“This rule might impact offensive linemen more than any other position group because linemen are probably the most likely to exhaust all of their eligibility before moving on to the next level--at least at Ohio State.”
The NCAA has been busy this offseason revising rules on transfer and redshirt eligibility. First, student athletes who choose to transfer can do so without any restrictions from their former school. For redshirts, the new rules allow players to play snaps in up to four games while still taking a redshirt.
In the case of Ohio State, the latter rule change could prove to be a huge help in the future. For example, in blowout games a la Rutgers, Maryland, Illinois and Nebraska last season, Urban Meyer could give some of his true freshman snaps in an actual game without them losing eligibility. These players get valuable experience and coaches have the chance to see how they might fit into the rotation in the future. Starters can also rest more effectively, reducing the chance for injury at the end of a blowout.
Such a rule change would have been helpful last season, when Ohio State had eight wins by three or more touchdowns. In particular, offensive linemen would have been able to leverage the increased eligibility. Isaiah Prince and Thayer Munford, for example, both played clean up duty at the end of blowouts as freshmen, losing a season of eligibility as a result. Similarly, Meyer opted to play wide receiver Binjimen Victor in limited action during Victor’s freshman season in 2016. Victor was probably not ready at the time, and the new rules could have been an advantage in getting him playing time on the field without losing a year of eligibility.
On the flip side, players like defensive Sam Hubbard and wide receiver K.J. Hill did get redshirts. While they were able to step into their roles effectively after their redshirt seasons, playing time on the field would have likely helped to smooth that transition--especially if given at the end of the season.
“Harbaugh did not fire off a backhanded tweet or release a diss track. No, the three-time reigning champion of the offseason did...nothing.”
In three seasons at the helm of Michigan, Jim Harbaugh has never been one to shy away from attention, often going so far as to instigate situations to get more notice (e.g., hosting slumber parties with recruits or noisily drinking milk with his steak). To some, the moves had their merits. Media attention, if not centered on Michigan’s actual play, at least made the program more interesting than it had been in the preceding seasons and kept Michigan in the news. To others, the tactics were mere ploys to distract from a lack of on-field substance.
Thus far, the tactics have not generated much in the way of on-field success. Harbaugh has gone consecutively 10-3, 10-3, and 8-5, finishing no higher than third in the Big Ten East and, if it needs repeating, going 0-3 against Urban Meyer’s Ohio State squad.
This offseason, however, it has been eerily quiet up north, even after what may have been Meyer’s most savage move ever: Talking about the importance of beating your rival. While at a camp in Michigan. With Harbaugh watching. While wearing a 2014 national championship jacket.
It would not have been out of character for Harbaugh to tweet a snarky response or even climb a tree in anger. Instead, the three-year coach remained silent, keeping the theme of the offseason.
The move is probably for the best. Harbaugh is the third-highest paid coach in the NCAA, bringing home $7 million per year and, at some point, has to prove that he is worthy of being paid on the level of Dabo Swinney and Meyer (Nick Saban’s $11.1 million salary is not even in the same ballpark). This offseason has shown a level of focus that Harbaugh hasn’t displayed since his arrival at Michigan. He has overhauled his offensive coaching staff and recruited offensive weapons who have substance--all in an effort to show, on the field this time, that his team has substance.
“After seeing it in person, I’m more confident this concept will live on in some way.”
For the most part, basketball is the quickest of the four major sports, with the shortest clock time and generally continuous play which keeps fans following. The notable exception, however, is in that awkward period at the end of the fourth quarter in the NBA or second half in college when down teams begin intentionally fouling, hoping for a chance to gain possession and the lead. The strategy rarely works and adds endless time to what would seem to be a decided game, taking the excitement out of the on-court action as seconds of play are interspersed with minutes of foul shots and timeouts.
While many solutions have been suggested for how to remedy this issue (reducing timeouts, choosing free throw shooters), one is actually coming into play this year in the fifth iteration of The Basketball Tournament (TBT) starting in July. The idea, which was instituted for 11 play-in games in last year’s tournament, has been labeled the Elam Ending, and involves turning off the game clock for the last four minutes of play, forcing teams to hit a target score rather than play out minutes.
At the four-minute mark, officials add seven points to the leading team’s score, making it a target to be hit by either side. The first team to get to that target score wins. In short, the Elam Ending guarantees that games will end with a made shot and that play--actual play without continuous stoppages--continues throughout the final minutes.
The Elam Ending will be instituted throughout all games in TBT this year. TBT, a pickup challenge, includes a 72 team bracket with a $2 million prize for first place. Former NBA and NCAA athletes headline many of the squads. This year, Scarlet & Gray, the Ohio State alumni team, features the likes of Scoonie Penn, Evan Turner, Aaron Craft and Jared Sullinger, among others.
The current Ohio State basketball team, meanwhile, just had its first team meeting of the season.