Saban a Bargain at $5.3 Million


In today’s day and age of college football fans regularly gasp at the salaries of the head football coaches. The academic world cringes, mainly because of ego, because they are the important part of a university. The small sports supporters often question why football gets so much leverage with the athletic departments. It’s really very simple. Big time college football drives the school. It’s the catalyst for the almighty bottom line $$ and there is no denying it. Below is an excerpt of Tom Van Riper’s piece on Nick Saban’s impact on Alabama for Forbes Magazine (The Magic Of Nick Saban: Everyone Wants To Go To Alabama)

“You basically know Saban’s record on the field: 68-13 since arriving in Tuscaloosa in 2007, with three national titles. The athletic department money has followed suit: 2012 produced revenue of $124.5 million and profit of $19.4 million, according to data from USA Today, up from $67.7 million in revenue and $7.1 million in profit in 2007. Football accounts for about two-thirds of all revenue and $45 million in profit, while the school’s other sports teams collectively lose money.

But the money flowing directly from Bryant-Denny Stadium is just the start. If you think that a top college football coach earning seven figures is overpaid, think again. To appreciate just how modest Saban’s $5.3 million salary is, take a wider look around campus. Since 2007, Tuscaloosa has swelled its undergraduate ranks by 33% to over 28,000 students. Faculty count has kept pace: up 400 since 2007 to over 1,700. But it’s more than growth – it’s where the growth is coming from. According to the school, less than a third of the 2007 freshman class of 4,538 students hailed from out of state. By the fall of 2012, more than half (52%) of a freshman class of 6,397 students did. Various data from US News and the New York Times shows that the school’s out-of-state tuition cost – nearly three times higher than the rate for in-state students – rose from $18,000 to $22,950 a year during that period.

Add it all up – more students from outside Alabama paying ever-increasing premium tuition bills – and the school realized $50 million more in out-of-state tuition revenue for last fall’s incoming class than it did for the same class in 2007 ($76 million vs. $26 million). Kick in the additional $8.5 million in in-state tuition, which rose to $9,200 a year from $6,400 over the same period, and overall tuition revenue rose to $104 million from $46 million for the respective 2012 and 2007 freshman classes. And to boot, the school’s most recent capital campaign (i.e. donations from alumni and others) raised $600 million for scholarships and facilities, the most ever.”


Confidence building for Diamond Dawgs in late season

MSU baseball. Nice story heading a big weekend showdown with rival Ole Miss


Over the weekend, Mississippi State’s baseball team saw an eight-run lead nearly evaporate in two innings, fell behind in game two of a doubleheader, then watched Alabama get another big lead in the final game of the series on Sunday.

The result? A 3-0 weekend record for the Bulldogs, sweeping Alabama at Dudy Noble Field.

IXZVAVBTOOMJCUE.20090414153124Two come-from-behind, extra-inning, walk-off wins and a foiled Tide comeback attempt made for both an interesting and revealing weekend for MSU.

 “When you look at games like this,” head coach John Cohen said, “it’s that character, that work ethic and that belief in yourself that gets you through those games. This is what we expect of our kids, especially the older ones who have been through that before.”

After being swept on the road at Vanderbilt last week, Cohen’s club was badly in need of wins to calm the waters and maintain hopes of hosting…

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“The NCAA has said it does not exploit current or former athletes.”

Just more NCAA nonsense. More good stuff from GetThePicture blog. Hard not to lose hope.

Get The Picture

The steady drip, drip, drip in the O’Bannon case continues apace.  I don’t think this is something the NCAA wants to have the public hear as the class certification hearing approaches:

College sports video games were designed to replicate actual players without using their names, a former Electronic Arts Sports executive producer said in his deposition as part of the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit.

Jeremy Strauser, who worked at EA from 1995 until 2011, testified last December that computer-game avatars were linked to specific player identifying numbers and biographical information, such as team depth charts, was used to make the game realistic.

“We generally tried to make the players perform as their real life counterparts, short of their name and likeness,” Strauser testified.

They all knew what they were doing with these games.  Either the NCAA can make itself look sillier by insisting otherwise, or it can start blaming EA for…

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Ranking the Top SEC Recruiters

247 sports has a really cool feature they recently unveiled where they rank not only the players and classes but also the assistant coaches doing the work. They have a point system where the coaches gets points for each commitment as the primary or secondary recruiter. The average numerical rating for the prospects is heavily weighted as well. There are currently 4 SEC assistants in the national top 10. There are 22 coaches in the top 50. I would theorize that by National Signing Day that the SEC will take a large chunk of the top 100. It’s good to keep in mind that its really early for 2014 recruiting but this is something pretty cool that I’ll pay close attention to as the summer camp circuit draws near. This feature really allows you to see who the “ace recruiter” is on your staff for that particular recruiting cycle. Keep in mind that I hand picked and ranked the SEC coaches out of the national rankings (this ranking does not reflect their national ranking).

