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CBS headliner Dodd gets more from AAC Commissioner Aresco, who calls NIL, “Now It’s Legal.” On conference realignment: “This is a trend. It's not going to stop. There's going to be more consolidation.” Aresco also doesn’t believe the American got enough credit for its return-to-play protocol during COVID, per Dodd, “Mentions Big Ten and issues with myocarditis.” (link)
SEC Commissioner Sankey points to the league’s spring meetings in Destin as the longest timeline before future football scheduling will be decided upon. Sankey also disclaims that the decision could be made much sooner. “One of the opportunities here is to play everybody every other year and one or three teams every year. That’s a much tighter strength of schedule balance than what we’ve experienced in divisions. [...] We know we can narrow the competitive disparity, and I think that’s an important part that gets lost in the conversation. Now, will things stay as some people think they are? We’ll see.” (link)
D1.ticker & Game Plan release the annual Executive Leadership Book Recommendations, this time from 2022. More than 100 headliners from across the industry provided insights on the best book they read last calendar year. Think Again by Adam Grant was a popular selection, as were titles from John Gordon. The 2022 results can be consumed by individual leader, which includes their responses from previous years, as well as their favorite podcast from earlier in ‘22, or in one consolidated database, which can be found further down the page. ADs who didn’t respond yet, just reply to this email & we’ll get you added! (link)
+ Nola.com’s Mickles reports that former LSU MBB HC Wade will be the new MBB HC at McNeese State, with an announcement coming early this week. (link)
+ Wichita State parts ways with MBB HC Brown. (link)
+ Western Kentucky MBB HC Stansbury resigns after seven seasons in Bowling Green, cites the need to focus on his health and family. (link)
+ Buffalo MBB HC Whitesell is out. (link)
+ Stadium’s Goodman reports Canisius MBB HC Witherspoon will return for another season. (link)
A number of NCAA champions were crowned yesterday, starting with both the Arkansas Men & Women taking home the team titles from the Indoor Track & Field Championships. (link); Meanwhile, Alaska Fairbanks was the surest shot in the Rifle Championships. (link); Finally, Utah won its 16th Skiing natty. (link)
“Deion Sanders, he’s a microphone. Good, bad or indifferent, no matter how you feel about it, that’s part of who he is, so he amplifies. I think by having him here, he can bring a lot of awareness and attention to things that we’ve done historically, to continue to kind of build on the momentum and the success that we want to have in the future.” That’s Colorado Assoc. AD for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Baker on the Buffs new FB HC and the impact he could have on CU’s DEI efforts. Further, Baker continues, “He can attract, I think, a player, a fan, a person, a demographic, etc., that historically we’ve had a little bit of, but not as much. And I think what will end up happening with that is if he continues to recruit at the level that they have so far and brings in individuals who come from different backgrounds than what we have here, it’s only going to add to the flavor that we already have.” (link)
Sportico’s Novy Williams with a quick Twitter thread on the impact of Silicon Valley Bank’s demise on the sports world: “There are obviously a lot of sports-related startups, and I would imagine a number of them had money and loans with @SVB_Financial. Some likely got money out late this week, others were certainly not as lucky. [...] The vast majority of SVB's 40,000+ global clients are companies, not individuals. And from what I'm told, team and league banking follows a different structure. That said, many team owners are also investors/backers of those smaller startups mentioned above. That's where the SVB collapse hits them. Companies affected will be looking for backers to help float them as the SVB process plays out. There will be a *lot* more coming and clarified in the coming days/weeks. What about non-sports startups that have suites at their local @NBA arena? Or are sponsors of the nearby @MLB franchise? What other financial dominos will fall? We'll see.” (link)
Kentucky Kernel Photo Director Weaver claims that Arkansas MBB Director of Internal Operations Hall grabbed Weaver’s phone and threw it to the ground while Weaver was recording the Razorbacks coaching staff exiting the floor after the SEC Tournament loss to Texas A&M. Arkansas AD Yurachek: “I have visited with Riley Hall, a member of our men's basketball support staff, and others who personally observed an interaction between Mr. Hall and a reporter following our game Friday night at the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament. During our conversation, Mr. Hall expressed his regret that while leaving the floor his engagement inadvertently resulted in knocking down the reporter's cell phone from his hand.” Link includes video of the incident. (link)
Two fans wearing crimson shirts with “GOATS” and the Alabama A logo as the “A” on the front and “Killin’ our way through the SEC in ‘23” on the back, caused quite a stir at the SEC Tournament yesterday. SEC Assoc. Commissioner for Communications Vincent told AL.com that the fans would not be allowed inside Bridgestone Arena with the shirts on Sunday and that if the fans put them on at any point inside the arena, they would be asked to leave. The SEC fan ticket policy states that tickets are revocable if “user is disruptive, endangers others or uses vulgar, threatening or demeaning language.” (link, link)
