Morning Five: 07.23.14 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on July 23rd, 2014

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  1. The dog days of summer mean that the Morning Fives in July and August typically consist of a somewhat mind-numbing combination of three things: 1) hot air (people saying things that they shouldn’t be saying, or saying them without the benefit of tact); 2) player movement (transfers; injuries; arrests); and 3) organizational movement (strategy pivots and programmatic shifts, in the hopes that nobody notices while they’re on vacation with the family or otherwise not thinking about college athletics). Today’s M5 will address each of these areas, for your thoughtful consideration and bemusement. October can’t get here soon enough.
  2. From the organizational movement department, the NCAA — which, due to its academic calendar construct, loves to release key information during the summer months, and especially on Fridays — announced late last week that its Board of Directors is set to take a vote next month that would ultimately give the five power conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Pac-12) greater autonomy over the future structure and workings of the NCAA. Let’s call this move what it is — administrative extortion, designed to give the revenue-producing schools more weight commensurate with their power and influence in return for keeping the NCAA in one piece. The power leagues have long chafed at the notion that 300 low-level schools could band together to prevent them from doing what they want to do (i.e., institute the $2,000 full cost of attendance stipend proposal that was DOA in 2011), and know that the NCAA (the organization itself, not a grouping of schools), overwhelmingly funded by the NCAA Tournament’s broadcast agreements, wouldn’t have much of a financial leg to stand on if those five conferences decided to do their own thing. The Yahoo! article linked above explains many of the proposed details, but the objective is clear here: the coup d’etat has begun in Indianapolis; just make sure to look up from your beachy pina colada to witness the culling.
  3. Speaking of the NCAA Tournament, a $700 million (annually) behemoth that the NCAA cannot afford to screw up, Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione was recently named the Chair of the Selection Committee for the 2015-16 season. So, a year away, as Utah athletic director Scott Barnes will hold the reins for the upcoming 2014-15 season. As Matt Norlander notes in the article, although the NCAA has done a solid job of moving away from the consistently white maleness of the Committee Chair in recent years (2009 Chair Dan Guerrero is Latino; 2010 Chair Gene Smith is African-American), it still hasn’t managed to cross the gender divide. Two members of the current committee — Conference USA’s Judy MacLeod and UNC-Asheville’s Janet Cone — would ostensibly have the inside track at the Chair in the next couple of rounds, but there are obviously no guarantees.
  4. The hot air department brings us to Castiglione’s conference commissioner, the Big 12′s Bob Bowlsby. During the conference’s football Media Days event on Monday in Dallas, Bowlsby expounded on the dirty little secret that anyone who closely follows collegiate athletics already knows but avoids discussion publicly: as he said, “cheating pays presently.” Noting that the NCAA Infractions Committee has not had a meeting in over a year, Bowlsby pounded the point home that if a school “seek[s] to conspire to certainly bend the rules, [it] can do it successfully and probably not get caught in most occasions.” He went on to defend the NCAA’s overall business model as a sustainable enterprise only in its current or near-current form, but the damage was done with respect to his pointed comments on cheating. While it’s difficult to test the veracity of Bowlsby’s overarching claim, it is much easier to determine how often the NCAA is doing its job with respect to policing infractions. A brief search of the organization’s Legislative Services Database shows that only two Division I schools — Howard and New Hampshire — have received NCAA penalties since January 1, 2014. Neither play FBS football, of course, and the sports involved were cross-country, gymnastics, volleyball and track and field. While again, it’s very hard to prove a negative, the absence of higher-profile and frankly, more, revenue-producing schools on that list, is more indicative of willful ignorance than of active compliance.
  5. And now, on to player movement. After eschewing a year at SMU to play with his older brother, Emmanuel Mudiay has reportedly signed a one-year deal worth $1.2 million to play in China. Brandon Jennings had trouble adjusting to the lifestyle of a professional and the culture shock of a new country (Italy) in 2008, but he turned out to be a fine player upon arrival to the NBA a year later. Mudiay’s year overseas will also be worth watching, but his international childhood (born in Zaire, speaks French) will surely help him adjust. As for players still in the US, Florida junior Devon Walker tore his ACL in practice late last week and will miss the entire 2014-15 season as a result. Notching seven starts on last year’s Final Four squad, Walker was expected to log significant minutes for a Gators team that has numerous holes to fill. His depth will be valuable to have a year from now too, though, and we wish him a speedy recovery.
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Forbes Ranks The Most Valuable Conferences: Big 12 Ranks Fifth

