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D1.ticker/Connect’s Fischer sits down with NCAA DI VP Lennon to discuss what it’s been like to work with the Transformation Committee, the “Big Tent” approach in DI, the timeline of addressing championship access expansion, the process for changing the DI Board of Directors, the legislative process regarding the holistic student-athlete experience and more. Lennon says of the postseason expansion process that “I think the appropriate thing is…for all the sports, they have to evaluate whether it works for them, and there’s lots of issues that go into that, including just how one considers postseason opportunity. That maybe isn’t just the NCAA. Maybe it’s other elements that require postseason opportunities. So every sport is a bit different. What’s going to happen now to the point of process is all the sport communities will say, ‘What does that 25% standard look like for us in our sport?’ … And at the end of the day, there’s a lot of money involved in increasing the cost element.” The full Q&A is now live on Connect. (link)
Central Michigan AD Folan sits down with former Chippewas Track & Field HC White (who also happens to be the former Duke/Notre Dame/Arizona State/Tulane/Maine AD) to get his perspective on several issues. White: “I’m just worried about a massive irreconcilable divorce between athletics and the academy. We’re becoming so commercialized at this point I think we’re putting ourselves, athletically speaking, at risk.” Regarding the economics of modern college athletics, White notes that a “lot of these schools are outspending what they’re able to generate in revenue” and contends there is a wide array of universities – public, private, small, large, faith-based, etc. – all trying to do the same thing despite having different resource pools and institutional aims. White adds: “NIL without guardrails is a pay-for-play system. I have real disdain for where we ended up there without guardrails. And the whole transfer portal is a joke. We’re going to see graduation rates negatively impacted at some point the way kids are jumping around.” Lots more. (link)
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Tsai compiles an informal list of the responsibilities of Hawaii’s next AD: “Among the AD's duties are to schmooze the Legislature, make buddy-buddy with the regents, convince businesses and donors to dig a little bit deeper, maintain strong ties with the Mountain West and Big West, hire and retain good coaches, and make sure the utility bills are paid and the checks don't bounce.” Tsai also notes there is support for “three possible candidates to succeed Rainbow Warriors AD Matlin: former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who is president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association; Keith Amemiya, executive director of the Central Pacific Bank Foundation who was the executive director of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association and executive director of UH's Board of Regents; and George Killebrew, a Punahou School graduate who is commissioner of Major League Rugby and spent 27 years as executive vice president and chief revenue officer of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks. Former UH associate athletic director John McNamara and Jarinn Akana, a former UH basketball star and agent with Dynasty Sports Management, also are considered worthy possible candidates.” (link)
More from LEARFIELD President & CEO Gahagan to SBJ’s Smith on the firm’s 15-year extension with Alabama: “The competitive landscape isn’t any different than it has been, and the fact that we’re re-signing these big brand names is really awesome. We’ve been able to show our schools a future, not just off of guarantees, but also from what we’re doing to innovate and think about the business differently.” (link)
Georgia AD Brooks in a statement explained that UGA FB student-athlete Willock and Recruiting Analyst LeCroy were not on athletic business at the time of the accident which claimed their lives. Brooks: “Out of respect for the families involved, we have refrained from making any public statements up to this point regarding the circumstances of the tragic accident that claimed two lives and injured two members of our campus community. However, we want the public to know that the athletic department is conducting a thorough review, in coordination with appropriate legal counsel, to fully understand the circumstances surrounding this tragic event. We want to emphasize that these individuals were not engaged in athletic department duties around the time of this incident.” Also from Brooks: “Coach Smart and I are also actively reviewing relevant football policies, and at the conclusion of that review, we will take steps to implement any improvements in our policies and procedures that may be needed." (link)
The Omaha World-Herald’s Shatel observes the Omaha and Nebraska System administration is working together to support Maverick sports, noting 200 former FB student-athletes recently reunited at a MBB game before NU President Carter joined with UNO AD Dowell and Chancellor Li to host a tailgate party the following day on the practice ice prior to a Mavericks hockey game. Shatel: "The NU President and UNO Chancellor and athletic director are all standing hand-in-hand-in hand. They work together. And now all factions of UNO alumni are getting together and on the same page. Trev Alberts set the table. But he couldn’t do this as athletic director. He couldn’t bring the football players and wrestlers — who all have check books — back into the fold. … I don’t know what the ceiling is for UNO sports. With only 16 NCAA hockey bids, it’s hard for Mav hockey to make the tourney on a regular basis. Harder still for the basketball team in a one-bid league. But with this kind of administrative support and alums standing together, Dowell’s department has a chance to find that ceiling. Or create a new one.” (link)
