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D1.ticker/Connect’s Fischer visited with Baylor President Livingstone at the 2023 NCAA Convention, shares more about the process that landed new NCAA President Baker the job, adds “He’s an unbelievably authentic leader. He listens, he asks good questions, people are going to really like working with him. And that makes it easier to address hard problems.” Asked specifically about how the NCAA’s dealings with the folks on Capitol Hill will change with Baker at the helm, Livingstone: “I think this is an opportunity for us to educate about these complexities. I don’t know that Congress is any different than other people out there that maybe don’t understand why some of the things that are going on are really challenging for our student-athletes and for our institutions and aren’t as simple to solve as we all wish that they were.” Lots more here, including “We’ve gotten to the point where in many areas as we try to think about creating a level playing field, some level of competitive balance across the country, national regulations and national guidance has led to an awful lot of legal challenges. How do we get to a point or place where we don’t spend so much time and energy on legal challenges and more on supporting our student-athletes and making their experiences better and more robust.” The full interview is available for free on Connect. (link)
Kansas AD Goff chatted with K-Nation’s Gerber about his nearly two years in the big chair in Lawrence, during which time he has hired new head coaches for women’s golf, football and baseball. Goff: “The reality is, KU attracts amazing [coaching] candidates.” While the MBB team is regularly among the national title contenders each year, and brought home the trophy in 2022, Goff says football’s success this past season “engages and brings to life an alumni base across the world, quite frankly. To my opinion [the impact is felt] in only a way that football can in our country. The reality is college football is pretty unique in America in the passion, the pageantry and all the things that it does. We definitely felt that.” (link)
Big East Commissioner Ackerman sat down with AthleticDirectorU’s Garcia Cichosz at the 2022 Women Leaders Convention to discuss the ways a commissioner connects their member institutions and represents their various interests at the national level, the value of streamlined communication channels, the evolving nature of leadership and the importance of “escape hatches” as a way to instill balance in a busy work schedule. On the topic of misalignment between presidents and ADs, Ackerman explains that ADs reporting back to presidents and her ability to deal with the presidents directly helps “keep everybody on the same page or with a shared purpose and vision. … So, I think having those streamlined communications channels is one way to get at alignment, and that’s how we do it in the Big East.” Full conversation. (link)
We offer our deepest condolences to the Georgia community following the tragic passing of UGA FB student-athlete Willock and Recruiting Analyst LeCroy, who were involved in a fatal automobile accident early Sunday morning. Two other members of the football program were also injured in the accident but are in stable condition. Bulldogs AD Brooks: “We are covering the families of Devin Willock and Chandler LeCroy in prayer this morning. We are deeply saddened on the tragic loss of Devin and Chandler, and we will continue to honor their memory in the years to come. These two special people meant the world to our football program and athletic department. We are working with our medical staff and mental health and performance team to ensure our staff and student-athletes have all the support they need during this extremely difficult time." (link, link)
D1.ticker/Connect’s Fischer welcomed Associated Press writer Russo to the interview chair at the 2023 NCAA Convention. Russo reflects on outgoing NCAA President Emmert’s time in charge: “It was tumultuous years. I think in some ways he may have made the tumult of it worse with his leadership style and some of the decisions that were made under his leadership whether they were all his decisions or not. … He navigated a difficult job at a very difficult time. Maybe we will look back on his tenure 10-15 years from now and appreciate it more, but he became something of a punching bag, though that was part of his job. … Towards the end his presence became an impediment to getting outside help.” On new NCAA leader Baker, with whom he has only had a 45-minute, off the record “get to know you” session: “I hesitate to make any projections about how this will work out. He seems to understand the job is an enormous challenge. I guess what I’m wondering is, how much will he embrace blowing up the system and taking some really radical steps and how much does he come into the job trying to protect what is there? Frankly I think you need a little bit of both.” Lots more including Russo’s opinion on the employment status of student-athletes, his take on Big Ten Commissioner Warren’s exit, potential replacements and the impact it all could have on the College Football Playoff. Full convo is on Connect. (link)
St. Bonaventure AD Manhertz parts ways with Bonnies WBB HC Fleming after six-plus seasons & overall marks of 53-135 (25-77), including a ledger of 3-17 (0-5) during the current season. (link)
