NCAA bans hashtags on football fields
USC director of social media Jordan Moore sent the college football segment of Twitter into a frenzy on Wednesday afternoon when he broke this news (and, yes, it is real):
Social media police: The NCAA has banned hashtags on college football fields.— Jordan Moore (@MooreSports) May 1, 2013
This is yet another example of the NCAA stepping into an area that no one thought needed policing, while a Miami-sized plank remains firmly in both of its eyes.
But, for those who are still unclear on the NCAA's ruling, we thought we'd run through what is permissible and not permissible among field decorations in the eyes of college sports' governing body.
After looking at it this way, it's clear why the NCAA felt moved to create this rule. Those hashtags were really distracting.
AFCA proposing further rule changes
The AFCA released a statement today in which they state the following:
The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Board of Trustees conducted its summer meeting April 29-30 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Mack Brown, AFCA president and head coach at the University of Texas, stated, “The AFCA Board of Trustees spent considerable time discussing the national championship trophy that will be presented to the national championship team in the new College Football Playoff and issues dealing with proposed changes to recruiting regulations as a result of the NCAA’s reform efforts.”
Specifically, the AFCA Board of Trustees voted unanimously to recommend to the Football Bowl Subdivision commissioners that the AFCA Coaches’ Trophy (Crystal Ball) continue to be the national championship trophy. It was the board’s opinion that the trophy has become the symbol of supremacy in college football and it should be retained as the national championship trophy.
With regard to NCAA legislation, the AFCA Board of Trustees has been asked by the NCAA to serve as an advisory group to a special subcommittee that will review proposed legislation dealing with recruiting. As a result, the board spent considerable time developing recommendations dealing with the recruiting calendar and policies pertaining to off-campus contacts.
In addition, a proposal regarding limitations on coaching staffs and non-coaching staff personnel was developed and will be submitted to the NCAA for consideration.
The AFCA Board that will serve as an advisory committee to the NCAA is composed of representatives from the 11 FBS conferences as well as two representatives from the Football Championship Subdivision.
Harvard professor shows the benefits a strong football program brings to its university
The next time someone tells you college athletics have lost their place within the grand scheme of higher education, remind them of this play:
On Nov. 23, 1984, Doug Flutie launched a Hail Mary that miraculously avoided a host of Miami defenders until it landed in the arms of Gerard Phalen laying on the Orange Bowl turf. The catch gave the Eagles a 47-45 win and brought Flutie the Heisman Trophy, but that play did even more for the school itself than the football program. As the clip was played and played and played on every highlight show and newscast throughout the nation, Boston College landed on the mind of every college applicant in the country, spiking BC's application numbers by 30 percent within two years according to Sean Silverthorne.
Silverthorne has summarized Harvard Business School assistant professor Doug Chung's 45-page paper entitled The Dynamic Advertising Effect of College Athletics, published in the journal Marketing Science. Chung quantified what a successful football season brings a school in terms a university president can appreciate: a 17.7 jump in applications. To gain a similar boost on the academic side of the house, a university would either have to lower tuition by 3.8 percent or recruit faculty who are paid 5.1 percent above their average rate. Considering the political capital that would be required to accomplish either one of those goals, one can see why university presidents are so eager to sign off on a big check for that new indoor practice facility or that hot new head coach. Additionally, Chung was surprised to learn that students with high SAT scores could be swayed by athletic success.
Outside of stictly academic benefits, football programs serve their universities through three-hour informercials every fall Saturday and by bringing young fans to campus that otherwise would never have a reason to be there. And, as former Texas A&M president Robert Gates has noted, a football game is the only event that brings university administrators, professors and the student body together in one place.
That, in a nutshell, is the Flutie Effect. As Chung attests, the Flutie Effect is real, and he has the evidence to prove it.
"I saw this game live on TV with my father when I was growing up in Kansas," he says, "and have been a big fan ever since."
