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Dick Harmon: NCAA reforms teeter on tipping over the college sports cart

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  • I Bleed Blue Las Vegas, NV
    Aug. 8, 2014 4:50 p.m.

    Well said. And for those who think Utah will ascend to lofty heights, take a look at your Utah Jazz. They are in the same position in the NBA as you are in the PAC12. Bottom feeders with little if any bright future. We have pay for play football. It is called the NFL.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 5:05 p.m.

    Interesting perspective.

    When Utah State was on the outside looking in...twice... Dick wrote the same op-ed...

    Right?

    Oops.

    Dick has a habit of showing he bleeds Cougar blue.

    Could the problem be one of where you stand depends upon where you sit?

    On this issue (as well as other issues) Dick clearly has a seat at the Cougar table.

  • But seriously folks! Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 5:29 p.m.

    I see this doing little for the kids on the hill. They operate in the red now and this will only make it worse. If they have to pay their players that just add a deficit to their already red spreadsheet. Be careful what you ask for.

    Can you imagine the law suits coming out of this? The NCAA better beef up their lawyer pool cause it could cost them billions in court costs. The so-called power conferences should do the same.
    I see an outrage from the hundreds of schools that cannot play by the same rules and their millions of fans. They should just leave well enough alone.

  • kaysvillecougar KAYSVILLE, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 6:12 p.m.

    @ there you go. Thanks for enlightening us on the team that Dick Harmon writes about 90% of the time. He was hired to write about BYU and all things touching BYU. That shouldn't shock anyone who's been in Utah the last 20 yrs. I don't see how these NCAA reforms can be anything but bad for USU. For Utah they may be good. For BYU it's a push. For college football in general it's more of the same. They still don't seem to get it. There's this constant battle to exclude "unworthy" programs. Every team should be able to compete but when only 5 conferences are making the rules, guess who's going to win? Now, Alabama, USC and Florida have a great chance of winning, but why exclude a team that has a spectacular season, even if they're not one of the big boys? It's a shame. I remember when BYU played a Tulane team that was 11-1 or 12-0 back in the late 90's. Tulane had no business being in the lowly motor city bowl. They cleaned our clock that day.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 6:29 p.m.

    Larry Scott of the Pac-12 said...

    "Players at UCLA, USC or Washington will be allowed to pay their players more than a Utah or Wazzu, as the cost of living is greater in LA and Seattle, than it is in Pullman Tucson or Salt Lake City".

    Conferences can set their own rules. This is not an advantage for Utah and other bottom-feeders at all. This is designed to bolster the 10 or 15 Super-Teams in the P-5's, the rest are just fodder to them, i.e the Washington Generals.

    The real losers are the Mid-Level-Doormat teams of the P-5 leagues... i.e. Utah, Wazzu, Colorado, Kansas, Baylor, Texas Tech, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Iowa State, Indiana, Purdue, Rutgers, Maryland, Duke, NC State, Wake Forrest, Vanderbilt, Northwestern etc, to name just a few.....

    BYU will be just fine, as they are one of only a few programs which operate in the black, unlike Utah. They pay as they go and they have the resources to match anything the upper level P-5's offer.

    And don't forget Title-9.
    Something is going to give and it will be Men's Olympic Sports.

  • K. Kramer Anytown, USA, NY
    Aug. 8, 2014 6:43 p.m.

    Kaysvillecougar: Wasn't it Marshall in the Motor City Bowl?

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 6:43 p.m.

    @kaysvillecougar

    From the DN:

    Dick Harmon is a columnist for the Deseret News with a focus on college athletics. He previously worked as executive sports editor, sports columnist, city editor and police reporter for the Provo Daily Herald for 26 years. He has often appeared on ESPN and other broadcasting programs nationwide. He has written three books and co-authored a fourth. His work has appeared in The Sporting News and other national publications. He and his wife AnnaLee have four children and reside in Orem, Utah.

    Dick is a columnist for the Deseret News, with a focus on college athletics.

    It has been a pleasure enlightening you.

    Your welcome.

  • hedgehog Ann Arbor, MI
    Aug. 8, 2014 7:10 p.m.

    hmmm,

    Now dick is worried about the little guy? interesting.

    I wonder why thi could be??? hmmm?

    BYU Provo = Rexburg

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Aug. 8, 2014 7:12 p.m.

    Probably the most brutally honest column on this topic. It sounds to me like the train is leaving the station and its only carrying 65 teams.

  • Sanefan Wellsville, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 7:15 p.m.

