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Long Beach State names San Diego State Executive Assoc. AD of Student-Athlete Academic Support Services Bobby Smitheran as its next AD, starting August 21. VP/CFO Scott Apel: “Bobby understands the student-athlete, knowing what it takes for them to both grow individually and win as a team. He brings the experience, track record, and vision to move our program forward.” Collegiate Sports Associates assisted with the search. (link)
Pac-12 Media Rights Discussions…
+Yahoo’s Ross Dellenger reports campus leaders left today’s Pac-12 meeting “with no agreement but with the expectation of eventually concluding a deal” with another meeting planned soon. Dellenger also notes today’s Arizona Board of Regents meeting is not expected to include a decision on membership but will feature conversation about the media rights deal. Further: “The buzz for a while has been that the Pac-12 primary rights-holder would be a streamer, such as Apple, with linear sublicenses to the likes of ESPN and Fox. Will this be enough, both monetarily & visibility, for Pac-12 presidents who have offers from other leagues?” (link, link)
+ESPN’s Pete Thamel reports the primary deal presented to Pac-12 leaders today was primarily an Apple streaming deal, which includes incentivized tiers with a strong upside *if* certain subscriptions numbers are met. “No decisions on the deal or any schools pondering other options are expected immediately. Campus leaders are digesting the possibilities of a stream-centric future and the variance in potential income. The money piece is tricky because of the variables of subscriptions.” (link); Thamel also reports that if subscription targets are met, the revenue could surpass the Big 12’s. (link)
+JohnCanzano.com’s namesake adds: “Pac-12 board meeting was ‘positive,’ per a source. The quote I got included the phrase ‘excited and aligned.’ Why hold another meeting? Some members of the Pac-12 CEO Group need to get final approval. More soon.” (link)
+The Mercury News’ Jon Wilner also weighs in: “1. No ESPN would be problematic for both game visibility and brand promotion. 2. Part of the calculation for presidents is how this deal sets the conf up for the *next* contract cycle. Does aligning with Apple now help for the 2030s?” (link)
+ And from The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel: “If you were hoping for a neat and tidy resolution to Pac-12 media rights today -- no dice. The board was presented specific deal options (including $$ figures), but there was no vote yet to approve something, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions.” (link)
The NCAABoard of Directors tomorrow will review concepts discussed by the NIL working group and recommend what it would like to see addressed in a new NIL policy, On3’s Eric Prisbell reports, adding: “Among the primary concepts in play: a database of NIL deals, uniform contracts and a registry for those – namely agents and collectives – participating in the NIL space. A source with direct knowledge of the meetings told On3 that stakeholders had varying degrees of interest in those specific concepts, with some questioning how practical it would be to implement them.” Prisbell also points out that even if the board adopts a narrow NIL policy, it would likely be considered by the DI Council in October. Big Sky Commissioner Tom Wistrcill says it’s time for something to change. “State laws have gotten so crazy that we’ve got to get to a point where we can at least level-set the field. And then we have to give it some time and evaluate how this is going to work. What we have figured out over the last year or two is that what we are doing now ain’t working. It’s gotten to a point where it’s totally pay-for-play. I’d rather just try something and not have it work than do nothing and continue down this path. It’s just gotten really ugly in the space.” (link)
Northwestern has retained former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, currently with the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, to lead an independent review of the the university’s processes and accountability mechanisms set up to detect, report and respond to potential misconduct in its athletics programs, including hazing, bullying and discrimination. Lynch will examine the culture of the Wildcats’ athletic department, and the results of her review will be made public. Wildcats AD Derrick Gragg: “The Athletics Department welcomes this review as a critical tool in identifying the additional steps Northwestern can take to eradicate hazing. By making the results of her review public, we hope our entire community will be better informed and guided as we all work to address this critical issue in college athletics.” (link)
The Athletic’s Scott Dochterman profiles Iowa Interim AD Beth Goetz, who says her time as the interim AD at Minnesota in 2015 led her to realize that “I think I have the tools and the experience that I could be positioned for this. I really started to think like this is a path that I would want to take, and I think I can contribute in different ways.” In her role with the Hawkeyes, Goetz tells Dochterman that “over the next couple months, we’ll continue to talk about some of those. But if you just take a snapshot of the last couple years, Iowa’s had just a lot of success competitively across lots of sports. Whatever changes we experience in college athletics, how can we be at the forefront of trying to be prepared to shift and be the best version of Iowa we can be? We’re not trying to do what somebody else in our league is looking at, but how do we prepare to pivot? How do we leverage what’s great about our state, our fan base? So in terms of being creative and proactive there, I think that’s going to continue to be a priority. The best time to reinvent and build yourself are when things are going well, not when you start to experience challenges. I would say based on where we’ve been, that’s where Iowa is right now.” (link)
People & Places…
