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JohnCanzano.com’s namesake reports the Pac-12 is officially vetting four schools as expansion candidates. Who for sure? SMU & San Diego State. Maybe: Colorado State. Unlikely/No: UNLV, Fresno State, Boise State. Canzano admits he’s unclear on who the fourth school is. An unnamed league AD tells Canzano he believes the Pac-12’s media deal will end up outpacing the Big 12’s: “We have better schools, better markets and better ratings.” Othey key nuggets from Canzano: “We all might be tired of talking/fretting about the ongoing Pac-12 saga, but the decision-makers themselves don’t appear antsy. The board members are far more focused on cutting a shrewd, smart, sensible deal for the most revenue possible. [...] One of the hold-ups on the Pac-12’s media rights deal apparently relates to the involvement of Amazon and Apple as bidders, per multiple sources. One — or both — is in play for a piece of the Pac-12’s rights. The entities are relatively new in the space and I’m told the negotiation has moved slower than expected because of that.” The Pac-12 CEO Group meets again this coming Tuesday. (link)
New on Connect: Summit League Commissioner Fenton joins Extra Points’ Brown to discuss the issues facing college athletics, his conference’s approach and whether it is reevaluating any sports sponsorship, postseason expansion beyond MBB and more. Fenton: “We’re hyperfocused on how do we provide a co-curricular, within this world of higher education, athletic experience that can help from a human development side with student-athletes.” Check out the full Q&A. (link)
“The CBI is not the national championship, it’s an invitational tournament, and we want to put together an interesting and competitive tournament. And there’s lots of factors that go into that.” That’s Gazelle Group President Giles on the potential for Detroit Mercy MBB (14-19) to be a part of this year’s CBI field as Titans student-athlete Davis is a mere four points away from breaking the DI scoring record held by former LSU great Maravich. Cost wise, it’s a $27,500 entry fee, plus team travel & support for the trip to Daytona Beach. Former UNLV/Arizona AD Livengood believes it would be a “great investment,” adds, “It’s not like this is an opportunity that comes around often.” (link)
The Tennessee Fund has closed 135 gifts of $25K or larger this fiscal year and 19K+ individual donors have contributed, setting an all-time high for participants in a single fiscal year. The south end zone construction at Neyland Stadium will soon get underway, and will include “a significant expansion to main concourse 1, inclusive of additional restrooms and an improved concessions experience. Additionally, the south end of the facility will be home to the stadium's first-ever kitchen, commissary and loading dock.” Other upgrades expected to be in place by this fall: partially completed Wi-Fi capabilities, new restrooms and expanded concourse space in certain areas. Renderings included. (link)
Looks like Akron AD Guthrie will hire a new WBB leader as the contract of five-year HC Jackson will not be renewed. The Zips have also closed an internal investigation of Jackson stemming from allegations by a former student-athlete that never led to any disciplinary measures for Jackson. (link)
The details of UCLA FB HC Kelly’s new contract, per L.A. Times’ Bolch: $6.1M salary each of the next two seasons, then $6.2M each of the final three seasons of the deal. If the Bruins make a move before December 2023, Kelly is owed $8.5M, if it is before December 2024 he would get $4.27M and nothing if he’s dismissed after that. Should he depart on his own accord before the end of the upcoming season, he owes $3M, and if it is before the end of the 2025 season, he owes $1.5M. New bonuses: $1M for College Football Playoff title (up from $200K), $800K for CFP title game appearance (up from $150K) and $600K for a CFP semifinal appearance (up from $100K). More. (link)
