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New Mexico State System Chancellor Arvizu on his decision to pause the MBB program: “The most important job I have as Chancellor of the NMSU System is to ensure our students are safe and protected from harm. That's why I was so heartbroken and sickened to hear about these hazing allegations. Hazing is a despicable act. It humiliates and degrades someone and has the potential to cause physical and emotional harm, or even death. Sadly, hazing can become part of an organization's culture, if left unchecked. NMSU policy strictly prohibits hazing, in all forms, and it's something we simply will not tolerate.” The announcement of the program’s suspension came a few hours after MBB student-athletes Lazar (preferred walk-on) and Olewiler (RS Freshman) announced on social media that they were leaving the team. Lazar indicated his departure was because “I don’t think the program that I originally committed to aligns with my beliefs and core values.” The WAC said it is “monitoring” the situation. (link)
Santa Fe New Mexican columnist Webber on the situation in Las Cruces: “In a matter of months, NMSU has become the very definition of a renegade program, its glaring lack of leadership becoming the focal point. Video of Heiar stumbling his way through a conversation with a state police officer the morning of Peake’s shooting hints of a man who is in over his head, one who is either woefully ignorant of his players’ actions or complicit in them. It’s unclear if these latest findings are worthy of a self-imposed death penalty for the rest of the season, but the fact the school was willing to pull the plug and suspend the coaches before the details came out is an indication of how ugly things are about to become.” (link)
Alabama AD Byrne on the future of a new basketball arena as his Crimson Tide MBB program continues to run through the SEC: “I wanted our fans to know that we have not sat still. We continue to work on it. We work on it every single day. We have a fiduciary responsibility where I can’t jeopardize the rest of our department based off of one facility.” (link)
Boise State has landed its 10th gift of $1M+ since December of 2020, another of the anonymous variety that will go toward future capital projects. Broncos AD Dickey: “You are sending a message to current and future student-athletes that Boise State is the right choice. Everything counts. Everything matters.” (link)
It has been two weeks since South Carolina announced its WBB tip with LSU this afternoon was sold out at the 18,600-seat Colonial Life Arena. The secondary market prices are soaring, with one seller on SeatGeek asking more than $4,200 for a front row seat to watch the last two unbeaten teams in WBB square off. The highest price on Stubhub is $1,050. The average ticket is going for $300. (link)
The ACC released a statement about the “incorrect adjudication” on the final play of regulation in the MBB contest between Duke and Virginia yesterday. With 1.2 seconds left in a tied game, Duke student-athlete Proctor inbounded the ball to teammate Filipowski, who drove to the rim and attempted a contested finish over Virginia's Beekman and Dunn as time expired. The officials called a foul, awarding Filipowski two free throws. However, after an official review, they overturned the foul call, saying it came after the buzzer and the game went to overtime, where Virginia pulled away for a 69-62 win. Citing Rule 5, Section 7, Article 3c of the NCAA Rule Book, the league’s statement said: “The play should have resulted in two free throws for Duke.” Blue Devils MBB HC Scheyer: “You can see the ball left his hands before point-zero. So I don't know exactly what the rule is. I'd like to get some clarification, understand. But the call was made, so I don't know how the call can be taken away.” (link)
Ironically, Georgia Tech MBB HC Pastner said ACC Commissioner Phillips sent a notice this past week to the league’s MBB and WBB coaches and administrators telling them not to comment on officiating. When asked about the officiating in his Yellow Jackets one-point loss to Wake Forest yesterday, Pastner’s response was to repeat Phillips’ edict over and over again. (link)
Oregon State will no longer allow fans to leave and reenter Reser Stadium at halftime of FB games, and Beavers Senior Assoc. AD for External Operations Elcano tells The Oregonian’s Daschel the exit policy was changed because Reser Stadium now has enough amenities — including ample concessions and restrooms — to comfortably handle everyone inside the stadium during halftime. “To be honest, this is long overdue. There were conversations for years, and we knew this hung on our ability to get this [$162M stadium renovation] done.” (link)
On3’s Maisel observes that “when the deadline to declare early for the 2023 NFL Draft came in mid-January, 82 players had submitted their names. That’s 18% fewer than the 100 who did so in 2022. That’s nearly 40% fewer than the 135 who did so in 2019.” Maisel points to the cause-and-effect relationship NIL has had by allowing some college stars whose games might not translate to the NFL to stay in college and cites Michigan RB Corum and Wake Forest-to-Notre Dame QB Hartman, among others. In Hartman’s case, Maisel writes: “The draftniks think Hartman would have been a late-round pick had he chosen to move up to the NFL. Instead, Hartman decided to move up to Notre Dame, and that’s ‘move up’ as in the intersection of athletic achievement and public attention, which is the same corner where NIL resides. … And, in NIL terms, it’s Notre Dame, still among the bulliest of American sports pulpits.” Maisel adds: “There may come a time when NIL money outstrips what the NFL pays its top four picks (about $40M last year), but not until Tim Tebow has a son (or daughter) who wins a Heisman.” (link)
