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Georgia handled TCU in last night’s College Football Playoff championship game to win back-to-back national titles, becoming the first team in the CFP era to do so. Dawgs FB HC Smart postgame to ESPN’s McGrath: “We wanted our kids to play without fear. All year I told them, we ain’t getting hunted, guys. We’re doing the hunting. And hunting season is almost over. We only got one more chance to hunt, and we hunted tonight.” On the dynasty he is building in Athens: “As long as you don’t have entitlement in your program, you’ve got a shot. And right now we don’t have that. It’s creeping. Games like tonight make it that way, but we’ve got a lot of humble guys.” (link)
CollegeAD reports the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi AD search will “slow down.” A pair of finalists reportedly visited campus in December, but the school has decided to push pause on the process and resume once hoops season starts to wind down. (link); The D1.dossier for the opening with the Islanders is available for those after the gig. (link)
REVELxp indicated it was on its way to doubling the revenue from College Football Playoff hospitality for last night’s championship game compared to last season, SBJ’s Smith reports, adding that there were fewer than 100 tickets left to sell 24 hours prior to kickoff. The CFP makes about 3,000 tickets available each year for vendors to sell and they are packaged with hotels and other events. REVELxp, Smith continues, started its sales cycle before the season and added new events, like the “Champions Party at Vibiana, a converted downtown cathedral-turned-musical hall, which provided an intimate setting for a few hundred partygoers to see country singer Dierks Bentley. Kirk Herbstreit and Rece Davis hosted the event.” REVELxp President White says more than half of the ticket and suite inventory was sold before the four playoff teams had been announced and adds: “To have a full 12 months leading into next season’s game will really give us the opportunity to make an even bigger impact for the CFP. There are certain learnings that we’ll take from this year and apply toward next year.” (link)
+ Eastern Illinois has narrowed its presidential search to four finalists in current EIU VP of Academic Affairs Gatrell; former Kentucky College of Law Dean Brennen; Commonwealth University of PA Provost Rogers-Adkinson; and Southeast Missouri State Provost Godard. (link)
+ Lamar taps Marshall Budget Manager Baldwin to take over as Assoc. AD/CFO/Strategic Analyst. (link)
+ CollegeAD has Grambling Senior Assoc. AD for Communications Howard is heading to Norfolk State as Asst. AD for Communications. Howard’s LinkedIn profile reflects the move. (link)
+ CollegeAD also indicates that Princeton AD Mack has hired College of New Jersey (DIII) Associate AD for Compliance and Student Development Smith Jr. as Assoc. AD for DEI with the Tigers, a move confirmed by the Princeton staff directory. (link)
+ Additional talent moves at Penn State, UMass, Abilene Christian, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Mississippi State, Oregon State, Oregon, Michigan State, USF, Morgan State, Rice, West Virginia, Northeastern and more, all found on The Wire at Collegiate Sports Connect. (link)
+ With all the personnel changes in college athletics, stay up-to-date with who oversees which sports at each DI institution. D1.ticker has a list of every sport administrator assignment at every DI department around the nation for 55 existing & emerging sports. Efficiency play for scheduling, best practices, coaching & staff searches, etc. Free signup & usage. (HERE)
Kentucky MBB HC Calipari denies he has had any contact with Texas about its HC opening, saying during his weekly radio show: “I haven't talked to anybody. My concern right now is my guys, my team, and getting this right. I only want to talk about this job. I love this job. I love this group." Calipari’s remarks come after a similar denial from Texas AD Del Conte, who said: “That’s news to me. We’ve been focused on supporting (interim coach) Rodney Terry and our athletes. I have not had any discussions with anybody. That's way too premature, just Internet fodder." (link)
+ Sacred Heart opens the $75M Martire Family Arena, the new home of the Pioneers’ men’s and women’s hockey teams. Amenities include a training room, gym and locker room (with an underwater treadmill) and kitchen for student-athletes. For fans, the new arena also features two bars which bookend a row of luxury boxes. (link)
+ Alabama MBB HC Oats reiterated his desire for a new arena nearly a year after the UA Board of Trustees gave the approval to start formally planning one. “We need to have a great home environment every single game. With a new arena, I think we can get a lot closer to that. I think it’s a big deal for the future. … Hopefully, we can continue selling the place out. If some people want to maybe contribute to getting a new arena so they can watch the game in a brand new arena. Coleman’s not bad, but we could use a new one.” The proposal for the arena in February 2022 stated a cost of about $183M with a seating capacity of about 10,400. Crimson Tide AD Byrne noted in June, however, that inflation and supply chain issues made the path forward less clear, and Oats on Monday acknowledged that “I think they were close and ready to go until inflation obviously hit building costs quite a bit.” (link)