More from new Bethune-Cookman FB HC Reed, who posted a profanity-laced Instagram Live in which he complained about the conditions at the school, saying: “I’m walking out here with the football team picking up trash. I should leave, I’m not even under contract yet! These MFers didn’t even clean my office when I got here!” (link) Reed later apologized for his rant: “In regards to my social media and comments about the University, staff, and other institutions, I would like to sincerely apologize to all BCU staff, students, and alumni for my lack of professionalism. My language and tone were unacceptable as a father, coach, and leader. My passion for our culture, betterment, and bringing our foundation up got the best of me, and I fell victim while engaging with antagonists on social media as well. I am fully aware of the hard-working folks at our school who are also fighting to make things better and more financially sound. I am encouraged from my communication with my AD [Reggie Theus] and our administration, and I understand it's a work in progress. My passion is about getting and doing better, and that goes for me too.” (link)
Alabama MBB student-athlete Miles and another man have been charged with murder in connection with a shooting near campus that killed a 23-year-old woman. Neither the other person charged nor the victim were affiliated with the university. A statement from Alabama reads, in part: “We are grieved by the incident that occurred near campus last night and extend our deepest condolences to the victim’s family and friends. We are grateful for the quick and thorough response of law enforcement and emergency response teams, and we will continue to fully support the ongoing investigation. We were made aware of the recent charge against student-athlete Darius Miles; he has been removed from campus and is no longer a member of the Alabama men’s basketball team.” (link, link)
The Utah Jazz will rechristen its home arena as the Delta Center, effective July 1, after the sides agreed to a new naming rights agreement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Jazz owner Smith: “We are excited to partner with Ed Bastian and the entire Delta team to not only bring back the arena’s original name, but also leverage the amazing work Delta is doing to provide incredible experiences for the people of our state and help show the world how amazing Utah is.” (link)
Barclays Center is ending its partnership with SeatGeek and returning to Ticketmaster after just over a year into a seven-year contract, per SBJ, which reports the reasons for the change “were not immediately clear.” (link)
Check it out: LSU unveils a statue of legendary WBB student-athlete Augustus, who led the Tigers to three consecutive Final Fours in 2005-07. (link, link)
JPMorgan has shut down Frank, the college financial aid platform it acquired for $175M in September 2021, alleging the startup fabricated nearly 4M fake customer accounts. JPMorgan explained in court documents that it learned the truth when roughly 70% of the marketing emails it sent to a batch of 400K Frank customers bounced back. JPMC estimates the site has fewer than 300K customers. (link)
In case you missed Sunday's email...
Northern Illinois AD Frazier catches up with @1QLeadership to discuss key issues facing the industry, including mitigating the potential educational impact of entering the transfer portal, plus ADs pushing collectives now when they avoided it initially. On the latter: “I think it was so new and so taboo. I’m a seasoned vet, right, going on 10 years at NIU and it was simply not what we did. It just didn’t feel like the amateur model in which we all engage. But, a lot of things we haven’t done in the past and now we’re making changes. This one is different because it’s clear it has such a recruiting component to it. It has such a larger than life impact on your performance on the fields and courts of play. So, you have to get with it. And, it still puts a chill behind my neck at times, but I’ll give a shoutout to Jason Belzer and Student Athlete NIL for how they’ve managed our Boneyard Victor E. Collective. This is way more of an educational process than just filling up your shoe box with money.” More. (link, link)
Appalachian State AD Gillin joins LEARFIELD University Group EVP Hamilton on From the Chair to discuss the Mountaineers’ transition to FBS over the past several years, the department’s $100M fundraising initiative, the multimedia rights business, NIL and more. Gillin notes the FB season ticket base has tripled to more than 12K since he arrived in Boone and explains: “Part of that is we wanted to bring in opponents they wanted to see. Certainly, again, back to our most recent realignment, that was even more evident in how we decided to go about that in the Sun Belt Conference, but that allowed us to raise ticket prices, allowed us to raise ticket donations, allowed us to raise parking. And then certainly for us, at our level, we control all concessions, we control all merchandise, and so we’re able to be intentional and focus on all those revenue streams, and that’s really helped us from a fundraising standpoint. We’ll reach all-time highs again this year from a donation standpoint.” Through the silent phase of the $100M fundraising initiative, Gillin says App State has raised $28M. On possible expansion to Kidd Brewer Stadium, Gillin explains that “we want to be the best 35,000 to 40,000-seat stadium in America. We’re not trying to be any bigger than that.” Full podcast. (link)
Michigan State has reached a settlement with 11 members of the former women’s swimming and diving team, who were suing to have the program reinstated. According to MLive’s Wenzel: “The settlement, which was reached Friday, calls for Michigan State to appoint an independent gender equity review director and become fully Title IX compliant by the end of the 2026-27 school year. Michigan State will also play for the plaintiffs’ legal fees.” The plaintiffs lead attorney, Bullock: “While these women are not back in the water as Division I swimmers and divers at MSU, by standing up to a Power 5 athletics program like Michigan State, they have demonstrated that women everywhere can demand equality. They united and said, ‘enough is enough.’ I am humbled that I was able to stand alongside these incredible students in their fight for equality.” (link)
