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“I am not an economist, but generally, more is better than less. And while I am not a sports journalist, I know better than to bury the lede. The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments should expand to 96 teams.” That’s how Loyola Marymount AD Pintens begins his “manifesto” for AthleticDirectorU. Pintens proceeds to outline why the expansion - the “Madness Before the Madness (MBTM)” - would be fruitful: 1) Eliminate the NIT, which saves expenses; 2) Eliminate the First Four in Dayton, as it is no longer needed, although could serve as a host if it is deemed better to have a neutral site; 3) The 32 Automatic Qualifiers would not participate in the MBTM, as they would automatically be seeded in the resulting 64-team bracket; 4) The remaining field would consist of the 64 best at-large teams as deemed by the selection committee. Selection criteria would remain the same; 5) At-larges #33-64 would be seeded via the S-Curve, avoiding teams from the same conference playing in the MBTM; 6) These games will be in home venues of the higher-seeded team and played on Tuesday/Wednesday before the start of the NCAA tournament; 7) MBTM games will fill into the #8/9 and #7/10 games in the bracket. Using the methodology on the 2022 MBB tourney: “Not exactly Power Six Conferences in the MBTM, as they represent just 11 of 28 teams (39%).” Lots more to consider in the full piece, including: “Would the broadcast partners of the NCAA tournament be willing to renegotiate, or does that clause exist in the current agreement? As the noted American existential philosophy poets Titus and Tate have declared, whenever there is a question in college athletics, the answer is, ‘Money, duh.’” (link)
CollegeAD indicates Mississippi State still plans to select a new AD this week & that San Diego State AD Wicker ultimately “opted not to pursue the opening.” (link)
The Santa Barbara Independent’s Bryant profiles new UC Santa Barbara AD Barsky, who says she never expected to ascend to the AD post after coming to UCSB as a WBB AC, “but what I always knew is that I would be working in roles that support mentorship and education and serving students. Having the opportunity to move into the college of letters and science and work as an academic advisor was really momentous for me. Having the opportunity to serve the campus in a different way, not just student athletes, but students, staff, and faculty on our campus.” Asked about increasing the number of women in DI AD positions, Barsky tells Bryant: “I think it starts with having these conversations and creating awareness. I’m inspired by so many individuals that are out there publicly and on social media creating awareness and creating systems to help individuals — whether its females or underrepresented minorities — grow into roles of leadership.” (link)
Freezing temperatures caused the fan coil below the court at Little Rock’s Jack Stephens Center to fail, which caused extensive flooding and damage to the playing surface. While the Trojans were able to move games to Simmons Bank Arena, UALR AD Lee tells Extra Points purveyor Brown that “even with relatively fortuitous circumstances, moving multiple DI basketball games on three days' notice isn't plug-and-play.” For one, the Trojans couldn’t run an ESPN+ broadcast from the arena, as setting up the necessary infrastructure was cost-prohibitive. Additionally, the video boards are different sizes, meaning all the digital signage would have to be changed. Lee: “We tried to do everything we could from a sponsorship perspective, but I'm sure we didn't move over everything. There are a lot of things that don't sound difficult until you're the one that has to do it." (link)
Following the settlement announcement of a legal battle between former Virginia Tech Women’s Soccer student-athlete Hening and Hokies HC Adair, 76 current and former players released a statement in support of Adair, which said, in part, “...we firmly stand with our Coach, Charles ‘Chugger’ Adair, against what we believe are baseless allegations made against him. We have spent countless hours training, traveling and playing under his leadership and are devastated and appalled to see his character and integrity severely impugned. … We firmly believe that these allegations are nothing more than a distorted representation of the facts. Today, we join together to affirm that Coach Adair’s leadership has made each of us better players, teammates, and people. We stand by Coach Adair and Virginia Tech, and what we believe is the truth. And we look forward to the bright future of the Virginia Tech Women’s Soccer Program under his guidance.” Hokies AD Babcock also put out a statement: “Coach Adair has positively impacted so many student-athletes’ lives evidenced by the statement released earlier today by more than 70 current and former players. Virginia Tech supports and believes in Coach Adair. His integrity is highly regarded throughout the soccer landscape and his coaching abilities have brought unprecedented success to our women’s soccer program. The university looks forward to Coach Adair being a part of our athletics family for many years to come.” (link)
