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College AD Nightcap News for Friday, September 18, 2020

Fri, Sep 18, 2020

Big East Looking at Mid-December Start for Basketball with Conference Games At Campus Sites

“We are considering a bubble but it’s [one of] a number of considerations right now. We have different sites that are possibilities. It’s an option but I don’t think it’s an option that we’re leaning towards.” - Jay Wright, Villanova Head Basketball Coach

The Big East Conference is targeting a mid-December start with 20 conference games per team at campus locations, a league source told Forbes.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25 instead of Nov. 10 due to the pandemic, meaning that Big East teams would have a couple of weeks to play non-conference games before the season begins in mid-December.

“We had a [Big East] conference call at 8 o’clock [Thursday] morning and we’re trying to first put together our conference schedule given these new parameters,” Wright said. “We’re working on that, we have another conference call [Friday]. And once we put together our conference schedule, then we can see how does that overlay on the old non-conference schedule.”

Wright said there had been discussions about having “a portion” of Big East games in a bubble situation, but that the conference was not leaning that way. The Big East league source added that it was “not very” likely that games would be played in a bubble.

The Big East source said games would be played at normal campus and pro sites “with normal 24-hour charter travel” for games. With UConn returning to the Big East this season, the conference will play a 20-game schedule, playing each opponent twice. The league source said that would “probably” still happen.

“We’re all scrambling and trying to figure out the schedule,” Wright said.

and now on to the day’s news…

The Day’s News

  • The 2020 Maui Invitational is moving to North Carolina, sources told ESPN. The college basketball tournament will be held at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in Asheville, North Carolina, from Nov. 30-Dec. 2, sources told ESPN.
  • The field is still expected to include Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV. An official announcement is expected soon.
  • The Maui Invitational is normally held in Hawaii the Monday through Wednesday before Thanksgiving. It was relocated this year because of the coronavirus pandemic and rescheduled due to the NCAA deciding to start the season on Nov. 25. The tournament will be hosted at the Arena, where the Southern Conference tournament was played in March.