Arizona and Arizona State combined to receive $57.5M in institutional and government support and student fees, per The Arizona Republic’s Wolf, citing NCAA financial reports from both institutions. Wolf also reports the Sun Devils finished 2022 with a $2.9M deficit while the Wildcats closed the year with a $591K shortfall. Broken down by school, Wolf reports ASU provided its athletics department with $26.4M in FY22, including $14.7M in institutional and government support and a record $11.7M in student fees. Arizona provided its athletics department with $31.1M, including $27.9M in institutional support, which includes a $14.8M internal loan and a record $3.2M in student fees. Overall, ASU reported total operating revenues of $121.1M and $124M in expenses. Arizona’s revenue of $124.4M was outpaced by expenses of $124.9M. Also from Wolf: “UA classifying those $55M in loans [over the past two years] as revenue is contrary to NCAA reporting guidelines, an NCAA spokesperson confirmed, because loans that the athletics department must repay should be reported as athletics debt, rather than income. UA said an NCAA-sanctioned auditor told them their reporting was correct.” (link)
In response to The Mercury News’ Wilner’s reporting on the Pac-12’s $50M overpayment coming from Comcast, retired Fox Sports President Thompson tweets: “A theory on why Comcast discovered in Oct. Dish is sued in Oct by Pac-12 over pandemic rebates and other withheld payments. Comcast decides to look at this because if Dish thinks they can do this maybe we can too. They do an audit. Uncover the overpayments. … I still find it inconceivable that the President and CFO didn't inform their boss (CEO of the Network and Commissioner of the Conference) and the Conference's General Counsel. First two stops I would have made.” Wilner responds: “The other possibility I considered was Comcast performed an audit in July/Aug during P12 media rights negotiations because of uncertainty over the future of the P12Nets and attempting to get a handle on valuation.” (link, link)
Wisconsin FB season tickets for next season will start at a price point of $378 per seat — the same as last season — and are limited to eight per buyer, down from 12. A minimum donation of $50 to UW Athletics is included in all season ticket purchases, and cushions are available for $55 per seat. (link)
+ CollegeAD reports Boise State Senior Assoc. AD for Strategic Planning & Capital Projects Carney has exited the Broncos department. He is no longer listed on the staff directory. (link)
+ A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) finds that working from home saved roughly two hours per week per worker in 2021-22 and will save one hour weekly, post-pandemic, per The Atlantic’s Thompson, who notes that workers from home (WFH) devote 40% of time savings to work (for men, slightly more); 34% to leisure (men, slightly more); and 11% to caregiving (women, slightly more). Thompson adds: “This research team is fantastic, but I will just say that I suspect WFH more reliably leads to increased computer time rather than increased focused work time. Estimating daily time spent working at a laptop every day is hard. (E.g.: Is this tweet work? I honestly don't know.)” (link)
+ SMU has added Prairie View A&M to its 2023 home FB schedule. (link)
+ Delaware State adds Virginia-Lynchburg (NCCAA) to its 2023 home FB slate. (link)
+ LSU will open the 2027 football season against Houston in the Texas Kickoff at NRG Stadium in Houston. (link)
Yesterday's Evening Standard...
Dallas Baptist AD Smith is headed to North Texas to become the Mean Green's new Assoc. VP/COO. UNT AD Mosley: "Connor brings a wealth of leadership experience that will serve our student-athletes, coaches and staff well as we transition into the American Athletic Conference and continue to build on the momentum we have within our programs. He is highly respected across the industry and will be a great resource for us here at UNT." (link)
Hawaii President Lassner provides an update on the AD search and says he was contacted by five to 10 headhunters “within minutes” of outgoing AD Matlin’s retirement announcement. Lassner also notes the announcement was carefully orchestrated and did not come as a surprise to him, as he requested and received five months’ notice from Matlin. Lassner tells the UH Board of Trustees he plans to bring them a recommendation before Matlin departs, adding: “Given the level of interest in the position, I do not believe we need a search firm to help us conduct a successful search.” Instead, Lassner will assemble a search advisory committee composed of internal UH staffers and community members to compile a list of qualified candidates for Lassner to interview. (link)
As she settles into her new role, Mountain West Commissioner Nevarez says she’s still learning and therefore has yet to determine whether big changes will occur but notes of the league’s late-night kickoffs: “That’s our value to our media partners. It’s all about those late windows. I think we’ll always have some of that, but it’s about striking that balance with the hometown fan experience. We’ll likely start talking to partners in the next year for our new deal in two years.” On whether the Mountain West will look to move its HQ out of Colorado Springs, Nevarez says: “It's not one of my top four or five priorities, but our office lease is up in two years, so we'll probably take a look at it.” (link)
