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Conference USA Commissioner MacLeod camps with D1.ticker/Connect's Fischer at the 2023 NCAA Convention in San Antonio. MacLeod says her league is “open” to a football only affiliation to bring the league to 12 teams for the sport. She feels incoming NCAA President Baker is “coming into it with a great mindset,” but acknowledges that he will have a learning curve. Baker’s focus on Washington is “a big part, no question. That’s where he has relationships that could be helpful. But there’s a lot more. And in order for us to do some of the things we want to do, we need a little help.” With a seat on the MBB Oversight Committee, MacLeod observes that the “whole key to the championship piece [discussion] was improving the championship experience, whether that is travel or seeding. Some of these sports you end up playing the same [team]. When I was AD at Tulsa, we got in the softball tournament and we probably had to play Oklahoma or Oklahoma State because of the regional nature they don’t seed far enough down in the bracket. … Each sport committee will take a look at what makes sense.” She “doesn’t think anything is imminent in basketball,” but walks Fischer through that potential timeline. Lots more. Watch for free with your Connect account. (link)
Recently retired Cornell AD Noel joins ESPN Ithaca to reflect on his 40-year career with the university, including the last 23 as AD. Noel, whose last day was Sunday, doesn’t mince words when discussing the impact of NIL. “Nationwide, I think the NIL situation has been an absolute disaster. Programs can now within the rules buy a team. And I hope the pendulum swings back – I think it will – but it’s an absolute disaster. I could reel off many cases where athletes have been purchased under the guise of NIL and what they bring with their name, image and likeness, which in most cases is zero, but they still get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Noel goes on to voice his support for starting the FB season earlier, allowing teams to have bye weeks and making the conference champion eligible for the FCS Playoffs. “To be prepared for that first game knowing the opponent is going to have two games under their belt is really a tough challenge for Ivy schools…and I would love to see the Ivy champion go to the Playoffs.” Full interview. (link)
The Athletic’s Vannini submits WWE CEO Khan as an “interesting” candidate to become Big Ten commissioner. “He advised Greg Sankey and the SEC on their last media deal, among several TV deals he worked while at CAA. Khan joined WWE in 2020 and has navigated a lot of difficult situations there.” (link)
Former Northwestern President/Chairman of the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors Schapiro on outgoing Big Ten Commissioner Warren’s hand in the expansion of the league: “I just can’t believe how he pulled that off. Kevin was thinking a step ahead of everyone. It was 100 percent his idea, unless there were some ADs that were talking to him. But on behalf of the person that in theory he reported to – me – I’ve gotta tell you it was him 100 percent. He kept me informed, he asked for some advice, but it was all him. He’s just brilliant.” (link)
With Michigan FB HC Harbaugh returning to Ann Arbor, The Athletic’s Meek observes that Harbaugh's relationship with Wolverines AD Manuel “has grown particularly distant in recent months, two sources said, with Harbaugh and Manuel communicating mostly through intermediaries. That might explain why (President) Ono, who took office in October, felt a need to intervene. … People familiar with the relationship believe it can be fixed. Harbaugh isn’t going anywhere, so it’s in the best interest of everyone to work things out.” (link, link); Bestselling author and keen U-M observer/commentator Bacon: “Yes, Harbaugh called the U-M pres., not the AD. I'm sure the deal could not have been done w/o the AD, but probably true it wouldn't have been done w/o the president, either. And no, not a great look for the AD-coach relationship. Speaks for itself.” (link)
Maryland AD Evans joins the Hear the Turtle podcast to discuss several topics, including the importance of honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., about whom Evans says: “I’m just simply grateful. For a man of his caliber to sacrifice and do the things that he did for so many during the Civil Rights movement, the nonviolent protests, to be able to stay calm when other people are doing so many things to him and the others around him, he really paved the way for me to have an opportunity and a lot of African Amerians and other minorities in this country to have these opportunities. … But we’re still fighting the battle today on so many different fronts, and I’m just so happy to be at place like the University of Maryland that celebrates diversity and inclusion, and when you think about how far we’ve come to have a Black football coach, a Black president, a Black AD, to be the first, I think maybe the only Power 5 program to have such.” Full podcast. (link)
Fox in a video segment profiles the diversity among the Big East’s MBB HC ranks, where seven of the 11 are minorities. Providence HC Cooley: “To have the Big East as the leader in all of college basketball hiring people who are different has given young men and women hope.” Marquette HC Smart adds: “The fact that that’s an anomaly I think says a lot more about the rest of college basketball than it does about anything else.” Commissioner Ackerman points out that “we have seven Black men who have turned out to [be] the best people for the job. That may not have been happening 20 years ago or five years ago. … I think more people of color can and should become leaders, and so it’s incumbent upon existing sports organizations to make those pathways possible.” Full video. (link)
+ CollegeAD reports Fordham AD Kull has hired Big East Senior Dir. of Compliance and Membership Services Sainte as Senior Assoc. AD for Compliance and Governance. Sainte’s Connect profile still has him with the conference (link)
