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As reports circulate on UNC Wilmington’s next AD, the university has called a special meeting of its Board of Trustees on Monday at 10am ET. Of note: “The primary business to be transacted will be discussed in closed session, consistent with the Open Meetings Act.” (link)
Hawai’i Assoc. AD for Internal Operations/SWA Manin says she’s interested in becoming the new AD for the Rainbow Warriors as former longtime Assoc. AD McNamara indicates he won’t pursue the opening & notable politician/former Hawai’i High School Athletic Association boss Amemiya, who finished second to outgoing UH AD Matlin during the 2015 hiring process, offers a “no comment” on his candidacy. Former Hawai’i AD Jay details some challenges for whomever becomes the new leader: “But you got to have hope that this new stadium and the whole business entertainment district happens sooner than later because they need a home, they need a place to play. And I think that’s what I hope for the next athletic director who’s gonna be able to have to take that problem on. [...] You got to take a look at the funding of the program. Where can you get help? I know in the last couple of years they were able to get some funding from from state government and the legislature and things, but when it comes right down to it, the university has to support the program and that’s gonna have to come with more financial support and things, or else you end up falling behind and in your competitiveness and your attractiveness in terms of having the kids come there to the islands.” (link)
Arizona AD Heeke joins Playfly’s On The Fly podcast to discuss a number of topics, including hiring coaches, his career path, building a program and the future of the Wildcats athletic department. Heeke says of that future amid a changing landscape: “There is a lot of growth going on here. Expansion in facilities. We’ve been very focused on facility growth and putting our programs in a position to be successful from that perspective. We have a great team here. It’s a transitionary time in college athletics. The newness, the change, not just the pure focus, you gotta be a bit nimble to support your programs and your coaches. I think the enterprise itself is changing and we’ve tried to be that way. We’ve got to be progressive in our nature, maybe changing some of that traditional organizational structural side to meet the new needs of college athletics. Now let me say this, I’m a college athletics believer. The model, the college athletics model, there’s nothing greater than it…but we have to be an organization that meets the new and changing needs of student-athletes or the enterprise itself.” Full podcast. (link)
+ UCF scores a $5M+ anonymous gift from a former Knights baseball student-athlete, $4M of which will go toward the baseball program with the rest supporting the Sharon and Marc Hagle Gateway, UCF's Football Campus. (link)
+ More diamond sport donations as Oklahoma announces a $1.2M gift from the estate of late Sooners baseball student-athlete Stephenson. “In addition to impacting upcoming enhancements to OU's baseball facilities, this meaningful gift also fulfills the Kimrey Family Matching Gift Challenge.” (link)
UC Irvine WBB is 20-5 (12-2) & in second place in the Big West, but can’t play its next two games - today at UC Davis & Monday versus Cal Poly - due to not having enough student-athletes available as a byproduct of continued injury challenges. Per Big West rules, both tips will be considered no contests. (link)
NC State extends Football HC Doeren for one year, which could keep him with the Wolfpack through the 2027 season. No change in the financial terms, with Doeren set to make $5M annually. (link)
With a “nonstop calendar, endless roster churn, the Name, Image and Likeness deluge, social media-fueled stress [and] ballooning paychecks,” The Athletic’s Hamilton submits that “you have an explanation for the imminent end of septuagenarians on the [MBB HC] sideline. It’s not that coaches with plenty of tread left on their tires are less ambitious or less pathologically competitive. They simply don’t have to deal with a job that’s getting more and more complicated for as long as the old guard did, if they don’t want to. And they probably don’t want to.” Providence HC Cooley confirms he is in that camp, telling Hamilton: “I will not be on the sideline when I’m in my 70s, for sure. Guaranteed. I definitely will not be coaching like that. If I do, you personally come slap me.” Northwestern HC Collins adds: “It’s a lot. And you take it on, and it’s great. But the offseasons now have become more taxing than the season. It is what it is. We’re not complaining. But for 365 days of the year, you’re working. I just don’t think you’re going to see the 40-year sustainability.” More. (link)
