Osceola360: CFB news and notes from around the country

There has been much discussion about the possibility of paying college athletes over the last decade. College head coaches are paid handsomely while running programs that are cash-cows for their university’s coffers while players receive scholarship money for tuition, books and room and board. While you can’t discount the value of a college education and a college degree as investment in a better future it has left many wondering whether the system in place is fair to the people sacrificing their bodies on a daily basis to bring in this much needed revenue.

The likenesses of student-athletes are used in video games, teams sell their star players jerseys in bookstores on college campuses from Miami to Seattle. Now, with the advent of television channels to promote individual conferences like the ACC, Big Ten and SEC networks, student-athletes are being featured to promote their universities in weekly television shows and specials about their respective programs with the financial beneficiary being the conferences and institutions.

The issue is complex and nuanced to say the least but a conversation that is sure to rage on especially in California where a bill has already been approved by the California State Senate that would allow student-athletes to be paid for use of their name, image or likeness beginning in 2023. The bill still must go through several State Assembly committees before being passed into law but the NCAA reaction to this possibility is less than enthusiastic. For more on this subject please click on the following link from USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/2019/06/24/ncaa-california-schools-could-banned-championships-over-bill/1542632001/.

The above discussion fires up Osceola Publisher Jerry Kutz, who spent 19 years at Seminole Boosters, raising money to fund scholarships and the cost of attendance for student-athletes.

“I appreciate the blood, sweat and tears student-athletes expend in their sport which is impossible to overstate,” Kutz said. “But it irritates me when people put their finger on either side of the scale in this argument. The true economic benefit is significantly more than the cost of a scholarships.”

The cost of a scholarship for an instate student-athlete is $15,000 and $35,000 per year if out-of-state but this doesn’t factor the cost of attendance – the paid tutors, strength coaches, sports psychologists, NCAA approved apparel and personal travel, insurance, per diems, etc. – which costs on average $35,000 per year. Add it all up and its $50,000 to $70,000 per year or $350,000 in a five-year career.

This is for each, and every, student-athlete – revenue producing or not – and does not include salaries for coaches who help develop them for the professional careers they seek.

 “We’ve seen parents prosecuted recently for paying colleges $100,000 or more to get their kid past the admissions committee,” Kutz said. “Doesn’t that put a dollar value on the benefit of access? Without putting your finger on the scale, one can make an argument the benefits received exceed $500,000 over a four- or five-year career.”

The University of Florida added its 17th commitment to its 2020 recruiting class earlier this week. The Gators which have a long history of signing prospects out of Lakeland (FL) High School look like they will be adding another prospect from the central Florida program with the pledge of Fenley Graham.  The cornerback is ranked as a three-star prospect by 247Sports. For more on Graham and Florida’s 2020 recruiting class please click on the following link: https://247sports.com/college/florida/Article/Florida-Gators-football-recruiting-CB-Fenley-Graham-commits-to-UF–128601907/.

Speaking of the Gators, the Ole Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier, is trading his famous visor for a chef’s hat. The University of Florida legend who also coached in USFL, NFL and AAF is opening a restaurant in the Gainesville area. The former Heisman winner is conducting a national search for a manager for the restaurant and bar. The establishment will also house most of Spurrier’s trophies including his Heisman. For more on the restaurant or if you are interested in throwing your visor in the ring to work for the recently retired coach please click on the following link: https://www.gatorsports.com/2019/06/spurriers-restaurant-in-the-plan/.

Speaking of coaching legends in the state of Florida. New Miami head coach Manny Diaz hasn’t coached a single game yet, but several famous Hurricanes are already comparing him to one of the most successful coaches in program history. Both Michael Irvin and Alonzo Highsmith are comparing Diaz to their old college coach, Jimmy Johnson. To find out why, please click on the following link: https://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/miami-hurricanes/fl-sp-um-paradise-manny-diaz-jimmy-johnson-20190624-jyzkcsgrvnckbldccs4lurgfvy-story.html.

