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Northern Illinois AD Frazier catches up with @1QLeadership to discuss key issues facing the industry, including mitigating the potential educational impact of entering the transfer portal, plus ADs pushing collectives now when they avoided it initially. On the latter: “I think it was so new and so taboo. I’m a seasoned vet, right, going on 10 years at NIU and it was simply not what we did. It just didn’t feel like the amateur model in which we all engage. But, a lot of things we haven’t done in the past and now we’re making changes. This one is different because it’s clear it has such a recruiting component to it. It has such a larger than life impact on your performance on the fields and courts of play. So, you have to get with it. And, it still puts a chill behind my neck at times, but I’ll give a shoutout to Jason Belzer and Student Athlete NIL for how they’ve managed our Boneyard Victor E. Collective. This is way more of an educational process than just filling up your shoe box with money.” More. (link, link)
Appalachian State AD Gillin joins LEARFIELD University Group EVP Hamilton on From the Chair to discuss the Mountaineers’ transition to FBS over the past several years, the department’s $100M fundraising initiative, the multimedia rights business, NIL and more. Gillin notes the FB season ticket base has tripled to more than 12K since he arrived in Boone and explains: “Part of that is we wanted to bring in opponents they wanted to see. Certainly, again, back to our most recent realignment, that was even more evident in how we decided to go about that in the Sun Belt Conference, but that allowed us to raise ticket prices, allowed us to raise ticket donations, allowed us to raise parking. And then certainly for us, at our level, we control all concessions, we control all merchandise, and so we’re able to be intentional and focus on all those revenue streams, and that’s really helped us from a fundraising standpoint. We’ll reach all-time highs again this year from a donation standpoint.” Through the silent phase of the $100M fundraising initiative, Gillin says App State has raised $28M. On possible expansion to Kidd Brewer Stadium, Gillin explains that “we want to be the best 35,000 to 40,000-seat stadium in America. We’re not trying to be any bigger than that.” Full podcast. (link)
Michigan State has reached a settlement with 11 members of the former women’s swimming and diving team, who were suing to have the program reinstated. According to MLive’s Wenzel: “The settlement, which was reached Friday, calls for Michigan State to appoint an independent gender equity review director and become fully Title IX compliant by the end of the 2026-27 school year. Michigan State will also play for the plaintiffs’ legal fees.” The plaintiffs lead attorney, Bullock: “While these women are not back in the water as Division I swimmers and divers at MSU, by standing up to a Power 5 athletics program like Michigan State, they have demonstrated that women everywhere can demand equality. They united and said, ‘enough is enough.’ I am humbled that I was able to stand alongside these incredible students in their fight for equality.” (link)
Colorado Assoc. AD for Ticket Operations & Sales Hairston II to the Denver Post’s Keeler on the ticket purchasing frenzy after the hire of Coach Prime in Boulder: “It was non-stop. (Plus a flood of) emails in our inboxes. I’ve never seen anything like it. [...] It was kind of like the perfect storm where the (CU) fan base went absolutely crazy for it.” Further, Ticket City VP Howard: “Across our resale marketplace of thousands of sellers, CU sold more tickets in the offseason than USC, Oregon, Washington and Utah combined.” Hairston says renewals will be in the 94-95% range with 2,000 season ticket deposits already in hand. (link)
Less than two weeks into his new job as FB HC at Bethune-Cookman and Wildcats boss Reed is already posting TikTok videos agreeing with former Jackson State/current Colorado FB HC Sanders opinion of the state of HBCUs: “Prime [Deion Sanders] was not wrong about what he was saying. All y'all out there with y'all opinions full of crap, I don't know [expletive], but needless to say.” He continues, “I just pulled up the work. We're going to try to help y'all too man. Because I know a lot of HBCUs need help. I'm just here to help here first. I see it all too clearly. All of our HBCUs need help. And they need help because of the people who's running it. Broken mentalities out here. I'm going to leave you with that. I gotta get in the office.” (link)
The Toledo Blade’s Briggs suspects that Toledo may move one of its late-season MACaction football games from the Glass Bowl to Fifth Third Field, home of Minor League Baseball’s Triple A Mud Hens. Rockets AD Blair: “I like the idea. It’s certainly worth exploring. … There are pluses and minuses to it when you talk about taking a game off campus and obviously there’s a ton of collaboration there. This spring is going to allow us to take a step back and engage a really broad group of stakeholders to talk through what might be some possibilities for teamwork and working together to maximize our location. ... And one of those conversations is how do we work better with the Mud Hens and Walleye, so everybody wins. I think there is a good relationship, but it can be better. We can think outside the box.” (link)
Orlando Sentinel headliner Bianchi sounds off on the roller coaster NIL ride for Florida & high-profile prospective QB Rashada, who as of Friday still hadn’t enrolled in Gainesville: “...we in the media need to stop referring to this stuff as ‘NIL’ and call it what it is — ‘pay for play.’ Let’s be honest, this has little to do with Name, Image and Likeness. This is simply what everybody knew it would become with boosters paying players (or, at least, promising to pay players) for signing with their team. [...] Who in the Gator Collective thought it would be OK to sign a unproven high school player to a $13 million contract? Would Napier, who often talks about building chemistry, camaraderie and culture in the locker room, actually put his stamp of approval on such a crazy, culture-eroding contract? If Napier did know about the offer to Rashada, then why didn’t he stop it? And if he didn’t know, then why didn’t he know?” (link)
