Published Wednesday, June 27, 2012 AT 10:55 AM / Updated at 11:18 AM
Mad Chatter, June 27
Dirk Chatelain Omaha World-Herald

Would I make the college football playoff conference champions only? Yes.

Would I hold the semifinals at home sites? Yes.

Would I bump the field from four teams to eight? Yes.

But compared to the status quo — or a perilous plus-one — the news Tuesday from Washington D.C. is worth celebrating.

There’s so much to digest and I’ve listed several links below. But I hope you start with an email debate between Sam McKewon and me. We don’t agree on a lot of things, which made for an interesting playoff discussion.

>> Dan Wetzel, who wrote “Death to the BCS,” says Tuesday’s news doesn’t change the problems of college football. But at least people at the top of the food chain throw us a bone. This column is a heavy hitter.

>> A critique of Wetzel’s work from Allen Kenney.

>> Gene Wojciechowski and Andy Staples take a more optimistic tone.

>> Dennis Dodd said nothing has really changed, especially for the little guy.

>> I ripped Harvey Perlman pretty good in Monday’s chatter. I feared that he would publicly denounce this playoff all the way to the end, giving Nebraska a bad name. He didn’t, staying out of the headlines. That’s a good thing. I hope Perlman, Tom Osborne and Bo Pelini — three prominent playoff opponents — come around as time passes.

>> Husker wideout Kenny Bell is on a Twitter rampage today. He called a playoff “the worst thing to happen” because it “potentially takes away importance of the Rose Bowl.”

Bell went on:

“Its a shame ppl are willing to throw away college football traditions. Ill b happy wen decisions like that r up to the men who actually play”

“Lets b real for a sec. Forget these playoff nonsense, the NCAA needs to start havin meetings about paying the athletes. #IndenturedServants”

“Its funny when ppl reply “ur getting a free education.” Lmaoooooooooo ignorance must be bliss.”

“This is America, when u work harder than other ppl providing a multi million $ entertainment, u deserve to b paid a portion of that money.”

“after bills, groceries, gas and clothes, i have a 79$ budget to live on for the month.”

“not only do i go to school but i practice 3-6 hrs everyday on my sport. So dont tell me that my education is “free.” Thank u, but shut up.”

“your job doesnt make lincoln nebraska 3-5 million dollars on a weekend. Ur job doesnt fill a stadium of 85000 ppl”

“This is AMERICA, when u provide a business that wouldnt exist without you, u deserve to see that money. Its not selfish, its fact”

I’ll withhold comment on paying the players (whether you think he’s right or wrong, a college kid never sounds good complaining about opportunity when he’s getting the chance to be a celebrity).

Bell’s remark about the Rose Bowl is a head-scratcher. Frankly, it scares me that Nebraska players have such reverence for a bowl game they’ve never played in.

>> Let’s close the playoff section with Michael Rosenberg’s tweet:
“Maybe I’m just terribly sentimental, but I hope the BCS goes out with 3 unbeaten regular-season teams.”

>> Monday’s CWS finale between Arizona and South Carolina was a great baseball game. But I have to admit, I miss the old CWS. A lot. When there’s virtually no chance for home runs in the late innings, it dramatically limits the unpredictability of a baseball game. Bring in those fences!

>> Compared to 2008, I’ve noticed a more subdued crowd for Olympic Swim Trials. Still intense, but not quite as frenzied. My guess is it has something to do with the lack of world records — in 2008, swimmers were seemingly setting them every night in Omaha. Why? The high-tech swimsuits, which have since been banned. I’ll have more on them later this week in the World-Herald.

>> The Wall Street Journal says the Olympic Trials, including the Swim Trials, are too close to the Olympics.

>> Tim Layden investigates the wildest track and field story I can remember in a long time. Two runners at the Olympic Trials tied for third — and only one can go to London. How did we get to this point?

>> The only thing more intense than college basketball recruiting? Private high school recruiting. Great story.

>> A profile of Iowa State’s Royce White, who is a very intriguing pro prospect. The NBA Draft is Thursday night.

About Dirk Chatelain

Dirk Chatelain is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and general assignments. You can follow Dirk on Twitter (@dirkchatelain) or email him at


  1. Joe in L-town says:

    Kenny, kenny, kenny…..your free education is something that other students find themselves in quite a bit of debt. You won’t have to face that after graduate. Read the news sometime on student loans, interest rates, and so forth. YOUR IGNORANCE is bliss, too. Btw, there are plenty of us who work for corporations that make billions of dollars. Where is my cut? Oh yeah….my salary, i.e. your “free” education worth how many thousands $$ a year? Get a clue Kenny. Your business knowledge is pretty short sited. If athletes ever get paid, let’s be sure to fine you after every dropped ball, penalty, and missed block you make during the year. Fair?