Posted by KoryCarpenter on January 17th, 2013

Call Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany a greedy businessman for caring more about the bottom line than tradition. Call him a savant for getting in front of the conference realignment fiasco by adding Nebraska before anyone had a chance to blink. However you feel, you can’t deny that the man knows how to run a conference. Forbes recently ranked the most valuable athletic conferences and the Big Ten came in at No. 1, ahead of the mighty SEC. While myself and probably many others were surprised to see the B1G on top, maybe we shouldn’t have been. The conference has a better balance of football and basketball powers than any other league. There are football blue bloods like Nebraska, Michigan and Ohio State, and perennial basketball powers like Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State. Here is how the top six power conferences fared:

  1. Big Ten: Total Income (bowl games + NCAA Tournament + television revenue): $310 Million
  2. Pac-12: $303 Million
  3. ACC: $293 Million
  4. SEC: $270 Million
  5. Big 12: $262 Million
  6. Big East: $94 Million
What Does Jim Delany's Latest Move Mean For The Big 12? (US Presswire)

What Does Jim Delany’s Latest Move Mean For The Big 12? (US Presswire)

It should be noted that the SEC’s television revenue is about to get a huge boost when it receives a new TV deal soon. It will likely jump the conferences above it on the list and vault the league to No. 1 shortly afterward. But this is a Big 12 microsite, so that’s a different conversation for a different day. The Big 12′s $200 million yearly television revenue lags behind the SEC, ACC, and Big Ten, but as the article points out, it isn’t as bleak of a forecast as it may seem. With only 10 members on board, each school receives $20 million per year and is still allowed to negotiate and keep its own tier three television rights, which usually includes certain non-conference football and basketball games as well as Olympic sports. The Longhorn Network, for example, gives Texas an extra $15 million per year. Fifth out of the six major conferences isn’t the best spot to be in, but it’s a far cry from a year ago when nobody knew if the conference would even be around today. Successfully adding TCU and West Virginia after the departures of Missouri and Texas A&M were key for the conference’s survival, and while time will tell if the two schools were the best available options, the phrase ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ rings in the background. With its television deal in place and schools making great money, the conference is not in as much in danger of being preyed upon as, for example, the ACC is right now. Maryland will bolt to the Big Ten soon while Florida State and Clemson have been rumored to be interested in the Big 12. It looks like the ACC will have 14 members next season if both schools remain in tow, though, as Pittsburgh and Syracuse will join the league.

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Morning Five: 08.24.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on August 24th, 2012

