SBD/November 20, 2012/CollegesPrint All
In another of the "massive conference shifts that have defined college sports in recent years," the Univ. of Maryland will "join the traditionally Midwestern Big Ten in 2014, leaving behind" the ACC, according to a front-page piece by Walker, Barker & Korman of the Baltimore SUN. The "millions of dollars in additional revenue from the Big Ten’s television deals was too great for Maryland officials, who cut seven sports this year in hopes of closing a $4 million deficit in the athletic department budget." UM President Wallace Loh described the move as a "watershed moment" which will "ensure the financial sustainability of Maryland athletics for years to come." He added that a "new influx of revenue would allow the university to restore teams that were cut earlier this year." Loh and UM AD Kevin Anderson in "detailing negotiations that lasted about two weeks," indicated that school coaches were "initially stunned by the possible move and acknowledged that many students and alumni are unhappy." UM faces a $50M exit fee for leaving the ACC, and university system officials yesterday said that they "weren’t sure how much Maryland would end up paying or how the cost would be covered." Loh said that UM "has a plan and that details would be worked out in private negotiations with ACC officials." Walker, Barker & Korman note the move to be Big Ten is "likely to be seen as a defining moment for Loh," who came to UM two years ago from Big Ten-member Iowa. Loh "inherited an athletic department in financial turmoil because of disappointing revenues in football and men’s basketball and debt from a $50.8-million facelift to Byrd Stadium" (Baltimore SUN, 11/20). In Baltimore, Ryan Sharrow reported that Under Armour President, Chair & CEO Kevin Plank, a UM alum, "will not contribute" to the ACC exit fee. UA VP/Global Brand Communications & Entertainment Diane Pelkey said that "rumors speculating that Plank would financially back the Terrapins’ move to the Big Ten in 2014 'are completely false'" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 11/19).
PARADIGM SHIFT: SI.com's Pete Thamel noted Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany "cited the shifting college sports landscape and the potential market benefits as the reasons behind the Big Ten's latest expansion." Delany said, "Eventually, it was obvious to us that the paradigm had shifted and it was necessary to start looking." Delany said that the league "plans on setting up offices on the East Coast, although he said he's not aware of a specific location yet" (SI.com, 11/19). Delany said, “The underlying tectonic plates in college athletics were very warm and what we saw continue to happen was expansion by conferences outside their region. ... We just felt that it was important for us to at least explore the possibility of adding a rich demographic base” (Big Ten Network, 11/19).
GIVING SOME SPORTS A SECOND CHANCE: Loh said funding UM receives from the Big Ten, and Big Ten Network specifically, will "guarantee the financial sustainability of Maryland athletics for a long, long, long time." In DC, Alex Prewitt notes UM in July "announced the discontinuation of seven varsity sports as it sought to offset a multimillion-dollar deficit within the athletic department." But Loh and Anderson have become "absolutely committed to begin the process, to reinstate some of the teams" that were terminated. The sports cut were men’s and women’s swimming, men’s tennis, women’s water polo, acrobatics and tumbling, as well as men’s cross-country and men’s indoor track & field. Men’s outdoor track & field was "saved from the chopping block after a successful fundraising campaign, which is ongoing to ensure its permanent survival" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 11/19). In DC, Mike Wise writes there was "this unbecoming defiance from Loh and the others" during yesterday's news conference. Loh "spoke passionately about the pain of having to tell athletes in tennis and swimming and diving ... that the university no longer could fund their programs." Loh "assured" that the move to the Big Ten "would result in the restitution of those sports and their scholarships." Wise: "Well, kind of." As questions "became more specific, Loh’s and Anderson’s responses became murkier." Wise: "You wanted to save everyone time and just blurt out, 'Guys, it’s really okay, tell them: This was about football and TV money, not the survival of competitive cheerleading'" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/20).
