College coaches griping about the transfer portal and NIL deals turning college athletics into the Wild West is the new salmon crudo, aka a dish that’s so popular and served so often that Padma and Tom made fun of its omnipresence during an episode of Top Chef.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney complained about it — the transfer portal, not salmon crudo, that dish is delicious — last week. Anonymous coaches took issue with it in February. Alabama coach Nick Saban and Georgia coach Kirby Smart had it in their crosshairs right before they faced off for the national title.
Complaining about re-recruiting your roster is as cliche as making a Will Smith slap joke, only if complaining about re-recruiting your roster was funny and never got old. (Seriously, I was crossing the street behind a group of snotty 10-year-olds the other day, and one of them said, “Keep my wife’s mouth out of your name” and I giggled along with them.)
Coaches aren’t wrong about the transfer portal creating a cutthroat atmosphere. Run through a few spring football stories and tell me you don’t get a free agency, same faces/new places feeling after reading a few of them.
Former Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler came off like a journeyman in this piece about his move to South Carolina. This Kansas State story about QB Adrian Martinez, who came over from Nebraska, raves about him like Daryl Morey raving about acquiring James Harden. Ohio State transfer Quinn Ewers is already “dropping dimes” during practice at his new stop in Austin.
There’s no point in sticking around at a school that can only offer tutelage under a starter and not instant gratification/baptism by snaps. Coaches technically can’t pay cash bonuses even though I’m sure recruits are well aware of where the good NIL deals are. (That’s not entirely true, schools have the ability to pay student-athletes bonuses for good grades, but only 22 of 130 FBS-level universities opted to do that this year, according to a study by ESPN.)
If the frivolous aspects of college life lose their novelty, the only incentives coaches have to offer are playing time and a path to the NFL. When one of those two things isn’t panning out the way the recruiter pitched it, the push-and-pull starts between those looking out for what’s best for a kid/urging a transfer and a coaching staff pleading for another chance.
Florida quarterback Emory Jones announced he was entering the transfer portal after the Gasparilla Bowl only to have new head coach Bill Napier coax him into returning. Napier’s argument to get Jones to stay consisted of the usual key points made by new hires.
It’s a “new culture” and a “new environment,” which Jones said was enough for him to buy in and trust the Gators again. These kinds of tired cases — the type kids probably heard many times during the recruiting process — occasionally work. But lately, more often than not, they’ve fallen on AirPod-filled ears.
If only there was another form of currency to help these forlorn coaches retain their workforce, err student-athletes. What’s better than the promise of a potential payday? How about an actual payday. This piece is not solely about compensating free laborers who make universities millions of dollars, it’s also a solution for coaches looking to cut back on their workload. Paying players won’t eliminate the transfer portal entirely — there will always be a finite amount of reps and opportunity available — but it could offer coaches a world in which the grass isn’t consistently greener on another campus.
It’s unrealistic and unfair to think a rich-get-richer scenario won’t further widen the crevice between the Alabamas and the Vanderbilts, so how do you create a pay scale that rewards staying at a school and benefits players and coaches alike without declaring full-on capitalism?
Here’s my proposal that won’t ever be considered: Each freshman starts off with a base salary, say $25,000, and every year a player stays at a school, they get another $25,000. So a senior would make $100,000, a junior would net $75,000, and a sophomore would get $50,000. I just pulled $25,000 out of the air because it’s easy to do math with but you understand my point.
Here’s the catch, if a player transfers, the salary resets to a freshman level. I would throw in clauses for extenuating circumstances like if your coach gets fired, you can transfer without penalty — which also would make schools hesitant to cycle through staffs like a Tinder profile.
I don’t know about players following a coach who leaves for a higher paying job, as was the case with USC, Lincoln Riley, and Caleb Williams. Not that it matters, but I’m leaning toward, no, they should have to take a salary reset. (As long as I’m making up rules, though, how about if that happens, and a player follows a coach, the coach has to pay the difference. So Riley would owe Williams $25K out of his newly padded pockets each season Williams plays as USC.)
This idea isn’t fully thought out, but it’s one of thousands of potential solutions made possible by money.
People who say money doesn’t solve everything probably just have never been broke. And these coaches aren’t broke, which is probably why they’re more concerned about the transfer portal than whether the system that made them millionaires is ethical.
