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A “Lateral Move:” The Top Name Likely to Join Scott’s Senior Staff at Florida

Stanford Opts Not to Cut 11 Sports

  • Bolstered by an improved financial picture with increased fundraising potential, Stanford will continue 11 varsity sports that had been slated for discontinuation at the end of this academic year.
  • Stanford leaders announced today that while the structural financial challenges facing Stanford Athletics remain very real, changed circumstances including newly galvanized philanthropic interest have provided a new path to support the 11 sports.
  • Retaining all 36 teams will require a large-scale fundraising campaign for Stanford Athletics, and “we will need to ask for the support of the Cardinal faithful like never before,” Tessier-Lavigne, Provost Persis Drell and Director of Athletics Bernard Muir wrote in a letter to the Stanford community announcing the decision.
  • The 11 teams – men’s and women’s fencing, field hockey, lightweight rowing, men’s rowing, co-ed and women’s sailing, squash, synchronized swimming, men’s volleyball and wrestling – will continue competing as varsity teams at Stanford.

Congress Making Critical Progress on NIL and College Athletes’ Rights as July 1 Nears

  • A group of U.S. senators, led by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), are in deep negotiations on bipartisan legislation that could help college sports avoid a chaotic quandary: schools and their athletes operating under differing state laws related to NIL. The discussions have birthed a proposed bill, circulating among key legislative staffs, that reflects several Congressional NIL bills already introduced, taking components from both Democrat and Republican-leaning legislation.
  • This months-long process is described to have made significant strides recently, with high-profile leaders from the two parties agreeing to concessions as a bevy of state laws threaten to create an uneven playing field across college athletics. “We are closer than we’ve ever been,” one Congressional source told Sports Illustrated. “But as you know, you can be close without getting across the finish line.”
  • Despite the deep negotiations, they cautioned that not all core provisions have been agreed to. As the two sides seek compromise on both the scope of the bill (broad vs. narrow) and its specific NIL concepts (permissive vs. restrictive), the legislation is constantly evolving.

Former Louisville Assistant Coach Charged for Alleged Attempt to Extort Program

  • Former Louisville basketball assistant coach Dino Gaudio has been charged with one federal count of attempting to extort money and other things of value from the university, according to information released Tuesday by Michael Bennett, the acting U.S. Attorney for the District Court of Western Kentucky.
  • According to the charge, Gaudio, during an in-person meeting with Louisville officials on March 17, “threatened to report to the media allegations that the University of Louisville men’s basketball program had violated [NCAA] rules in its production of recruiting videos for prospective student-athletes and its use of graduate assistants in practice, unless the University of Louisville paid [Gaudio] his salary for an additional 17 months or provided the lump sum equivalent of 17 months of salary.”
  • Later that day, according to the charge, Gaudio “sent a text message to the University of Louisville personnel containing one of the recruiting videos he was threatening to send to the media.” The text message traveled outside Kentucky, according to the government. Gaudio, 64, is charged with interstate communication with intent to extort.

Buckle Up, G5 Presidents. It’s Decision Time on Your Athletic Director

Maryland Becomes Latest State to Sign NIL Law

  • Maryland is the latest state to approve a law allowing college athletes to earn money from endorsements after Gov. Larry Hogan signed legislation Tuesday.
  • The Jordan McNair Safe and Fair Play Act is named after the former University of Maryland offensive lineman who died in 2018 after suffering from heatstroke at a team workout. In addition to allowing college athletes to earn money from use of their name, likeness, and image, it requires athletic departments to implement guidelines to prevent, assess and treat serious sports-related conditions.
  • “The bill is an important statement that our state government is going to prioritize the health and financial needs of our student athletes,” said Del. Brooke Lierman, a Democrat who was a bill sponsor.

UW-Milwaukee Expects 70% Boost in Season Ticket Sales, Thanks to Patrick Baldwin Jr.

