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May 23, 2018

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS
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UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS

North Texas will pay $625,245 for the new artificial turf field that is being installed at Apogee Stadium this summer. UNT officials signed a purchase order with FieldTurf in early May and announced that the school would have a new field in place for the 2018 season. The company started the project a few weeks later. The Denton Record-Chronicle obtained a copy of the purchase order for the field through an open-records request. The company is installing a FieldTurf CoolPlay surface. FieldTurf markets its artificial surface as an upgrade over previous synthetic fields. The company’s CoolPlay fields contain a composite layer it says is durable, shock-absorbing and takes on less heat than other turf surfaces, making the fields safer than those of its competitors. FieldTurf was the focus of an investigation by NJ Advanced Media in 2016 that showed the company sold more than 1,400 fields across the U.S. from 2005-12 that did not last a decade as promised. A class-action lawsuit was subsequently filed against the company. – Brett Vito, dentonrc – Read More

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA
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UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA

UND’s biggest athletic department priority has taken a step forward and an unused golf course might be providing a financial boost. UND received approval Wednesday from the State Board of Higher Education at a meeting in Bismarck to privately fundraise $35 million for the second phase of the school’s High Performance Center. UND’s request included language suggesting a land sale could provide up to $8 million toward the price tag. The request for the addition to the indoor practice facility was unanimously granted by the state board Wednesday afternoon at a meeting in Bismarck. According to the Summary of Proposed Action for UND’s request, “Funds for this project are derived from private funds pending this request and up to $8 million in funds from the sale of excess property.” The golf course is named after UND alum Ray Richards, who, along with three other owners, donated the 150-acre former farm to the university in 1962. The agreement made between Richards and UND included an understanding that the land was being donated for a golf course to be named after Richards. – Tom Miller, inforum – Read More

NCAA
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NCAA

In 2018-19, nine Division I teams will be ineligible for the postseason due to their low Academic Progress Rates, down from 17 teams last year. A dozen teams will take penalties in 2018-19 for not meeting the minimum academic standard set by member schools. Most of the teams ineligible for postseason play also are among those subject to penalties. In 2017-18, 26 teams were subject to penalties. To compete in the 2018-19 postseason, teams must achieve a 930 four-year APR. NCAA members chose the 930 standard because that score predicts, on average, a 50 percent graduation rate for teams at that APR level. Additionally, teams must earn at least a 930 four-year APR to avoid penalties. Teams scoring below 930 can face consequences intended to direct additional focus on academics. Those penalties can include practice restrictions and playing-season reductions, allowing teams to fill the time that would have been spent on athletics with academic activities. – Read More

UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
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UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

After the completion of the 2018 sports season, Arizona will begin renovations on athletic facilities. These renovations will include changes to Arizona Stadium, Hillenbrand Stadium, Hillenbrand Aquatic Center and McKale Center. In addition, an indoor sports center will be built across the street from the current Arizona Stadium. The Arizona Board of Regents approved Director of Athletics Dave Heeke’s $66 million Capital Improvement Plan to upgrade UA’s sports facilities in September 2017. All of the renovations are expected to be completed by January 2019, just in time for the next spring season of Arizona sports. The first set of renovations to the Arizona Stadium include upgrades to the lower-east concourse and to the ZonaZoo section. These renovations include new restrooms and concession facilities and also upgrading access points on different ends of the stadium. The renovations are expected to be completed just in time for the home opener on Sept. 1, 2018 against BYU. – Amit Syal, wildcat.arizona – Read More

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN
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UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN

The numbers are staggering and should scare anyone involved in college athletics. Michigan State officials recently agreed to a $500 million settlement with more than 300 females who said they were sexually abused by Larry Nassar, a doctor who worked for USA Gymnastics and MSU. Nassar’s trial and conviction on charges of sexual abuse sparked outrage from coast to coast. University of Wisconsin officials, mindful of the Nassar case, have been studying for several months whether UW is doing all it can to adequately protect its students. Professor Peter Miller, chairman of the UW Athletic Board and a faculty rep to the Big Ten and NCAA, is one of several individuals working to compile a report on student-athlete safety/health at UW. Miller plans to share several substantive items during the June 15 athletic board meeting, though the full report won’t be ready by then. – Jeff Potrykus, jsonline – Read More

WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY
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WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY

WSU Director of Athletics Pat Chun announced the hiring of Mitch Straub as senior associate athletic director of the Cougar Athletic Fund on Wednesday during an interview with Pullman Radio Morning News. Straub was the associate director of development at Ohio State University before he decided to come to Pullman, where he’ll replace Uri Farkas, who left for Northern Arizona University in January to join former WSU Senior Associate Athletic Director Mike Marlow. Marlow is now the AD at Northern Arizona. – dailyevergreen – Read More

NCAA
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NCAA

Division I student-athletes continue to succeed in the classroom, confirmed by a 2-point increase in the Academic Progress Rate. The overall four-year rate increased to 983. Four-year rates for baseball, football and women’s basketball each increased 2 points to 975, 964 and 982, respectively. Men’s basketball players raised their overall, four-year APR by a point, to 967. NCAA President Mark Emmert celebrated the impact the APR has made on the culture of Division I. Some of the most significant improvement has occurred among teams at historically black colleges and universities. The single-year rates for HBCUs have improved 34 points in the last five years alone, reaching 962 during 2016-17. All other schools increased 5 points during that time, from 979 to 984. To compete in the 2018-19 postseason, teams must achieve a 930 four-year APR. NCAA members chose the 930 standard because that score predicts, on average, a 50 percent graduation rate for teams at that APR level. Additionally, teams must earn at least a 930 four-year APR to avoid penalties. – Read More

USC UPSTATE
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USC UPSTATE

The University of South Carolina Upstate has named Daniel Feig as its new Athletic Director, effective June 18, 2018. Chancellor Brendan Kelly will formally introduce Feig to the community during a press conference to be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 29, in the university’s G.B. Hodge Center. Feig comes to USC Upstate from Southern Miss, where he served as Executive Associate Athletic Director, assisting with the day-to-day management and administration of all aspects of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.  –Read More

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY – SAN BERNARDINO
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CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY – SAN BERNARDINO

Andrew Newman, the winningest men’s basketball coach ever at the University of Texas of Permian Basin, has been named to lead Cal State San Bernardino’s program. Newman is looking forward to bringing his brand of basketball to CSUSB. At Division II UTPB, located in Odessa, Texas, Newman’s teams have had five straight winning seasons, racking up 101 wins. In that time, the Falcons have been to the postseason every year, and this past season advanced to the NCAA Division II tournament for the second year in a row. UTPB entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed in the South Central Region, though they lost to West Texas A&M in the South Central Region Championship Game. Read More.

UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA
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UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA

UCF Athletics at the University of Central Florida, an NCAA Division I institution and American Athletic Conference (The American), is seeking applications for the position of Assistant Director of Ticket Operations and Customer Service. Under the leadership of the Director of Ticket Operations and Customer Service, the selected candidate assists in the day-to-day management of the Athletics’ Ticket Office within UCF, Conference, and NCAA rules and regulations. Apply here.

BABSON COLLEGE
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BABSON COLLEGE

Babson College is transforming the campus experience for students and faculty as part of its upcoming Centennial Celebration, including investing in the new Babson Recreation and Athletics Center (BRAC), scheduled for completion in Fall 2019. Although fundraising has only recently begun for this critically important project, generous donors have made more than $2 million in early-stage gifts. The BRAC will encompass a 10,000-square foot fitness center, a major improvement from the previous space. All students, faculty, and staff will have access to new state-of-the-art equipment as well as current and effective group fitness classes. A three-court multipurpose gymnasium also will be featured, providing a gathering space for campus events and recreational activity. – News Wise. Read More.

WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY
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WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY

Wright State University seeks applications for a Director of External Engagement. Primary responsibilities include oversight of the annual campaign, coordination of the premium seating and parking program, planning all donor/former student-athlete events and management of a donor portfolio. He/she will solicit gifts ranging from $100 to $10,000 to support WSU Athletics, facilities and programmatic objectives. Apply here.

