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Ball State will begin meeting with AD candidates this week, per CollegeAD, which also reports the list of six to eight candidates includes sitting ADs, Deputy ADs and senior-level staffers. The Cardinals hope to narrow the search down to two or three candidates for final interviews. (link)
The NCAA next month will ask a federal appeals court to block a lawsuit that seeks to have student-athletes treated as employees and therefore be paid for their time. Plaintiffs attorney McDonald says the athletes are not looking for massive payouts and suggests they might earn $2K per month for the duration of their seasons. “It’s about the kids having walking-around money that their parents don’t have to give them, out of their own pockets, just like their fellow students working at the bookstore, the library or at the games.” The NCAA argues athletes are like those students who perform in theater groups and other campus activities without pay. Incoming President Baker remarked during last week’s NCAA Convention: “If you’re going to say that a scholarship athlete is an employee, then why isn’t a scholarship trombone player an employee? Why isn’t a scholarship mathematician an employee? Remember the vast majority of the kids who play sports in college do not play sports in school where schools make money on sports.” (link)
Connecticut’s athletic department deficit rose to $53M during FY22, and the Huskies attribute the increase to the $13.4M they were forced to pay former MBB HC Ollie. UConn finished FY21 with a $47.2M shortfall, which the AP reports was covered by $46.5M in direct support from the school and another $6.5M in student fees. Also from the Huskies’ annual financial statement to the NCAA: Discounting the payments associated with Ollie’s arbitration and settlement, operational institutional support to athletics decreased by $7.3M to $33.2M in FY22. The school also saw an increase in donations to $23.6M, which was the third-highest total in the athletic department’s history and up 12% from the previous year. (link)
Deals, Deals, Deals…
+ LEARFIELD has sold ANC to C10 Media, and SBJ’s Smith notes: “LEARFIELD’s shift to more of a tech- and data-focused business, ANC wasn’t quite the same fit within LEARFIELD’s ownership.” C10 Media is led by the Cifarelli family, from whom LEARFIELD originally acquired ANC. No deal terms included. (link)
+ Texas Southern is partnering with AthleteTalk to provide the mental health and wellness app to all student-athletes. (link)
+ Cleveland State through its partnership with Opendorse has launched the Viking Ventures NIL platform to connect student-athletes with NIL opportunities. (link)
+ SBJ’s Smith reports Stanford Deputy AD/Chief of Staff Gray is leaving Palo Alto to become Chief Strategy Officer at Altius Sports Partners. Gray: “When change this disruptive comes along, where you have a multitude of state laws, no federal laws and there’s a lot of confusion, it’s still hard to tell where all of this is going to land.” (link)
+ CollegeAD reports Akron Assoc. AD Jorgensen is set to retire after nearly 35 years with the university and that the Zips do not plan to hire a replacement. She is no longer listed on the Zips site. (link)
+ Former Oregon WBB star Ionescu’s part-time role as UO’s Director of Athletic Culture will net her $2,500 per month for about 10 hours of work according to The Oregonian’s Crepea, who reports Ionescu, who now plays for the WNBA’s New York Liberty, “will provide monthly virtual and in-person consultation with the Oregon Women’s basketball student-athletes, coaches, and staff on relationship building, communication and working through adversity as an elite women’s basketball program.” (link)
Indiana will rename its WBB team center as the Sandra Eskenazi Indiana Women’s Basketball Team Center in honor of a “major gift” from Eskenazi. Hoosiers AD Dolson: “Sandy and the entire Eskenazi family have made an enormous difference in the lives of Hoosiers all around our state through their philanthropic efforts, and we are both appreciative of their support and proud to have their name on this beautiful space.” (link)
Michigan has placed FB Co-OC Weiss on leave as campus police investigate a "report of computer access crimes” alleged to have occurred in December in Schembechler Hall. Weiss in a statement to ESPN: “I am aware of the ongoing investigation by the University of Michigan Police Department and fully cooperating with investigators. I look forward to the matter being resolved. Out of respect for the integrity of the investigation, I will not have any further comment." (link)
Alabama MBB HC Oats spoke with NFL Hall of Famer/former Miami (FL) FB standout Lewis after former Crimson Tide MBB student-athlete Miles was charged with murder. Oats explains: “I just thought he’s been through, you know, a tragic situation. One of the more mentally tough athletes in my time. His daughter went to Alabama, so I was able to get his number. I talked to him. He didn’t talk to the team or anything. But he kind of talked to me. He’s a man of faith as well. Just kind of told me to share a little word with him, pray with him. That’s what they need right now. His daughter went to school here a year-and-a-half ago, so she’s pretty shook up by the whole situation, too. … So I’m hoping they’re able to focus, concentrate. It’s obviously been a little bit of a distraction. It would be a lie to say it wasn’t. There’s gonna be plenty of distractions in life. This is a big one. But you’ve got to be able to regroup, gather yourself together and still go to work.” (link)
