Everything College Sports

For those interested in all things college sports

The Guy in the Pink Jeans

I’ll admit before I even get going that this is slightly off topic, but hang in there reading it because it is definitely sport related. Many of you have probably experienced something similar so I thought I would share a story that happened to me tonight.

Let me set the stage… I have been in San Antonio for  a few days at the Sport and Recreation Law Association Conference, which was very very cool by the way. Today (March 7th), I flew from San Antonio to San Francisco where I am speaking to a class at Berkeley on Monday. In San Antonio, I was surrounded by some very smart people (attorneys, professors, and attorneys who are professors) who are totally up-to-date on current sport law and pretty much everything else that has to do with youth, intercollegiate, professional, and international sport. I’ll have to write about specifics of the conference another time. Continue reading

March 8, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized, Working in College Sports | | 3 Comments

“Managers” for High School Football Players?

We all know that there are some key “players” in the basketball recruiting world. Many people question the ethics around relationships that develop between these young players and those that “help” them get recruited.

It seems that in at least in Kansas, football might be headed down that same path.  In a New York Times Article from Feb 3rd, Brian Butler identified himself as the trainer and manager of top high school football recruit Bryce Brown. In fact, the article stated that, “To get to Bryce Brown, coaches must go through Butler. He handles Brown’s workouts, recruiting and news media requests.” WHAT? This is a high school player, right? Not someone gearing up for the NFL Draft. Oh, and Butler also sells information on Brown and other players over the internet for $9.99/month or $59/year if you are interested.

For those not aware, Bryce Brown did not sign on national signing day and has yet to sign an NLI. The scholarship and NLI papers issued by Miami  (where he verbally committed in Feb 2008) on Feb 4th for signing day expired on Feb 18th and an anonymous representative from Miami was quoted as saying they would not issue new papers.  Amazingly, Butler was unaware scholarship papers expired at all and that Brown would sign on March 16th. Between his verbal commitment and his brother playing at Miami there was significant speculation he would end up there. However, Brian Butler also has indicated that Brown could skip college and enter the CFL for “$5 million a year for 3 years”. One problem with that math is that the CFL salary cap is $4.2 million and  the highest paid player is making $500,000 in the league right now with the league minimum about  $40,000. Continue reading

February 22, 2009 Posted by | NCAA Compliance Issues, Recruiting, Rules Violations, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

On the Value of Experience…

The following was written by Matt Lynch, Assistant Director of Media Relations at Boston College and posted with his permission.

I was asked by my friends at Ohio University to comment on the value of experience when looking for a job in college athletics. Since this is the season that Spring graduates are looking for jobs, I thought this was a good topic to present and I feel it cannot be stressed enough to students. Now that I am in a position where I look at resumes of those trying to get jobs and/or internships, I have realized that many students do not set themselves up to be successful after they graduate. There are a lot of different ways to “break in” to college sports and one way is not any better than another, however one thing is constant; you must get experience in an athletic department! Merely having a degree in sport management, journalism, communications, or business is not enough anymore if you want to work in college sports. Continue reading

February 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized, Working in College Sports | | Leave a comment

Counter-Trend Spending & College Sport

I have to begin by letting everyone know that this topic (and a lot of the content of this post) is the result of an e-mail conversation I had with Nick Infante, the illustrious editor of College Athletics Clips. If you are not familiar with College Athletics Clips, it is a fantastic service that keeps professionals in college athletics up-to-date on news and events through providing summaries of articles as well as commentary pieces. Best of all, OHIO has paid for access for students through the library website (using your Oak ID).

Anyway, back to the topic. We all know that the country, and most of the world is in the midst of a recession. So, what is the best strategy for college athletic programs to survive and even thrive in this economic climate?  I’m not sure this post will answer the question, but I want to propose one idea that Nick and I think has some merit.

Can a case be made for going against the grain and increasing instead of decreasing spending in tough economic times? The term counter-trend spending (or as Nick puts it “ignore-the-recession spending”)  encompasses this idea.

Nick argues that, “Whether you’re a big-time athletic program, a beer brand or an appliance store, strategic spending during a recession could be an effective way to gain on competitors. Increased spending – on personnel, advertising, price promotions, etc. — could attract recruits, fans, coaches & staff (for big-time athletic departments); new customers, distributors and bars/restaurants (for a beer brand) and new shoppers (for an appliance store).”

