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#10: Auburn: Reports hit Tuesday that Tigers FB HC Malzahn "was close to accepting" changes to his contract "in order to remain as head coach" that would reduce his buyout & add additional provisions, like removing buyouts for ACs. There has to be a bunch more to this story because as it reads now, you're left wondering why Malzahn would agree to the new terms. (link); Auburn signee Deal hosted Malzahn for a recruiting visit, says the Tigers skipper assured him he'd be the HC on The Plains next season. (link); Former AU FB HC Tuberville: "There’s problems in Auburn. There’s always been problems in Auburn. And, for some reason, they will continue to be problems in Auburn." Lots more. (link)
#9: "I've heard colleagues say, 'Hey, I didn't want to do this, but I didn't feel like I had a choice. I really think most athletic directors, left to their own devices, would make different decisions. But a lot of places, you get outside constituents who are able to get involved and cloud the decision-making." That's an unnamed 'Power 5' AD to ESPN's Rittenberg, who gets comments from a number of ADs in a quest to figure out how the industry has gotten to this point of massive buyouts becoming the norm. Another P5 boss, "The agents have an advantage because you've got fans yelling. The pressure point is coming from your own fan base. The agents, they're good at what they do, but it's not like they're molecular physicist negotiators. They just understand, 'Hey, this guy is popular with this fan base and I want to get him more money. If I let it be known another school wants his services and is willing to pay X, I can probably get his current school to get to that same level.'" Pretty insightful comment from a third P5 AD, "The best thing that an AD can do is be comfortable with the fact that [he or she] might get fired one day. Because once you get comfortable with the fact that you might be fired, you start making really good decisions that have nothing to do with people's emotions." A "cataclysmic event" is described by an AD as a potential tipping point, one that impairs the financial operation of an entire institution. Lots more, including viewpoints from agents & you can probably guess their perspective. (link)
#8: Ole Miss AD Bjork with some interesting comments on the upcoming meeting at SEC headquarters with league Commish Sankey & Mississippi State AD Cohen after last week's activities around the Egg Bowl, "It's clear and evident why the rivalry took this wrong turn. I can't wait for that meeting. I want to know when it's going to be scheduled. They haven't told me yet. I've got a long list and I can't wait to stand up for our student-athletes and our university." On the possibility of FB HCs Luke & Moorhead being involved, "Maybe they're a part of it at some point in time. But I think it really has to start with the leadership not only in athletics, but also perhaps the university... We need to defend our university. We're going to fight for our university and defend it. That's really what my No. 1 priority is and that's where we need to leave that right now." (link)
#7: Cleveland State AD Thomas resigned effective at the end of the calendar year. Thomas: "My family is migrating south. I’ve got some consulting opportunities I was approached about, so I’m going to move forward, and also teach in college. I’m going to be in college athletic consulting, which is what I was doing before I came to Cleveland State. I intend to be teaching on various college campuses." Thomas will aid the Vikings until it finds a new AD. CSU Prez Sands: "Athletics remains an important component of CSU’s efforts to create a full and enriching campus experience for our students. During this transition period we will work to continue our strong competitive and educational environment for all of our student-athletes." (link)
#6: The Oregonian's Canzano begins a four-part series on the state of the Pac-12, "Left out: How Larry Scott and the Pac-12 continue to lose ground in the college football arms race." Rent for the league's offices in San Francisco ran $6.9M for the most recent fiscal year, compared to $1.5M for the Big Ten's digs in Chicago & 318K for the SEC's in Birmingham. The Pac-12 also has $11.7M in deferred rent on the books. Former Washington State AD & current Nebraska leader Moos: "Larry is a lavish guy; he likes extravagance. He runs the Pac-12 like he's the commissioner of Major League Baseball. […] All of our eyebrows went up a little bit when the conference moved from Walnut Creek to San Francisco. There's a reason ESPN is in Bristol (Connecticut) and not Manhattan. But Larry likes to go first cabin." On the personal compensation front, the combined number for the Pac-12's executive team (Scott + top five leaders) is $8.4M versus $4M for the B1G & $3.9M at the SEC. More, including TV revenues breakdowns that we've all seen before & comments from former Washington/Colorado/UCLA FB HC Neuheisel on how less conference cash could mean the difference of landing top-notch offensive lineman or being able to retain a talented coordinator. (link)