On3’s Prisbell deconstructs the crisis management mechanisms at Alabama in light of recent news regarding MBB student-athlete Miller, and former federal prosecutor/McGuire Woods Partner O’Neil explains the importance of preparation for instances like these. “You don’t have to call in crisis people to set up a ‘war room,’ but you definitely want a [thorough] check for your big statements, your big actions.” Former CNN correspondent and MediaWorks Resource Group Founder Bernheimer observes that Crimson Tide MBB HC Oats, by adopting the tone of a defense attorney, came off as “flippant and dismissive. Just because Miller isn’t being charged with a crime, that doesn’t mean he’s blameless. The coach seems to have a problem differentiating legal liability from basic virtue. … He didn’t even begin by acknowledging the tragic death of this woman, which is rule number one in a crisis of this nature.” Bernstein Crisis Management’s founder of the same name submits that part of the problem could stem from major donors in sports not caring enough about accountability, thereby not putting a sufficient amount of pressure on a school or franchise. “We’ve seen it again and again in sports: If you keep winning, too much is forgiven.” (link)
D1.ticker/Connect’s Fischer chats with Big East Senior Assoc. Commissioner for Sports Media Relations Paquette about planning the Big East hoops tournaments, the intricacies of coordinating media and communications during March Madness, the planning that goes into hosting an NCAA regional, dealing with broadcast partners like Fox and lots more in the full conversation, which is now live on Connect. (link)
The St. Louis Dispatch’s McAndrew breaks down strategy behind Missouri MBB’s seven sellouts this season & a year-over-year increase in attendance from 3,399 to 11,377. Tigers Assoc. AD for Marketing & Fan Experience Daniel points to renewed communication with both fans & students alike: “We took an active listening approach and rolled the surveys out. It wasn’t just going to be, ‘OK, we’re taking this information, and we’re gonna try to fix one thing.’ It was, ‘How can we make this completely better, top of the SEC experience whenever you come to any of our sporting events, how can we make it to the top of the SEC?’” The improvement framework has also worked for gymnastics & wrestling, which both recently set meet attendance records. More. (link)
The Duke-North Carolina MBB game in Chapel Hill each year is often the most coveted student ticket and in previous years student ticket policies made it possible that seniors received 80% of the student ticket allotment for the game. This year, however, the Tar Heels changed the policy and as it stands half the ticket allotment went to students who attended the most home games this season and two different lotteries for seniors and underclassmen accounted for 25% of the remaining tickets, each. Senior Davis comments: “I feel betrayed, quite frankly. We were guaranteed tickets as entering freshmen, and now we’re seniors and they’re changing the script on us. What gives?” UNC Senior Assoc. AD for Smith Center Operations/Event Management Gwaltney: “You didn’t even have to win the lottery. If you walked down (to the Smith Center) for the first four games of the season, you could’ve secured your Duke ticket.” (link)
+ Nevada joins forces with Reno-based Hub Coffee Roasters to launch Morning Howl, the university’s first branded coffee. (link)
+ The West Coast Conference Baseball Tournament will be hosted in Las Vegas starting in 2023. The league signed a multiyear agreement with Las Vegas Ballpark to hold the tourney there through 2026. (link)
+ Holy Cross and Harvard will meet on the gridiron in 2023 at Polar Park in Worcester, rather than the previously scheduled campus-based Fitton Field. The EBW Football Classic will still be considered a home contest for the Crusaders. (link)
+ Florida A&M and South Carolina State announce a home-and-home FB series in Tallahassee (2024) and Orangeburg (2025). (link)
Yesterday's Evening Standard...