Iowa Will Not Revisit Sports Cuts Despite Return of Football

  • The University of Iowa says the Big Ten’s decision to have a fall football season will not impact its decision to eliminate four sports programs. Athletic Director Gary Barta last month announced the elimination of men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis, and men’s gymnastics. He said the cuts were “100% driven by” the coronavirus pandemic, which caused the postponement of football for safety reasons and tens of millions in lost revenue.
  • On Wednesday, the Big Ten announced that Iowa and the other teams in the conference would have a fall football season beginning in late October. Within hours, alumni of the Hawkeye programs that were cut held a news conference to again call for their reinstatement.
  • On Wednesday night, Iowa’s athletics department issued a statement rejecting that call. The department said that football’s return will cause increased costs for coronavirus testing and other safety protocols and that any remaining revenue will be used to help finance its operations.
  • Former University of Tulsa athletic director Rick Dickson has been tabbed to run the athletic department on an interim basis, the university announced Friday.
  • A Tulsa native and a TU graduate, Dickson was the Hurricane’s athletic director in 1990-94 before leading athletic departments at Washington State (1994-2000) and Tulane (2000-15). He fills a vacancy created by the departure of Derrick Gragg, whose final day was Thursday.
  • Bowling Green State University’s athletic director and football coach have taken pay cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Athletic Director Bob Moosbrugger, effective Sept. 1, will reduce his gross monthly pay from $22,950 by 20% to $18,360 for the remaining Fiscal Year 2020 only.
  • If university furloughs or other salary reductions are mandated for intercollegiate athletics during FY 2021, Moosbrugger’s salary reduction will be equal to the salary reduction of furloughed employees of his classification and salary level, whichever reduction is greater.
  • Scott Dolson will earn a base salary of $480,000 as Indiana’s athletic director and vice president, according to the terms of his appointment letter obtained via a record request.
  • Dolson will also earn a yearly deferred compensation beginning next year. He’ll earn $75,000 in each of the following two years, $100,000 in 2023 and $125,000 in each of the two years after that.
  • While the deferred compensation terms offer a five-year timeline, Dolson’s appointment does not have a set length — similar to his predecessor, Fred Glass.
  • In documents released this week before the Big Ten Conference announced plans for a shortened football season, Iowa projected a loss of nearly $97.9 million in income compared to a year ago.
  • Iowa State, which began a 10-game football season with no fans in the stands last weekend, anticipates a revenue decline of $41.6 million and Northern Iowa, expecting to play four home football games next spring, is budgeting for a revenue decrease of just over $625,000.
  • Iowa director of athletics Gary Barta said on Aug. 24 that the program he oversees anticipates seeking a loan of around $75 million to counter what he has budgeted to be a shortfall of $74,751,566 in its athletic budget for the current fiscal year.
  • Barta said Thursday television and radio broadcast income from the nine-game schedule Big Ten officials announced a day earlier will provide Iowa with additional revenue.
  • The Pac-12 Conference has not announced a return to football yet, but commissioner Larry Scott is optimistic and so are the Colorado Buffaloes.
  • On Friday morning, Scott was a guest on the Dan Patrick Show and said, “At this stage, it’s promising,” that the conference would bring football back this fall, despite continued challenges associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Scott is set to meet with the Pac-12 school presidents and chancellors this afternoon, although there may not be a resolution Friday.
  • With the first Southeastern Conference’s football games just over a week away, the conference office announced policies and parameters for cancellations, rescheduling games, and no-contest declarations for the 2020 season.
  • In order to play a game at least 53 scholarship players available to participate and the following minimum number of position scholarship players available to begin a game: seven offensive linemen (which includes one center), one quarterback, and four defensive linemen.
  • In addition, should an institution determine there are compelling reasons why it cannot begin a contest regardless of the scholarship and position minimums above, the institution may request to have the game rescheduled or if the game cannot be rescheduled, for the game to be considered a no-contest by presenting data (including total number of players not available to participate) outlining reasons why the game should not be played as scheduled
  • Penn State’s athletic department added nearly $2.4 million to its reserve fund this year, a helpful measure as it faces budget constraints due to COVID-19. Athletic Director Sandy Barbour told the Board of Trustees’ Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning on Thursday that the department ended fiscal year 2019-20 with a reserve fund of $15.7 million. That represents a 17.5 percent increase over the previous year.
  • Barbour said the reserve would help Penn State budget for projected losses based on the shutdowns of the spring and fall seasons. Barbour has said that the athletic department could face a $100 million revenue loss without a 2020 football season.
  • It’s unclear how the Big Ten’s planned football restart will affect those projections.
  • Penn State’s athletic department reported revenues of $164.6 million in fiscal year 19-20, which ran from July-June. Barbour said the revenue total was $3 million lower than projected. The department also reported $158.3 million in expenses for a year-end surplus of about $6.3 million.
  • The Pac-12 university presidents and chancellors will meet Friday and be presented options for staging a fall football season, but Commissioner Larry Scott says a vote by the CEO Group is not expected.
  • A day after the Big Ten changed course from its decision to postpone fall sports because of the pandemic and set a late October start for football, the Pac-12 appeared headed toward a similar move.
  • The Pac-12′s medical concerns about playing through the pandemic have been eased by the conference earlier this month securing rapid, daily COVID-19 testing for all its schools. This week brought more good news.
  • There is still work to be done with health officials, but things are moving quickly enough that the Pac-12 is hopeful it could start a season that allows its teams to compete for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Baylor Season Opener Postponed for Third Time

  • Baylor’s newest opener against Houston at McLane Stadium has been postponed because of COVID-19 concerns, the two schools announced Friday.
  • A source familiar with the discussions indicated that Baylor had a position group unexpectedly fall under the minimum threshold required by the Big 12 to play. SicEm365 reported that contact tracing played a key role in the decision to postpone the game.
  • Previously, Baylor had seen openers against Ole Miss (in Houston) and Louisiana Tech bite the dust.
  • FAU Athletics has announced that the football program’s first game of the season on the road against Georgia Southern, which was scheduled for this Saturday, has been postponed.
  • According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, the Owls received more positive tests this morning and had an entire position group unavailable to play.
  • Both FAU and Georgia Southern are working to find a date to play later this season, per the statement given from FAU Athletics.
  • Wagner College Director of Athletics Walt Hameline announced the addition of men’s swimming & diving as Wagner’s 26th intercollegiate sport on Wednesday.
  • In a corresponding move, current women’s swimming & diving head coach Colin Shannahan will take over the head coaching duties for the newly formed program.
  • The Seahawks’ men’s swimming & diving program will begin competition in the 2021-22 season as a member of the Northeast Conference (NEC). The NEC announced on September 8th the addition of men’s swimming & diving as a league sponsored sport beginning this academic year. The program will be Wagner’s 11th men’s varsity sport.
  • A two-time NEC Coach of the Year, Shannahan guided the Seahawks to the 2014 NEC Championship and four NEC sportsmanship awards, as voted on by fellow NEC coaches and competitors.