Florida QB commit Rashada, who did not report to campus last week amid a reported NIL dispute, has asked the NCAA for a scholarship release, according to The Athletic’s Taylor, who explains: “Sources said the recruit’s family has been at odds with the football program ever since the Gator Collective terminated an NIL contract valued at more than $13M.” The deal, Taylor continues, “began falling apart last month. Rashada ultimately signed anyway and publicly sounded enthused about moving in on campus and learning the offense. Last week’s enrollment delay surrounded contention over the value of a renegotiated NIL deal.” (link)
The Tennessee-focused Volunteer Club has revised its membership goal down from 10K to 5K ahead of March Madness. The collective currently has around 2,100 subscriptions, and Spyre Co-Founder/President Baddour, whose firm powers the collective, tells On3: “The athletic department, they’re being proactive in different ways to help us. We’re going to have some watch parties in different markets for basketball games, where we’re going to try and make a contest of how many people can get to Nashville, Atlanta, etc. It’s growing pretty steadily. … We’re fortunate that unlike some other SEC schools that don’t have much to cheer on until football season, we can kind of ride this wave because our basketball team looks to be a top 10 team. We’re going to have some tailgates for games. That doesn’t work if our basketball team isn’t any good.” (link)
The Iowa-focused Swarm Collective will hold a MBB experience with former Hawkeye Murray in Dallas on April 5 when the Dallas Mavericks host the Sacramento Kings. Murray was selected by the Kings with the fourth overall pick in last year’s draft, and On3’s Wittry reports Hawkeyes HC McCaffery and Murray’s father, a former Hawkeye player, will also be in attendance. The happy hour package costs $100 per person while the game package, which includes access to the pregame happy hour, a suite ticket to the game, a postgame photo opportunity with Keegan Murray on the court, an opportunity to meet Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall, a halftime discussion with McCaffery, and Swarm and Mavericks swag, will cost $2,500. (link)
World Economic Forum…
+ According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey released in Davos, 73% of CEOs worldwide expect the global economy to slow over the next 12 months, marking the most pessimistic outlook since the company began conducting the survey a decade ago. (link)
+ The WEF’s 2023 Global Risks Report warns of a “polycrisis” over the next decade, citing climate change, the war in Ukraine and COVID-19 as factors that could exacerbate current inequalities. (link)
+ The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects around a third of the global economy to enter a recession in 2023 and it has cut its forecast of global GDP for the year to 2.7%. (link)
Yesterday's Evening Standard...
St. Thomas announces a $75M naming gift from longtime benefactors Lee and Penny Anderson to construct a $175M multiuse, on-campus arena in St. Paul that will be home to the Tommies’ men’s and women’s hockey and basketball programs. Designs are still being finalized for what will be known as Lee and Penny Anderson Arena. St. Thomas aims to break ground on the new facility in 2024, with a target opening of fall 2025, and has partnered with Ryan Companies US, Inc. and Crawford Architects on the project. President Vischer: “This is about more than just hockey and basketball games – this is a gift that will be transformative for our entire St. Paul campus, enhance the experience of our students, and raise visibility for the university as a whole. It also creates a new community and economic asset for the Twin Cities, the state of Minnesota, and the region.” (link)
Furman has received a $10M pledge from alumnus and former Board of Trustees member Curry to support $40M in renovations to Timmons Arena. President Davis: “This very generous pledge by Ravenel Curry will help us take basketball to the next level. It will greatly enrich experiences for our students and our fans in the Greenville area. When renovations are complete, Timmons Arena will be a college basketball showplace.” (link)
As the NCAA looks to increase its revenue, Big East Commissioner Ackerman is among those who believe some of the income derived from football should be used to defray the expenses of running the organization. Ackerman notes that money from March Madness is used to pay “tens of millions of dollars in national football expenses” in areas like legal defenses, enforcement services and minority leadership development. “I and many others believe it would be fairer to pay these and other expenses out of [College Football Playoff] revenue, particularly as those revenues continue to escalate with playoff expansion.” CFP Executive Director Hancock, however, tells the Wall Street Journal’s Bachman that “all revenue generated goes to the participating conferences (and independent schools), allowing them to spend it on all their athletic programs, not just football. You would need to ask the conferences whether they believe CFP’s role should ever change.” SEC Commissioner Sankey offers a different view, contending that the NCAA hasn’t maximized the assets it has, pointing to an NCAA-commissioned report which found the organization undervalued its WBB tournament by tens of millions of dollars. More from Bachman. (link)
The Chicago Bears officially introduced outgoing Big Ten Commissioner Warren as the team’s CEO, who says there have been discussions “about formally starting in April, but I can tell you that in my mind I've started and over the next couple of months I will be spending a lot of time with Ted (Phillips) from a transition standpoint.” Warren also says he believes he’s leaving the Big Ten in a demonstrably better situation than the one he found it in, per The Athletic’s Fortuna, adding that it was the right time to go and that it’s a great job that someone else should now take on. Regarding what he learned during his time at the Big Ten that will translate to the Midway, Warren remarks: “You better be tough. … You'd better be ready to operate with dirt in your mouth.” (link)