    1. Bill says:

      Joe, don’t take this the wrong way, because I’m sure you’re good at your job and you work hard. But athletes of Kenny Bell’s caliber are a lot harder to replace and more valuable to his team than folks like you. Or me. Would you do the job you currently have if your only compensation was free tuition, room and board?

      1. hskrpwr13 says:

        Uh, Bill. Kenny doesn’t have a job. Kenny participates in an extra-curricular school activity. If his participation in this activity is too much of a strain to his pocket book, he can CHOOSE to not take advantage of the scholarship and go get a job. Kenny knows his chances of going to the NFL will take a hit if he chooses this alternate route, or backs off on the amount of time he spends participating in the school activity, so he’s choosing to try his best to hit on that NFL lottery ticket. If his NFL lottery ticket doesn’t hit, hopefully, he’ll realize how valuable that degree can be.

        1. Bill says:

          Yes, it’s an extra-curricular school activity…that happens to make tens of millions of dollars for the school.

          Big-time college football is not the same as the debate club. A bunch of people are getting filthy stinking rich based off the work of guys like Kenny Bell. Everybody in college football is drowning in money except for the players, who are the entire reason for all that money in the first place.

          1. Alabama for the Huskers says:

            However there are a thousands other kids wanting to take Keny’s place and perfectly willing for a free education. Your arguement holds no water, I served my country for 22 years and while I was getting paid a modest salary millions of people were getting rich in our country. It is just the way it is, if he doesn’t like it he doesn’t need to get a free education, he can get a job like I did and pay his way.

          2. Bill says:

            Alabama, first off, thanks for your service to our country. It’s hard, it’s risky, and it’s incredibly important.

            However, your situation isn’t comparable to Kenny Bell’s. People pay millions of dollars a year for the privilege of watching athletes like Kenny Bell play football. Lots of people are getting filthy rich exclusively because athletes like Kenny Bell play football at a very high level. The school is getting a lot more gain from its athletes than the athletes are getting in return.

  2. Joe in L-town says:

    OWH taking down comments? Pathetic

  3. Homer Sampson says:

    Someone please enlighten Kenny Bell, no one is making you practice 3-6 hours per day. You choose to do it of your own free will. If you don’t like it, you also have the choice to stop doing it. My guess is that there are plenty of other kids who would be willing to take your scholarship if you decide that the situation is too unfair. And BTW, Kenny, lots of other students have the same financial woes you are whining about, except they have to pay for their own education, food, dorm, etc. Overall, I’d say Lmaooooooooooooo.

    1. hskrpwr13 says:

      Exactly. One wants to be paid for participating in an extra-curricular activity? And in part because he’s not able to make enough money and participate in the extra-curricular activity?

      Look, college football players, I watch you play because I enjoy football, appreciate what it takes to be a good student and athlete simultaneously, and take pride in the community of my state/school. I don’t feel this way about pro ball. I don’t financially contribute to pro ball, or its players. ‘College football’ making money of me is pure happenstance. I would still contribute to the university/atheletic dept whether one plays for the Huskers or not. If college football players were getting paid, you would still not get a piece of my pie as I would then stop contributing. I suspect I’m not alone. Where’s ythe gravy train now? Guess you’d have to forgo school, get a job, and hope an NFL scout keeps track of you after high school until youre old enough to play.

  4. Mike P. says:

    NU has sold out 300+ home games in a row. Has Kenny been here for all those games? Will 85,000 people stop coming to games when Kenny graduates? The fans don’t pay to see Kenny Bell, they pay to see The Huskers. Kenny has very little if anything to do with generating all these million$.

    1. Bill says:

      Well Mike, you realize that when you pay to see the Huskers, you’re paying to see lots of unpaid players just like Kenny Bell, right? All those players have everything to do with generating all those millions.

      1. Alabama for the Huskers says:

        How much whould you pay them? Hell let’s not make them go to class either. Let’s just make a pro-college team. Football pays for their facilities and all the other sports. They will get over not being paid. They might even get an education out of it. Besides what about the ones that don’t make it to the pros are they going to sue NU because of that or if they get injured are you suppossed to pay them the rest of their lives becuase they blew out their knee.

  5. this is why they’re football players. because they’re not smart people. the smart ones are the ones paying for their educations. these guys get free school, books, women, etc……they don’t understand. i’d almost listen if it was a good player saying it and not some mediocre WR.

