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Southern Conference Commissioner Schaus joins Connect/MB Sports’ Banker to discuss several topics, including developing entrenched relationships in the league, the Transformation Committee, postseason expansion and more. Schaus also believes it makes sense to have more sport-specific oversight committees. “I think there’s merit to that, and I think it gives an opportunity as different legislation comes down the road, it’s not necessarily a one-size-fits-all situation because there may be some unique things about a given sport. I think those types of discussions, I think they’re coming, and I think that could be very beneficial. … I think [some sports] are unique, let’s find a way to manage them uniquely.” Check out the full interview on Connect. (link)
Nevada AD Rempe acknowledges that “we absolutely have some work to do” in regards to facilities upgrades, telling Nevada Sports Net: “We need to have better facilities and we need to have actual facilities in certain cases like an indoor tennis facility, an indoor field house. But we're going to get there.” With several projects, including new MBB and WBB locker rooms, a remodeling of the FB locker room and new turf installation at the Hixson Softball Complex, recently finished or currently underway, Rempe says nutrition is “probably a top-three priority” moving forward. “We feed all of our student-athletes breakfast five days a week, and then each team will do supplemental food at different times, whether it's a pregame meal or after workouts or different things like that. But we need to figure out a way to provide them more food because I absolutely believe nutrition impacts winning and losing." More. (link)
Bowling Green AD van der Merwe talks on the holistic importance of fundraising with D1.ticker/Connect’s Eargle: “...all aspects of a pipeline development, from the first person that walks into your facilities, the experiences they feel, the communication they receive, the re-targeting of those individuals, giving them opportunities to engage. I think revenue generation is the primacy of what we’re attempting to support because obviously our survival is dependent upon it. Looking at all aspects of that consumer experience…those are things we’re beginning to dissect – the attention to detail, the discipline, making sure people feel that they’re special and that they have a unique experience when they do step into your arenas. Those are all things that we’re aggressively looking at because I know they all contribute to the end result. The end result are the large gifts, the end result is them connecting with the identity of their program.” Full Q&A is now available on Connect. (link)
+ Jackson State has placed President Hudson on paid administrative leave, effective immediately. Department of Journalism and Media Studies Chair Hayes-Anthony has been appointed as acting president. (link)
+ Georgia Tech has named former LEARFIELD Miami (FL) GM/current GameDay Vodka VP of Marketing & Team Sponsorships Nieves as Executive Assoc. AD/CRO. (link)
+ Campbell Director of Development for the Office of Institutional Advancement Rice will join the Camels’ athletic department as Senior Assoc. AD for Development. (link)
+ More talent movement at Austin Peay, Ohio State, Long Island, Utah, Washington State, Utah State, Incarnate Word, Mississippi State, Memphis & Notre Dame can all be found on The Wire at Collegiate Sports Connect. (link)
New Mexico State will retain a search firm to assist with the selection of its next MBB HC, according to the Las Cruces Sun News’ Groves, who notes the school “has not utilized a search firm for any of [Aggies AD] Moccia's head coaching hires.” Moccia: “We will select the next basketball coach at New Mexico State – the search firm will not do that. The search firm will help along the process, in my opinion, maybe in making contact with potential candidates who are sitting head coaches who I have not had access to in the past." (link)
Former Notre Dame WBB HC McGraw tells NCAA correspondent Katz college sports is a “really untenable situation that’s only getting worse. I hate where we are right now as a sport. I think college athletics is really in trouble. I think we have to make some changes, and we’ve got to be able to do it. I don’t know what it’s going to take, but if we’re waiting for Congress to do it, that’s not going to happen. So, we need to figure it out. We got ourselves into this mess, we need to get ourselves out of it. I think we’re looking at the wrong things. We’re supposed to be teaching these kids life skills and values. Now it’s about, ‘How much money can you give me?’ … Kids used to come in as a freshman and they’d play behind a junior or senior. They’d wait their turn and then junior and senior year they’d be the starter. They don’t want that anymore. It’s instant gratification.” (link)