ST. BONAVENTURE UNIVERSITY
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ST. BONAVENTURE UNIVERSITY

St. Bonaventure University has an immediate opening for an Assistant Athletic Director for Advancement. This is a full-time, 12-month exempt appointment that reports directly to the Associate Athletics Director for External Relations and indirectly to the Vice President for University Advancement. Email a cover letter, resume and contact information for five references, to: [email protected]

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA
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UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA

Bill Moos doesn’t have that many open spaces to fill right now when it comes to Husker football scheduling. Hopefully you’re not booked on Sept. 13, 2031, because Nebraska has a game at Arizona that day. That gives you an idea of how jammed up Husker non-conference scheduling looks. There isn’t an opening to add a non-con game through the 2022 season. “For non-conference scheduling, it’s a fine balance,” Moos said. “Without freshman teams anymore, without J.V. teams, you want to have opponents that you’re primarily winning at home — so it’s a money game. (A game) that you have a realistic chance of winning and you can play a lot of players and get a look at them early in the year. And then I do like an intersectional game with Power Five opponents.” – Brian Christopherson, 247sports. Read More.

UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE
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UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE

When Chris Burke was traveling through the Southeastern Conference as a standout baseball player for Tennessee from 1999 to 2001, it was clear that Mississippi State, LSU and Arkansas had the best stadiums in the conference. Tennessee, in the heyday of Rod Delmonico’s tenure as coach, played in a Lindsey Nelson Stadium that was less than a decade old. Though it was not considered elite, the stadium was by no means inferior. The decline of the stadium’s prestige compared to its SEC counterparts has coincided with a decline in the Tennessee baseball program, which made the College World Series in 2001 and 2005 but has not appeared in an NCAA regional since. – David Cobb, Times Free Press. Read More.

BATES COLLEGE
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BATES COLLEGE

Bates College Director of Athletics Jason Fein today announced the appointment of two new members of his administrative team: Stevens Institute of Technology administrator and coach Celine Cunningham will be Bates’ senior associate director of athletics, and Towson University assistant director of campus recreation Scott Lehmann will become assistant athletic director for facilities and club sports. Cunningham will serve as Senior Woman Administrator and director of NCAA compliance at Bates when she begins on July 2. Lehmann begins June 18. Read More.

SPORTS MEDIA
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SPORTS MEDIA

ESPN and the UFC have agreed to a new five-year deal that will bring the mixed-martial arts league’s entire rights package from Fox Sports to ESPN, according to ESPN and multiple reports. Variety first reported on the agreement early Wednesday morning. This new agreement follows a deal announced earlier this month between ESPN and UFC. The entire package will cost $1.5 billion over five years and will include 30 events per year, according to ESPN and reports. – ESPN. Read More.

KENYON COLLEGE
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KENYON COLLEGE

Kenyon College invites applications for the position of Director of Strength and Conditioning / Assistant Director of Kenyon Athletic Center. This is a full time, 12 month reporting position with benefits. Apply here.

UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA
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UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA

Larry Davis has announced that he will retire from his position as head rowing coach at the University of Alabama. Davis spent 12 seasons at the helm after being named the program’s first coach in 2006. Under Davis’ direction, Alabama transitioned from a club team to an NCAA Division I competitor. In the program’s first year, the Tide earned a number of top-5 finishes and dual-meet victories against established programs. – Tide Sports. Read More.

MARY BALDWIN UNIVERSITY
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MARY BALDWIN UNIVERSITY

Jonas Worth, a veteran of higher education and professional sports, will become Mary Baldwin University’s next director of athletics. Worth most recently served as associate director of athletics and NCAA compliance coordinator at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. In his role at Mary Baldwin, Worth will oversee administration and personal growth of the athletics staff, strategic planning to expand athletics, scholar-athlete recruiting and retention, and revenue development and fundraising. – Daily Progress. Read More.