Continue reading

February 1, 2009 Posted by | College Sports Business, Finance, Marketing, Sponsorships and Sales, Uncategorized | , | 3 Comments

Kay Yow

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Women’s college basketball lost one of the best, Kay Yow, today (Jan 24, 2009) to cancer at the age of 66. Kay exemplified the ideals of education and college sport throughout her 38-year coaching career. Here is a very abbreviated list of her accomplishments compiled from the NC State Website, an article by ESPN, and my own limited knowledge:

  • NC State Head Women’s Basketball Coach 1975-09.
  • 737 college game wins during her career.
  • She was 680-325 at NC State, only three women’s coaches in DI have coached 1,000 games at one school.
  • 20 NCAA Tournament appearances (11 Sweet 16, 1 Elite Eight, 1 Final Four in 1998).
  • Even after being diagnosed with cancer in 1987, she coached the 1988 Olympic Team to a Gold Medal.
  • In 2002, she was inducted into the James Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame (only the 5th female coach to be inducted).
  • She won the ACC tournament in 1980, 1985, 1987 and 1991.
  • As recently as 2006-07, she coached the team to a Sweet Sixteen appearance, even after missing 16 games that season due to her illness.
  • An honorary Nike Shoe, the Kay Yow Air Huarache.
  • Most importantly, a lifetime commitment to mentoring young women during their college years.

Kay Yow began her NC State career a few years after Title IX was signed into law, but before anyone was taking the law seriously. As a coach, she witnessed the gains that could be made towards equality by doing the right things. The following excerpts are from a very well written ESPN article on Kay:

“As Yow once put it, ‘If a person really has a grateful heart, the door can open wide for so many good things to come your way.’ Women like Yow always remembered they were educators first, coaches second — and if that left relatively little time for their personal lives, such was the price of this kind of career happiness. They knew they were pioneers exploring not literal “land” but rather “turf” that traditionally had belonged to men. They knew there were barriers to knock down, but different ways to do that.”

Continue reading

January 24, 2009 Posted by | Basketball, Coaches and Coaching, Gender Equity and Title IX, Uncategorized, Women's Final Four | | Leave a comment

Ohio Univ. Students Grab Attention at NCAA Convention

Check out two of our own, Christina Wright and Sean Phifer at the 2009 NCAA Convention. A huge thank you to the NCAA staff and the NCAA Double-A Zone Blog for featuring these graduate students in their video. More about the Convention later.

January 17, 2009 Posted by | Ohio University, Sports Administration, Uncategorized, Working in College Sports | Leave a comment

Title IX and Obama

Most areas of college sports are not impacted one way or another by who the President of the United States is. However, there is one area that sees changes every time a new President is elected. A lot of people don’t realize how Title IX enforcement is tied to the priorities of the President. Under the Bush Administration, Title IX has survived, but that is about it. There was a Commission established to examine the law (most people think it was established to kill the law), a lack of people to enforce the complaints that the Office of Civil Rights did receive, and the addition of a loophole allowing schools to use “interest surveys” (under extremely flawed methodology) to prove they were accommodating the athletics interests and abilities of their female students.

In a December 2008 lecture at Smith College, sports economist Andrew Zimbalist reflected on Title IX during the Bush years. He cited the following statistics from presidential administrations, “During Jimmy Carter’s presidency, the number of female collegiate athletes increased by 9 percent. It also grew by 2 percent during the Reagan administration and by 10 percent during Clinton’s. Under the Bush administration, however, female participation in college sports has stagnated. According to Zimbalist, during Bush’s time in office, athletic funding for women has dropped from 37 percent to 34 percent of funds.”

For those of us that are concerned about continuing to increase opportunities for girls and women to play sports,  there is reason to believe that good news is on the horizon as Obama gets ready to take office.

In a recent article on the NCAA website, Obama is quoted as saying,”When I’m president, I’ll fight to make sure our female students have equal opportunities from pre-kindergarten all the way through graduate school. I will strengthen Title IX enforcement at the Department of Education … And I will direct my Department of Education to help schools take steps to fulfill their Title IX obligations in both the sports and academic arenas,” the statement said. “I am the father of two young girls who are growing up playing sports and who are beneficiaries of the doors Title IX opened.”

Continue reading

January 15, 2009 Posted by | Diversity, Gender Equity and Title IX, Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

True Measure of College Athletic Dept. Success

After watching “my” Gators last night and then talking to people today it seems that winning another National Championship has created the perception that Florida has the “best” athletic program in the country. I am not one to argue with that because I think it might be an accurate statement. But, by what measurement can we declare “the best”?

To the general public, it seems that football and men’s basketball success are the markers of a good athletic department.  But, can you have it all? Football and basketball success, a great experience for student-athletes, a lot of sport participation opportunities, and quality programs for all student-athletes?

According to the NACDA website, The Directors’ Cup is presented annually to the best overall collegiate athletics programs in the country in Division I, II, III, and NAIA. In the Dec 24th, 2008 NACDA Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Standings Florida was 20th. Of course that is before football and there is still a long season in front of the Gators. But, in 2007-08, Stanford won for the 14th straight year. The Directors’ Cup rankings take into account national place finish in a variety of sports, so the lack of a year in and year out powerhouse football team certainly has not hurt Stanford. Should the best program be required to be good in a lot of sports?