Grambling State FB HC Jackson in a recent Instagram post asserted that “despite their talent and expertise, minority coaches continue to be overlooked and under-represented in the NFL and Power 5 schools. I am calling on coaches to pivot and consider coaching at HBCUs. Not only will this give them an opportunity to hone their craft, but it can help bring more attention and resources back to these great institutions. Watch what happens with more support – these schools will continue to cultivate future generations of top-tier coaches and lead a new wave of success in football.” (link)
The National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championship (NCWWC) announces that more than 40 programs have met all of their divisional rules, paving the way for the NCAA to consider sanctioning a national championship. USA Wrestling Executive Director Bender: “It has been the combined efforts of many that have helped push NCAA Women’s Wrestling to these incredible new heights. Much work remains as we collectively continue the sport’s advancement by providing more quality collegiate wrestling opportunities for women all across the nation.” (link)
Central Arkansas will add STUNT as a varsity program beginning in the fall of 2023. (link)
ECU has unveiled the newest addition to the Grady-White Boats Athletic Campus with the official opening of the Rogers Family Performance Center. The new 7K-sq-ft weight room includes a nutrition bar and an indoor turf training area and is so-named in recognition of a $1M gift from the Carl Rogers family. (link)
The success of the recent NHL Stadium Series matchup at NC State’s Carter-Finley Stadium has put the idea of potentially hosting the Frozen Four in Raleigh back on the table, according to the News & Observer’s DeCock, who points out the “hurdle in the past has been concerns about the revenue guaranteed to the NCAA and whether this market could recoup that expense if some of the smaller college teams that don’t bring as many traveling fans qualify.” However, DeCock notes that “the fact that a club college hockey game drew more than 20,000 fans to Carter-Finley opened some eyes.” Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance Executive Director Dupree agrees and says “The conditions and the momentum have never been better to consider a Frozen Four bid.” (link)
The Houston-focused LinkingCoogs collective has facilitated more than $2M in NIL deals in its first six months. Sales Development Director Goesling: “Us reaching over $2M in deals in just a six-month span just shows you how far we have come and the amount of support from not only the University of Houston but the city of Houston. That’s why we go by the saying ‘for the city.’” Without providing specifics, Goesling says a “good chunk” of the $2M has gone to the MBB team. (link)
Yesterday's Evening Standard...
Florida State AD Alford tells ESPN’s Hale and Adelson he knows “how hard the commissioner and the office are working to provide solutions to the members of the conference to the revenue gap that we are projecting in the upcoming years to the media contracts. But at the end of the day, in order to compete to the standard we want to compete in, there needs to be a change, and the status quo is not good enough." Meanwhile, ACC Commissioner Phillips insists progress is being made. “Not everybody liked all of the discussion or agreed with everything said, but we left there agreeing to continue to put together options to consider as a league. We went from never discussing it to having subcommittees to help drive the conversation." However, Hale and Adelson observe: “Alford's comments were a warning to his colleagues that time is running out to change those fortunes, and several administrators privately offered a similar lament to Alford's public statements. Change isn't about appeasement. It's about survival.” (link)
Interesting nugget for the Hawai’i AD search: A new Aloha Stadium would cost less than $500M, according to Hawai’i Governor Green. Front Office Sports’ Christovich notes the project, “which could also include an entertainment district and private residences for the surrounding area, was previously estimated to cost $440M. It will include 35K seats — 15K less than the old stadium.” Green also explains the local government will have to agree on a blueprint for the project in the next month or so and says the fate of a potential housing complex could depend on “cooperation” from the U.S. military, which controls a significant amount of land in the state. The stadium is expected to be complete in time for the 2026 season. (link)