FINANCIAL HARDSHIPS: In N.Y., Lynn Zinser notes Loh yesterday said that UM's athletic department was "living paycheck to paycheck and acknowledged that the financial windfall of joining the Big Ten ... was more than enough to persuade the Terrapins to leave the conference they have called home since it was formed in 1953" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/20). SI.com's Andy Staples noted UM by staying in the ACC could "expect to make between $20-25 million per year from the league." In the Big Ten, which "has its own cable network and probably will set a new all-time high when it renegotiates its Tier 1 television rights in a few years, the distribution will be closer to $40 million a year beginning" in '17. Staples: "Unless you can think of a better way for Maryland to bring in an additional $15-20 million per year, quit being so sentimental about it" (SI.com, 11/19). THE DAILY's John Ourand said, "If you're looking at it from a dollars and cents point of view, there is only one decision to make" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 11/19). In DC, Rick Snider writes at least Loh "admitted leaving the ACC was largely about money." This is "what happens when outsiders are hired to run things." They "don't care what locals want. Indeed, Loh defended the secrecy about the decision by saying the public's input shouldn't be a factor" (Washington EXAMINER, 11/20). In Baltimore, Kevin Cowherd writes under the header, “Dollar Signs Blind Maryland Officials In Move To Big Ten” (Baltimore SUN, 11/20). Former UM basketball coach Lefty Driesell yesterday said, “At Maryland, it’s all about money. This was done solely for money and that’s not what college athletics is about” (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 11/20). In Raleigh, Luke DeCock writes it is a “move made out of desperation as much as anything by an athletic department with the crushing debt load of a third world country, one slashing programs left and right” (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 11/20). In DC, Tracee Hamilton wrote even with an "increased windfall from the B1G, Maryland probably still won’t be able to break even." Only a "few dozen Division I teams manage to do that," so UM is "spending $50 million for the opportunity to stay in debt -- to which they can add $50 million” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 11/19).
SETTLING THE MASSES: In DC, Svrluga & Prewitt in a front-page piece report the reaction from "many Terrapins fans and students was decidedly negative as their school abandoned its longtime affiliation with like-minded and nearby institutions for a new but ill-defined relationship with schools that to many seemed far away and unfamiliar" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/20). In Chicago, Teddy Greenstein writes Delany is "clearly aware that many Maryland alums cherished being a charter member of the ACC -- and that some Big Ten fans believe their product has been watered down." Delany said, "I know there is some ambivalence, and I know there may be some anger. But I hope that over time we can embrace you, that you can learn to be our partner and that together we can become much better than we are without each other" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/20).
DELANY PADDING HIS LEGACY: ESPN.com’s Dana O’Neil wrote college sports “became about the commissioners, about their egos and their legacies, about the aphrodisiac-laced cocktail of power and greed.” The addition of UM to the Big Ten is “merely the latest in the ultimate testosterone-measuring party to see who can lay claim to the Most Powerful Man in College Sports” (ESPN.com, 11/19). The Chicago Tribune’s Greenstein said, "I never thought the Big Ten would expand just for the sake of expansion, but that’s exactly what’s going on now. Jim Delany just wants to be bigger for money and TV purposes, and all those presidents and chancellors trust him because he hasn’t made a bad decision” (“Chicago Tribune Live,” Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 11/19).
NETWORK NEWS: Delany was praised for the addition of UM by various Big Ten Network analysts yesterday. BTN's Howard Griffith said adding UM “shows us just how in tune” Delany is “when you talk about being out in front of expansion." Griffith: "He’s been there and he also has a great idea of where he wants this to go.” BTN's Glen Mason said conference realignment is “in total, complete flux, so you’ve got to be thinking about it all the time.” Delany deserves a “lot of credit to be proactive rather than reactive.” BTN's Chris Martin: “This is an economic coup and it just shows you yet again Jim Delany … is a brilliant strategist” (Big Ten Network, 11/19). In Chicago, Herb Gould writes, “Not surprisingly, a platoon of Big Ten Network analysts applauded the Maryland acquisition.” KFAN-AM host Dan Barreiro tweeted, “Based on early reaction from Big 10 analysts, Delany trails only Gandhi, Mandela, MLK among visionaries.” However, Gould notes ESPN analysts were “not afraid to use their harpoons.” ESPN’s Bruce Pearl said, "I just don’t understand it. They talk about student-athlete welfare. How’s the road trip from Maryland to Nebraska going to be for the volleyball team or the fans who want to travel?” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/20).