    Thanks Bluto, you nailed it man! Yesterday I wrote that the P5 leagues will divide and conquer. Meaning the richest leagues (SEC/Big 10) in the P5 will spend/pay more than the other conferences. But you dude, brought it right to the front door, absolutely, the richest teams in each conference will spend/pay more than the have-nots in their respective conferences. Ya know, the sad part is the Maryland's, Utah's, NC States, CU's, and so on of the P5 don't realize they have been sold a bill oaf goods and are simply sparring partners for the perpetual Champions! Sad, so very sad.

  • Sanefan Wellsville, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 7:16 p.m.

    To Mr. Harmon, this may have been one of your best articles and you've had lot's of great ones.

  • IRS Agent PROVO, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 7:55 p.m.

    The solution is simple. Take the money out of the equation for the decision makers. Make "college football" the product, not individual teams. All monies generated whether through TV contracts, marketing, etc. would be pooled and divided equally among all participating schools. The money could then be used as the schools see fit to use it.

    The different divisions (I, II and III) could be maintained to encourage competition among schools with similar talent levels and divide the revenues from their play. The change would encourage fair competition and would create even greater parity. Teams could play a nine game schedule, concluding at the end of November, with each conference sending their champion to the playoffs (16 teams total). Other schools would be invited at large to bowl games to create intriguing match-ups (Army/Navy, regional rivalries, out of conference games, etc.).

    No more "haves" and "have-nots". Just pure collegiate football competition. The problem is, it is way too logical, so it would never be considered.

  • TheGreatPAC12 Salt Lake City, 00
    Aug. 8, 2014 8:59 p.m.

    Go PAC12! Go Utes! Just as long as the Utes stay where they are then it doesn't matter what happens.

  • DEW Cougars Sandy, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 9:55 p.m.

    Recruiting advantage for Alabama, Florida, Ohio State and USC. More top tier kids will go there year after year of those schools will be crown NC. Boring? Lower tier schools like Utah, Cal, and etc. will be left out and you better count on that.

  • Common-Tator Saint Paul, MN
    Aug. 9, 2014 12:07 a.m.

    @TheGreatPac12

    "Just as long as the Utes stay where they are then it doesn't matter what happens."

    Unfortunately for the Utes and their fans, that is all too likely what will happen. There is no way they will be able to spend with the likes of USC, Oregon, UCLA, etc. They won't be able to offer the money to the elite players that those schools and others of their ilk in the other 4 "P" conferences will be able to offer, and thus they will not get them. And in the end, they won't be able to enjoy seasons like their former BCS bowl ones, but rather will remain exactly where they have been since joining the PAC-12.

    And this problem will not be unique to Utah, but will be shared by a good 30 to 40 other lower-tier P5 entities, including the "Gophers", who I cheered for during my youth. We will never be able to enjoy the competition that once made it such that any hard-pushing team could reap the rewards of their effort. College sports, as most of us grew up with, are dead.

  • zachbrwn new york, NY
    Aug. 9, 2014 3:36 a.m.

    I don't think Congress will allow Air Force, Army, and Navy's football teams regulated to lower tier status. Congress can also take away the Anti Trust status from the Power 5 conferences. Plus can't some of the Non P5 schools file a class action suit against the P5 schools. This still needs to be played out.

  • GoRed WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 6:58 a.m.

    @dew cougars

    Remember, whenever you refer to Utah as being a "lower tier school," you are are admitting that your cougars are an even lower tier school themselves.

    This is the same Utah team that has owned your Provo school 4 years in a row, 5 of 6, 9 of 12, and overall 57-34-4.

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 9, 2014 7:28 a.m.

    @Bluto
    Sandy, UT

    Larry Scott of the Pac-12 said...

    "Players at UCLA, USC or Washington will be allowed to pay their players more than a Utah or Wazzu, as the cost of living is greater in LA and Seattle, than it is in Pullman Tucson or Salt Lake City".

    Conferences can set their own rules. This is not an advantage for Utah and other bottom-feeders at all.

    -------------

    There you again, still waiting for you to cite your source. Your spin is priceless!

    For laughs lets just assume you are correct. Please tell us how cost of living adjustments is an advantage of playing in LA and Settle over Utah?

    At best it is a break even since it will cost more to play in LA and Settle.

    For example, you would need around $4,400 in LA to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with $3,373 in Salt Lake.

    Now if there is no cost of living adjustment then it would be more of an advantage to play in a place like Salt Lake than in would be in LA/Seattle.