You may be over it already or still have a strong opinion on former FSU coach Jimbo Fisher’s tenure in Tallahassee. Earlier this week Matt Hayes of the Bleacher Report talked to several people associated with Fisher’s tenure at FSU – including several former assistants — to shed some light on what was happening inside the football program, which Hayes says explains the current state of Seminole football. The story explores the handling of Jameis Winston’s off-the-field issues and one on-the-field incident — when he dressed for a game in which he was suspended – which were lightning rods for Fisher’s supporters and detractors: https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2841875-the-mess-jimbo-left-inside-fsus-fall-and-willie-taggarts-plan-to-rise-again.

There were some people close to Florida State who wanted to see former Seminole football player Magdi El Shahawy considered as the replacement for former Athletics Director Stan Wilcox who left to work at the NCAA headquarters late last year. The former defensive linemen has spent his career in athletics administration and is currently the Deputy Athletic Director for Academics and Student Development at the University of Georgia. FSU recently named David Coburn as its new AD but don’t be surprised to see El Shahawy during beach volleyball season. His niece, Alex Hilton, will be enrolling at FSU this fall and will be a member of the women’s beach volleyball team. Her mother Malaka played volleyball in the late 1980s.

ACC National Championships

Stump your SEC friends: The ACC has won seven national championships in football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and baseball since 2015, the most of any conference. The next closest conference has four. The ACC is the only conference to win each of those four titles over that stretch. The seven national titles come from six programs – Virginia men’s basketball (2019), Clemson football (2018, 2016), Notre Dame women’s basketball (2018), North Carolina men’s basketball (2017), Duke men’s basketball (2015), Virginia baseball (2015).

The ACC has won more football national titles than any other conference since 2013 (three of the last six) and more men’s basketball national championships than any other league since 2015 (three of the last five). Football – Clemson (2018 & 2016), Florida State (2013).

Men’s Basketball – (Virginia 2019, North Carolina 2017, Duke 2015)

The ACC won the football and men’s basketball national titles in the same academic year for the fourth time overall and the second time in the last three years.

  • 2018-19: Clemson (football), Virginia (men’s basketball) 
  • 2016-17: Clemson (football), North Carolina (men’s basketball)
  • 1990-91: Georgia Tech (football), Duke (men’s basketball)
  • 1981-82: Clemson (football), North Carolina (men’s basketball)

ACC Network, a new 24/7 national platform, launches on Aug. 22, 2019. For more information, and to see a current list of providers, visit www.GetACCN.com. Be sure your provider is carrying the ACCN and request it if they are not.

Former FSU quarterback EJ Manuel has joined the ACC Network as a football analyst and will appear on Fridays and Saturdays in the fall. Manuel, a former first-round NFL Draft pick who recently retired from playing, will contribute to studio coverage with analysis of the conference’s season-long football action. Manuel joins previously announced on-air voices for ACCN including former FSU offensive coordinator Mark Richt.

There will always be annual discussions on which college football conference is best. It makes for great water cooler discussion around the office or on fall Saturday’s when watching football with friends. However, there is no arguing that Clemson is in the middle of impression run versus its most recent SEC opponents. They have dominated in-state rival South Carolina, winning their last five matchups against the Gamecocks, and have one two of its last three games against super-power Alabama. The Tigers are 13-5 against the SEC since 2012 and will get a chance to add their dominance against the conference with matchups against Texas A&M and South Carolina this season. ESPN college football write Chris Low recently wrote that Clemson “own the SEC.” One of his co-workers at ESPN, Paul Finebaum, takes exception to that notion. For more on Low and Finebaum’s debate please click on the following link: https://www.al.com/alabamafootball/2019/06/paul-finebaum-chris-lows-assertion-clemson-owns-the-sec-outrageous-calls-acc-clown-show.html.

Please continue to check-in with the Osceola360 to get a weekly glimpse of what is going in college football around the country.