Saturday, April 30, 2016

Draft Over: Falcons Await UDFA, Lewis to Giants

So the draft is over and no Falcons were picked.

The only player I honestly expected to see drafted was Roger Lewis, who left school early, now, to be a UDFA with the New York Giants--credit here to Hustle Belt.  He wasn't picked--despite a player from the German Football League being drafted.

Matt Johnson.  I mean, what the hell.  Honestly, guy is a two-time champion, ridiculous numbers, conference player of the year.  Don't understand why somebody doesn't see something worth grabbing a shot at.  Having said that, I noticed that the Bednarik award winner for best defensive player in the country went in the last round.  Obviously, big productivity in a non-P5 conference is not the door opener that you would think.  And, sadly, predictable in its consistency.  Again, I think Johnson is worth a draft pick...but not surprised NFL teams did not.

Huettel, Hardy, Burbrink...suspect we will see some UDFAs come out in the next few hours.

Six MAC players were drafted.  Have a long look tomorrow.  In the meantime, to track UDFA and camp invites, you can follow Hustle Belt's tracker.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

BG LB Paul Swan on NASCAR Pit Crew

This is an interesting one.  So I read in the recent BGSU Alumni magazine about Paul Swan, a starting LB at BG who know is on a NASCAR pit crew.  Swan is an interesting guy.  When he committed under Brandon from WI, he was kind of unheralded.  He stayed on when Brandon left and came to BG.  He really made himself into a contributor, for which he gets a lot of credit, as well as Mike Elko, who I think was a terrific football coach.  Swan went on to make 38 starts and be a two-time captain and a prominent member of oppressive defense of the 2013 MAC Title team.  I thought he was an all-MAC performer that year, but he was not selected.

Anyway, he was interning with Wake Forest when NASCAR called.  According to this, they like college football players because the work is demanding, physical and requires athleticism.  In particular, LBs, FBs and TEs.

Here's  a great quote:

“I knew nothing about NASCAR — zero,” the Wisconsin native said. “But the notion of getting involved on one of the pit crews really intrigued me. What they were saying was that you can’t take a mechanic and teach him how to be an athlete, but you can take an athlete and teach him how to work on the pit crew. These racing teams realized that football players could be a great addition to their crews.”

He's with Richard Childress Racing, for NASCAR fans.

Good luck, Paul!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

MBB gets JUCO Commit

 So, BG has a new '16 Basketball commit, Jeffrey Uju.  Jeffrey is originally from Bolingbroke, IL, and went to Oak Hill Academy in VA, which is a big basketball training ground with about two dozen NBA players to its name.  He played last year at Western Texas College (which is kind of funny, almost like we still have the Chris Jans recruiting grounds).  He's 6'7" and shot 46% from 2FG and 3FG.  He scored 7 PPG and had almost 6 RPG.  Now, based on the stats, that was in 16 minutes per game, so it needs to be adjusted a little bit.  I don't know what the deal is with the PT, except I've seen it before...sometimes JUCO teams distribute playing time very evenly.

He says he is in pre-med and wants to be a surgeon after he plays as a professional.  He will have two years of eligibility.

Welcome to the Falcons, Jeffrey.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Falcon Football Gets 2nd QB in '17 Class

The Falcons have landed another QB committment...this one is Chris Katernick of Harry Jacobs HS in Algonquin, IL (north-central part of the state).  He's a highly sought-after young man.  He's a composite 3-star recruit on 24/7 who had offers from Buffalo, UT, Miami, North Dakota State and Virginia.  He had drawn Big 10 interest as well, making unofficial visits to UC, Indiana, MSU, Wisconsin and Notre Dame.  Miami had been considered the favorite for him, but the Falcons were able to land his commit.

He's the #38 Drop back passer in the country (24/7) and the #17 player in the entire state.  He's 6'2" which is a nice neight for a MAC QB.

According to this, BG's area recruiter is Benny Morrison, who played HS ball with Katernick's current coach, Bill Mitz.   Katernick has been talking to both Jinks and Andy Padron as well.

This is BG's 2nd high profile QB commit in the '17 class, joining Jarrett Doege of Lubbock.  Those two young men will join James Morgan, who is battling for the starting job in '16, and highly-regarded Elijah Cunningham from here in Ohio.  He is part of the '16 class.  These four men have the potential to represent more depth than BG has ever had at the QB position, and FWIW, two are Jinks recruits and they had to go down and keep Cunningham on board after Babers left.

