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More on Texas and Oklahoma’s early departure for the SEC, including this from Sports Illustrated’s Dellenger: “After negotiating OU & Texas’ exit, the Big 12 & commissioner Brett Yormark are expected to ‘aggressively pursue’ further expansion. Expansion is the 3rd of 3 goals that Yormark set for his 1st year in office: 1 TV deal; 2 OU/Texas exit; 3 Further expansion.” (link); Dellenger also reports that much of the $100M UT and OU will owe the Big 12 in total will “be distributed to the eight Big 12 legacy universities to offset an expected decrease in their 2024 conference revenue. The $100M will be a deduction from their yearly distribution over the next two years. Details of any Fox and ESPN agreement were unclear, but Fox is expected to receive additional inventory or compensation for the loss of the two schools in ’24.” In fact, Dellenger later clarifies that “in the end, the deal did include a previously scheduled non-conference match-up swap between Michigan and Texas. Texas will now play at Michigan in 2024 and UM will play at Texas in 2027. They were scheduled the opposite.” (link, link); The Athletic’s Mandel points out that “the by-the-books penalty for OU and UT would have been two years of distributions, which, based on recent Big 12 payouts, would have been $85-$90M each. They negotiated it down to $50M each.” (link)
The DI Women’s Basketball Committee released its first of two in-season Top 16 rankings, led by South Carolina, Indiana, Stanford & UConn. The committee placed each of the Top 16 teams in regionals, with two to be played in Greenville & two in Seattle. The second & final iteration before full tourney selection is the 23rd of this month. (link)
JohnCanzano.com reports Washington SB 5206, which would’ve given lawmakers approval authority over conference realignment decisions involving Washington and Washington State, will not get a vote. Canzano notes the bill was sponsored by three state senators who didn’t want WSU to get left behind if the Washington Huskies decided to leave for the Big Ten or another conference. “Lawmakers took a holistic approach, deciding there was no point in riling up everyone over a non-issue. [Washington President] Cauce and [Washington State President] Schulz would have been called upon for testimony. It might have pitted them against each other. By dropping the issue, lawmakers are avoiding an unnecessary dust up.” (link)
UMBC AD Barrio sat down with Connect/MB Sports’ Banker at the NCAA Convention to talk about the impact of the Transformation Committee, legal threats to college athletics, student-athlete welfare, getting student-athletes more involved in governance, his hopes for the transfer landscape and more. Regarding the transfer environment, Barrio observes that for the past 10 years, there’s almost always been a way for student-athletes to become eligible, regardless of circumstances. “The water finds a crack or a hole, and that becomes the way we become eligible. Most recently, it was the runoff waivers, the lack of participation waivers, so that’s going away, which is good. So, we’ve been mindful through the whole process of what’s the next crack that it’s going to find. I think the group that worked on the transfer guidelines was very, very meticulous to craft legislation that allows for transfers when it’s appropriate.” Check out the full interview on Connect. (link)
+ CollegeAD has Stephen F. Austin AD Ivey signing a three-year extension that could keep him in Nacogdoches through June of 2026. Base salary set at $215K with annual retention bonuses of $10K, $12.5K & $15K progressively through the deal. There’s also the potential to earn a $20K annual performance bonus. If SFA makes a move without cause, it would owe Ivey 60% of the remaining deal. If Ivey exits on his own accord, it’s 40% if he heads to a Power 5 AD chair, 30% if it’s a Group of 5 gig & 20% for anywhere else. (link)
+ Looks like Wichita State AD Saal has added former Nevada Senior Assoc. AD Hegenauer as Senior Assoc. AD/CFO. (link)
+ CollegeAD also reports Wagner Assoc. AD for Compliance Seagren is now the Director of Compliance at Samford. Her LinkedIn bio confirms the move. (link)
+ Harvard Deputy AD Fry is now a part of the DI Women’s Soccer Committee for a term that runs through August of 2025. (link)