Sports Illustrated used  a different method to proclaim who had the best overall athletic program and Arizona State was crowned the 2007-08 champ with Stanford in 2nd place. Florida tied for 7th with USC. The SI scoring system put emphasis on ” national titles, top 30 finishes and conference championships” in 22 selected sports according to the website. So, are those the only criteria for success?

Jeremy Foley, the Florida Director of Athletics, was the Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal National Athletic Director of the Year in 2006. Should the quality of the Athletic Director play into a “best” ranking? Mr. Foley earned his Master’s Degree in Sports Administration from Ohio University in 1976, so most of us at Ohio think he walks on water. But, then again every year it looks like he just might.

What about the experience of the student-athlete. I think that this component is directly tied to the quality of administrators who create the student-athlete experience. Wouldn’t it be great to figure out a system that took into account a variety of components to truly establish which program is the “best”. Until then, I consider Florida the best, but I suppose everyone is entitled to his/her opinion on this one.

January 9, 2009 Posted by | College Sports Business, Uncategorized | , | 10 Comments

Bowl Gifts.. excessive?

For those of you who have not seen the list of bowl gifts being handed out this year- I think it is CRAZY.  Of course as a student-athlete it wouldn’t be so bad to receive one of these cool items or the shopping spree’s.

Sports Business Journal published a list of the bowl gift on Dec 8, 2008 and here are the highlights. These items are in addition to the traditional watches, sunglasses, hats, sweats, and other gear provided to the players. Plus, of course there will be championship rings for many of the winning teams provided by their school and per diem meal money as well as up to $20/day incidental expense money throughout their time at the bowl site up to 10 days AND an allowance for travel to and from the game for some schools that play close to Christmas ($800 cash at Oregon).

Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl- Wii System Bundle Package

Capital One Bowl- Party at Best Buy with a $400 shopping spree

Insight Bowl- 26″ LCD HD TV

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl – 8 gig iPod Touch

Rose Bowl presented by Citi- Sony DVD Camcorder

Independence Bowl- Trek Mountain Bike

FedEX BCS National Championship Game- $300 in Sony electronics

Here is the kicker, the limit on value for participant gifts varies between NCAA National Championships and Bowl Games (NCAA Award Chart search for Figure 16-1). Basically, a Conference Championship participant gift is limited to $325 (provided by the institution), a NCAA National Championship/Tournament is limited to $325 (from institution plus an NCAA unlimited value gift), and an All-Star game and Postseason Bowl is limited to $825 ($325 from institution and $500 from Bowl Mgt).

This is certainly not a new phenomenon and I do think that sponsor gifts are a legitimate reward for student-athletes at both Conference and National Championships. But, there seems to be some inequity here which seperates football from all other student-atheltes.

January 3, 2009 Posted by | BCS, Football, Legislation, Sponsorships and Sales, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

San Diego State Football Issues

A recent article caught my attention because of how grounded in reality it was while discussing the pros and cons of college football at a non-BCS school. The gist of the argument made by the author (Mark Zeigler) is that trying to play big-time college football when the institution is not a member of a BCS conference is a very bad idea.

At San Diego State, the athletics deficit has increased substantially in recent years from $750,000 (late 90’s) to $3.3 million (2007-08). Yet, during the same year when a $3.3 million deficit was realized the school reported $2.45 million in football revenue. How is this possible? The same way many schools claim that football is profitable. By using the generally accepted and allowed special accounting of athletic expenses. Although the article is about one school, the same arguments could be made for many of the non-BCS school.

When reporting expenses to the NCAA and even to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education for EADA data, institutions have some interesting reporting categories such as “unallocated by gender” and “non-program specific.” Both of these categories are handy when trying to minimize the visual impact of the expense of football. So, when  a ticket manager salary shows up under “non-program specific” it basically shows that the cost is a departmental cost. However, if you were to really look at the time/effort allocation of that person I am guessing that it would be 95% football/basketball and 5% the other 15-20 sports.

The other interesting financial hiding place for programs is booster clubs. Many institutions couldn’t exist without the private support they receive from boosters. However, institutions are not required to disclose financial info from booster clubs with respect to sport/gender allocation. So, if a football stadium renovation and a football coach performance bonus are paid out of a booster club, it generally will not show up as a football expense item. Some States do require this type of disclosure, but neither the NCAA nor the EADA does.

In an e-mail to me, my attorney friend, Kristen pointed out the following “If colleges allocated facilities construction, maintenance, training, med, insurance, tutors, & other costs to the teams that actually create them, even BCS teams would show a loss.  I really would like to see a genuine accounting audit of a big time football program to see what the real numbers are.”

I have to agree that it would be really really interesting to have the finances of all schools reported and published in a consistent manner so it could be compared apples to apples.

December 30, 2008 Posted by | BCS, College Sports Business, Finance, Football, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment