Join Mizzou writer Dave Matter for a live chat with fans at 11 a.m. Thursday

Join Mizzou writer Dave Matter for a live chat with fans at 11 a.m. Thursday

Join our weekly chat with Mizzou fans

    Greetings, chatters. Busy day. I'll be here for the next couple hours. Lots to write about. Gov. Parson is signing the amended NIL bill into law within the hour. Stay tuned for more on that topic today. Let's get to your questions.
    If a scholarship player is married does a division one college provide separate living quarters for that athlete. Secondly what can Missouri provide a walk on football players.Food ? Affordable housing?
    A full athletics scholarship covers the athletes' room & board, so whether a player is single or married, he/she gets money to pay for their rent.
    A walk-on doesn't get money for his room & board, but I believe they can eat in the team's dining facility. 
    Just saw on a site that evaluates football and basketball players skills and abilities what their NIL value is to the team that offers a scholarship. Have you seen this and your thoughts on how this affects recruiting? Would a team look at a high number and elect to pass on an expensive player.
    Yes, I've seen these projections. I highly doubt coaches are basing scholarship offers off of those numbers alone. They're just projections - not official price tags. A lot of the high-profile recruits and transfers have agents or someone working on their behalf to manage NIL opportunities to handle those discussions. It's certainly a factor, but other factors matter, too.
    Dave. You do a great job covering all things Mizzou. Thanks. A close friend of mine is a diehard LSU fan. He is so disenchanted with the combination of NIL and the portal that he says he’s giving up on CFB. I’ve been deep into Tiger football since the early 60s and have seen the good, bad and ugly. I’m not ready to give up on CFB like my LSU buddy but if somebody doesn’t step in and impose some limits on NIL and the portal I think CFB will see shrinking attendance and enthusiasm. You seem to be a defender of both NIL and the portal. Don’t you have serious concerns about both when there are no limits? It seems to me the next logical step is removing the requirement that student athletes be students. I have a hard time seeing how the intense passion that is CFB doesn’t wane without some significant guardrails.
    I think some reasonable limits on the transfer process would be appropriate. Those potential changes are in motion now, specifically more stringent transfer windows. 
    But why would fans stop paying attention to college football if the players get paid through NIL deals? Why is that a negative? Why is unpaid labor a positive? I guess I don't see the disconnect between enjoying the sport but only if the players aren't getting paid. I understand the concerns that players are jumping from school to school based solely on NIL opportunities, but schools can benefit from those situations as much if not more than they suffer from those situations. 
    Attendance has dipped for college football over the last few non-Covid years prior to NIL or the transfer portal. But TV ratings for college football are not decreasing. If anything, we're going to see even bigger financial numbers for upcoming media rights deals with the major conferences. 
    Got to say so glad mizzou baseball doesn't act like Tennessee their coaches players fans are out of control. Go to YouTube watch their antics in my mind disgraceful. Vitello is out of control and his players follow his lead. I read a lot of Sec forums and everyone sees it. I was so glad they lost. You win with class you lose with class.
    Tony and his players certainly play with an attitude. It's the kind of style that other teams and other fans don't like but the home fans love. I doubt losing in the super regionals is going to change the way he coaches and the way he wants his players to approach the game. That's just his style.
    Mizzou football is not getting much pre-season love primarily because of the quarterback situation. Would that be the case had Bazelak stayed? If so, I find that curious, given that Cook seems much more mobile and at least equal as a passer. On paper the overall team seems improved from last season. Despite the "most important position on the field" being in flux is the team undervalued at this point?
    I'd pick Mizzou fifth or sixth in the SEC East - and I think that's a fair place. There's only one position group on offense I'd say is in the top half of the SEC: wide receiver. Otherwise, the O-line has a lot to prove. Big question marks at center and right tackle. Who's the running back? Nobody on the roster has ever been a full-time primary back at this level. And then the QB position. If the head coach had given Cook full-throated support and praise the last six months instead of hosting multiple transfer targets, then I'd feel better about that position post-Bazelak. But that's not the case. It's a big question mark. Had Bazelak been healthy last year it would have been fair to expect him to follow a natural trajectory from his promising 2020 season and then step into 2021 as one of the better QBs in the SEC. Instead, the situation is incredibly uncertain.
