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Pac-12 Commissioner Kliavkoff will visit SMU today, according to Action Network’s McMurphy, who notes: “San Diego State and SMU are top Pac-12 expansion candidates. Pac-12 needs more members and more inventory for a new media rights deal, which is expected to rely heavily on digital streaming services.” On3 reports Kliavkoff is expected to attend the Mustangs’ MBB matchup against Temple. (link, link)
Georgia AD Brooks opened the UGA athletics board meeting by again expressing grief for the passing of FB student-athlete Willock and recruiting analyst LeCroy before reiterating that those involved in the incident “were not engaged in athletic department duties at or around the time" of the crash and that the staff car should have been returned earlier at the end the employee's duties. "The individual did not follow policy and the use was unauthorized.” The Athletic’s Schultz also reports UGA President Morehead made the following comment on staff car policies: “So far I haven’t seen anything that has caused me concern. Obviously we wish the vehicle had been turned in that evening. But the review is ongoing. I’m confident if any procedures need to be changed our athletic director and coach will do what they need to do.” Brooks also pointed out that fundraising is $6M ahead of FY22’s pace, during which the Bulldogs brought in a record $86.4M in donations. (link); Brooks also noted the design process for renovations to Foley Field (baseball) and Jack Turner Stadium (softball) are ongoing. The full-project funding requests are set for spring of 2023, with construction to begin summer of 2023. Phase 2 of construction would begin in the summer of 2024, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Spencer. More from Brooks. (link)
D1.ticker/Connect’s Fischer sat down with NCAA Managing Director of Inclusion Wilson to discuss her office's efforts, membership resources, the upcoming Inclusion Forum, the status of the Senior Minority Administrator proposal and more. Wilson says the Inclusion Forum’s theme will be power of proximity. “So, thinking about being back together, sharing our lived experiences, learning from each other, networking, sharing our sound practices that really work.” Wilson also says she’s been somewhat surprised by the pace at which the culture has changed around gender equity but adds: “I’m proud of the way colleagues have embraced this, and we don’t want that to just be a moment in time where it was a very public situation where action was certainly required for our student-athletes but that it’s an ongoing commitment. That’s the key.” Full Q&A on Connect. (link)
Vanderbilt’s MBB attendance has declined steadily over the past decade, according to The Tennessean's Gerson, who notes that during the 2010-11 season, every home game had at least 12K fans and all but two had more than 13K. With an average attendance of 13,802, the Commodores ranked 18th in the nation in attendance. In 2021-22, Vandy averaged just 6,539 fans for home games and didn't have more than 9K fans at any games. Meanwhile, this year’s attendance has improved somewhat, with an average of 7,151 per game and three games that have had more than 10,000 fans. Commodores AD Lee says the department is working on solutions: “Some of it can be tied to performance, I'm sure, and I think that the coaches and I are looking to the future and what we are building and so I think…attendance is going to improve. But I know that for my part, trying to improve the in-game experience has been something where we've been focusing our attention as a staff…whether it is introducing new concepts at timeouts or at halftime or whether it's adding new LED boards and adding in-game hosts." (link)
South Carolina State Acting AD Campbell tells trustees the department is looking into implementing a digital ticketing and parking system “to be able to not have so much cash floating around on campus.” Campbell also says the department’s immediate objectives are to establish regular meetings with key faculty and staff members, revise and implement business processes, and continue to address program needs in priority order. Beyond that, Campbell explains the Bulldogs are expanding their partnership with South Carolina to bring more athletic trainers to campus. “We’re still running into issues in hiring. So we’re looking to expand through graduate assistantships in order for our teams to have better coverage. ... I don't want the people that we do have to get burned out.” (link)