    1. Rick says:

      Melvin, your argument is dumb. many football players are smart, many athletes are smart. Your argument about women makes you sound pathetic, and jealous. Get a life.

      1. Rick says:

        Yes they get free school, free books, and free women. You on the other hand, had to pay for school, your books, and your women huh?

  6. Mo says:

    Kenny has a point also in this. If anyone thinks money isnt an issue in this is very short-sighted…The reason Kenny is getting a “free education” is because he can do athletically what about 1% of the population can do. Those other students would be getting a “free education” if they were in the top 1% of whatever field they chose as well. Just check the blog replies on Husker recruiting in this sports section then tell me if Kenny Bell doesnt matter?!?!? The NCAA/BCS is 1st a business trying to make money and they will hand over fist. People are calling for Bo Pelini’s head and he gets paid a lot more than any of us to make sure the right “kenny bell’s” are on the field to win championships. An overwhelming % of these 1% level athletes are from low to poverty level 1 parent backgrounds and the money being made off of them is insanely high..The school,coaches,student-body,state,ncaa,bcs all benefit financially in a much greater proportion than a the monetary value of a full-ride. Those husker jersey’s we all wear have certain numbers on them for a reason!!! I dont think college players should be paid like pros because they aren’t pros. They should be paid enough in proportion to what they bring in to the ncaa/bcs and universities to have way more than $79 a month. It’s fact that a lot of people could care less what happens to these young men and women if they weren’t good enough to wear the “N” or any other major college logo for that matter!!!

    1. socalhusker says:

      Good points but what about the women’s softball player or the guy on the bowling team that work just as hard and are just as good at their sport as Kenny is at his. Because their sports don’t make the money that football makes, they don’t deserve anything? If it’s all about the money, we should get rid of all sports that don’t make money.

      1. hskrpwr13 says:

        Correct. Just because UNL and the NCAA make money off an extra-curricular activity doesn’t mean the extra-curricular activity is now employment (or servitude LOL). I contribute to the program to help the program be successful, not to entertain student-athletes’ dates or ensure they have “flash” money.

        1. Bill says:

          Exactly. Your money instead goes to make sure that administrators and coaches have “flash” money to entertain their dates.

          1. Skytown J says:

            Bill, the coaches and administrators have jobs. They get paid as the professionals that they are. Kenny Bell is a student, who chooses to also play a sport. The key word there being “choice”. He can also choose to not play if the conditions are too distasteful. Using your logic, the kids who play HS football in front of thousands of people down in Texas, and on TV also, should also be paid something for packing those stadiums every Friday night. I think Kenny Bell needs to follow his heart. That may be to just be a student.

          2. Bill says:


            Podunkville High School isn’t making tens of millions of dollars per year from its football games, so that’s not a valid example.

            Bell’s argument boils down to this: Everybody in college football is getting rich except for the players, who are the most important link in the whole chain.

          3. Homer Sampson says:

            Have you ever seen some of those HS stadiums in Texas. Bigger than many small colleges. It’s a matter of scale. The HS players create revenue for the school, of which they do not share. So you are going to decide who should be paid, and who shouldn’t? Again, Kenny Bell is getting free room/board to essentially be in the minor leagues of pro football. Few will make it to that, but if he is smart (which I doubt based on the fact that he chose to post these silly comments) he will have a free education to fall back on. Kenny, shut up and play. Or don’t

    2. hskrpwr13 says:

      Mo, would your opinion change if game tickets were free and jerseys were less expensive? (Also, most college jerseys I’ve seen do not have a name on the back.)

      1. Bill says:

        Right. People like to buy the number 22 jersey because it’s their lucky number. I’m sure it has nothing to do with Rex Burkhead.

        1. hskrpwr13 says:

          Bill, in ’97 I bought a jersey with the #12 in honor of (not that I felt I owed him money) Turner Gill. Does that mean I’d owe money to Bobby Newcombe and every other player that worn #12?

          1. Bill says:

            You don’t owe anybody anything. You bought the jersey, the transaction is over. It’s the university that’s pocketing all the profit from the players’ hard work that owes the athletes.

          2. Ryan says:

            No, but you do still owe it to Turner Gill. So how do you propose we compensate him for this?

        2. malcolmkass says:

          Well, take the “nebraska” off of the jersey, does it still sell if Burkhead’s name is on it? Not to mention all of the players that don’t become stars, can the university ask for a refund?

          Players are properly compensated because when they sign with a program, the program is taking all the risk. Some pan out, some don’t, but since predicting the future is impossible, they all get (more or less) the same benefits package. Sure, some players become stars and it could be argued that they are worth more now, but this is what it means to live in a probabilistic world.