Welcome to the Falcons, Chris.

Financial Swamp: USA Today Database on Athletic Spending

Earlier this week, the USA Today released its athletic spending database, allowing for a wide variety of analysis and comparisons.  As always, the story for the MAC is not good and even a little bit disturbing, maybe for what it is and maybe because it is nothing new.  Hustle Belt has broken the thing down and I'd recommend popping over there for a read and then coming back here for a discussion.

OK, a few hard facts.
  • No MAC athletic department breaks even, or even comes close.  Those tickets, sponsorships, suites, parking fees...none even come close to covering the expenses of an athletics program.
  • In an era of skyrocketing college debt, MAC Athletics only survive because of student fees...ranging as high as 80% of total expenses at EMU and as "low" as 57% at UT.
  • The highest revenue in the MAC is WMU at $34M.  Alabama had $148M,
  • The lowest revenue in the MAC...BG at $21.

In fact, the numbers for BG are interesting.  With football championships in 2 of the last 3 years and supporting a hockey program, BG has the lowest revenues and expenses in the MAC.  BG spent $21M in the year in question.  The difference is significant...Akron spent $34M as the top spender, 62% more than the Falcons spend.

In a related matter, BG is second lowest in student subsidy by percentage, at 59%, and lowest in total student subsidy at 12.9M.  Which means that the student body at BG is collectively keeping $14M more than the EMU student body.

Even with BG's frugal ways, nearly 60% of athletics revenues come from student subsidies.  It is an astounding figure.

BG's strategic plan has aggressive goals for ticket increases, sponsorship increases and donations.  I support this entirely.  To the fullest extent possible, you'd want the people who enjoy athletics to pay for them.  Even with that, you can't help but think that maybe this whole thing is unsustainable, that its going to topple over from its own weight.  In fact, I'm surprised that given the debt crisis among college students, there hasn't been a move to curb student subsidies. much as it isn't enough to be worth the fight.

As readers are aware, I love my Falcons and I love the University.  I stand by what I said in the article on the strategic plan...I see big changes coming.  

Monday, April 18, 2016

Chris Jones SIgned by Dolphins

Boom!  Short time on the unemployment line for our guy.  Go get 'em Chris.  The Falcon Nation is at your back.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Chris Jones Released by Patriots

News this weekend out of Foxboro, Chris Jones was released by the Patriots.  He spent three years with the club...a tenure which landed him in the Super Bowl and now with a Super Bowl ring.  He took an amazing route to get there...drafted in the sixth round, cut twice in two weeks, and then signed by the Patriots.

I have to believe he has a good shot at being picked up somewhere.  Even if he isn't, he's an all-time great Falcon and he needs nothing else to cement that.  He played through some of our worst years, only to end up as MAC Defensive Player of the Year the year before BG broke through for a MAC title.  He was an absolute warrior, and he is a Falcon Forever.  And a Super Bowl Champion forever. Go get 'em Chris.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Falcons Get MBB Commit

BG has its third recruit for the '16 season.  This one is Justin Turner, a SG from Detroit Renaissance HS.  He's 6'3", which is pretty nice for a SG in the MAC and has had some real success in Detroit PSL circles.  He led his team twice to the PSL Championship Game, and he averaged 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists a game this season which is really productive in a 32 minute game.

He's a 3-star recruit on Rivals.  He was on the Detroit Free Press' first-team all-Metro team and third-team on the mlive team.

Teams have had their eye on him for quite a while.  He got an offer from CMU when he was just a sophomore...and based on other reports had offers from La Tech, UD, WMU...

It is no secret that BG's program has suffered for years from a lack of scoring, especially from the backcourt.  Hopefully, Turner can join in with Lillard and the incoming PGs and create strong guard play for BG.  Signing is open until May 13. BG continues to need front-court help, so let's hope there is some progress on that front before that happens.

Welcome to the Falcons, Justin.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Sentinel: Kingston leaving BG

Boom goes the dynamite.  Chris Kingston is leaving BGSU.  You know this kind of thing is eventually going to happen, you just never know when.  The report in the Sentinel says that he is going to work at Learfield Sports, which is a little bit of a surprise.  Learfield is the entity that handles the marketing of Falcon Sports Properties--basically the corporate partnership and marketing relationships, including the radio broadcasts.