+West Virginia President Gordon Gee agrees to a contract extension through June 30, 2025. (link)
+ The Pioneer Football League promotes Assoc. Commissioner/new OVC Assoc. Commissioner for Football, Basketball and Baseball Greg Walter to Commissioner. PFL Commissioner Patty Viverito will remain as an advisor to the league. (link)
+LEARFIELD names THE TEAM VP of Corporate Partnerships Slater Fuchs as GM of Arkansas State’s Red Wolves Sports Properties. (link)
+St. John’s announces Florida Gulf Coast AC/former Tennessee Tech/Army West Point HC Michelle DePolo as its new Softball HC. (link)
+Milwaukee promotes Baseball AHC Shaun Wegner to HC. (link)
+UNC Wilmington Swimming & Diving HC Michael Guntoro agrees to an extension through the 2025-26 season. (link)
+NBC has hired The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach as its college football insider, the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports, noting Auerbach will appear on the B1G College Countdown each week. Auerbach will continue in her roles at The Athletic, Big Ten Network and SiriusXM. (link)
Tulsa raised $2.6M in donations during FY23, nearly tripling its total of $900K in FY20, and Golden Hurricane AD Dickson says his message to the staff upon returning to TU was: “We cannot operate at this level.” Or, as he put it last week: “If we don’t have water in the pond, we don’t survive. We only had an inch of water in our pond. Only tadpoles can live with that.” The department has set a goal of $3M for FY24, and Dixon tells Tulsa World’s Bill Haisten: “During the final quarter of (a fiscal year), fundraising is all I do. Both for me and our fundraising team — that’s all we do. All over town, there are coffees, lunches and dinners. Our fundraising team averages 450 calls a week. That’s what it takes. What’s most important to me — it’s not the dollars. It’s the donors. The (potential) that those people are donating annually. The likelihood that some of them become season-ticket holders. The possibility that some of those people become major-gift prospects.” Asked about the possibility of staying in Tulsa after his contract expires in June 2024, Dickson says: “We’ll see.” (link)
SMU posted a 27% increase in football season ticket sales last year, setting a new record for highest average season attendance. Basketball attendance also increased, with the men seeing a bump near 10% in season attendance and the women experiencing an increase of over 15%. Meanwhile, giving totals to the SMU Athletics Annual Fund were up 21.9%, while total cash receipts and commitments eclipsed $44M, the second highest single-year total in department history. (link)
Cal State Bakersfield is rebranding the Roadrunner Scholarship Fund as the Roadrunner Club to reflect a change in the department’s fundraising strategy. Roadrunners Assoc. AD for Development Sarah Tuohy: “The tremendous impact that these funds have on the lives of our Runners has been seen time and time again, and thus CSUB Athletics will always continue to push for these financial opportunities. The Roadrunner Club will shift its focus to a centralized model of aiding the Athletics Department as a whole." (link)
Temple has introduced a new athletics logo that will also serve as a secondary logo for the rest of the university. The new logo features a white silhouette of an owl and the Temple “T” inside of a cherry red diamond. The logo was designed by alumnus Joe Bosack, founder of Joe Bosack & Co., a strategic brand-building company, alongside seniors in a graphic and interactive design capstone course at Temple’s Tyler School of Art and Architecture. Have a look. (link)
+Wisconsin extends its partnership with Gatorade through the 2028-29 season. (link)
+William & Mary inks a multiyear extension with Playfly Aspire. (link)
+Hampton signs a new partnership with Paciolan. (link)
+North Texas’ naming rights partnership with DATCU, which was announced last week, is for 15 years, according to Mean Green AD Jared Mosley. (link)
+Manchester United has re-upped its kit/apparel deal with Adidas for $1.1B over 10 years. Under the terms of the deal, failure to make the UEFA Champions League for two or more consecutive seasons reduces Adidas’ annual payments to the club by 30% of the applicable amount. (link)
Extra Points publisher Matt Brown reports the Fox broadcast network will carry a Big Ten regular season volleyball match for the first time on Sunday, October 29. The match will feature Minnesota vs Wisconsin or Ohio State vs Michigan, depending on NFL market. FS1 will also carry multiple matches this season. The league notes at least 55 volleyball matches will be televised on the Big Ten Network. (link)
With campus CEO terms becoming increasingly shorter, Arkansas Chancellor Emeritus G. David Gearhart tells Inside Higher Ed’s Josh Moody: “I personally believe that being a college or university president may, in fact, be the toughest job in America, or for that matter across the world, but certainly in this country. It’s become a very difficult position to do the right way. There are so many groups out there that a college president has to try to appease, and it’s almost impossible to do that with all of the political machinations that are happening these days, not to mention the huge decline that we’re going to be seeing over the next several years in enrollment, which has already started.” According to the American Council on Education, presidents from a broad range of institutions in this year’s study indicated they had been on the job for 5.9 years. Prior surveys found an average of 6.5 years in 2016, seven years in 2011 and 8.5 years in 2006. Former Colorado State President Bob Dickeson worries about how shorter and shorter presidential tenures will impact stability at universities and believes governing boards should examine their search processes if a presidency fails. “Because the fact that the person has left is as much our fault as theirs, if there is fault to be assigned.” (link)
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