Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Bring your Tigers basketball, football and recruiting questions, and talk to Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. Thursday.

    Howdy, chatters. Let's get this thing started. We'll talk all things Mizzou and college sports today and anything else that comes up. I'll be here for the next couple hours to take your questions.
    Do you recall when Drinkwitz tweeted at you?
    Yes, and we've had many interactions besides one tweet.
    QB depth chart. Drink has not named Robinson the starter. When does Bazelak return or has he in light action? Sounds like Macon wants to start right away. Where does Powell sit?
    Bazelak has been going through offseason training, but they haven't put on pads or done anything close to full-contact. That won't happen until the second week of August. The last time he was allowed to talk to the media - back in December - he said the training staff told him he'd be on track to compete in camp for the job. We'll know more in about a month. 
    Yes, Macon says he thinks he can start in 2021. Saying that and doing that are obviously two different things. If Robinson (or Bazelak) wins the job in 2020 and plays well, it's going to be hard for any true freshman to come in and unseat a returning starter who was productive. Good situation to have either way. As for Powell, he's got game experience. Tough, competitive, smart player. I wouldn't count him out of the mix. I'm not sure he's got as much upside athletically, but he'll have a chance to compete for snaps. 
    If the SEC canceled the out of conference games, would those impacted schools be paid a fee? For example, Utah was supposed to play Utah State, think they had to pay State a fee?
    It all depends on the individual game contracts and how negotiations work between the schools. In some cases, schools that have their games canceled will settle for nothing less than the money owed to them according to the contract. Other schools might be willing to negotiate a later meeting down the road. Mizzou is trying to amend its four contracts with a pandemic clause that will give it some protections should the SEC cancel nonconference games. We could also see some horse trading between clusters of teams. Just a hypothetical here: Let's say Missouri and UCLA were scheduled to play a game and Kansas and San Diego State were scheduled to play a game. The two pairs could swap games to cut down on travel: Mizzou plays Kansas and UCLA plays San Diego State. There are some cases around the country where something like that could be worked out.
    You called the NCAA roles are party planner and hall monitor. How about banker/judge. They didn’t collect anything on this year’s March Madness obviously, but it would be interesting to know if they got any of the government payouts to businesses that weren’t generating income streams to pay their employees. It seems to me the NCAA with their billion dollar TV contracts could survive with any government bailout. As to their role as judge, maybe they need to put a sign on the front of their building UNEQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW. MU got a one year probation for the tutor scandal. It’s hard for me to believe that none of the big boys like Ohio St, Alabama, Oklahoma etc etc never did something like this. If they did they got a relative on the wrist to what MU got especially for self reporting itself. The big time schools generate too much money for the NCAA to ever think of giving one of those schools a one year probation.
    Not too long ago Ohio State got a one-year postseason ban, three years probation and scholarship reductions for the free tattoo scandal. USC was busted and handed heavy sanctions not too long ago. Notre Dame had an academic sanctions case. The blue bloods run into their share of trouble, too. I know Missouri fans won't believe it until they see it, but most people expect Kansas basketball to get at least a one-year postseason ban, in light of the one-year ban handed to Oklahoma State.  
    My comment on the NCAA as hall monitor was in reference to its enforcement department. 
    Do you think if the season were cancelled that it could be positive for Mizzou football? I know the coaches have not had enough time to install their game plan. Our QB's could get more reps and more comfortable with the offense. Everyone would have more time to prepare. I'm not saying that I want that to happen but wanted to get your take on that scenario.
    No, no, no, no, no, no.
    There is zero upside to losing an entire season. Zero. Zero. Zero. 
    Will it cripple the football program? Not completely but if there's no football season it will be DISASTROUS for many college athletics departments. Dozens and dozens of people will lose jobs. Departments will be skeletons. Schools will cut teams left and right. Baseball teams, wrestling teams, track teams. All gone. 
    Maybe football players would be given another year of eligibility, but anyone who's ready to make the leap to the NFL will move on. Nick Bolton, Larry Rountree, Damon Hazelton, Tyree Gillespie, Kobie Whiteside. They won't want to sit around for another calendar year and hope there'll be a 2021 season if there's money to be made in the NFL, even late-round money. 
    I don't think most fans have any idea the havoc that will be reigned down upon all of college sports if football is, A) Canceled for 2020 (perhaps not likely but certain possible) and, B) Limited in 2021 to something like just conference games with limited fan attendance.

