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Louisiana-Monroe will host an open forum this afternoon for former Utah State AD Hartwell, who will meet with community members in support of his candidacy for the Warhawks’ AD post. (link)
CollegeAD says virtual interviews are set this week for the UNC Wilmington AD opening, which will then narrow down to a “small group” of candidates for in-person interviews. (link); The D1.dossier for UNCW is available for those of you in the mix. New Maine AD Killy: “It really helped me consolidate some research. I don’t know how many hours, or days, of research it saved me from finding information to the right links, but it was hours at a minimum and probably a day or two in total.” (link)
The South Bend Tribune’s Noie observes that one important question hanging over the Notre Dame MBB HC search will be who’s leading the university and the athletic department, respectively. The contract extension Brey signed in 2018 was scheduled to run through 2024-25, the same year Fighting Irish AD Swarbrick and President Jenkins’ contracts were set to expire, and the “thinking inside the basketball office was that all three would kind of/sort of leave together. … Does a new AD (presuming there would be one) want to be tied to a head coach in arguably the second most important/visible sport on campus for the next X number of years? Would the men’s basketball head coach feel comfortable reporting to someone who didn’t hire him? May not even know him? It’s an interesting/intriguing dynamic that may come into play.” (link)
Retired Fox Sports President Thompson responds to JohnCanzano.com’s article about former Pac-12 Commissioner Scott’s handling of the league’s receipt of a $50M overpayment and last week’s termination of Pac-12 Networks President Shuken and Pac-12 CFO Willman. Thompson: “Whole thing seems off on so many levels. The two execs reported to Scott. Why would they go to BOD and auditors? They wouldn't, would go to Scott. Pac 12 Net President was new, this didn't happen on his watch. What would compel him to sit on it? A lot more to come on this.” Crakes Media Principal of the same name agrees: “Think Bob’s right that there’s more to come. I’ll just add that it's often wise to not attribute malice to that which is readily explained by bureaucratic incompetence…” (link)
Oregon is getting closer to a new indoor football practice facility after the Eugene City Council approved a land swap with the university for the space where the new digs will be built. More: “The indoor facility project was announced in Oct. 2021 and was scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2024, though it’s not clear whether the 15-plus months of negotiations with the city has altered that timeline.” (link)
+ New permanent UC Santa Barbara AD Barsky will make $275K base pay annually, per CollegeAD. (link)
+ Auburn Asst. AD for Ticket Priority & Annual Giving Jordan has been promoted to Senior Assoc. AD for Development. (link)
+ CollegeAD also has Miami (OH) VP of Development/Assoc. AD Porter exiting for a role with the NWSL’s KC Current as VP of Corporate Partnerships, a move reflected on his LinkedIn profile. (link)
+ Additional industry talent movement at Michigan State, Auburn, High Point, USC, Loyola Chicago, Fordham, Maryland, Cincinnati, West Virginia and more, found on The Wire at Collegiate Sports Connect (link)
+ SBJ’s 2023 Class of Champions: Pioneers & Innovators in Sports Business includes former Big 12 Commissioner Bowlsby, former Rutgers WBB HC Stringer, WTA President Lawler, legendary broadcaster Michaels, longtime IOC member Pound and NBA logo West. (link)
+ William & Mary taps Lafayette Volleyball HC Adams for the same position. (link)
+ Albany MBB HC Killings has pleaded not guilty to an assault charge stemming from a locker room incident in November 2021 that led to him serving a five-game suspension earlier this season. Attorneys for Killings say the case will be revisited on March 20. (link)
D1.ticker/Connect’s Eargle and Colorado Assoc. AD for Ticket Operations, Sales and Services Hairston talk about Colorado FB HC Sanders’ impact on season ticket sales, and Hairston reveals the Buffs are pacing about 20% ahead of where they would normally be at this point and are projecting for a mid-90% renewal rate. Hairston also notes the excitement around Coach Prime’s arrival has been noticeable in other ways. “It’s a lot easier to get on the phone with donors, season ticket holders. They are a lot more receptive to answering the phone right now. It’s a much easier ask from a ticketing standpoint and a development/fundraising standpoint.” On the 20-datapoint affinity model the Buffs will use for ticketing the home game against Nebraska this season: “That’s the strategy that we’re going to take as far as trying to make sure that we are selling to CU fans. We want to make sure we have a home field advantage for Coach Prime’s first game in Folsom.” Check out the full interview on Connect. (link)
The Kentucky-focused 15 Club has announced a partnership with NFT platform OpenLocker, which has also recently struck deals to create the Gatorverse at Florida, Bone Yard Huskyz Club at UConn and Rowdy Redz at Radford. As part of the agreement, OpenLocker will create digital and physical collectibles which will unlock access to exclusive privileges, rewards and experiences for UK fans, per On3’s Nakos. (link)
+ Villanova is facing a perfect storm of parking and transportation logistics as the Wildcats on Sunday will host Providence at noon at the Wells Fargo Center while the Philadelphia Eagles will host the San Francisco 49ers down the street for the NFC Championship at 3 PM. (link)
+ TikTok bans are useless, according to students and experts, as Inside Higher Ed’s Alonso notes cellular data and VPNs make it easy for students to circumvent the restrictions. (link)
