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Neat conversation on AthleticDirectorU as Gardner-Webb AD Goodrich interviews Notre Dame AD Swarbrick about leadership lessons, best practices for hiring coaches, frequently made mistakes ADs should be on the lookout for, and the importance of mental downtime, among other topics. Swarbrick explains that when it comes to hiring coaches it “starts with an absolute insistence” to have a discipline “not to pay any attention to the candidates initially. Don’t pay any attention to what the candidate field might be. Ignore all the incoming phone calls of some agent telling you they’ve got the right guy for you or a search firm telling you they want to represent you. Be absolutely disciplined about setting out the criteria for the job at that moment. … You really have to analyze that program at that moment and what it needs. So, start there.” Swarbrick also emphasizes the importance of keeping the search private and says he worked out of a hotel in New York during the search for former Fighting Irish FB HC Kelly to “hide in plain sight” at the advice of longtime NFL exec Polian. Also from Swarbrick: “I’ve gotten a cell phone just for the search. Like, don’t use my own cell phone. Get a separate one just for the search.” Check out the full interview. (link)
Tulane AD Dannen anticipates the Green Wave will construct an indoor FB practice bubble sometime in 2024 and plans to involve FB HC Fritz in the fundraising process. “It is one thing to turn the President down, one thing to turn the AD down, but when the football coach who just won the Cotton Bowl is across the table, he’s going to be hard to turn down.” Dannen also credits President Fitts with steadfastly supporting athletics: “We didn’t buy success, we built success. And, he empowered the build. He made sure obstacles were out of the way so we could get things done. I was here six days, and I called him and said here’s the football coach we are going to hire. I can’t let him get on a plane.” In the event that Fritz is pursued by Power 5 schools next season, Dannen remarks: “Well, there are things you can control, and things you can’t control. If Notre Dame calls and wants him to be the head football coach, (shrugs his shoulders). We need to make sure if it is about equals, we are not taking one equal over the other. We just gotta keep the guy in a position to win.” (link)
More from Missouri’s FY22 results as revenue totaled more than $141M with expenses coming in at over $125M, giving the Tigers a surplus of roughly $15M. MU did, however, receive a significant boost in direct institutional support, which increased from just over $1M in 2021 to $12.03M in 2022. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Matter reports the support was used to fund the contract buyouts for former AD Sterk ($1.5M) and former MBB HC Martin ($6M) and multiple FB ACs. Campus funds also were used to pay Reed-Francois’ buyout from UNLV ($500K). Donor contributions increased from $24.59M to $29.51M, as did revenue from athletics royalties, licensing and advertising, which saw an uptick from less than $1M in 2021 to nearly $8M in FY22. Tigers AD Reed-Francois: “We’re making investments for competitive success. Quite frankly, we need to be aggressive in raising revenue. We’re going to be great stewards of our resources, but we need to provide excellence around our programs — and part of that is investing. So we’ve got to keep growing our revenue.” (link)
Ahead of tonight’s tip with Tennessee, LSU Deputy AD for Leadership and Strategy Williams joins D1.ticker/Connect’s Eargle to discuss the Tigers’ WBB program and how she advises allocating resources for the sport, telling Eargle: “It comes down to that holistic student-athlete experience, regardless of whether you’re at an LSU or you’re at an institution that isn’t similarly resourced. … Being able to build and bridge those connections with the community and your corporate partners to be able to enhance the experience of student-athletes. What can we do academically? Perhaps there are opportunities to work with our partners on campus and provide those study abroad opportunities, those experiential learning opportunities, that aren’t necessarily creating more drains on our resources, but really using them differently and reallocating them.” Williams also points out the importance of enhancing the fan experience, which in turn makes the experience better for student-athletes. “When they walk into an arena and there are thousands of people cheering for them and supporting them, that adds the experience as well. So, whatever we can do to enhance the profile and the prominence of women’s basketball, let’s do those things and find the ways within our marketing budgets to really promote women’s basketball.” (link)
Alabama FB HC Saban last week reportedly revealed during the Alabama Football Coaches Association (ALFCA) Luncheon that "someone with one of the best corners in the nation (in high school) came to me and asked if we’d pay them $800K for the player to sign here. I told him he can find another place to play. I’m not paying a kid a bunch of NIL money before he earns it." Saban also revealed that a current player “wanted $500K and for us to get his girlfriend into law school at Alabama and pay for it. I showed him the door.” (link)