1. David Beaty (Texas A&M)- Currently has 5 prospects committed. (3) 4 stars and (2) 3 stars for a total of 71.12 points.

2. Clarence McKinney (Texas A&M)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (1) 5 star and (3) 4 stars for a total of 65.57 points.

3. Kirby Smart (Bama)- Currently has 5 prospects committed. (4) 4 stars and (1) 3 star for a total of 63.76 points.

4. Dameyune Craig (Auburn)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (1) 4 star and (3) 3 stars for a total of 59.78 points.

5. Matt Luke (Ole Miss)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (3) 4 stars and (1) 3 star for a total of 57.61 points.

6.Frank Wilson (LSU)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (2) 4 stars and (2) 3 stars for a total of 57.36 points.

7. Corey Raymond (LSU)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (1) 5 star, (2) 4 stars, and (1) 3 star for a total of 54.34 points.

8. Vince Morrow (Kentucky)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (1) 4 star and (3) 3 stars for a total of 51.83 points.

9. Tommy Thigpen (Tennessee)- Currently has 5 prospects committed. (1) 5 star, (1) 4 star, and (3) 3 stars for a total of 51.14 points.

10. Derrick Nix (Ole Miss)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (1) 4 star and (3) 3 stars for a total of 50.22 points.

11. Mark Elder (Tennessee)- Currently has 3 prospects committed. (1) 4 star and (2) 3 stars for a total of 47.53 points.

12. Brad Lawing (Florida)- Currently has 2 prospects committed. (2) 4 stars for a total of 45.71 points.

41. Tony Hughes (Mississippi State)- Currently has 1 prospect committed. (1) 4 star for a total of 21.91 points.

MSU Recruiting Update

As everyone knows by now, MSU picked up its 2nd commitment of the 2014 class yesterday. Composite 4 star athlete Jamoral Graham of Newton County chose the bulldogs over offers from USM, Ole Miss, and high interest from LSU and Alabama. Graham plays both sides of the ball now and it’s to be determined if he will will WR or DB at MSU. My opinion is that the electric playmaker will play either CB or S. Graham is also a standout on the basketball team.

The commitment allowed a large portion of the ever pessimistic MSU fan-base to exhale a bit. Many have been very nervous about only 1 commitment but when you look at MSU’s recruiting history, its par for the course. It also doesn’t hurt that he is a high profile guy that gives the star gazers something to fawn over. Another thing that caught many folks eye was his interaction on twitter with Alabama DE Cory Thomas (@bigcory34). They appear to be close and Graham is pushing him to join him at MSU.

MSU’s two 2014 commitments:

Jamoral Graham 5’10 190 from Newton County. WR/DB. 4.5 40. Composite 4 star

Nikia Cathey 5’8 177 from Westwood (Memphis). Slot WR. 4.4 40. Composite 3 star

Guys who could be next to commit:

Dontavian Lee 6′ 200 from Forrest County AHS. RB. 4.6 40. Composite 3 star

Jesse Jackson 6’2 195 from Petal HS. WR. 4.55 40. Composite 3 star

Aeris Williams 6’1 205 from West Point HS. RB. 4.5 40. 247 4 star

MSU & Ole Miss Could Make Up to $70M a Year with New Deal


Another hectic travel day for me but that doesn’t mean no reading material. I’ve held off from commenting so far on the SEC Network deal because there is so much detail and I didn’t feel like anyone was explaining it fully. Clay Travis wrote an excellent piece on the subject that’s easy to read and makes it crystal clear. MSU and OM are both benefitting greatly from the last deal to the tune of approximately $25 million a year. It’s easy to see the push that money has given the athletic departments. The new deal goes until 2034 and all we can do is guess about the money it will generate at maturity but Travis predicts it could almost triple. Seeing the changes with $25 million a year makes it staggering to think about what we’ll see at $70 million. I suggest reading the whole story by clicking on the highlighted text.

As part of this new deal, I think ESPN has guaranteed the SEC a substantial payment as a floor before the revenue share kicks in on the network. What would that guarantee be? I’m certain it’s more than what any other conference is presently receiving for its television rights. My guess is that the guarantee is around $350 million. So bottom line, I believe that each SEC team is now guaranteed around $25 million a year from ESPN. I believe that the 50/50 split would kick in once we get above that guarantee on the SEC Network in the years to come. If you hit $3 a month on the subscriber fee in the SEC footprint over the next decade, then we’re talking about a billion dollars plus another $333 million in ad sales. That’s $1.333 billion a year in revenue. Take off the $350 million guarantee and the SEC and ESPN would be splitting right at 1 billion. That’s $500 million for each. So we’re talking about $850 million being split among 14 teams in the SEC, that’s nearly $61 million a year per team just from ESPN. As I said earlier, the CBS package will hit the market in 2023/24 and be worth another $250 million a year at least. That would be another ten million for each team. That’s $70 million or more in television money per team in a decade or so. Bottom line? The SEC is poised to make it rain in college athletics.