  1. You know you’re doing something right in a lawsuit if the defendant’s attorneys start attacking the plaintiff’s ringleader long before the discovery phase ends. According to this report from The Birmingham News, the NCAA and its licensees maneuvered hard against marketing guru Sonny Vaccaro in an attempt to discredit him prior to a ruling by a federal court in California about whether the so-called Ed O’Bannon likeness case will become a class action suit. It’s no secret that Vaccaro has encouraged ex-players who feel wronged by the perpetual and ongoing usage of their faces and likenesses to join the suit, but the NCAA questioned whether his financial motives were too inextricably tied to the players to render him prejudicial. The NCAA had requested voluminous records of his communications for years, but ultimately, the two sides agreed that Vaccaro would turn over “custodial records from Vaccaro’s three organizations, communications with the plaintiffs, camp/tournament documents using players’ likeness, and payment records to or from players.” The court plans on making a decision on the class action later this fall, and without question that ruling could have a monumental impact on the future financial solvency of the NCAA.
  2. Thursday was an assistant coach kind of weekday as a number of high-profile schools announced comings and goings among their coaching support staff. Kentucky, a school whose media relations department must work a ridiculous amount of overtime, announced that former Wildcat center Marquis Estill will join the team as an undergraduate student assistant while he finishes his degree. Estill left school early in 2003, after receiving all-SEC honors after his junior season. Meanwhile, across the continent in Seattle, Washington announced that it was adding former Arizona State assistant Lamont Smith to its staff as a top recruiter mere days after adding another new assistant, former D-II head coach Brad Jackson (Western Washington). The key word in the previous sentence is former, as Arizona State lost not only Smith but also Scott Pera, who is leaving the desert to coach closer to his home at Pennsylvania. As Herb Sendek said about the twin departures this week, “the timing isn’t ideal.” More on ASU in a post later today.
  3. Much has been made recently about the Big East’s 60-day window to negotiate a new television deal with ESPN that begins on September 1, but it isn’t the only conference looking forward to making waves with a brand new broadcasting deal. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told media on Wednesday that the league expects to sign a 13-year deal with FOX and ABC/ESPN worth $2.6 billion and will provide “unprecedented” exposure in a much more “widely distributed” manner. Or, in other words, what everyone else says about these deals. From a financial perspective, if this deal turns out to be true, a distribution of over a quarter-bill to each of the 10 member institutions doesn’t sound very bad after all. As Bowlsby suggests, perhaps 10 schools is the right number after all — leagues have been pushing each other out of the way to expand, but maybe they should start thinking about strategic contraction instead?
  4. One school not reaping the tens of millions of dollars that the schools located nearby it are is Creighton, but that isn’t stopping the hot mid-major basketball school from investing in its future while things are going well on the court. Plans were announced earlier this week that the school will build the Fighting McDermotts a brand spanking new 35,000 square-foot practice facility to match what some of its MVC peers have already done. Perhaps more importantly, the school seeks to match what a certain Big Ten school an hour to the southwest is doing — even though Creighton is clearly the more successful basketball program than Nebraska, the spectre of all those BTN dollars at NU certainly keeps the Joneses over in Omaha looking over at their neighbor’s lawn. With possibly two more years of Doug McDermott as a Bluejay, this practice facility could be the recruiting carrot that Creighton needs to bridge its current and pending success with a strong recruiting future.
  5. Last summer the story of Lamont “Momo” Jones‘ transfer from Arizona back home to Iona was a hot topic. The question of how it would ultimately impact both schools was a common refrain, and as it turned out, it was his new school that played in March Madness (losing to BYU in the First Four), while his old school was shipped to the NIT (losing to Bucknell). Jones enjoyed his best season statistically in 2011-12, going for 16/3/3 APG while shooting a career-high 46% from the field. More importantly to the rising senior, though, he spent what he characterizes as the best of year of his life near his family — especially his ailing grandmother in the Bronx — and even became a first-time father of a boy, Jace’, in May. With all the negative stories surrounding college basketball these days, this piece by Dan Greene is one that will send you into the weekend with a smile on your face.
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Big 12 Weekly Five: 07.26.2012 Edition

Posted by dnspewak on July 26th, 2012

  1. Rejoice! New Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said this week it’s unlikely the league will expand in the near future. Of course, in these testy times of the Realignment Apocalypse, words don’t mean a whole lot. For all we know, Notre Dame and Louisville have already signed contracts to join the league. These things change swiftly and without notice. But for now, we’ll take Bowlsby at his word. The Big 12 is a league with, uh, 10 teams, and it’s not changing any time soon. For basketball purposes, that at least preserves balanced scheduling and a true regular season champion, since every team will play home-and-homes with all other nine teams in the conference.
  2. Darrell Williams was never a household name during his short stint at Oklahoma State, but he is now after a jury convicted him of rape and sexual battery earlier this week. The conviction ends after more than a year of the legal process. Back in February 2011, head coach Travis Ford suspended Williams in light of allegations from two women that Williams had groped and violated them at a party (the incident in question happened in December 2010). The defense argued the two women could have misidentified Williams because there were several other players at the party wearing the same warmup gear, and it called the prosecution out for a lack of physical evidence. That didn’t convince the jury, though, and sentencing is now set for August. As the legal process dragged on, Williams seemed to become further and further detached from the Oklahoma State basketball program, but do not underestimate the effect of this conviction on the team. Consider this: Ford actually had to testify in this trial, and he testified in support of his former player. Several teammates were there when the jury read the verdict, too. This has to be a traumatizing outcome to some extent.
  3. In better news, Kansas learned freshman Milton Doyle will be eligible for the 2012-13 season. The 6’4” guard out of Chicago originally committed to play for native Chicagoan Isiah Thomas at Florida International, but Doyle opted for Bill Self’s program when Thomas was fired. According to ESPN, Thomas actually recommended Doyle to Self. Doyle was a bit under the radar as a recruit because he missed his entire junior year of high school with an injury, but he could eventually grow into a contributor given time. Thomas said Doyle’s so good, in fact, that he could have transformed FIU had he played there.
  4. Basketball season must be fairly close, because ESPN’s rolling out its Summer Shootaround series this month. On Tuesday, it unveiled a look at the Big 12 by breaking down each team’s best and worst-case scenario, ranking the top five storylines of the summer and previewing each team’s most important player. Wait a few months and we’ll do the exact same thing (in even more depth!), or follow our very own Summer Update series to keep up with the off-season nuggets. Still, ESPN provides an organized, this-is-what-you-need-to-know series of quick-hitters for you to get all caught up in the Big 12 Conference.
  5. As a part of that Big 12 coverage, Andy Katz spoke with Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg about his recruiting strategy and the state of his program. Hoiberg, who garnered a lot of attention after bringing in an unprecedented four Division I transfers a year ago, will once again welcome transfers Korie Lucious (Michigan State) and Will Clyburn (Utah) in their first seasons of eligibility. Unlike last year, though, Hoiberg will mix a few impressive freshmen with his veteran transfers. Hoiberg spoke highly of hyper-athletic forward Georges Niang, for example. But the most interesting comment came at the end of Katz’ article: “We had great chemistry together and it showed later in the year. That being said, we want freshmen in this program. We have an enthusiastic group and we’ve got great kids and players in this program for the next four years.” So there you have it. Fred Hoiberg’s a traditional recruiter who saw an opportunity to take transfers and went for it. Nothing wrong with that, we supposed. It worked, after all.
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Big 12 Weekly Five: 05.04.12 Edition

