The Morning Stake

The Morning Stake | 2020.05.08

Your daily dose of all things Texas Tech athletics.

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Adam Schefter tweeted a letter from Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and well, I like where he’s going. Part of the reason why Harbaugh has written this letter is that it is in a response to the name, image, and likeness issues currently facing the NCAA and the NCAA basically wanting student-athletes to go chase that money if that’s what they want. Let amateurs be amateurs and the pros be pros. Harbaugh wants that too, but he also wants the student-athlete to be able to declare at any point and go play in the NFL.

1. The individual could choose to declare for the professional draft after any season he chooses. If he is drafted within the first 224 picks of the NFL Draft, or chooses to sign a free agent contract, he would forego remaining college eligibility. However, if the individual is not drafted within the first 224 picks of the NFL Draft, he would be able to return to college football if he chooses without penalty, provided he remains in academic compliance and does not receive payment from an agent.

2. The individual leaving college “early” prior to graduation who signs an NFL contract would be entitled to complete his degree while in the NFL, or return to the institution that he left, to continue his college career as a student once his pro career was completed…

3. A broadening of the rules to permit a student‐athlete and his family to consult with and seek advice on or before signing a professional contract from lawyers and agents so long as the S/A does not receive compensation….

I’m all for this. Let them go play and make money if that’s what they want to do. Harbaugh is also pretty well aligned with me on the transfer issue, which is that graduate transfers still can go wherever they want, and all student-athletes get a one-time transfer to wherever they want. Don’t leave the NCAA up to interpret what should or should not be a transfer. At the very least, Harbaugh is thinking about this and is welcoming a conversation. It seems that conversations with the NCAA are relatively one-sided.

Watch Stadium’s Brett McMurphy talked to conference commissioners about if college football will return if students cannot return to practice.

A Power Five athletic director, who was granted anonymity, is adamant that a football season could be played without the general student body on campus.

“Why can’t you play football on campuses that are closed?” the athletic director asked. “If classes are being offered online, there is no restriction on where you complete the course work. You would need an easily-administered COVID-19 test that is available to every athletic department. Test the student-athletes, coaches, trainers and support personnel to make sure that your cohort is free of virus. Quarantine the cohort for practice, online classes, food service and leisure time activities. This would be a very safe environment.

“Many of our athletes were taking a significant portion of their credit hours online long before the virus showed up. The only difference would be an empty campus, theoretically an even safer environment.”

Several college sources admitted that potentially having only student-athletes on campus playing football would not be a “good look” for the schools, considering the outcry that student-athletes should be compensated in some fashion.

“You can’t have student-athletes back in competition without general students back on campus,” a Group of Five athletic director said. “That’s not a good look and a lot of liability that the presidents and chancellors shouldn’t make alone.”

I still think that football is going to happen, but I also think that not ever college is going to participate. Don’t ask me how that is going to work out.

Junior guard Jack Anderson wrote about how he knew he was going to be a Red Raider (hint – it happened in 2008). This was an enjoyable read and hope you read it too:

That 10 year old kid continued to grow, eventually moving from the Denver area to Frisco in the DFW metroplex in eighth grade. The more I played football, the more people started to notice. By the time I was a sophomore, I had 40-plus college offers, all to be an offensive lineman. Alabama called. So did USC and Texas.

Still, at my core I knew I was a Red Raider. I shut down my recruitment early and committed as only a sophomore. I had several coaches from other schools call or text me in the ensuing days saying “are you really going to Texas Tech?” I took my visits, but it didn’t change the fact I was a Red Raider.

Dallas Morning News’ Brice Paterik has five reasons to be pessimistic (there is also a link to five reasons to be optimistic) and the running back depth that I mentioned yesterday is my biggest issue:

Lost running back depth
Two of the three primary running backs in Tech’s 2019 rotation are no longer part of the team. Armand Shyne graduated and Ta’Zhawn Henry entered the transfer portal, leaving SaRodorick Thompson as the only remaining back from the trio.

There are several fresh faces likely to factor into the rotation, but the loss of two experienced backs will hurt the Red Raiders in 2020.

Here are some tweets.

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