Chris Kingston brought a lot of qualities to BGSU.  I believe he raised the competitive level of our teams and built on the facility work done by his predecessor.  He hired Dino Babers, handled the Jans thing correctly, and made what I believe was a good hire in Michael Huger.  I've written plenty about Jinks, and if that works out he gets credit for that, too...and for more than one reason.

He was known (from the people I talked to) for a legendary work ethic and an incredibly thorough approach to tackling the challenges in front of him.  Just for an example, he spent Sundays getting a list of future coaches identified for the football program, which led him to Jinks and I assume Babers.

He also was a great booster.  I saw his pre-game speech to alumni at the Purdue game, and he was just great.

So, he will be missed here at BG.  This is the world we live in.  People come to our school and they want to make their name.  When they do, they leave.  Or, when they don't, they leave.  The biggest challenge at our level is to win the Russian Roulette game of replacing coaches and administrators.

That game now rests in Dr. Mazey's office.

Best wishes to Kingston.  Good luck in all your future endeavors.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Falcons Get Football Verbal

BG has their second known verbal of the '17 class, this one being Shermond Dabney of Orchard Lake St. Mary's, which is located kind of southwest of Pontiac--and 1,391 miles from Lubbock :).  That's a high-level Michigan program that finished #1 in the state in Division III.  They have four players (second most) on this mlive list of the Top 40 Michigan recruits in '17.    Dabney is not one of them, but that's indicative of the environment he is playing in.

He is a CB/RB, though it sounds like he projects to CB in college.  He's 6'0", 180 pounds with athleticism you have to like for a MAC corner...he's a productive hurdler on the track team (has qualified for the state meet and won a state championship) and he's also wrestled in the state meet, which is an unusual thing for a d-back but I always figured it transferred relatively well to football.

He had offers from Western Michigan (elite!), BG, Miami and Kent, so clearly strong interest at this level.

One last thing...check this out at the end of his D-zone profile:
State champion in football. State champion in track. All state track runner. Most improved track runner. State qualifier in wrestling. All catholic, all league in wrestling. Most improved wrestler.
Key phrase that is seen twice:  "most improved"

Welcome to the Falcons, Shermond.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

BG's Athletics Strategic Plan

OK people....first post of April...always kind of slow when the seasons end.  Open loops?  Well, a new men's assistant basketball coach...and the signing period opens in a week.  BG has two signees and if there's other news, I haven't heard it.

Just had a chance to look through BG's new athletic strategic plan.  I would certainly recommend that Falcon fans take a look at it.  I think it's well done as these things go...all the goals link up to University goals, which they should.  I think the priorities are right represents a nice balance between competition and academics.  There are strong but achievable goals in both areas.  Clearly, we want to win and we want to graduate good students.

A few random thoughts....

  • They are looking at getting turf onto all the grass facilities.  If you are going to keep baseball and softball in the MAC, you can't justify not having turf.
  • There is going to be a full renovation plan for the Doyt, which I think we would all be interested in seeing.  I was there Saturday and there is a lot going on right now.
  • I'd be interested in knowing what is entailed in "Develop scheduling strategies to position teams for post-season play." Does that mean wins or tough scheduling?

Finally, the revenue goals are interesting:

  • A 7% annual increase in gross ticket revenue.  It will be interesting to see how that plays out.  In some cases, there is easy room for 7% growth (men's basketball, for example).  I think fans can expect some additional cost increases as well, though I think basketball is already too high.
  • There's also a 7% annual increase in merchandising. I think there might be an opportunity here.  If you heard the chatter about the SBX closing, you head the general consensus (which I agree with) that SBX had a much better selection and quality than the University does currently.  This might be an opportunity for BG to up its game.
  • Increase the unrestricted fund by 20% annually.  That's going to be tough.  There is a tactic that says they are going to get a timetable for changing Falcon club will be interesting to see what that ends up being.

Even though these types of things are likely to cost me money, I think fans need to keep the big picture in mind.  BG gets 63% of its athletic revenue from subsidies, most of which comes from student fees paid by BG undergrads.  It is a number that is common in the MAC, but probably already too high.  I don't know how likely it is to go down but you'd like to see it at least not get worse.  So, you need to get a higher portion of your revenue from the people in the's just right.