+ Temple Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Jordan has been appointed to the Committee on Infractions. Jordan, who is also the Owls’ FAR, will begin serving immediately, and his term runs through August 31, 2025. (link)
+ Bethune-Cookman AD Theus goes with Embry-Riddle (DII) AC Wollett as the next Women’s Tennis HC in Daytona Beach. (link)
+ You won’t see a better buzzer-beater all year as Portland State MBB threw it the length of the court with 0.4 seconds left & hit a contested-fade-away-all-in-one-motion jumper to beat Northern Arizona. (link)
+ An estimated one in five Americans will place a bet on this weekend’s Super Bowl, according to an industry trade group, which predicts wagers on the game could total up to $16B, twice as much as last year. Meanwhile, Eilers & Krejcik Gaming Research, an independent analytics firm in California, estimates that just over $1B of this year's Super Bowl bets will be made legally. Of that, the firm expects 10% to 15% would be wagered live after the game begins while another 15% to 20% would come in the form of same-game parlays. (link)
+ Two sports gambling legalization bills in Missouri – House Bill 556 and HB 581 – include provisions that would allow residents to be a part of a “self-exclusionary” program that would aid in recovery efforts for those who are addicted to gambling. If someone who has “self-excluded” is found to have placed a bet, they would forfeit their winnings to the Compulsive Gamblers Fund. (link)
+ An effort to legalize online sports betting in Hawaii failed in the state legislature, and lawmakers say that was likely the first and last play for legalized gaming this year. (link)
In case you missed Saturday's email...
New Mexico State’s MBB program has been indefinitely shut down with the coaching staff placed on administrative leave due to allegations of “hazing a teammate on more than one occasion, source told @Stadium. Police report was filed in the last 24 hours. That triggered the indefinite shutdown of the program.” The NMSU Board of Regents released a statement on the matter: “The New Mexico State University Board of Regents were informed this evening of the suspension of operations for the men’s basketball program. The board supports the action taken by the university leaders and is confident a full and thorough investigation will be conducted.” The Aggies were due to play at California Baptist today, a tip that will not happen. (link, link)
Mountain West Commissioner Nevarez during a visit to Boise State yesterday: “We’re ready for scenario A, B, C, D — Armageddon. [...] Even if we lose a couple schools, we’ll be OK [...] There’s no shortage of schools interested in joining us, and whenever you’re in the market, it’s good to have market power.” Nevarez went on to say expanding to 16 schools makes her nervous, believes 10 to 12 is the league’s sweet spot, per the Idaho Statesman’s Counts. (link)
The newest alliance in college athletics is the Power Four, the MEAC, SWAC, CIAA (DII) and SIAC (DII), which was launched late last year. The commissioners of the Power Four meet monthly to collaborate on considerations for future legislation, funding and corporate dollars, third-party promoters and more. MEAC Commissioner Stills: “I think some of the problems, too, is corporate America telling us what we need instead of asking us what we need. They want to be involved with esports, and say ‘We’re going to give you scholarships.’ Scholarships only hit one or two people. You’re not leaving a legacy when the institution needs infrastructure to put together an esports lab or center with equipment, so that everybody’s playing on the same platform, where you have coaches that help with recruitment as you tie that to STEM on the academic side and other elements. That’s what we need.” As for collaboration between the MEAC and SWAC, neither commissioner has plans for a merger. More. (link)
SBJ’s Ourand: “There is a sports rights bubble, and the sports rights bubble is going to burst. And it’s not going to affect the haves. The NFL is still going to get paid…the NBA is sitting pretty, hockey just got paid. The Pac-12 rights are up right now, and you can see with this Disney announcement…they’re going to make hard decisions about what sports matter. Really, what are essential sports and not essential sports? And if you’re ESPN, essential sports are the NFL, the NBA, the ACC, SEC, Big 12 – does the Pac-12 sneak in there? I’m beginning to think that there might be more problems.” The New York Post’s Marchand adds that he believes Amazon wants the number one game, not the “tonnage,” and “I definitely think they’re not going to overpay for it. You want to get paid if you end up on streaming exclusively, especially your top games, and I don’t think that’s going to happen.” (link)
Our deepest condolences to the East Carolina family as longtime “Voice of the Pirates” Charles unexpectedly passed away Friday morning in New Orleans while accompanying the MBB team on its trip to Tulane, which will not be played as scheduled. (link, link)
Oklahoma State AD Weiberg on the early exits of Texas & Oklahoma from the Big 12: “I think the end result was what everyone wanted. We knew how this was going to end, so the question was what does it look like and what’s fair to everyone involved. And I feel good that they reached that as best they could. Now we have the answers to those questions. I think that’s what allows us to move forward now, into the future, knowing what it’s going to look like. I think it’s great for the Big 12 Conference and for Oklahoma State.” (link)