COLLEGE ATHLETICS
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COLLEGE ATHLETICS

The NBA and MLB are lobbying for sports betting bills across the country. In their ideal legislation, the leagues would get a number of concessions from states. That includes the right to control who provides sports betting data as well as a payment of integrity fees — or a percentage of all handle in a legal sports betting environment — from sportsbook operators to the leagues themselves. The NCAA itself released a statement last week about its support of federal regulation. But the collegiate athletics organization does not appear to be interested in getting an integrity fee directly. Why not? Likely, it’s because of the optics of such a move. The NCAA comes under fire for a great number of things already, and taking a direct cut from sports betting would be yet another log on that fire. – Dustin Gouker, Legal Sports Report. Read More.

UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE
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UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE

The ongoing expansion of Louisville’s football stadium, once said to be 10,000 seats, is actually closer to 6,000. University requests for the project dated April 20, 2016, and June 2, 2016, each said the “total seating addition is approximately 6,000,” according to documents obtained by Courier Journal through a public-records request. When Louisville’s athletic department announced the expansion of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on Aug. 28, 2015, it used the 10,000 figure, which would have bumped the 55,000-seat venue’s capacity to 65,000. Progress updates on the construction on Feb. 4, 2016, Oct. 5, 2016, Feb. 8, 2017 and Aug. 17, 2017 each named the 10,000 amount. The school’s website for the project lists the new capacity as 65,000. – Jake Lourim, Louisville Courier Journal. Read More.

UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE
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UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE

To better set their own up for future success, Tennessee hired CJ Fayton as Director of VFL Programming Tuesday. Fayton, who played wide receiver under Phillip Fulmer from 2002-2005, will “administer comprehensive career and professional development programming to student-athletes across all 20 sports while also directing the Vol For Life program,” according to Tennessee’s official press release. The three-time UT grad twice earned SEC All-Academic team honors, and most recently worked as the associate athletic director at Maryville College. Speaking with the media during Tennessee’s Big Orange Caravan stop tonight in Atlanta, Fulmer said he was “really excited to have CJ back.” “He brings a lot of experience, from bringing an Athletic Director. A Vol For Life is all encompassing from a standpoint of letterman– all letterman, not just football, alumni, and fans. So he has a lot of work to do to say the least, but a lot of help around him to do that.” -Mark Whiteman, WATE, Read More

WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY
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WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY

West Virginia, which had passed the WV Sports Lottery Wagering Act earlier this month, is now one of just six states which has passed a bill legalizing sports betting. WVU Director or Athletics Shane Lyons realizes this, and was quick to acknowledge that the potential for scandal is rife in the college game when he spoke about the matter Monday at Pete Dye Golf Club. “There is 100 percent (more potential for scandal),” Lyons conceded. “That’s why we made a trip down to Charleston a couple weeks ago to talk about the vulnerabilities of college athletics and the cases that most recently happened. In order to combat the potential of corruption, he will take a number of precautions, including hiring additional compliance staff. “My job is first and foremost is to protect the integrity of the institution of the athletic department and the other part is to protect the integrity of the institution as a whole,” Lyons explained. “With legalized gambling coming up I will have to hire additional compliance staff for monitoring and looking at it as well as the educational aspect of it. There is going to be cost associated with that and we’re going to have to step our game up.” -Brian McCracken, WV News, Read More

UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN IOWA
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UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN IOWA

Northern Iowa director of athletics David Harris is not afraid to be bold. That was illustrated late last month when Harris and his staff introduced a five-year strategic plan for the UNI athletic department. It was a plan that established benchmarks for academic excellence, community involvement, competitive excellence, diversity and inclusion and financial accountability. While the plan calls for some major infrastructure — a $1.2 million meeting room inside the UNI-Dome for the Panther football team, a new basketball court and practice facility, a new outdoor track surface, a $1.2 million outdoor turf practice field, a center-hung video board at the McLeod Center, and moving the softball and soccer competition fields on campus — it reaches into academics and the overall student-athlete experience. This was the second year of the Panther Caravan and the timing of the release of the strategic plan was purposeful, said Harris. “At the end of the day, we are going to put out a final product that we really want to represent the best of what we are capable of doing,” Harris said. “It would be naive of me to think we can get together and come up with all of the best ideas. We have to listen to people, so the caravan gave us another chance to listen. -Jim Nelson, WCF Courier, Read More