Mixed Bag Monday

It’s a Monday and the perfect day to catch up on some news. Also, the life of the author has been a bit hectic this weekend. For the whole stories just click the links and it will take you there. Great MSU baseball recaps from the crew. Some disturbing news from my Dolphins about a possible move. Does it get any better than AJ McCarron getting to drive the pace car at Talladega? Time to add to the tattoo AJ. Also, a great piece on MSU’s football program and the fanbase by Happy Monday y’all.

Dolphins’ future in Miami uncertain

Miami Dolphins CEO Mike Dee suggested Sunday the Dolphins may have to relocate at some point as a result of Friday’s decision by the Florida legislature to reject hearing a referendum that would have provided public renovations to the Dolphins’ Sun Life Stadium.

Dee had said last month owner Stephen Ross would not renovate the stadium without a public-private partnership. Ross reiterated that there will be no renovation in an interview with CBS4 in Miami, saying it would be “difficult” to do the renovations on a more limited basis.
Regarding the team’s future in Miami, Dee said, “I wouldn’t want to prognosticate what the future holds, but it’s clearly bleak.”

Although Dee said Ross won’t move the team, Dee said the next owner could move the team, possibly to Los Angeles. Ross has said he won’t sell the team in his lifetime, but Dee didn’t rule out a sale during Ross’s lifetime.

“The Dolphins are one of the only franchises in the NFL that don’t have a long-term lease with their community,” Dee said, according to The Palm Beach Post. “At some point, somebody’s going to buy the franchise from (Ross), and clearly the stadium is the first thing they would need to address.”

AJ McCarron drives the pace car at NASCAR’s Talladega race

TALLADEGA, Ala. – AJ McCarron arrived at Talladega Superspeedway wearing a hoodie that looked like a 4-year-old’s art project. And he pulled it off, because this is Alabama and this is AJ McCarron. If this were a video game, he’d be in God Mode.
McCarron, the two-time national championship-winning Crimson Tide quarterback, is at Talladega to drive the pace car at the Aaron’s 499, which is about as Alabama as you can possibly get. He drove a special crimson Ford Mustang GT, which is probably not a violation but surely some Auburn fans will look for one.
Before the race, McCarron spoke to the media, and let the world in on the advice coach Nick Saban gave him: “Whatever you do, don’t wreck the car.” Which is probably the same advice Saban gave McCarron before the national championship games, too…

Dawgs Sweep Doubleheader vs. Bama

Game 1 – MSU 10, Alabama 6

MSU broke the 200,000 attendance mark for the season for just the seventh time in school history. With another weekend remaining, MSU has the opportunity to break the all-time record of 233,015 set in 2003.

Alabama pitcher and Madison, Miss., native, Spencer Turnbull, came into the ball game with a 4-0 record and 1.00 ERA in SEC play. The Bulldogs absolutely smashed the Tide ace to the tune of 10 runs (nine earned) on 10 hits. His earned run average went from 2.26 to 3.28 on the season…

Maroon > Crimson, 7-6 in 11

Despite ominous clouds all day and some light rain, Sunday’s game three with Alabama was never delayed, and actually went into extra innings before the Dawgs broke through victorious for the sweep.

Jacob Lindgren started out pretty well but got into trouble in the 3rd which lead to an unearned run, and in the 4th he got into a major jam allowing one run and leaving the bases loaded and no out for Ross Mitchell. Good ole Ross did his magic and escaped the 4th inning without any more runs scoring. His magic ran out in the 5th, however, as he gave up a 3-run homer that gave Bama a 5-2 lead. That was the first home run of the year given up by the lefty – it raised his ERA to 1.32 which is now 2nd in the league behind nemesis Bobby Wahl…

MSU Football Fans are Currently Wandering the Desert

After what happened in the last six games of the 2012 season, it seems like Mississippi State football fans have a collective “meh” feeling. I guess five losses by an average of 21 points including a loss to Ole Miss and the bowl game will do that to you.

Look at the spring game attendance: 21,000 showed up for the maroon and white game. The SEC average was 40,733 – but looking at some recent spring games it shows the level of disinterest. 2012′s game – one in which you had to pay for – drew more: 22,604. In 2011: 36,357. In 2010: 34,127.

It was a beautiful Saturday. The baseball team got 14,562 in Dudy Noble Field for the 2nd largest crowd in NCAA baseball history. The free football scrimmage could only muster 6,500 more?…