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D1.dossiers... Prairie View is now available, for those interested in leading the Panthers. Dossiers for seven other Athletic Director openings are also ready for you. $249 for an entire year of subscription. Hawaii is up next. (link)
Eastern Washington AD Hickey announces she will retire when her contract ends on April 30. Hickey: “I am incredibly passionate about intercollegiate athletics and will miss the interaction and competition, but it is time for me to prioritize my family. I will forever cherish my Eagle experience due to the wonderful student-athletes, staff, and fans that I have been fortunate to work with and who epitomize our values of grit, grace and gratitude." (link)
Newly named Ball State AD Mitchell from his introductory presser: “Here’s what I know: Ball State consists of leaders and winners. We are determined. We are creative. We are intelligent. We are respectful. We are inclusive. We are curious. We are encouraging. We are tough. We are grateful. And we don’t put limits on things we can accomplish together.” (link); CollegeAD reports Mitchell has agreed to a five-year deal which will pay him $285K through June 30, 2024, after which point he will be eligible for pay raises. Should BSU part ways with Mitchell without cause, he must be given 60 days’ written notice and would be owed a buyout equivalent to his base salary at that time. Additionally, Mitchell must inform the president before entering into discussions for another AD post or similar opportunities within college athletics. Mitchell’s bonuses range from $5K to $20K for athletic achievements and cannot exceed $50K in a given year. (link)
D1.ticker/Connect’s Fischer sat down with Villanova AD Jackson at the NCAA Convention to talk about his time on the DI Council, the Transformation Committee, NIL and replacing a legendary coach in former Wildcats MBB HC Wright. Jackson remarks he would encourage incoming NCAA President Baker to visit college campuses “and understand the nuances of what we’re dealing with on the very front lines because every campus is different, every program is different, and to have baseline understanding…would be really beneficial.” Jackson also notes how much he’s still learning during his third year on the DI Council, plus how the responsibilities of serving on some key national committees - he’s also a part of the Long Range Planning & Strategy group - aids in running his own department: “I’m getting a sense of where things are going by having a front row seat.” (link)
FIU AD Carr joins the Underdog Dynasty podcast to discuss the Panthers’ 2022 seasons, recent meetings with Conference USA ADs, the contract extension of FB HC MacIntyre and more. Carr explains that when he arrived on campus, he didn’t realize there was no annual fund. “So, we were using 2022 really to build our fundraising platform and also to build out our fundraising staff. When I got here we only had one full-time person that was in fundraising here.” The Panthers have since doubled that number and are looking to bring on two more fundraisers for a total of four. “We’re doing the same in ticketing. We had one person here in our ticket area when I got here, and from a sales standpoint we’re up to three on the sales side and we’re up to two on the operations side and we’re probably going to add a third. … I think there’s a real appetite for giving and the ability to be able to raise some money here and get some projects done.” More. (link)
North Dakota State AD Larsen discusses several of the issues facing college athletics, telling Prairie Public Radio there is a misconception among the public about what college sports looks like. “So much of the public perception is Alabama, is North Carolina, is Michigan, where those are institutions that are going to have $150M, $200M budgets. … The vast majority [of DI institutions] have operating budgets way below $100M. I think the public perception is of all this money being pumped into college athletics. For every Nick Saban, who makes $10M, there’s thousands of football coaches who make $50K. So, I think we’ve lost the narrative a little bit from a college athletics perspective that college athletics is not Alabama.” Asked about possible realignment for the Bison, Larsen notes things can happen quickly, but NDSU has invested in its infrastructure and its people, with $110M having been spent on facilities in the last eight years. “All of those things put us in a really good position where people nationally are talking about what’s next for NDSU. If we hadn’t done some of those things, we’re probably not part of those conversations. At the end of the day, that doesn’t mean we’re going anywhere or doing anything.” Full interview. (link)
