Saban’s Wish, the P5 and Pandoras Box

During the recent college football media days for all of the Power Five (5) Conferences, the head coaches of each program receives the opportunity to speak with the sports media about the upcoming season and address any questions the sports media might want answered before the start of the (2017) college football season. The most interesting comment from a FBS football coach came from none other than Coach Nick Saban, from Alabama, respresenting the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

The comment , in which I heard, was aired on ESPN Radio and many ESPN sports media shows either on television or the radio. The ESPN Radio show in which I heard the comment was on the Freddie and Fitz Show on ESPN Radio stations braodcast across the country, between the time frame of (1130PM-1145PM) on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. I also searched the World Wide Web to support these comments from Coach Saban and found a published news article either on line  and/or in print from the Washington Post dated July 27, 2017; Titled “Nick Saban’s “far out” scheduling plan would be great for Alabama, less so for everyone else”, authored and published by Matt Bonesteel ( Bonesteel, 2017).

Coach Nick Saban was participating in the annual magical mystery tour of college football coaches for ESPN, as ESPN begins to promote the upcoming college football season of 2017, by interviewing as many high profile coaches in Bristol, Connecticut. During Saban’s tour, Saban pitched the “so far out” idea that would seem to guarantee both an increase in competitive regular season college football games and an expansion of the College Football Playoff, two noble goals. (Bonesteel, 2017). Saban is using his Democritus, righteousness philospophy and entitlement beliefs, to promote the far out idea so that all Power Five (5) Conferences should only play Power Five (5) Conferences. Saban’s comments were “We should play all teams in the Power 5 conferences,” he said. “If we did that, then if we were going to have bowl games, we should do the bowl games just like we do in the NCAA basketball tournament — not by record but by some kind of power rating that gets you in a bowl game. If we did that, people would be a little less interested in maybe bowl games and more interested in expanding the playoff.” (Bonesteel, 2017). With all due respect Coach Saban, please offer us your cognitive thoughts on what variables to use for the power rating system.

Saban’s argument for the change in his and possibly the SEC’s Democritus mindset is that their belief is that the current use of the mimimum win total of six (6) to become bowl eligible causes scheduling advantages to those who schedule the Group of Five (5) or FCS programs are not worthy of their wins. Coach Saban you are clear violation of your own words. Saban also believes that by scheduling only Power Five (5) programs and a 10-game in within confernce schedule, plus 2- non-conference scheduled games versus Power Five (5) programs; that it will improve financial dollars, increase excitement and possibly increase the number of entrants into the next college football playoff format. Coach Saban, since you brough up the 10-game conference schedule have you performed the scheduling rubric to make happen? Im going to hypothesize that you have not put this cognitive thought to paper with ability to address any questions that may be asked of you in how this system works.

From the way I see this chess match move by Saban and the SEC, their Democritus objective is to significantly improve their stronghold and stranglehold on the top financial prize of college football and the elimination of, Democritusly control of and stranglehold on the Group of Five Conferences and their programs, including the Independent FBS programs. The power brokers of college football, more specificially the SEC want to eliminate the Group Of Five’s (5) ability to increase their marketability, increase their recruiting of student athletes, and ultimately and significantly diminsh their abilty to increase financial stability under the NCAA blue logo and athletic competition at the FBS level of college football.

Bonesteel (2017) concludes his article by punching holes, like swiss chees, into Coach Saban’s idea. Bonesteel (2017) reconfirms how the historical schedules of Coach Saban at Alabama when competing against various FCS programs multiple times. Then Bonesteel (2017) serves up to Coach Saban which FCS program, Mercer, is scheudled for “the SEC’s annual late-November FCS siesta weekend” prior to rivalry weekend versus Auburn in the last week of the college football season on Thanksgiving weekend. Bonesteel (2017) states that ” Saban could snap his fingers and take those games off the Tide’s schedule, but doesn’t.” That’s the righteousness position that Coach Saban takes in addition to the SEC. Both believe that they can suggest any type of change to the rules, scheduling, selection process and or bowl process; and will use any leverage they can to persuade others within their conference or level of competition to join their crusade.

Coach Saban and the SEC both forget that when they verbally start their crusades for change, they open up Pandora’s Box. Let’s open Pandora’s Box and read what is inside the box. With this change Coach Saban and the SEC, you failed to remember or read your NCAA Bylaws of (2017-2018), more specifically the membership chapter. NCAA Constitution Article 3, Chapter 3, disuccess Membership including Bylaws that you need to read are; Bylaw 3.1, Bylaw 3.3, Bylaw 3.3.4, and Bylaw 3.7 (NCAA, 2017). After you read that Coach Saban, then move to the NCAA Constitution Article 20, that discussess FBS requirements for NCAA programs to earn and maintaint their FBS status. From there Coach Saban, read the rest of the NCAA Bylaws that pertain to eligibility, recruitment and academic compliance. All of which are followed by those FBS members under the blue NCAA logo.

After you read that Coach Saban, you need to understand how Title IX possesses a direct relationship with the NCAA and FBS status requirements. Since, college athletics are being operated in a business-like manner in today’s society by generating triple digit millions of dollars and revenue, then Coach Saban you need to understand how the Sherman Act of 1890 protects the Group of Five (5) Conferences and programs, then in addition to your readings read the Clayton Act of 1914 as well. While you are reading that Coach Saban,  you failed to forget about the Notre Dame Factor. Coach Saban please explain to Notre Dame why they won’t be part of the Power Five (5) scheduling since they are not officially part of a Power Five (5) Conference for FBS football.

