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August 16, 2013

Hounding Autographs

Filed under: Fans,Football,Money — Chas @ 8:12 am

After the age of 13, I can’t say I’ve cared too much for autographed items. I have a few things tucked away that I have been given or came into. Waiting in line for an autograph, however, let alone the idea of paying money for it. No. It’s just never been a thing for me. To this day the whole concept of the market for signed memorabilia and pictures of players, is a bit odd. Autograph shows blow my mind. I guess like comic books and baseball cards, it is some part of our childhood that some people just do not let go. Just when you get older and have your own money you can spend it on those things.

With that, the whole Johnny Manziel autograph scandal-story (and the issue of his eligibility)  has spooked colleges as the season approaches.

Louisville has forbidden players from signing autographs, replacing its annual event with an open practice. Texas A&M will not allow players to sign anything but specially designed autograph cards.

At West Virginia, officials took no chances last Sunday when players and coaches signed autographs for two hours. The school provided autograph sheets, posters and NCAA compliance handouts outlining regulations prohibiting the sale of items bearing the name of the athletes.

That presumes, though, that the WVU fan is capable of reading.

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July 28, 2013

Nary a Bubble in Rights Fees

Filed under: Media,Money,TV — Chas @ 9:30 am

If it wasn’t for live sports, I’d probably be a cord cutter. It isn’t that I dislike stuff on TV. Far from it. I watch plenty. It’s just that it is all time-shifted and when I get around to it. I’m not overly concerned about being at the water-cooler discussing last night’s Archer.There’s stuff over 2 years old on my DVR that I still haven’t gotten around to watching (no spoilers for the season/series finale of Awake, please). So between on-demand subscription services and the ever-dropping prices of series on DVDs, the wife and I could easily save money and drop DirecTV. But for sports.

People like me are the reason those rights fees keep rising. It is mostly immune to time-shifting which means sitting through ads, promos and everything else. In light of the recent spate of new rights deals for college sports programming. Along with the new FoxSports1 and their negotiations for carriage. Well it means cable/satellite TV rates keep going up.

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July 27, 2013

Random Link Clearance

Filed under: Conference,Money — Chas @ 9:36 am

Okay, time for links I just found interesting. Some related to Pitt. Some just about college football generally. Some of it stuff to put in the back of your mind for later:

Mike Morgan, a former Panther O-lineman is now the headcoach at Plum High School. He had been on Terry Smith’s staff at Gateway. He’s got work to do.

Morgan faces a major rebuilding job. Plum, which plays in the WPIAL’s ultra-competitive Class AAAA Southeastern Conference, has not won a game in nearly two years. The Mustangs will enter the season on a 16-game losing streak. Their previous win came against Kittanning in the second game of the 2011 season. A season ago, the Mustangs scored only 69 points and lost all but one of their games by at least 28 points.

Yeesh. Good luck, dude.

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July 24, 2013

Plans For D4

Filed under: Conference,Money — Chas @ 1:37 pm

In a previous post I said there were a couple themes running through every major conference media day. The other theme was the idea of the major conferences sort of splitting off from the rest of the 1-A.

They wouldn’t leave the NCAA. Oh, heavens no. They want that protection. They want to give their fans, media, and the courts that pinata to pin all the blame on when trouble hits. But they want to have a different division that appreciates their unique status.

Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford said Monday the next six months are “very important” to the future of the NCAA and predicted that significant structural and governance changes could be implemented at the governing body’s annual convention in January.

Among the changes up for discussion would be the formation of a so-called “super division” that would allow athletic departments with high-revenue football programs to make some of their own rules and implement things like athlete stipends. Many of those initiatives have been blocked by lower-revenue programs, which make up the majority of the NCAA.

This echoes the comments from Mike Slive of the SEC and Bob Bowlsby at the Big 12.

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July 22, 2013

But the Money’s All Right

Filed under: ACC,Conference,Money — Chas @ 10:56 am

Sorry. Busy weekend, and we had a big deluge that kept internet access wonky. Completely out for the last 12 hours, aside from my cell service. But it’s back now, and it will be catch-up time with recruiting, good stories and the whole ACC Media Days.

This, though is worth sharing right away.

Huge. Most of the time — and it was so for BC, VT and Miami when they joined — you don’t get a full share right away. They slowly give you the cut. Like

Louisville will also get a full cut when they join next year.

July 19, 2013

I would have hoped people would understand this after the last ten years of the Big East, but now I have to put on a condescending tone and talk down to people. Not really. No. Well… maybe a few.

Bowl games are meaningless. There are so many now that they have lost their meaning. They are just exhibition games. Unless it’s a playoff/BCS bowl, who cares. I think we all know old man complaints. But woe unto the coach that doesn’t get their team into a bowl game. And by god, it better be one in a good location. So, yes, bowl games have reproduced to absurd levels when over half the 1-A programs go bowling. Yet they still matter despite the contradictions and complaints. So be it.

