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SBD/August 10, 2011/CollegesPrint All
NCAA President Mark Emmert yesterday was "optimistic that change could be achieved" in college sports, following what he "described as an 'open, fresh and robust' five-hour discussion with more than 50 university presidents," according to Terry Hutchens of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. Discussion at the opening of a two-day retreat "focused on finances." Emmert said that university presidents "generally supported the possibility of granting student-athletes the full cost of attendance, which would expand the support they get beyond the current room, board, tuition, books and supplies." He said, "There's an extreme sense of urgency among all of the presidents and certainly with me that we make steps not just in a few areas but in some very important areas. And we do that in a matter of months and weeks, not years." Emmert said that he "hoped proposals would be brought to the board in October, but if not then, no later than January." Oregon State Univ. President Edward Ray stressed that "action needs to be taken." Ray: "Don't come back with a lot of recommendations that will go into the legislative process for another two years. Give us some meat to chew on and work it over thoughtfully and let's decide over the next several months what we are going to do differently." Emmert indicated that the presidents "had little interest in so-called 'pay-for-play' possibilities" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 8/10).
YES WE CAN: The AP's Michael Marot noted Emmert "wants to cash in on the appetite for change that has been sweeping through major college athletics," and if he "can pull this off, it would mark a dramatic turn in the NCAA's legislative cycle, where proposals can take a year or more to become rules and some simply fade into oblivion." What Emmert "really wants is a governing body that can quickly pivot from issue to issue to solve problems, something that is difficult to do under current bylaws." There are "concerns about increasing the scholarship money allotted to athletes." Emmert acknowledged that there "could be potential problems with competitive balance if one school can give a player more money because it costs more to attend." Marot noted "another problem could arise if some conferences, or some schools, provide the full cost and others do not." But Emmert "left little doubt that member schools support the move" (AP, 8/9). ESPN.com's Tim Keown noted the "underlying theme of Emmert's summit meeting is making the 'student' part of the 'student-athlete' a bit more prominent," and he should be given credit for broaching "some necessary and long-overdue topics." Ohio Univ. professor David Ridpath said, "I haven't been very kind to Mark Emmert. But I'm going to give him credit for at least trying. He's getting this group together and talking -- it's a noble idea." Keown added, "Mostly, the problems in college sports can be distilled to one word: image. It's not amateurism or academic integrity -- it's how things look. University presidents want to rid themselves of the problems that the current system created, but that's because it's difficult and embarrassing to deal with the aftermath" (ESPN.com, 8/9).
COMMUNICATION 101: In N.Y., Pete Thamel reports college coaches and recruits contend that Facebook "accounts for 50 percent of their recruiting interaction," while Twitter is "second and gaining ground." The shift toward social media "has come partly because the NCAA barred coaches from text-messaging athletes in 2007, citing their effect on recruits’ cellphone bills as one reason." NCAA rules stipulate that coaches "are free to e-mail an athlete through Facebook’s in-box function, but they cannot use Facebook’s instant messaging or write on his public wall." On Twitter, coaches "may send direct messages to players but not public messages." But Thamel notes recruits "receive Facebook and Twitter messages on their cellphones in the same form as text messages, which is why the coaches are puzzled about the ban on texting." Univ. of Colorado football coach Jon Embree said, "That’s the one thing I think the NCAA needs to be better at. I don’t think they can get hold of this technology." The NCAA Leadership Council last week said that it "had reached consensus on deregulating electronic communications between coaches and athletes." The council said that it "hoped to present its proposal to the board of directors in October" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/10).
A group of Univ. of North Carolina football supporters that “agreed to help fund Kenan Stadium's ‘Blue Zone’ expansion project wants more information about why coach Butch Davis was fired,” according to Robbi Pickeral of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. Don Brown, one of “five lawyers representing the group, had his Charlotte firm fax a public records request to North Carolina on Monday asking for all correspondence” between UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp and various university officials. Brown said that the group “might explore legal action depending on the information it receives.” He added that the group “wants to remain anonymous at this point,” but it “includes donors of differing financial contributions.” Pickeral noted “half of the nearly completed $70 million ‘Blue Zone’ project -- which adds the Student Athlete Center for Excellence, and roughly 3,000 seats to the stadium's east end zone -- is being funded by private donations.” The other half “is being raised by the sale of club seats and luxury suites.” UNC booster organization Rams Club Exec Dir John Montgomery said that the foundation to date “has raised about $22 million for the project.” He said that the foundation “has received calls asking for refunds, and to stop pledging since Davis was fired.” Since July 28, the day after Davis was fired, Montgomery said that “10 Rams Club accounts have been inactivated,” although “15 new members have joined.” Montgomery: "We've been working with donors one-on-one, and asking them to reconsider.” The Rams Club “has not granted any refunds” (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 8/9). Meanwhile, Thorp “released the names of the 12-person search committee Monday” that will recommend candidates to replace Dick Baddour as AD. The committee will be chaired by Rams Club member Lowry Caudill, who serves as a UNC Trustee and an adjunct professor in the chemistry department (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 8/9).
StubHub has struck a deal with the Univ. of Texas to become the school's official fan-to-fan ticket marketplace. The pact, StubHub's 21st within the college athletics space and arguably its most prominent, was facilitated through its business partner Paciolan and UT's multimedia rights partner IMG College. StubHub secondary listings for UT athletic events will be merged with Paciolan's primary ticketing systems for the school, the eighth school to utilize the combined functionality since the two ticketing companies struck a high-profile partnership nearly a year ago. The pairing in particular allows StubHub to do more business in the last 48 hours before an event, when ticket listings are often discontinued and overnight ticket delivery models no longer work. Similar to StubHub's other college deals, the company will gain a variety of online and offline marketing assets, including signage at UT sports facilities, ticket inserts, social media alerts and creative elements on TexasSports.com. Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal will begin with the upcoming UT football season.