+ CollegeAD also indicates Army Asst. AD/Dir. Of Development Tomaselli has exited West Point for a role in the private sector. Her LinkedIn bio shows she is now with MKTG Sports + Entertainment as an Associate for Hospitality and Events. (link)
+ Personnel changes at the NCAA, Stanford, Teamworks, LEARFIELD, Northwestern, Texas, Abilene Christian, Duke, NC State, Rider, Virginia Tech, New Mexico State, Georgetown and the Mountain West. These and more found on The Wire at Collegiate Sports Connect. (link)
The Ivy League FB all-stars have landed in Japan and visited the historic city of Kamakura following their first practice. Follow the team’s activities throughout the week leading up to Sunday’s Dream Bowl in Tokyo. (link)
Dallas Cowboys owner Jones explains why he supports the legalization of sports gambling in Texas: “There’s a huge amount of gaming going on in and around sports at this time. And, so, to have all of the benefits or all of the control over it, it needs to be recognized and parameters put on it and discipline put in it. Then, also the benefits that go, can go in Texas, could adhere to the right kind of people, or some property tax. Certainly help educate our great state’s children. All of those things can be enhanced by something that’s presently going on in a big, big way.” (link)
The Atlantic’s Thompson asks Lightshed Partner Greenfield a series of true/false questions about the future of streaming, technology and the media, including whether Disney should/will sell ESPN in 2023. Greenfield believes this is unlikely “because I think, unfortunately, Disney sort of needs the cash from ESPN,” adding: “I do think that it is an asset that deserves far less investment than it gets today. Disney doesn’t own the content. The NFL does, Major League Baseball does, the NHL does. I do think reducing investment – they recently exited Big Ten rights – how they reduce investment in ESPN is really important because it’s not the asset it used to be as [cord-cutting continues]. … This is the problem facing all media companies right now. The golden goose that just kept printing money for these companies was cable networks and the box office, and consumer behavior is moving very rapidly, and I think these companies…all of them are trying to figure out the right strategy. They jumped into streaming because it seemed like the thing to do, and now they’re going, ‘Oh, sh-t, what now? We can’t get to scale, we’re not really [DTC] companies…this is really, really hard.” More. (link)
Yesterday's Evening Standard...
Utah State Interim AD Bovee is clear that he would like to become the Aggies’ permanent AD, telling KSL.com: "We want to be here. This is a destination for us; it's not a stepping stone. So I feel like I'm in a position right now as an interim to make decisions in alignment with the president and those on campus that are going to be long lasting things that are for the betterment of the department and the university.” Bovee also tells KSL he is “confident the truth will come out” as it relates to a lawsuit filed by former FB student-athlete Maddox, who claims he was retaliated against for distributing a recording of a team meeting that, per court documents, “highlighted the problematic manner in which USU handles conversations about sexual harassment and assault.” Bovee: “The Idea that we have a culture where sexual assault, violence, or any other disrespectful conduct is tolerated, is just a narrative. In my view it's false." More from Bovee. (link)
Oregon State AD Barnes joined D1.ticker/Connect’s Fischer from the NCAA Convention to discuss the changing industry landscape, ongoing updates to Reser Stadium, the Transformation Committee’s recommendations, developing a relationship with President Murthy and lots more. Barnes says the Pac-12 remains united, pointing out that whenever expansion occurs, there are always some universities that want to leave and others that want to stay. “But at some point the dust settles and you all lock arms. We’ve been in that mode for some time and feel good about the value of the numbers that are in place, the closeness in terms of transparency of the relationship of each of us in moving forward together. It doesn’t mean that every time you have a vote you’re all on the same page, but I like where we sit as a crew.” Regarding the potential expansion of postseason tournaments, Barnes points out the NIT provides additional postseason access for MBB and WBB teams. “So, is expansion really needed? Does one size fit all? I think those are some of the conversations being had.” Lots more in the full interview on Connect. (link)
Belmont AD Corley reacts to the Transformation Committee’s report: “A lot of those things in that report I feel like Belmont’s really good at. We really go out of our way to give them the academic support they need, if they need mental health counseling, those types of things that are a big part of this report. … Now there are certain things in there that clearly are going to change the dynamics for a lot of us, and there’s still going to be a lot of work that comes due,” such as the potential expansion of the MBB tournament. “The big push in a lot of this is decentralizing decision-making at a level, so it’s going to be incumbent upon conferences, it’s going to be incumbent upon schools to decide how they’re going to allocate their resources in this new era. But overall, there’s nothing in there” that will “make it tough for Belmont to adapt.” (link)
Alabama Executive Deputy AD/COO/former West Virginia AD Lyons cites disagreement with WVU President Gee about how the athletic department should interact with Country Roads Trust as another reason for his departure from Morgantown. “I tried to explain to him we’re as aggressive as we can be without crossing the line in order to protect ourselves in getting involved in Title IX issues. … We’re involved as much as we can be as a department without crossing the line of saying ‘dollar for dollar, for male and female student athletes and person to person, the number of male and female.’” Former Indiana Assoc. General Counsel Nussbaum explains universities could incur Title IX liability when they provide significant assistance to an NIL collective that does not equally support men’s and women’s sports. Lyons adds: “That’s why there’s a separation, an arm’s length, between what the department can do and what they can do. As long as they’re doing it, we don’t have Title IX issues.” (link)