The Auburn Board of Trustees gave final project approval to roughly $30M in improvements to baseball’s Plainsman Park. Renovations will include a three-story expansion along Plainsman Park’s first base line that will add enhanced premium seating, club spaces, concessions, and improved accessibility for the south entrance. It will also include enhancements to the right field terrace, with seating over the Player Performance Development Center and new concessions. (link)
Kansas FB HC Leipold is hoping renovations to the Anderson Family Football Complex begin following the Jayhawks’ spring game “We’re going to — improving in the locker room and do some things in the weight room…which will be the first thing we’ll have to do. Then, after the season, we hope to have additions added on to the building as well that’ll help us with some of those space factors…because, really, staffs have been added in so many different ways.” (link)
+ CollegeAD indicates Texas Tech Executive Senior Assoc. AD/SWA Stuart is the new Deputy AD at Penn State. She is still listed on the Red Raiders staff directory. (link)
+ Georgia Tech promotes Executive Assoc. AD/AVP for Development Hall to Senior Assoc. VP for Major Gifts and Next Generation Philanthropy. In his new role, Hall will shift into an Institute-central role and away from day-to-day oversight of athletics fundraising. (link)
+ Lindenwood Baseball HC Bletcher announces the 2023 season will be his final campaign as skipper. (link)
+ Additional talent moves at Cal, Seattle U., Arizona, Missouri, Auburn, Taymar Sales U (Robert Morris) & Oklahoma can be found on The Wire over at Collegiate Sports Connect. (link)
Arkansas AD Yurachek shares a letter he received from a fan who sought to “make it right” after sneaking into the 1974 Arkansas-USC FB game under the guise that he was delivering bread. Enclosed with the letter was a check for the cost of a ticket at today’s prices. Yurachek: Anyone else feeling guilty for sneaking into a game in the past? … Feel free to send me a check, I will put towards any future SEC fines.” (link)
USA Today’s Wolken’s biggest takeaway from Syracuse MBB HC Boeheim’s recent comments is confusion over why coaches are still trying to “out-Mr. Clean each other at a time when the rest of the world A) Understands that there is a financial component to the recruiting process, and B) Doesn’t particularly care one way or the other.” NIL is, as a whole, good for college sports, Wolken argues. “The problem with NIL isn’t that a player might make a college decision based on money, or that some booster can buy a team and get good in a hurry. That’s just capitalism, and it’s been part of college sports since time immemorial. The problem is that nobody in this system is looking out for the interests of a Jaden Rashada to make sure that the people making crazy promises — and yes, $13.85M is a ridiculous amount for a high school quarterback — are on the up-and-up. … And in the end, when people like Boeheim want to throw stones at other programs for buying players through NIL, the correct answer doesn’t have to be whispered in hushed tones these days: Why aren’t you doing the same?” (link)
Nebraska Volleyball HC Cook shares his thoughts on NIL: “Let’s be honest. The main thing these collectives are started for is football. But what’s happened is donors who are going to donate to football, say, hey, we want to donate to volleyball as well. So this is a package deal. So they’ve kind of been forced to drag us into that, which has been great. With [former volleyball student-athlete Knuckles] there now, Kenzie is going to be the liaison between our program, between the donors and 1890 (collective). So she’s going to help coordinate that. Although ABM did a great job with us and Gerrod Lambrecht did a great job of including us, but now there’s going to be somebody overseeing that. Now it’s way more thought out. This is her dream job. This is what she wants to do. She wants to work with teams. She didn’t want to play anymore and she’s doing a great job.” (link)
+ Central Arkansas has suspended its cheer program for the spring semester and will look at reorganizing the program for the fall, “including new leadership,” per Bears AD Teague. (link)
+ Western Carolina partners with Icon Source to launch Icon Suite. (link)
+ Coastal Carolina FB will travel to Provo to take on BYU in 2033, making the trip to return the Cougars’ hastily scheduled FB visit to Conway in 2020. (link)
+ Problem Gambling Network Assoc. Director Buzzelli says the number of calls to the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline has “absolutely skyrocketed” since the state legalized gambling on January 1. Specifically, Buzzelli says the helpline received about 600 calls a month in late 2022. In January, that number jumped to 1,492. Additionally, the typical age of callers has gotten younger, and many report having problems with gambling for less than a year. (link)
+ Goldman Sachs has revised its forecast from 35% probability to 25% that the U.S. will enter a recession in the next 12 months, citing the strong labor market. (link)
Yesterday's Evening Standard...