Nevada SB 70, which would make high-value NIL disclosures public, also grants enforcement authority to Secretary of State Aguilar, who also happens to be the founder of Blueprint Sports. On3’s Wittry reports Blueprint currently supports at least 13 collectives, including Friends of the Pack (Nevada) and Friends of UNLV. Heitner Legal’s namesake reacts: “It certainly doesn’t smell right. An abundance of power is passed to the Secretary of State, who — oh, by the way — runs a business that caters to collectives. … Understand, he’s in the Secretary of State position and not necessarily the sponsor of the legislation. Although, it does at least give the impression that he and his office had a lot of influence of the drafting of this bill.” (link)
Louisville will announce a naming rights partner for the erstwhile Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium today, according to WDRB’s Crawford. (link)
Indiana has released a statement concerning the piece of metal that fell from the Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall video board during the Hoosiers’ MBB victory over Ohio State on Saturday. “It is believed that the unused piece was left from the original installation of the Daktronics scoreboard, which occurred 7 years ago, and the vibration from the crowd and music caused the piece to come loose and fall at halftime of the game. The scoreboard was inspected by IU facility operations staff and no other unused or loose pieces were found.” (link)
The MEAC will host an esports championship in Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mario Kart 8, Overwatch 2 and Rocket League during the league’s MBB and WBB championships in March. The MEAC has sanctioned esports for just over two years and hopes to help it continue to grow by allowing it to draft off the hoops programs. Commissioner Stills: “Our goal is ultimately to be an HBCU varsity esports conference. That's what we're working toward. I am just so amazed at how far we've come.” So far, Coca-Cola and Cricket Wireless, two of the MEAC’s main sponsors, are on board for the esports competition, and Stills notes that “we think we have one more but need to make sure that it’s locked down.” (link)
+ College sports TV guru Sarzyinak observes that ESPN is starting to simulcast some of its ESPNU games on ESPN+, which he posits could become a trend. He notes that most games seem to be from a handful of conferences that have the most games on the ESPN+ platform to begin with, adding: “It looks like certain conferences are being targeted for this experiment. SWAC, MEAC, A-10, MAAC, MVC, WAC, Big West, OVC and Big South seem to be the conferences getting this privilege. Not the big boys, AAC or WCC. … Ivy League and SoCon are involved, too.” (link, link)
+ Former Texas MBB HC Beard’s Austin home is on the market for $4.95M. (link)
+ The Federal Reserve is set to downshift the pace of interest-rate hikes in the coming week amid signs of slowing inflation, while Friday’s jobs report may show steady demand for workers that improves the chances of a soft landing for the world’s largest economy, per Bloomberg. Bloomberg economists Wong, Winger and Shah on the bigger picture: “The Fed faces a dilemma: On the one hand, inflation data has come in softer than expected, and activity indicators have shown slowing momentum over the past month; on the other, financial conditions have eased as traders believe the Fed will soon switch to rate cuts. The data would justify smaller rate hikes, but the Fed is likely to see easier financial conditions — while inflation remains uncomfortably above-target — as a reason to act hawkishly.” (link)
In case you missed Sunday's email...
Patriot League Commissioner Heppel sat down with Extra Points’ Brown at the NCAA Convention: “I hope that by having a thoughtful conversation around what does the structure of our championships look like, is it providing the best experience possible for all of our student-athletes in all sports? We have to have that conversation, then it’s not a predetermined outcome. It will look different sport-by-sport, season-by-season. [...] We get better, we make progress by having the conversation. I believe that’s what the Transformation Committee is asking us to have. The Transformation Committee believes that ‘here’s the type of experience we should be thinking about, here’s the type of access we should be thinking about’ and then challenge each sport to have that conversation.” Lots more on Connect, including Heppel’s insights on the impact of removing minimum test score requirements, how to consider the busy schedules of student-athletes & how the student-athlete voice has changed over time. (link)
More from the Connect conversation with NCAA VP of Enforcement Duncan as he addresses the changing standard as it relates to NIL and NIL-adjacent behaviors: “What we’ve seen over the history of the NIL interim policy is facts that most of the membership and the public look at and they don’t automatically think, ‘Yeah, that’s probably a good deal.’ And we conduct an investigation and for whatever reason are unable to get documentary evidence or somebody on the record to say, ‘You’re right, that’s what we intended, that’s an inducement.’ So, the revised charging standard allows us to take a common sense view of a fact pattern of circumstantial evidence and then hand it over to the school and say, ‘If you don’t think it’s a violation, then the burden is on you, institution, you, coach, to show that it’s not, and that’s an appropriate place for that responsibility to lie.” More with Connect/MB Sports’ Banker on Connect. (link)