    Defensively, very good defensive end pairing, some upside at linebacker and experience at safety. What about D-tackle? Lots of new pieces, but is that an above average group by SEC standards? Abrams-Draine and Rakestraw have played a decent amount but are coming off surgeries. Fair to wonder about the corner position. 
    So, yes, I think this team is built to be better in some areas. Some, not all. 
    So excited what gates is doing. And so confused what Womens basketball is doing. Zero improvement on the roster. She knows more than me but in the SEC I just don't see it.
    Pingeton really likes her two freshman additions and they've added one Power 5 transfer. She's said all along she expected to add up to three transfers. We'll see how that develops.
    It's so hard to tell which transfers will make a decent impact - Ty'Ron Hopper looks like the safest bet, maybe Jernigan. But Kristian Williams seems like a solid pickup as well. But I always think, if they were that good, they're not likely to have left where they went at first (in most cases). Any thoughts on which transfers will have the most impact? It looks like Hopper and Nathaniel Pete would be the two biggest ... maybe Jack Abraham (whether he succeeds or fails may be the most important transfer story ... though I still have some faith in Brady Cook, despite the fact that I don't attend practice and have never won a game at the college level).
    I'd expect Ty'Ron Hopper to not only start but maybe push for All-SEC honors if he builds on what he started in the second half of last season at Florida. Between the four Power 5 D-tackles - Jayden Jernigan, Josh Landry, Kristian Williams and Ian Mathews - Jernigan was the most accomplished when he arrived and also went through a full spring in this system. Joseph Charleston should play major snaps at safety. He looked like a natural playmaker in the spring. The staff seemed high on Dreyden Norwood as a young corner.
    I'd be surprised if Peat isn't the starting running back on Sept. 1. He was Stanford's  leading rusher last year but played in a platoon system and wasn't a regular starter. He's never had an extended workload at this level. That doesn't mean he can't do it. 
    Both Buffalo transfers have a chance to start: Bence Polgar at center and Tyler Stephens. 
    Last week youbanswered a question by saying Bazelak and Mizzou did not have dynamic downfield speed threats so Bazalak passing attempts averaged only 8.8 yards. Tauskie Dove led the team with 576 yardson 38 receptions. Will we see a significant improvement for the team with the addition of Luther Burden? Right now I have no clue who among the 4 QB candidates will be delivering the ball. Maybe Eli doesn’t either. I was always intrigued with Mookie Cooper’s presence on the roster since he was good enough for Ohio St to recruit. Is he over his 2021 injuries and can he be a significant factor in the 2022 passing game? Does Mizzou have dynamic downfield threats in 2022 and will the QBs be able to deliver the ball to them?
    Burden adds elite speed at outside receiver. Lovett is a better fit in the slot and should benefit from the extra attention on Burden on the outside. If Cooper is past his injuries, he's another guy who can stretch the field vertically. I've liked what little we've seen of Luper as a big-play threat. And I think Dove remains a viable downfield weapon. He's very good at attacking the ball in the air and getting enough separation to make a contested catch. Again, Burden's presence could make everyone else's job easier because defenses will be well aware of No. 3 on the field every snap.
    Does Mizzou pay bonuses to athletes who achieve a GPA above a certain level?
    Yes. I wrote about that a few weeks ago:
    For the fall 2021 semester, MU gave 406 of its 543 athletes an academic financial reward, according to data obtained by the Post-Dispatch through an open records request. An 11-page document broke down the payments into four tiers, though all athletes’ names and their respective teams were redacted: 122 athletes received the Tier 1 reward of $1,200; 108 athletes received the Tier 2 reward of $2,000; 176 athletes received the Tier 3 reward of $2,990; and 137 athletes did not receive any reward. (If an athlete receives the Tier 3 award both semesters, that hits the NCAA’s maximum reward of $5,980.)