    Can you relate what that would do to the, "Olympic Sports"? Between that drop in revenue and the way most universities interpret Title IX (spending must be close to the breakdown of the student body, by gender), some universities may end up with nothing but football and basketball on the men's side, maybe a handful of sports beyond basketball on the women's side.

    A few SEC schools may be awash enough in cash to weather the storm but Toledo? Utah State? NC A&T? They'll struggle.
    Exactly. If there's no sports in 2020-21 and a limited schedule next year, I don't think it's hyperbole to say you'll have football, basketball (men's and women's) and maybe two more women's sports (let's say softball and volleyball) and everything else would move to rec sports, self-funded or paid for by student fees and not part of the NCAA/Division I/SEC structure. Athletics departments will be skeleton operations. That's how valuable football is to the grand scheme of things. 
    I spoke with one AD this week - not Mizzou - who said their department currently has eight athletic trainers. If there's no football season, they'll have to trim that down to one. One trainer for all the athletes. 
    I know it's guesswork but it is educated guesswork from where you sit ... can you give us your thoughts on the recent grads' chances of having successful NFL careers (I know that definition may be different for each player). In particular, I'm thinking of Cale Garrett, Damarcus Acy and Yasir Durant.
    I like Garrett's chances with the Titans. I think he'll find a niche in Mike Vrabel's organization. He'll play on any and every special teams unit. He'll know the defense inside and out. He doesn't have NFL speed but inside linebackers don't have to be the fastest player on the defense. He makes up for it with instincts and good enough lateral quickness. As long as he's healthy I think he finds a way onto Tennessee's roster. 
    Acy (49ers) wasn't as productive as a senior as he was as a junior but also dealt with a late-season injury. If he can make an impact on special teams he could be a team's fifth or six DB. He's a pretty physical corner, good tackler. Can he consistently cover NFL receivers well enough to make a roster?
    Durant (Chiefs) is obviously on a really good team that's pretty set along the O-line at tackle with Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz. If he can prove to be a swing guy (play some guard and either tackle spot), he could land a role as a backup. Won't be easy, but he was a high-priority free agent and one of the first guys the Super Bowl champs wanted after the draft. 
    USA Today released its figures for college finances today, the annual rankings of every team's revenues and expenses. We already covered Mizzou's totals back in January. Revenues were down about $800K to $106,610,244. Expenses were also down about $800K to $108,398,447.
    Mizzou's revenue figure ranked No. 13 out of 13 SEC public schools (Vanderbilt does not submit its figures), while MU's expenses ranked No. 12 out of 13 public schools, ahead of only Mississippi State. 
    Nationally, MU's revenues ranked No. 37 - in the same ballpark as Maryland, Mississippi, UCLA, North Carolina, Rutgers and Arizona. MU's expenses ranked No. 35, similar to Kansas, Maryland, Cal, Rutgers and Purdue. 
    For perspective, the top revenue producer in the SEC was Texas A&M at $212,748,202 - nearly double Mizzou's revenue. And the top spender in the SEC was Alabama at $185,317,681 - 40 percent more than Mizzou's revenue. 
    Yes, Mizzou is in the same league as these schools but not even in the same neighborhood when it comes to finances. 
    Texas A&M made $49 million in ticket sales and $85 million in contributions ... compared to Mizzou's $16 million and $27 million. 
    Just a couple of random thought. Live in Atlanta, so not nearly as close to it as you and others, and appreciate your insights.
    *Looking at where we were when Mack Rhoades decided to turn tale -- and realize Coach Odom would disagree -- but seems to me Jim Sterk has been a pretty strong hire. He upgraded South End Zone designs and got it funded and built; seemed at the time to have found a good hire in Cuonzo Martin; and may have recovered well with Coach D. Lot still to play out, but doesn't seem to settle for OK. Which I applaud.
    *And a question about an old game, but one that I have never gotten a good answer to. In the '13 SEC Championship game, I saw so many explosive plays by Auburn, taking advantage of massive gaps in our line and secondary it almost seemed they knew what our defensive play was going to be. People at the game were commenting, including an Auburn friend, that even before the ball was snapped, there were huge holes that Mason et al, hit immediately. Also, Steckel was not made available for interviews after the game. Did you ever hear or sense something else was going on because it was so hard to believe our defense was playing that poorly. Thanks.
  • Mizzou switched its defensive front for that game and Steckel never really explained why. I tried to talk to him about it the next time he was available and he wasn't going there. Auburn was such a different style of offense from any team Mizzou faced that year, I just think they thought they'd have to try something different to match their blocking scheme and spread-option run game. 