+ Nebraska has taken several steps to address the long lines fans faced during the Huskers’ MBB Matchup with Iowa last month at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Ahead of tonight’s game against Illinois, NU has opened more concession stands than were available at the Iowa game or previous games this season; streamlined menus, removed alcohol sales from some stands, established wristband stations for alcohol purchased separately from concession stands and provided additional locations for beer sales by limiting stands where mixed drinks are sold. Huskers AD Alberts: “We expect to see continued gradual improvement as the season progresses, and we are hopeful of seeing immediate improvement beginning with our men’s home game against Illinois on Tuesday night, and our women’s game against Penn State on Wednesday." (link)
+ Dallas Mavericks owner Cuban is the first professional franchise owner in Texas to publicly state a desire to partner with a casino for a resort-arena development, telling the Dallas Morning News: “My goal, and we’d partner with Las Vegas Sands, is when we build a new arena it’ll be in the middle of a resort and casino. That’s the mission.” Asked how he believes legalizing gambling would impact the Texas sports fan experience, Cuban says: “Vegas. … There’s a reason why Vegas is Vegas. And it’s not just gambling; there’s gambling in a lot of places. It’s the fact there’s resorts for families, for bachelorette and bachelor parties, for conventions. If you create a new arena, whether it’s for us, for us and the Stars or whatever it may be, and you make that a centerpiece? How cool would that be?” (link)
D1Baseball’s Rogers unpacks the biggest takeaways from the recent ABCA Convention in Nashville, starting with the wait on a decision about volunteer coaches becoming full-time coaches in all sports. Rogers: “We’ve learned over the past few years to never say never when it comes to pending legislation, but the smart money is on the shift from volunteer to full-time coach becoming a reality. … What’s much more in limbo right now is the legislation involving hockey, baseball and softball that includes an additional full-time assistant coach to take the countable assistants to four instead of three — assuming the volunteer is turned into a full-time coach. ABCA executive director Craig Keilitz said at last week’s Division I Business meeting that he thought the percentage chance that a fourth countable assistant coach will pass is around 50%. Some coaches I spoke with over the past week said they thought there was a ‘zero’ chance it would pass, and at least a couple of administrators put the chances of it passing well below 50%.” Also from Rogers: “On the NCAA front, don’t expect scholarship counters to be tweaked anytime soon. The Transformation Committee announced last week they wanted to see how the upcoming changes affect the ‘landscape’ of college athletics before charging down that path. There are more people than ever on board with adding scholarships for college baseball, but the process, as you might expect, will take time.” (link)
Colleges and universities cite enrollment as higher ed’s biggest risk for the fourth consecutive year, according to the 2022 Top Risks Report from United Educators. Data security was second, followed by recruitment, hiring and student mental health, respectively. Inside Higher Ed’s Greenberg also notes that the “risks of sexual misconduct lost urgency; Title IX fell to 10th place, down from third place in 2019–20 and eighth place last year. And sexual misconduct, which includes sexual harassment and abuse, dropped to the 18th spot.” (link)
Deals, Deals, Deals…
+ Dyehard Fan Supply and Follett Higher Education agree to a partnership to “combine Dyehard's retail operations into Follett's merchandising infrastructure to bring best-in-class retail solutions to teams, venues, and sporting events at college campuses nationwide.” (link)
+ RealResponse Founder/CEO Chadwick talks about the company’s expansion, noting that while college athletics will always be a focus, expansion into professional sports and Olympic national governing bodies continues to gain momentum. Meanwhile, after announcing Clemson as its first full university partner last year, Chadwick says the company expects to add another this year with plans to continue along that vertical. “For years, we’ve had universities ask us if RealResponse could be expanded beyond the athletic department into the broader campus population. Our answer was always no because the system was designed originally to meet the needs of a very specific group of people. When we built out this more external-facing product for these pro leagues and players associations, we then realized that the system did have a potential utility on the campuses where anybody would have a chance to report.” While declining to announce the company’s first international client, Chadwick does say an agreement is complete and will be announced in the next two months with more international business anticipated in 2023. (link)
+ Yesterday at the AFCA Convention in Charlotte, The Top Hopper held a friendly competition to see who could put up the best vertical jump. The overall winner was Mississippi State Assistant Defensive Backs Coach Calhoun, who recorded a 40-inch vertical. (link)
+ Kentucky adds Kent State to its 2028 home FB schedule. (link)
Yesterday's Evening Standard...
