SBD/November 8, 2013/Colleges

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  • New Texas AD Patterson Not Anticipating Significant Changes In Athletic Department

    One of Patterson's first duties at Texas will be addressing the future of certain coaches

    Incoming Texas men's AD Steve Patterson at his introductory press conference Thursday "faced a bevy of questions about the changes, both short- and long-term, that could be coming for Texas," according to Max Olson of ESPN.com. Patterson's answer "was consistent: He's not interested in making changes just to make changes." Patterson said, "I don't see, as I have other places where I've taken over organizations, that we need a dramatic turnaround. I don't anticipate monstrous changes to the department." The most "obvious, immediate issue facing Patterson will be the future" of football coach Mack Brown and men's basketball coach Rick Barnes. UT President Bill Powers "insisted the future of Texas coaches and their programs were not discussed during Patterson's interview with him and the search committee Sunday." Patterson "did not address those topics Thursday, other than to say he needs to spend time evaluating what he is inheriting when he begins the job before he reaches any conclusions." Patterson's hiring will "not be made official until it receives the approval of the UT System Board of Regents during its meetings Nov. 12-13." After that, he said he expects to take over for current men's AD DeLoss Dodds in the "next couple of weeks." He plans to "return to Arizona State next week to meet with ASU president Michael Crow and wrap up his immediate duties before making the move to Austin" (ESPN.com, 11/7). In Austin, Randy Riggs notes Patterson "was vague on answers regarding several other topics, noting he hadn’t had time to study the issues that include a future basketball arena, renewing competition with Texas A&M and UT’s role in possible future conference realignment." Meanwhile, Powers said that he "isn’t concerned about Patterson’s relative lack of experience in collegiate athletics administration." But Patterson "admitted to feeling a 'little trepidation' at the prospect of following 'a legend, and probably the premier practitioner of his art'” (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 11/8).

    THE EYES OF TEXAS
    : In Austin, Kirk Bohls writes Patterson on Thursday "came off as more down-home than uptight." Bohls: "Patterson said all the right things, except he said nothing about wholesale changes in coaches or staff. But the bet here is he will. Sooner than later. Gentlemen, start your resumes." Arizona State Associate VP/Public Affairs Terri Shafer said that Patterson "made more than 100 personnel changes in an athletic department that barely numbers 180." That is "monstrous turnover." Patterson said, "We did make changes at ASU. I think it was a culture that, in some respects, had to change." At UT, Patterson "needs to know the fans' patience is short." There "clearly is a new sheriff in town." A source said Dodds had "zero" input in the search for his replacement (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 11/8). ORANGEBLOODS.com's Chip Brown wrote, "How much change is coming? I was told no one from the athletic department -- no coaches or current AD staff -- were consulted in the hiring of Patterson" (ORANGEBLOODS.com, 11/7).

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  • Syracuse Taking New Measures To Remain Relevant In N.Y. Market Amid Move To ACC

    Syracuse will play a nonconference game against St. John's at MSG in December

    Syracuse Univ. "still wants to be New York's college team," but as the school's men's basketball program prepares to open its first season as a member of the ACC on Friday, it "faces a significant challenge: trying to stay relevant in its most important market when most of its new opponents play south of the Mason-Dixon Line," according to Jared Diamond of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. SU as a member of the Big East faced St. John's, Seton Hall and Rutgers "every year, effectively guaranteeing a game or two in the metropolitan area." The regular season "always ended" at MSG with the Big East tournament. Now "all that is gone." If SU still wants to "call itself 'New York's college team,' it is going to have to work for it harder than ever before." SU had been "synonymous with the Big East tournament, with Madison Square Garden serving as their unofficial second home." SU used the Big East tournament, and MSG, as "a destination for its fans to gather." SU AD Daryl Gross has "taken temporary measures to try to keep the school's fan base in New York engaged." SU will play a nonconference game at MSG against St. John's on Dec. 15, followed by a contest against former Big East rival Villanova at the Carrier Dome on Dec. 28. Gross said SU "will be in New York City every year, starting this year." But he added that an "annual regular-season game or even an occasional Thanksgiving tournament at the Garden 'doesn't take the place of the Big East tournament'" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/8).

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  • Univ. Of Maryland Admits Paying $3,000 To PR Firm During Debate Over Big Ten Move

    The Univ. of Maryland on Thursday said that it "paid $3,000 to a social media firm last year and directed it to correct any 'inaccuracies' appearing on websites during the initially stormy debate over the school's decision to join the Big Ten Conference," according to Jeff Barker of the Baltimore SUN. The school "wanted to monitor the tone and provide any needed 'corrections or clarifications as quickly as possible.'" The media and PR campaign was launched "after anticipating an unfavorable reaction to the Big Ten move among fans." UM Assistant VP/Marketing & Communications Brian Ullmann as the debate on the issue was beginning in '12 sent an e-mail to Deputy AD Nathan Pine "saying that comments on message boards were skewing 'heavily negative' against the Big Ten move." Ullmann wrote in the e-mail, "Several of us placed comments on boards and media sites last night to help balance it out." Ullmann yesterday when asked about the e-mail said that he "remembers a few Maryland staff members posting 'corrections' last year in online comments sections." The school at the time "sent out daily posts to athletic administrators and others summarizing media and fan leanings." Ullmann said that he "does not recall what screen names were used by staff members in posts." But he added that whatever names were used, "'there was no attempt to mislead' and no widespread posting as part of Maryland's campaign" (Baltimore SUN, 11/8).

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  • Jason Whitlock Teams Up With Brady Hoke, Sends Ball State Students To Big Game

    ESPN's Jason Whitlock "developed a plan in early October to pay for several Ball State students to attend" next Wednesday's game against No. 18-ranked Northern Illinois, and he has "enlisted the help" of former Ball State coach and current Michigan coach Brady Hoke and Hoke’s wife, Laura, according to Zaleski & Beebe of the Muncie STAR PRESS. Whitlock, a Ball State alum, "contributed $5,000 and the Hokes matched the amount." Ball State will "add another $7,000 and the total will allow 240 Ball State students to be bused to the game in DeKalb, Ill." The trip includes "meals and game tickets, and five buses will transport the students." Whitlock’s donation "included a stipulation that 25 seats be reserved for journalism students at Ball State and 25 for members of the Black Student Association, leaving 190 seats for the general student body." Whitlock said that he e-mailed Laura Hoke "a couple of weeks ago to see if she and her husband ... would participate." Whitlock: “Laura emailed me back almost instantly and said she would love to do it." Ball State Deputy AD Brian Hardin said, "I gotta give Jason a lot of credit. He called at the beginning of last week and said he would love to find a way to get as many students up there as possible" (Muncie STAR PRESS, 11/8).

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