#5: College beat headliner Smith reviews Learfield's success with Campus+ as campus-wide deals take time & effort for the right alignment, but can pay off quite handsomely. At Louisville, agreements were recently squared away with PNC Bank & Canon to the tune of "mid-seven figures annually over 13 years" for each. Campus+'s Fulp: "It is disruptive. It is a new way of doing business. Many universities are defined by silos, and in some cases they’re fortified castles. This requires administrators to work together and have a much better value proposition." Canon's Shaw: "I really think this is how universities are going to do business now. They’re really starting to think with a more business-minded approach about ways they can leverage their partners." 10 schools have added the model: Cal State Northridge, Colorado State, Long Beach State, Louisville,Missouri, North Carolina, N.C. State, Purdue, San Jose State and Texas A&M. More. (link)
#4: The last of five entries from the Las Vegas Review-Journal on the state of affairs for UNLV covers the challenge for the Rebels of earning share of mind & wallet in a growing market with professional sports options. Cincinnati AD Bohn's career has been marked by stops (ColoradoSan Diego State) where he & his team have had to be strategic, still points to success in FB as the most important goal "You start looking at the TV rights, Mountain WestAmericanPac-12 you name it. It’s driven by football." Bohn believes putting together an attractive FB schedule is also part of the mix, "You’ve got to play games of relevance whether your team is good or not." Houston AD Pezman chimes in, "We’ve had plain speak with our coaching staff. They understand the economic importance (of football). When we went to the Peach Bowl, it helped everybody. And when you don’t, and you don’t have a winning season, it causes everybody to tighten their belts." Former UNLV AD Rothermel on his advice to current Rebs boss Reed-Francois, "Retire." (link)
#3: NET: The first set of rankings from the NCAA featured a Top 5 of Ohio State, Virginia, Texas Tech, Michigan & Gonzaga. Also, 17 non-'Power 6' programs in the Top 50. (link - full rankings); In terms of conference rankings, the Big Ten, ACC, Big 12, Big East & SECtook the first five spots with the Pac-12, WCC, AAC, MAC & SoCon the next five. (link); The first release drew heavy criticism, including from notable quant, 538's Silver, "These are the worst rankings I've ever seen in any sport, ever. NCAA needs to go completely back to the drawing board. […] I also think, philosophically, NET suffers from a 'throw a bunch of metrics at the wall and see what sticks' problem, which is often characteristic of unthoughtful algorithm design, instead of having considered more deeply what it's actually trying to predict or achieve." (link);'s Norlander, "...the efficiency component doesn't appear to consider quality of opponent on a team's schedule. So within that, a team's efficiency numbers could theoretically vault or tumble its ranking in the NET. It's a potential loophole for the 10-point cap on scoring margin. Another lingering issue is adjusted winning percentage, which seems to have overlap in the overall formula. Teams are getting double credit for its wins and losses, and taking some of the data accrued in the team value index's criteria." More. (link); Michigan State Assoc. AD & KPI's namesake, "Full KPI rankings will be published in the next week or two once the sample size has grown. A sneak peek: Kansas is No. 1 in KPI. Best road win is Ohio State's win at Creighton. Best neutral site win is Gonzaga over Duke. That's all for now." (link)
#2: As part of its 2018 Reader Survey, SBJ published a bunch of interesting takeaways gathered from around the industry. Here's one of particular note: "What athletic director would you most want leading your athletic department?" Stanford's Muir received 36% of the vote, followed by UCF's White at 15%, Clemson's Radakovich at 14%, Alabama'sByrne at 13%, Oklahoma's Castiglione at 11% & Penn State's Barbour at 10%. Lots more sports industry-wide feedback. (link); SBJ's Dealmaker's event is in full swing in NYC & some notable names were on stage: Teall Capital's Sutton, Shamrock's Resnikoff & Bruin Sports Capital's Pyne just to name a few. Sutton says he & his partners look for opportunities where they can "repackage and rely on our relationships - there's 100 years of social capital between our four partners - so if we think we can lean in and rapidly grow a business, then that's the place we want to be. So, we're not investors in the classic sense, we truly want to be subject matter experts about the things we're investing in." More. - (link - scroll down, link - one of Sutton's clips)
#1: Though it's only eight-seconds long, here's the latest video angle of former LSU FB AC/current Texas A&M FB AC Craig heading toward the LSU sidelines after Saturday night's 7OT win that may have started the commotion. Craig can be seen demonstratively pumping his fist within yards of the Tigers sidelines & in some cases within feet of LSU student-athletes. (link)
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