More quality sit downs from the NCAA Convention, as D1.ticker/Connect’s Fischer caught up with Alabama State AD Cable to discuss his approach on the DI Council, taking advantage of this moment for HBCUs, building a culture within the department and lots more. Cable tells Fischer the Transformation Committee’s report affords athletic departments the clarity to put forward a “more viable plan” and says “when you look at our conference and look at the amount of revenue that’s being shared among member institutions, it puts us in a better space to take those resources and streamline them to address the needs and requirements set forth by the Transformation Committee.” Check out the full Q&A on Connect. (link)
ESPN’s counterprogramming on Sunday will feature the WBB matchup between South Carolina and LSU, which tips at 2 PM ET and “runs headfirst into the pregame window” of Super Bowl LVII, The Athletic’s Deitsch reports. ESPN VP for Production Lowry, who oversees WBB production, tells Deitsch she recognized the game in this time slot could pit the last two unbeaten teams in the country against one another. “When I did realize it, I looked at it and thought, ‘Well, the good news is the game is at 2:00 in the afternoon, and 2:00 in the afternoon on Super Bowl Sunday is a pretty good window to me because it’s before you really get into the nitty-gritty of the football pregame. I think women’s basketball fans have the opportunity to watch both. They’re going to be able to watch the Super Bowl, some of the pregame, and watch this game, too.” Additionally, Lowry says ESPN will put some new touches on the game, including new camera angles and using the stats department to feed specialty stats to broadcasters. (link)
+ Eastern Illinois AD Michael promotes Women’s Soccer AC Bennett up to the HC spot. (link)
+ Washington’s FB AC salary pool increased from $5.745M in 2022 to roughly $7.483M this year, according to the Seattle Times’ Vorel, who provides the following context: “Just six public programs surpassed $7.483M in assistant coach salaries last season” (according to USA Today’s college football salary database): Ohio State ($8.833M), LSU ($8.555M), Georgia ($8.4M), Alabama ($8.36M), Texas A&M ($7.98M) and Texas ($7.93M). Huskies OC Grubb will see the biggest increase with his salary going from $1.02M to $2M. (link)
Appalachian State AD Gillin joins Playfly’s On The Fly podcast to discuss a number of topics, including his career path and how the Mountaineers have achieved so much success while pulling off some memorable upsets over the years. Gillin notes the FB team’s success in the early 2000s, which included back-to-back-to back national championships from 2005-07 and a win over Michigan in Ann Arbor occurred before his time, but “you can’t put a price on history and tradition over time. You can’t just snap your fingers. … One of the things we’ve been very fortunate of is we’ve had a rich history of tradition and success, I think culture, certainly the culture that Jerry Moore built here, and then that just carried over.” Specifically, Gillin emphasizes the importance of being intentional about fostering that mentality. “We recruit student-athletes that fit and it’s hard to define, but there is a fit up here in the mountains of North Carolina. It’s not for everybody, but if you want to come get a world-class education and play for championships, this is a place people come and they come with a chip on their shoulder and they play hard.” Full podcast. (link)
Syracuse.com’s Carlson ponders if Syracuse should be worried about potential NIL violations, especially under the revised NIL guidance and charging standard, regarding booster Weitsman, who is notable for flying recruits in to sit courtside and publicly offering six to seven-figure NIL deals. Cuse updated its NIL policy earlier this week, with AD Wildhack claiming no violations have occurred, adding: “It’s a complex time. The ground rules are relatively broad. When the ground rules are broad they are subject to interpretation by different experts. […] There is so much gray. There is 98 percent gray. We’re trying to navigate that.” Carlson asked numerous NIL experts for their thoughts on Weitsman’s actions, with “Ten believed Weitsman’s actions might be enough to trigger an inquiry from the NCAA under its new focus. […] Two of the experts said they believed Weitsman was technically abiding by NCAA rules.” (link)
Shares of Adidas are down 41% in the last year, and CNBC’s Bercetche says the “catalyst” is the fact that the company has “warned that it could swing to a loss this year.”Adidas indicated “operating losses could amount” to $748M “should it fail to sell its inventory of Yeezy shoes designed in conjunction with disgraced rapper Kanye West.” Bercetche adds: “It makes you wonder whether this period of the big brands, the big retailers, signing up to do these partnerships … is actually coming to an end now.” (link)
+ Vanderbilt gets slapped with a $250K fine by the SEC for Commodores fans storming the court after the MBB team upset Tennessee. It is the fourth fine incurred by the school for fans “entering the competition area.” (link)
+ From The Athletic’s Dochterman: “Thursday night’s matchup between No. 2 Indiana and No. 5 Iowa delivered 325,000 viewers, making it the most-watched women’s basketball telecast in Big Ten Network history. Previous record of 286,000 viewers was set during the 2022 Big Ten WBB Tournament between Iowa and Nebraska.” (link)
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