  • TheNun Granstville, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 7:40 a.m.

    @ Bluto,
    You say byu will be fine, because they operate in the black. Really, how does that happen? The sports programs all make money, so they don't need any outside money to operate the athletic programs at byu. Right, the church gives zero dollars to byu to fund shortfalls in the athletic department, nice try.

  • Steven S Jarvis Orem, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 8:38 a.m.

    I feel sorry for the have-nots of the P5. Utah will not be able to build a winning program without having the same sort of access to top flight players as the rest of their league does. If they are unable to get to a bowl in the next two to three years, there is almost no way they will ever do so if the pay for play model takes effect.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 8:51 a.m.

    Interesting the heat from Ute fans against Dick Harmon. Read the article again, this time without your crimnson-colored glasses, and you'll discover the other coaches he quotes (Kansas State) and their views. You really think Utah can compete against USC UCLA and Oregon when it comes to paying players a stipend? Do you think this will help Utah get out of the cellar in the PAC 12? It was pretty obvious Whittingham was just singing the company line when he said it was OK. He can't be objective....he's too tied into the PAC 12 to say anything else. That might not last long, however, if the current scenario of bowl-less seasons continues for Utah. This compounds the problem, not solves it. The PAC 12 gave Utah their chance and they promptly lost to Colorado the first year, the worst road team in America at home in SLC. Now they just get a pat on the head and an "atta-boy" for being #12 of 12 so a conference championship game can be held. That's where they will stay, too.

  • GD Syracuse, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 8:52 a.m.

    Just like the pro sports. The cities with money have the best teams. The same will be in football. Though it will never happen, IRS agent is right on. There is too much money and greed. This is an example of it in the highest form.

  • KimmyP Granstville, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 9:28 a.m.

    @ bluto

    You say the athletic departments at BYU are in the black, if so, the reason they are is because of outside funds from the LDS Church. Surely, you aren't trying to have us believe all of the programs at BYU make money, or the football makes enough to cover any deficiency from the other sports. That simply is not true.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 9:40 a.m.

    Slowing weaning myself off of college football.

    Have discovered Rugby. Faster play, no band, cheer leaders, no hype. Matches are shorter in length - don't waste a whole Fall afternoon.

    It's international and comes in various team sizes and has tournaments.

    Other "minor" sports deserve some attention like Lacrosse.

    Perhaps college football will implode from greed and cost and incompetence.

  • Cougsndawgs West Point , UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 9:43 a.m.

    Zachbrwn:
    "I don't think Congress will allow Air Force, Army, and Navy's football teams regulated to lower tier status. Congress can also take away the Anti Trust status from the Power 5 conferences."

    You bring up an interesting point. I don't think congress will sit back when some of the schools supported by their constituents are being left out, with the possibility of losing millions. Orrin Hatch has already come out saying this is bad legislation by the NCAA. You're absolutely right there are still lots of issues and problems with this that will need to be worked out.

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    Aug. 9, 2014 10:01 a.m.

    Those on the outside-looking-in will NOT take this lying down. Many law firms will become extremely wealthy on huge class action lawsuits. I just don't see the P5 getting their own greedy way on this monopoly. Yes, it is disguised as being what is best for the student athlete, but they won't have to dig very deep to discover the real motivation: how the rich schools stand to make billions. There are just so many legal ramifications, I just don't ever see this ever getting completely implemented.

    I am really surprised that the NCAA was so willing to throw non-P5 schools, Olympic Sports, and Women's sports under the bus.

  • AggieFan4Ever Logan, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 10:50 a.m.

    One of the things that bothers me the most about this is the athletes are going to get even more money, as if a free education wasn't enough. Not only do they want to pay them more, they want to compensate them for using their image with merchandise and whatnot. That's fine, but if they're going to be compensated for all the merchandise, I think they should lose their scholarships, man up, and pay for college like the rest of us with the money they earn. No way do they deserve tuition, cost of living, AND compensation for use of their image handed to them on a silver platter while the rest of the student body has to work two jobs and go into severe debt just to eat, make rent, and pay the ridiculous tuition and fees that go toward all the fancy multi-million dollar athletic facilities while they themselves are taking classes in run-down, 50-year-old buildings with lousy, outdated materials and equipment.

  • What To Do Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 11:10 a.m.

    Poor Dick!
    Worried about how the big schools are going to get bigger and keep little blue down. It is odd to read this coming from someone who a few years ago said that the cougars had a large TV cash cow - which they have killed and apparently eaten, now they are crying foul.