The Athletic’s Mandel and Olson report the latest from the realignment front, noting Big 12 Commissioner Yormark is “deep in discussions with Gonzaga, but sources involved in the process indicated he wants clarity on the Pac-12’s situation before making that move.” They also report that “multiple people familiar with the Pac-12’s board members expressed doubt that their schools would switch conferences unless it’s for a substantially better deal. School presidents, not ADs, authorize realignment decisions, and the Pac-12’s prioritize academic and cultural fits more than most.” Those presidents, however, “have not yet reached a consensus about inviting San Diego State, SMU or other expansion candidates, sources briefed on the discussions said. … Those sources believe if Yormark can convince the leadership at two Pac-12 schools (of Arizona, Arizona State, Utah & Colorado) to join the Big 12, that might be all it takes to land all four and pull the conference apart.” (link)
The Mercury News’ Wilner predicts the Pac-12’s media rights deal will be in place by the first day of April; however, he has downgraded the league’s odds of survival from 67% to 62%, “and they will continue to decrease by a half-point every week that comes and goes without a deal. If the end of March arrives and the same state of uncertainty still exists, then survival will be favored over extinction by merely a field goal.” Wilner’s target number per school per year: $29.7M.” As for who will acquire the rights, Wilner believes “ESPN, Apple and Amazon are keenly interested in the content, with the possible existence of a fourth entity. An X factor, essentially. … Our sense is the presidents don’t look at the streaming giants with the wariness that might exist in other conferences. They would view partnerships as enhancing deeper connections than mere broadcast agreements.” Finally, regarding expansion, Wilner handicaps the chances of adding two schools at 50%, zero schools at 45% and four schools at 5%. (link)
A group of Hawai’i alumni & current students are pushing to increase the size & diversity of the search committee responsible for hiring a new AD. However, former UH FB student-athlete Untermann adds: “People that are on that committee are the right people who care, who know the university, and who know what we need. I think if we held them accountable, that would be more productive.” (link); Meanwhile, the Hawai’i Board of Regents will hold a meeting next week during which members will discuss their role in evaluating President Lassner, who was recently criticized by three state senators. As of now, board officials say they plan to evaluate Lassner like they always do near the end of the academic year. (link)
The Football Rules Committee has officially proposed timing rules changes intended to “modestly reduce the number of plays in the game, something the committee will study closely during the 2023 season.” As reported over the last couple weeks, the rules changes include a running clock after first downs (except in the last two minutes of a half), prohibiting consecutive timeouts and carrying over penalties in the first and third quarters to the second and fourth quarters, respectively, rather than playing an untimed down. Other committee clarifications include establishing guidelines for second-half warmup activities, including requiring teams to wait until the field is made available to return and having designated areas of the field to warm up, as well as prohibiting drones from being above the playing or team areas while the teams are on the field. The Playing Rules Oversight Panel will consider the recommendations on April 20. (link)
On3 CEO Terry: “Continuing to hear that it is more likely than not a Federal NIL bill will happen this yr. Federal law superseding all State NIL law will bring competitive balance -- could be the single most important next step for NIL. What is ridiculous is adding any teeth of enforcement in [recruiting] inducements without clearly defining when HS athletes can receive $ or sign deals. Collectives and schools want clarity, but laws/rules have to be real-world functional, or we will return to the days of under-the-table deals.” Heitner Legal’s namesake responds by asking whether Terry is referring to drafted legislation or President Biden signing an actual bill into law. “If you’re hearing the latter, then that’s very much news to me.” (link)
LSU released the following statement after gymnastics student-athlete Dunne promoted Caktus Artificial Intelligence, which is used by students to automate homework, on her TikTok account: “At LSU, our professors and students are empowered to use technology for learning and pursuing the highest standards of academic integrity. However, using AI to produce work that a student then represents as one’s own could result in a charge of academic misconduct, as outlined in the Code of Student Conduct.” (link)
+ Toledo Senior Assoc. AD/SWA Andrews announces her retirement after 21 years with the Rockets. (link)
+ UCLA NIL Coordinator Lopes agrees to become USC’s first on-campus NIL GM through the Trojans’ partnership with Altius Sports Partners. (link)