Arkansas Deputy AD/Asst. Vice Chancellor Dawkins and Big 12 VP for Competition Scherf sat down with AthleticDirectorU’s Garcia Cichosz at the 2023 Women Leaders Convention to discuss a number of topics, ranging from the student-athlete experience to the challenges of the transfer portal and the importance of educating student-athletes as they play a more prominent role in shaping the industry’s future. Of note from Dawkins: “The conversation about student-athletes as employees is fraught with some things I think people are not paying attention to. I know, as an employee in an at-will state, my employer can choose to dissolve our relationship. If you’re an employee as a student-athlete, what would keep your employer from dissolving the relationship? So, I think there are a number of things we have to make sure we’re not shying away from our responsibility.” Full conversation on ADU. (link)
+ CollegeAD indicates Portland State Assoc. AD for Development Keller has left the Vikings department for a role outside the industry. His Connect profile indicates he is now the Development Director at SOLVE. (link)
+ Cincinnati, App State, Towson, the Southland Conference & Michigan State all have talent moves logged on The Wire at Collegiate Sports Connect. Departments impacted: Communications, Marketing, Compliance, DEI, Operations, Facilities, Digital Media, plus Broadcasting & Production. (link)
We offer our deepest condolences to the Southern community following the passing of former Jaguars AD Kerr, who led the department from 2000-05. (link)
Emails appear to show Central Michigan President Davies was aware of CMU’s decision to part ways with former Gymnastics HC Reighard, according to ABC12’s Camp, who reports that “court papers indicate CMU did provide emails to Reighard's attorneys indicating Davies did have some opinions on the matter.” Davies had previously stated he had no information on the decision to let Reighard go. Former Chippewas/current Florida State AD Alford has already testified in a deposition that it was Alford's decision to terminate Reighard, though Davies did sign an affidavit in January of last year claiming he concurred with Alford's decision. (link)
CNBC’s Sherman and Rizzo ask several media insiders and observers questions about what TV will look like in three years, and most, including The Ringer Founder Simmons, Netflix Chief Content Officer Bajaria and former CNN President Zucker agree that linear TV will shrink but still be around. However, Candle Media Co-CEO Mayer submits: “It’s nearing the end. … Next will be the end of scripted programming on broadcast networks. There’s zero need for that. That’s going to come to a close in the next two or three years. When ESPN finally pulls the plug, the bundle is effectively over. And that will happen relatively soon. Linear TV is in its final death throes.” The majority also agree the streamers will bundle in some way, shape or form, but few predict exactly how. IAC Chair Diller: “I do think there will probably be a more efficient way of buying more streaming services, but I don’t think it will be analogous to the cable bundle. … But there may be multiplicity, where there may be a much easier way to access a group of streamers than dealing with them individually.” Lots more. (link)
Deals, Deals, Deals…
+ Abilene Christian will be an Under Armour school come July 1st thanks to a deal brokered by Game One. (link)
+ Looks like Mississippi State has inked a multiyear extension with Altius Sports Partners. (link)
+ The HAVOC Unlimited Collective has formed to support VCU student-athletes. The collective will be led by former VCU MBB student-athlete/Rams radio analyst Ashby. (link)
+ Football Outsiders’ Fremeau crunched the numbers and found that “for the first time since at least 2007 (and probably ever) FBS offenses in 2022 were more likely to turn the ball over on downs than turn it over via interception or fumble. At the conclusion of non-garbage offensive drives between FBS opponents in 2022, there were 6,615 punts; 4,652 touchdowns; 2,281 field goal attempts; 1,166 turnovers on downs; 1,163 interceptions; 767 fumbles; and 48 safeties. (link)
+ Youngstown State and Villanova agree to a home-and-home FB series in 2024 (Philadelphia) and 2027 (Youngstown). (link)
+ Aramark announced a 42% YoY increase in operating income to $200M and a 17% increase in revenue to $4.6B in Q1, SBJ reports, noting that Aramark’s U.S. division, which includes Sports, Leisure & Corrections, booked $2.9B of that total revenue. Aramark also sold its non-controlling interest in AIM Services for $535M and plans to use the proceeds from the sale to accelerate its debt repayment. (link)
Yesterday's Evening Standard...