Posted by dnspewak on May 4th, 2012

  1. Finally, the Big 12 has tabbed its new leader. The conference announced that Bob Bowlsby of Stanford University will become the new Big 12 commissioner, formally replacing former commish Dan Beebe and interim commissioner Chuck Neinas. Bowlsby, who oversaw rousing football success as the athletic director at Stanford, joins the league at a critical juncture. He’ll now become the face of the new-look Big 12, which has replaced Missouri and Texas A&M with West Virginia and TCU. And hey, he’ll make a million dollars a year, too. Not a bad deal for the 60-year-old, who has not yet commented on the move to the media.
  2. Speaking of change in the Big 12, coaches in the league told ESPN’s Andy Katz that they’re not concerned with the stability of the conference. When Missouri left, media and fans painted a picture of schools escaping a dying league. As Rick Barnes puts it, though, he’s “very comfortable” with the state of the Big 12. But here’s the flip side to that: Of course Barnes will be comfortable in Austin, Texas, the epicenter of the league and the real moneymaker school with the Longhorn Network. Katz’s article also touches on the interesting case of West Virginia, situated 870 miles from the closest Big 12 school (Iowa State), pointing out that this is the 21st century, complete with chartered planes and easy traveling. At this point, players should be used to long flights.
  3. The talk of college basketball on Thursday focused on the end of the Indiana/Kentucky non-conference series, but there’s a new series brewing with Kansas State. The Wildcats are very close to a non-conference deal with Gonzaga, according to new head coach Bruce Weber. It’s refreshing to hear Weber speak so candidly about his team’s scheduling, since many coaches are tight-lipped and guarded with these sorts of things. This series is particularly interesting because the two potential games would be played at quasi-neutral sites in Seattle and Kansas City.
  4. Kansas‘s schedule is starting to take shape as well, and Bill Self has put together another strong non-conference slate. The Jayhawks will play in the CBE Classic in Kansas City with Saint Louis, Texas A&M and Washington State, and they’ll also play Michigan State, Temple and Ohio State. The word is that Self is looking for one more marquee home-and-home to schedule for the next few years with a name opponent. It could be anyone, but as this writer points out, we know we can at least eliminate one team (rhymes with Blissouri).
  5. Trent Johnson‘s new staff at TCU is almost complete after hiring Donny Guerinoni and Brent Scott as assistants on Wednesday. He still has one spot to fill, but these two guys are familiar faces for Johnson. Really familiar, in fact. Guerinoni and Scott both played for Johnson at Nevada and Rice, respectively, and they both also served on his staff at LSU. That’s a nice way to get comfortable while building a program in a new league.
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