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Hawaii announces AD Matlin will retire in June, concluding over eight years leading the Rainbow Warriors. UH President Lassner, in part: "David Matlin has been a fantastic UH Mānoa Athletics Director and is truly going out on top. He is a highly respected senior AD and leader in the Big West Conference, the Mountain West Conference and nationally. David has navigated UH through multiple crises including COVID-19 and the unexpected loss of Aloha Stadium. He has strengthened our program financially by reducing costs where possible and creating new revenue streams. David has led us with integrity and responsibility through the initial upheavals in intercollegiate athletics that are now shaking the foundations of amateurism, including the introduction of the transfer portal and Name/Image/Likeness (NIL)." (link)
CBS’ Norlander posits Men’s Basketball NCAA Tournament expansion will not come to fruition following yesterday’s Transformation Committee recommendations, pointing to a general lack of interest from “NCAA Tournament power brokers.” Norlander: “In addition to myriad logistical alterations that would have to be accounted for, there is a humongous TV contract to consider. CBS and Warner Bros. Discovery Sports share men's March Madness rights through 2032. Moving forward, remember that whatever change is made for the men's tournament will also be made for the women's. If you expand the men's field to 72, the same will happen with the women, particularly in the wake of the NCAA's gender equity review after the PR disaster the NCAA brought upon itself in 2021 regarding inequalities in women's basketball. Additionally, skepticism abounds in NCAA halls re: more teams equaling more money to the organization's coffers. This is a bottom-line business. The men's NCAA Tournament is the only money-making championship the NCAA owns. [...] The women's tournament annually operates in the red. More games means more cost and more money to split up to more schools until 2032 at least. That's not an outcome many in college athletics find satisfying. Relatedly, there are ongoing discussions about how tournament money should be changed/split up in the current system. ‘The assumption that there's a whole lot more money there is a questionable assumption at best,’ an NCAA source said.” More. (link)
Florida State AD Alford sits down with Warchant.com to reflect on his first year in the big chair, admits the Seminoles were “dead last” in the ACC in terms of percentage of resources committed to the sport: “That’s not Florida State.” Alford continues: “To this day, I think we’re ninth in square-footage dedicated to football space in the ACC — not in the country, the ACC. So that’s getting addressed with the new football facility. But making sure that our brand in the sport of football is resourced properly to have success. I’m a firm believer that you can’t ask someone to have success if you’re not gonna give them the tools and the resources to accomplish their goals. So we’re constantly investing in it and we’ll continue to invest.” Of note, Alford reports the Seminoles have raised $45M in commitments for new suites and seating options at Doak Campbell Stadium, as the department has capitalized off the momentum for forthcoming adjustments expected to take place in time for the 2025 season: “In the ACC, we’re eighth in the last 20 years when it comes to making a financial commitment to our stadium — in our own conference, again. And we’re $13 million behind the average SEC school in stadium revenues, and $9 million behind the average Big Ten school in stadium revenues.” Lots more. (link)
Down in Coral Gables, Miami (FL) unveils full renderings for its new seven-story, 172,000-square foot Football Operations complex, which includes all the normal bells & whistles, plus a “recruiting corridor, featuring an immersive, 360-degree digital experience,” saltwater float tanks, red light therapy, a meditation room, a relaxation lounge, skyline views from the seventh floor rooftop terrace, digital media lab, NIL suite & a golf simulator. Arquitectonica & HOK are in for the design & build. Per the release: “Miami Athletics will soon announce a campaign to help support and enhance the project.” (link)
+ NC State AD Corrigan brings in former Georgia Tech/Oregon State/UCF AD Stansbury as the Wolfpack’s new Deputy AD with oversight of internal operations and FB sport supervision. (link)
+ Leadership moves at Florida A&M on new Rattlers AD Sykes’ first day include Interim AD Smith sticking around as AVP for Athletics Administration & Strategic Initiatives. Sykes has also hired South Alabama Assoc. AD for Student-Athlete Development & Academic Success Johnson as FAMU’s new Senior Assoc. AD for Compliance & SWA. (link)
+ NACDA announces a reorganization under new CEO Manak. VPs Galaska and Work get the bump to EVP, Vice President/Director of McLendon Foundation Harraway is elevated to SVP and Directors Ditzel, Hein, Horning and LeRoy get promoted to VP. (link)
+ Mississippi State has a new Assoc. AD for Football Administration in former Bulldogs Director of High School Relations Peterson, who previously spent 2016-20 in Starkville. (link)
+ Gartner Senior Director of Research McRae opines on the workplace phenomenon for 2023, quiet hiring, which she defines as “when an organization acquires new skills without actually hiring new full-time employees.” Why quiet hiring? “The reality for the next year is — whether or not we go into a recession — everyone’s a little nervous. In a lot of cases, organizations are not necessarily doing a hiring freeze, or layoffs, but maybe slowing down a little bit on their hiring. [...] The talent shortage that we talked about throughout 2022 hasn’t gone away. So, you’re in a situation where it’s harder to get head count, and you have a desperate need for talent.” (link)
+ Louisiana Tech AD Wood indicates the Bulldogs have secured its first 50 Alliet Society donors that equals $6.5M in total giving. Thirty donors committed to their largest gifts ever & five were brand new donors to Tech athletics. (link)
+ The search is underway for a new naming rights sponsor for North Texas’ football venue after Austin-based technology services company Apogee opted out of its 20-year, $20M naming rights partnership. UNT has tapped Independent Sports & Entertainment to assist with the search. Mean Green AD Mosley: “Apogee had an interest in campus that served them well. They felt like it was time to look at something different. Now we will have an opportunity to see what the market will bear. We feel fairly good about the valuation for the stadium with where it is located on the I-35 corridor. … We feel like with the change in opponents we will be facing [with the move to the AAC] and the television package, there is going to be a different level of visibility for a potential partner that we didn’t have before. The timing coincides pretty well.” (link)