As for another AD search - Long Beach State - the D1.dossier for the Big West opening is now available. South Carolina State’s will be ready to rock by next Friday. (link)
Yahoo’s Wetzel observes that “Stuart Bell is president and (supposedly) in charge of the University of Alabama. Yet as a shooting, murder and controversy envelopes the basketball program, he’s got nothing to say. Bell has said nothing about anything. Alabama did send me this statement on behalf of the university though: ‘This is a tragic situation, and we continue to extend our deepest sympathies. … Based on all information the university has received, no current student-athletes are considered suspects, they are only cooperative witnesses. These facts have informed our decisions. This matter is being handled by the criminal justice system, and we will have no additional comment until it concludes.’” (link)
ESPN has talked with major sports leagues and media partners about launching a feature on ESPN.com that would link users directly to where a live sporting event is streaming, even if it’s being broadcast by a competitor, CNBC’s Sherman reports, noting that while there are no details regarding a timeline and actual media partners, it could involve streamers like Amazon and Apple as well as RSNs, “and would aim to make ESPN the TV guide of live sports.” In an initial consideration of the business model, ESPN would take a cut of subscription revenue from a user who signed up for a streaming service through the ESPN app or website. If a customer already subscribes to a given service, ESPN would collect no money and just provide the link as a courtesy. Sherman: “ESPN’s willingness to promote other streaming services suggests a strategic shift in the streaming wars. Disney is less focused on gaining streaming subscribers — and eyeballs — at all costs. Company executives have emphasized they want investors to prioritize revenue and profit rather than subscriber growth, a trend started by other media companies, including Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery.” (link)
+ Texas Tech has appointed Senior Assoc. AD for Academic Excellence Brown-Campbell as Interim SWA. (link)
+ Cal has hired Boston College Asst. Director of Annual Giving Miller as Assoc. AD for Athletics Leadership Annual Giving. The Golden Bears identified & hired Miller via Collegiate Sports Connect. Miller: “If you’re in (or want to be in) college athletics and aren’t on Collegiate Sports Connect, get on it — read industry updates, learn about opportunities, and build your network!” (link)
+ Altius Sports Partners and Women Leaders in College Sports extend their partnership to focus on identifying and developing talent for ASP's on-campus NIL GM program. (link)
Coaches Wire: Hoops…
+ Minnesota WBB HC Whalen is “stepping aside” and will serve as Special Asst. to the AD through April 12, 2025. (link)
+ North Florida has parted ways with WBB HC Gibbs after eight seasons. (link)
+ Tarleton will hire a new WBB HC after parting ways with HC Wilson who went 146-114 in nine seasons. (link)
+ Add Bucknell AD Truax to the list of leaders who will be hiring a new hoops boss as MBB HC Davis will depart Lewisburg. (link)
Coaches Wire: Not Hoops…
+ Eastern Michigan taps Ashland (DII) Volleyball HC Foeman for the same position in Ypsilanti. (link)
+ NC State parts ways with Softball HC Patrick-Swift, effective immediately. (link)
+ New Mexico State Baseball HC Kirby has been let go. Kirby was in his fourth season. (link)
+ UCLA has received a “major commitment” from alumna Rothman to establish The R.C. Rothman UCLA Head Gymnastics Coach Endowment in support of the Gymnastics HC position. The position will now be known as The R.C. Rothman UCLA Head Gymnastics Coach in honor of the gift. (link)
During FY22, Indiana received a $150M gift from the IU Foundation to cover COVID-related shortfalls in several areas throughout the university. Of that $150M, approximately $38M was transferred to the athletic department, and Hoosiers AD Dolson remarks that “enabled us to basically stay afloat.” The department considered several options, but IU Treasurer Lukes points out the “costs were going to come back either to our students or, in athletics’ case, alumni and people who pay for tickets, or we would need to cut services to pay those funds back.” Instead, the gift allowed IU to cover its shortfall and eventually recover several revenue streams with “no student fees, no state tax appropriations,” according to Dolson. (link)