Colorado FB HC Sanders’ effect on the program has not excluded the nutrition and food coaches and players are served, as Buffs Assoc. AD for Performance Nutrition Anderson explains: “I appreciate when people have really high standards. (Sanders) has very high standards on how things can be executed. I know my team also has very high standards, but everybody gets – especially at the end of about 24 weeks of grinding – you fall off a little bit. Now, it’s like, ‘All right, game on all the time.’” Buffs AD George adds: “I think in some ways, we had become complacent (as an athletics department). I think the only way you get better is getting out of your comfort zone. In Deion’s case, he came in here and his style is different than any coach we’ve had and it’s gonna push people a little bit.” (link)
More from Sanders as his remarks last week to NFL Network’s Eisen have started making the rounds, particularly those relating to what he looks for when recruiting certain positions. Sanders: “Well, we have different attributes. Smart, tough, fast, disciplined with character. Now, quarterbacks are different. We want mother, father. Dual parent. We want that kid to be 3.5 [GPA] and up. Because he has to be smart. Not bad decisions off the field, at all. Because he has to be a leader of men. … Defensive linemen is totally opposite. Single mama, trying to get it, he’s on free lunch. I’m talking about just trying to make it. He’s trying to rescue mama. Like mama barely made the flight. And I want him to just go get it. It’s a whole different attribute that you look for in different positions. And we have that stuff just chronicled. We know what we want, and we go get it." (link)
An external review by ABST Law into the North Dakota State cheer program found “lack of support by NDSU Athletics, lack of respect and access to athletic trainers and team practice safety concerns,” per Valley News Live’s Walling, who added the team did not have access to the Sanford Health Athletic Complex or weight room and limited access to athletic trainers. Bison AD Larsen: “The report highlights an important issue within our athletics department that, while our cheer team is composed of serious athletes, the team is not a competition team. As a result, the resources available to the cheer team differ from the resources available to competition sports. That being said, we need to do a better job clarifying roles/expectations and improving communications within the athletics department regarding the cheer team. We will take time to process the report and will implement improvements before the start of the new season.” (link)
In the latest edition of ‘Can your AD do this,’ Cleveland State boss Garrett joins the pep band on his trombone. Akron AD Guthrie chimes in on the tweet of the video saying he has always wanted to join the band on the drums, to which Garrett replies “We will play together when we finally get our teams to face off!” Might this be a new scheduling strategy? (link)
Well this is wild. NBA Commissioner Silver demos the new NBA app, which allows fans to insert themselves into NBA highlights. Silver takes a full body scan of broadcaster Rashad to create his Avatar, then demonstrates Rashad making all the moves of Los Angeles Lakers’ Horton-Tucker, including a monster slam. (link)
PENN Entertainment has purchased the remaining 64% of Barstool Sports for $388M. PENN Entertainment CEO/President Snowden: “Barstool is a proven, powerful media brand with an authentic voice and vast, loyal audience that provides us with a strong top of funnel for new customer acquisition and organic cross-selling opportunities across our growing interactive division. Barstool, combined with theScore’s reach and highly engaged user base, creates a massive digital footprint and ecosystem that will serve to propel Barstool Sportsbook and our uniquely integrated media and gaming business. Further, the Barstool Sportsbook will greatly benefit from the upcoming migration to our proprietary technology stack, a move that will significantly enhance the overall product offering and deliver meaningful upside.” (link)
Yesterday's Evening Standard...