+ New West Virginia AD Baker equates fundraising to “matchmaking”: “I’ve never considered myself a fund raiser so to speak. I think I’m passionate about what I do. I connect with other people who are passionate about their university and their programs.” As for how NIL could impact traditional fundraising/matchmaking: “If the two of them are bringing in more than just one of them did and we’re also providing opportunities for student athletes I think that’s a good thing.” (link)
+ The Hoosiers For Good and Hoosiers Connect NIL collectives exceeded a joint goal of raising $1M in donations, sponsorships and memberships between November 14-December 31, 2022, securing a matching $1M contribution from an anonymous donor. Indiana AD Dolson: "This news is monumental for some critically important charities that are focused on improving the lives of Hoosiers all around our state. It's also a difference-maker for our civic-minded student-athletes who will be able to maximize their NIL opportunities.” (link)
ESPN’s Scarborough dives into the “cottage industry” of sign stealing in college football, a world in which Ohio State DC Knowles estimates 75% of teams participate in subterfuge. Technological advances and expanding staff size are credited with contributing to the paranoia while seemingly innocuous stadium staff members such as ball boys, equipment managers and members of the chain gang are also potential sign stealers because, as one HC points out, “Think about all the money, dude.” Blatant stealing isn’t the only thing coaches are paranoid about; as late Mississippi State HC Leach remembered, one member of the first-down chain crew would “intentionally stifle” coordinators calling plays, “bumping him, standing in front of him… whatever he can to disrupt.” NCAA National Coordinator of Officials Shaw acknowledges the culture of fear among sideline coaches, saying: "Coaches, I mean, I love 'em, but they're paranoid. That's their world, right? They're all looking for -- if you get me a little advantage, that's what I need. I need just a little advantage." Lots more, including some pretty out-there stories and scenarios from the likes of Navy, NC State, Tulane and Pitt. (link)
+ Troy AD Jones selects Northwestern State Women’s Soccer HC Gore for the same role with the Trojans. (link)
+ UNLV AD Harper hires Utah staffer Shoji as the new Women’s Volleyball leader for the Rebels. (link)
+ Georgia inks Volleyball HC Black to an extension that would keep him in Athens through 2027. (link)
+ ESPN’s Low reports Missouri State FB HC-turned-UNLV OC Petrino will be heading to become the OC at Texas A&M. Twenty days in Sin City is some trip. (link)
Deals, Deals, Deals…
+ The Big East teams up with The Inclusion Playbook to evaluate the league’s DEI efforts and provide benchmarks to advance the league’s work. (link)
+ The Premier Hockey Federation is the latest to ink a multi-year deal with RealResponse. (link)
+ Fanatics is selling its majority stake in NFT company Candy Digital to Galaxy Digital. CEO Rubin: “Business Model – NFTs will most likely emerge as an integrated product/feature and not as a standalone business: Over the past year, it has become clear that NFTs are unlikely to be sustainable or profitable as a standalone business. Aside from physical collectibles (trading cards) driving 99% of the business, we believe digital products will have more value and utility when connected to physical collectibles to create the best experience for collectors.” (link)
U.S. Representative Bilirakis (R-FL) advocates for the creation of a national NIL standard in a guest column for Sportico, announcing plans to introduce legislation establishing a national preemptive standard to address the patchwork of state laws that has made NIL difficult to navigate or govern. Bilirakis: “My legislation’s preemptive standard will require every state to follow one law which ensures student athletes understand their rights, and will also establish protections at the federal level to protect student athletes from bad actors or deceptive boosters. … It is clear the growing patchwork of state laws has produced and will continue to create an uncontrollable frenzied environment for all schools across the country. This is unacceptable, and I am hopeful that my congressional colleagues on both sides of the aisle will work with me to create a true level playing field for all students and educational institutions across the nation.” (link)
The newest NIL collective is Georgia Tech-aligned The Tech Way, which will be operated by Student Athlete NIL (SANIL). SANIL CEO Belzer: “This is the seventh Power 5 collective that we’ve launched, and there’s more alignment across both the institutional side as well as the donor side and everything in-between than with any school that we work with. [...] I think we’ve all seen that the majority of real NIL dollars from a corporate standpoint are mostly local. Atlanta has more localized opportunities than any other city in the country. And Georgia Tech is literally smack dab in the middle of Atlanta. There is a tremendous, tremendous opportunity. One of the reasons why we have a chance to come in is because of our track record of being able to bring in the corporate community. Our goal is going to be very aggressive and help connect corporate partners in the larger Atlanta business community to The Tech Way.” The Tech Way has signed around 25 Yellow Jacket student-athletes already. (link)
Tampa Bay Times’ Baker via Twitter: “Yesterday, Rep. @ChipLaMarca filed a bill to amend Florida's NIL law. Among the changes: it would strike a provision against schools/employees causing $ to be directed to players. It also specifies that players are not school employees even if they get NIL.” (link)
+ Varsity Blues mastermind Singer has received a sentence of 42 months in prison. Further, “His prison term will be followed by three years of supervised release. Singer, 62, must also pay $10 million in restitution, according to the Boston Globe.” (link)
+ Suspended NC State radio broadcaster Hahn will return to call Wolfpack games on January 14 after serving a two week suspension for his comments during the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. (link)
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