Memphis AD Veatch talks about the difficulties associated with resource allocation, telling the Commercial-Appeal: “It is hard to focus on trying to take care of everybody when you know that football and men’s basketball drive so much of the revenue that’s helping pay the bills. And it's hard for me to say exactly what it was like before. But I will say, having a lot of new staff who have been other places who are really passionate about this profession and really know what it’s supposed to look like and care about it, I think having a lot of those people come together at the same time on the administrative side has led to a real high energy. … There were definitely some things when we got here [that quickly needed to be addressed]. Things that, at least, kind of get those fundamental things in place so they all have an opportunity to compete." (link)
Iowa State Senior Assoc. AD for Sports Administration Sanders and Louisville Asst. AD for Development Edwards join D1.ticker/Connect’s Eargle to share an inside look into promoting and supporting WBB, including the development and community engagement aspects that have driven support and what departments can do to grow the sport at any level. Sanders explains that one way WBB sport administrators can help their programs is by taking some of the “politics of sports and campus” off their plate. “We try to keep our coaches informed about what’s happening at the conference level, the national level and the campus level but not burden them with it. Much like coaches do with their student-athletes, we want to provide resources and allow them to focus on what they do best.” (link)
The Pac-12 convened a first-of-its-kind Health Equity Summit, bringing together current and former student-athletes, medical professionals, and athletic training personnel for presentations and panel discussions about healthcare disparities in collegiate athletics. Session topics included mental health considerations to supporting health equity, adaptive athletics and the recently enacted Pac-12 Para Athletics Policy, and how to expand healthcare in collegiate athletics to positively impact lifelong outcomes for student-athletes. (link)
Connecticut House Speaker Ritter (D-Hartford) responds to Connecticut President Maric’s suggestion that UConn might stop playing games in the XL Center in response to state budget cuts. Ritter: “I did talk to the athletic director yesterday, funny enough, and I know UConn reiterated its commitment to play the XL Center, which we are going to renovate, we are going to make that a facility that can really be more of a modern facility. We had 16,000 people for a women's game…against South Carolina on Sunday. It means a lot. So the answer is, is UConn going to play in Hartford? You betcha. Do we agree with the President, though, that we’ve got to help them with this budget? You betcha.” (link)
The Nebraska Leadership Society is introducing new recognition levels and enhanced member benefits. Donors in the Nebraska Leadership Society are recognized for their contributions as Annual Members and Lifetime Members. Annual memberships begin at $25K annually, whereas lifetime member recognition begins at $1M. In response to support from several donors during the GO BIG Campaign, two new lifetime giving levels – Diamond ($5M) and Platinum ($10M) – are being introduced. (link)
The BYU-focused CougConnect collective announces the Cruising With the Cougs offer as part of its new NIL deal with FB student-athletes Wake, Tooley, Davis and Hill. On3’s Crabtree with the particulars: “In what is believed to be the first-ever NIL cruise, BYU fans – and CougConnect subscribers – have a chance to go on a four-day Carnival Cruise out of Long Beach, California, to Ensenada, Mexico, from April 28-May 1. As part of the $350 player package for three people, fans get two to three dinners with different players and minigolf with the players. A swag bag including BYU gear from Banter and CougConnect swag is also available for the first 10 groups that purchase the player package.” (link)
More experts, more differing opinions on whether the U.S. is headed toward a recession. Barclays Global Chair of Research Rajadhyaksha tells the New York Times: [The Fed] should be worried about how strong the U.S. labor market is. So far, the U.S. economy has proved unexpectedly resilient.” However, ADP Chief Economist Richardson says: “I don’t think we’re re-accelerating. You can have a strong labor market and slow economic growth.” But then Renaissance Macro Head of U.S. Economics Dutta tells the NYT that the re-acceleration signs are “undeniable,” adding that as a result inflation rates could get stuck at unusually high levels. “They’ve been raising rates for a while. All they have to show for it is an unemployment rate at 3.4%.” Inflation Insights Founder Sharif adds: “The concern is now you shift to a situation where that downward pressure goes away. Wages are still supportive of people buying more stuff.” Well, that clears that up. (link)
Yesterday's Evening Standard...
