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October 8, 2019

AUBURN UNIVERSITY
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AUBURN UNIVERSITY

Count Auburn men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl among the college coaches who back California’s recently passed Fair Pay to Play Act. Just hours after Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski came out in support of the California law that will permit college athletes to earn money off their name, image and likeness, Auburn’s sixth-year head coach offered his own thoughts on the legislation. “I do agree that what they’ve got to do is they’ve got to take the system that they have and make it better,” Pearl said. “Find a way to have the athletes be able to benefit from their image and their likeness without changing the whole system. I think there’s a way to make it better. I think they’re on the right track, and I hope they’ll find a way to do that.” Pearl believes the NCAA has already made progress over the years to improve the student-athlete experience in terms of benefiting from a “true scholarship,” but added that there’s a nuanced way to approach the matter and improve the NCAA system while allowing players to rightfully benefit off their name, likeness and image. – Tom Green, Alabama.com, Read More

UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY
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UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY

Lexington Center unveiled Rupp Arena’s new look featuring chair-back seats in portions of the upper level on Tuesday. University of Kentucky fans can see for themselves at Big Blue Madness on Friday. “It means more comfort, more leg room,” Lexington Center President and CEO Bill Owen said of the 5,204 chair-back seats, which are above each sideline (sections 211-217 and 228-234). “It means cup holders. It means a much improved environment, and just speaks to our ability to stretch Rupp Arena’s life cycle.” Because more room is needed between rows of chair-back seats than between bleachers, the change decreased Rupp Arena’s capacity, Owen said. Rupp Arena’s capacity for basketball will decrease from 23,489 to 20,545. Capacity for concerts and other events will be 19,000-plus. Rupp Arena will go from the second- to the sixth-largest venue for college basketball home games. The change to chair-back seats cost $1,500,000. Construction continues on four club rooms attached to Rupp Arena, Owen said. Three are scheduled to open in the 2020-21 season, while a fourth is expected to open in the 2021-22 season. – Jerry Tipton, Kentucky Sports, Read More

PAC-12
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PAC-12

The Pac-12 announced plans for its inaugural Coast-to-Coast Challenge, a men’s basketball non-conference scheduling series. Coast-to-Coast will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in addition to other sites to be officially named at a later date. The annual series will begin in December 2020 and will run through 2024. Games at American Airlines Center in Dallas are anticipated to be played in 2021. Site rotations will continue in 2023 and 2024. An OVG Arena Alliance site is anticipated to host in 2024. – Perry Cohen, Arizona Sports, Read More

 

OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY
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OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Oregon State and Wayne Tinkle have agreed to a one-year extension of his men’s basketball coaching contract, the school announced Tuesday. The 53-year-old Tinkle has a deal that ends at the conclusion of the 2022-23 season. Tinkle has four years remaining on his updated contract. It calls for a salary of $2 million this season, $2.1 million in 2020-21 and $2.2 million in 2021-22 and 2022-23. According to the contract extension Tinkle signed in 2016, he has a buyout of $750,000 should he leave Oregon State before the end of the 2020-21 season. Tinkle is also eligible for a retention bonus of approximately $1 million should he stay through the end of the 2021-22 season. – Nick Daschel, The Oregonian/OregonLive, Read More

CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
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CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY

Central Michigan announced that starting quarterback David Moore has been suspended for one year by the NCAA for testing positive for a banned substance. The university is appealing, it said in a statement. The university found out about the test results Monday, and after talking to Moore, his family and coaches, it believes the substance in question to be an over-the-counter nutritional supplement. “The university partners with the NCAA to ensure its student-athletes play by the rules and exhibit the highest level of conduct,” Central athletic director Michael Alford said in a statement. Based on the university’s review of the available evidence, the university has decided to appeal this ruling.” – Tony Paul, The Detroit News, Read More

UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI
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UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI

Ole Miss’ new chancellor says the process of finding a permanent athletic director will begin “very soon.” Glenn Boyce, who was named the university’s chancellor on Friday, says he plans to make it a priority to fill the office vacated by Ross Bjork in late May, who departed Ole Miss for the same job at Texas A&M. Since that time Keith Carter has served as the interim athletic director. “That activity is going to begin very soon,” Boyce said Monday night on the Rebel Yell Hotline. “Very soon. I need to get my feet on the ground up here and full time. Right now I’m running everywhere, as you can imagine.” Boyce indicated that he will involve a search firm or firms in the process. “Things could happen here…and I’m talking down the road several years…but things could happen here that could up turn athletics completely. It also could create some kind of issues, certainly, with financial resources and the ability to sign players.” -David Johnson, 247sports. Read More.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
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UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND

Maryland Athletics today announced a comprehensive fundraising campaign to build a new Basketball Performance Center. The 60,000 square-foot facility would serve as the home for Maryland’s men’s and women’s basketball programs. The Basketball Performance Center will feature two full-size practice courts, a shared strength and conditioning center that is specifically tailored to the needs of basketball student-athletes, sports medicine facilities, and state-of-the-art meeting and office space for coaches and program staff. The $36 million project will be funded through philanthropic support and other athletic revenues. To date, Maryland Athletics has raised $19 million towards the project. Today’s announcement also marked the launch of the public phase of a fundraising campaign to raise the remaining $17 million. It is anticipated that design and construction will take 36 months. The project will be co-managed by the University of Maryland College Park Foundation. Read More.

DUKE UNIVERSITY
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DUKE UNIVERSITY

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said he supports California’s Fair Pay to Play Act on Tuesday. The Fair Pay to Play Act, signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 30, will allow college athletes in California to be paid for the use of their name, image and likeness. “It is a sign of the times that we in college athletics must continually adapt, albeit in a sensible manner,” Krzyzewski said in a statement. “We need to stay current with what’s happening. I’m glad [the Fair Pay to Play Act] was passed because it pushes the envelope, it pushes the issue. -Michael Shapiro, Sports Illustrated. Read More.

GONZAGA UNIVERSITY
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GONZAGA UNIVERSITY

The NCAA world has been buzzing ever since the passing of the “Fair Pay to Play Act,” in California, a law that will make it easier for college athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness, beginning in 2023. Gonzaga coach Mark Few was asked about the prospect of players earning money off these things in an interview with veteran reporter Jeff Goodman. While Few — whose school is located in Spokane, Washington — actually expressed his support for players receiving payment off name/image/likeness, he was highly critical of California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the extended discourse surrounding the passing of the bill. “First of all I would love to figure out a way — and I think we got a great group of people working on that — what I find totally disappointing and disgusting is that a governor is wasting his time grandstanding around in something that he doesn’t really understand when .00001 percent of his constituents are going to be impacted by this.” -Jace Evans, USA TODAY. Read More.

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY
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NIAGARA UNIVERSITY

Niagara University swimming coach Ben Nigro left his job last week, university spokesman Thomas Burns said Tuesday. Nigro was blamed in a lawsuit filed by one current swimmer and two former teammates, all women, of permitting a culture on the team that allowed sexual harassment, verbal abuse and body-shaming by male swimmers. Dedra Palmer and Mike Skowronski are leading the team while the university looks for a new full-time coach, Burns said. Nigro, 47, had coached at Niagara for 14 years. The university’s statement didn’t specify whether he resigned or was dismissed. The lawsuit against the university, filed in U.S. District Court in Buffalo Sept. 20, said the women’s team is treated unequally in terms of coaching and equipment, in alleged violation of NCAA rules and federal law. – Thomas Prohaska, The Buffalo News. Read More.

UMASS LOWELL
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UMASS LOWELL

UMass Lowell Associate Athletic Director for Communications Pete Souris has announced the promotion of Aaron King to Director of Multimedia and Production. King previously served as the department’s multimedia assistant for 2018-19. “We are very excited to elevate Aaron to the Director of Multimedia and Production position,” said Souris. In his new role, King will be responsible for creating video content for all River Hawk Nation platforms, in addition to producing live events for digital and television broadcasts. Prior to his promotion, King helped promote the UMass Lowell athletics department as the multimedia assistant by producing content for social media and facilitating broadcasts for all 16 of the university’s Division I programs. Read More.

SAINT FRANCIS UNIVERSITY
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SAINT FRANCIS UNIVERSITY

In a very surprising development, Saint Francis Athletic Director Susan Robinson Fruchtl announces she’ll be stepping down in March. –Cory Giger reports.

COLLEGE ATHLETICS
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COLLEGE ATHLETICS

Last week, ahead of its game against Maryland, Rutgers announced a new starting quarterback. Redshirt freshman Johnny Langan would make his first collegiate start. The reason behind the move was anything but ordinary: Artur Sitkowski, the starter in the previous two games, was choosing not to play while considering a redshirt this season. Two weeks ago in Houston, the same happened. Starting quarterback D’Eriq King chose not to continue playing this season in order to preserve a year of eligibility. One of his receivers, Keith Corbin, made the same decision, as both of them used a rule the NCAA passed last year to allow players to redshirt while competing in as many as four games in a single season. This has gone from peculiar anomaly to widespread trend in a matter of days. -Ross Dellenger, Sports Illustrated. Read More.

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

Jim Harbaugh was asked an open-ended question Monday, as reporters searched for his thoughts on the California bill that was passed last week allowing players to profit off their name, image and likeness. Harbaugh used the chance to expound upon — even flesh out — his own thoughts about amateurism, pay-for-play and potential reform options. “My feeling would be that college football is an amateur status,” Harbaugh said, before detailing several hypothetical options to alter the system. “I think the fair thing to do would be, not to restrict players to have to stay in college for three years. “And they could also be very productive, if somebody were to leave after their freshman or sophomore or junior year and they hadn’t finished their degree, they’d have the ability within a certain timespan to come back and finish their degree. That would be what I would suggest or propose.” -Max Marcovitch, The Michigan Daily. Read More.

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA
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UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA

The financing gap: About $70 million. That’s how much money Nebraska’s athletic department may need to cough up as its fiddles with the financing formula for the massive 350,000-square-foot athletics training facility and football locker room that will be built adjacent to the north side of Memorial Stadium. When the $155 million expansion project was unveiled Sept. 27, athletic director Bill Moos said the goal was to raise at least $100 million from donors. That would leave about $55 million to come from other sources. So far, donors have written checks or committed to about $35 million to $40 million for the complex, set for groundbreaking next summer with a scheduled 2022 opening. –HuskerOnline. Read More.

PENN STATE
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PENN STATE

Penn State issued a statement late Monday condemning a letter reportedly sent to a football player that said he had “awful hair,” called his dreadlocks “disgusting” and said it missed “clean cut young men and women.” Several Penn State football players posted shots of the letter online Monday, saying it was sent to a teammate. The note, apparently typed on stationary that read “WE ARE PENN STATE PROUD!!!!!!!” and signed, went viral on Twitter and prompted responses from across the country. Penn State responded to the letter on Twitter by saying, “While we don’t know the source of this letter or the authenticity, obviously its content does not align with our values. We strongly condemn this message or any message of intolerance.” -Mark Wogenrich, The Morning Call. Read More.

October 7, 2019

COLLEGE ATHLETICS
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COLLEGE ATHLETICS

After a video went viral on Saturday of Sam Houston State kicker Connor Crow pushing an associate band director from Stephen F. Austin off the field during halftime, both schools issued statements on Monday afternoon that conceded missteps. The Stephen F. Austin State University Lumberjack Marching Band was still performing, according to the school’s athletic director, Ryan Ivey, when the incident occurred. The shaky video shows Crow setting up his kicking tee within the 5-yard line, and starting to practice — within feet of a band member still twirling her flag. Before Crow kicks again, the video shows associate band director Chris Kaatz scrambling onto the field in his suit and snatching the tee, sending the football tumbling. Crow didn’t act irate, but he did maneuver Kaatz back off the field before giving him a shove and calmly turning away to continue practicing. Sam Houston State athletic director Bobby Williams said the incident “was not representative of the values” of the team or university. A Southland Conference rule states: “If kicking specialists or other players come out early during the halftime intermission, they are in no way to interfere with the band or any halftime events. Until the field is cleared, all players must keep their warm-up activity off the field of play.” The schools are handling the incident internally. – Heather Dinich, ESPN, Read More