+ The Athletic’s Shea unpacks how LIV Golf’s TV deal with The CW will impact both the tour and the network, noting, among several other things, that “many people don’t want their sports mixed with politics and will ignore anything but the action on TV, but in the case of LIV, it’s seemingly impossible to separate the sport from the political.” (link)
+ The NBA is expanding its VR offerings through Meta, making 52 live NBA games available in VR during the current season as well as an offering of WNBA, G League and 2K League games on both the XTADIUM app and within Meta Horizon Worlds, the company's metaverse platform. (link)
+ Microsoft will invest $10B in OpenAI, the AI lab behind ChatGPT, according to the New York Times’ Metz and Weise, who note the news comes less than a week after the company announced it would cut 10K jobs. Microsoft says the changes, including severance packages, ending leases and “changes to our hardware portfolio,” will cost $1.2B. Microsoft has already invested $3B in OpenAI. (link)
Yesterday's Evening Standard
New permanent (again) East Tennessee State AD Sander during his introductory presser emphasized the importance of the student-athlete experience and added: “I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but the one thing I do know from my coaching days is when you have good players, you have a lot better chance to be successful. … It was really important, I felt, that we needed to get the right people on the bus. We needed to get the people we had, we needed to get them in the right seats, and we needed to get the wrong people off the bus.” Sander also notes ETSU plans to hire two development officers as well as “somebody to pull everything together in our external function.” Full remarks. (link)
St. Thomas AD Esten joins Connect/MB Sports’ Banker to chat about the Tommies’ historic $75M lead gift from Lee and Penny Anderson to construct a new on-campus basketball and hockey arena, on which construction is set to begin in 2024 with a target opening of fall 2025. Esten talks about how the conversation with the Andersons began, how the arena will help coaches in recruiting, managing a major capital project while settling in as a DI member, how a 4K- to 5K-seat arena might fill an in-demand market niche between the larger area venues like Target Center or Xcel Energy Arena for different events and more. Esten: “Our campus definitely is investing in the future. We feel strongly that the campus residential experience is a difference maker for UST students. An on-campus arena will add to that environment and atmosphere and the overall co-curricular experience.” Check out the full conversation over on Connect, including Esten reflecting on his major athletics project experiences at Ohio State, Cal, Penn State, and Minnesota where he was involved with Minnesota's Huntington Bank Stadium project. (link)
The Athletic’s Vannini in response to a mailbag question shares his thoughts on the ASUN/WAC FB superconference, observing that it would “formally create something like the Missouri Valley Football Conference or Pioneer Football League for the football teams. That makes sense. The idea of moving up to FBS as a conference … I’m skeptical. Essentially, there isn’t a rule saying they CAN or CAN’T, so everyone will have to figure that out if it reaches that point. I can tell you that nobody among the current G5 conferences is open to giving up a share of College Football Playoff money. [Former NCAA EVP for Regulatory Affairs/ASUN/WAC Executive Director] Luck is going to visit all 10 schools and do an audit to see how invested and prepared each school is and proceed from there. To me, an FBS move as a conference is unlikely. As people at North Dakota State have told me, if a conference can just move up together, the Bison would just go with the MVFC rather than join a lesser league in order to move.” (link)
JohnCanzano.com’s webmaster reports that several years ago, Pac-12 ADs requested an audit of the conference’s expenses only to be “shot down” by former Commissioner Scott. One former AD tells Canzano: “We, as ADs, were told that we didn’t have the authority to request a budget review. Only the presidents and chancellors can do that.” More from Canzano: “Here’s a thought for the Pac-12: Sell the entire Pac-12 Networks operation to Amazon. Get out of the media-company business. Pay back the $50M to Dish Network (or whoever is owed). Put the focus on trying to be a great athletic conference again.” (link)
+ Cal State Fullerton President Virjee announces his retirement, effective July 31. (link)
+ Indiana Assoc. General Counsel Nussbaum officially joins CCH+A Sports Law Practice and will chair CCH+A's new Higher Education practice group. (link)
+ Harvard promotes Women’s Golf AHC Song to HC. (link)
Rutgers’ FY22 financial report shows the athletic department spent a record $138.4M in 2021-22, an increase of 14.5% over the $118.4M it spent last year. Expenditures included $29.7M in coaching salaries, $21.5M in administrative-staff salaries, $18.7M in scholarship aid, $16M in athletics-facilities debt and $2M in severance payments. Additionally, NJ.com’s Fonseca reports the Scarlet Knights closed a $24M shortfall with $5.8M in support from the university’s operating budget, $12.8M in student fees and $5.4M in direct state or government support. “And while the total operating revenue ($103.6M) increased by 24.5% from the year prior, there was still a $28.8 million gap from what Rutgers spent, which means the athletics deficit for the year totals $52.8M.” Scarlet Knights AD Hobbs: “There’s a huge upside for Rutgers, not just in the additional TV rights dollars that are going to come in, but in all the other ways that we can grow our revenue here at Rutgers. So I think five years from now we will be in a very different financial picture than we are today.” (link)
