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Clemson MBB sits at 18-5 (10-2) & in first place of the ACC going into today’s tip with Miami (FL), yet the Tigers’ NET is 65 as of this morning (note: Clemson is 45 in KPI, 57 in Sagarin). Tigers AD Neff: “I know a lot of the national hoops writers bring that up like, ‘Gosh, well, this doesn’t make sense’ or ‘You had this win, but you drop.’ I think we’re a test case of it, but we’re not the only one, so I think the national narrative of the NET, what’s the use and how does it work, I think it’s certainly gotten more awareness this year. [...] All the metrics that come in, (the NET) is one of those. Whether it needs revamping or not, so long as it’s just one of them and not the one, I think that’s kind of where it sits. That’s my lens on recognizing the evaluation of it, maybe not the equation of it.” (link)
Connect/MB Sports’ Banker caught up with Big West Commissioner Butterly at the NCAA Convention to discuss the league's upcoming championship additions, his tenure so far, big changes to DI, student-athlete governance, NIL and more. Butterly believes that if the NIL recommendations submitted by the NIL subcommittee had been put in place, the industry might’ve sidestepped some of its current NIL problems. “Then the decision came out, those guardrails weren’t in place, and it was really a mode of, ‘Okay, come get me. I’m going to do this deal, and come get me because you don’t have any rules relative to that.” Butterly also says governmental imposition is becoming a more important proposition and notes the Big West may begin inviting government officials to games to give them a sense of what DI competition looks like in the conference as compared to Power 5 leagues. “We’re not high-resourced because we don’t have the FBS football so I think educating our government and our leaders on that side…is a lot different than what Division I athletics looks like in the Pac-12.” The Q&A can be seen in its entirety on Connect. (link)
Extra Points’ Brown sat down with Grand Canyon AD Boggs at the NCAA Convention to discuss how GCU is giving student-athletes a voice, equity concerns related to expanding the MBB and WBB tournaments, and whether other sports should consider expanding their postseason championship fields. On that last item, Boggs notes that even with expanded postseason fields, the realities of non-conference scheduling for some non-revenue programs would still exist due to geographic constraints: “Everyone wants to get their RPI up and not be stuck having to win the conference championship, but you have to be able to provide the resources and the support for them to be able to schedule in way that’s a championship-caliber program.” Full conversation now live on Connect. (link)
Eastern Illinois MBB student-athlete Hodges will be disciplined “internally” after he tried to hit a fan on Thursday night in the first half of the Panther’s loss at Lindenwood. ESPN’s Medcalf reports: “Hodges walked up to a fan sitting in the front row at Hyland Arena and swung at his face. The fan and another man sitting next to him immediately pointed to a ref who stopped the game. Hodges was hit with a technical foul, but he was allowed to remain in the game. It's unclear from video of the incident what led up to it or if Hodges actually made contact with the fan.” EIU AD Michael’s statement, in part: “As an athletic department, Eastern Illinois prides itself on good sportsmanship. We do not condone this type of behavior by our men's basketball team or any of our 500 student-athletes. The issue has been addressed with both the player involved for EIU as well as the Ohio Valley Conference with any disciplinary action to be handled internally.” (link)
+ CollegeAD has Oral Roberts AD Johnson adding a new CFO in former Tulsa Director of Accounting & Risk Management Ginther, who spent the last two years in the private sector. Ginther’s LinkedIn profile indicates in December he accepted the position of Senior Assoc. AD/CFO for the Golden Eagles. (link)
+ Additional talent moves at Oklahoma, UMass Lowell, The Citadel & UTEP can be found on The Wire on Collegiate Sports Connect. (link)
Alabama finished $18.5M in the black after a record year in revenue in Tuscaloosa of $214.4M, roughly $130.9M of which came from football. Revenue jumped $34M from FY21, fueled by nearly $37M in ticket revenue increase, a $17.5M uptick in donations and a $2.9M increase in media rights. Guarantee games (up $4.6M), recruiting (up $3.2M), game expenses (up $4.4M) and support staff compensation (up $2.9M) were some of the largest increases that led to a total spend of $195.88M for FY22. (link)
Houston Senior Assoc. AD for Development/Chief Development Officer Gladchuk talks with D1.ticker/Connect’s Eargle about the Cougars’ preparations for the Big 12 from a development perspective via the Houston Rise Campaign, leveraging the excitement of joining the Power 5, and the perspective of Cougar fans that is driving Houston forward. Gladchuk explains the campaign has two main objectives, “foremost is the expansion of the membership base. Donor acquisition, expanding and diversifying our donor base is a critical component of the campaign. We want to move into the Big 12 in the top tier relative to the number of members and the number of unrestricted dollars that come through the door here. That’s our initial challenge, getting out and engaging with this community…being clever and intelligent with communication, tactical and targeted, how we communicate the different forms that we use, whether that’s digitally or, as development has traditionally been, face to face. Those types of opportunities are paramount right now.” Gladchuk also notes the FB operations center is among the capital projects the campaign seeks to support. “We’re one of the only Power 5 institutions in the country without a standalone, dedicated football-only facility, so that’s something we’re going to change through the campaign. We’re about halfway to our goal.” The full Q&A is now available on Connect. (link)