SBJ’s Madkour profiles incoming NCAA President Baker to get a sense of what to expect when he officially takes over and observes: “Charlie Baker is a no-nonsense doer who recruits talented people, loves the ‘how’ of policy as much as the ‘why,’ and leans in on the ‘gnarly stuff’ of problem solving. It’s based around his operating philosophy: ‘People are Policy — Follow the Facts — Focus on How — Push for Results.’” Madkour, who read Baker’s book, Results: Getting Beyond Politics To Get Important Work Done, and also spent time with Baker via Zoom last month, also points out that in hiring, “Baker looks for people who aren’t ‘interested in making things just 5% better but dramatically better.’ He wants ‘no jerks,’ but ‘strong personalities, commanding presence, and smart as hell — check a big YES on all three. But no loudmouths, know-it-alls and over-the-top arrogance.’” More. (link)
College Football Playoff Executive Director Hancock says today was a normal CFP game day board meeting, per The Athletic’s Auerbach, who reports: “Group touched base on every aspect of CFP. Some initial planning for expansion in ‘24 & ‘25 but no major decisions yet. … Hancock confirmed, again, that the CFP is expanding to 12 teams — six highest-ranked champions and six at-larges — for the new contract that begins in 2026.” Also from Hancock regarding the new CFP contract: “We’ll start talking about ‘26 when the time is right.” (link)
Colorado AD George joins the Canzano & Wilner podcast to discuss the hiring of Coach Prime and says he actually spoke “very little” with Sanders throughout the process beyond a lengthy first phone call in which George outlined the opportunities and challenges associated with the job. “At that point I didn’t know if he was interested or not, but I was very candid about where we were at with some of the stuff out there about not being able to get transfers in, and we didn’t have a great collective, and you’ve got to talk about the good and the bad. And I think it’s important that you lay that out because you don’t want him to come in without knowing the total scope of this.” George goes on to note FB social media followers have more than doubled since Sanders came aboard and notably: “We’re gonna sell out our season tickets, we’ve got sponsors now that are coming to the table that want to be involved and engaged, our merchandise was up 600+% in the month of December, and we didn’t hire him until the fourth. … We’ll grow our ticket revenue maybe 100% in one year. That’s the kind of impact that he’s having financially… at the early stages.” On conference realignment, George says: “I don’t know why you would want to go join a conference where there’s 16 to 18 when you could be in a conference of 10 to 12. Your opportunity, particularly when the six top-rated conferences have automatic bids and the four get byes, why would you leave?” Full interview. (link)
Maryland AD Evans enumerates the ways Terps fans can support student-athletes via NIL. Evans highlights the Maryland NIL Marketplace, how to purchase personalized gear through Fanatics and the various collectives supporting the Terrapins. “As you know, this new NIL era has significantly changed the landscape of intercollegiate athletics. … We hope that you get involved because this is so crucial as we move forward in this new landscape.” (link); UMD has also launched a website breaking down how fans can contribute. (link)
Temple AD Johnson encourages fans to support student-athletes’ NIL endeavors via the Temple Owl Exchange or TUFF Fund, writing: “Whether through the Owl Club, season tickets to football, men's and women's basketball, or NIL activities through the Temple Owl Exchange or TUFF Fund, there are many different ways to help support Temple Athletics and our student-athletes. … With your help, we remain steadfast in our goals: providing our student-athletes with great experiences while helping them to grow holistically, graduating with a Temple degree, and competing for championships.” (link)
+ Collegiate Sports Associates promotes VP/COO Drew Turner to President, succeeding CSA Founder Todd Turner, who will assume the role of Chairman. Outgoing President Turner: “Drew grew up in and has now worked in this dynamic enterprise for over a decade, learning and knowing the value of what good leadership can mean to a team, athletic department, or university. He has proven to be a successful, experienced leader and a fierce competitor, yet a true teammate dedicated to serving CSA’s university partners and the enterprise of college athletics. He has earned this opportunity demonstrating a level of professionalism and leadership that will serve CSA and our many university partners for years to come.” (link)