Iowa AD Barta believes the next Big Ten commissioner should have a “strong background in college athletics,” adding: “Television is No. 1 because the final contracts need to get done. We have new partners, in addition to Fox, with NBC and CBS. So we have a lot of work to do. So having expertise and/or ability to navigate that is really important.” Ultimately, Barta notes the Hawkeyes vote will come from President Wilson, but says ADs are “certainly providing feedback” to their campus leaders. (link); Also, the Hawkeyes netted a surplus of $338,231 during FY22, according to The Gazette’s Steppe, who notes the figure would’ve been higher had the athletic department not issued a $3M payment to the university as it begins to pay back a $50M loan it received during the pandemic. Keys: $29.5M in donations during FY22, down from the $35.4M received in FY19, the last full fiscal year before COVID began. MBB spent $616K on recruiting while FB spent $577K and WBB spent $157K. More. (link)
SBJ’s Madkour offers some advice to incoming NCAA President Baker and anyone who ascends to a conference commissioner post: Develop as many positive relationships with ADs as possible. While university presidents and chancellors are technically any president or commissioner’s bosses, it’s the ADs, Madkour contends, “who can put the vision into operation and execute it on the ground. It’s also the athletic directors who shape public perception because they speak to and confide in the media — local and national — on a daily basis, and they can be brutally direct if they don’t feel listened to. … Baker should target the influential ones who have disciples and foster relationships with them.” Pivoting to NIL specifically, Madkour says he’s spoken with many “insiders” who indicate they’re reluctant to speak up about the problems with NIL for fear of appearing to be anti-NIL as a whole. “Then another point — I continue to question college leaders counting on Congress to solve this issue for them. … But who believes Congress will do the right thing here? And what would that look like? I’m not convinced.” (link)
The ACC is joining its Power 5 peers in hiring an inside general counsel, and Commissioner Phillips tells Sportico’s Libit: “Although the role has previously been handled differently in the ACC, as part of the modernization of this critical aspect, now is the time to hire a full-time executive staff member to provide comprehensive oversight of legal affairs and risk management for the Conference.” The ACC’s decision to hire a general counsel was prompted by the retirement of North Carolina-based attorney Barrett, who had served as outside counsel for the past couple of years. It’s unclear how much the ACC spent on Barrett. The league has retained DHR International to assist with the search. (link)
+ Clemson taps Professional Bull Riders (PBR) CMO Irby to take over as Executive Senior Assoc. AD/CMO. Irby has had previous stops at Georgia State, USF & Saint Louis. (link)
+ Michigan State announces a restructuring of its executive leadership team. Deputy AD/SWA Smith will continue in the Deputy AD post, overseeing all Internal Operations: Student-Athlete Support Services, Sport Management, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Compliance. Executive Assoc. AD for Championship Resources Henderson has been promoted to Deputy AD of Championship Resources; Assoc. AD/Chief of Staff Clark has been elevated to Deputy AD for External Operations; Senior Assoc. AD for Strategic Initiatives and Brand Management Burley is now Executive Senior Assoc. AD of Marketing, Brand, and Revenue Generation; and Executive Senior Assoc. AD for External Relations Schager takes over as Senior Advisor for Strategic Projects. (link)
+ LEARFIELD’s American Sports Properties GM Desmond has been named Big 12 VP. (link)
Arizona has received an “extraordinary gift from an anonymous alumni couple to launch and fund the 5980 Academic Fund for scholarship and walk-on student-athletes for the first two years.” While a dollar figure has not been specified, Wildcats AD Heeke says: “This incredible gift will help elevate the student-athlete experience at Arizona. The 5980 Academic Fund is one of the newest enhancements for our 500 student-athletes who proudly represent the University of Arizona. This gift bolsters our longstanding Commitment to an Athletes Total Success (C.A.T.S) and helps Arizona Athletics fulfill its Wildcat Way mission to develop academic, athletic and life champions." (link)
