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Michigan State AD Mark Hollis on Thursday said that he has "secured commitments from 16 schools to participate in a two-tournament men's basketball event" in '17 in honor of Nike Founder & Chair Phil Knight's 80th birthday. The two eight-team tourneys are to be played in Portland, Ore., in November ahead of Knight's birthday on Feb. 24, 2018. Hollis said that the event "isn't driven by Knight or Nike, but rather by the schools' athletic directors." ESPN Senior VP/College Programming Burke Magnus said that ESPN is "interested in televising it" (ESPN.com, 8/16).SCHOOLS COMMITTED TO EVENT IN '17
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Student season-ticket sales at for Univ. of Minnesota football have "steadily dropped from 10,000 in the first year at the 50,800-seat TCF Bank Stadium, to 7,800 the second year to less than 6,000 last year," according to Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. With the first game of the '12 season less than a month away, "roughly 2,000 student season-tickets have been sold for the $288M on-campus stadium." UM AD Norwood Teague wants a "major upgrade in athletic facilities at the Twin Cities campus," but the "revenue loss associated with the lack of fans in the stands for football looms as a potential roadblock." UM has a new marketing plan that "will include a video of quarterback MarQueis Gray that will be e-mailed to the school's 40,000 students." The school also plans to get the message out "in a variety of other ways -- from inserting fliers in napkin holders in school dining halls, making pleas to parents and having Teague ride through campus in a golf cart giving away free tickets." Minnesota Assistant AD Jason LaFrenz said, "Other than that first year in TCF Bank Stadium, we've traditionally sold the majority of our student tickets in the 10 days before the first home game. That's when we sell all of our tickets." Minnesota Goal Line football booster club President Bob Hughes said that the school "has yet to recover from the loss of student support that came from playing nearly three decades at the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 8/16).