A 24-second shot clock could be on its way to MBB, according to TCU HC Dixon, who tells ESPN’s Gasaway: “I think it’s coming. I’ve been saying that for years.” Gasaway subsequently points out the argument against the shortened shot clock in college hoops – namely, that it works in the NBA because it is full of the best players in the world – is losing its steam. “In 2023, it's no longer just LeBron James or Giannis Antetokounmpo who thrive with the shorter clock. So do teenagers in Serbia, Canada, Senegal, Argentina, Australia and throughout the world -- except in the United States. Dixon, who led Team USA to a gold medal in the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup in 2021, says the players adjusted to the international shot clock seamlessly. Dixon also notes the Horned Frogs practice with a 24-second shot clock in the summer and fall. “You just adjust in little ways. Rather than walk it up, you're bringing it up quicker, taking out the weave thing or whatever. … You have to get into your sets quicker, be on the attack constantly.” (link)
The Illinois students that make up the Orange Krush have issued an apology for the attempted Iowa road trip incident, which reads in part: “The students of the Orange Krush are among the most passionate fans in the country. But in planning the Orange Krush road trip, we misrepresented ourselves as another active charitable organization, which exercised poor judgment. This was our mistake and for that we are truly sorry. We also should have never placed blame on the Iowa ticket office and Director of Athletics Gary Barta or called them out for canceling the tickets. Protection of their home court is, and should be, their priority. … The Orange Krush road trip prank has become a tradition that students and Illini fans look forward to every year. It is our goal to continue the annual road trip in a manner that stays true to the spirit of fun competition Illinois fans expect.” (link)
“America’s bosses are starting to feel bossy again,” according to the Wall Street Journal’s Cutter and Francis, who observe that “CEOs are reasserting their authority now that workers are starting to worry about job security amid rising layoffs.” Jones Lang LaSalle CEO Ulbrich: “This whole concept of working from anywhere went too far. I’m all into flexibility and all supportive that work and life has to find a flexible kind of partnership…but that doesn’t translate into, ‘Mondays and Fridays, I always work from home.’ I think the recent trends, the layoffs, will help to bring a little bit of balance into that.” Cutter and Francis note, however, that some are still pushing back against their bosses. Alphabet Workers Union, for instance, took exception with Google CEO Pichai’s rationale for the company’s recent layoffs, arguing that “the ‘economy’ is not why 12,000 of our coworkers lost their jobs,” citing the company’s billions of dollars in profit during the last quarter and adding: “Google execs chose stock buybacks over their workers.” (link)
+ The NCAA has unveiled the 2024 WBB Final Four logo. Check it out.. (link)
+ The California Interscholastic Federation approved a plan yesterday to make flag football a girls’ high school sport for the upcoming 2023-24 year. (link)
+ South Carolina has suspended three freshmen FB student-athletes in Rhames II, Rose and Upshaw, though no reason was provided by Gamecocks HC Beamer beyond “Our student-athletes know what is expected of them. They know that both the University and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.” Richland County, S.C. jail records show Rhames II was charged last Friday with carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice. (link)
Yesterday's Evening Standard...
Ball State selects Southern Miss Deputy AD Mitchell as the Cardinals’ next AD. BSU Chief Strategy Officer Alexander, who chaired the search committee: “Throughout the hiring process, Jeff displayed a genuine sense of passion and creativity that will be an asset to our athletics department—and to our University. Jeff’s emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and community engagement aligns with our University’s values and will serve him well in this role.” (link)
Oklahoma and Texas’ conversations with the Big 12 to leave the conference early and join the SEC in 2024 have stalled, and the early exit is unlikely to happen, according to ESPN’s Thamel, who reports: “Texas and Oklahoma will join the SEC in 2025, as parties couldn’t come to terms amid a complex negotiation between two schools (OU/Texas), two networks (ESPN/FOX) and the Big 12.” (link); However, Sports Illustrated’s Dellenger adds this from a Big 12 source: “Everybody, conceptually, is pretty close to a deal. The hangup is Fox wants some inventory. If they get that figured out, they’re on the one-yard line. Generally speaking, everybody wants it to happen.” (link)
Mountain West Commissioner Nevarez’s top priority is conference membership and realignment, followed by overall brand elevation, The Athletic’s Vannini reports. Nevarez: “You have to keep relationships warm, keep your ear to the ground to assess what’s rumor and what might have legs. I don’t know if you can prevent being totally caught off-guard, but even a day or 48 hours heads up, you’re better off. Concurrently, plan for losing school A, B or C. Have contingencies ready, schools that could potentially join. That’s all you can do at this point. What I like about the Mountain West, despite being an original disrupter, they’ve had stability.” The elephant in the room, of course, is San Diego State, which has long been rumored to be a target for Pac-12 expansion, and Aztecs AD Wicker tells Vannini: “If an opportunity comes to anyone to elevate, no one is going to say no. We’ll continue to be the best San Diego State we can be and see where that leads up. We’ll work with Gloria and the Mountain West to make sure we’re being the best partner to everyone we can be.” (link)