  • The phone started ringing about 10 seconds after Patrick Baldwin Jr. announced his commitment to play basketball at UW-Milwaukee next year.
  • Within 24 hours of the news, UW-Milwaukee’s athletic department sold more than 200 new season ticket memberships, generating more than $40,000 in revenue, said Martinez. At one point, he thought the ticket website had crashed because of the sudden influx of online traffic. As of Monday morning, new season memberships totaled 350 and $63,000 in revenue.
  • Based on initial interest, UW-Milwaukee anticipates a 70% increase in 2021-22 season ticket sales compared to the 2019-20 season, which saw a total of 485 members, according to Adam Schemm, senior associate athletic director for external relations.

Sources on Kansas Parting Ways with Learfield?

Hawaii Shows Off Retrofitted Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex Renderings

  • There are new architectural renderings of the University of Hawaiʻi football team’s new home field on the UH Mānoa campus where the Rainbow Warriors will play their next three seasons.
  • The renderings of a retrofitted Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex show additional grandstands that will expand capacity from 3,500 to about 9,000 seats, along with the press boxes, hospitality suites and aerial views.
  • The university is fast-tracking the $8.3 million project after being notified in December 2020 that Aloha Stadium, the Rainbow Warriors’ home field since 1975, would not be available for fans the next three years. The UH Foundation launched a fundraising campaign on April 12 to help cover the unexpected cost of the project. The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation answered the call, donating $1.5 million to help fund the retrofit.

Former Student-Athletes File Latest Lawsuit Over Decades-Old Abuse Scandal at Ohio State

NU President Says He Knew ‘Optics’ of Hiring Polisky Would be Tough

  • Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro said Monday that he knew “the optics” of hiring Mike Polisky as athletic director would be tough, but that he chose to do so after an independent investigation cleared Polisky of wrongdoing while he was deputy athletic director. Schapiro has faced intense criticism and even protests outside his Evanston home over his handling of sexual harassment allegations involving cheerleaders, donors, and Wildcat fans.
  • Last week, Polisky chose to resign after just 10 days on the job as protests from some students and faculty escalated over allegations of sexual harassment and racism in the university’s cheerleading program. Polisky was Northwestern’s deputy athletic director when some cheerleaders alleged they were groped and touched inappropriately by alumni and fans at tailgating parties outside football games and at other university-sanctioned events.
  • While Schapiro acknowledged that “certainly terrible things happened,” he said an independent investigation looked into the allegations against Polisky and cleared him. “Mike was a finalist and I of course waited to see the results of that independent investigation during which he was cleared,” said Schapiro. “We also filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. … I realized that the optics were going to be tough – but to accuse somebody of something doesn’t mean they actually did it — which I think is an important thing to remember for everyone.”

Arkansas Resets Sam Pittman’s Contract

  • University of Arkansas Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek said he and football Coach Sam Pittman agreed to a reset of Pittman’s contract last week, which will essentially roll over the five-year agreement he signed upon his hiring in December 2019. Pittman’s salary is $3 million per year. The new deal will take him through the 2025 season. Speaking to the media before his address to a crowd of about 250 fans at the first One Razorback Roadshow of the month at the Durand Center in Harrison, Yurachek confirmed the new deal.
  • “What I did for Coach is we just did a total reset of his contract,” Yurachek said. “So he’s kind of starting from Year 1 again this year. So in a sense it’s given him a one-year extension. “But I didn’t feel like for Coach that to be evaluated on his first season without spring practice, playing an SEC-only schedule was the appropriate measure for him. So him and I agreed, let’s just reset your contract, really to kind of like this is your first year coming up this year. He and I both executed that this past week.”
  • Pittman and his coaching staff will still receive their bowl bonuses, even though covid-19 issues within the TCU program forced a cancellation of the Texas Bowl. However, that payment has been deferred to June 1. Pittman, also at the One Razorback event, said he was happy with the renewal.