Pedro Porro speaks about Tottenham for first time as flight and medical booked
Standard Sport understands the right-back will complete a £39million move from Sporting later on Tuesday, the final day of the January transfer window.
The move was thrown into doubt on Monday after Sporting reneged on the deal by asking for more money, despite Porro having said his goodbyes and with a medical in London booked.
Further talks have revived the transfer and Porro, who was absent from training and understood to be distraught by the hold ups, will now finalise the move on Deadline Day. He spoke to reporters at Lisbon airport on Monday evening.
He told CMTV: “I’m grateful to Sporting, I love the club.
“I didn’t train as I was only focused on the transfer to Spurs but I will always be thankful to the club.”
Porro is expected at Hotspur Way on Monday evening, where he will stay overnight before becoming a Spurs player on Tuesday.
Derby 0 – 2 West Ham
West Ham booked a fifth-round FA Cup tie at boss David Moyes’ former club
Manchester United with a comfortable 2-0 win at Derby.
Jarrod Bowen’s third goal in two games gave the Hammers a first-half lead and Michail Antonio headed home their second five minutes after break.
The Londoners made it back-to-back wins after beating Everton 2-0 to climb out of the Premier League’s bottom three nine days go and rarely needed to hit top gear as they halted League One side Derby’s 19-game unbeaten run.
West Ham boss Moyes now faces a reunion with former side Man Utd at Old Trafford in the last 16 after being drawn to face the Red Devils in the draw just before Monday night’s routine win at Pride Park. The match will take place in the week commencing February 27.
How West Ham eased past Derby
Paul Warne’s side are flying high in fourth place in the third tier and there were high hopes of an upset among the home faithful before kick-off in a Pride Park crowd of 25,308.
Derby forward Tom Barkhuizen wasted no time in breaching West Ham’s defence, scampering clear in the opening minute before his cut-back was scrambled clear.
Bowen shot tamely at Derby goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith soon after, but was not so wasteful in the 10th minute.
Antonio’s ball over the top caught Derby flat-footed and Bowen volleyed home Tomas Soucek’s neat headed pass from six yards.
Derby’s best move of the half saw James Collins volley just off target after Barkhuizen had run on to Craig Forsyth’s dinked pass to pick out the Derby striker with a fine cross.
Barkhuizen and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing offered Derby’s best hopes of getting back on level terms before the break, but they had no shots on target in the first period.
The good news for Rams fans at the break was their side were still in the tie against a top-flight side who were not at their best.
But five minutes into the second period the home side fell 2-0 behind. Derby skipper Curtis Davies’ sliced clearance span into Bowen’s path down the right and his cross was headed in at the far post by Antonio after deflecting off Forsyth.
Warne sent on four substitutes – Eiran Cashin, Liam Thompson, Lewis Dobbin and Tony Springett – soon after and their fresh legs gave Derby a lift.
Haydon Roberts was an inch away from connecting fully with Dobbin’s excellent cross, but the Rams were soon back-pedalling again.
Bowen was denied in quick succession by Wildsmith’s point-blank save and Cashin’s last-ditch tackle before Ben Johnson’s angled drive was kept out by the Derby goalkeeper.
The Rams were full of endeavour until the final whistle and Dobbin was close to being rewarded for an impressive cameo display when shooting straight at Alphonse Areola, but on the night County could not bridge the gulf in class.
Bowen: You’ve got to beat the best to win the cup
Jarrod Bowen said “to be the best you’ve got to beat the best” after West Ham were drawn to face United in the fifth round.
“I found out (about the draw) on the bench. We’ve got Man Utd away so listen it’s never easy and if we want to be successful in these competitions we’ve got to beat the best teams,” Bowen told ITV Sport.
“With respect to Man United they’re a top top team but we’ve been there plenty of times before and you’ve got to beat the best to be the best.”
Bowen added: “It was nice to score against Everton and tonight as well. I think the situation that we’re in, any sort of confidence from any player…
“The last two to be involved with was very good for me but I think for us, two wins on the bounce as well, two good results for us and it’s all about momentum in this game and I think we can use this going forward.”
Warne: We can’t knock the lads
Derby manager Paul Warne told ITV Sport: “In fairness West Ham played a professional performance, at times I thought we went toe-to-toe but I don’t think we did enough to score unfortunately.