 

UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS
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UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS

State and federal law is not the best way to change NCAA regulations regarding athletes receiving compensation through endorsements, University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod said. “Rarely is legislation the best way to fix things,” he said. “There are always significant unintended consequences that haven’t been thought through. So we’ll have to think through all of that.” Girod said he was not sure how it would affect the college athletics landscape, but he thought it could give California and other states that follow in its footsteps a recruiting advantage. Additionally, he said California’s law would exacerbate the challenges of managing enthusiastic boosters, who may pay a college athlete a significant amount of money to sign autographs. KU has not yet discussed the topic with other Big 12 institutions, but Girod said it would likely be a topic of conversation when the universities meet for a Big 12 retreat later this fall. – Dylan Lysen, LJ World, Read More

LSU
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LSU

Tiger Stadium is sold out for LSU’s home game Saturday against Florida, an LSU athletic official announced Monday. ESPN’s College GameDay will be on campus in Baton Rouge, and LSU will be hosting its first sold out game of the season. Tiger Stadium sold out three times last season: Louisiana Tech, Georgia and Alabama. – Brooks Kubena, The Advocate, Read More

GEORGIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY
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GEORGIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY

The Georgia Southern University Athletic Foundation is looking for a new partner to support the Matching Gift Challenge launched in 2018 to help student-athletes. In 2018, an anonymous family committed to matching up to $750,000 in support of the Coaches’ Continuity Fund, Tracy Ham Quarterback Scholarship Endowment and the Adrian Peterson Running Back Scholarship Endowment. This commitment was intended to provide a financial match to gifts toward these projects given by members of Eagle Nation for a period of five years. Unfortunately, the donor has been unable to fill the commitment, so officials are suspending the matching gift portion of the program going forward until new matching funds can be identified. During the course of the matching gift challenge, $91,885 was received that qualified for the matching funds. – Read More

PAC-12
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PAC-12

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott has expressed serious concerns about a new law that would allow college athletes in California to hire agents and be compensated for the use of their names or likenesses through endorsement deals or other money-making opportunities. “We are for choice and if young people want to earn money from their name, image or likeness or get paid to play, they should have that opportunity. That’s called pro sports,” said Scott, who met with Pac-12 coaches and student-athletes Monday and discussed the issue. “College sports is different. You go to get an education. It’s amateur, they’re students. Those are the defining characteristics and we’d like to see those lines not get blurred. Schools recruit nationally, compete for national championships. There have to be common rules that apply. I don’t think state-by-state legislators deciding how college sports should run is the way to go, and we’re going to be very active in trying to seek a national response and solution, whether it’s through the NCAA or otherwise. The idea that agents would be involved, helping negotiate deals for student-athletes, our concern is that winds up being payment for recruiting and trying to get student-athletes to go to a certain school.” – Janie McCauley, Associated Press, Read More

BIG TEN
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BIG TEN

Many might not realize the Big Ten Conference is also No. 1 in the country for research funding. Kicking off this fall, the Big Ten schools will showcase their strengths in three key areas — health care, environmental issues and driving innovation — via the Big Ten Network’s LiveBIG campaign. It’s the first time the Big Ten schools have combined their strengths like this to showcase the impact of work they’re doing in their local communities and states, as well as the impact and reach of the group as a whole. Each Big Ten school will highlight its story and the stories of other Big Ten Schools on its university social media and communication channels. The ultimate goal is to showcase how the schools together are fighting climate change, driving economies and changing the face of health care, making the Big Ten “Opponents on the field, partners in impact.” – Nicole Wilkins, News at IU Bloomington, Read More

NCAA
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NCAA

An investigation into one of America’s most notorious crime families affected the college basketball world last week. The Eastern District of New York announced last week a series of indictments against the Colombo crime family thanks to evidence collected via court-ordered wiretapping. Among the conversations discovered was a “scheme to fix an NCAA college basketball game” in December 2018. The release alleges Benjamin Bifalco, 25, approached players of an unnamed team and offered them thousands of dollars to throw the game. Bifalco faces charges of sports bribery. -Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY. Read More.