ESPN Events Reaches New Agreement with MEAC and SWAC

  • ESPN Events has signed a new, six-year agreement with the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) that extends both the Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff and the Cricket Celebration Bowl, solidifying its continued support of the tradition, legacy and values of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
  • The Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff began in 2005 and is now annually scheduled during ESPN’s Week 0 college football programming. This year’s matchup on Saturday, Aug. 28, at Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta will feature North Carolina Central vs. Alcorn State in primetime on ESPN. Future matchups include Alabama State vs. Howard (2022), South Carolina State vs. Jackson State (2023), and Florida A&M vs. Norfolk State (2024).
  • The Cricket Celebration Bowl, in its seventh year, will be played Saturday, Dec. 18, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The postseason bowl game will feature conference champions from the MEAC and SWAC.

Maryland AD Damon Evans Named to Team IMPACT’s National Board of Directors

  • Maryland Athletic Director Damon Evans has been named to Team IMPACT’s National Board of Directors.
  • Maryland Athletics has enjoyed a strong relationship with Team IMPACT for more than a decade now with eight teams currently matched with teammates from local children’s hospitals. “Joining the National Board of Directors for Team IMPACT is very special to me,” said Evans. “Knowing the history Maryland Athletics has with Team IMPACT, I am excited to be able to enhance our already strong relationship.”
  • The University has ‘signed’ a Big Ten-leading 14 kids to Terps’ rosters over the years and will seek to grow that relationship to even more Terrapin sports programs.

Bill Carr launches Athletics Career Spear

  • Today, Athletics Career Spear, LLC (ACS) announced its official launch as a new, web-based enterprise that will provide tailored professional development and career guidance services to current and aspiring leaders within campus athletics programs across the nation.
  • Athletics Career Spear is designed to help administrators and coaches aspiring to senior leadership positions within intercollegiate athletics to best prepare and present themselves as top candidates in selected searches at colleges, universities, and conferences.
  • Athletics Career Spear features as its primary Executive Coach Bill Carr. Carr was the founder and former President of CarrSports Consulting providing athletics executive search and consulting services from 1997-2020 while leading over 130 searches and 70 management consulting projects, primarily at NCAA Division I institutions.

COVID-19 Protocols Force Sacramento State from NCAA Golf Championships

  • After consulting with the NCAA Championship Medical Team, the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Committee regrets to announce that, due to COVID-19 protocols, Sacramento State will be unable to continue to participate in the 2021 Division I Men’s Golf Championships.
  • Sacramento State was competing in the Cle Elum regional in Washington state this week.

Georgia Tech Names Donielle White Assistant AD for Marketing and Fan Experience

  • Donielle White, who boasts experience as an NCAA student-athlete, coach and administrator, has joined Georgia Tech athletics’ staff as assistant athletics director for marketing and fan experience.
  • White comes to The Flats from the University of Cincinnati, where she served as director of marketing and fan experience since November 2019. In her role at Cincinnati, she oversaw the development and execution of marketing strategies and gameday presentation for the Bearcats’ nationally ranked football program, as well as their women’s basketball and baseball teams. She led a restructure of UC’s sales and marketing strategies for women’s basketball in 2019, which helped increase ticket sales by 70% and home attendance by 69%.
  • She earned a bachelor’s degree in middle childhood education from Xavier in 2011 and a master’s in higher education leadership from Valdosta State in 2016. She is currently pursuing an MBA from Cincinnati.

WCC Gloria Nevarez Sounds Off on College Athletics, Gonzaga Success and More

  • On what college athletics is facing with changes: “It is a tipping point, largely because a lot of these big issues that we’ve all known about on the horizon are coming due. That’s aligned with the transformation in our country. There’s a lot of reckoning around different issues. I think what we’re seeing in college athletics is a reflection of all that. We are a massive organization.”
  • On how Gonzaga built the basketball empire: “What they’ve built has been a product of time, but also has been built to stand the test of time. I think that has to do with one word — alignment. From the president to the athletic director to the coach, as you know those guys have been around 25 years. Doing everything toward that same aligned goal and toward that mission. The sacrifices they’ve made and the investments they’ve made have all been with the alignment they were trying to achieve.”
  • On what college athletics is facing with changes: “It is a tipping point, largely because a lot of these big issues that we’ve all known about on the horizon are coming due. That’s aligned with the transformation in our country. There’s a lot of reckoning around different issues. I think what we’re seeing in college athletics is a reflection of all that. We are a massive organization.”