Among the — now — 5 major conferences, it is not unreasonable to say that the ACC has the weakest bowl line-up. Here’s the reality. There is nothing the ACC can do about it.

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June 13, 2013

Last week the ACC put out its match-ups for the next twelve years. Predictably there was some teeth-gnashing by fans of programs in the ACC over the infrequency of many of the opponents from the other division. It’s one thing to know that it would be like that with an 8-game schedule and 14 teams. It’s something else to see it laid out in an official release.

The Virginia Tech blog, The Key Play has a proposal on the scheduling that does away with fixed cross-over games in favor of priority partner scheduling.

A priority partner would be chosen for each team every two years, and result in a home-and-home series. Priority partners would be determined by closely matching teams according to total number of regular season ACC wins in the previous two years, while avoiding permanent crossover pairings. The following example uses 2011 and 2012 ACC wins to set the schedule in 2014-2015 (because 2013 games haven’t happened yet).

It’s an interesting idea because it is a bit like the approach taken in the Big East with basketball scheduling. Unbalanced schedules in Big East basketball set to maximize competition and make TV partners happy with marquee games.

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June 10, 2013

In case you weren’t already aware of this, there won’t be an ACC Network for at least 3 or 4 years. There are some issues to overcome. There is a whole infrastructure to set up. Even the SEC Network that has been announced was more than two years in the works.

For the ACC, there are some added layers that complicate thing. Such as their deal with Raycom.

The Sports Business Daily did a fine — if somewhat pessimistic piece — detailing the hurdles to a ACC Network.

The main roadblock is rights. When it signed its ACC deal in 2010, ESPN and Charlotte-based Raycom Sports cut a deal that grants Raycom the ACC’s digital and corporate sponsorship rights, plus a heavy dose of live football and basketball games. Through a sublicensing agreement, Raycom owns the rights to 31 live football games and 60 live men’s basketball games.

Even if the conference is able to buy back those rights from Raycom, a second roadblock remains. Raycom sublicensed 17 of those football games and 25 of those basketball games to Fox, which carries the games on its regional sports networks throughout the ACC footprint. Live local sports programming is important to Fox’s RSNs, and they are not likely to give up those games cheaply.

The games that stay with Raycom make up the ACC’s long-running syndicated package that is distributed to more than 50 million households on over-the-air networks, and reaches 25 of the top 50 U.S. TV markets.

Those deals extend through 2027.

It’s unlikely that ESPN will try to launch a channel without those rights. ESPN brought all of those rights — TV, digital, sponsorship — together as it formed the SEC Network, which launches in August 2014.

That’s because a syndicated model that the ACC follows (and the SEC had been operating) really doesn’t work when you want your own channel.

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May 19, 2013

Oh, so many choices.

Let’s get target one out of the way: Steve Pederson.

Fifth-highest paid was athletic director Steve Pederson. His total compensation of $844,008 included base pay of $500,161, bonus and incentive compensation of $283,333, other reportable compensation of $10,674, retirement and other deferred compensation of $35,525 and $14,315 in non-taxable benefits.

Now due to the quirk in the state  of public records (read: insane lobbying to keep as such; treatment of Temple, Lincoln, PSU and Pitt in terms of Pennsylvania open records laws), it isn’t the easiest thing to compare. Still, it is a good roughing tool thanks to the USA Today databases. The AD salary surveys has Pederson’s total compensation lower which is important. The USA Today survey is an excellent resource but it is hardly perfect.

The USA Today survey puts Pederson in the top-40.  But the tax reporting suggests closer to top-20. Now before you fly off the handle, please keep in mind that if the differential between what the USA Today survey found for Pederson versus what Pitt ultimately reported then it is safe to assume that there are some more discrepancies in the list. That said, we can safely assume his pay rate is somewhere in the top-30 for ADs.

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April 23, 2013

The Grant of Rights put in place by the ACC does not stop expansiopocolypse. It does, however, severely slow it down and minimize it. The movement in the next five to ten years will almost entirely be by conferences and programs below the Big Five.

Oh, sure, it’s possible at some point that the Big 12 feels it has no choice but to actually go to 12, at which time it goes for Cinci and BYU or some other team from the Mountain West (Boise St.). And it is conceivable that the Big Ten could go to Mizzou and say, yeah, come into our playground — since the SEC does not have any exit fees or penalties.

And, yes, there is always a chance that some program locked into a Grant of Rights might mount a legal challenge. But unlike a challenge to an exit fee like Maryland is engaged, losing the challenge to a Grant of Rights contract is much bigger. Even if a challenge to the ACC Grant of Rights came with five years left (2023), the potential loss by the school challenging is $100 million. Not many schools are going to make that gamble.

But that is about it. Things are relatively locked in right now. There will be no easy way for the major conferences to poach teams from each other while the Grant of Rights (GoR) are in place. The Big 12 is at 10. The Big Ten will be 14.