Louisiana - Lafayette making major investment into football facilities
Fresh off the heels of the school's first two bowl victories, Louisiana - Lafayette is sinking a major investment into its football program. After announcing a $115 million athletic facilities master plan in March, the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors approved the Ragin' Cajuns' plans on Tuesday.
While the project will benefit the entire Louisiana - Lafayette athletic department, the football facilities improvement will be included in the first tier of the project:
- A $5.17 million improvement to 33-year-old Cajun Field, adding 5,900 seats and amenities to the south end (bringing capacity up to 36,900).
- The construction of a 67,000-square foot, $13.84 million football building that will house coaches' offices and a strength and conditioning center.
- An 8,000-square foot visitor locker room facility.
The ultimate plan is to pour half the project's finances, $57.53 million to be exact, to bring Cajun Field's capacity up to 50,000, but the athletic department has to put the project out to bid and conduct the financing first. The school plans to have the first tier completed by the 2014 season.
“That’s what we’re trying our best to (do) – get shovels in the ground in August,” athletic director Scott Farmer told the Lafayette Advertiser. “That’s an aggressive timeline, and we know that, but that’s what we’re working toward. “Hopefully things will fall into place.”
Cajun Field is already the Sun Belt's largest on-campus stadium at 31,000 seats.
Renderings for the Atlanta Falcons' new stadium are real, and they're spectacular
For some reason, the Atlanta Falcons have decided the Georgia Dome isn't good enough for them anymore and it's time to build a new stadium. The Georgia World Congress Center has floated a few ideas for the Falcons' new home, and the options considered for their new stadium certainly win 100 points for creativity.
Here's a look at the first design.
This concept features a 360-degree video screen that puts Cowboys Stadium's jumbotron to shame.
The next option is apparently an evolutionary version of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Here's a video, provided by WSB-TV, explaining everything. (Video is Flash based and may not work on mobile devices.)
Why won't Arkansas play Arkansas State?
Here's a perplexing question for you: Why won't Arkansas play Arkansas State?
In the past 10 years, the Razorbacks have played Tulsa (twice), Troy (three times), North Texas, New Mexico State (twice), ULM (six times), Missouri State (twice), Southeast Missouri State, Troy (twice), Florida International, Utah State, Chattanooga, Western Illinois, Eastern Michigan, UTEP, Tennessee Tech, New Mexico and Jacksonville State, so they're clearly not against dipping into the lower level of FBS as well as FCS from the surrounding states and beyond. Arkansas also has future dates lined up with Louisiana - Lafayette, Samford, Southern Miss, Northern Illinois, Louisiana Tech and North Texas, so they're not giving up games against teams from lesser conferences, either. With 22 different schools scheduled for guarantee games from 2003 through 2018 (with more to come as the schedule fills in), Arkansas hasn't been picky about who they shuttle into Fayetteville or Little Rock. They'll play just about anyone. Anyone except teams from their own state.
Through 83 years of sharing the Natural State, the Razorbacks and Red Wolves have never met and have no plans to do so any time soon. Even the prospect of raising money for charity couldn't get Arkansas on the field against Arkansas State. For the record, Arkansas does not compete against any in-state school in any sport. That's a trend that needs to end, and also end the right way. There isn't much symbolism in Arkansas ending its Natural State embargo against Arkansas - Pine Bluff on the softball field. If the wall is going to fall, it needs to fall against Arkansas State on the gridiron.
“I would love to work with Jeff Long to schedule any athletic competition between the schools, that’s my stance,” Arkansas State athletic director Terry Mohajir told the Arkansas State Herald. “I think it’s good for the state, I think it’s good for the programs, I think it’s good for the budgets. I think it’s good for everything.”
The Hogs' rebuttals against meeting in-state foes are well known. The flagship school has nothing to gain by beating a smaller Arkansas school, and a lot to lose. Arkansas isn't alone in that thinking, either. Alabama isn't fond of playing Troy or UAB, Tennessee has all of two all-time meetings with Middle Tennessee and Boise State has recently stopped scheduling Idaho, to name a few.