    The truth is universities have paid for performance forever, when I was a college athlete, I had a full scholarship, room, board and some spending money. The coach helped me get a job and so on. If Dick wants to complain about something he should write about what title nine has done to men's and women's spots and how that should change that. Writing about paying athletes and crying about this topic just shows that he is worried about BYU and their in ability to compete on a larger stage. Poor Dick!

  • Stringer Bell Henderson, NV
    Aug. 9, 2014 11:23 a.m.

    Re: tooSmart

    The heat hasn't been towards Dick Harmon. He's just a messenger with an opinion. The "heat" has been towards BYU fans who are "experts" on all things Pac12 and Utah. I know it hurts but Utah is in the Pac12 and Utah will remain in the Pac12 and all of the Pac11.1, bottom-dweller stuff will never change that. Home games with the likes of USC and Oregon versus Homecoming against Savannah State. How long will season ticket holders put up with that?

  • Stringer Bell Henderson, NV
    Aug. 9, 2014 11:32 a.m.

    Bluto, this is what Larry Scott actually said.

    "The NCAA must determine if the increase would be across the board or if each school would have a different increase based on cost of living in their area. Do athletes at California, up the road from Scott's conference office, receive more than athletes in Pullman, Wash.?"

    Denver Post 6/15/2011

  • still_thinking Draper, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 12:15 p.m.

    The hubris of Utah fans is amazing. The context of this discussion is about what will happen to the national landscape of college sports. It is about how this ruling is likely to eliminate many non-football sports programs, and how a few power schools will continue keep all the power. This is not how P5 schools will keep the power, but how a handful of P5 schools will keep the power and money. Harmon went out of his way to center on Alabama and Kansas State - two schools that aren't BYU and Utah. Trying to get people to see the broader picture.

    Reading all the comments the last couple of days the only thing you hear from Utah fans is that if the ruling hurts BYU and USU then we are all for it. How about looking beyond what this does to one school, and look at what it will do to all of college sports? And then realize that long term it will likely hurt Utah as well. But hey - let's let the power brokers do whatever they want as long as it might have a negative impact on BYU.

  • mindgames Aurora, CO
    Aug. 9, 2014 1:26 p.m.

    Part 2

    Finally, congratulations to the Utes on their being part of the PAC-12. They are bottom feeders today but as Colorado proved in the Big-12 against Nebraska, Texas and Oklahoma there are ways to build a championship team from bottom feeders.

    At least in the past it was possible, who knows what will happen with the new rules and rulers.

  • mindgames Aurora, CO
    Aug. 9, 2014 1:27 p.m.

    Part 1

    Having a tough time predicting how this will all play out. Will BYU be willing to pay its student/athletes like the P5 + Notre Dame schools? If not will we be able to recruit against those schools (especially Utah) for the 3-star athletes we are getting now. There will always be some good players that will want to attend BYU for the atmosphere and the education but we will lose some that will follow the money.

    BYU is certainly the definition of a "Bubble Team" now. Fortunate not to be in the Mountain West Conference and left out in the cold, but not in a P5 conference or considered to have the Notre Dame resume. If we can't get invited into one of the P5 conferences I think we will have our bubble burst.

    It has been an interesting couple of years as an independent but there has to be an urgency to get a deal done with a P5 conference soon if we want to continue as a football power.

  • JustGordon Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 1:54 p.m.

    Dick needs to man up and admit the BYU's quest for more exposure has resulted in them being exposed as not attractive to any P5 conference. If they were, they would be a member.

    Being dependent on ESPN for significant tv revenue dollars, which are still eclipsed by conference shared monies like the PAC12, SEC and Big10, puts the Cougars at a serious economic disadvantage. If they cannot create attractive football schedules in the future, the past indicates they are having trouble with a capital T, then ESPN will look at the poor ratings and do what is in their best interests not the school's. In short, BYU is not in control of their own TV destiny since the ESPN contract is so much more lucrative than their own station and an ESPN is making the final decision.

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Aug. 9, 2014 3:37 p.m.

    It seems strange that the programs that are the most corrupt and out front of this talking about education. They never cared about it before, but suddenly it is the whole reason to upset the world of college sports.

  • Naval Vet Philadelphia, PA
    Aug. 9, 2014 3:51 p.m.

    Bluto:

    I just put your entire quote into a Google search engine, and there was only ONE hit. And that link took me to your post on page 1 of this thread.

    So in other words, you made that up. Busted.