NCAA SVP of Basketball Gavitt sits down with D1.ticker/Connect’s Fischer to discuss the state of the sport, including upcoming media negotiations, NIL, the transfer portal, tournament expansion and lots more in a comprehensive conversation. Gavitt says conversations about expansion will occur during the spring and summer. “As I’ve mentioned before, there is some history here that should be taken into consideration. Just in my decade at the NCAA there hasn’t really been much consideration at all given to expanding the championship. And there hasn’t been much interest actually from the current broadcast partners. All that being said, we’re in a time of dynamic change, and the committees will give the recommendation its due. But 90, 96, that’s a pretty big leap from where we are today.” Gavitt also notes that in terms of opening the media rights agreement back up, expansion likely doesn’t lead to that. “We have a really solid agreement in place through ‘32… but what that means in terms of the value equation and the rights associated with it would be something to be determined.” As far as media negotiations for other championship sports go, Gavitt notes some sports could be singled out for their own deals or paired with other sports to be sold as bundles and tells Fischer the negotiating process with ESPN will likely begin this summer. Don’t miss the full conversation only on Connect. (link)
SEC Commissioner Sankey talks with OutKick’s Wallace about a number of topics, including one underreported component of the SEC’s media deal with ESPN: the ability to plan out a schedule well in advance. Sankey: “In football, because we’ll be aligned with one set of networks, our kickoff times can be identified in great majority during the summertime, particularly the early kicks. There’ll be some flex games within a Saturday… but we won’t have these wait until 12 days and you find out the game I want to attend is going to be at 11 AM central.” Sankey notes that ability was central to the league’s decision-making process during negotiations. Full interview. (link)
JohnCanzano.com’s namesake reports the Big 12 has had “multiple conversations” with Fresno State, while the Pac-12 has had limited contact with the Bulldogs. On Pac-12 expansion candidates, Canzano states “the expansion decision will be driven by media value,” identifying San Diego State and SMU, given their respective markets, and Rice, given the Houston market, and UNLV, which has “fewer than 1 million TV households in Las Vegas, but the Pac-12 may covet the market’s sponsorship dollars.” On reports of CBS/Turner being out of the Pac-12 media rights race, a source tells Canzano: “I don’t know that CBS and Turner were ever actually in.” (link); As the Pac-12 media rights negotiations continue, FOS’ McCarthy reports Amazon is “holding out for the best game matchups and best financial terms.” (link); Speaking of leveraging negotiations, The Mercury News’ Wilner comments on the potential impact of Pac-12 Networks President Shuken and Pac-12 CFO Willman: “... in the weeks since we reported the news that Comcast had overpaid the Pac-12 Networks by approximately $50 million over the course of a decade, it has become clear the issue carried a psychological effect. It could have empowered potential partners to take a more circumspect stance. An embarrassment of that nature — and it was a whopper — inherently shifts leverage during negotiations.” Wilner also sets the odds of expansion at 50% for no expansion, 40% for adding two schools and 10% for adding four. (link)
+ UMass will recommend UIC Interim Chancellor Reyes to become the next chancellor at UMass Amherst. (link)
+ Arkansas-Pine Bluff Chancellor Alexander is one of three finalists for the presidential opening at Stockton (DIII). (link)
+ Austin Peay promotes Asst. AD for Compliance Patterson to Assoc. AD and Asst. AD for Administration/Chief of Staff Smith to Senior Assoc. AD. (link)
+ Auburn names AAC Senior Director of Compliance and Academics Greene as its new Senior Assoc. AD for Administration. (link)
+ The Sugar Bowl has appointed Lake Lawn Metairie Cemeteries Senior Funeral Director/Market Ambassador Briede as its president for the 2023-24 season. (link)
Penn State President Bendapudi is in favor of a multi-phase renovation for Beaver Stadium, noting such a plan would be “far more economical than a new build.” While a renovation plan is not yet finalized, The Athletic’s Snyder reports no tuition or education dollars will be used. An extra note from Snyder: “Next month marks 6 years since PSU first released the facility plan, which was the 20-year road map for athletics.” (link)
NC A&T’s recently-released Master Plan includes a new convocation center, which will serve as the home for Aggies basketball, a new football practice field, a varsity soccer field and renovations to War Memorial Coliseum. The 5K-seat Corbett Sports Center and historic Moore Gymnasium would be demolished. (link)