Incoming UCF women’s tennis student-athlete Lincer, a native of Poland, says part of the attraction of playing her sport in college is the free education but also the fact that the Knights are providing funding and support for up to seven professional tournaments during her first year. ESPN’s Maine digs deeper into the world of tennis athletes: “The recent allowance of players to earn money through name, image and likeness (NIL) deals has also made collegiate tennis more enticing for some, although international athletes on student visas have strict restrictions on how much income they can earn. For Lincer, collegiate tennis is a best-of-both-worlds opportunity that was simply too good to pass up. It's also different from what the family said she experienced at the junior level with the USTA, in which she received no support, financial or otherwise.” (link)
SBJ’s Smith deep dives on Modelo’s party bus, which he dubs a “tricked-out school bus” that provides “the tailgating atmosphere” everywhere it goes. The company spent “close to mid-six figures for the fabricator to construct the bus” and that doesn’t include upkeep and travel costs. Constellation Brands VP of Field, Lifestyle and Experiential Marketing Ramos: “It’s got that ‘Transformer’ feel to it, where the roof raises up and you’ve got this sports bar feel to it. It’s all about having that one-stop shop that’s got all of the amenities you need for a tailgate or a sports bar. It gives people that photo moment that can be captured.” (link)
Southwest Airlines CEO Jordan this week acknowledged that “everything that we need to do to mitigate risk is on the table” after the carrier hired outside firm Oliver Wyman to figure out what it needs to prevent another cancellation meltdown. Southwest has estimated the disastrous holiday cancellations will cost the company $725M to $825M, “including lost revenue, reimbursements, refunds and goodwill gestures of frequent flyer points for impacted customers and company store points for employees,” according to the Dallas Morning News’ Arnold. Jordan says the review will be done quickly. “It will not take months to get that work done. I’m sure we will learn things that we need to invest more in and need to change. We need to maybe change priorities.” (link)
In case you missed Saturday's email...
Extra Points’ Brown caught up with Baylor President/Board of Governors chair Livingstone after her State of College Sports thoughts for further clarity on how Congress could aid the industry: “I'll give you a specific example. We really believe that a national clearinghouse of NIL deals would be extremely helpful because it would help you understand what the market is for different types of activities. It would actually help you understand our student-athletes actually being asked to do anything to earn the NIL, which is a real concern. And that's not available now because there are states that require student-athletes to report their NIL deals to their institutions. There are states that prevent them. You cannot share the NIL deals with your institution. And so in that kind of landscape, we as an NCAA cannot require that students report NIL deals and we can't create a clearinghouse on a national level because it would be in violation of some set of state laws out there.” Brown: “Charlie Baker is a lot of things, but he isn't Mark Emmert. If the NCAA is willing to push for different concessions compared to last year, I think a path to a bill exists.” (link)
Washington State AD Chun joined Connect/MB Sports’ Banker at the NCAA Convention this week, digging into how the Cougars pushed pause on their strategic plan last year, knowing that coming out of the pandemic and future potential changes from the NCAA’s Transformation and Constitution Committees could impact plans moving forward. Chun acknowledges that “young people are changing” and that supporting the mental and physical well-being of student-athletes today looks different than even a few years ago, “What do we need to do for them as Division I student-athletes?” Lots more, including the importance of “settling football rosters for the season” and his thoughts on the late Texas Tech/WSU/Mississippi State FB HC Leach, whom he called an “insatiable, lifelong learner.” (link)
More from Louisville AD Heird as he expresses confidence in first-year MBB HC Payne despite the program’s 2-15 (0-6) ledger: “Until he does something that says, 'Hey, I don't think he should be our basketball coach,' I'm going to support him 110 percent. But I can promise you he hasn't done one thing that has shown me that he shouldn't be our basketball coach. Now, does that mean that any of us are satisfied with two wins? Absolutely not. Like I said, it is extremely frustrating.” Heird also indicates the Cardinals are “fully committed” to the first of three football games contracted with Indiana slated to start next season. As for the kicks in 2024 & 2025: “I don’t have any idea. There are conversations that get had by teams all of the time. . . . I know we like to schedule these things out for the next 10 or 15 years but they change all of the time. Right now, we are fully committed to playing in ’23 and then we’ll see what happens in the future, if we mutually think there’s essentially a better opportunity out there would be the reasoning.” (link, link)