          1. Bill says:

            Would Nebraska fans buy a red shirt that said Burkhead on it? Yes, I am quite certain they would. However, NCAA rules prohibit Rex Burkhead from finding out for sure, even if he was to use his own money to print and market the shirts.

    3. danbennett says:

      Who is kenny bell?? Nobody is getting rich off kenny bell. You play for titles not the rose bowl. That is why my team is average. Bo has them thinking of lower goals. Coach em up bo.

      1. Bill says:

        Actually, Dan, a lot of people ARE getting rich off athletes just like Kenny Bell, none of whom are compensated beyond a scholarship valued at less than $20,000 a year.

  7. Elkhorn not Omaha says:

    Alice Schmidt from Elkhorn makes the olympic team in the 800 meters and not a peep from the World Herald

  8. Mike says:

    High school recruiting? Look no further than the last two World Herald coaches of the year—the two biggest recruiters
    in the area.

  9. valid victorian says:

    So Kenny feels overworked and underappreciated ? welcome to life young man. Guess that’s a great reason to stay off twitter I hope Kenny didn’t mean what he said. HE And the other 84 players making millions for NU ? I thought it was the fans that buy the tickets, cokes, hot dogs, hats, shirts, jerseys. Glad Kenny corrected me. As for millions in profit. Kenny you need to take an economics course, that’s called supply / demand. If you have a supply that’s good, the consumer will demand it. I work for a business that employs about 250,000 people we all have a part of the success, or failure of the organization. Kenny please enjoy the talent you have, but your barking at the wrong door if you think I understand the “Woo is me” approach. What’s going to happen when football is done and you have to go into the real world and get a job. You going to knock on your bosses door and say, ” I need more $ cause I just helped the corporation turn a profit”. GROW UP YOUNG MAN DON’T EMBARRASS YOURSELF, TEAMMATES,COACHES, FANS, FAMILY WITH STUPID COMMENTS LIKE THAT !!!

    1. Dan says:

      I think it is you who needs the economics lesson as your supply/demand point was incoherent and misplaced. The only reason Kenny Bell is not being paid for his talents is an NCAA rule which effectively interferes with the free market. To use the supply/demand concept, there is an incredibly high demand for skilled football players and a very limited supply. He is arguing that his compensation is far below market rate and this is definitely accurate. It is clearly the case that college football players are under compensated. In the NFL, a market which is less restricted, players are compensated at a higher rate than their coaches, demonstrating the value players have on a football team. In college, coaches are paid millions of dollars a year, while scholarship players at the University of Nebraska are compensated with tuition, dorm room and food equal to roughly 15,000 a year. Players are being taken advantage of – while it is debatable whether or not this pay structure is best for the game, it is clearly not what is best for the players. Kenny Bell has a reasoned point.

    2. Bill says:

      To expand on Dan’s point, I would add that it’s a lot harder to find an athlete the caliber of Kenny Bell than it is to find a guy to fill a slot in a 250,000-employee company.

  10. malcolmkass says:

    “your job doesnt make lincoln nebraska 3-5 million dollars on a weekend. Ur job doesnt fill a stadium of 85000 ppl”

    Well, neither does your job Kenny. If Pelini replaced the entire team with others, Nebraska still makes 3-5 million per weekend and will fill the stadium. The players don’t make the cash, its the Nebraska brand that does.

    1. Bill says:

      You haven’t though through your scenario. If Pelini replaced the entire team with other players, those other players would all be less talented than the ones he had (otherwise he would’ve recruited them instead). That new, less-talented team would certainly lose a lot more games than the one he has. How much would the Nebraska brand be worth after a few seasons of that?

      Nebraska owes its tradition, brand, and financial viability to the hard work of elite players. Without those, there are no championships, no tradition, and no interest.

  11. Gumpa says:

    I dont know what to make of the Kenny Bell fiasco. I dont do Twitter, so I dont know how to interpret the context of all those cut ans pastes you did. Kenny comes across as being a bit short sighted and out of context. Play-offs and the Rose bowl are different topics than player stipend. So, Kenny is off-based and you are not nice for pointing it out to the rest of us. My final analysis is that Dirk is being a jerk for letting the rest of us pick on Kenny. But then again, I dont do twitter so I dont understand the game.

    Having said that. Players get a full ride already, but maybe that is not enough, so maybe their schullies should include $2/3k for extra stuff since they dont have time for a job due to sports practice requirements. I dont know if that is fair to other students, but I am willing to give them that much jsut to keep them content. I dont think it does any of them any good to do all the whining. We already know the issue, no need to fuss about it. Where do I send my check?