Tuberville on curbing cheating: ‘Hurt them in the pocketbook’


Unless you’re like the dude in the Geico commercial and been living underneath a rock for the past year or so, you know that some schools have been coloring outside the line of the NCAA rulebook.  So much so, in fact, that SEC commissioner Mike Slive, in laying out his “national agenda for change” last week at the conference’s media days, said that the game of college football “has lost the benefit of the doubt” when it comes to public perception.

The NCAA has tried sanctions such as stripping scholarships, probation, vacating wins and the like, but those seem to have done little to curb schools hellbent on setting up shop in the gray area.

So, what’s left for the NCAA to do?  As noted by Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville recently, the collective bank accounts are about the only weapon left if the NCAA truly wants to cleanup its image.

“Money,” Tuberville said when asked during a radio interview Friday evening about the root of the current issues facing the game and how to change it. “It’s all about money and until the NCAA decides that they’re going to start penalizing teams, not just scholarships, but taking away games and forfeiting BCS money that was made, it’s going to continue to happen. …

“You get caught, you get penalized. If you get games taken away, bowl games taken away immediately; you have money that you give back, that’s when the president’s start listening. Of course the presidents are the ones who make these rules, so that’s one of the reasons we have this problem. If somebody breaks the rule, let’s deal with it, let’s penalize them and set them back, take money away and really hurt them. Hurt them in the pocketbook. Until they start doing that, you’re not going to see anything change.”

We’ve taken our share of shots at Tuberville, almost exclusively because of his incessant whining over the ’04 Auburn team after USC was stripped of its BcS title, but it appears he’s on track with this point.  It appears the only thing that will get these program’s attention, their president’s attention, is when they have to give back a multi-million BcS check, or forfeit some of the tens of millions of dollars of television revenue they receive annually from broadcast networks or their own networks — or both.

If the NCAA and its membership truly care about cleaning up the game, the idea that Tuberville and many others have advanced should at least be part of the discussion.

Georgia extends contract for AD Josh Brooks, plans two new football practice fields

1 Comment

ATHENS, Ga. – On the heels of a second straight national football championship, Georgia has rewarded athletic director Josh Brooks a contract extension that ties him to the Bulldogs through at least 2029.

The athletic association board, wrapping up its annual spring meeting Friday at a resort on Lake Oconee, also announced plans for a new track and field facility that will free up space for two more football practice fields.

Brooks’ new contract will increase his salary to $1.025 million a year, with annual raises of $100,000.

The 42-year-old Brooks, who took over the athletic department in 2021 after Greg McGarity retired, called the Georgia job “a dream for me” and said he hopes to spend the rest of his career in Athens.

“I am extremely grateful,” Brooks said. “I got into this business 20-plus years ago as a student equipment manager. My first job at Louisiana-Monroe was making $20,000 a year in football operations.”

The Georgia board approved a fiscal 2024 budget of $175.2 million, a nearly 8% increase from the most recent budget of $162.2 million and the sign of a prosperous program that is flush with money after its success on the gridiron.

The school received approval to move forward with its preliminary plans for a new track and field facility, which will be built across the street from the complex hosting the soccer and and softball teams.

The current track stadium is located adjacent to the Butts-Mehre athletic facility, which hosts the practice fields and training facilities for the football program.

Georgia lost a chunk of its outdoor fields when it built a new indoor practice facility. After the new track and field stadium is completed, the current space will be converted to two full-length, grass football practice fields at the request of coach Kirby Smart.

“He wants to find efficient ways to practice, and there is a lot of truth to the issues we’ve had with our current practice fields,” Brooks said. “There is a lot of strain on our turf facilities staff to keep that field in great shape when half the day it is getting shade, so that has been a challenge as well. For our football program, it is better to practice on grass fields than (artificial) turf, so to be able to have two side-by-side grass fields is huge. It makes for a much more efficient practice.”

The new track and field complex, which will continue to be named Spec Towns Track, will also include an indoor facility, the first of its kind in the state of Georgia.

Iowa AD Gary Barta announces retirement after 17 years at Big Ten school

Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Iowa athletic director Gary Barta will retire on August 1 after 17 years at the university, the school announced Friday.

Barta, 59, is one of the longest-tenured athletic directors in a Power Five conference. He was hired by Iowa in 2006 after being the AD at Wyoming.

An interim director will be announced next week, Iowa said.

In September, Iowa hired former Ball State athletic director Beth Goetz to be deputy director of athletics and chief operating officer, putting her in position to possibly succeed Barta.

“It has been an absolute privilege and honor to serve in this role the past 17 years,” Barta said in a statement. “This decision didn’t come suddenly, nor did it come without significant thought, discussion, and prayer.”

“That said, I’m confident this is the right time for me and for my family.”

Iowa won four NCAA national team titles and 27 Big Ten team titles during Barta’s tenure. The women’s basketball team is coming off an appearance in the national championship game and the wrestling team is coming off a second-place finish at the NCAA championships.

Barta served as the chairman of the College Football Playoff committee in 2020 and 2021.

He faced heavy criticism over more than $11 million in settlements for lawsuits in recent years alleging racial and sexual discrimination within the athletic department.

Lawsuits filed by former field hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum and associate athletics director Jane Meyer led to a $6.5 million payout.

Iowa had to pay $400,000 as part of a Title IX lawsuit brought by athletes after it cut four sports in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the agreement, Iowa reinstated the women’s swimming and diving program and add another women’s sport.

Iowa added women’s wrestling, the first among Power Five schools to compete this year.

A lawsuit brought by former football players alleging racial discrimination within the program was settled for $4.2 million last March, which prompted state auditor Rob Sand to call for Barta’s ouster.

“Gary Barta’s departure is a long time coming given the four different lawsuits for discrimination that cost Iowa more than $11 million,” Sand posted on Twitter.

The university did not allow taxpayer money to be used for the settlement with the former players.

Barta led Iowa through $380 million of facility upgrades, including renovation of Kinnick Stadium, the construction of a new football facility, a basketball practice facility and a training center for the wrestling teams.

Under Barta, Iowa has had just one head football coach (Kirk Ferentz), women’s basketball coach (Lisa Bluder) and wrestling coach (Tom Brands). All were in place when he arrived.

Barta has also come under scrutiny for allowing Ferentz to employee his son, Brian Ferentz, as offensive coordinator. To comply with the university’s nepotism policy, Brian Ferentz reports to Barta.