AthleticDirectorU’s Brown sat down with Stanford Deputy AD/SWA Owen and UNCW Deputy AD/SWA Tucker at the 2022 Women Leaders Convention to discuss the intentionality of preparing for a leadership role through self-evaluation, peer review, purposeful breaks and strategic thinking. Owen and Tucker also explain how they support their respective staffs as they learn to think strategically, although Owen points out that strategic thinking is often more of a trait than it is a skill that can be taught. “There are some people that it comes naturally to and then others it doesn’t. Therefore, it’s important to figure out where to “plug people in. Just because strategic thinking may not come naturally to you, it doesn’t mean there’s not a spot for you on the team. Because you’re going to counterbalance someone who has that skill.” As the industry continues to change, Tucker describes the importance of staying up to date on what is going on in the world in order to support student-athletes. “These student-athletes are coming from all around the world, and that’s the one thing that we can do is make sure we have a firm knowledge of what’s happening in our universe.” Full interview. (link)
Arizona Professor Rhoades laments that while furloughs were imposed during the pandemic, the athletic department received additional funding from the school, “We furloughed faculty and staff so that we could bail out the athletic department.” Arizona State, which avoided staff cuts, received more federal COVID-19 relief dollars than any college in the country and more than double that of the Wildcats. Combined, the two schools provided their athletic departments $125.5M in FY21. ASU’s $57.9M was ten times more than the prior year’s institutional support, while UA’s $53.3M was five times more than FY20. Lots more. (link)
UNLV paid $2.174M to use Allegiant Stadium for six home football games this past season. Additional context from LVSportsBiz.com: “The UNLV football team used to play at Sam Boyd Stadium about seven miles from campus near the Las Vegas Wash. Sam Boyd Stadium is permanently closed. UNLV does receive compensation of up to $3.5 million annually for shuttering Sam Boyd Stadium.” A per game breakdown of the total is included in the piece. (link)
+ CollegeAD says Western Illinois AD Bubb has turned to Valparaiso Executive Assoc. AD Pruess as the new Deputy AD for the Leathernecks. Her Collegiate Sports Connect bio reflects the move. (link)
+ If you’re interested in North Texas’ Director of Athletic Events & Donor Operations opening, check out this convo with Mean Green Asst. AD for Development Arriola, who details the type of person UNT is looking for, key initiatives for the department, growth opportunities for the role & lots more. Full convo on Connect. (link)
+ The Baltimore Sun’s Mirabella talks with analysts about Under Armour’s decision to hire Marriott International President Linnartz as the new CEO, and most register surprise that the company selected someone outside of the retail sector but still applaud the choice. Headcount Corp. CEO Ryski: “Under Armour has been in a slump for more than five years, and re-playing old playbooks is not likely going to lead to a significant change in trajectory. … This move says a lot about the courageousness of [brand founder] Kevin Plank and his board and their desire to evolve.” More. (link)
+ Apple is reducing CEO Cook’s pay by 40% in 2023, a self-advised move to gain more value for investors. Context from Forbes: “Apple said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filingthat Cook’s compensation target for 2023 is $49 million, down from his $84 million target last year.” (link)
The Oklahoma-focused Crimson and Cream collective, which is managed by Student Athlete NIL (SANIL) & initially raised $1.6M, has now signed or offered all Sooners FB student-athletes. SANIL CEO Belzer: “Every single student-athlete – scholarship or non-scholarship walk-on — are getting this opportunity. Everybody. All the portal kids. All the mid-year freshmen that are enrolling early. I don’t know what other schools have done. But I think we’re the first – if not one of the first – school to have everybody on a FBS roster fully signed to what is a multi, multi-million-dollar payroll.“ What do the agreements look like? Per On3’s Crabtree: “The contracts are retainers and a marketing guarantee in which the student-athlete will promote businesses brought into the collective. The student-athletes will make a baseline minimum through the agreement.” (link)
Wisconsin football is rolling out a series of billboards throughout the state and in Chicago featuring new Badgers HC Fickell, plus UW student-athletes from the respective areas, to coincide with the start of the recruiting contact period. Surprisingly, use of 10 billboards Friday through Sunday will only cost a touch over $7K. Click through to check out marketing creative for the boards. (link)
Dirt is moving for Texas Southern’s new Strength & Conditioning Facility. More from the Tigers: “The 6,600-square foot multimillion dollar facility will be built on the former basketball court directly behind the current TSU Football Field House which is located near Alexander Durley Stadium. The facility will include new weights, offices for strength and conditioning staff, space for physical therapy, an area for students to receive counseling services and more.” (link)
+ In a legal filing to the lawsuit involving former Utah State student-athlete Maddox, who recorded & then released portions of team meetings that involved comments from Aggies FB HC Anderson & then-USU Police Chief Morris about sexual assault victims, Anderson says “he was never told that player Patrick Maddox was allegedly experiencing retaliation after recordings,” per The Salt Lake Tribune’s Tanner. Anderson is looking for “Maddox’s lawsuit to be dismissed and to be awarded the costs for having to defend himself (which is covered by the state), as well as other financial relief.” (link)
+ Here’s a breakdown of how Nebraska FB HC Rhule has so far allocated his $7M staff pool budget with OC Satterfield leading the pack at $1.4M annually. DC White sits at $1M per year. Seven of the 10 on-field ACs have listed comp figures with the final three eating up some of the $2.67M left to allocate. (link)
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