The Rutgers Univ. BOG has “voted to authorize AD Tim Pernetti to accept a formal invitation to join the Big Ten when it arrives this morning,” according to Dick Weiss of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Sources "indicated that a press conference has been scheduled" for 2:00pm ET today. The move “not only will create financial security for Rutgers athletics, it could eventually make the Knights a major brand name on the East Coast in all sports.” While the Univ. of Maryland will begin play in the Big Ten with the '14-15 season, Rutgers reportedly “will attempt to pay the Big East a $10 million to $20 million exit fee and join its new conference as early as possible.” The school “will continue to play home games at its 54,000-seat on-campus football stadium.” Rutgers is “not planning to expand its basketball arena, but would have to modernize its facilities to keep pace with other Big Ten programs” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/20). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Rachel Bachman reports the move “could improve the Rutgers athletic department's sagging finances and boost the school's profile.” Former Rutgers BOG member George Zoffinger said, "Moving to the Big Ten was always a major goal at Rutgers, because it basically got the school into the league that would have drawing capacity at the stadium." Bachman notes Rutgers has “needed large university subsidies -- among the highest in the nation -- to plug athletic-department shortfalls.” Rutgers also “took on significant debt to fund a recent $102 million stadium expansion despite struggling to sell out its games.” The Big Ten with Rutgers joining would “gain a foothold in the coveted New York TV market, potentially increasing the millions of dollars it already commands annually in broadcast rights” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/20).
NECESSARY MOVE: Rutgers may have to pay an increased exit fee to leave in time for next season, but in Newark, Tom Luicci writes the “tradeoff may well be worth it” for a program that “has operated for years in the red and been heavily subsidized by the university.” Rutgers’ “financially-strapped athletic department will also receive a cash infusion that could potentially dwarf anything the school would have reaped in the Big East” (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 11/20). Supporters of the move said that it “could mean a windfall for the university, which subsidized its athletic programs to the tune of $19.4 million in the 2010-11 fiscal year.” In New Jersey, Patricia Alex reports the Big Ten, which “has its own television network, gave each of its 12 schools up to $24.6 million” (Bergen RECORD, 11/20). SportsNet N.Y.’s Chris Carlin said the move is a “no-brainer." Carlin: "You don’t even think twice about this … for one primary reason: Money.” He said Rutgers will go from earning $6M a year from the Big East’s TV contract to $25M a year in the Big Ten, which is a “huge difference for an athletic department that for a long time has been operating in the red here. They need to get a little bit more fiscally stable and start making money” (“Loud Mouths,” SportsNet N.Y., 11/19).
BIG IMPROVEMENT: In Newark, Steve Politi writes under the header, “By Joining Big Ten, Rutgers Did Better Than Any School In College Realignment.” Politi: “Who out there did better?” Rutgers “just wanted a lifeboat.” It ended up “on a Carnival cruise ship” (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 11/20). In N.Y., Lenn Robbins writes this “latest shift on the landscape of college athletics is a flat-out no-brainer.” Robbins: “It’s a no-brainer for the Big Ten. It’s a no-brainer for Rutgers … And it’s a no-brainer for Maryland, which yesterday announced it was leaving the ACC.” Rutgers “finally escapes the shadow that has hung over it for eternity.” For Maryland, the move is “the equivalent of learning that a distant uncle who recently passed left you a billion dollars” (N.Y. POST, 11/20). YAHOO SPORTS’ Pat Forde wrote, “I'm not blaming Maryland or Rutgers for doing what they're doing. … They need money, and the Big Ten has money. But neither school should act as if they earned this upgrade via excellence on the field” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/19). In Chicago, Rick Morrissey writes the Big Ten’s moves are “about progress and money, and you know what happens when the path of the proposed highway runs through your home." Morrissey: "You better take the cash and get out of the way” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/20).
Rutgers' impending departure from the Big East has once again put the long-term future of the Big East Conference in doubt. In Boise, Brian Murphy reports Boise State Univ. President Bob Kustra last night put out two statements responding to an ESPN report that BSU, San Diego State and BYU were discussing a return to the Mountain West Conference. In the “first, shorter statement, Kustra did not deny reports that the Broncos were considering a move back" to their current conference. Less than “two hours later, he released a longer, more detailed statement.” Kustra in the second statement wrote, "I want to make it clear that Boise State has had no discussions with the Mountain West Conference in the past couple of weeks. We are in constant communication with presidents and athletic directors of the Big East and we intend to strengthen ... the conference by adding members who can contribute to a strong conference" (IDAHO STATESMAN, 11/20). In San Diego, Stefanie Loh reports San Diego State AD Jim Sterk also “refuted the report” that SDSU was in talks with the Mountain West. Sterk said, “I have not spoken to the (Mountain West) commissioner since May, and there’s been no communication with them. Our president has just been on a call with Boise State, and they haven’t had any communication with the Mountain West either, and the president at BYU hasn’t had communications with them either.” Sterk said Rutgers’ departure from the Big East to the Big Ten would be “a setback, but not a crippling blow that some people would try to make it out to be.” BSU and SDSU are slated to join the Big East as football-only members in '13 (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 11/20).