Attendance at Syracuse MBB games is at a 20-year low so far this season, per Syracuse.com’s Waters, who reports the Orange are averaging 17,977 per game through 15 home contests. “That is tickets sold, not fans through turnstiles. The last time Syracuse saw attendance figures that low was in the 2001-02 season. That year, the average attendance for SU men’s basketball games was 17,023. The 2002 figure included two games in the postseason NIT.” AD Wildhack adds some context, saying: “You always want attendance to be strong, to be up or flat. We are down a little bit. At the same time, I think, how many schools play Division I basketball? I think there’s 348 that would gladly take our average attendance.’’ After finishing first or second in attendance every year since 2009, the Orange are currently fifth behind Kentucky (19,780), North Carolina (19,603), Arkansas (19,020) and Tennessee (18,749). (link)
+ Richmond MBB HC Mooney will miss the remainder of the season as he will have an aneurysm removed from his aorta. AC Thomas will serve as Interim HC. (link)
+ Boston U. Women’s Ice Hockey HC Durocher will hang up his skates at the end of the season, after leading the Terriers for the entirety of its varsity history. (link)
+ Northeastern names Assoc. HC Spuehler as the Huskies’ next Field Hockey HC. (link)
+ We offer our most heartfelt sympathies to the Omaha community following the passing of Men’s Hockey AC Jerrard after a lengthy battle with cancer. (link)
The NIL Network has launched its new NIL Verified Network to ensure transparency and fairness within the NIL landscape. Inaugural members include NOCAP Sports, Hawker Family Sports & Entertainment, NextFan, FanWord, Campus Ink and Vantage Sports, among others. NIL Network Founder Meyer: “All of these initial businesses have stood out to me over the past few years as being innovative, collaborative, and most importantly, hyper-focused on the athlete experience. They immediately recognized the importance of a network like this and have been so patient as we’ve worked through the business vetting process and standards.” Business of College Sports’ Lopez explains that the “approval process involves the collection of information about a business’ registration, employees, business practices and compliance with NIL laws, NCAA interim policies and institutional policies” along with a review of the service provider’s terms. (link)
A bill introduced by Oklahoma state Senators McCortney and Jett would allow school foundations to facilitate NIL deals with student-athletes at Oklahoma schools, much like The 12th Man+ Fund recently launched by Texas A&M. Oklahoma State Assoc. Professor Holden explains: “The bill prohibits the school’s employees – officers or directors – from compensating athletes or arranging compensation. But the catch-all is ‘unless permitted by the institutional policy or state law.’ This effectively, in my view, gives schools the ability to change the policy and say, ‘Hey, everyone else is arranging these deals. Why aren’t we?’ That catch-all is the money line. … This [bill] does not appear to have a ton of opposition, as it effectively allows schools to do what other schools in other states are doing.” McCortney: “I would like for us to take control of this and not give it to the NCAA. It protects student-athletes within the state of Oklahoma, and it protects our universities.” (link)
More NIL Today…
+ Boise State-aligned The Horseshoe Collective received a $200K donation from local businessman Russell. (link)
+ UC Irvine has launched the Anteater Marketplace with the help of Opendorse. (link)
USF is the latest to team up with RealResponse. Bulls AD Kelly: "The number one priority at USF is to create an unparalleled experience for our student-athletes. This unparalleled experience starts with continuous communication and we are excited to partner with RealResponse to provide another tool that our student-athletes can use to share their experiences with our leadership.” (link)
Kansas’ FRS report showed the Jayhawks ending FY22 with a $9.3M surplus, while KU’s report to the Board of Trustees which details operations “strictly on a cash basis” showed a surplus of around $1M. YoY, operating revenue increased $25.5M while operating expenses rose by $14.5M Ticket sales shot up to nearly $18M, with MBB accounting for over $13M and FB bringing in more than $3.5M. (link)
College endowment returns fell from an average of 30.6% in FY21 to -8% in FY22, according to the latest report from the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), which also found that “colleges increased their endowment spending, with dollars increasingly flowing toward institutional operating budgets, largely focused on student financial aid.” According to the report, “all endowment size cohorts posted negative returns,” though the largest endowments—those with assets upward of $1B —averaged returns of -4.5%. By contrast, those in the smallest cohort, with less than $25M in assets, saw average returns of -11.5%. Harvard’s endowment remains the nation’s largest at $49.4B, followed by the Texas system ($42.6B), Yale ($41.3B), Stanford ($36.3B) and Princeton ($35.8B). (link)
+ Kentucky will sell alcohol at Baseball and Softball games, as part of a pilot program. (link)
+ This is pretty cool, check out a video from the ice at Carter-Finley Stadium ahead of tomorrow night’s Stadium Series matchup between the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals. (link)
+ A replica 2013 NCAA championship banner has been hung outside Metro Hall in Louisville ahead of the Cardinals’ 10-year anniversary celebration Saturday. (link)
+ U.S. sports gambling revenue grew from $4.3B in 2021 to a record $7.5B in 2022. (link)
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