The MAAC names OVC Asst. Commissioner for Football, Basketball and Officiating Tellitocci as its next commissioner. Niagara President/MAAC President Maher: “Throughout the search process, Travis demonstrated that he is an emerging leader in college athletics, and is well-suited to build on the incredible success of Rich Ensor. The MAAC has never been stronger, and Travis’ breadth of experience will be critical as we face the challenges of Division I athletics, strengthen our focus on the well-being of the student-athletes, grow the inclusivity of their experiences, and build on the storied legacy of the conference.” (link)
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Tsai suggests the “minimum criteria” for Hawaii’s next AD “should include a four-year degree, experience in leadership, fundraising background, and willingness to work with lawmakers. It's an impossible dream to assume mainlanders who buy large amounts of Hawaii land also will be large donors to UH. While there are plenty of generous folks, the biggest donor always will be the Legislature. The next AD must be able to work with lawmakers and, at the least, not eye-roll a suggestion such as relocating the entire Manoa campus to the West side.” Furthermore: “The committee should not include anyone who will work under the new AD. Sorry, but to avoid favoritism and kiss-okole comments from coworkers, you should not be allowed to choose your own boss. The HR person also does not get a vote. That would be like having a prenup lawyer sitting in pre-marriage counseling sessions. And a spot should go to a business leader only if he or she is willing to donate to the athletic department. If you don't have skin in the game, you don't get a seat at the table.” More from Tsai. (link)
Clemson AD Neff says of the possibility of uneven revenue distribution within the ACC: “I’ve been pleased and optimistic about the general understanding within the league that, hey, this is something we really need to look at, and that’s not easy. I emphasize that because I don’t take it lightly. Because forever, the ACC, let alone all other conferences that I’m aware of, has been equal revenue share. So the notion of kind of jumping the ditch or really considering rolling up the sleeves on, hey, we need to look at this differently, I think there’s a really good understanding of that.” Clemson refutes arguments about an uneven model only giving more to those who already have the most by pointing out that flows the other way as well by incentivizing programs to invest. For example, Neff points to Wake Forest, who has “invested in coach retention and facilities. So they’re a great example of investment breeds success, which in theory would breed distribution.” Neff is ultimately confident the ACC will adopt a different distribution model. “We certainly have our lens at Clemson about how some of that should work. So I certainly have been pushy and very much have tried to drive that task. But, again, it’s top of mind and very present for everybody.” (link)
South Carolina started the process to determine the feasibility of a major modernization of Williams-Brice Stadium that could also pave the way for the development of more than 800 acres of undeveloped USC property. Gamecocks AD Tanner: “We believe this could be a game changer for our university. These projects are envisioned to create a fan experience second-to-none in college athletics. We are also looking at expanding the variety of events and opportunities these enhancements can bring, which will positively impact the local community.” Tanner also notes the project will not include moving Williams-Brice Stadium from its current location or acquiring and developing new properties. (link); The Charlotte Observer’s Portnoy notes that “any project involving USC’s undeveloped land is unlikely to break ground for another 18 months or more as it goes through the state process required for an undertaking that senior USC officials estimate could include an investment of ‘billions of dollars.’” Tanner adds: “We don’t know exactly how it’s going to come back in an RFI, but a billion dollars — or more than a billion dollars — is a lot of money. That’s not just football or building a new stadium. That’s other things that go along with that. ... It’s not just about redoing a stadium. That’s a component of this project.” Additionally, Turner assures fans the addition of premium seating is not meant to price out most fans. “We’re not turning the entire stadium into premium seating, but we may have an opportunity to enhance the general seating.” (link); Overhead view of the areas being considered for development. (link)
More Facility Features…
+ Stetson on Saturday will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly renovated Melching Field at Conrad Park. The $8M project features a renovation of the playing surface which includes a new irrigation system and synthetic turf and a shorter outfield, “increasing the likelihood of home runs, and fence padding was added to protect the players.” (link)
+ Tennessee Governor Lee’s budget proposal includes $350M for renovations to the FedEx Forum and Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in Memphis. State lawmakers must still approve the funds, but House Speaker Sexton (R-Crossville) has previously indicated he is in favor of the funding. (link)