+ Despite a vote of no confidence from the university’s Faculty Senate, Jackson State President Hudson gets an endorsement from the Tigers’ athletics division: “His leadership has been paramount to our return to standing as one of the country's premier NCAA FCS sports programs.” (link)
+ Wake Forest/LEARFIELD brings in Tulane Sports Properties GM Shepherd to serve as its next GM of Wake Forest Sports Properties. (link)
+ Alabama inks Women’s Soccer HC Hart to an extension through 2027 that will pay him a base salary of $235K. (link)
Recently dismissed Cal Women’s Swimming HC McKeever plans to file a lawsuit against the university: “I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation.” McKeever’s attorney adds: “If you are a good coach who holds your athletes accountable, you are next.” (link)
The ACC has released a statement indicating there was “no evidence found to support the claim” made by Duke WBB HC Lawson that the first half of the Blue Devils’ game against Florida State was played with a men’s ball. “Per NCAA playing rules, there is no appeal or protest process. … The conference office considers this matter to be closed and will have no further comment.” (link)
The DI Men’s Ice Hockey Committee voted this week to remove Stonehill’s contests from the RPI formula “because of its reclassifying status and its low number of qualifying games,” per USCHO. The Skyhawks have played one DI opponent and have four DI contests left on the schedule – facing off against LIU and Lindenwood twice each. (link)
Extra Points’ Brown visits Chicago State to talk about their plans to launch a FB program, noting that while the Cougars would obviously love to be competitive in the sport, the “biggest reasons for exploring football are about growing enrollment, capturing more media and branding attention in Chicagoland, and finding a stable, long-term conference home for all Chicago State sports. Outside of tennis (which competes in the Horizon), all of Chicago State's teams currently operate as independents.” Cougars AD Carroll tells Brown she doesn’t believe that model is sustainable long-term. Carroll also points out the Cougars have some built-in advantages: there’s no rush to build a stadium (SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview as well as several large high schools that could be converted to FCS-caliber facilities are options), CSU is located near Midway airport, and the institution used to be much larger, meaning student-athlete housing shouldn’t be a problem. (link)
The Clemson Board of Trustees granted Phase I approval on a plan for a new performance and wellness center for Clemson’s student-athletes, as well as upgrades to the existing volleyball facilities and renovation to the Jervey Athletic Center. The renovations would also provide an upgrade for the track and field and cross country program for their day-to-day operations. The new 50K-sq-ft facility would serve as home to the Tigers’ sports medicine, strength and conditioning, nutrition and applied science departments. (link)
MTSU launched the Sapphire Circle, the “exclusive major giving society” of the Blue Raider Athletic Association that includes gifts of $25K or more and includes access to VIP experiences such as naming rights opportunities. The Sapphire Circle features 72 Charter Members and the immediate priority of the society is to support the $100M Build Blue Campaign. (link)
San José State extends its partnership with The Aspire Group through January 2029. In the six years the two have been partnered, Aspire has “driven $1.8M in new ticket revenue and $500K in donations to SJSU Athletics.” (link)
Ohio State received a $48M internal loan from the university to cover its $63.6M budget deficit during FY21. The 30-year loan includes a 2.5% interest rate, with annual repayments totaling approximately $1.9M. (link)
At $138M, Rutgers outspent several Big Ten schools in FY22, including Indiana, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois, Purdue and Maryland; however, NorthJersey.com’s Rimbach and Koloff report the Scarlet Knights’ $53M shortfall was the largest among the conference’s public schools. Rimbach and Koloff also note Rutgers was one of four public universities in the conference that funneled student fees to its athletic program, and the $12.8M in fees was the most of those four. Overall athletic spending in FY22 was up $24M from FY20, with coaching salaries increasing over that time by nearly $9M. Team travel was up nearly $3M and meals for student-athletes increased nearly 64% to $2M – only Ohio State spent more for athletes’ meals at home. (link)
Down in Tallahassee, Florida State ended up $10.364M in the black for FY22 with $161.1M in revenues, the most the Seminoles had banked since 2017-18. Highlights: “Ticket sales increased 294% as home venues reopened to total capacity after being limited during the pandemic. Revenue went from $4.7 million in 2021 to $18.7 million in 2022. [...] Football generated 48% of the department’s revenue, or $77.8 million, with $15.1 million coming from ticket sales which is five times larger than the previous year ($3.5 million) when safety protocols and social distancing forced the university to limit stadium capacity to 20%. Donor contributions were reported at $41.7 million, a 13% increase from 2020 when the department reported $36.7 million in contributions.” FSU also received $13.6M in direct institutional support. (link)
Cincinnati enjoyed a bump in athletic department revenues after its 2021 College Football Playoff appearance, according to the Cincinnati Business Courier’s Watkins, with a 34% increase in operating revenue to $83.3M for FY22 setting “what appears to be an all-time high.” Football ticket sales set a record while UC reported a record year of fundraising and the Bearcats received an additional $4M from CFP money distributed through the AAC and sold $2M worth of tickets to the Cotton Bowl. (link)
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