But having a lot to lose didn't stop Arkansas from losing to ULM, as they did in 2012. Apologies if this is breaking news to some, but the sun was still in the sky the next day, and Arkansas' place in the SEC (if not the polls) was similarly secure. I doubt the damage from that loss was nullified at all because the Warhawks got to celebrate all the way back to Louisiana after the game, nor would it have been any more painful had the upset come at the hands of the Red Wolves. In fact, no single loss to Arkansas State will endanger the football hierarchy inside the state of Arkansas. The Hogs are king, and will still be king 50 years from now even if they happen to endure an upset two or three times along the way.
Many other big-time schools fall on the other side of this issue, though, and live to tell about it. Michigan and Michigan State regularly schedule Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan. Ohio State takes on all comers among the Buckeye State's MAC contingent. Same for LSU and Tulane, ULM, Louisiana - Lafayette and Northwestern State. Texas has played UTEP and North Texas within the past seven seasons, and will play both again in the near future. These programs aren't the exception, they're the norm.
Or at least they should be.
Video: Wake Forest shows recruits the path to success
Coaches across the game of football say attest that when a player can see the message they preach day in and day out lead to success on the field, that's the moment a player will run through a wall for them. Do things the right way in the film room, in the meeting room, on the practice field, in the classroom and in the community, and good things will happen when you step on the field.
That message comes to life in the form of Wake Forest running back Josh Harris. A 5-11 running back out of Duncanville, Texas, Harris has rushed for 1,760 yards and 15 touchdowns through three seasons at Wake Forest. In three minutes and 49 seconds, Wake Forest coaches can show a recruit that if you put the work in inside the weight room like Harris does, you can find success on the field like he does. Time will tell if he really becomes the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, but our guess is his name will be called at some point during Draft weekend.
Kyle Field expansion underscores the health of college football in Texas
Word broke Tuesday that the long-awaited expansion of Kyle Field, pending Board of Regents approval, will vault Texas A&M's home into the upper-echelon of college football venues. With a reported capacity north of 102,000, Kyle Field will trail only Michigan Stadium and Beaver Stadium on the national landscape, surpassing Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium and its 100,119 capacity for in-state bragging rights.
We've documented Texas A&M's plans for Kyle Field's future in the past. While they are grand and glorious, the rest of the state's college football programs collectively turn to College Station and say, "Join the club."
Since 2000, nearly every FBS program has undertaken or completed major stadium overhauls. In some cases, that meant building a new stadium altogether. The trend kicked off when SMU opened Gerald J. Ford Stadium in 2000. North Texas opened brand-new Apogee Stadium in 2011. Baylor and Houston will open new stadiums in 2014.
TCU's Amon Carter Stadium is still standing, but similar to the old structure in name only. The 73-year-old structure was nearly completely leveled and rebuilt with the hopes of becoming the "Camden Yards of College Football". Texas has rebuilt its north end zone, added bleachers to the south end zone and broken ground on the excessively large video screen era. Texas Tech has revamped the east side of Jones AT&T Stadium, added a new scoreboard and pushed capacity over 60,000 for the first time.
That leaves only UTEP and Rice among the existing FBS programs to not have jackhammer-in-the-ground progress on stadium improvements, though plans have been introduced for both schools. Enthusiasm for the game has spread to the lower levels as UTSA and Texas State (with a $25 million upgrade to Bobcat Stadium) have recently become Texas' 11th and 12th FBS programs, while Lamar, Incarnate Word, Houston Baptist and Abilene Christian have joined or are in the process of joining the FCS ranks.
When the Lone Star State's programs go on the road, they can play in the state-of-the-art Reliant Stadium, the massively upgraded Cotton Bowl or the world-class Cowboys Stadium, home of the inaugural College Football Championship.
Now if only we could get our nation's economy to be as healthy as the college football economy inside the state of Texas.