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The Athletic's Fortuna reported late last night Mississippi State will introduce Oklahoma Deputy AD for External Engagement & Advancement Selmon as its next AD at a presser this morning. CollegeAD was on the beat first. (link)
San Diego State AD Wicker had a “conversation” with Mississippi State, his alma mater, about the Bulldogs’ AD position but opted to remain with the Aztecs, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Zeigler. Wicker: “I would not have had the conversation if it wasn’t my alma mater. I’m excited to get a new contract completed and keep growing San Diego State athletics and the institution.” SDSU President de la Torre adds: “It is no surprise he is in high demand, especially for the nation’s top athletic programs. But the opportunity to push collegiate athletics forward is here at SDSU. The investment is here, and the time is right. I am committed to that future together with JD.” Zeigler reports a new contract for Wicker is expected to be finalized in the next few weeks. (link)
+ Sports Illustrated’s Dellenger reports several officials in San Antonio for the NCAA Convention have pointed to ACC Commissioner Phillips as the logical successor, with one ACC administrator saying: “No one would blame him [for taking the Big Ten job].” As for the possibility of an outside hire, former Big 12 Commissioner Bowlsby explains: “You don’t have to gain your experience within college athletics to be a commissioner, but there is a context with which college operates. If you don’t have that context, you need to surround yourself with people who do.” (link)
+ Sports Illustrated’s Forde adds Illinois AD Whitman’s name to the potential candidate list along with Fox Sports President Silverman. (link)
+ Yahoo’s Wetzel offers more of a postmortem on Warren’s tenure: “The truth is no amount of linebackers seeking playing time and the possibility of a few additional bucks can alter the fabric of college sports the way Warren did. [...] He more than earned whatever the league paid him.” (link)
+ The Athletic’s Mandel points out that “it seems the following people are not unhappy to see Kevin Warren leave the Big Ten: Big Ten ADs; some Big Ten [presidents]; other commissioners, most of whom he alienated during CFP negotiations and realignment; certain TV execs. Just a small list.” USA Today’s Wolken responds: “I’m not sure if this says more about Kevin Warren or the college sports establishment.” To which Mandel replies: “Wasn't a great sign when he needed his own crisis comms person < 1 yr into the job.” Wolken rebuts: “That’s how big business operates, and that’s the world he comes from. I don’t think it’s a weakness. He rocked some boats. I would argue there are a lot of boats in this sport that need to be rocked.” (link)
+ JohnCanzano.com’s namesake looks behind the curtain at Anachel CEO Cecil, whom he calls a “fixer,” as her firm represents several clients, including outgoing Big Ten Commissioner Warren. Canzano posits: “Warren’s reputation was teetering before he hired Anachel.” Warren has since transformed the conference and Cecil has narrated his comeback: “On Twitter, Cecil utilizes a masked, cartoonish superhero-like avatar and her profile includes ‘Media Muse.’” Ironically Cecil, who fundamentally believes in providing a comment to the media, had no comment for Canzano or to D1.ticker. Perhaps she was a little busy yesterday. (link)
The Athletic’s Auerbach reports Baylor President/NCAA Board of Governors Chair Livingstone spent a great deal of time at the NCAA Convention emphasizing the need for a federal solution to the problems facing college athletics: “Several states are right now considering legislation that would mandate a vastly changed relationship between school and its students. Congress is really the only entity that can affirm student-athletes’ unique status. We have to ensure that Congress understands what’s at stake and motivate them to act. Second, we need a safe harbor for a certain degree of antitrust complaints. We’re not looking for nor do we actually need broad antitrust exemption; we do need the ability to make common-sense rules without limitless threats of litigation.” Incoming NCAA President Baker: “There are 1,100 universities and colleges in the U.S. that participate significantly in college athletics, and I think many of them were really concerned about their future. Most of those schools have really solid relationships with a lot of the people who serve in elected office.” (link, link)
Extra Points’ Brown catches up with some ADs at the NCAA Convention to chat about the potential expansion of March Madness to 96 teams. Brown notes that while many associate the expansion push with the SEC, there “may be something to the idea that expanding significantly beyond 68 teams would have to include more mid-majors, simply because there aren't enough P6 teams with marginal resumes. However, Brown says he “heard concerns from multiple leaders, including some in multi-bid leagues, that one way or another, the P6 leagues would find a way to grab a bigger share. If the NET says that more bids would go to the MAC or MVC, well, guess the bracket format or the formula ends up getting tweaked, and surprise! 17 Big Ten teams made the tournament.” More. (link)