“We can’t knock the lads tonight, we asked them to be the best versions of themselves against a Premier League team so not bad.
“But we probably didn’t have enough graft in the final third but I can’t really knock them and we know West Ham haven’t got an easy draw next but I wish them a sincere good luck.
“I thought the lads gave a good account of themselves at times and at times they were punching.”
Derby return to League One action on Saturday at home to Morecambe – kick-off 3pm – before travelling to Wycombe on Saturday February 11; kick-off 3pm.
West Ham’s next game is away to Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 5.30pm.
The Hammers then host London rivals Chelsea on Saturday February 11; kick-off 12.30pm.
NFL’s ratio of Black QBs to Black head coaches is all wrong
Marlin Briscoe is smiling in heaven. Doug Williams probably has a huge grin on his face. The first Black starting quarterback in NFL history — Briscoe — and the first Black quarterback to start and win Super Bowl MVP — Williams — are the giants whose shoulders Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts are standing on. And between Rihanna’s halftime performance and the fact that we’re about to watch history made as two Black quarterbacks take center stage in sports’ biggest game — you could make the case that it’s destiny, given that it will all take place during Black History Month.
But, don’t let this moment distract you from the fact that Black coaches are still getting a raw deal at a time in which Black quarterbacks are being elevated like never before. Two things can be true at once, this is why this moment is such a joyous, yet infuriating one.
Sixteen years after we watched Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy make history as the first two Black head coaches to appear in the Super Bowl, we’re watching Mahomes and Hurts do it for Black quarterbacks. But since that February day in 2007, things for Black coaches have seemed to fall apart as they’ve improved for Black quarterbacks.
Eleven Black quarterbacks started Week 1. Now compare that to the three Black coaches who had jobs when the season began — Mike McDaniel doesn’t count, as he chooses to identify as a human being with a Black dad.
When Lovie Smith got fired in Houston, three became two. And as we wait for the remaining hires to be made, there isn’t a track record or feeling that anything will be done in the next few weeks to greatly improve these dismal numbers. We’re at a point in which the league, the owners, and fans are fine with having a Black man be their quarterback — but not their coach.
Over the years, the trajectory for Black quarterbacks has steadily risen in a way that hasn’t happened for Black coaches. By the time we reach kickoff, it will mean that eight Black quarterbacks have started in the Super Bowl. It’s a direct result of evolution over the years. What was started by Fritz Pollard, Briscoe, and Williams led the way for Michael Vick to be the first Black quarterback drafted No. 1 and for Steve McNair to be the first Black quarterback to win MVP — which was followed by Mahomes and Lamar Jackson.
Progress on the field, not on the sidelines
This type of progress isn’t something we’ve seen with Black coaches, though. At roughly this point last year, there were only two Black head coaches in the league — Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh and David Culley in Houston. As we know, Culley would get fired after one season by the Texans and would get replaced by Smith, another Black coach that would be fired after a lone year on the job. Brian Flores’ class-action lawsuit (which was joined by Ray Horton and Steve Wilks) is still hovering over the league. But, you wouldn’t know it the way that Wilks wasn’t able to keep his interim tag — which is a death sentence for Black coaches — with the Carolina Panthers despite doing a wonderful job.
In 2000, Dennis Green (Minnesota) and Dungy (Tampa) were the only two Black full-time head coaches in the NFL. Twenty-three years later, we’re in the same place, but worse. The XFL is just weeks away from rebooting and their eight-team league already has four Black head coaches. It’s a jarring stat that embodies just how big this problem is, despite what Todd Bowles thinks.
“I think the minute you guys stop making a big deal about it, everybody else will as well,” one of the two Black coaches in the league had the audacity to say earlier in the season.
In less than two weeks, a league that’s majority Black will make history when two Black quarterbacks play in a game that will feature entertainment before the game and during halftime from Black performers in a month that’s dedicated to recognizing the contributions to what Black people have made to this country. It will be a joyous occasion.
However, while you’re enjoying the game, I beg of you to ask one question to the company you’ll keep on that day. “If the NFL, America and the world can accept all this Blackness, then why won’t they accept Black coaches?” And while you’re waiting for people to answer that question, realize that “End Racism” was etched on the field all season.
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