Alabama and LEARFIELD agree to a 15-year extension of their multimedia contract with an assist from LEONA. Per SBJ’s Smith, the new contract includes a new content platform created in collaboration with LEARFIELD Studios; new access to data and analytics from LEARFIELD’s Fanbase platform; a dedicated NIL hub called The Advantage Center, which will be the school’s centerpiece for NIL activity and the home for its dedicated staff that will provide education and resources for athletes and their commercial activity; and the development of the new Advantage Center into a showcase for NIL relationships in a new location inside Bryant-Denny Stadium next to The Authentic, the Tide’s retail store managed by Fanatics. (link, link)
The Mercury News’ Wilner reports the distribution partner in question concerning the $50M in overpayments to the Pac-12 is Comcast, noting this development makes sense on several fronts, including: “Comcast was a founding partner of the Pac-12 Networks, which were launched in August 2012, and would have been paying for distribution well before the initial audit conducted in the spring of 2017.” Wilner also reports former Commissioner Scott was one of the people interviewed by Cooley LLP, the Palo Alto-based firm hired by the Pac-12 last fall to investigate the situation. Additionally, the “audit that discovered the overpayments was requested during the tenure of one Pac-12 Networks president and concluded during the tenure of another. The request was made in the spring of 2017, according to the conference’s timeline of events, although no date was provided. On April 20, 2017, the Pac-12 announced that Lydia Murphy-Stephans would step down as president of the networks, effective in June.” Meanwhile, several insiders tell Wilner the involvement of former Pac-12 CFO Willman has caught them by surprise with one source saying: “Brent is very upstanding. … If they had an audit, why did the distribution partner keep making overpayments in future years if they knew there was a problem? It doesn’t make any sense.” (link)
+ Florida A&M rounds out its compliance staff by filling several roles, including the promotion of Financial Aid Coordinator Goodart to Assoc. AD for Compliance, Financial Aid and Benefits. (link)
+ Eastern Washington names Innovia Foundation Marketing and Communications Manager Cobb as its next Assoc. AD for Communications. (link)
+ Green Bay has parted ways with MBB HC Ryan, per Stadium’s Goodman. (link)
+ Tennessee and FB HC Heupel agree to a one-year extension which includes a raise to $9M per year. The new deal keeps Heupel under contract through the 2028 season and increases the value of the deal $29M to $54M. Per FootballScoop and others, the deal is 100% guaranteed through December 15, 2025, 75% guaranteed from December 16, 2025 through December 14, 2027, and 50% guaranteed thereafter. (link)
+ Presbyterian taps Wofford Men’s Soccer AC Finotti to lead the Blue Hose. (link)
+ FIU inks Men’s Soccer HC Russell to an extension through 2027. (link)
+ Michigan Volleyball HC Rosen signed a five-year, $1.09M contract extension less than three months before he was let go, per the Michigan Daily, which reports it remains unclear whether Rosen’s contract was terminated with or without cause. (link)
+ Alabama OC O’Brien accepts the same role with the New England Patriots. O’Brien’s contract with the Crimson Tide was set to expire next month. (link)
+ Wichita State will embark on a $7.3M Phase 1 renovation of Wilkins Stadium, home of Shocker softball, that will be made possible with help from a $1.1M estate gift from long-time Shocker supporter Parke and a $100K gift from Jeanie and Ricky Brotherton. Renovations to Wilkins Stadium include a 12,471 square-foot team complex which features a locker room, coaches locker room, classroom, team room, athletic training room, staff offices, break room, work room, umpire locker rooms and laundry area. It will also include a 14,400-square-foot indoor practice facility with a full indoor infield and batting cages. Turf will also be installed in the outfield and on the warning track, foul territory and apron areas at Wilkins Stadium in June of 2023. Minimum estimates for the Wilkins Stadium master plan project currently stand at approximately $17.5M. (link)
+ Old Dominion has raised nearly $18M of its $20M goal for a renovation and expansion of Bud Metheny Ballpark. Monarchs Asst. AD for Major Gifts Vellines: “Once we get to $20M, we’re not stopping. We need to continue to upgrade the complex in the future in order to compete with the Power Five schools that we recruit against. And we still don’t know the final price tag.” (link)
+ Northern Iowa gets a $1.5M investment from Elite Casino Resorts to support renovations to the UNI-Dome. In recognition of Elite's gift, a “premier space” in the UNI-Dome will be named in the company's honor. (link)
+ Syracuse has received a “substantial new commitment” from Orange alum & former Fencing student-athlete Kuhn & his wife that “creates a new premium field/courtside space within the JMA Dome and provides an upgraded fan experience for premium seat holders for all five Syracuse Athletics programs that compete in the facility.” (link)