An email introduced as evidence in the lawsuit filed by the OVC against Eastern Kentucky indicates EKU already had plans to leave the league and that EKU officials suspected the OVC may dismiss them from the conference, according to the Richmond Register’s Hutchinson. EKU has since released a statement explaining that “(Colonels AD) Matt Roan has a personal relationship with (ASUN Commissioner) Ted Gumbart and (BoT Chair) Lewis Diaz” and that “use of personal email accounts in this case was an isolated use to discuss the possibility of conference moves, due to the nature of the relationships and the nature of the business of the athletic conferences. Much of the use of a personal email account involves many preliminary 'draft' or brainstorming sessions of what could be, which are not subject to production under open records laws." Lots here. (link)
Harbaugh Watch continues as Michigan FB HC Harbaugh responded to President Ono’s tweet stating that both he and Wolverines AD Manuel want Harbaugh to remain in Ann Arbor. “I am in full support of President Ono’s message to our fans and appreciate his support of me and the team.” (link)
The ECU Pirate Club raised a record $36.7M in 2022, surpassing the previous mark set in 2016 by nearly $4M. In total, ECU received 57 gifts of $25K or more, five gifts of $1M or more, and five gifts from $500K to $999,999. (link)
INFLCR announces the newly acquired NextPlay and Grafted will be consolidated into the newly formed Teamworks Communities product “to allow student-athletes to directly interface with fans, alumni, and other supporters of their institution. This integration will generate new NIL revenue opportunities for student-athletes inside of INFLCR and help them start thinking about their careers by unlocking career opportunities with the alumni.” (link)
Former Kentucky women’s swimming student-athlete Gaines was joined by around two dozen demonstrators at the NCAA Convention yesterday to protest the inclusion of transgender athletes in women's sports. Gaines: “Today, we intend to personally tell the NCAA to stop discriminating against female athletes by handing them a petition that we have garnered nearly 10,000 signatures on in just a couple of days.” Former Harvard swimmer Bailar, who transitioned from the women’s team to the men’s team while in Cambridge, contended during a session one challenge is the changing nature of the standards. “And fairness is ever evolving, as well, the more we learn about bodies and biology and people and the more we understand diversity and equity and inclusion.” (link)
+ Tennessee’s Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center has been chosen as the host site for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for diving. (link)
+ BYU and Miami (FL) have canceled their home-and-home FB series originally slated for 2026 and 2028. (link)
+ U.S consumer prices fell 0.1% in December, marking a dip for the first time in more than 2.5 years, as gasoline and motor vehicles prices declined, offering hope that inflation is now on a sustained downward trend, though the labor market remains tight, per Reuters. (link)
+ FTX says it has recovered more than $5B worth of cash and crypto assets it may be able to sell to help repay customers and investors. The company is also trying to sell off other “nonstrategic investments” made by FTX that have a value of $4.6B, per FTX attorney Dietderich. Federal regulators have estimated that FTX customers’ losses exceed $8B. (link)
Yesterday's Evening Standard...
Changes in Rosemont…
+ Big Ten Commissioner Warren has agreed to become the next President/CEO of the Chicago Bears. Chairman McCaskey says Warren is a “proven leader who has many times stepped outside of his comfort zone to challenge status quo for unconventional growth and prosperity. In this role, Warren will serve in the primary leadership position of the franchise to help bring the next Super Bowl championship trophy home to Bears fans.” (link)
+ The Athletic’s Auerbach and Fortuna put together a potential candidate pool after conversations with search firms, administrators and agents and start with ACC Commissioner Phillips, who they note was “widely believed to be the frontrunner to land this job in 2019, before Warren came out of nowhere to ultimately win the presidents over. … If the Big Ten ADs were in charge of this search, Phillips would be the guy, period. And there is no mistaking that the Big Ten is far better-positioned than the ACC is for the future of college athletics.” Other candidates include Patriot League Commissioner Heppel, Ohio State AD Smith, Stanford AD Muir, UCLA AD Jarmond, Fox Sports President/COO Silverman, Nebraska President Carter, Big Ten SVP for Television, Media Analytics & Emerging Platforms Kenny, WNBA Commissioner Engelbert, IMG Academy President/former Rutgers AD Pernetti, and Arizona State Public Enterprise VP/COO and former Robert Morris President Howard. Rationales for each candidate included. (link)
