heard North Carolina and Ole Miss). Those discussions had gone far enough that bmaz had heard about it and emailed me and that’s how we started talking about all this. About the same time we both realized in this era of budget cuts and dwindling resources for education putting out 4 mil + for a football coach is crazy; however, if you do the math it makes perfect sense. UH football games are now ‘events’ – so to speak. All the tickets are sold for every game and the atmosphere outside the stadium is like a circus. For the last game I saw tailgaters that had hired mariachi bands and numerous LSU people (there are still a lot of Katrina refugees in Houston). Yes, LSU people. They bring their tents, TV’s, etc and set up shop outside to party. Probably don’t even have tickets as there are lots of people outside now every game that have no intention of going inside.

    Then you look at places like ASU. From what bmaz says they get about 50,000 a game in a stadium that holds 80,000. What happens if you get a coach in there that can fill those 30,000 seats at $50 a pop? Assuming they sell beer in their stadium like we do if each of those 30,000 spend an additional $30 in concessions plus another $25 to park now you’re talking real money and much more than 4 million for a coach. The UT athletic department generated $125 million last year. The most of any school in the nation. Some of that ended up in the school’s general coffers to finance buildings, professors, etc. So is Mack Brown worth 5 million + per year? Not if he keeps going 5 – 7 and the stands empty out but if he gets back to 10 – 2 or better then yes, whether we like it or not he’s profitable to the university even at that price.

    It’s insane but it is what it is. Of course, when you get an ass whupping like Sumlin got yesterday because you don’t take care of business beforehand they you’re worth a lot less because all those people who come to the ‘event’ find another ‘event’ to go to.

  27. bmaz says:

    @GulfCoastPirate: I do not know about this year yet, it was probably up 4000 to 5000 average, but in 2010, the average over six home games was 48,000. Current configuration has capacity at 73,000, but they can add in another 4,000 pretty easy when needed (think paid attendance at the SuperBowl was 77,000).

    Now in better times, the joint was sold out pretty much on a season ticket basis. It was always packed to the gills, and it rocks on Saturday nights when that is the case. I mean wild. There is a LOT of money flowing, both in and out of the stadium. Say you sell 20,000 more tickets (so still not capacity) at $45 a pop; that is $900,000 extra a game right there in cold hard cash before any of the other concession and merchandise stuff. That will be well over a million extra a game in net revenue. Also keep in mind that the total salary package for a coach does not all come from the university; some will come from associated TV/radio show, shoe company, booster club etc. If ASU had paid Sumlin $4 mil, I would guess no more than $2.5 mil of that would have come from the university itself. Erickson was around 1.3 or so, but I think only 1 mil came from ASU as base.

  28. bmaz says:

    @allan: Yeah, this ain’t that new. I know this will shock, but the DEA and CIA also move an awful lot of actual drugs too. SURPRISE!

  29. emptywheel says:

    I noted we’re most of the way through our first pro games, and Baby Jesus scored a three-play drive to match a Vikes touchdown, and yet no one updated the pro trash. Whatup with that?

  30. scribe says:

    @bmaz: Like the movie line from a trailer I saw earlier this year:

    Cop: Sppeding again. In a Prius?
    Driver: Umm, I’m practicing racing.
    Cop: practicing racing?
    Driver: I lose a lot.

  31. Bob Schacht says:

    @emptywheel: Yeah, I’m confused, too. Fox TV chose to pull the plug on the Denver game when I thought the score was tied at 32. Instead, they wanted to show us the end of another game, and then they went to commercials, with no word about the Broncos game. I see from the game summary that Denver intercepted a pass with less than 2 min to go, which gave them the ball close enough to kick a field goal. Or something like that.

    Another reason to dislike the Fox network.

    Bob in AZ

  32. scribe says:

    @Bob Schacht: Yeah.

    Tebow led his folks down the field and they got a FG to tie at 32. They kicked off to Minny, getting a touchback. First play from scrimmage, Minny’s QB throws a pick to his left – the receiver and he were not on the same sheet of music and he wound up underthrowing by about 5 yards. Denver picked it and ran it in to like the 12. A couple of plays and some clock management by the Broncos on either side of the 2 minute warning and they get the winning FG with :02 on the clock at the snap.

    The No Fun League has been a real bunch of dicks with changing over from the early game to the later – you get 5 minutes or more of craptastic commercials that are obviously local, all while the early game is in its most interesting moments.

    And now Bad Eli wings a pick six to a straking Clay matthews and it’s GB 14 Elis 10.

  33. scribe says:

    Charles Woodson’s being Eli’s best ground-gainer: he’s given them 2 first downs in 4 plays on stupid penalties.

  34. Jim White says:

    I am so sorry to have missed yet another scripted miracle from The Anointed One. Don’t look now, but he’s just moved his team into first place in the division.

    Resistance is futile.

    Join the TeBorg!

  35. Bob Schacht says:

    @Jim White: Pfaugh! you and bmaz are hopeless. Tebow didn’t do squat on the winning “drive” at the end. All he had to do was hold onto the ball and run some seconds off the clock. All the heavy lifting was done by Andre Goodman, the Bronco who intercepted the pass, and Matt Prater, the kicker.

    But hey, another 4th quarter miracle builds the psychosis that is affecting you and bmaz–and the more of that that gets around, the more people start to think it might just be true! And that kind of psychology can win games. And to be fair, Tebow had a good game, with more yards passing and a higher percentage of pass completions than any of his last 5 games, and earned a QB rating of 149, which is pretty decent.

    Bob in AZ

    PS– The Cardinals did what???

  36. Bob Schacht says:

    @scribe: The Cardinals defense must be improving. Romo is one of the most highly rated QBs in the NFL. Season stats:


    1. Aaron Rodgers, GB 127.7
    2. Tom Brady, NE 105.1
    3. Drew Brees, NO 103.6
    4. Tony Romo, DAL 97.5
    5. Matt Schaub, HOU 96.8

    Rodgers, Brady and Brees didn’t hurt their standing the way they played today.

    Bob in AZ

  37. Bay State Librul says:

    I dunno. The winter baseball meetings start this week, Reyes gets a
    six year/$106M contract, Bobby V jets to the Dominican Republic to caddy for Papi, Wakefield yaks to the press that he wants another year to flutter his knuckler, and all you talk about is the boring NFL?

    Belichick’s press conferences are boring enough….

  38. scribe says:

    @Bob Schacht: How about the Owboys just suck in the big moment? Coach Garrett outdid Coach Cupcake’s entire debacle of a career with that whole “ice your own kicker” move at the end of regulation. That entire loss is on garrett’s head alone.

  39. bmaz says:

    Attention Patriots Fans!: Chucky Gruden just said Philip Rivers is “the best quarterback in the AFC”.

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