I believe what Coach Saban is refering to is that he would like to see implemented, a standardized, universal, cross conference, cross divisional and balanced scheduling rotation format like the National Football League (NFL). Interesting his thoughts might be in the right place but that research has already been performed, copyrighted and published. Published and available for sale is “College Football In the BCS Era The Untold Truth Fact Evidence and Solution” authored by Matthew J. Siggelow M.S.E. The research within the book, Chapter 16 titled “Balanced Scheduling: Possible or Impossible”, examined the many dependent variables on the independent variable that affect what Coach Saban is thinking about. What that published and copyrighted research did determine is that college football at the FBS level could possess and implement a standardized, universal, cross conference, cross divisional and balanced schedule by scheduling all 131 FBS programs and conferences within a 12-game schedule with NO home field advantages of more than 2 home games successively and has the capability to eliminate the scheduling of any FCS programs. However, within that format the research did adhere to and maintained as many rivalry FBS games already scheduled and implemented other historical rivalry games already not being played.

If Coach Saban wants this implemented, please ask and I am more than willing to act as the scheduling czar that the NCAA and FBS football scheduling needs. I just hope that Coach Saban and the rest of the SEC are OK with a games scheduled in late November at Wisconsin, or at Michigan, or at Minnesota, or at Michigan State, or at Ohio State, or at Stanford, or at USC, or at Washington, or at Nebraska, or at Iowa and the list can go on and on. Once they give up control of the scheduling to a shceduling czar, you go where you are scheduled. No more so called “neutral site” games with regional home field advantages. With this type of scheudling format; the SEC programs, the power brokers of FBS football, the SEC Athletic Administrators and the SEC Conference Commissioner will have to agree and abide by this type of scheduling. The SEC would then not be allowed to control their Non-Conference schedule, like they do now. We all could agree that the SEC and coaches won’t budge on their traditional within conference games, scheduled on specific weeks within the calander, during the college football season. Heaven forbid if they let that happen.

To support the righteouness, entitlement, Democritus, and historical SEC scheduling further; from (1996-2013), the SEC holds a 79.9% home field advantage in thieir non conference scheduling. Examining those data points further, Coach Saban you and your Alabama teams holds the highest percentage associated with home field advantage at 90.7% within your non conference scheduling advantage. In addition to Alabama possesssing the highest percentage rate for home field advantage within their non-confernce schedule, there are four (4) other SEC programs that rank in the Top 6; with Auburn at 90.6%, Arkansas at 89.1%, LSU at 84.6% and Florida at 82.8%. What many fail to perceive, even the sports media is that this significant hoime field advantage within the SEC’s non conference schedule is currently in use during the early infancy stages of the College Football Playoff (CFP) Era. Those statistics are increasy yearly by (.1)% yearly. Do you really think and believe that the rest of the Power Five (5) Conferences and programs are just going to submit to your demands of always scheduling non-conference games with Alabama and the SEC at the SEC home stadium venues. The remaining FBS Power Five (5) programs and conferences will say NO, to that move.

What Coach Saban and the SEC fails to comprehend is that college athletics although business like and operating in a business fashion, draws many fans, 37+ million to be axact annually, generates a plethora of sponsorship dollars, donations from booster dollars, and plenty of sports media coverage. College athletics needs to be operated and lead by someone who possesses a Utiliatrianistic style under the Stuart Mills philosophy and definatively possesses business experience. What the SEC and Coach Saban significantly fail to comprehend, is that college athletics is about offering opportunities for ALL student athletes and coaching staffs to compete and earn national championship in ALL NCAA sponsored sports, except for FBS football under the NCAA logo.

In conclusion, conference affiliation or Power Five (5) Conference status should not give you exclusivity, entitlement, or the righteousness to the highest prize on the table of $50+ millions of dollars and the opportunity to be called National Champion in which all FBS members adhere to and follows the bylaws of the NCAA and FBS eligibility status. All FBS programs should be allowed to compete for that prize and recognition. That prize and recognition is not just for the elitest in college football at the FBS level.

To Coach Saban and the SEC, better be careful what you wish for.

 

Sources

Bonesteel, Matt. (2017). “Nick Saban’s “far out” scheduling plan would be great for Alabama, less so for everyone else”. Washington Post. July 27, 2017. Retreived July 27, 2017 from the World Wide Web. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2017/07/27/nick-sabans-far-out-scheduling-plan-would-be-great-for-alabama-less-so-for-everyone-else/?utm_term=.84061979fd60

Coleman, Freddie (Host)and Fitzsimmons, Ian (Host) (July 26, 2017). Freddie and Fitz Radio Show. Monday through Friday. (Saban thoughts on P5 Scheduling). Bristol, CT. and Dallas, TX. ESPN.

Siggelow, Matthew J. (2016). College Football In The BCS Era The Untold Truth Fact Evidence and Solution. Lulu Publishing. Self Publishing. 490 Pages.

2017-2018 NCAA Division 1 Manual (2017). Text Prepared By: NCAA Academic and Membership Affairs Staff. Production By: NCAA Academic and Membership Affairs Staff. Produced by the NCAA. Indianapolis, Indiana. NCAA.org. 428 pages.

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