Harbaugh Watch appears to be at an end, per Michigan President Ono, who tweets: “I just got off the phone with Coach Harbaugh and Jim shared with me the great news that he is going to remain as the Head Coach of the Michigan Wolverines. That is fantastic news that I have communicated to our Athletic Director Warde Manuel.” (link)
Alabama MBB HC Oats addressed the media for the first time since former Crimson Tide student-athlete Miles was charged with murder and explained he gathered the team for a meeting last night. “I thought it was important that we were all here and around to support one another through this situation. With this being a pending investigation, there’s nothing more I can add that hasn’t already been shared. … They didn’t really have too many questions. Really, it’s more of a grieving process. They understand the severity of the situation with Jamea. And they also understand the severity of the situation with Darius and there are both sides of dealing with it. Yeah, it’s not something you go through often as a coach but we have the services around the program to help us handle the situation.” Oats also explained he spoke with Miles’ mother on “multiple” occasions Sunday. “It’s a very hard situation on both accounts.” (link)
Arkansas-Pine Bluff FB HC Hampton will be paid $165,712 annually under the terms of his new contract, which runs through 2025. Additionally, Hampton is eligible for incentives ranging from $1K for a cumulative team grade-point average of 3.0 to $3K for being named SWAC Coach of the Year. Hampton can also earn a $5K bonus for a team GPA of 3.25, winning 10 games in the regular season, winning the SWAC Western Division championship or winning either an NCAA-sanctioned bowl, the Celebration Bowl or the NCAA playoff championship. If Hampton is terminated without cause, he will be paid an amount equal to 50% of the salary he would have earned between the date of termination and the earlier of six months following the date or the end of the contract. If he resigns before the contract ends, he will be required to pay a lump sum of 50% of the salary he would have earned under the same terms. (link)
Richmond MBB HC Mooney issues a challenge to CBS’ Rothstein to get the Atlantic 10 eight home-and-homes [presumably against Quad 1 teams] and says if he can, “then this league gives him $50K. But what he has to do is he has to tweet once a day the teams that he’s spoken to in scheduling and what their reason is for not playing a home-and-home against Richmond is. And he has to go on the record. He wouldn’t come close to getting eight games. I think that would be a little bit of an eye-opener to see that when our schedule comes out, we’ve really, really tried to play a great schedule all the time…but if you knew how little control over it…it’s an impossible task.” (link)
The Michigan-focused Champions Circle collective has so far raised $101K for the One More Year fund to support the return of several key Wolverine FB student-athletes, and On3’s Sayfie reports that total does not include individual donations of $5K or more. Star RB Corum says NIL “could’ve played a little bit of a role” in his decision to return but ultimately he had “unfinished business, and I personally couldn’t live with myself with knowing that — especially because I got hurt. If I could’ve played at Ohio State, in the Big Ten championship and then in the TCU game, I might’ve felt better like, OK. But I don’t feel good knowing that I wasn’t able to go to war.” (link)
The average NFL crowd grew by 3.25% to 69,442 per game in 2022, the second-largest average in the last 19 years, according to SBJ’s Fischer and Broughton, who report 24 teams posted increases with just six reporting declines. The Detroit Lions (23.1%), Jacksonville Jaguars (10.8%) and Washington Commanders (10.15%) experienced the biggest increases while the Chicago Bears (-1.7%) and Carolina Panthers (-0.8%) experienced the biggest decreases among teams who did not play an international game. League-wide, 96.7% of all seats were sold, up from 95.1% last year. (link)
BYU and East Carolina have rescheduled their 2024 matchup in Greenville for 2025. The game is the second in a home-and-home series that began in Provo this past season. (link)
This week in We Live in the Future: The increasing prevalence of AI chatbots, such as ChatGPT, is forcing college professors to rethink how they teach, according to the New York Times’ Huang, who spoke with over 30 professors, students and administrators about the nascent technology. After receiving what he describes as “easily the best paper” in his world religions class only to find out it was written by ChatGPT, Northern Michigan professor Aumann says he may forgo essays in subsequent semesters – or perhaps make them write the first drafts in class – and weave ChatGPT into lessons by asking students to evaluate the chatbot’s responses. Additionally, Florida Provost Glover explains that instead of targeting specific methods of cheating, “we try to institute general policies that certainly back up the faculty member’s authority to run a class. This isn’t going to be the last innovation we have to deal with.” (link)
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(NEW!) Assistant Athletic Trainer (Northeastern State University / Tahlequah, OK): Responsible for injury prevention, evaluation, treatment and instructional rehabilitation of student-athletes. Provide on-site medical coverage/emergency care for practices and games. 2 open positions. (DII) More details HERE.
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