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 5:11 p.m.

    @Nun

    Like most schools BYU has only a few programs that "operate in the black" - if the definition of that is self-sufficiency. However, I would point out that the Church does not subsidize the athletics programs like you said. In fact the Church hasn't even subsidized new building construction for years. These things are paid for with BYU's own revenue and donations - LOTS of donations.

  • Taysom4Heisman Heber City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 5:18 p.m.

    @GoRed

    "Remember, whenever you refer to Utah as being a "lower tier school," you are are admitting that your cougars are an even lower tier school themselves."

    That's a great attitude to have. You realize that utah is a lower tier school and can't find a way to argue against it, so you just try to put BYU down instead.

    By the way, in what way is BYU a lower tier school than utah outside of conference affiliation? We have a bigger school, fanbase, and stadium. We have a better overall athletic program. We actually make money every year in sports as opposed to the utes who have lost quite a bit as they try to keep up in the Pac-12.

    Face it, utah is way in over their heads right now. They are spending more money than they have to try to be competitive, and they can't even be competitive. BYU lives within their means, makes money, and is still a winning program year in and year out. utah is drowning in the Pac-12 and will soon cement themselves with the likes of Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, and Virginia.

  • Taysom4Heisman Heber City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 5:28 p.m.

    @KimmyP

    "You say the athletic departments at BYU are in the black, if so, the reason they are is because of outside funds from the LDS Church."

    Sorry, but that isn't true at all. The LDS Church does not allow any tithing money to go to BYU athletics. Also, funds from tuition, books, etc. do not support BYU athletics. BYU athletics supports itself through its own revenue and donations from boosters.

    "Surely, you aren't trying to have us believe all of the programs at BYU make money, or the football makes enough to cover any deficiency from the other sports. That simply is not true."

    No, not all BYU sports programs make money, but a good number of them do. At most schools, football and men's basketball make a profit and support all of the other programs that lose money. At BYU, football and men's basketball are not the only ones that profit. In some years, men's volleyball and soccer and even women's soccer has made a profit.

    Our cross-country team, swim team, etc. lose money but BYU is financially profitable in more sports than most other schools.

  • SoCalCougar1985 Tustin, CA
    Aug. 9, 2014 7:41 p.m.

    There is one reason and one reason only that Utah and Colorado were invited to participate in the Pac10. The league got tired of watching Florida State and Alabama win the National Title while beating up on the bottom dwellers of their respective conferences (Duke, Syracuse, North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, etc) and also including teams on their schedule like Idaho, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, etc. (and ALWAYS at home). While Florida and Alabama play glorified scrimmages and a couple of quality games on their way to a National Title the Pac10 teams are beating up on each other. The Pac10 needed more bottom dwellers in their league. It's also laughable that anyone would think an elite athlete would choose to spend his college days living in Utah playing a team at the bottom of the league when they could live on the west coast and play on an elite team.

  • ekute Layton, UT
    Aug. 10, 2014 10:39 a.m.

    SoCalCougar1985,

    Why didn't they just invite UCSB and New Mexico then?

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, UT
    Aug. 10, 2014 11:04 p.m.

    "SoCalCougar1985,

    Why didn't they just invite UCSB and New Mexico then?"

    TV markets.

  • WACPaddingOurSchedule pocatello, ID
    Aug. 11, 2014 2:18 p.m.

    SoCalCougar1985
    Tustin, CA
    There is one reason and one reason only that Utah and Colorado were invited to participate in the Pac10. The league got tired of watching Florida State and Alabama win the National Title while beating up on the bottom dwellers of their respective conferences (Duke, Syracuse, North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, etc) and also including teams on their schedule like Idaho, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, etc. (and ALWAYS at home).

    also laughable that anyone would think an elite athlete would choose to spend his college days living in Utah playing a team at the bottom of the league when they could live on the west coast and play on an elite team.

    ____________

    I don't exactly see elite players going to BYU, do you? Can't wait to hear your definition of elite to explain players at BYU compared to choosing other schools.
    What's laughable is that you ignore the fact that many Ute players have go to play in the NFL. Sounds elite to me. If you are good, you can make it.

  • Elkman Santa Rosa, CA
    Aug. 11, 2014 4:11 p.m.

    All this autonomy has me pondering on a particular question. Now that the NCAA has approved what I'm referring to as the "Reggie Bush rules", will he get his Heisman Trophy back? After all he was just taking money and free rent to afford to play collegiate football.

    So much greed and arrogance within College Football right now!