+ ESPN’s Thamel reports the Big Ten “made no tangible push to keep Warren since the news originally broke, as Warren's approval rating with conference athletic directors remains low and the churn of Big Ten presidents and chancellors -- a vast majority of the 14 have changed over since his hire in 2019 -- have left him without a strong bloc of people invested in his success.” (link)
The DI Board of Directors has approved the recommendations from the Transformation Committee’s final report and will begin implementation immediately, “meaning many elements of enhanced support could be in place by the next academic year,” according to the NCAA. SEC Commissioner Sankey and Ohio AD Cromer: “The Transformation Committee spent the last year looking at Division I from all angles and carefully crafting these meaningful recommendations we feel will modernize Division I. We're confident these important changes will meet the needs of student-athletes because they were rooted in the perspective of student-athletes. In fact, we're confident that student-athletes' voices have never featured more prominently in shaping how college sports is run. The process of transforming the NCAA cannot be limited to a committee or a 12-month timeline. Transformation must be a commitment accepted and embraced by all in Division I, particularly for those in key leadership positions. We must overcome reluctance to change the status quo through a continuing commitment to both the discomfort and opportunity created by an ongoing transformation effort.” (link)
The Athletic’s Auerbach: “One other tidbit from today: The NCAA is also creating a second, 32-team Division I women's basketball tournament to accompany the NCAA tournament. It's the equivalent of the NIT but will not be the WNIT, which is a separate, privately-owned tournament.” According to the NCAA, a name for the event is TBD. (link, link)
North Carolina finished the fall semester atop the LEARFIELD Directors’ Cup standings with 382.5 points, followed by Stanford (330), BYU (314.5), Ohio State (313), Syracuse (310.5), Penn State and Pittsburgh (309), Texas (298), Virginia (297) and Alabama (290) in the top 10. (link); Among the conferences not represented above, the following finished atop their respective leagues: New Hampshire (America East), Memphis (AAC), Liberty (ASUN), Saint Louis (Atlantic 10), Georgetown (Big East), Northern Arizona (Big Sky), High Point (Big South), UC Irvine (Big West), Delaware (CAA), Western Kentucky (Conference USA), Cleveland State (Horizon League), Harvard (Ivy League), Quinnipiac (MAAC), Toledo (MAC), Delaware State (MEAC), Missouri State (Missouri Valley), Air Force (Mountain West), Fairleigh Dickinson (Northeast), SIU Edwardsville (OVC), Holy Cross (Patriot), Samford (SoCon), Incarnate Word (Southland), South Dakota State (Summit), Marshall (Sun Belt), Florida A&M (SWAC), and Cal Baptist (WAC). (link)
Georgia AD Brooks joins Sportico’s Novy-Williams and Soshnick to discuss the football program’s business approach, the fan experience at Sanford Stadium, distributing championship rings to everyone associated with the program, from the AD down to the stadium janitors, and taking a revenue hit to provide fans with affordable concessions. In discussing the fan experience, Brooks points out fans had long complained the ice at Stanford Stadium was bad. When UGA imported different ice, the fans still complained. So, in 2021, Brooks and the school created a new ice sponsorship category and partnered with Zaxby’s, whose ice is the envy of many a fast food chain. Now Sanford Stadium drinks come with official Zaxby’s ice. Brooks discusses the school’s trial-and-error process to figure out which smell (Brooks prefers the Gain laundry detergent fresh scent) to pump into the stadium to keep fans happy. The school, Brooks notes, receives real-time feedback from fans via a partnership with HappyOrNot to establish baselines for the fan experience. One future improvement is likely to involve broadcasting the radio feed in restrooms. Lots more in the full pod. (link)
New Collegiate Sports Associates President Turner joins D1.ticker/Connect’s Garcia Cichosz at the 2023 NCAA Convention to talk about his plans for leading the firm, offer advice to up-and-coming college athletics leaders, share insights into the AD search process and provide updates on Collegiate Sports Connect. Regarding the latter: “...about 13 months in now, we have approaching 7K users. If you think about 7K in the market we’re catering to, 7K for 13 months is a pretty good clip at the total available market. We’ve got close to 25 full-paying annual partners on Connect, as well.” Full Q&A. (link)