Athletic departments are increasingly investing in golf facilities that SBJ’s Sanderson observes serve the dual purpose of serving student-athletes and acting as a bridge to donors. Oklahoma, for example, is set to begin construction on an $8M renovation of its men’s and women’s practice facility, and Sooners HC Hybl tells Sanderson: “The arms race in college golf has kind of always been there. This isn’t something new. We’re fortunate to be in a sport with folks who support the programs.” Sanderson adds: “Other programs such as Arizona State, Stanford and North Carolina also hope their facilities allow for the option to see previous players continue to call the facility home and train as they move throughout the professional ranks.” Stanford Director of Golf Ray goes on to note having a dedicated facility is a big selling point for recruits. “Whenever I have a recruit in my office and I say ‘Hey, you can tee off on the back nine on a Tuesday and play three balls, wear flip flops, no one’s going to care.’ They love to hear that.” (link)
Deals, Deals, Deals…
+ SeatGeek and Paciolan announce a partnership through which SeatGeek’s secondary ticketing services will be directly integrated with Paciolan’s primary ticketing system with an expected start date in July 2023. (link)
+ Georgia’s track and field program is partnering with SureAthlete to utilize the firm’s athlete development, communication and analytics platform. (link)
+ UMBC promotes Men’s Soccer AHC Adams to HC. (link)
+ Central Michigan FB HC McElwain signed a new five-year contract before the start of the 2022 season, and The Detroit News’ Paul reports the deal included a base pay of $879,120, including a $50K retention bonus, for 2022. The contract runs through the 2026 season, and for each of the last four years of the deal, he is due a $150K retention bonus every February 15. If the Chippewas were to let McElwain go without cause, the school's buyout starts at $2M in 2023, and drops down to $1M in 2026, the last year of the deal. If McElwain were to leave for another job, his buyout starts at $700K in 2023, dropping to $300K in 2026. (link)
+ Former Charlotte FB HC Healy joins the UCF staff as a senior offensive analyst and advisor to Knights HC Malzahn. (link)
Syracuse MBB HC Boeheim releases a statement following his comments last week about the state of play in college basketball: “I would like to clarify remarks I made in a conversation I had with a media member following our game on Saturday evening. I apologize to the schools I mentioned. I believe the ACC member institutions are in compliance with NCAA rules governing [NIL]. It was not my intention to imply otherwise.” (link); Meanwhile, outgoing Notre Dame MBB HC Brey: “It's really not name, image and likeness right now...it's really pay for play. This is a really tricky one and we're all kind of hanging on for dear life on it." Brey, who says the sport is “not as healthy as we could be,” also acknowledges the current climate definitely played a role in his decision to step down. Managing NIL in relation to the mission of Notre Dame, Brey adds, was "complicated.” (link)
Sportico’s McCann unpacks the legality of the NCAA’s new charging standard, explaining that “relying on circumstantial evidence might seem unfair, but it is used in both criminal and civil trials.” McCann goes on to acknowledge that a “credible argument that the bylaw deprives the accused of due process exists, but that argument likely wouldn’t advance in court. Although many NCAA’s member universities are public, which means they must adhere to the Constitution, the NCAA is not obligated to do the same in NIL investigations. That’s because the Supreme Court deemed the NCAA a private entity in the 1988 decision NCAA v. Tarkanian.” That said, McCann points out state laws may stand in the way of the new policy. More: “While the NCAA’s new bylaw doesn’t forbid NIL compensation, it could chill NIL deal making which would result in the same outcome: denial of NIL. One thing is certain: the more the NCAA restricts economic opportunities for college athletes, the more likely its legal headaches will continue.” (link)
