Dan Wetzel

  • Big 12 should push to expand the playoff, not its conference

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 5 hrs ago

    At the Big 12's spring meetings held at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel on Wednesday, administrators reviewed data and discussed whether the league should expand, perhaps by six schools, in an effort to …

    Wait, wait, wait. Let’s stop right there.

    We’ll get to the relative wisdom of expansion, but first let’s note something that actually could explain why the most obvious solution to the Big 12’s concern about being shut out of the College Football Playoff isn’t being discussed.

    The Big 12 conference is holding its spring meetings at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. Repeat: The Arizona Biltmore, opened in 1929 and long known as “The Jewel of the Desert” … for good reason.

    This is where the Big 12 is holding its athletic directors meeting? Even though the league doesn’t have a campus within 800 miles, let alone in the state of Arizona?

    You can certainly spell amateurism without a-u-s-t-e-r-i-t-y, but that doesn’t mean you should.

    Then again, this sort of explains everything because they aren’t at the Biltmore by accident. It serves as the site of the Fiesta Summit, a favored junket of athletic administrators who make up the National Collegiate Athletic Industrial Complex.

    Clink. Clink.

  • Two words that sum up the 2016 NFL draft: bong hit

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    CHICAGO — Next summer, when the HBO show "Ballers" begins its second season and the NFL tries to dismiss its wild storylines as just the work of fiction and not representative of real life inside the league … just remember that on draft night 2016, a top prospect tumbled through the first round because minutes before the event a video of him smoking something, presumably marijuana, while wearing a gas mask was released on his own Twitter account, which he claimed was hacked, perhaps, some speculated, by his own stepfather who had sued him two days prior. Then, less than two hours later (you thought that was it?) his Instagram revealed screenshots of text conversations allegedly between the player and an assistant athletic director at his college where he asked for payments for rent and his mom's utility bills, which are violations of NCAA statutes.

    There is a lot in that paragraph.

    Go ahead and reread it and try not to laugh while we all wait to see what pops up on Laremy Tunsil's LinkedIn.

    "[I don't know] what's going on; I thought everything was in the rent," Tunsil allegedly wrote, suggesting Ole Miss was paying that, too.



  • Carson Wentz heads to Philly with thick skin in tow

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    CHICAGO — It's a long way from Fargo to Philly, probably longer than Carson Wentz even realizes.

    He seems like a good dude, earnest and eager and thoughtful. He's big at offering inspirational faith-based quotes over social media. He stuck to his roots and selected "Fly Over States" by Jason Aldean as his walkout music at the draft, the only one to go country. He's extremely proud of the blue-collar ethos of his home state.

    "You have to earn everything in North Dakota," he said.

    In that measure, being Philadelphia's quarterback isn't much different. Just because the Eagles selected Wentz second overall here Thursday doesn't mean he's going to get a honeymoon period with the team's fans and media. Some say Eagles fans are the meanest in the league, but maybe they are just the least naïve; the most demanding of proof not promise.

    In other words, he better be good.

    "I don't know what to make of that," Wentz said.

    Talk radio will.

    It's the beauty of the place.


  • The out-of-nowhere NFL draft

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    CHICAGO — They stood a few feet from each other, on the eve of the NFL draft, surrounded by reporters, and tried to claim that, sure, this was a reasonable conclusion to the process. The two of them, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, going 1-2 overall … nope, there's nothing surprising about it at all.

    As recently as December you had to be a pretty serious college football fan to know even one of them, let alone both, so don't feel too bad if you tune in Thursday night and ask, who the heck are these guys?

    Goff was a three-year starter at Cal, but not until going 8-5 last fall was he on a winning team. Wentz was on a winner in college, but it was at North Dakota State in FCS ball.

    Neither played in a game that drew any kind of significant national TV rating. Goff was in the Pac-12 but in his entire career never defeated Stanford, Oregon, UCLA or USC. Wentz, meanwhile, missed eight games because of injury just last year.

    When Goff declared for the NFL draft, the league's adviser committee rated him as a late first- or early second-round pick. Not to be outdone, as of December, most mock drafts had Wentz going in Round 2, if that.

    Just how everyone expected it, right?



  • Federal court ruling: Roger Goodell is the God of Tom Brady

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    On Monday the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit didn't just reinstate a four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, it reasserted, or even increased, the astonishing disciplinary powers of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell – powers the players' union naively handed him, of course.

    Deflate-gate has been debated and written about ad nauseam, including (or even especially) here. About the only undeniable fact from the case is that the footballs in that AFC championship a couple seasons ago weren't unnaturally deflated. Science proves that. Unfortunately, science isn't a big thing in the NFL.

    Or in a case of every non-NFL paid scientist (and even, for the most part the NFL-paid ones too) v. Roger Goodell, you choose to believe Roger Goodell. If so, well, good luck with that.

    Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann, writing the dissenting opinion in favor of Brady, agreed, citing the official "League Policy For Players." He notes:

    Getting caught a second time? It jumps to $16,537.