    As for Mack Rhoades, I think he's a very good AD. His time at Mizzou was defined by a couple things, one of which was hardly in his control, the 2015 protests. In hindsight he could have handled some things differently, but I'm not sure how much difference it would have made. The other thing is his approach to the proposed south end zone facility, a project Pinkel wanted badly and had convinced Mike Alden to build. Rhoades didn't like the idea of separating the football team from the rest of the athletes - a decision, I think, was influenced by some things we saw unfold during the protests. I sensed he thought it would make for a healthier environment if the football players weren't secluded from the other athletes. At the time I thought that line of thinking made some sense. Rhoades was the AD who hired Odom, but the circumstances left him with very few attractive options. It wasn't an appealing job at the time, because of everything that unfolded in 2015. Mack really wanted to hire Matt Rhule, whom he later hired at Baylor, but Rhule didn't want the job at the time. Were it not for the protests, there were other coaches who would have been interested in the job. 
  • Hard to make the connection: "Wear a mask -- and we'll have college football." If nothing else, I expect Coach Drink to be an ongoing source of entertainment no matter how long his run as Mizzou coach lasts..
  • Wear a mask in May and June - across the country - and maybe college football doesn't need a Hail Mary to save the season.
    With the increasing number of Covid cases in the southern states like Florida, Texas, Arizona, Alabama, and California it’s hard for me to see the FB season starting anytime soon. The PAC12 and BIG10 are going on conference only schedules, but with the inability of this country to take the necessary steps to stop the virus, i wonder if there will be a season at all. There was even a short article, I think in the PD recently that the opening up of kids sport practices are causing a number of kids to test positive. I hope ESPN is working hard on producing documentaries like The Last Dance because it is looking more like maybe there will be no college sports this fall.
    I hope there's a college football season. I don't know that there will be. Root for MLB, NBA, NASCAR, MLS and the WNBA to have safe and successful seasons over the next six weeks. College football is looking to those leagues as models.
    Is it common for the head football coach to accept the job without ever having been on campus? What are your thoughts about Drinkwitz in this regard?
    It's not that uncommon. When coaches have offers from multiple places and they need to make a decision quickly - and schools are trying to keep the process as quiet as possible - it's common to take the job without seeing the campus. Cuonzo Martin didn't visit Columbia before taking the Mizzou job. Now, I'm sure he'd been to Columbia at some point in his career, but not during the hiring process.
    Barry Odom's average recruiting class was ranked #43. Drink & Co are sitting at #18. I understand that Drink is a high energy guy with a gravitating personality but how does one double Barry's best class with much of the same staff? Pretty sure Barry could sell the same new facility that Drink can. Drinks recruiting strategy he described does seem to make more sense but this is quite a drastic improvement we are seeing.
    For one, Drinkwitz doesn't have an on-field track record that can become a negative against him. He's only been a head coach one season and has been part of winning teams every season he's been in college football. Odom had a losing season right from the start, making it hard to gain any momentum in recruiting. He started in a hole and never really dug himself out. If Mizzou has a 2020 season and the team goes 4-8, it's going to be harder for Drinkwitz to recruit. But, to his credit, he and his staff have done an incredible job connecting with recruits, targeting players they want and landing them with their sales pitch.
    More on FB recruiting. I feel bad for high schoolers as FB could be cancelled. I heard from former Longhorn & NFL dback Rod Babers, he said he never would have ended up at a D1 school if not for his senior season. He was found while UT was recruiting his teammate. College football recruiters will need to rely on underwear olympics senior film. Sounds sketchy. Transfer portal will be wild in a couple of years!
    Yes, recruiting will be impacted in a major way. If there's no season and every current player is granted another year of eligibility, that will have a major trickle-down impact on high school recruits. Roster management is going to be a challenge for every program.
  • Illinois schools are at the mercy of Pritzker as to whether we'll have fall sports. In what ways would a canceled season impact the development of ESL quarterback (and future Mizzou starter!) Tyler Macon?
    I don't think it'll change much as far as his commitment to Mizzou whether or not he plays his senior year. If anything, if he has another great season more Power 5 schools could take interest and become competition for Mizzou. The good news is he plans to sign in December and enroll in January, giving teams less time to pursue him and line up official visits.