The Athletic’s Auerbach, Mandel, Olson and Vannini report on the latest developments regarding the Pac-12’s media rights and expansion talks. “Three people with knowledge of the discussions said [Commissioner] Kliavkoff is struggling to find partners willing to pay close to what the league is seeking. Two of those sources said Kliavkoff overpromised his members on how many bidders there would be and what dollar amount they could command — a target north of $40M per school, according to one league athletic director. Today, it’s uncertain whether the Pac-12 will even be able to exceed the $31.6M average the Big 12 reportedly landed in a six-year extension with ESPN and Fox it reached last fall.” Meanwhile, rather than drafting off the Big Ten’s windfall, Mandel, et al. point out the Pac-12 may have been undercut by the Big 12, with one administrator saying: “It’s tough when your neighbor across the street sells his house for a low price.” With SMU and San Diego State reportedly in the Pac-12’s crosshairs, Mandel and co. report the Big 12 continues to eye Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State and Utah. Beyond that, Big Ten Commissioner Warren’s departure leaves Washington and Oregon in a tough position as they try to gauge that league’s future plans. “The longer the Pac-12’s hunt for an acceptable TV deal drags on and stirs doubts about the conference’s financial future, the easier it becomes for Yormark to make his pitch to those schools.” (link)
USA Today’s Berkowitz: “SEC's total revenue for FY22: $802M, down from $833.4M in FY21, when it got signing bonus for its TV contract with ESPN. Per-school distributions for FY22: $49.9M, down about $4.7M per school from FY21. … Most of the decline in the SEC’s 2022 revenue and distributions can be attributed to each school having received a $4M share of a signing bonus that the conference got when it signed a new football TV deal with ESPN in December 2020, which put that money into the fiscal 2021 cycle.” Commissioner Sankey earned $3.7M, up $735K from what was reported in 2020, marking the first time he has earned over $3M and bringing his pay more in line with other Power 5 commissioners. (link, link)
The CAA has signed a comprehensive media rights agreement with CBS Sports and FloSports. According to the terms of the four-year extension with CBS Sports, the CBS Sports Network will televise at least 20 CAA regular-season MBB games in addition to the semifinals and finals of the CAA MBB Championship and the title game of the CAA WBB Championship. The new agreement with CBS Sports also includes the possibility of additional regular-season games in men’s and women’s basketball based on schedule availability. Furthermore, the new “eight-figure agreement with FloSports is the most lucrative media rights deal in league history and will see over 1,200 games air annually, including the majority of conference championships.” That agreement runs through the 2026-27 season. (link)
Sports Illustrated’s Forde chronicles Pittsburgh’s success under AD Lyke, noting that upon her arrival in 2017, the Panthers had won just one ACC championship since joining the league in 2013. Now, Forde observes, “Pitt athletics, once one of the weakest links in the well-rounded ACC and all of the Power 5 conferences, has become a broad-based success story… Through the 2022–23 fall sports season [in the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings], the Panthers currently are tied for sixth in the nation. Pitt’s 302 points accrued (based on NCAA postseason competition results and rankings) in just fall sports are the most the program has ever scored for an entire academic year combined.” Forde credits Pittsburgh’s ascendance as a product of Lyke’s “combination of seemingly conflicting characteristics: aggressiveness and patience. She came to the city school ready to overhaul a lot of things, but also prepared to play the long game in other areas.” Lyke says there was “apathy” when she arrived, and the first step was reigniting the passion internally. “We had to invest in people. I wanted to find coaches who had courage and confidence. They’ve got to have an internal confidence that, yeah, I can do this.’” More from Forde. (link)
Kansas AD Goff during a Twitter Spaces conversation with the Kansas City Star explained that while renovation plans are in the works, the Jayhawks will continue playing its FB games at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. “You have to navigate whole aspects with procurement of material, of the construction process. In our case…I’m not interested in picking up and moving this football team and football program to a different site to play a season or seasons, so to speak. I think it’s really disruptive to the guys and it gets really disruptive to the building of Kansas football. So for us, that means where we are going to have to sequence the construction. We are going to have to find a way to play through it.” (link)
Memphis brought in nearly $62.2M in revenue during FY22, including $10.3M from FB and MBB, down from $12.7M the Tigers earned in FY20. The Commercial-Appeal’s Barnes notes that while the overall revenue figure is the largest in the athletic department’s history, it was supplemented by $4.7M in direct institutional support to pay the remaining buyout for former MBB HC Smith. MBB had an average turnstile attendance count of 6,483 in 21-22, less than half the announced attendance of 13,685, which reflects tickets sold, donated or given away. The turnstile attendance is down considerably from 2018-19 when the Tigers reported an average turnstile attendance of 8,813. Also, support staff payments increased from $6.5M in 2020-21 to $7.8M in 2021-22. (link)
