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WSU and pandemic roster management

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Not as easy as it might seem!

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 13 AdvoCare Kickoff - Washington State v Houston Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning. In case you missed it among other goings-on around the sports world and the real world, the NCAA on Friday repeated the policy it had set forth with spring athletes, as it granted all fall athletes an extra year of eligibility.

The verbiage in the NCAA’s release included the following:

“All fall sport student-athletes will receive both and additional year of eligibility and an additional year in which to complete it. Student-athletes who do not enroll full time during the 2020 fall term have flexibility in the progress-toward-degree requirements that must be met for eligibility in future terms.”

That is great news for guys like Jahad Woods, Calvin Jackson Jr. and Liam Ryan, who were looking at the prospects of losing their final season due to the COVID pandemic. Now they presumably get to play together again and display their wares for the NFL. The NCAA almost had to do this, seeing as how they did the same in the spring, but it’s a little trickier when it comes to football, because unlike spring sports, football players are almost all on full scholarship. That presents a couple issues, as CBS Sports mentioned.

Granting an extra year of eligibility could bring plenty of complications for schools, however. The NCAA’s announcement said seniors student-athletes who take advantage of the additional year of eligibility will not count against team scholarship limits in 2021-22. But even with temporarily-expanded scholarship limits, athletic departments dealing with significant budget shortfalls may not be in position to spend more on athletic scholarships.

It’s easy to see the headline and think of the waiver as a one-year panacea for both players who had their seasons canceled, and for new coaches like Nick Rolovich who were counting on senior leaders to help with the transition. However, every player on the roster gets an extra season. That means coaches and administrators will have to figure out how to manage their rosters and the associated scholarships for the next several years. Here’s another portion of the release:

The financial aid of fall sport senior student-athletes who take advantage of the additional year of eligibility and extended clock will not count against team limits in 2021-22.

EDIT: The great Ralph Russo has a good article about the situation here.

I have to think (ok, hope) that the governing body is trying to figure out how to address the 85 scholarship limit, and how it will take shape over the next few years in the likely event that several freshmen/sophomores/juniors take advantage of the extra eligibility season. Then there are the financial implications. In case you weren’t aware, the scene in Pullman doesn’t exactly resemble Pat Chun pulling a Scrooge McDuck and swimming around in his pool full of gold coins.

With no television and ticket revenue coming this year, WSU will need a significant influx of money - likely in the form of a loan - just to cover the scholarships for the current players. It will be even more difficult to do so when they have to foot the bill for several more guys. As fans, that may not seem like a big deal, but financial obstacles like this are critical to the longterm health of both the football program and the athletic department, because football pays for nearly everything else. Mr. Chun is earning every damn cent of his salary.

More toward the player management side, the Spokesman Review took an in-depth look at the future, and there are several good nuggets contained in the article. The two that stick out are the offensive line and the quarterbacks.

(Liam) Ryan, (Josh) Watson and (Abe) Lucas are three of the 15 offensive linemen listed on the team’s spring roster. The Cougars also signed Utah’s Rodrick Tialavea, Arizona’s Dylan Mayginnes, California’s Julian Ripley and James McNorton and Washington’s Devin Kylany in the 2020 recruiting class, and have two more players committed in the 2021 class.

Barring transfers or departures, it means WSU could have 22 scholarship offensive linemen on the roster next fall.

Sheesh. We knew Mike Leach was stocking up on some Grade A Prime Beef (TM) but that’s a lot of scholarships! On to the QBs:

With the extension of clock waiver, Cammon Cooper, a redshirt sophomore and the oldest scholarship QB on the team, could still be playing for the Cougars in fall 2023. Gunner Cruz, a redshirt freshman, would be a senior in 2024 and true freshman Jayden de Laura would hypothetically be wrapping up his career in 2025. The Cougars also have one quarterback, Southern California three-star Xavier Ward, committed in the 2021 recruiting class. Ward and de Laura would be seniors in 2025 if both redshirted.

College QBs being college QBs, I expect transfer attrition to work out much of that math, but as the article mentions, Rolovich may elect to de-emphasize quarterback recruitment due to the seeming glut of young arms already in Pullman.

The oddest note came with Travell Harris, when I learned that former Cougar Isiah Barton holds the school record for kick return yards. After a few seconds of curiosity, it all made sense. Since Barton played during the Wulff years, he almost certainly had dozens more kick return opportunities than any other returner in the preceding or subsequent seasons.

In the end, it’s a great thing that these players won’t be robbed of a year during what will be one of the greatest parts of their lives. I love the fact that guys like Woods and Jackson (and of course my man, Oscar) will have the option to stick around. But if you want them all to stay, I highly encourage you to donate as much as you possibly can. That’s all I’ll say about that.