    Full story:
    Will Caleb Brown transfer out of bball program before Fall semester begins ? Clearly no place for him at Mizzou now.
    I don't expect Kaleb Brown to transfer at this point. He had his window. Why transfer now? He's very close to his brother. My hunch is they stayed as a package deal.
    Simple question: Why has it been so hard to make a SLU v Mizzou non-conference b-ball game happen? I say give the people what they want!
    For the millionth time: Under Cuonzo Martin, Mizzou offered SLU a two for one series with two games in Columbia and one in St. Louis. That was standard practice for MU with games against teams outside of the major conferences. (See the Liberty series.) SLU turned down the offer.
    Occasionally we’ve seen the football Tigers have a year that exceeds pre-season expectations. An example would be the year (roughly 10 years ago) they finished 5th in the country. Could it be that good steady quarterback play be enough for this season to exceed expectations? Replacing Badie is not a given, but RB depth is better than last season. And the defense looks revamped and deeper.
    Well, the defense can't be much worse, so it's a pretty low bar to say the defense is revamped and deeper. I'd expect this defense to at least be functional, which would be an upgrade over most of 2021.
    Good steady quarterback play would be good place to start if you want to have a surprise season. But that's still a big IF.
    To exceed expectations, you have to upset teams that are widely seen as better at this point. And here's the one  major difference between the bulk of the "better" teams on the schedule: They have that established QB on the roster: Stetson Bennett at Georgia, Hendon Hooker at Tennessee, Will Levis at Kentucky, KJ Jefferson at Arkansas. 
    Florida has Anthony Richardson ready for a bigger role.
    Kansas State and South Carolina have added two high-profile transfers in Adrian Martinez and Spencer Rattler, respectively.
    So, yes, those are beatable teams if things fall right for Mizzou. BUT, they all have better QB situations - and if you're not as good at that position, you better be much better in a handful of other areas. 
    What do you believe are reasonable expectations from the QB position? Would middle of the pack SEC QB production be enough to get the team to 8 or 9 wins?
    It all depends on the rest of your team. If Mizzou has very good play at QB but has (another) terrible defense, then eight or nine wins is a lot to expect. But if this team has a competent SEC defense, a reliable offensive line and running game and one of the SEC's most productive passing games, then sure, this team can compete in the SEC East's middle class and push for nine-plus wins.
    Is Mizzou consigned to the lower tier of the SEC until the Athletics Department has funding comparable to the upper tier? Thanks, Dave.
    Are you talking Mizzou football or all sports? The 2021-22 school year was pretty bleak. As I wrote the other day: Only two men's teams finished in the top half of the SEC standings. Six women's teams were at the bottom of the SEC standings. 
    Is that all because of finances? That's a shortsighted way of looking at things, in my opinion. You can win by spending smart and not necessarily spending the most. You can hire a very good coach and run a strong program without outspending all of your competition. Mizzou has had nationally competitive programs over the last decade without spending as much money as the country's biggest spenders. Wrestling, softball, gymnastics, volleyball. Gary Pinkel took four football teams to conference championship games over eight seasons without being one of the biggest spenders. It's all about putting the right people in charge and giving them enough resources to compete at the highest level, not necessarily giving them the most resources. 
    From your point of view both as a journalist/beat writer and then if you don't mind putting on your pundit/commentator/what-a-fan-would want hat ... what's your take on scheduling? I like the 3/9 for football just because a single rival just seems like we're visiting the conference. I know teams like Mizzou will have a hard time competing with 9 league games, especially if our rivals are some combo of Oklahoma, Texas, A&M & a newly-rejuvnated Arkansas, but I'd rather have that than the thin gruel of having teams come through your schedule like they're on vacation.
    No matter what hat I'm wearing I would prefer Mizzou plays the 3-9 model with three fixed opponents. Let's go with Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kentucky. Arkansas is the one program with some proximity to Columbia that shares some history with MU. There's some natural hostility brewing between those two. Not to the levels of real established rivalries, but there's definitely something there. 
    Oklahoma and Mizzou have history. Fans will buy into that matchup. Plus it would be nice for fans to have a regular road trip in the Central time zone.