Brown, Attorneys Reach Settlement Over Dropped Women’s Sports

  • Brown University and attorneys for student-athletes who challenged the Ivy League school’s decision to reduce several women’s varsity sports teams to club status announced a proposed settlement Thursday.
  • In addition to restoring the women’s equestrian and women’s fencing teams to varsity status, the sides also said that a 1998 legal agreement ensuring gender equity in varsity sports at Brown would end on Aug. 31, 2024. The school would still be subject to the federal Title IX law requiring equal opportunities for women in sports.
  • Until that date, the Providence, Rhode Island, school will continue to comply with the 1998 agreement’s maximum 2.25% difference between the percentage of female varsity athletes and full-time female undergraduates, will not reduce the status of or eliminate any women’s varsity teams, and will not add any new men’s varsity teams, the sides said in a joint statement.

Nearly 12 Percent of MSU Student-Athletes Test Positive for COVID-19

  • According to MSU’s athletic department, 400 COVID-19 tests were given to student-athletes and staff between Sept 7 and 14.
  • 45 of the 376 students tested positive, about 11.9 percent. 24 staff members were also tested, and one had a positive result.
  • Department officials said those with positive results have daily check ins with athletic training staff and remain in isolation. Additional medical services are given if needed.
  • Citing “disappointing behaviors by some,” the University of Oklahoma has announced changes to student seating at future home games.
  • When the Sooners take the field on Sept. 26 for their Big 12 Conference opener against Kansas State, OU will issue “explicit designation of seating sections on student tickets to eliminate any previous confusion about the proper location for student attendees,” according to an athletic department press release on Friday.
  • OU also will have “clearer concourse signage at the entry ramps for the student sections; establishment of student seating clusters in groups of 2 to 10; and clearly delineated prohibited seating sections marked by flagging tape.”
  • The University of Tennessee Foundation has announced the hiring of Julius McNair, who will fill the role of UT Martin’s assistant athletic director for development.
  • McNair is no stranger to Skyhawk Athletics as the 2013 alum spent a decade at UT Martin as a student-athlete and an assistant football coach. He played on the Skyhawk football squad from 2008-12 before transitioning into an administrative role on the coaching staff for five seasons.
  • In commemoration of a four-decade long friendship, UNLV Athletics and Findlay Automotive have entered into a multi-year, philanthropic partnership dedicated to student-athlete success.
  • The commitment will also boost the newly formed Runnin’ Rebel Basketball Legacy Campaign, which is dedicated to the re-emergence of UNLV men’s basketball as one of the nation’s elite programs. Launched in the fall of 2019, the campaign is highlighted by an endowment that is now close to $4 million.
  • The Momentum Fund Campaign is also a focal point, with a percentage of the funding to provide essential scholarships to deserving student-athletes demonstrating need.
  • The gift from Findlay Automotive and the Findlay family comes at an especially strategic time for UNLV Athletics, as the department works to overcome the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Loyola University Maryland announced a long-term partnership with LifeBridge Health, where the health system will serve as the Official Healthcare Provider of the Greyhounds.
  • Under the partnership, which was secured by Van Wagner, the multimedia rights holder for the Greyhounds, LifeBridge Health will oversee care for Loyola’s 18 NCAA Division I sports teams.
  • LifeBridge Health and Loyola are working together to address the changing needs of student-athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic, including supporting the Greyhounds as Loyola student-athletes return to workouts and competition.
  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced on Thursday that Letty Hernandez, who has worked with the department since 2008, has been promoted to Assistant Athletic Director for Academic Services.
  • Hernandez initially started as a University advisor assisting Athletics programs before transitioning full-time to UTRGV Athletics in 2016. She manages the department’s tutoring program for student-athletes and has enhanced the program over the last year with virtual tutoring.
  • Hernandez was a key part in helping to guide student-athletes through the transition to virtual learning, helping them to achieve what is believed to be a department record 3.38 cumulative grade point average (GPA).
  • UCLA Athletics has announced a multi-year partnership with Ready® Nutrition, one of the fastest growing sports nutrition companies in America. As the Official Protein of UCLA Athletics, Ready® will be the exclusive provider of protein products to nearly 700 student-athletes in all 25 Bruin sports.
  • Those products will include Ready’s all-natural, complete line of performance products including their well-known Ready® Protein Water, Bars, Powder and Plant-Based Functional Snacks.
  • UCLA Director of Football Performance Frank Wintrich first became aware of Ready® Nutrition in 2019, when he had his student-athletes sample the products.
And that’s that.

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