Colorado FB HC Sanders graces the cover of GQ draped in fur to discuss his decision to take the reins in Boulder. Coach Prime explains the hastiness of his departure from Jackson State was the product of the portal opening. “You know how many kids are in the portal that can help your university? That’s the jump-off today. So we got to announce this. You can’t wait because now you put your university in a bind.” For all of his appeal, though, Buffs AD George says Sanders is direct in his approach to recruits. “He’s not a big salesperson. He's more of a ‘This is what it's going to look like, and this is what we need, and this is what we're looking for.’” Asked whether he will be comfortable in a predominantly white community like Boulder, Sanders explains: “I think it’s totally the opposite. I think our people are more critical of the Black man than others are. We're more critical of one another, not the other way around. Our critiques and criticism are much more detrimental than anyone else, because we know and we should understand. But oftentimes, we don't.” (link)
Iona MBB HC Pitino told NCAA investigators in 2021 that former Louisville/current Rhode Island AC Johnson had “ruined my life,” caused his family “humiliation” and cost him $38M in future salary due to Johnson’s alleged involvement in the Cardinals’ recruitment of former prospect Bowen, according to current Leo Weekly/former Louisville Courier-Journal scribe Sullivan. Pitino’s transcript has now been released after a lengthy legal battle between UL and the Courier-Journal, which ended in November. (link)
We offer our deepest condolences to the Air Force community following the passing of football cadet-athlete Brown, who suffered a medical emergency on his way to class. (link)
U.S. Congressmen Gallagher (R-WI) and Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) are calling on ESPN to no longer allow TikTok to serve as a sponsor during football games. They assert in a letter to the network that TikTok “poses a significant threat to U.S. national security,” and that the sponsorships raise “serious questions about ESPN corporate decision-making.” The lawmakers are asking ESPN to respond to a series of questions by the end of the month including whether the network will “commit to ending its commercial relationship with TikTok, ByteDance, and other Chinese companies determined by the U.S. government to pose national security threats.” TikTok spokesperson Oberwetter says both lawmakers “ignored our requests to brief them on our comprehensive plans to address their national security concerns.” (link)
+ CollegeAD reports Georgia Tech has seen a number of staff departures, including Senior Assoc. AD for Annual Giving & Engagement Keisler and Assoc. AD/Chief of Staff Tremblay. Neither are listed on the Yellow Jackets staff directory. (link)
+ Nations Group adds a trio of staffers, including former Rose Bowl CEO/GM Dunn, former Perkins&Will sports architect Harvey and former LEARFIELD/FanBase VP for Client Success Shoultz. The three new vice presidents will oversee project development, project management and business development/marketing. (link)
+ Additional talent moves at Notre Dame (Altius Sports Partners), Florida, Charlotte, Ball State, North Texas, Louisiana Tech, Utah Valley, Harvard, Boston College, and Holy Cross. More on The Wire at Collegiate Sports Connect. (link)
+ The Old Dominion Athletic Foundation raised a record $18M in 2022, topping the previous high of $17M set in 2019. (link)
+ UNCW’s Seahawk Club ended the year with 2,693 members, topping last year’s 1,946 mark and setting a new record in membership. (link)
+ Indiana State partners with the Terre Haute Brewing Company to create the ISU-branded Crossroads Cream Ale. The cans will feature the ISU school colors and the Sycamores athletic logo. (link)
+ Miami (FL) has added Bethune-Cookman to its 2023 home FB slate. The Wildcats will be led by first-year HC and legendary Cane Reed. (link)
Yesterday's Evening Standard...