    Kentucky has become the fulcrum football game for Mizzou. The winner more often than not goes on to have a much better season. Two programs that should be evenly matched.
    If not Kentucky, then maybe South Carolina. I'd say Vandy, but I'm sure every other SEC team wants Vandy as a regular opponent.
    Are you going to take any time off before SEC Media Days? You deserve it.
    Good Morning Dave - Last year, I presented the question about what football program is progressing at a good pace of getting back to being a consistent top 25 team - Mizzou with Drinkwitz or. Arkansas with Sam Pittman. You had said Mizzou. Has the progress of Arkansas football program changed your mind and the extension they recently gave to Pittman? Thank You.
    Well, results speak for themselves and Arkansas had a much better 2021 season against a better schedule - and won the head to head matchup decisively. I'd say the Hogs are further ahead than Mizzou in terms of having an SEC contender. That can flip in a hurry because I wouldn't say Arkansas is light years ahead of Mizzou, but you have to respect a nine-win season that included wins over Texas, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, LSU and Penn State. 
    As for Pittman's extension and raise, I don't make it my business to tell other people how to spend their money. But he's obviously doing good things in Fayetteville, and if there's any fear that he'd have wandering eyes for other jobs - Auburn? - then go ahead and make it much harder for him to leave. Makes sense.
    Follow up re: fan interest, from a STL FB & MBB season ticket holder, TSF donor, going to games since Dan Devine, etc.: I obviously root for the name on the front of the jersey, but I also root for the names on the back. It’s not about NIL, it’s about constant roster churn. If MBB turns half its roster over every year, I am less interested. If FB HC’s strategy is to focus on plug and play transfers who move on if they don’t get snaps, rather than coaching up recruits, I am less interested.
    That's fair. But if Mizzou hired the basketball coach it hopes it hired, I wouldn't expect complete roster overhauls every season. He wants to invest in high school recruits and supplement the roster with transfers.
    What are the rules with softball substitutions? I see pinch runners in the beginning of the game for star players and wouldn’t this make the star player sit the rest of the game?
    Unlike baseball, in college softball, each starter can be replaced and then re-enter the game one time as long as she takes her original position in the order.
    Maybe STL Today should just keep a banner running on its MU and SLU web pages - BREAKING NEWS !! MIZZOU STILL WAITING FOR SLU TO ACCEPT BB SCHEDULE OFFER. I grow weary, unless these are loyal readers who have never participated in one of these chats.
    Mizzou BB needed a big man, but didn’t seem interested in Keita who signed with OU. Any info or thoughts on that?
    He has had obvious injury issues with his knee, but Porter Moser clearly felt it was worth a scholarship to develop Keita long-term. 
    I thought he was a player worth having in your program if the medical concerns aren't a major issue. Gates obviously felt they could find someone better to contribute more this year. 
    I remember reading somewhere that we have a JUCO football transfer that will enroll for the ‘23 season, why wouldn’t he transfer for this year?
    That was Demariyon "Peanut" Houston. He's now on the roster and will be eligible to play this season. Initially he committed to the 2023 class, but Drinkwitz explained that he was able to secure the credits he needed to enroll now instead of wait another semester.
    Dave - In regards to fan attendance at the Home Football games, the biggest complaint I hear about why people don't like to come to the games any more is the overall length of the game - well over 3 hours. have you heard any discussions about the SEC proactively addressing the length of the games
    That would mostly have to come at the NCAA level. The SEC is always working to refine the instant replay system so that games don't drag on forever. The easiest way to shave time off games would be to restart the clock after a first down - like they do in the NFL - but that's not the case in the college game.
    Mizzou's eight SEC games last year averaged 3 hours and 23 minutes. Trust me, I'm writing on deadline and would love to see games end sooner. But are fans really choosing not to attend games solely because of those extra 23 minutes?  