Colorado State has submitted its FY22 financial report, which shows the Rams brought in $16.2M in gross revenue and $13.4M in net revenue for the operation of Canvas Stadium, the second-highest marks since opening the venue in 2017; exceeded the CSL study in net income variance for the stadium by $1.15M; took less University one-time support than budgeted, a feat that has been achieved during each year of AD Parker’s tenure; utilized $2.3M in funds from Hughes Stadium site sale proceeds for FB transition; and generally saw operations return to pre-pandemic levels. Overall, CSU brought in $61.26M in total operating revenue against $61.22M in total operating expenses. (link)
Deals, Deals, Deals…
+ Georgia Southern is Collegiate Sports Connect’s newest institutional partner. The Eagles are now using Connect to identify & hire administrative talent. (link)
+ Longwood inks a multiyear apparel partnership with Nike via BSN Sports. (link)
+ Western Michigan agrees to a multiyear contract extension with The Aspire Group. (link)
+ Arizona agrees to an NIL partnership with MarketPryce to support the Wildcat WBB and softball teams in addition to student-athletes from the women’s soccer, gymnastics, golf and track & field teams. (link)
+ Dragon Seats has acquired Athletic Recovery Zone (ARZ) for an undisclosed sum, consolidating the two sideline seat companies. After the acquisition, Dragon Seats’ benches will be in 22 NFL stadiums, plus the handful of teams who take Dragon Seats benches on the road, and Dragon Seats COO Floyd says that while the company isn’t an official NFL partner, the league has made it clear that it would like all sidelines to look and function the same. (link)
D1.ticker/Connect’s Eargle is joined by Oregon Senior Assoc. AD for Development Cohn, Asst. AD for Marketing and Sales Doyle and Asst. AD for Ticket Sales and Service Harris to discuss the Ducks’ development, marketing and ticket sales strategies, including how the Ducks connected with donors during the bowl game, what capital projects are on the horizon, using UO’s FB momentum to support other sports and initiatives the Ducks will carry over from 2022. (link)
SBJ’s Friend profiles Sport & Story, which bills itself to university partners as a “mini-Netflix,” and Friend notes: “In other words, Sport & Story fashions itself as a behind-the-scenes university partner who—in return for media access to a school’s athletic department and the ability to charge $7.99 a month to its fans—takes on all of the production expense. The end results are in-depth films and feature stories on athletes from every sport, whether it’s as non-revenue as swimming and lacrosse or as money-binging as football and men’s basketball.” Friend also points out most universities can’t afford to produce high-quality, long-form content, which has provided Sport & Story with the opportunity to present its value proposition to programs far and wide. Company President Vitarelli: “We’ll have had conversations, certainly by the end of next week, with every Power Five school. … Because what’s happening in the college space with all of this [transfer portal] movement, everybody is now very concerned about their brand. And how they control their brand. And the absolute best way of controlling your brand, messaging your brand, is through content.’’ More. (link)
Michigan will permanently remove about 45 seats in order to widen access to the tunnel inside Michigan Stadium. The Wolverines will add standing room-only tickets to leave the capacity of the Big House unchanged. (link)
The News & Observer’s DeCock observes that while the ACC still enjoys a high level of MBB officiating, the league is in a transitional phase as it integrates more new officials from the Colonial, Atlantic 10 and other conferences. Notre Dame HC Brey: “I kind of like what we’ve done. Anytime you have a bunch of young guys, there’s going to be a break-in period, there’s going to be some mistakes at times, but I think as coaches, you kind of understood there was going to be a changing of the guard rapidly with some of our officials that were moving on, and we needed youth.” Boston College HC Grant, who came from the Colonial, is more familiar with the new officials than some of his peers and notes: “They have good nights and bad nights, just like our players. What you really want is consistency. We’ve got some of the top-notch officials in all of college basketball. I don’t know if we can complain too much. I don’t know if we can find better officials from somewhere else.” (link)
An NIL bill introduced in Oklahoma by State Senator/Majority Leader McCortney (R-Ada) would prohibit student-athletes from being designated as employees; remove requirements that NIL compensation is “commensurate with market value;” remove language from the original Oklahoma NIL legislation that limits the impact collectives can have on NIL deals with student-athletes; allows schools to adopt reasonable restrictions on NIL activities that interfere with team activities/school operations; and assert that athletic associations can’t prohibit schools from partnering with third parties to identify, enable and support NIL activities on their behalf. (link)
+ The NABC’s Coaches v. Cancer program in conjunction with the American Cancer Society kicks off Suits And Sneakers Week today through January 29. (link)
+ In a sign that the two teams do intend on playing, Indiana has joined Louisville in selling FB tickets to the 2023 FB matchup slated for September 16 at Lucas Oil Stadium. (link)
+ Georgia FB student-athlete Thomas has been arrested on charges of false imprisonment and battery/family violence. Thomas played last season at Mississippi State. (link)
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(NEW!) Assistant Athletics Director, Annual Giving (Athletics) (Auburn University / Auburn, AL): Responsible for directing/overseeing all aspects of the ticket priority sports (baseball, men's basketball, football) including premium seating, and operations of the annual giving program. More details HERE.
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