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December 12, 2017

BUTLER UNIVERSITY
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BUTLER UNIVERSITY

Mike Freeman, who has been a member of the Butler Athletics staff since 2006, has been promoted to Senior Associate Director for External Operations. Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier made the announcement Monday, Dec. 11. With this promotion, Freeman will now officially serve as second in command for the department. He will focus on strategy and lead the innovation efforts for the department’s future. Freeman will continue to lead the department’s revenue generation through oversight of ticketing, licensing, TV and Radio, marketing and promotions. He is a member of department’s budget team, assists with fund-raising efforts, and has sport oversight. He collaborates on a regular basis across other University units such the President’s Office, Alumni Relations and Development, University Marketing and Communications, and the College of Education. He serves as the primary contact with Learfield and Butler Sports Properties since the department began its multi-media rights partnership in 2015. –Read More

LONG BEACH STATE UNIVERSITY
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LONG BEACH STATE UNIVERSITY

During a special presentation on Monday afternoon at Blair Field, Long Beach State announced a multi-million dollar gift from longtime supporter Marilyn Bohl, which will go towards the ongoing renovation efforts at Long Beach’s historic ballpark. In recognition of her generous support, the playing surface has been named in her honor, and signage at the facility will now welcome fans to Bohl Diamond at Blair Field. Fee outlined the planned upgrades on the horizon, including new stadium lights for the facility, a new playing surface and drainage system, as well as plans to renovate the existing structure along the left-field line into a new multi-purpose facility. Furthermore, with continued community support through the Blair Field Campaign, there are plans to install new seating, renovate the restrooms in the facility, and make other improvements to the fan experience throughout the ballpark. The addition of the “Bohl Diamond” name has been approved by Long Beach State University in conjunction with the City of Long Beach, and will remain throughout the duration of Long Beach State’s lease of Blair Field from the city. –Read More

SMU
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SMU

Sonny Dykes has been named the Head Football Coach at SMU, Director of Athletics Rick Hart announced Monday, Dec. 11. Dykes arrives on the Hilltop after head coaching stints at Cal and Louisiana Tech. Dykes spent four seasons at Cal (2013-16) and three seasons at Louisiana Tech (2010-12). He served as an offensive analyst at TCU in 2017. At Cal, Dykes returned the school’s football program to national prominence and a post-season bowl game. Inheriting a team that went 3-9 in the season before his arrival, Dykes had the Bears at 8-5 just three seasons later, capping the 2015 season with a win over Air Force at the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. –Read More

SUN BELT CONFERENCE
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SUN BELT CONFERENCE

Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson announced Monday the appointment of Scottie Rodgers as the conference’s Associate Commissioner for Strategic Communications. In his role with the league office, Rodgers will provide a critical role in advancing the Sun Belt Conference’s message through multiple channels. He will work with the Sun Belt communications staff to lead campaigns that shape how the conference is viewed externally, while also pushing internal communications between the conference office and its 12 member institutions. Rodgers’ role at the Sun Belt will also see him work with schools and host sites on publicity plans for Sun Belt championships. He will additionally serve as a primary media contact for number of conference sports, including men’s basketball. Rodgers comes to the Sun Belt office from Tulane University where he was Associate Director of Athletics, Strategic Communications, overseeing the media and public relations efforts of the Green Wave’s 16 varsity sports and serving as the primary communications contact for the football and women’s golf programs since August 2016. –Read More

SPORTS BUSINESS
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SPORTS BUSINESS

Gate revenue for all sporting events in North America will take a backseat to media rights in terms of revenue for the first time next year, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study released Monday. This year, media rights will come in at $19.1 billion, while gate revenue scores $19.2 billion. Next year, though, media will outproduce gate $20.1 billion to $19.6 billion, and its lead will grow from there, as media rights boasts a compound annual growth rate through 2021 of 4.3 percent, compared with gate’s rate of 2.3 percent. Part of the reason for the success of media rights is that more bidders, including non-traditional media outlets like Amazon.com and Twitter, are in the fray. As for the rest of the sports ecosystem in North America, sponsorship will generate the third-most revenue this year and next, while merchandising comes in fourth. All four segments together will rake in $69.3 billion this year and $71.9 billion in 2018. -Paul Bond, Hollywood Reporter, Read More