NCAA
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NCAA

Judge Claudia Wilken has ruled that the  Alston case vs. NCAA on athlete-compensation limits will begin on September 4, USA Today’s Steve Berkowitz reports. The NCAA had hoped to delay the trail until at the earliest June of 2019. A non-continuous schedule has been put in place, four days beginning on September 4, another set of four days beginning September 17, and two additional days on September 24 and 25 if needed. Judge Wilken has decided that the Jenkins case vs. NCAA will be stayed, not dismissed, while the Alston case goes to trial the plaintiffs’ attorneys, Jeff Kessler and Steve Berman, told Berkowitz. With the decision by Wilken to stay the Jenkins case, should things not turn out in favor of the Alston plaintiffs, it could be possible to try the Jenkins case in New Jersey where it was originally filed.

May 22, 2018

UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA
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UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA

In the words of the late, great Paul Harvey — ask your parents, kids — “Now, for the rest of the story.” I was in Columbus on Monday for UGA’s Coaches Caravan stop there. On Tuesday, it’s Savannah for Stop 2 on this coach-speaking mini-tour featuring Georgia football coach Kirby Smart and basketball coach Tom Crean. So I drove from Columbus to Savannah Monday night. If you haven’t looked at a map, I’ll just tell you that’s a long way — 4-plus hours by car, which is how I traveled. Fortunately for Smart and Crean, they didn’t come here the same way. They flew back to Athens last night via UGA’s plane, kissed their loved ones goodnight, slept in their own beds, then flew down here to the “Hostess City of the South.” Tuesday night, Georgia’s coaches flew back home to Athens. I asked Smart for a ride after I walked out to my garage Monday and found my car’s left front tire flat, but he insisted all the seats were occupied. So I rented. – Chip Towers, dawgnation – Read More

VIRGINIA TECH
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VIRGINIA TECH

Scot Thomas has been fired as Virginia Tech’s softball coach after 23 seasons in which he started the program and won nearly 800 games. Athletic director Whit Babcock announced the move Tuesday and said Angela Tincher O’Brien will serve as interim coach. Thomas started the Hokies’ program in 1996 and led Virginia Tech to a 794-568 overall record, eight NCAA regional berths and a spot in the 2008 Women’s College World Series. The Hokies have struggled the past three seasons, finishing below .500 the past two years and failing to reach the NCAA Tournament the last three. – apnews – Read More

UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI
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UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI

Missouri’s search for a new softball coach has officially begun. Mizzou athletic director Jim Sterk said in a statement that his department has begun the process of finding the “very best individual to lead Mizzou Softball into the future.” The next hire will replace Gina Fogue, who spent this entire past season as the interim head coach after Sterk fired longtime head coach Ehren Earleywine just before the start of the 2018 season. The athletic director said in a statement at the time that he “lost confidence in Coach Earleywine’s leadership to foster the type of healthy environment we expect for our student-athletes.” Earleywine who led Mizzou to three Women’s College World Series but was the subject of controversy, including a department investigation into potential verbal abuse of players — later said he was “blindsided” by the move. – AARON REISS, kansascity – Read More

ARKANSAS PINE BLUFF
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ARKANSAS PINE BLUFF

Simmons Bank on Tuesday announced a $2.5 million donation to the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff athletic department for football and baseball stadium improvements. The university’s football stadium — to be renamed Simmons Bank Field — will have artificial turf installed and a new digital scoreboard added to its north end. The donation, the largest in UAPB history, will also go toward completion of the Torii Hunter Complex, adding a new press box and concession stand. The additions will be named the Simmons Bank Pavilion at Torii Hunter Stadium. – Jake Sandlin, m.arkansasonline – Read More