Transfer News

No news on the Skylar Thomas front. I will withhold commentary.

Davontavean Martin, however, has found a new place to play. Apparently Mike Gundy stashed his OANN gear away long enough to lure the talented receiver to Stillwater, in order to catch passes for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. There was also a WSU connection to Martin’s recruitment, as offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn coached running backs and special teams under Mike Price from 1998 to 2002.

Having been to Stillwater, I can attest that a few years in Pullman have Tay more than prepared to live there. There’s also a Chick-fil-A! The Cowboys have a pretty run-heavy offense with Chuba Hubbard in the backfield, but hopefully Tay gets a lot of chances to showcase his skills for NFL scouts.

Football

Taking stock of Washington State's roster in the wake of the NCAA's eligibility decision | The Spokesman-Review
It may not be probable, but now at least it’s possible that Max Borghi could be racing past Pac-12 linebackers and bowling over safeties for two more seasons at Washington State.

Ex-Washington State wide receiver Tay Martin announces move to Oklahoma State | The Spokesman-Review
Tay Martin wanted to play college football closer to home and didn’t want to wait a full season to do it.

This Week in Parenting

We were sitting around the table the other night, discussing the 11 year-old’s upcoming birthday. As he was running down his list of requests, such as a Nerf RPG and a phone (lol nope), the younger boy began throwing out suggestions. “What have you ever gotten me?” the 11 year-old asked. Without hesitation, the eight year-old shot back, “I gave you a brother!” I have a much greater appreciation for that comeback than I probably should.

Other than that, it’s been a rough week for team Kendall, in a “first-world problems” sort of way. The boys got negative COVID results on Monday, but Mrs. Kendall and I didn’t get ours until Thursday, so we were pretty much confined to the house for most of the week. Even with the negative test results, we are still prevented from going on base for a full 14 days, which means the kids will miss the first week of school. Mrs. Kendall and I knew this before we sent the kids to the U.S., but terrible parents that we are, we decided that we preferred they be able to spend some time with their extended family and miss a week of school than miss out on that fun and start school on time. We regret nothing.

Additionally, the eight year-old has had a helluva time adjusting to being back home. Sunday night, he couldn’t sleep, so he finally crashed with me while mom took the couch. The next night was even worse, as he was up well past midnight until mom bunked with him. The next four nights were spent in the living room, as he slept on the floor, then on the couch. All the while, he was getting up every 10-15 minutes, telling us he couldn’t sleep, even though we knew he was sabotaging his chance at falling asleep by constantly getting up to tell us that he couldn’t sleep. He’s mastered the art of the self-licking ice cream cone.

Saturday night, we told him that he was allowed to get up twice to talk to us, and after that, he had to lay down until he fell asleep. He blew past that limit within an hour, but otherwise things got a bit better. It reminded me of back in the day when we were potty training him. We used the 3-day method with both kids. The older boy was good to go on day three. The younger one? His 3-day method lasted 4+ months. Bedtime was dreadful, as he would constantly get up and lay near his door, staring at us. It’s funny to look back on now, but damn was it maddening back then. So it was pretty great to re-live portions of that this week, when Mrs. Kendall and I were terrified to make even the slightest noise, for fear that he’d wake up and trudge into our room. As my good friend Jeff once said: Kids are the best. Kids are the worst.

Beer

Best beer I had this week: Thanks to a beer delivery service out of Copenhagen, known as Drikbeer, I’ve come to consume many selections from Moscow, Russia-based brewery Zagovor. This week brought a New England IPA called Foggy Notion. If I ever feel like being followed around by a couple FSB flunkies and detained for questioning, I’ll head that way and check it out for myself.

How CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective Is Growing Through The Pandemic
CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective has felt the sting of the coronavirus pandemic like many others in the beer sector.

Sports-related

I read this first story in disbelief. How does garbage like this happen in my country? The amount of damage that social media and cable news is doing and has done to the brains of Americans will probably never be fully known.

Barry Wesley: Antifa Conspiracies and a Racial Reckoning - Sports Illustrated
When a Black lineman from Colorado State went knocking on doors in a white neighborhood, he found himself at the dangerous intersection of a national racial reckoning and a world of internet-conspiracy fanaticism.

Column: I had COVID-19, and these are the things nobody tells you
After celebrating how our local teams renewed their rivalry with exhausted passion, I was so fatigued I could barely walk from my office chair to my bed.

Non-Sports

A History of Movie Costars Hating Each Other - The Ringer
Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze didn’t get along nearly as well as their on-screen chemistry in ‘Dirty Dancing’ would suggest. But they’re far from the only actors to seethe at each other while the cameras weren’t rolling.