NACDA’s Mid-Winter Meetings are in full swing down in Marco Island as Chief Executive Officer Emeritus Vecchione was honored for his decades-long stewarding of the organization & its commitment to administrators far & wide. Also in pictures: SMU AD Hart, who addressed attendees during the opening reception, LEARFIELD EVP Hamilton, Anthony Travel SVP of Event Services Wurzberger, an N4A contingent, plus more. Check them all out. (link)
The start of the second half of last night’s Indiana-Ohio State MBB game at Assembly Hall was delayed after a piece of metal fell from the jumbotron near Buckeyes student-athlete Sensabaugh who was walking near half court. OSU HC Holtmann on his level of concern: “They said it weighed about 10-15 pounds. It fell approximately 7 feet away from Brice. It would’ve significantly injured Brice had it connected. Thank God it didn’t." Holtmann said he “asked if I had the authority to say let’s do the second half at another time. They said, we can certainly have that conversation.” A maintenance crew checked out the jumbotron and gave it the all clear to continue the game. (link - article, link - video)
Despite his January 16 statement announcing he would stay at Michigan, Wolverines FB HC Harbaugh met last week in Ann Arbor with Denver Broncos owner Penner. ESPN’s Schefter: “Although Harbaugh two weeks ago announced he was staying at Michigan, Penner did his due diligence and still traveled to Ann Arbor to meet with the coach in person, like he's done with seven other candidates during the Broncos' head-coaching search.” (link)
JohnCanzano.com’s namesake on the latest around the $50M Comcast overpayment to the Pac-12 Networks: “One industry insider told me this week: ‘I am leaning to this is what is holding up TV deal. Can’t really do anything with Pac-12 Networks until this is resolved.’ [...] I’m told Comcast would likely just subtract the $50 million from future payments to the Pac-12 Networks. Also, the Pac-12 keeps a ‘rainy day’ fund. The conference’s last tax filing shows the conference has a balance of $22.6 million in reserves. The members could decide to draw upon that to make up part of a potential shortfall.” (link)
Arizona will raise season ticket prices for football and basketball for 2023-24 by an average of 15%. With the increase, FB season tickets will range from $110-$3,700 (excluding value tickets and skyboxes), while MBB will range from $470-$2,450 and WBB from $100-$205 (hoops prices exclude “Scholarship Row”). Wildcats AD Heeke: “We have been able to keep ticket prices steady for most of these tickets without major increases for nearly a decade. This decision was not taken lightly as we evaluate current economic conditions and growing financial costs while remaining affordable by market standards.” (link)
Seton Hall sent a video to potential donors showing plans for a new basketball practice facility, which will consist of “a full court, two half-courts, a free-throw basket, a new locker room and lounge for the players, a game room, a strength and conditioning area, a sports medicine room, coaches’ offices and a film room.” It would be a multi-floor extension on the back and side of the current Richie Regan Recreation and Athletic Center. Seton Hall AD Felt has previously pegged the cost at $40M with a goal for summer 2023 groundbreaking, but the school is still in the process of gaining approval from South Orange’s planning board. The Pirates have contracted with Cannon Design, the architect of Maryland’s recent practice facility projects for football and basketball. (link)
We’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of OneTeam partnering with Fanatics to launch a college jersey program and during that time OneTeam Partner has signed 8K+ student-athletes to group licensing agreements across 80 schools. Football players account for 4,500 of the group and represent 42 different schools. For fall sports, Women’s Soccer student-athletes are the second largest group at 1,000, while Women’s Volleyball student-athletes represent 700 of the participants. OneTeam Interim CEO Underwood: “It’s important to point out that this program is not just benefiting football and basketball players. This has really opened the doors for us to provide an inclusive program across a bunch of sports, men and women. And we’re just getting started.” OneTeam has already signed up 550 women’s basketball players and 540 men’s basketball participants from 94 schools this winter. (link)
+ Oklahoma WBB student-athlete Robertson is the new NCAA Division I record holder for career three-pointers made. Her first made three against Iowa State yesterday gave her 498 for her career, surpassing the record previously held by former Ohio State WBB student-athlete Mitchell. Robertson reached the record in 138 games, one fewer than Mitchell’s 139 and in fewer attempts (1,135 to Mitchell’s 1,286). The Sooners shooter now has 503 made threes to her name. (link)
+ The Denver vs. Colorado College Men’s Ice Hockey match Friday night drew 17,952 fans to Ball Arena, making it the highest-attended indoor college hockey game in the nation since Feb. 10, 2018. Overall, the game was the second-highest attended college hockey game this season, as only the Frozen Fenway matchup between Boston College and UMass at Fenway Park on Jan. 7 in Boston had more (22,500). (link)
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