Utah Tech’s transition to the newly merged WAC/ASUN football-only FCS conference is a done deal, according to Trailblazers AD Beazer, who says: “We’re playing a six game conference schedule in 2023. It will be a full eight game schedule in 2024.” Beazer also notes the Trailblazers have seen a “rapid ascension” over the past few years and adds: “There’s really no plan to stop. I think the growth of the community, the growth of the university not only mandates, but almost guarantees the growth of the athletic department.” (link)
Denver AD Berlo joins D1.ticker/Connect’s Eargle to talk about DU’s brand update, the potential impact of changes from the NCAA Transformation Committee, the Pioneers’ relationship with New Balance, his first six months on the job and what’s in store for 2023. Check out the full Q&A now live on Connect. (link)
Florida State Representative LaMarca (R-93) has filed HB 99 which would allow more institutional involvement from universities and colleges in NIL matters. Specifically, according to the Orlando Sentinel’s Murschel, the bill would enable colleges, universities and its employees to steer NIL opportunities toward athletes. LaMarca: “If you think about what an athlete’s earlier life is like, no matter what their background is, they rely heavily on their coaches, the staff and the administration. For them not to be able to have any conversations about what opportunities are out there was limiting our athletes. Now that we know where the NCAA is, and where the other schools are, we want to ensure that we’re all at least on a level playing field.” LaMarca also notes he would like to expand the bill further at some point to allow universities to connect student-athletes with professionals who can offer investment and tax advice. (link)
USF officially opens the $22M, 88K-sq-ft Porter Family Indoor Performance Facility, which will serve all Bulls student-athletes. The center includes a 100-yard turf field, locker rooms, a video work area and an outdoor plaza. FB HC Golesh: “What’s reinvigorating is the commitment of everyone to go and be elite. The resources that are being put forth are giving us the ability to actually go and be elite. The only thing we’ve talked about with our football program, our coaches, our staff is what’s next.” (link, link)
Wake Forest FB HC Clawson following today’s FBS coaches meeting indicated there’s consensus that any rules that aren’t enforceable – analysts coaching, tampering, etc – shouldn’t be a rule, as the only people being punished are those who are following the rules, according to ESPN’s Hale. AFCA Executive Director Berry added: “There’s a lot of coaches right now just saying ‘Let’s blow the whole thing up.’ … It looks like a free for all right now because, quite frankly, it is.” Berry also says there’s energy behind moving up the early signing day, though Hale notes that “several coaches I’ve talked to don’t think it helps. Dave Doeren suggests no signing day – 365 days, 85 scholarships, sign ‘em whenever.” Also from Berry: “We came really, really close to not playing some postseason games this year” because teams were so thin at positions due to opt outs and portal. Says there’s energy to let all players eligible for bowl without impacting redshirts. (link) ESPN’s Rittenberg reports Berry “says after football coaches' meeting that there's interest in moving the high school signing date up, before the transfer portal opens. Might be the first Wednesday in December or right after Thanksgiving.” Berry: “It’s so chaotic right now.” (link)
D1.ticker/Connect’s Eargle catches up with Memphis Deputy AD Crane and Director of Marketing/GameDay Presentation Moore to discuss leveraging success on the field in marketing endeavors, the proposed upgrades to Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium, the Memphis Rising campaign and strategic initiatives that are currently paying dividends for the Tigers. Check out the full conversation on Connect. (link)
+ Hofstra names New View Psychology Group psychotherapist Bertuccio as the department’s first Assoc. AD for Mental Health Services. (link)
+ Holy Cross promotes Men’s Golf HC Napoli to Director of Golf. (link)
+ Lehigh Field Hockey HC Dallmeyer steps away to pursue a career outside of coaching (link)