As usual there is more to the story than mere stability.

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April 22, 2013

That’s been a big part of my summer posting for the last few years. How? How? How do they expect me to fill that gap if this is happening? What’s left?

The ACC is expected to announce a Grant of Rights agreement among its 15 members as early to today, CBSSports.com has learned.

ACC presidents are in the process of clearing this with their departments. The agreement will go to 2026-27, the duration of the league’s contract with ESPN. The deal is not official just yet but, barring an unforseen snag, will be completed.

Unless a league member decides to go to litigation to escape this down the road, the ACC believes a Grant of Rights will protect it from conference realignment poachers.

The North Carolina-based David Glenn Show reported the news Monday afternoon.

And all news outlets are saying their sources are saying the same thing. And unlike the raised exit fee issue from last year — where FSU and Maryland voted against it — this one is unanimous in the ACC.

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March 16, 2013

More like the after-affects and details of expansiopocolypse.

How badly did the Big 10 want the Baltimore/DC market for the Big Ten Network Maryland? Enough to sweeten the pot for Maryland by subsidizing their looming jump in travel costs.

Since financial details of the agreement are kept private — the amount of the subsidy is not publicly available. But the amount is in the range of $20 million to $30 million, according to sources familiar with the deal.

Maryland got the subsidy after assessing the travel-cost implications of leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference, its home for 60 years.

The cost of sending its teams halfway across the country — as far away as Lincoln, Neb. (1,201 miles), and Iowa City, Iowa (905 miles) — was projected by the school to approximately double its travel budget.

Wow. Jim Delany really wanted to get back at John Swofford for the Notre Dame arrangement. That is a hell of a deal. It isn’t clear if it will be a lump sum or an annual subsidy.

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March 12, 2013

Big East Dirge

Filed under: ACC,Basketball,Conference,Money — Chas @ 6:54 am

It shouldn’t be a surprise. As soon as the Big East remaindermen leaked that they would let Notre Dame join the ACC for the 2013 season with Pitt and Syracuse for as little as $2.5 million. But in the impeccable timing of the Big East, they are going to approve that the Domers are free — right before the start of the Big East Tournament.

Notre Dame’s basketball teams will play in the ACC next year, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation. The Big East presidents will vote on the issue Tuesday morning, and an announcement is expected sometime after their conference call ends.

“It’s everyone’s intention that this will happen tomorrow,” said the source.

Way to lock in the direction of the conversation. Look, I know it is hard to generate enthusiasm for the first two games of USF-Seton Hall and DePaul-Rutgers, but this isn’t the way to do it.

About the only way I can figure the America 12/Remaining Big East is doing, is that they are fully committing to the “this is a sad week for college basketball with the demise of the Big East as we knew it because the Big East Tournament will never be the same again” storyline. Trying to poison the well for the basketball only Big East’s future BET.

February 14, 2013

Here’s what I asked last week in regards moving the Villanova game so FSU-Pitt could start the season:

I guess my question is, how willing is Villanova to accommodate Pitt?

There’s just a bit of bad blood right now. The whole blocking Nova from moving to Big East football led by Pitt. Pitt leaving for the ACC. The schism of football and basketball at long last in the Big East. Egos and pride might make this a little more difficult.

Maybe it’s as simple as throwing some extra money towards Villanova. Maybe Nova is fine with changing their schedule. So far, no one has heard anything from the Villanova administration. But I can’t help but think that it would be the most Big East basketball thing to have Villanova gum this up as much as possible.

The answer — unsurprisingly — is: not much.

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February 13, 2013

There is still so much for the splintering Big East to resolve. There’s no shortage of rumors and reports of how the Big Priest portion would love to be split in time for the 2013 season. That, however, seems to be an impossibility. From setting up a new conference — hiring people, finding a commissioner, getting NCAA recognition for an auto bid to the NCAA Tournament, and so forth — to the very thorny issue of the money reserves in the Big East — all the exit fees, NCAA Tournament units particularly.

Then there is the issue of poaching programs from other conferences to get to a 10-12 team conference.

[Outgoing Xavier AD Mike] Bobinski said if Xavier receives the expected offer from the departing Big East schools to become one of its new members then it would have to listen. It would be situation where there were like-minded schools with a common purpose. He also said that 2014 would be more realistic for any movement while 2013 could be a bit rushed, although everything is negotiable. He didn’t say Xavier would definitely leave, but it sure sounded like the Musketeers have given this a lot of thought and are likely gone if asked, whenever that occurs. Xavier and Butler are expected to be first up on the docket to join Georgetown, Marquette, DePaul, St. John’s, Villanova, Seton Hall and Providence — with the choice for a 10th or possibly 11th or 12th coming from a pool of Creighton (MVC), Dayton, Richmond, VCU and Saint Louis (all A-10).

Sorry, Duquesne.

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