Colorado Assoc. AD for Ticket Operations & Sales Hairston II to the Denver Post’s Keeler on the ticket purchasing frenzy after the hire of Coach Prime in Boulder: “It was non-stop. (Plus a flood of) emails in our inboxes. I’ve never seen anything like it. [...] It was kind of like the perfect storm where the (CU) fan base went absolutely crazy for it.” Further, Ticket City VP Howard: “Across our resale marketplace of thousands of sellers, CU sold more tickets in the offseason than USC, Oregon, Washington and Utah combined.” Hairston says renewals will be in the 94-95% range with 2,000 season ticket deposits already in hand. (link)
Less than two weeks into his new job as FB HC at Bethune-Cookman and Wildcats boss Reed is already posting TikTok videos agreeing with former Jackson State/current Colorado FB HC Sanders opinion of the state of HBCUs: “Prime [Deion Sanders] was not wrong about what he was saying. All y'all out there with y'all opinions full of crap, I don't know [expletive], but needless to say.” He continues, “I just pulled up the work. We're going to try to help y'all too man. Because I know a lot of HBCUs need help. I'm just here to help here first. I see it all too clearly. All of our HBCUs need help. And they need help because of the people who's running it. Broken mentalities out here. I'm going to leave you with that. I gotta get in the office.” (link)
The Toledo Blade’s Briggs suspects that Toledo may move one of its late-season MACaction football games from the Glass Bowl to Fifth Third Field, home of Minor League Baseball’s Triple A Mud Hens. Rockets AD Blair: “I like the idea. It’s certainly worth exploring. … There are pluses and minuses to it when you talk about taking a game off campus and obviously there’s a ton of collaboration there. This spring is going to allow us to take a step back and engage a really broad group of stakeholders to talk through what might be some possibilities for teamwork and working together to maximize our location. ... And one of those conversations is how do we work better with the Mud Hens and Walleye, so everybody wins. I think there is a good relationship, but it can be better. We can think outside the box.” (link)
Orlando Sentinel headliner Bianchi sounds off on the roller coaster NIL ride for Florida & high-profile prospective QB Rashada, who as of Friday still hadn’t enrolled in Gainesville: “...we in the media need to stop referring to this stuff as ‘NIL’ and call it what it is — ‘pay for play.’ Let’s be honest, this has little to do with Name, Image and Likeness. This is simply what everybody knew it would become with boosters paying players (or, at least, promising to pay players) for signing with their team. [...] Who in the Gator Collective thought it would be OK to sign a unproven high school player to a $13 million contract? Would Napier, who often talks about building chemistry, camaraderie and culture in the locker room, actually put his stamp of approval on such a crazy, culture-eroding contract? If Napier did know about the offer to Rashada, then why didn’t he stop it? And if he didn’t know, then why didn’t he know?” (link)
Incoming UCF women’s tennis student-athlete Lincer, a native of Poland, says part of the attraction of playing her sport in college is the free education but also the fact that the Knights are providing funding and support for up to seven professional tournaments during her first year. ESPN’s Maine digs deeper into the world of tennis athletes: “The recent allowance of players to earn money through name, image and likeness (NIL) deals has also made collegiate tennis more enticing for some, although international athletes on student visas have strict restrictions on how much income they can earn. For Lincer, collegiate tennis is a best-of-both-worlds opportunity that was simply too good to pass up. It's also different from what the family said she experienced at the junior level with the USTA, in which she received no support, financial or otherwise.” (link)
SBJ’s Smith deep dives on Modelo’s party bus, which he dubs a “tricked-out school bus” that provides “the tailgating atmosphere” everywhere it goes. The company spent “close to mid-six figures for the fabricator to construct the bus” and that doesn’t include upkeep and travel costs. Constellation Brands VP of Field, Lifestyle and Experiential Marketing Ramos: “It’s got that ‘Transformer’ feel to it, where the roof raises up and you’ve got this sports bar feel to it. It’s all about having that one-stop shop that’s got all of the amenities you need for a tailgate or a sports bar. It gives people that photo moment that can be captured.” (link)
Southwest Airlines CEO Jordan this week acknowledged that “everything that we need to do to mitigate risk is on the table” after the carrier hired outside firm Oliver Wyman to figure out what it needs to prevent another cancellation meltdown. Southwest has estimated the disastrous holiday cancellations will cost the company $725M to $825M, “including lost revenue, reimbursements, refunds and goodwill gestures of frequent flyer points for impacted customers and company store points for employees,” according to the Dallas Morning News’ Arnold. Jordan says the review will be done quickly. “It will not take months to get that work done. I’m sure we will learn things that we need to invest more in and need to change. We need to maybe change priorities.” (link)
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Donor Events & Stewardship Coordinator (University of California Davis / Davis, CA): Position will plan and manage ICA special events designed to actively engage alumni and donors with ICA and the university through recognition, cultivation, stewardship and solicitation opportunities. More details HERE.
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