Extra Points’ Brown reports from the Knight Commission’s seminar titled “The Multi-Billion Dollar Question: How Should New CFP and D-I Revenues Be Used?” and notes that “Knight data shows that disproportionate increase in spending in coach spending (specifically for FB head and assistant coaches), and facility spending.” Total athletic student aid has grown, per Knight, *much* more slowly. Knight Data also shows that FBS schools have spent over $530M on football coach buyouts (head and assistant) since 2012. Knight projects coaching salaries, and football coach severance payments, to increase at an even stronger rate, post CFB expansion revenue. They project FBS schools will spend $155M on FB coach severance in 2030. Knight also believes that a new Racial Equity Standard should be put in place to make sure that institutions who share in revenue distribution meet minimum graduation standards for Black athletes.” (link); Here’s the commission’s presentation with lots more data. (link)
D1.ticker/Connect’s Eargle chats with Duke Deputy AD for Development Austin about the Blue Devils’ FB success and how the department is leveraging that momentum, connecting FB HC Elko with alumni, the department’s ticket sales strategy given the widespread nature of Blue Devil alumni and initiatives that have begun paying dividends. Don’t miss the full interview now live on Connect. (link)
The Athletic’s Tucker offers a glimpse behind the scenes at Kentucky’s tumultuous MBB season and asserts some of the blame must be placed on Wildcats AD Barnhart. “For whatever reason, he and Calipari no longer have a relationship of any significance. They don’t speak to each other. [...] Calipari has already secured pledges of about $30M in private funding — mostly from his former players in the NBA — but Barnhart refuses to let him proceed with planning a [new practice] facility. … This is where Calipari misses another old ally, former deputy AD DeWayne Peevy, who’s now the AD at DePaul. Peevy used to be the intermediary between Calipari and Barnhart.” More. (link)
Coaches Wire, continued…
+ Michigan President Ono shares an update on the Michigan FB HC situation, such as it is: “I am pleased to share that I have been having very positive and constructive conversations with our Athletic Director and Football Coach. Warde Manuel and I both want to see Jim Harbaugh stay as the head football coach of the University of Michigan Wolverines.” (link)
+ Pittsburgh extends Women’s Soccer HC Waldrum through at least the 2027 season. (link)
+ Oklahoma State DC/former Vanderbilt FB HC Mason announces he will take a “sabbatical” from coaching in college and will spend more time with his family and “reflect on opportunities within the game.” (link)
Add Nebraska AD Alberts to the growing list of ADs publicly encouraging fans to support NIL collectives. Alberts specifically mentions The 1890 Initiative, Big Red Collective and Athlete Impact Management as those the athletic department “fully supports.” (link)
UTSA FB HC Traylor expresses concern about the direction of NIL: “What’s happening, man, is the third parties getting involved. It’s just common sense. You’ve got agents talking to your kids, communicate with another school — can’t prove any of this — and they’re charging those kids a percentage and they’re getting paid. It’s not good for those kids when you’re in the middle of the season and, you know, that can get cloudy for a young man. I feel for them. And all of those kids that are walking into my office, they’re good kids. They’re being put in a bad position and I want them to get paid. [...] If nothing else, just put on some marshal deputy badges because the NCAA’s in trouble because I don’t think they have enough people to really enforce it. So the guys that are following the rules are being punished and the guys that are not following the rules are benefiting.” #imyourhuckleberry (link)
Deals, Deals, Deals…
+ North Alabama extends its apparel contract with Adidas through the 2026-27 academic year. (link)
+ Elite Casino Resorts has committed $500K to the Iowa-focused Swarm Collective, making it the exclusive casino gaming partner and first corporate partner of the collective. As part of the agreement, each of Elite Casino Resorts’ properties will support this partnership hosting charitable events that feature Hawkeyes student-athletes. (link)
+ Louisiana Tech inks a department-wide group licensing deal with The Brandr Group. (link)
+ The NIL Store powered by Campus Ink has announced Maryland as an official NIL licensee and will provide NIL merchandising opportunities to Terps student-athletes. (link)
+ Just Play announces a direct integration with Catapult to “allow mutual customers to connect the two platforms and easily add video content from Catapult into Just Play to simplify and expedite the workflow of coaching staffs.” (link)
+ Action Network’s Rovell reports Fanatics is making its first move in sports betting under the brand Fanatics Sportsbook. “First state? Maryland. First stop? Retail book at FedEx Field. First book inside NFL stadium. Officially opens in eight days (1/20). No registering for any mobile yet.” (link); Sportico’s Novy-Williams adds the Maryland play will involve the Washington Commanders and be the first sportsbook inside an NFL stadium. Novy-Williams also notes the company just received a license for Massachusetts and will release more on the mobile product at a later date. (link)
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