December 11, 2017

UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE
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UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE

Former Tennessee athletic director John Currie and Greg Schiano signed a memorandum of understanding to make the Ohio State defensive coordinator the new Volunteers football coach before the deal fell apart amid a public backlash. The memorandum of understanding, obtained through a public records request, states Schiano would have received a six-year, $27 million contract. Tennessee officials say they believe the document isn’t legally binding because it was never signed by the school’s chief financial officer. Tennessee Chancellor Beverly Davenport also didn’t sign the document with Schiano. Currie was suspended and replaced by Phillip Fulmer on Dec. 1, five days after the Schiano deal fell through. Fulmer took over the search at that point and announced the hiring of Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt on Thursday. The memorandum that accompanied Pruitt’s hiring included signatures from Pruitt, Davenport, Fulmer and chief financial officer David L. Miller. – STEVE MEGARGEE, theadvocate.comRead More

TEXAS CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY
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TEXAS CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY

TCU deputy athletic director Jeremiah Donati will become TCU’s next athletic director, TCU chancellor Dr. Victor J. Boschini Jr. announced in a news release Monday. Donati replaces Chris Del Conte, who left for the same position at Texas after serving eight years at TCU. Donati has been with TCU since 2011 and worked closely with Del Conte in shaping the thriving Horned Frogs athletic department. Donati started at TCU seven years ago as a Frog Club gift officer and worked his way up to associate athletic director and associate vice chancellor in 2013. He earned his previous title of deputy athletic director in 2016 before taking the next step in his career. – Joe Buettner, diehards.comRead More

SPORTS MEDIA
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SPORTS MEDIA

The multi-year agreement will see the telecoms company’s portfolio of premium digital and mobile media properties, including Yahoo Sports, stream live in-market and national games in the US, including pre-season fixtures, regular season matches and play-off games, along with the season-ending Super Bowl, regardless of a customer’s mobile network. The new arrangement will be activated in January with streaming of the NFL play-offs on Yahoo and Yahoo Sports, in addition to go90 and the NFL mobile app. Additionally, the expanded agreement will provide fans with mobile access to NFL highlights and a range of jointly-developed original content. Verizon will also continue to be listed as an official sponsor of the pre-eminent league and will offer unique experiences for its customers at key events during the season, including the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl and NFL Draft. The company will also work with individual NFL teams on technology to help improve stadium operations. – Sam Carp, sportspromedia.comRead More

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS
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UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS

Texas introduced former TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte as the new Longhorns athletic director on Monday, and Del Conte did not disappoint. It lasted for 40 minutes, as he fielded questions about Texas, Texas’ future, his old job at TCU, his thoughts on the immediate challenges he’ll be facing and, yes, even about playing Texas A&M again. He got emotional at times, playfully poked at media members, thanked various UT coaches and administrators who came before him. He said the right things, punched the right buttons to students and coaches and donors and potential donors, and sounded like he’s ready to get to work. At Texas, he replaces Mike Perrin, who’s been running things since Steve Patterson was removed in 2015. All of Texas’ greatest hits were there — including DeLoss Dodds, Mack Brown and Jody Conradt — to watch Del Conte’s introductory presser. Perrin was there, too. – Rich Tijerina, statesman.comRead More

CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
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CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY

Central Michigan University Athletic Director Michael Alford announced Dec. 11 that $2.5 million has been collected through donations to help fund the creation of the “Champions Center” on the north side of Kelly/Shorts Stadium.  The announcement was made through one of Alford’s “Fire Up Chats” — used to make announcements to the public about the athletics department’s plans. The scoreboard, CMU’s locker room, training room and equipment room are on the north side of the stadium. The locker room connects to the Indoor Athletic Complex.  In the article, Alford describes the renovation as “a game-changing facility.” The University is in discussion with an architect to design the facility. – Dylan Goetz, cm-life.comRead More

ARKANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY
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ARKANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY

Centennial Bank and the John W. Allison family have announced a $10 million gift that will be earmarked for Arkansas State’s recently announced North EndZone stadium expansion project. The renovations, which were approved in November, is expected to cost $29 million to complete. New locker rooms, meeting rooms, weight room, training room, and operations building will be part the of project. A-State athletic director Terry Mohajir expects the project to be completed before the start of the 2018 season.

UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON
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UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON

Chris Pezman was named vice president for intercollegiate athletics at the University of Houston on Monday. Pezman will be introduced at 1:30 p.m. press conference Tuesday in the TDECU Stadium Club. “Chris has achieved success operationally, he understands the student athlete experience and he is a familiar name and face to our supporters,” UH president Renu Khator said in a statement. “His enthusiasm to lead our athletics program is unmatched and I am confident the same tenacity that elevated him to team captain for the Cougars will strengthen our program on the field and in the classroom.” -Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle, Read More

JACKSON STATE UNIVERSITY
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JACKSON STATE UNIVERSITY

Wheeler Brown is out as Jackson State’s director of athletics. The university informed Brown of its decision to relieve him of his duties Friday afternoon, according to a source with direct knowledge of the events. Brown came to Jackson State exactly two years ago and had one year remaining on a three-year contract. -Tyler Cleveland, The Clarion-Ledger, Read More

UTSA
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UTSA

UTSA Director of Athletics Lisa Campos officially started her tenure last week. Campos met with various members of the staff in her first few days and made time for an interview on last week’s Rowdy Rundown. “The future is so bright. Again, there is so much potential. My focus is really going to be making sure that our student-athletes are having an exceptional experience. I’m going to focus on being out in the community, engaging this great city of San Antonio and the great people who support the athletics department. And then facilities – facilities is going to be a top priority and we are going to be focusing on that.” –

MARQUETTE UNIVERSITY
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MARQUETTE UNIVERSITY

Marquette University’s Board of Trustees approved groundbreaking on the first phase of construction for the athletic performance research center (APRC). The approval came after Marquette University leaders presented design plans to the trustees, which included relocating the facility to the heart of campus. A formal groundbreaking ceremony is expected in the coming weeks. The site will be strategically located near the southwest corner of West Wells Street and 12th Street, across from the Al McGuire Center and just north of Marquette’s Zilber Hall. During Marquette’s master planning process, the 12th and Wells location was identified as a high impact parcel for the campus. The university has already conducted preliminary environmental tests on the site. Read More.

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS
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UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS

For a school long known for dysfunction, the Texas Longhorns were not only able to conduct the search for a new athletic director entirely behind the scenes and out of the public spotlight, but hire the ideal candidate to lead the program into the future in Chris Del Conte. The former TCU Horned Frogs athletic director demonstrated several key attributes while in Fort Worth that will serve him well in Austin, where he faces some tremendous challenges in a number of different areas. The hope is that the big three sports have long-term solutions in place, so the pressure is on Del Conte to make other key decisions that will define the program’s future in massive ways. – Wescott Eberts, Burnt Orange Nation. Read More.

LENOIR-RHYNE UNIVERSITY
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LENOIR-RHYNE UNIVERSITY

Lenoir-Rhyne University and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Kim Pate announced that Drew Cronic, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Furman University, will be the new head football coach at Lenoir-Rhyne. University officials welcomed Cronic to the Bear family at a press conference this morning. Cronic comes to LR after a successful year at Furman University. The No. 22-ranked Paladins ended the season with an 8-5 overall record and a 6-2 Southern Conference (SoCon) record. The Paladins posted a second place finish in the Southern Conference and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA FCS Playoffs where they advanced to the second round. Read More.

TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY KINGSVILLE
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TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY KINGSVILLE

Texas A&M University Kingsville seeks Graduate Assistantships in Athletic Communications. Texas A&M University-Kingsville is seeking a graduate assistant to assist in the day-to-day operations of the sports information area. – Apply Here

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

The University Athletic Association (UAA) is looking for an innovative Graphic Designer who will be responsible for helping to maintain brand management of the Florida Gators including consistency of all creative designs and productions. Specifically all internal/external printed materials including but not limited to: posters, print-advertising, brochures, flyers, t-shirts, invitations, schedule cards, event logos, facilities signage, team apparel, and other promotional items as assigned. Must conceive design layouts within the Florida identity, edit and prepare for print. Take an active role in presenting and explaining concepts and graphics (from thumbnail to finish), to departments. Develops a range of creative solutions that are sound and innovative, and is instrumental in providing input on policy direction and long range planning including weekly updates on the status of assigned projects. Oversees one Graphic Design assistant and is also responsible for the selection and managing of student volunteers each semester to assist with the development of collateral materials. –Learn More

OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY
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OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

The Buckeyes didn’t make the College Football Playoffs this season, but it appears their fans outperformed in 2017 when it came to beer sales in the ’Shoe. Net revenue from alcohol sales at Ohio Stadium totaled more than $1.35 million this season. That’s nearly 16 percent more than last year, when Ohio State first started selling beer at the stadium. – Jennifer Smola, Columbus DispatchRead More

UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON
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UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON

Chris Pezman, a graduate and former football player at the University of Houston, is the leading candidate to become the school’s next athletic director, a person with knowledge of the process said Sunday night. Pezman has spent the last four years at the University of California as senior associate athletic director and chief operating officer. Pezman has longstanding ties to UH as a three-year letterman (1990-92) on the football team, including serving as team captain his final season, and receiving his undergraduate degree. He returned to the university in 2011 as assistant athletic director for football operations on former coach Tony Levine’s staff. -Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle, Read More

SPORTS MEDIA
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SPORTS MEDIA

The decline of NFL viewership has rightfully been one of the biggest sports media stories of the past two years but less has been written about where college football stands in aggregate viewership. One of the best analysts at making sense of sports television and digital ratings is Austin Karp, the assistant managing editor of Sports Business Daily. Last week Karp examined the 2017 regular season viewership for college football and found that CBS, ABC, NBC and ESPN all posted significant declines this season. Fox was the one outlier, with record-high viewership thanks to its new Big Ten deal. Karp said ratings were not available for conference channels like SEC Network, Big Ten Network and Pac-12 Network. Some interesting thoughts from Karp in the piece: CBS’s SEC package was the most-viewed individual package for the ninth straight CFB season, but this year’s average was its lowest in well over a decade. ABC’s Saturday Night Football was down 4% from 2016, even though its window remained college football’s most-viewed window with 5.7 million viewers. ESPN was easily the most-viewed cable net for CFB—it has the most games so that lowers its average—but was down with fewer Big Ten matchups. FS1’s average was its best since the network launched but below what the cable net FX averaged for its games in ’11 (1.01 million viewers). -Richard Deitsch, Sports Illustrated, Read More

December 10, 2017

TCU
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TCU

TCU will announce Jeremiah Donati as its next athletic director at 2 p.m. press conference Monday, according to multiple sources. Donati has been an associate vice chancellor and associate athletics director for development since 2013. He was promoted to be former athletic director Chris Del Conte’s right-hand man in charge of securing funds for facility improvements. He first arrived at TCU in 2011 as the head of the TCU Frog Club, the booster arm of the athletic department. -MAC ENGEL AND STEFAN STEVENSON, Star-Telegram, Read More

UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH
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UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH

Pittsburgh head football coach Pat Narduzzi’s most difficult season did little to shake athletic director Heather Lyke’s faith. She quickly worked out a new contract for Narduzzi that will run through 2024. The Panthers finished 5-7 in 2017 and will miss a bowl game for the first time in a decade. Still, Pitt finished strong, upsetting then-No. 2 Miami on Nov. 24. It’s the big picture, and not the small one, that has both Narduzzi and Lyke optimistic about the future. Lyke, in her first year as Pitt’s athletic director after holding the same position at Eastern Michigan, sought consistency in the leadership of the football program, which is something that hasn’t always been the case at Pitt. Narduzzi is the Panthers’ fifth coach since 2010. In no mood to go looking anytime soon, Lyke first approached Narduzzi about a new deal before the 2017 season even began. – apnewsarchive.comRead More

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF
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COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF

Bill Hancock likes to say, “I’ve got the best job in America. I get to spend 24/7 thinking about college football.” That he does. Hancock has been the executive director of the College Football Playoff since its creation in 2014. Before that, he was the first executive director of the BCS, a position created for him in 2005. Hancock also served 13 years as the director of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. Hancock won’t be in New Orleans on Jan. 1 for the CFP semifinal between Alabama and Clemson in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Instead, he’ll be in Pasadena, California, watching his alma mater, Oklahoma, take on Georgia in the other semifinal in the Rose Bowl. – TED LEWIS, theadvocate.comRead More

UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS
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UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS

Nathan Brown is synonymous with Central Arkansas football, so it was an easy decision for athletic director Dr. Brad Teague to promote the Bears’ offensive coordinator to head coach on Saturday. Brown will be formally introduced as a news conference on campus on Monday, having been first introduced at halftime of Saturday night’s UCA basketball game against Arkansas-Little Rock. He succeeds Steve Campbell, who was hired as South Alabama’s new coach on Thursday after guiding Central Arkansas to the Southland Conference title this year and a 33-15 record in four seasons. – foxsports.comRead More

 

UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE
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UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE

When the University of Tennessee announced the hiring of a new head football coach Thursday, a collective sigh of relief could be heard throughout Knoxville. The hire of Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt marks the end of a chaotic two weeks – but the turmoil of the coaching search, involving back and forth with several candidates and the suspension of the athletics director, will have lingering effects, including millions of dollars in potential buyout and legal costs. That includes an original estimate of nearly $13.7 million in buyouts for former coach Butch Jones and his staff, even though that figure likely will be reduced, and a potential $5.5 million buyout for Athletics Director John Currie if he is fired without cause. University of Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt speaks about who he sees as the Vols’ opponents during his introduction ceremony in the Neyland Stadium Peyton Manning Locker Room Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. – Rachel Ohm, knoxnews.comRead More

TEXAS CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY
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TEXAS CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY

Perhaps sensing the Longhorns’ fan base needed a jolt, University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves pulled off a stunning move by luring one of the best college athletic administrators in the business to Austin. Fenves reached an agreement with TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte to become the new vice president for intercollegiate athletics at UT, two sources told the American-Statesman on Saturday. Both men confirmed the news on Twitter. In a campuswide email, Fenves said the UT athletic department must be led by “a strategic, forward-thinking leader.” The former track athlete from the University of California, Santa Barbara was the athletic director at Rice (2006-09) before spending the past eight years at TCU. Del Conte, 49, will have final oversight of men’s and women’s athletics at Texas. Current women’s athletic director Chris Plonsky will report to Del Conte, two sources said. Plonksy, who is traveling with the volleyball team on the West Coast, could not be reached. – Kirk Bohls and Brian Davis, hookemplus.comRead More

SPORTS MEDIA
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SPORTS MEDIA

What ceiling? Teams, networks and consumers have all paid what it takes to keep sports content king. Local sports rights? Solid gold, Jerry. Solid gold. So why sell? When I first heard that ESPN was in talks to acquire Fox’s regional sports networks, I was quite shocked. Sports is the bread and butter, and affiliate fees make up 85 percent of revenue for RSNs. National Geographic Channel isn’t bringing in $5 a subscriber, so to think the RSNs aren’t covering that would be naïve. And, well, maybe they just can’t anymore. Regional Sports rights have become a turnkey business operation. Keep the money and focus in the live events, with the rest of the programming kept uniform and cost-efficient. Lock in long-term deals with providers, share production costs with other sister RSNs, and negotiate direct. Negotiate direct? What does that mean? Believe it or not, there are quite a few independent providers.  – Holly Wetzel, awfulannouncing.comRead More

WESTERN NEW MEXICO UNIVERSITY
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WESTERN NEW MEXICO UNIVERSITY

Western New Mexico University Director of Athletics Mark Coleman has announced his resignation from the position effective Dec. 31. “It is with mixed emotions that I announce my resignation from Western New Mexico University. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and Silver City will always have a place in my heart,” Coleman said. “From day one I was accepted into this community and I will miss the great people here. I had an incredible staff to work with that allowed us to make a difference not only in the athletic department but in representing the university as a whole. After more than 14 years, it is time to move on to a new challenge which will benefit my family in the long run.” Coleman spent the past six-plus years as the Director of Athletics, his first two years in the position he also split time as the head men’s basketball coach. – abqjournal.com Read More