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Sunday Nugz: Football and Law Edition

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For everyone having a lazy Sunday, I have links on football, the NCAA, and a potentially massive academic scandal at a charter school run by Deion Sanders. I even have thoughts on some of them.


If you missed that football has started again, shame on you and go read all of the articles TDG has posted in the last week.The Gophers held their first scrimmage on Saturday. I did not attend because I live about 3000 miles away, but it appears that there were several thousand people. If you were one of them, let us know your thoughts in the comments (Shameless Plug!).


Marcus Fuller recapped the team's scrimmage for the Pioneer Press. The Defense seems to have handled the Offense, which is wholly unsurprising as that has been the trend during Kill's entire tenure.

Joe Christensen recapped the scrimmage for the Star Tribune. Calling the scrimmage a repeat of Michigan State and Wisconsin in the lead is a bold move, though probably not wrong.

Player Profiles

Christensen has a nice piece on Damien Wilson and De’Vondre Campbell for the Star Tribune. Claeys describes them as two of the better linebackers in the BIG. Campbell in particular seems to have benefited from the fallout from Shabazz Napier's comments.

This month, the NCAA began permitting schools to feed athletes unlimited meals and snacks. Campbell wants to cap his weight at 245 pounds and thinks the new rule will help, since the school-provided food is more nutritious than what he was eating on his own.

"I don’t really have to go out and buy too much," Campbell said. "I can always take some home and eat late night when I get hungry. That can help out a lot because those late-night snacks — that’s where the weight really comes. Eating and sleeping, and then it just sits on you."

Fuller profiles Derrick Wells, who seems to be healthy again for the first time in several seasons. The piece looks at Wells's potential impact as a big playmaking corner. The secondary looks very solid in practice so far. Wells intercepted a Leidner pass during the scrimmage on Saturday, and the secondary as a whole continues to look very solid.


Legal stuff happened! First, the NCAA voted to give more autonomy to the Power 5 conferences. Kevin Trahan at SB Nation provides a nice primer on what this means going forward.

Jon Morse of Kansas State's SB Nation blog Bring on the Cats is not pleased with the vote. Regardless of whether you agree with his viewpoint, Morse provides a very thorough argument as to the potential negatives of this decision.

Ivan Mansiel at ESPN writes a more positive story on the issue. He focuses on the potential for autonomy for student athletes, which is laughable for a whole host of reasons that come about because of the NCAA. He also quotes Bob Bowlsby, who you may have heard espousing Marxist theory on the value of labor to explain why athletes shouldn't be compensated for their services.

Second, and potentially far more important for the future of college athletics, the NCAA lost the first round of the Ed O'Bannon case. Ken Belson at the New York Times has a nice FAQ on the issue. The most important two questions are below:

Q. What did the N.C.A.A. lose?

A. The right to restrict any college or university from paying athletes for making money off their names, images and likenesses — for instance, in a video game.

Q. What could college athletes gain?

A. Players on Football Bowl Subdivision teams and men’s basketball players in Division I could receive payment for the use of their names, images and likenesses in the form of deferred compensation. While still in college, they could receive only a scholarship or a slightly larger figure encompassing the full cost of attendance.

As Robert Boland, a professor of sports law at New York University, put it: "The judge really split the baby. She allowed the N.C.A.A. to keep their model, but she said their model was too restrictive."

In his review of the issues, Lester Munson at ESPN highlights the roll of Roger Noll, an expert witness for the players. The judge heavily relied on Noll's testimony throughout her opinion. What did he say?

"The NCAA is a cartel that creates a price-fixing agreement with member schools [by] the granting of scholarships and the acquisition of names, images and likenesses. It has monitoring activities to detect whether its members are adhering to the cartel agreement and has punishments that enable it to enforce it should they violate the agreement."

I'm not a lawyer, but generally when the Judge leans on a witness that calls one side a cartel, that side is in for a bad time.

Non-Gopher Story

The last link I have for you is the story of Prime Prep Academy. Prime Prep was created by Deion Sanders and some business partners to be a top-class academic and athletic school in Texas. The school is where top player Emmanuel Mudiay (who will soon play in China on a one year deal worth $1.5 million) graduated from. Prime Prep has a lucrative deal with Under Armour, for whom Sanders is a brand ambassador. What didn't it have? Educational standards.

A respected Texas nonprofit group has ranked Texas public schools. Prime Prep’s lower grades received an F. I could not find the grade for Prime Prep’s high school, so I called the nonprofit group.

"Unfortunately," a spokeswoman said, "we were unable to rank it due to missing data."

The bigger problem illustrated by Michael Powell's story on Prime Prep is that it is not a unique case. Sanders's "school" may be different in its complete and utter disregard of educational development, potential criminal charges relating to assault and intimidation, and the celebrity status of its founder. Many athletes with college and professional aspirations are transferring to schools that frequently seem to be more focused on sports development than educational development.