Locker Room: Good numbers, enthusiasm in Cougar camp

Just dropped in the Pulaski County Football Fieldhouse Tuesday morning to see how things were going. I had seen the team work out over the winter, but only in parts, not the entire squad all at once. Lots of enthusiasm, plenty of noise, encouragement all around.

Head coach Stephen James was fitting players with helmets and shoulder pads, checking sizes and the like. Soon there will be a three-day camp at Ferrum again. Coaches Robbie Colley, Buddy Ratcliffe, Eric Berry, Richard Lewis, Mike Anders, and Lucas Holder were on the floor working with the players.

The room seemed full, and it hadn’t felt that way in a few years. I counted them. There were 62 Cougar football players lifting weights and doing various drills. That’s a big number these days. Later they would all hit the upper field for just a bit of offensive and defensive fundamentals, and finish the day off with a few 40s. Remember the good old days. Didn’t you just love to finish a practice running a few 40s!

But Pulaski County is on somewhat of a relaxed schedule over the summer. James wants his players to know that it is summer, and while there is work to do, summer does offer some time to relax, do some fun things, family vacations, and such, but for basically two hours a day, three days a week, Tuesday thru Thursday, the Cougars will work. That’s always followed by a four-day break Friday thru Monday, but the three days are serious. But even at that, the players have most of the day for whatever summer activities they might enjoy. The workouts are from 9 am until 11 am basically.

So, yes, the Cougars are working, but they are also getting some down time, and there is a complete 10-day break over the July 4th holiday when we celebrate our country winning its independence! But it was lively, enjoyable to see, and the attitude and team spirit appears to be excellent.

Big 10 Rollin’ in Doe:

The numbers are startling. Conferences have released their final revenue numbers for the year of 2018. The Big 10 sat a record. Adding up “revenue sharing” from various network television contracts, plus adding on the Big 10 Network, far and away the most profitable venture of its kind, Big 10 teams will split up $749 million silver dollars. Whew!

And this is just the television revenue, not ticket sales, product sales, donations, concessions, and etc. It’s hard to imagine what the final revenue number would be. Michigan sales 112,000 tickets to every home game. Ohio State is over 100,000, Penn State and Nebraska are over 90,000. And that’s just football. The total revenue generated by the top athletic programs in the country is a staggering amount. Just in the revenue sharing above, every Big 10 team will net $74-million.

Many colleges across the country still have to use various means to raise money and even pull academic money to balance the athletic budget. Not the Big 10. Ohio State, Michigan, and Nebraska football all donated $10-million to their universities to fund academic scholarships. The SEC was second at $660-mil, the Big 12 third at $374 mil.

The SEC was second with each school getting $43.7-million, the Big 12 next with each school pocketing $34.7-million, and the ACC and Pac 12 both netted $29.5-million for their conference members. With the ACC network about to come on the air shortly, those schools should benefit in the years ahead. The primary reason the Big 10 Network is the dominate force of its kind is it was the first, is the best produced, and the Big 10 is made up of many of the largest universities in the country and has more alumni that any other conference.

Price of Peaches Going Up:

This is a nice little companion piece. What will be the biggest ticket in college football this coming season? How about Michigan-Ohio State? Nope. How about Alabama-Auburn? Nope.

How above Notre Dame at Georgia? Yep. The Fighting Irish are apparently still the hottest ticket in college football, and warrant the highest ticket prices, at least when they are on the road. The most expensive game of the upcoming season will cost single game ticket buyers $407! Would you pay $407? I wouldn’t. There’s not an athletic event of any kind I would pay that much to see, even if I could afford it.

Season ticket holders won’t have to pay that much, but if you just want to see that single game it’s $407. I would think maybe that’s the all-time high at least for a regular season game. By the way, if the game were in South Bend, you could see it for about a third of that price.

Another One Gone:

The number two rated player in Virginia signed late last week with Notre Dame. Chris Tyree is a four-star all-purpose running back from Thomas Dale in Chester. The number 25 rated player, Mitch Griffis, a three-star dual threat quarterback from Broad Run, committed to Wake Forest. Virginia Tech did land a running back, three-star C.J. Beasley from Maury High in Norfolk. The top rated player in the state, five-star outside linebacker Antoine Sampah of Woodbridge committed to LSU.

Clemson has seven of the top 53 rated players in the nation committed, and have the strongest class which promises to only get stronger. LSU is 2, Alabama 3, Miami 4, Georgia 5, Notre Dame 6, Florida 7, Ohio State 8, Carolina 9, and FSU 10. Four ACC schools (Clemson, Miami, Carolina, and FSU) presently have top 10 rated classes.

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