Cal is implementing steps “outside of the scope of the investigation” of former Swimming & Diving HC McKeever, The Orange County Register’s Reid reports, adding that Asst. Vice Chancellor Mogulof “declined to respond directly when asked on Thursday if those steps included investigating Jim Knowlton, Cal’s athletic director, and Jennifer Simon-O’Neill, the school’s executive [senior] associate athletic director[/chief of staff & SWA] and a long-time friend of McKeever’s who had direct supervision over the Golden Bears women’s swimming program for years.” Mogulof did say, however, that “we won’t confirm that an investigation is ongoing nor will we contest or challenge any reporting that suggests as much.” Reid adds: “The weeks following the firing and release of the report have seen prominent financial donors to the university and its athletic program joining current and former Golden Bears swimmers and their parents in calling for the immediate dismissal of Knowlton and Simon-O’Neill.” (link)
Coaches Wire: Hardwood…
+ High Point and MBB HC Smith agree to part ways. (link)
+ Pitt AD Lyke will hire a new WBB HC. (link)
+ Arizona MBB HC Lloyd qualified for a $40K bonus as the Wildcats defeated USC for their 25th win of the season, USA Today’s Berkowitz reports. Additionally, Utah Valley HC Madsen earlier this week picked up a $10K bonus for clinching the regular season WAC title as well as a $10K bonus for season wins. Madsen has earned a total of $25K in bonuses this season. (link)
Coaches Wire: Football…
+ UCLA FB HC Kelly inks an extension through 2027. Bruins AD Jarmond: “The football program is on an upward trajectory, both on the field and in the classroom. Coach Kelly and his staff have done a tremendous job developing young men as demonstrated by their academic excellence." Financial details have yet to be specified. (link)
+ Contract details for new Coastal Carolina FB HC Beck are now public as he’ll earn a total of up to $2.35M this year that includes a $1M base. Notably: “Beck’s contract increases $50,000 annually for every winning season record. If CCU terminates Beck’s contract without cause – without violations of the contract that warrant a firing – prior to Dec. 31, Beck is due 50% of the base salary due for the remaining contract. If the school terminates Beck’s contract without cause between Jan. 1, 2024 and Jan. 1, 2026, he is due 75% of the remaining salary. He’s due the full remaining salary if his contract is terminated without cause between Jan. 1, 2026 and Dec. 31, 2027, when the contract expires. If Beck leaves for an FBS or pro football coaching position before Dec. 31, 2026, he will owe CCU $3 million. If he leaves for another Group of Five college coaching position, he will owe $1.5 million. Beck’s penalties for leaving are reduced by 50% if neither (CCU Chair of Athletics/Executive Director of Football) Moglia nor (CCU President) Benson are still in their positions.” More, including bonus stipulations. (link)
“They gave them more of the resources in terms of a disparate distribution of wealth. Gonzaga earned it because they were the ones pulling down the cash. And now, when I arrived back in the league on this campus, I see that all that has really motivated others — to not hold them back. It’s, how do we emulate them? I’m shocked at how much better the league is from top to bottom. [...] The formula actually works to make it competitive. It incentivizes schools to really get after it.” That’s San Francisco AD Williams on his return to the WCC after a 10-plus-year hiatus coincided with the continued rise of the Gonzaga MBB machine. Loyola Marymount AD Pintens adds context to the league’s overall growth: “It really offends everyone in this league when people talk badly about Gonzaga and say, ‘Oh, they play in a league that doesn’t count, that the games don’t matter.’ I don’t think we’re at that point anymore.” (link)
As the ACC MBB Tournament comes to Greensboro, Mayor Vaughan acknowledges there is a bittersweetness to it with the conference preparing to relocate its HQ to Charlotte. “Of course there are mixed emotions. We hate to see the office go to Charlotte. But really, it is the tournaments that bring in the money. … We get better every single year. We look forward to a long, continued relationship with the ACC. We really do the best tournaments, and I think they recognize that.” The News & Observer’s Carter reports that the “back-to-back weeks of hosting the men’s and women’s ACC tournaments are expected to deliver to Greensboro an economic impact of approximately $21M.” The WBB tournament accounts for about $7.4M, while the MBB tournament accounts for roughly $13.6M. (link)
Stadium’s Goodman shares a full video of “everything that happened that led up to DeeJuan Pruitt throwing one of the worst sucker punches that you'll ever see in the SIU-Edwardsville vs. UT Martin” OVC Tournament game last night. (link); Goodman also notes UT Martin student-athlete Miguel, the recipient of the punch, was taken to the hospital and has been suspended for tonight’s quarterfinal game against Tennessee Tech, as he was deemed to be the instigator. “To clarify: NCAA rules state players will be suspended for a game if they are ejected for fighting. UT Martin’s Rifen Miguel and Jalen Myers both suspended for tonight’s game while SIUE’s DeeJuan Pruitt will miss the first game of next season.” (link)
Houston this offseason will remodel the locker rooms at the Guy V. Lewis Development facility for the MBB and WBB teams, Pawd Slama Jama’s Yanez reports. (link)
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