+ Air Force has broken ground on its $90M Falcon Stadium East Club modernization project. The Academy is raising $15M to complete the $35M portion of the funds that will be philanthropic support, with the remaining $55M to be financed by Air Force Academy Athletic Corporation revenue. Once complete, the area will include 1,200 premium seats, a new entrance, ticket office, hospitality decks, club experience and more. (link)
+ Penn State has partnered with INFLCR to launch the Nittany Lion Exchange, which will connect student-athletes with NIL opportunities. PSU also notes the department has been working with Accelerate Sports Ventures to produce NIL education and opportunities to student-athletes and all stakeholders. (link)
+ Knights of the Raritan, a SANIL-managed NIL collective supporting Rutgers student-athletes, says every Scarlet Knight MBB, WBB and FB student-athlete will sign an NIL deal in 2023. KOTR President Newman declined to discuss how much the deals will be worth, their duration and whether they will be one-time or recurring, explaining it will vary on a case-by-case basis and details are still being ironed out. (link)
+ The Virginia Tech-focused collective The Hokie Way raised over $600K in 2022 with an anonymous donor providing $300K in matching funds, per On3’s Wittry. The Hokie Way Board of Directors Treasurer Pearman also notes the collective had 550 donors contribute during the December campaign. (link)
+ Wright State launches its NIL marketplace, with the assist from Opendorse. (link)
Altius Sports Partners is linking up with the NFL and NFLPA to create an education-based partnership designed to provide college athletes with the tools they need to prepare for pro careers. Football programs at schools partnered with Altius will have access to player engagement and development experts from the NFL. Programming includes marketing and sponsorship guidance; brand awareness and maximization; NFL league policies; NFLPA overview; and NFLPA resources and opportunities. (link)
James Madison sold over 1,100 FB season tickets in just eight hours. The Daily News-Record’s Fleischman notes JMU sold a record 7,708 last season. (link)
Long Island becomes the eighth DI department to add Acrobatics & Tumbling to its portfolio, with the Sharks set to come online in spring 2024. NCATA Executive Director Cook: “In sponsoring NCAA Gymnastics and NCAA Acrobatics & Tumbling, as well as a robust cheer and dance program, LIU will provide comprehensive opportunities for young women with experience in the numerous gymnastics and cheer disciplines who wish to continue training and competing at the collegiate level. LIU's announcement enhances the recent growth Acrobatics & Tumbling has experienced in all three NCAA divisions in the Northeast. We are excited about the possibilities for additional growth in the region, and nationally, as we continue progress towards our goal of NCAA championship status.” (link)
+ Boise State is the latest department set to utilize Teamworks Elite. (link)
+ The Gator Bowl and TaxSlayer agree to an extension of their title sponsorship through the 2027 matchup. (link)
+ Jacksonville State is the latest to partner with Taymar Sales U. to manage JSU’s ticket and sales service. (link)
+ Southwest Sports has conducted a comprehensive NCAA compliance and academic services review for Louisiana-Monroe. (link)
+ Indiana State taps BDB Collegiate Solutions to assist in efforts to grow the Sycamores’ corporate sponsorship program. (link)
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(NEWEST!) Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance (Colorado State University / Fort Collins, CO): This position assists in overseeing all processes, procedures, and systems necessary to assist the department in complying with NCAA and Mountain West Conference rules and regulations. More details HERE.
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(NEWEST!) Assistant Director for Development (University of San Diego / San Diego, CA): This opportunity will focus on the solicitation of annual fund gifts, identify new President's Club prospects ($1,500-$5,000) and assist with the storytelling of our Torero Scholar-Athlete Fund. More details HERE.
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(NEW!) Director/Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine (Grand Canyon University / Phoenix, AZ): Grand Canyon University is seeking a Director/Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine. More details HERE.
(NEW!) Director Athletic Compliance (Creighton University / Omaha, NE): The Director of Athletic Compliance will help manage the day-to-day operations of Creighton University's athletic compliance office under the supervision of the Associate AD for Compliance. More details HERE.
(NEW!) Assistant Director of Video, Football (University of Pittsburgh / Pittsburgh, PA): Assistant Director of Video, Football will assist with all aspects of the sports video operations for football. More details HERE.
(NEW!) Head Coach - Women's Volleyball (Fairfield University / Fairfield, CT): The Head Coach is responsible for directing all phases of an aspirational Division I women’s volleyball program within the NCAA and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). More details HERE.
(NEW!) Head Men's Soccer Coach (Milligan University / Milligan, TN): Milligan University, a member of the NAIA and the Appalachian Athletic Conference, invites resumes for the full-time (year-round) position of Head Men’s Soccer Coach. (NAIA) More details HERE.
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