    Dave, Thanks for the chats. As an option, is there any talk about perhaps doing a pay per view season with limited game attendance? Seems that would help offset some expenses.
    That won't fly with the TV networks who have contracts with the conferences to air their games. ESPN, SEC Network, CBS, etc. are dying to have college sports on air, and they're not going to sacrifice those opportunities to shift the games to pay per view.
    I thought I heard a report on the radio that 30,000 fans successfully social distanced at a, NASCAR event. Was I dreaming? More importantly, would college football fans have the discipline to do this?
    There was a reported 20,000 fans at last night's All-Star race at Bristol Motor Speedway - at a mega facility that seats more than 160,000. So, that's less than 20 percent capacity. It's far easier to social distance in a facility that's 80 percent empty. From what I read, masks were required upon entry and in common areas (bathrooms, concessions) and only encouraged in the seating areas. They staggered the entrance and exits so that massive crowds weren't coming and going at the same time. Tickets were distributed so that fans weren't sitting on top of each other. My hunch is this will be the model we'll see at college football games if there's a 2020 season. If NASCAR fans can pull it off safely then college football fans should be able to do the same. 
    I've talked to some ADs who are thinking about having social distance/mask sections for fans who want those options. It'll be fairly impossible to expect part-time paid ushers to enforce those policies if everyone is required to wear masks in all sections. 
    Also, like the NASCAR race, you can bet some stadiums/schools will require fans to sign a waiver saying they won't sue the school if they contract COVID. 
    Hey Dave, thanks for the chat. I’ve noticed some odd scheduling on Mizzou’s future football schedules according to fbschedules.com. In 2025 they have 5 non conference games scheduled, which is normally not allowed unless a team plays Hawaii and Mizzou does not. Additionally, in 2032 they have 3 non conference road game scheduled, which is unheard of for a power 5 program. Are these accurate, and if so do you see Mizzou trying to fix these schedules so they’re more “SEC acceptable”?
    Yes, Mizzou currently has five nonconference games under schedule for 2025 but has the option to opt out of four of those games: home vs. North Dakota, at Miami-Ohio, at Colorado and home vs. Massachusetts. Mizzou will eventually negotiate its way out of one of those games. That's one of the seasons Mizzou was able to add a game against Kansas. At the time, MU was already filled up with four obligations, so the school will have to make a deal to get out of one of those games to make the KU game possible.
    Great article about the NCAA today.
    It's been established how key football is concerning college athletics. Any talk from those who could make it happen about the footballers being put in a semi-bubble? We know all it would take is one player going to a house party and the wheels fall off. The Blues, with players who are suppose to be mature adults, showed what going to bar can do to a team. Thank goodness it was still early in the return to play process.
    Could they make in-class attendance optional? With distance learning and tutors they could avoid that exposure. Meals provided in the sports complex. Etc.
    Do you think the players would support such plans? I would imagine the seniors, especially those with NFL aspirations, would be more willing.
    A bubble won't work for college athletes for one primary reason. By the NCAA's definition, they're students who just happen to play sports - and not employees who work for the schools. The NCAA's amateur stance that's already on thin ice would break through and drown if teams forced students into a bubble.
  • Dave, I am a long time Post Dispatch subscriber and you are one of the reasons why. Quick question: Explain the early success of Coach Drink's style of recruiting versus Coach Odom? I met Coach Odom a couple of times and he's not the most dynamic coach. Another quick question, what is Dereck Dooley up to? He was actually a pretty refreshing coach to listen to.
    Thanks for the note.
    Dooley is an offensive assistant with the New York Giants. He's close with Giants coordinator Jason Garrett. They worked together at Miami and in Dallas. 
    I touched on Drinkwitz's recruiting success earlier. I think a lot has to do with his personality and the new energy on this staff. They're being aggressive with kids they target and were innovative during the early stages of the pandemic in terms of offering virtual tours and really making a strong first impression with schools and contacts around the state. And, again, there's still the honeymoon effect here. There's nothing negative on Drinkwitz's record holding him back. New voice, clean slate, fresh sales pitch. It's resonating and momentum is incredibly valuable. 
    How do you think the pandemic will shape the next 10-20 years of American Sports? Have we seen the max for dollars generated by both major college and professional sports? How will this affect:
    1) Coaches & players salaries and college scholarships?
    2) New facility construction?
    3) Fan interest?
    4) TV contracts?
    5) Sports careers for non-athletes and coaches?

    In short...is "The Golden Age of Sports" now in the rear view mirror?
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