New on Connect: Xavier Assoc. AD for Development Breitenstein discusses the timeline, funding and other details of the Musketeers’ Cintas Center renovations, including how the department has engaged donors, the major initiatives the project entails, how it will compare to other facilities in the Big East, navigating the reseating process and more. (link)
With roughly 1,800 MBB student-athletes entering the transfer portal in each of the past two seasons, ESPN’s Borzello observes the “emphasis on signing impact freshmen has diminished. The numbers bear that out in convincing fashion. Of the top 100 recruits in the class of 2022, according to the Recruiting Services Consensus Index, only 17 are averaging double figures in scoring this season.” Meanwhile, 62 of the top 100 transfers as ranked by ESPN are scoring at least 10 PPG, and Borzello points out the lack of impact by freshman actually predates the one-time transfer waiver and can also be partially attributed to the increasing number of options for high school seniors, such as Overtime Elite and G League Ignite. “Essentially, if you're not getting a top-25 recruit, the better bet for an immediate impact in recent years is almost always a transfer. You might not find a lottery pick in the portal, but the floor is considerably higher.” Lots more. (link)
The WAC and Conference USA are developing a scheduling alliance for the next couple of years for MBB and WBB, per Stadium’s Goodman, who reports the matchups will be “success-based with the goal being to increase quality non-conference scheduling opportunities for both leagues.” (link)
The MEAC has launched The MEAC Foundation, a 501(c)(3) designed to assist its member institutions by providing grants in several areas, including scholarships, championship access, sports operations, facility improvements, salaries and more. The foundation is supported by charitable donations made during the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic last month from actor Michael B. Jordan, Snickers and the Legacy Classic. Commissioner Stills: “To officially launch the MEAC Foundation and lay the groundwork for support for our league and our member institutions is the result of a lot of hard work and the first step in helping our schools access the support and the resources they need to continue growing and thriving.” (link)
Former Vanderbilt Assoc. Director of Development Epps, who now runs the Anchor Impact Fund collective, explains the fund was born out of donors asking how they could contribute to Commodores student-athletes’ NIL endeavors. “They asked the question about what Vanderbilt was doing in the NIL space. And at that time, we didn’t have any concrete plans around how we were going to utilize name, image and likeness for the good of student-athletes. They’re successful businesspeople in the community, as well as community leaders, and having a deep passion for charitable organizations, they did their due diligence on their own, sought legal counsel, engaged with the university and then brought it to me.” Epps declined to specify who is backing the fund but says it has raised $2.1M so far. Heitner Legal’s namesake points out that a school’s endowment is a good indicator of how much support a collective can expect, and with Vandy sitting atop the conference with a $10.9B endowment, he says the Dores are “in a prime position to benefit from NIL collective-related activity.” (link)
The ICON (Illinois for Charitable Opportunities and Networking) Collective is set to launch this week and will focus on targeting high-dollar donors and arranging contracts for Illinois student-athletes. The collective is the second Illini-focused NIL organization, and ICON CEO Knight says: “We continue to support and make sure that (the Illini Guardians) feel good about continuing their operations — they’ve built an awesome, robust grassroots subscription model. We really felt that there was a need for this kind of larger-level investment entity.” Knight also notes ICON will focus on connecting student-athletes only with charitable endeavors. (link)
+ FanDuel is now the co-exclusive sportsbook of MLB through a new deal, while MLS has named Ticketmaster as its official ticketing partner, SBJ’s King & Silverman report. (link)
+ FanDuel had a 50% market share in the U.S. during Q4 after reporting a 42% share in Q3, the company announced, adding that it brought in $3.2B in revenue on the year, a 67% YoY increase. It also said it acquired more than 1.2M U.S. bettors in 2023 despite scaling back its marketing spend. More from Action Network’s Rovell. (link)
+ The St. Louis Blues have added Live Activities to their app, through which the team can deliver live play-by-play updates to the lock screens of fans’ phones. (link)
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