The Athletic’s Mandel and Staples report that, per “four sources with knowledge of the contract negotiations,” the Gator Collective “never got a guarantee in writing from a donor (or donors) that they would cover the amount in [Arizona State QB commit] Rashada’s contract.” Those numbers? Mandel and Staples report Rashada’s contract called for a $500K up-front payment. “After that, his payments would increase from $250K a month as a freshman, to $291,666.66 a month as a sophomore, to $375K a month as a junior, rounded out with $195,833.33 monthly payments as a senior.” To receive that compensation, Rashada would be responsible for satisfying the following obligations: residence in Gainesville; at least one branded Twitter post and one branded Instagram post per month; up to eight fan engagement events per year; and autographing up to 15 pieces of merchandise per year. Mandel and Staples note: “As for how much NIL money Rashada landed by going to Arizona State, a person with knowledge of that school’s collective said it was his understanding that an NIL arrangement for Rashada is ‘nonexistent.’” (link)
Louisville leads the country in the cost of MBB buy game losses, per On3’s Wittry, who reports the Cardinals have paid schools a total of $340K for games they ultimately lost. Cal ($245K) is next, followed by Oregon ($190K), Florida State ($175K) and USF ($165K). Meanwhile, Stetson ($170K) leads the list of programs who received money for buy games they ultimately won, followed by Texas State ($165), Alcorn State ($118K), Sam Houston ($100K) and four other schools tied at $95K. (link)
Negotiations between the City of Birmingham, Jackson State and Southern fell through, so the Tigers-Jaguars game will be in Baton Rouge. Jaguars AD Banks: “When you start negotiating and you look at, first of all, what you’re going to guarantee me before I even leave, so it just got into a business discussion. At the end of the day, I think AD Robinson at Jackson, who is a tough negotiator, and I came to an agreement that playing at home. I think for me, one of the things is, is that if we didn’t exactly get an awesome deal, then I need to bring this home to our fans.” (link)
Boston U. researchers report finding CTE in 345 of the 376 former NFL players they have studied so far and note that the 91.7% occurrence rate of CTE in ex-NFL players is a sharp contrast with the "extremely low population rate" of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in the general public. BU CTE Center Director McKee: “While the most tragic outcomes in individuals with CTE grab headlines, we want to remind people at risk for CTE that those experiences are in the minority. Your symptoms, whether or not they are related to CTE, likely can be treated, and you should seek medical care. Our clinical team has had success treating former football players with mid-life mental health and other symptoms." Researchers caution there are selection biases in the brain bank used for the study and say the public shouldn't assume that nearly 92% of all current and former NFL players have CTE. (link)
+ Minnesota’s MBB matchup at Illinois tomorrow will be postponed due to COVID-19 protocols within the Gophers program. (link)
+ The SEC is implementing a 10-run mercy rule for conference baseball play this year. If a team is up by 10+ through seven innings, the game is over, per Best of Arkansas Sports’ Hutchinson. (link)
+ OpenAI Founder/CEO Altman tells Forbes that “I think that if AGI (artificial general intelligence) really truly fully happens, I can imagine all these ways that it breaks capitalism.” Altman goes on to say that “capitalism is awesome” and is the best economic model out of a bad bunch, but he hopes “we find a way better one.” Altman reiterates that no one should own AI and hoard its benefits and is working to avoid that for OpenAI. “We've tried to design a structure that is, as far as I know, unlike any other corporate structure out there. If we really, truly get AGI and it breaks, we'll need something different [in company structure].” (link)
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