“The Associated Press Sports Editors, U.S. Basketball Writers Association and Association for Women in Sports Media object to Big 12 Conference commissioner Brett Yormark’s response to our previous outreach regarding the abandonment of industry-standard media-seating practices at the conference men’s basketball tournament in Kansas City. Reporters from print and digital organizations have been consigned to a hockey press box at the very top of the arena, where a television monitor is the best way to see basketball games. In addition, there is limited elevator service, which makes it impossible for media to reach postgame availabilities or other essential backstage areas in a timely manner. … There is no attempt to deny the evolving economics of college athletics and the necessity of maximizing revenue in prime seating locations, but as the APSE and USBWA have previously noted, other conferences and the NCAA have pursued this while accommodating the basic needs of media members.” More from the media outlets. (link)
The home plate umpire for Friday’s Mississippi Valley State vs. New Orleans baseball game was suspended indefinitely on Saturday for a call he made in the top of the ninth with two outs. UNO was up 7-3 when Delta Devils leadoff man Mims came to the plate. Per Larry Brown Sports: “Mims took issue with a strike call on a 1-1 breaking ball that he thought was low in the zone. Mims began hopping around in anger and then pointed with his bat to where he thought the ball was. Apparently (the umpire) Drummer didn’t appreciate being shown up, because he rang up Mims on a breaking ball low away that missed the strike zone by about a foot.” The Southland said in a statement that it expects its officials to display “good sporting conduct” adding that Drummer’s “conduct and actions were deemed detrimental to the Conference and in violation of Section 3 Character and Conduct of the CCA Mechanics Manual for Baseball.” (link)
In case you missed Saturday's email...
SEC Commissioner Sankey talked to the SEC Network’s Finebaum from the league’s MBB Tournament in Nashville yesterday. “We were approached by Oklahoma and Texas who said - no TV, no money - we want to be a part of that, what you have collectively done in the Southeastern Conference. That’s an incredible compliment to everybody in this league. Then this summer, during media days, I became the center of expansion, you know, ‘What’s he going to do next?’ I was very intentional to say, ‘We’re focused on growing to 16.’ Then I watched others say, ‘We’re going to add four schools in the west or we’re going to go to 20.’ You never really heard why. So I’ve tried to be very clear. We had an opportunity, it was the right opportunity given what we’ve seen since and I think history will show it was the right decision. [...] I’m not a recruiter and I respect my colleagues. I understand people have different motivations, different interests, but we need a time of settling, a time of collaboration. And not just collaboration, but cooperation because we have some really important challenges ahead of us. [...] I’m not simply sitting in my glass house throwing stones, because we’ve added members. But, I think we all have to be careful in how we proceed and thoughtful in how we communicate.” (link - video clip); Sankey also says the conference did not consult Texas A&M on its 12th Man Foundation+ NIL strategy: “There wasn’t much notice to us relatively speaking. That’s not an evaluation process in which we’re involved, because our consistent position has been you have to make certain you’re complying with your state laws and with the NCAA structure, whatever it may be, around name image and likeness.” (link)
Connect/MB Sports’ Banker talks with Northeast Conference Commissioner Morris about the basketball climate in her league, how increased exposure is viewed from a conference level, the importance of an efficient governance structure, potential changes to the revenue structure and the focus of the conference’s spring meetings. In discussing the latter, Norris cites the student-athlete experience and mental health in particular. “I think from our perspective in the conference, we’ve already kind of got a step out in front this year. For the first time, we’ve provided our institutions with a mental health grant. … So, now it’s just a matter of saying, as a group, are there things we can do collectively? Should the conference engage with a third party to try and help that or can we create, as the Transformation Committee has suggested, maybe peer-to-peer evaluations?” Full Q&A. (link)
The D1.dossier for South Carolina State is now available. No details yet on when an AD search may take place in Orangeburg, but the dossier is ready to assist with preparation as we all learn more. Also notably available: Eastern Washington, George Mason, Long Beach State, Hawai’i. Up next: Mount St. Mary’s. (link)
+ Central Arkansas AD Teague goes with Marshall WBB HC Kemper for the same role with the Sugar Bears. Kemper returns to Conway, having previously served as a MBB AC at UCA from 2006-10 and a WBB AC from 2010-12. (link)
+ St. Bonaventure hires former Providence WBB HC Crowley for his second stint as the program’s leader in Olean. He also led the Bonnies from 2000-16. (link)