ORIGINAL REPORT: ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy cited sources as saying that BSU, SDSU and BYU have “had conversations with Mountain West membership about the possibility of returning to the league.” The talks “originated after last week's decision in Denver by the BCS commissioners to award an automatic access bowl berth to the highest-rated champion to the ‘Group of Five’ conferences.” That decision “in essence put the Mountain West on equal footing, as far as playoff access is concerned, with the Big East starting in 2014.” But a SDSU official said, "Nothing changes, we are committed to the Big East." McMurphy wrote one of the “main reasons” both BSU and SDSU “opted to join the Big East was the draw of more television revenue.” However, it is “unknown how much more the Big East's future media rights will be worth compared to the Mountain West's after losing Rutgers to the Big Ten and another member to the ACC.” BYU, which left the Mountain West after the ‘10 season to become an independent, would have to “get out of an eight-year contract with ESPN to rejoin the Mountain West or Big East” (ESPN.com, 11/19). In Las Vegas, Mark Anderson reports the MWC BOD, consisting of school presidents, will “meet in early December.” No realignment decisions related to the conference “are expected before then, but changes can occur quickly” (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 11/20).
TV TIMEOUT: CBSSPORTS.com’s Dennis Dodd cited sources as saying that there is “a provision in the Houston contract with the Big East that allows it to leave the league without penalty if certain TV revenue numbers aren't achieved.” A source said, "There's not a TV executive in America that's going to offer them (Big East) a TV contract until they can confirm and guarantee who is going to be there in their league" (CBSSPORTS.com, 11/19). In Orlando, Matt Murschel writes with “all of this recent news, you wonder if Big East officials aren’t kicking themselves for not taking ESPN’s deal.” It is going to be “a hard sell to a network like Fox or NBC that you still have a viable product especially when there is so much uncertainty in the league” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 11/20).
WHO'S ON DECK FOR ACC? CBSSPORTS.com’s Jeremy Fowler cited a source as saying that the ACC is “leaning heavily toward adding a 14th team to replace Maryland and has two favorites for the spot -- UConn and Louisville.” The source said that the ACC is “also in talks with South Florida and Cincinnati.” The source said the conference could add "pretty quickly." Factors on the decision include “geography and television market viability, on-field performance and academic success” (CBSSPORTS.com, 11/19). In Louisville, Tim Sullivan writes UConn “could bolt the Big East to fill Maryland’s spot in the ACC, reportedly as soon as today.” The ACC would choose UConn over Louisville because of its “market size, which is about all that matters anymore.” Sullivan: “The rich traditions, traditional rivalries and regional flavor of college athletics have about as much relevance nowadays as your friendly neighborhood livery stable” (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 11/20). In Hartford, Paul Doyle writes UConn is “likely to accept an invitation if it is offered.” UConn AD Warde Manuel said, "It's too early for there to be any comment from me. There are too many unknowns. We will continue to monitor the situation and see how it affects our university.” UConn President Susan Herbst yesterday could not be reached (HARTFORD COURANT, 11/20).
PAC-12 GOOD FOR NOW: In L.A., Chris Dufresne asks, “How does Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott see the latest moves affecting his league?” Scott in an e-mail yesterday wrote, "I don't." He added, “I'm not surprised to see other Conferences shuffling, but Pac-12 is in a great position and has no plans to change the configuration of our membership" (LATIMES.com, 11/19).
The Big Ten's addition of Maryland and Rutgers “all but affirms the league will be the richest in existence” when the conference’s contract with ESPN runs out in ‘16, according to Dennis Dodd of CBSSPORTS.com. A “conservative estimate” has Big Ten schools “bringing more than $30 million per year in athletic revenue,” at the least. Adding some portion of the N.Y. and DC markets “cannot be seen as a bad thing,” as for now, conference realignment is “all about BTN.” Even with an “incremental increase in subscription fees -- what cable companies pay per month to broadcast a channel -- expansion could produce a windfall.” A source said, "By default, will they make more money? Yes, but will it be significantly more? It's ego. It's all ego" (CBSSPORTS.com, 11/19). Chicago-based Navigate Research Analytics Dir Jeff Nelson in an e-mail wrote that increased subscriber fees from Maryland’s and Rutgers' metro markets “could increase each school’s payout from the league’s Big Ten Network to $10 million a year.” USA TODAY’s Gary Mihoces notes the “per-school payout from TV revenue could rise to as much as 35 million” with the league “set to negotiate its first-tier rights in 2017” (USA TODAY, 11/20). Ohio State AD Gene Smith said, "You can't skirt the fact that financially it assists us." Smith said that new cash flow “should be directed back at the university.” In Cleveland, Doug Lesmerises notes Ohio State “is a rarity, a healthy, self-sufficient athletic department, so Smith said he'd like to help the university as a whole by, for instance, providing money for more scholarships, not just athletic scholarships” (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/20).