  • Conor McGregor just forced Dana White's hand

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago

    Conor McGregor released a statement Thursday assuring fans he wasn't retired from mixed martial arts, no matter what a cryptic tweet Tuesday implied.

    He explained why he refused to fly to Las Vegas and do promotional work for July's historic UFC 200, an act of insubordination that caused the UFC to pull him from the headlining rematch with Nate Diaz, who defeated him in March.

    "I am just trying to do my job and fight here," McGregor wrote on Facebook. "I am paid to fight. I am not yet paid to promote. I have become lost in the game of promotion and forgot about the art of fighting. There comes a time when you need to stop handing out flyers and get back to the damn shop."

    There may not be a better promoter than McGregor in sports today and in many ways this might be his finest bit of PR to date. Not paid to promote? Oh, McGregor knows better that. He's made his millions in part because he promotes.

  • How college athletics has become a boondoggle for everyone but the students

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago

    In 2011, the University of Michigan athletic department employed 253 people, according to state records. Four years later, in 2015, it was 334, up 32 percent.

    During that period, the average salary grew 22.4 percent, to $89,851. Over a seven-year span, the number of athletic department employees making six figures went from 30 to 81.

    Michigan is hardly unique. It's on par with its peers. Critics point to the salaries of big-name coaches, but it's everything that is growing in college sports.

    It's the National Collegiate Industrial Complex.

    Soaring media rights and vast new revenue streams continue to flood department coffers. Like any good non-profit bureaucracy, they have deftly figured out how to spend … mostly on themselves.

    Michigan didn't add 32 percent more sports in those four years, or 32 percent more scholarship athletes, requiring 32 percent more staffing.

    It just made about $30 million more dollars per year, from $122.7 million in 2011 to $152.5 million in 2015. Most of the increase came courtesy of the Big Ten Network.

    That's new money. That's found money. That's money that has yet to be used or allocated.


    Did any even ask?


  • NFL draft: Cleveland pulls a most un-Cleveland move

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 14 days ago

    As the story goes, two years ago, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslem stepped out of a restaurant and ran into a homeless guy who, with the NFL draft approaching and the franchise in its forever need of a quarterback, conveyed a simple message.

    "Draft Manziel." Simple message.

    On draft night, with the Browns sitting at No. 26 in the first round, with Derek Carr and Teddy Bridgewater (who a six-figure, team-issued analytical study determined was the best QB in that draft) still on the board, Cleveland traded a third-round pick to Philadelphia to move up to 22nd and do just as that dude on the street instructed.

    That Johnny Manziel has partied himself out of the league, as many teams feared he could, while Bridgewater and Carr have developed into good and potentially great players was almost predictable.

    Of course the Browns listen to the homeless. Of course.

    So here came Wednesday when Cleveland pulled off a highly intelligent, almost unfathomably sound (considering the source) trade.





  • Rams No. 1 pick could be in a no-win situation

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 20 days ago

    Let's make the obvious presumption that the Los Angeles Rams didn't send six draft picks to the Tennessee Titans to move up to the No. 1 overall spot in this month's NFL Draft so they could pick offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil of Ole Miss.

    Tunsil is a heck of a talent but this is a power move. This is a quarterback move.

    This is a move for either Carson Wentz of North Dakota State or Jared Goff of Cal. There are conflicting reports on whom the Rams might take.

    In broad strokes, scouts tend to claim Wentz has greater long-term potential but Goff isn't far behind and is more pro-ready.

    For Wentz, whatever concerns existed about level of competition have mostly evaporated via scouting combine, pro day and game film performances. Goff, meanwhile, is the darling of many analytic-based models.

    Let's get the Tennessee evaluation out of the way. This was a no-brainer, an absolute haul for the Titans and a full maximization of the No. 1 spot in a quarterback-desperate league.

    Forget that now.

    More on NFL draft:




  • Jordan Spieth's Masters hopes end in a watery grave

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 24 days ago

    AUGUSTA, Ga. — A little more than two hours after bogey, bogey, quadruple bogey, a little more than two hours after he turned this place into an azalea-lined house of horrors, a little more than two hours after 7-under went to 1 and what was seemingly won went to done, Jordan Spieth emerged from the Augusta National clubhouse.

    Sunset was coming fast as he headed to a Mercedes SUV, his courtesy car. He wore a blue Under Armour golf shirt, not a green jacket like last year, like, a little more than two hours earlier, he expected to again.

    In the parking lot he ran into Nick Faldo, who exactly two decades ago played the Danny Willett role to Spieth's Greg Norman in all-time Masters meltdowns.

    The two exchanged a few words and a hug. Then a couple guys in green jackets, representing the rich and connected members of this club, did the same. It was like a procession line at a wake. Everyone wanted to cheer up Jordan Spieth. No one knew quite what to say.

    The 22-year-old just wanted to get away from this nightmare and get on with the mourning process.

    "This one," Spieth said, "will hurt."

    This was realization, resignation, frustration.