+ Holy Cross has named Boston College Senior Assoc. AD of Athletics Business Operations Coleman as Senior Assoc. AD. (link)
+ Creighton taps Penn State Assoc. AD for Compliance Stolberg for the same role. (link)
+ Louisiana Tech taps Utah Valley Assoc. AD for Student-Athlete Academic Services, Diversity & Inclusion Glass as Assoc. AD for Student-Athlete Success Services. (link)
+ LEARFIELD promotes Texas A&M Ventures Director of Business Development Book to GM. (link)
+ North Carolina Volleyball HC Sagula calls it a career after 33 seasons leading the Tar Heels. (link)
+ Tulane FB HC Fritz announces he’s agreed to an extension through 2030, per FootballScoop. (link)
+ Grambling FB HC Jackson stands in front of a Maybach and several Louis Vuitton bags for an Instagram Reel with the caption: “The Maybach of the SWAC. Coach Prime recently exclaimed: ‘I’m bringing my luggage with me.’ Well, ours is here and it’s the best. Just ask ‘LV.’ Our players and coaches have brought their skills and their determination and will arrive to every workout, practice, and game in a style that will set the standard in SWAC football.” (link)
Deals, Deals, Deals…
+ Army West Point is Collegiate Sports Connect’s newest institutional partner. Connect Co-Founder/President Turner: “Not only does Connect give you the opportunity to control your professional profile and present yourself to prospective employers how you want, but by joining the Connect community you will also have access to exclusive industry-specific content created by the D1.ticker and to breakout rooms where users can connect with colleagues to discuss ideas and best practices. Our goal is to have every Division 1 institution as a search client by 2023. My message to our industry and the professionals who work in it is to sign up for a profile and take advantage of this wonderful resource.” (link)
+ Furman inks a multiyear agreement with Taymar Sales U. (link)
+ Western Kentucky through CLC partners with West Sixth Brewing Co. to launch the 1906 Lager, which will be made exclusively for WKU. (link)
More from Los Angeles…
+ The Sun Belt has made its presence known in Los Angeles via massive digital signage. (link)
+ ESPN will air its newest “This is SportsCenter” ad during tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championship. The spot will feature the Delta State (DII) “Fighting Okra,” which is just objectively one of the greatest nicknames – unofficial, though it may be – in college athletics, along with SportsCenter anchors Duncan and Negandhi. (link)
SBJ catches up with several sports execs to hear their ideas on how to improve sports and sports business, and LEARFIELD CRO Brody asserts it’s time to end convoluted blackout rules, saying: “Let us watch the games we want to watch – stream away. It’s how we live.” Brody also submits: “Signage is valuable and will stay that way. Let’s all be more innovative about it; fans understand brands help fuel the engine. Employ technology and work to embed partners inside content wherever possible. … Wagering is cool and endemic for fans. We need to make it consistent, accessible, and easier. … I love cams, it feels so inside the game — PylonCam, UmpireCam — more cams everywhere.” Daktronics VP of Live Events Parker calls for increased use of LED lights to create more immersive in-venue experiences. “New construction and renovations provide the perfect opportunity to design high-resolution LED signage into these out-of-the-bowl spaces in a non-intrusive way that complements the experience and the architecture.” Meanwhile, Wells Fargo Championship Tournament Director Sobba believes college football games should be shortened to three hours or less by identifying areas where the clock doesn’t need to be stopped and shortening timeouts. “15-20 minutes of dead-ball commercial inventory have been added to game logs in the last 10 years to increase rights fees. Find a way to convert these to ‘play-through’ breaks so while action continues in the stadium, fans at home see the action while a commercial airs. This may require a renegotiation with radio rights holders who will lose commercial inventory, but both colleges and rights holders prospered previously with fewer commercials.” Lots more. (link)
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