Tax Forms Released by USC Show Clay Helton’s Climb Toward Becoming a $5 Million Head Coach

  • Clay Helton has coached through a hot seat conversation nearly every year of his tenure, and this fall is likely to be no different. But the tax returns USC released last summer, spanning from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019, revealed that Helton earned about $4.5 million from the university and its related organizations in that fiscal year. Helton’s earnings had increased by $1.3 million from the previous fiscal year. 
  • On Monday, The Athletic obtained USC’s most recent Form 990, which covers July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020, from the university. Helton’s earnings didn’t experience as substantial of a jump in that time period, but his contract continues to get more expensive each year. According to those tax returns, Helton earned about $4.81 million from USC over the past fiscal year.

Hearing a New Development Job is Opening in C-USA

Purdue Athletics Moves Closer to ‘More Than A Game’ Goal of $18 Million

  • The Purdue athletic department’s ‘More Than A Game’ fundraising campaign to help offset financial losses due to the coronavirus pandemic is now within approximately $3 million of its goal. According to a university press release, the athletic department has generated $15 million of its stated goal of $18 million since the campaign started last August. Purdue is moving closer to its objective after raising over $9.1 million from the school’s day of giving.
  • The $9.1 million figure broke the previous record of $4.7 million raised during a 24-hour period in 2017. The ‘More Than A Game’ campaign has helped the athletic department deal with the financial hardship caused by COVID-19. The athletic department is projecting a $17 million deficit at the end of the fiscal year. The athletic department has faced furloughs, pay cuts and job eliminations since last summer due to the uncertainty of revenue from the Big Ten and NCAA during the pandemic.
  • Some maintenance projects were put on hold and the athletic department withdrew some of its private funds out of the Purdue Research Foundation to help fill gaps. The athletic department has also restructured its debt service payment for the current fiscal year and for 2021-22. The current annual payment is $13-14 million but will be reduced by $10 million. The $13-14 million payment will return during the 2022-23 fiscal year.

Indiana State Extends Women’s Soccer Coach  Julie Hanley’s Contract

  • After a historic season for Indiana State women’s soccer, head coach Julie Hanley has signed a contract extension through the 2023 season, Director of Athletics Sherard Clinkscales announced Tuesday afternoon.
  • During the spring 2021 campaign, Sycamore soccer finished with a .600 winning percentage, the highest in school history, in addition to a .583-win percent improvement from the 2019 season. A school record seven athletes were named to All-Missouri Valley Conference Teams, including First Team All-Valley honors for sophomores CeCe Wahlberg and Chloee Kooker.

UConn Moving to Mobile Ticketing

  • UConn athletics has announced that it will be distributing all tickets through mobile delivery, which can be accessed by ticketholders through digital wallets on smartphones beginning with the 2021 fall season.  
  • The move to mobile ticketing will apply to all ticketed sports including, but not limited to, football and men’s and women’s basketball, at all on-campus and off-campus home venues.

Notre Dame Adopts Mobile Ticketing

  • The Notre Dame Athletics Department will transition to mobile ticketing beginning in the Fall of 2021.
  • Available through the user’s smartphone, mobile ticketing offers a secure, convenient and flexible process while providing a contactless exchange of tickets when entering Notre Dame athletic events. 

South Carolina to Allow Full Capacity at Tennessee Baseball Series

  • Stadium capacity at this weekend’s baseball series between Tennessee and South Carolina at Founders Park will be at 100 percent, South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner announced on Tuesday. Face coverings are encouraged, but not required outdoors at Founders Park.
  • Face coverings will continue to be required in indoor areas of Founders Park for both fans and working staff except when actively eating or drinking. “In working with our medical task force, they have advised our department that it is not necessary to cut back on stadium attendance at this weekend’s baseball series,” said Tanner.
  • Fans will also be allowed to resume normal tailgating activities around the stadium with no COVID-related restrictions. Parking lots will open two hours prior to first pitch and gates to Founders Park will open one hour before first pitch.

And that’s that.

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