A MOVE AWAY FROM THE PAST: In Detroit, Jeff Seidel writes under the header, “Maryland, Rutgers Joining Big Ten Just Doesn’t Feel Right.” History and tradition “slipped away” yesterday with the announced moves of Maryland and Rutgers. Seidel: “Maryland and Rutgers in the Big Ten? Does that even sound right? … You know why they did it: It’s about money. It’s about making super conferences. It’s about television, spreading the Big Ten Network into the Beltway and the Big Apple.” It might “stink from a pure tradition point of view,” but it also “makes a lot of sense to add some schools” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 11/20). But the N.Y. Daily News' Bob Raissman said, "In some respects, in some people’s minds, this is like a watering-down of the Big Ten” (“Daily News Live,” SportsNet N.Y., 11/19).
The average annual salary for major college football head coaches “is $1.64 million, up nearly 12% over last season -- and more than 70% since 2006, when USA TODAY Sports began tracking coaches' compensation,” according to a front-page Cover Story by Brady, Berkowitz & Upton of USA TODAY. Coaches' pay has “even outpaced the pay of corporate executives, who have drawn the ire of Congress and the public because of their staggering compensation packages." Univ. of Alabama coach Nick Saban is the “highest paid at $5.5 million,” and he is one of four SEC coaches "among the top eight.” Univ. of Texas coach Mack Brown is “the second-highest, pulling in $5.4 million” (USA TODAY, 11/20). The conference with “the highest average compensation for its head football coaches" is the Big 12, whose 10 coaches are "pulling down slightly less than $3 million a man.” The SEC, which “led the field by far last season, saw a nearly quarter-million-dollar decrease in its average and has the second highest: more than $2.7 million a coach” (USA TODAY, 11/20). USA TODAY lists the salaries of all available FBS coaches’ pay. To calculate the total pay packages for their current contract years, the newspaper “requested all forms of compensation for the coach at all 124 schools.” About 20 of the schools are “private or are public schools covered under state law exempting them from releasing salary data on coaches.” Any pay the university “guaranteed (even if paid by shoe/apparel company or another source) is listed as ‘school pay.’” Anything “not guaranteed by the university is listed as ‘other’ pay" (USA TODAY, 11/20). The following are all coaches who make at least $2.5M.
SCHOOL COACHSCHOOL PAYOTHERTOTALMAX BONUS Alabama Nick Saban$5,316,667$160,071$5,476,738$700,000 Texas Mack Brown$5,292,500$61,250$5,353,750$850,000 Oklahoma Bob Stoops$4,550,000$0$4,550,000$819,500 Ohio State Urban Meyer$4,250,000$50,000$4,300,000$450,000 LSU Les Miles$3,751,000$105,417$3,856,417$700,000 Iowa Kirk Ferentz$3,835,000$0$3,835,000$1,750,000 South Carolina Steve Spurrier$3,550,000$35,000$3,585,000$1,550,000 Auburn Gene Chizik$3,500,000$77,500$3,577,500$1,200,000 Oregon Chip Kelly$3,500,000N/A$3,500,000$900,000 TCU Gary Patterson$3,467,926N/A$3,467,926N/A Oklahoma State Mike Gundy$3,275,000N/A$3,275,000$550,000 Michigan Brady Hoke$3,046,120$0$3,046,120$525,000 Arizona State Todd Graham$3,000,000N/A$3,000,000$2,050,000 Georgia Mark Richt$2,811,340$114,000$2,925,340$1,000,000 Nebraska Bo Pelini$2,875,000N/A$2,875,000$1,000,000 Florida State Jimbo Fisher$2,750,000$0$2,750,000$675,000 Missouri Gary Pinkel$2,700,000$0$2,700,000$850,000 Wisconsin Bret Bielema$2,600,000$40,140$2,640,140$400,000 California Jeff Tedford$2,600,000N/A$2,600,000$255,000 Mississippi State Dan Mullen$2,600,000$0$2,600,000$650,000 Virginia Mike London$2,552,760$3,700$2,556,460$715,000 Kansas Charlie Weis$2,500,000N/A$2,500,000$615,000