+ Penn State has promoted Assoc. AD for Strategic Communications Petersen to Senior Assoc. AD for Communications and Content. (link)
+ Texas has given Interim MBB HC Terry a raise from $500K to $1.2M. Longhorns AD Del Conte: “He's doing the duties of a head coach, and we chose to adjust his salary as he leads our program the rest of the year.” (link)
+ Davidson selects Bucknell Assoc. HC Piechnick as the Wildcats’ new Women’s Soccer HC. (link)
Two Ohio State-focused collectives announce a merger, according to On3’s Nakos. The consolidation concerns The Foundation and The O Foundation, and The Foundation Co-Founder Jones tells Nakos: “We’re in this for the same reasons. Why not come together and use all our resources for the common goal we’re trying to attack and help players in the world of name, image and likeness. … I don’t know how it’s going to look on paper. But, you know, we’re just going to continue to bring our resources together to one brand, one entity, to help people understand and answer some of the questions they may have when it comes to collectives.” Jones goes on to say he still doesn’t expect much support from OSU: “Our focus cannot continue to be on beating a dead horse. I honestly doubt it. They’re clear what their stance on name, image and likeness is and when it comes to collectives. Even though they say certain things publicly, they have yet to really have actions behind any of those public statements that make one thing that they support collectives.” (link)
The Georgia Tech-focused Tech Way collective has so far raised $1M, according to Student-Athlete NIL Founder/CEO Belzer, who says it’s early, “but I would say that Georgia Tech is in as good a position, operationally, as any collective in the country and every one that we operate.” Belzer also says it’s likely that every football player and MBB student-athlete will have a deal by the end of the year. Looking forward, Belzer expects that the major contributions received to this point are one-time payments to get the collective started and won’t be a revenue stream to tap in the future. “The reality is that in every collective, it’s pretty much like this. Most of the money is driven through donors. It’s probably 80/20 is the best way to think about it. And the long-term goal is to create a more sustainable model by having that 80/20 flip to the 80% being members and businesses versus just donors.” (link)
Nevada AD Rempke in an email to fans says the Wolf Pack will not be able to fix the issues with the overhead scoreboard at the Lawlor Events Center this season. The scoreboard has not displayed players’ stats all year, and Rempke explains: “In addressing the issue at hand, we found that our multiple software products have failed in their ability to translate the file data properly. The only solution is a long-term, significant capital investment. We are committed to solving these technical challenges over the next several months in preparation for next season.” (link)
Connecticut Governor Lamont is expected to include in his state budget proposal an estimated $160M cut to Connecticut’s FY24 funding followed by an estimated $200M cut to UConn’s FY25 funding, according to UConn President Maric. In response, Maric says the Huskies may pull out of the current deal with the XL Center in Hartford, explaining that the existing dynamic with the XL Center benefits local businesses, but the costs associated with this relationship would not be prioritized over academic quality. “We play at the XL Center, and we pay to play there, so the money that we generate there doesn’t go to us and athletics, it goes to Connecticut… When I go and talk to owners of the restaurants, hotels and the parking lots, they say that [their] business only spikes when UConn is playing in Hartford, and that’s when they generate revenue. So, I was telling the governor, if there is a cut that I have to do, I’m not going to put the cuts on academic quality, I will do the cuts and make the decision to pull out of the XL.” UConn spokesperson Reitz adds that UConn spent approximately $4M competing in the XL Center and Pratt & Whitney Stadium: “UConn also does not receive concession proceeds and other forms of income available to most of its competitors. The University would generate millions in estimated additional revenue if UConn basketball, hockey, and football competed under the structure more typical of its competitor institutions.” (link)
Longtime MBB official Valentine, who has worked 10 Final Fours and four national title games in his career, will not be allowed to officiate the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season due to an issue that occurred during the 2021 NCAA Tournament when the event was held in Indianapolis in a bubble, according to Stadium’s Goodman, who explains that “Valentine, John Higgins, Roger Ayers, John Gaffney, Kipp Kissinger and Ray Natili all went to Harry & Izzy’s steakhouse in downtown Indianapolis. Upon their return to the hotel, they took COVID-19 tests and one of the referees tested positive. Due to the fact that they ate together and weren’t wearing masks, the Indiana Department of Health deemed them unable to work in the NCAA Tournament. … [Valentine] will be eligible for the 2024 NCAA Tournament, provided he meets the NCAA officiating eligibility requirements stated during the regional officiating clinics.” (link)
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