    According to SI "at least 115 athletes have signed NIL deals with booster Ruiz’s at schools like North Carolina and FIU along with Miami, and the payroll is around $7 million"

    Tell me what these 'name, image and likeness' deals for these kids involve? Initially it was promotional appearances and autographs, while they could also make money by shilling stuff on their own Instagram pages. But 7 million is a lot of $ for simple autographs. Why don't they call it what it is and just flat out say it: It's free agency to the highest bidder. These agents are just selling them out to the highest bidder and getting their cut. There is NO 'name, image, likeness' in any of this!
    Yes, as I've written many times in the last year, some of these deals are just recruiting inducements under the guise of NIL. Everyone understands that. But I wouldn't throw out the blanket statement that EVERY NIL deal is actually just pay for play. There are many, many true NIL deals where athletes are getting paid modest payments for public appearances and endorsement deals.
    Just joining in so forgive me if you have already addressed this....But i have heard from a couple of folks that know a couple of guys that know a guy that the new QB Abraham has been on campus and soaking up all of HCED's offense. Have you heard much about our new QB and his current status? Thanks as always for the chat! It is the best part of being a P-D STL Today subscriber ...
    Abraham has been on campus for several weeks along with Sam Horn, Brady Cook and Tyler Macon. The upside to adding a 24-year-old QB with six years of college experience is his experience and intelligence in terms of learning a new system. He'll have a great chance to win the job for Sept. 1.
    Unpaid labor? Been hearing you mention that often lately. Getting a college education, countless meals, training to get to the next level, getting to play on TV to showcase your skills. I could go on.
    Yes, unpaid. Those are all nice things. But Eli Drinkwitz isn't recruiting Luther Burden to the university to be a student. He's here to catch footballs and score touchdowns.
    Dave, kudos to you for calling what it is: Unpaid labor. I find it humorous but also a little sad that people get upset that these student-athletes not only have a better understanding of their worth but can take advantage of it. The NCAA could have avoided much of the issues we see now years ago by working with all the parties and setting up a system where these players were compensated. Instead, it said: "Nope. We're not doing anything." We now have this free-for-all but you know what? Big deal. Let freedom ring.
    The NCAA was on a trajectory to build a system where athletes would be compensated ... but then the disaster that is Mark Emmert stopped all of that momentum. 
    The biggest challenge for the NIL collectives - other than just raising gobs of money - is the education piece. And Mizzou's primary collective understands that point. They need to educate fans on why it's not only OK but necessary to invest in NIL if they want to  be competitive in the SEC. And for that to happen you have to convert a lot of traditionalists/conservative mindsets on paying athletes. (I don't mean conservative in a political sense here.)
    With the new NIL bill passed today does that give Mizzou an edge on some of their other schools? Or are they all close behind and will be making similar changes in their home state legislature?
    I don't know about an edge, but it certainly gives Mizzou more of a fighting chance to compete for the best recruits. Part of the trouble with NIL is it's nearly impossible to measure how much your collective is raising/spending compared to your peers because there's no way to truly know what the others are doing. The Advancing Missouri Athletes has decided to not publicly disclose any numbers in terms of how much money they're raising and spending so that it's virtually impossible for other schools to use that info against them.
    LOVE the chat Dave. Your migration from the Columbia Tribune is the only reason I subscribe. I’m with you and others who think the players should get whatever they can money wise. It’s been tough for them to survive before this. Are you happy with what you see Coach Gates doing so far? Thoughts?
    Thanks for the subscription. It's greatly appreciated. Our reader support is the No. 1 reason I'm able to travel to events like SEC media days - four days in Atlanta next month - and cover every home and road football game. We couldn't afford those trips and our coverage without that support.
    As for Gates, I think he's done as fine of a job that a first-year coach can do between late March and early June. He's hired an impressive staff. He's overturned the roster and added some much-needed ball-handling, defense and shooting. He's worked hard to put his name and face in front of the public around the state. He's brought charisma and sizzle to a program that badly needed an injection of energy. It's impossible to win a game between March and October, so these past few months have been all about building - building a program, building a roster, building excitement. He gets As across the board. Now, will all of that translate into wins this season? Ask again in about four months.
    OK, folks. That's all for today. We'll do this again next week. Thanks for stopping by.
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