+ Delaware taps Kent State Senior Assoc. AD for Academics, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging and Student-Athlete Development Hull for its Deputy AD for Sport Administration and Student Success/SWA post. (link)
+ The Athletic’s Suttles announces he has accepted the Director of Content position with the Yea Alabama collective. (link); Sports Illustrated’s Dellenger reacts: “NIL collectives have hired football team chiefs of staffs, school compliance officers and associate athletic directors. They've now hired a long-time school beat writer. These times, they are a changing.” (link)
Auburn reported a record $174.56M in revenue against operating costs of $151.59M during FY22 to finish the fiscal year with a $22.97M surplus, also a department record. After reporting $15.9M in contributions in its last NCAA financial report, the Tigers reported $35.79M in contributions this year. Additionally, revenue from licensing, royalties and sponsorships more than doubled YoY to $11.1M. The amount Auburn spent on severance payments decreased from $16.6M to $8.2M; however, the severance owed to former FB HC Harsin will be reflected in next year’s report. (link)
LEARFIELD EVP for Digital & SIDEARM Sports Founder/President Rubin joins D1.ticker/Connect's Garcia Cichosz to discuss the development of NextGen technology and its impact on both the fan experience and the workload and efficiency of administrators. Rubin: "If you take content as content was previously delivered through pre and post-game stories, you will lose your audience. Fans do not need to go to an official athletic website to get that content, they can find it on some of the big brands and media conglomerates. Why are they going to come and why do you need them to come? You need them to come and you need to begin to gather first-party data." Full conversation only on Connect. (link)
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Matter examines the goals and inner workings of the Missouri-focused Every True Tiger Foundation (ETTF), and ETTF CEO Garners says he meets with athletic department staffers to discuss the program. Tigers AD Reed-Francois says ETTF is “backed by some very smart, loyal, generous benefactors of our university and ones that we have a high degree of trust in. … It’s critically important that we have collaborative communication every step of the way. That’s the key to this whole thing. It’s too dynamic of a landscape. We’ve got to constantly communicate.” Matter also notes a core of supporters in St. Louis has formed a grassroots extension of ETTF they’ve called MIZ-LOU. So far, that group has around 30 donors committed to pledging $20K apiece annually, and Garner says the goal is to reach 100 members, which would amount to $2M per year for the collective. Over time, ETTF would like to see similar branches form in Kansas City, Chicago and Dallas. “Mizzou’s got a loyal fan base with a lot of money. The SEC did not invite Mizzou out of the goodness of their heart.” (link)
Micconope 1851, a collective supporting Florida State FB, MBB, WBB and women’s soccer student-athletes, is partnering with Blueprint Sports. On3’s Crabtree adds some context: “There’s a big battle for donor dollars in the Florida State market. Along with Micconope 1851, Seminole student-athletes also have Rising Spear and The Battles End collectives actively operating in the market. The Battles End generated headlines in December and January by signing quite a few of FSU’s top football players to NIL deals. The deals are focused on retention and supporting recruiting efforts. Likewise, Rising Spear has been wildly successful since its inception, including recently getting an official blessing from Florida State’s athletic department.” (link)
Richmond MBB HC Mooney shares his thoughts on the importance of having a NIL collective: “It's just like another part of the checklist, whereas if you don't have those things, you're just quickly behind. I think it'll certainly be something that needs to happen." (link)
+ UNC Asheville extends its apparel partnership with Adidas through May 2024. (link)
+ Saturday’s Duke-North Carolina MBB matchup, the first without former Blue Devils HC Krzyzewski since the Carter administration, averaged 2.86M viewers for ESPN. (link); Meanwhile, South Carolina's WBB win over Connecticut in WBB drew 1.087M viewers for Fox, per The Athletic’s Deitsch. (link)
+ Northwestern and Iowa’s FB matchup this season will take place at Wrigley Field, marking the third time Wrigley has hosted a college football game since 2010. As any teenager in America can tell you, not only was Wrigley home to the Chicago Bears until 1970, it was also the home venue for DePaul until 1939. (link)
+ The Big East is renewing its partnership with the Black Fives Foundation, a nonprofit public charity whose mission is to research, preserve, showcase, teach and honor the pre-NBA history of African Americans in basketball. Beginning tonight, the Big East will host 22 basketball games honoring the Black athletes, coaches and communities who played a critical part in America’s basketball history. (link)
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