+ Penn Softball HC King announces her retirement after 19 seasons as a team-leader. AHC Gonzales will serve as interim HC this spring. (link)
+ Penn taps USC Men’s Tennis AC Bonfiglio for the Quakers’ Men’s Tennis HC post. (link)
+ Xavier AD Christopher promotes Men’s and Women’s Tennis HC Matthews to Director of Tennis. Matthews will remain the HC of the women’s team, while AC Rasco is the new Men’s Tennis HC. (link)
+ With Georgia FB HC Smart adding $250K for the Dawgs natty last night, he ends the season with $1.35M in on-field bonuses, meaning his total pay for the season is $11.6M, per USA Today’s Berkowitz, who adds that college football head coaches at FBS public schools earned more than $12.2M in bonuses for this season. “This does not include the future value of automatic contract extensions that nine coaches picked up this season. Those are set to be worth at least $24M in later years.” (link)
The unstoppable Sports TV Ratings breaks down the quarter-hour viewing figures from last night’s national championship as follows: 8P ET: 20.33M; 8:15: 21.85M; 8:30: 22.365M; 8:45: 22.18M; 9:00: 20.795M; 9:15: 16.226M; 9:30: 15.885M; 9:45: 16.24M; 10:00P: 14.95M; 10:15: 13.34M; 10:30: 11.8M; 10:45: 10.3M. SBJ’s Karp: “Havent seen a formal number yet, but based on this breakdown, Georgia's blowout of TCU would be at around 17.2M viewers and EASILY be the least-watched title game since the BCS era began in 1999. Prior low was 18.7M for Bama-Ohio State at end of the pandemic season.” (link)
Elevate Sports Ventures and Hive break down the brand exposure figures from last night’s College Football Playoff title game. On the ESPN game telecast, the following brands received the most in-game exposure: Nike: 45m 23s; AT&T: 10m 59s; Gatorade: 4m 56s; Mercedes-Benz: 4m 04s; SoFi: 4m 03s; Allstate: 2m 37s; Goodyear: 35 seconds; DraftKings: 21 seconds; RAM Trucks: 18 seconds; and Dr. Pepper: 17 seconds. The top three remain unchanged from last year’s championship, though Nike’s in-game exposure dropped from its 1:04:08 duration a year ago. Meanwhile, DraftKings was the only brand that was not an official CFP sponsor to reach the Top 10 by exposure duration, with its exposure earned through TVGI promotions for ESPN’s NBA Wednesday doubleheader. In total, 13 brands received at least 10 seconds of exposure, down from 15 last year. (link)
ESPN will bring College GameDay to three WBB games this season, including the January 26 matchup between Tennessee and Connecticut from Thompson-Boling Arena. The other two will be announced at a later date. In addition to featuring one of the sport’s historic rivalries, the matchup is also part of ESPN's annual "We Back Pat" initiative, honoring legendary former Lady Vols HC Summitt and supporting the Pat Summitt Foundation. ESPN VP of Production Lowry: “We are thrilled to continue integrating women’s college basketball into the 'College GameDay' brand with additional shows this season. … Having the first show of 2023 at Tennessee for this matchup while supporting 'We Back Pat', with one of Summitt’s former players, Kellie (Jolly) Harper, now leading the Lady Vol program, it couldn’t be more fitting.” (link)
Houston Christian unveils its updated athletics branding, which includes modifications to the Husky head and new wordmarks following the name change of the school last fall. (link)
Jacksonville State announces the addition of women’s bowling as the Gamecocks’ 18th varsity sport with competition set to begin in 2023-24. (link)
Florida State, in partnership with WMT Digital, has launched a Heisman campaign for QB Travis. The new website includes a highlight reel and enumerates Travis’ accomplishments to date, particularly when compared to some of FSU’s previous stars, including Heisman-winning QBs Ward and Weinke. (link)
+ Looks like Teamworks is preparing for what they're calling 'the biggest announcement in company history' on Wednesday this week. We'll have coverage as the news breaks. (link)
+ Charlotte has launched an updated mobile app via SIDEARM Sports. (link)
+ ESPN and the Pac-12 are in the process of moving the Arizona State-Colorado game to Week 0 to kick off next season, per FootballScoop and other sources. As of now, CU’s opener is scheduled to be at TCU. (link)
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