Today marks 94 days until Vanderbilt’s season opener against MTSU. There’s no 94 on the current roster (again, incoming freshmen haven’t been issued jersey numbers yet.)
The Knoxville Tennessean reported on compensation packages for Tim Corbin ($2.3 million) and Nick Zeppos ($4.3 million) for... some reason. As far as Corbin goes, he’s worth every dollar of that, but that didn’t stop some Tweeters from having their thoughts:
In 2016, Vanderbilt's baseball team had approximately $6M in revenues, meaning that they paid their baseball coach 38% of that total. https://t.co/Mxs1zx0B7n— Ted Tatos (@TedTatos) May 29, 2018
Remember, there’s an entire cottage industry devoted to shaming the NCAA for its amateurism model, and that involves pointing out that a lot of the revenue generated by athletics is spent on things like coaches’ salaries and facilities for athletics, when it should be going to the athletes. Except that’s exceptionally dumb in the context of baseball, a sport which has no restrictions on 18-year-olds playing professionally and profiting off their ability to hit or throw a baseball. I get that argument in the context of football or basketball — but top baseball prospects who go to college are voluntarily turning down six- and seven-figure signing bonuses to play baseball for free. It’s almost like they’re making an informed decision and believe they’re getting something of value by going to college.
As far as Zeppos goes, we’re a sports blog so most of the criticism of Zeppos is based on his perceived neglect of athletics (and specifically football.) There is some reality to that: reportedly, Zeppos has blocked Vanderbilt from making improvements to athletic facilities that at least one Vanderbilt booster is more than willing to write a check for, which suggests that Zeppos simply wants to opt out of the facilities arms race. That’s honestly a defensible position; the facilities arms race, it seems, never ends. Once you upgrade one facility, coaches will just find something else that needs to be upgrade, all the way until they get back around to the facility you just upgraded. Remember: at least part of the reason Jimbo Fisher was unhappy at Florida State was because the boosters wouldn’t pay for new facilities, and when Florida State is being accused of not caring enough about football, you know this is a problem.
Plus, facilities play maybe a minor role in athletic success. Recruits like shiny new facilities, true, but that’s usually somewhere around number eight on the list of things they’re looking for when choosing a program, well behind things like “winning” and “relationship with the coaching staff” and “closeness to home” and “academics” (in the case of at least a few Vanderbilt recruits.)
And by all accounts, Zeppos has been very good for the academic side of the university. Yes, some people complain about his push for on-campus dorms, but I’m not sure why anyone is upset of the attitude of “Vanderbilt should be more like Yale than the University of Tennessee.” It’s easy to yell “nerds,” but a fair assessment is that athletics (and, again, specifically football) is a blind spot for an otherwise good Chancellor.
Senior golfer Theo Humphrey was named a first team All-American.
Tweet of the Day
- Nine-conference schedule— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) May 29, 2018
- Transfer policies
- Probation talk
Playing the hits at SEC Spring Meetings this year.
All we need is the "Auburn to the SEC East" encore to make the set list complete. https://t.co/qeFgopMxzY
Off the West End
Tennessee’s Admiral Schofield is returning to school, which should be very helpful with that university underachieving as a preseason Top 5 team.
Yesterday was the first day of the SEC Spring Meetings. Highlights: Nick Saban wants a nine-game conference schedule.
As usual, the push for things like nine-game conference schedules and Power 5 non-conference requirements are entirely about the College Football Playoff. For those of us who aren’t going to compete for the Playoff anyway, though, playing 10 games out of a 12-game schedule against Power 5 competition is dumb and will lead to a lot more 4-8 seasons. Why would we want that?
Saban also responded to taking heat for blocking transfers, and while the cottage industry hates this, he’s 100 percent right about this. If SEC football coaches want players to be freely allowed to transfer within the conference without a waiver, then they are free to change the rule. As long as the rule is in place, Saban is justified in blocking his players from transferring to Georgia and Tennessee and Auburn. This isn’t hard.
Philadelphia 76ers GM Bryan Colangelo apparently had burner Twitter accounts.
Today is the deadline for college basketball players to withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to school.