Sports Illustrated’s Johnson reports a hearing for Johnson v. NCAA has been postponed until February 15. “Case is one of many working its way through the courts regarding athlete compensation with plaintiffs aiming to be treated like any other student worker and compensated hourly. The idea is that the hours would be derived by the NCAA's existing timesheet infrastructure, and the wage in mind would be at or around the federal minimum like other student worker jobs on campus like a library worker or ticket taker at the game.” (link)
Between conference championship and bowl preparation, the early signing period, the transfer portal and – not to mention – the holidays, December has become an endurance trial for football coaches, and AFCA Executive Director Berry tells the Orlando Sentinel’s Murschel: “It’s just an unbelievably frustrating time right now. … There’s certainly an awful lot of moving parts right now and that’s our fault. I’m not talking coaches. I’m talking about the NCAA and the oversight [committee]. We ignored, quite honestly, so much.” Berry also notes that the lack of available players became such a concern for bowl games that some coaches considered using protocols enacted during the COVID season that would allow them to pull out of the games if they didn’t have enough scholarship players available. “It’s just a lesson in this new world that we’re in. We need to have our whole roster available because we can’t predict who’s coming in and out.” More. (link, link)
+ NFCA Executive Director Bruggeman agrees to a five-year extension through 2027. (link)
+ Kent State officially names Evansville Senior Assoc. AD for Development and External Operations Peace as Assoc. AD for Marketing and Fan Engagement. (link)
+ Robert Morris has promoted Asst. AD for Administration/Student-Athlete Development Schrecengost to Assoc. AD for Business Operations/SWA. (link)
+ Former NBC host Tappen will return as a sideline reporter for the network’s primetime Big Ten football broadcasts, per SBJ. (link)
+ MOGL has a new COO in Boltive Co-Founder/Advisory Consultant Reinmiller. (link)
+ Michigan names USA Women’s National Team Offensive Coordinator Virtue as Volleyball HC. (link)
+ Arizona Volleyball HC Rubio is calling it a career after 31 seasons leading the Wildcats. (link)
+ Niagara names prep coach and longtime instructor Frank as Men’s Golf HC. (link)
+ Appalachian State removes the interim tag from Field Hockey HC Dinsmore’s title. (link)
The Pac-12 launches a new partnership with Tempus Ex and Curastory to utilize Tempus Ex Machina’s proprietary technology and allow student-athletes the opportunity to “flex their muscles as sports broadcasters,” according to Business of College Sports’ Dosh. (link)
Front Office Sports’ Christovich observes that the majority of NIL deals student-athletes have signed with apparel companies have been with their schools’ brands with a few notable exceptions, such as Stanford women’s golfer Zhang, who inked a deal with Adidas while playing at a Nike school. Other student-athletes have signed deals with startups such as Moolah Kicks despite the fact they aren’t allowed to wear the shoes during games. Meanwhile, Postgame Founder/CEO Jula tells Christovich there’s an argument to be made that several activewear brands shouldn’t be considered competitors to school’s sponsors because they aren’t in the business of signing team contracts. Despite missing out on the exposure of student-athletes wearing her brand during games, Moolah Kicks Founder White says: “I think it says something pretty strong that when players have a choice, the choice is Moolah Kicks.” (link)
Former Alabama MBB student-athlete Miles provided the gun but was not the shooter in the fatal altercation which claimed the life of a 23-year-old Birmingham mother, according to court documents. The charging sheet states: “Darius Miles admitted to providing Michael Davis with the handgun immediately prior to the shooting” and adds that Miles “intentionally caused the death of Jamea Harris by aiding and abetting by providing a firearm to Michael Davis who shot Jamea Harris” while Harris was in the passenger seat of a Jeep. Attorneys for Miles contend: “While Darius has been accused of being involved with this tragedy, he maintains his innocence and looks forward to his day in court.” (link)
Connecticut in partnership with SIDEARM is launching its UConn+ streaming platform today. In addition to original content for fans such as features, live events, profiles, coaches' shows, highlights and other on-demand content, UConn+ will serve as the exclusive outlet for live streaming all Huskies baseball and softball games this spring. While UConn will develop much of the programming internally, LEARFIELD Studios has placed a production team on campus in Storrs that is supported by a central production team. (link)
Texas joins the growing list of institutions and universities to ban TikTok from its campus Wi-Fi amid concerns about privacy and national security risks. Governor Abbott previously banned TikTok on all government-issued devices. Students will still be able to access the app on their personal devices using cellular data. (link)
+ The Northwestern-Iowa MBB matchup has been postponed, as Stadium’s Goodman reports the Wildcats have only six available players due to COVID. (link)
+ Liberty and ECU announce a home-and-home FB series for 2024 (Lynchburg) and 2029 (Greenville). (link)
+ Taymar Sales U. inks Queen City Soccer Club as its first professional sports client. (link)
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