VIRGINIA TECH
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VIRGINIA TECH

Hokie Club Executive Director Bill Lansden will be moving to an administrative role within the athletic department, per twin announcements from him and Athletics Director Whit Babcock on Monday morning. Lansden has a long-term goal of becoming an athletic director one day, and this move will better position him to him reach his goal. “I am writing you today to let you know that I am transitioning as Executive Director of Hokie Club over to Athletic Administration. While I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working in the Hokie Club, my ultimate goal is to become an Athletic Director.” Long-time Hokie Club employee David Everett will be promoted within the Hokie Club, and he will continue to focus on major gifts while “leading all facets of our upcoming eight-year Capital Campaign.” -Chris Coleman, SportsWar. Read More.

PAC-12
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PAC-12

The Pac-12 extended agreements to keep its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in Las Vegas through 2021-22. The tournaments had been contracted for Las Vegas only through this season but commissioner Larry Scott cited good feedback for keeping them there. The men’s tournament has been played in Las Vegas since 2013 and the women’s event moved there last season. “I think everybody left really, really pleased with how the teams were treated,” Scott said. While the women’s tournament made its debut in the MGM Grand Garden last season, it will move this season to the Mandalay Bay’s Events Center, home of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces. -Bruce Pascoe, Arizona Daily Star. Read More.

AUGUSTANA UNIVERSITY
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AUGUSTANA UNIVERSITY

During its Viking Days football game against St. Cloud State University on Oct. 12, Augustana Athletics will add a beer garden for the annual homecoming festivities. The alcohol sales, which will include beer and wine, will be guided by a policy designed to promote responsible consumption and a safe and enjoyable environment for all fans. Only those 21-and-over, with a valid ID, will be allowed in the beer garden. Trained servers from JJ’s Wine, Spirits and Cigars will serve the alcohol. “Augustana Athletics is excited to provide a new amenity to our fans for our homecoming game,” said Josh Morton, director of athletics. The garden will be in the southwest corner of the stadium, with an ID and wristband station at the platform by section 101. Read More.

SPORTS BUSINESS
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SPORTS BUSINESS

Teamworks, the leading athlete engagement platform for collegiate and professional organizations, announced today an investment in INFLCR, the premium social media content delivery platform in sports. Teamworks’ investment will create the infrastructure for INFLCR to continue its rapid growth in the athletics industry, from its Birmingham, Alabama, headquarters. “We recognized INFLCR’s potential and the synergies between our brands: empowering athletes is at the core of both companies,” said Zach Maurides, CEO and Founder of Teamworks. Read More.

UTRGV
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UTRGV

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced on Monday the hiring of Seth Jones, who spent the last two years working at Little Rock, most recently as the Director of Sales and Service for current UTRGV Vice President and Director of Athletics Chasse Conque, as the new Assistant Athletic Director for Corporate Sponsorships. While at Little Rock, Jones was part of a revenue generating team that brought in $7.4 million from 2017-19. “We are very excited to have Seth Jones join our external operations team,” UTRGV Deputy Director of Athletics/Chief Revenue Officer Vince Volpe said. Read More.

KANSAS CITY
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KANSAS CITY

Kansas City Athletics and Truman Medical Centers/ University Health (TMC) are announcing the creation of a winning healthcare partnership. Kansas City Roos’ Director of Athletics, Dr. Brandon Martin, and TMC’s President and CEO, Charlie Shields, say when a university and an academic medical center team up, it creates new and exciting opportunities. Especially in areas that matter to the community, like health, education, and athletics. This partnership means TMC/ University Health will be known as the “Official Healthcare Provider of Kansas City Athletics.” The providers at TMC/ University Health will help keep student athletes at their healthiest by providing quality, comprehensive care and education about living their healthiest lives. Read More.

ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
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ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

Tim Volkmann, a 22-year veteran of intercollegiate athletics, has been named director of RIT Athletics Communications. Volkmann will be responsible for developing the promotional strategy for 24 Tiger sports, as well as administering the day-to-day operations of the Athletics Communications office. He will oversee all communication and public relation functions for a program that consistently competes for league titles and NCAA championships. Volkmann has spent the past six years as the director of athletic communications and media relations at SUNY Geneseo. Read More.


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