+ Holy Cross parts ways with MBB HC Nelson after four seasons. (link)
+ Texas Tech AD Hocutt, TTU System Board of Regents member Womble, former Red Raiders student-athlete Odiase and FB HC McGuire will be the search committee for a new MBB boss in Lubbock. TurnkeyZRG has also been hired. (link)
+ Missouri MBB HC Gates gets a contract extension that could keep him in Columbia through the 2028-29 season. Annual salary goes to $4M in 2023-24 with $100K bumps each season through the life of the agreement. All other terms remain the same. (link)
+ Texas Tech agrees to pay former MBB HC Adams $3.9M, less taxes and withholdings, plus a $200K retention bonus in a settlement reached this week. The sum will be paid within 30 days. (link)
+ Georgia Tech owes former MBB HC Pastner more than $5.2M, subject to mitigation. (link)
+ Per USA Today’s Berkowitz, “Texas Tech, Cal and Georgia Tech are committed to a combined $13.1 million in buyouts to fired men's basketball coaches.” Quick math there would mean Cal owes former HC Fox somewhere in the neighborhood of $4M. (link)
The Athletic’s Salvian and Strang spoke to more than 30 individuals who either played on the Harvard women’s ice hockey team or were associated with the program over the past 20 years to learn about the culture of HC Stone. They write: “What emerged from that reporting was a portrait of a program that, for most of Stone’s tenure, pushed and crossed the boundaries of acceptable treatment of athletes, players say, and in many years there were activities that some players considered hazing.” Specific allegations include a fining system in which players had to pay a monetary penalty for perceived offenses, and some players had to pay a “gay tax” or an “Asian tax.” Also, the team’s annual “Initiation Week” concluded with “Freshman Fun Night,” during which, per Salvian and Strang, “upperclassmen urged freshmen to, among other acts over the years, put condoms on bananas, fake orgasms and act out skits that referenced their sexual orientation.” Lots more. (link)
Sportico’s McCann talks to Brown’s student newspaper about the recent antitrust lawsuit filed against the Ivy League on the grounds of “antitrust by denying student-athlete scholarships and compensation for their services.” McCann believes one defense the conference could use is arguing it is “not a ‘market’ for purposes of antitrust scrutiny — namely, athletes who might go to Harvard or Dartmouth can instead go to other academically elite colleges with similar sports profiles where athletic scholarships are offered.” Further: “If Brown on its own, or Yale on its own, didn’t want to give athletic scholarships to their athletes, that is fine under antitrust law. The problem is when two or more colleges … agree to not give scholarships.” (link)
Elon raised more than $579K for the 10th edition of “Elon Day,” the school’s annual day of giving. The total marked 10 straight years of growth and was 40% higher than the 2020 haul. (link)
Puck’s Alexander breaks down ESPN’s ambition to create a central hub for sports, characterizing it as the “App Store for live sports on streaming.” Amazon and Apple offer similar versions of this concept through their “channels” features, and Alexander notes that “these services have become more valuable as streaming has become more complicated. … While Google may have resolved the issue of discovering how to watch games, no tech platform has solved the issue of conversion for sports.” In other words, the issue isn’t “telling people where to find the game. It’s getting them to pay for the game,” and Alexander contends ESPN “may be able to convert its strong brand association with sports to become the clearinghouse platform of the future.” Still, while ESPN Marketplace could help attract casual fans, it doesn’t solve the problem of subscription fatigue, and that’s the crux of the challenge for sports, as casual fans, Alexander explains, prefer moments over seasons. As such, convincing them to pay $10 for a game when a highlight on TikTok or Reddit may satisfy their appetite. “There’s also no real solution for this issue right now, though various companies have invested time and money into figuring it out. If it nails Marketplace, that could be ESPN’s next challenge.” (link)
Stratechery’s Thompson weighs in on ESPN’s impediments in creating a central hub for sports streaming, pointing out there is “one big challenge facing this initiative, and it’s a familiar one: platform restrictions. You can’t, for example, subscribe to Amazon Prime Video Channels on Apple TV; you have to sign up in a web browser. An ESPN app would face these sorts of obstacles on all sorts of devices — and I’m pretty sure that Disney does not want to get into hardware! Still, this seems like an initiative worth pursuing: lots of companies have made a go at being a centralized place for video content, but the need seems particularly pressing for sports, given it is live, and it’s difficult to think of a better use of existing brand equity than in Aggregating demand, even if some of the details need to be worked out over time.” (link)
As the Silicon Valley Bank fallout continues, reports say Roku was holding $487M of cash & cash equivalents at the financial institution. Per Roku: “The company’s deposits with SVB are largely uninsured. At this time, the company does not know to what extent the company will be able to recover its cash on deposit at SVB.” (link)
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