SBD/July 18, 2014/Colleges

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  • NCAA Proposes New Governance Structure Aimed At Pleasing Power Five Conferences

    White said private school athletes may already be earning $500,000 in benefits

    The NCAA D-1 Steering Committee on Friday released its "proposal for a new governance structure," and it includes "lower voting thresholds for the five power conferences to pass legislation," according to Dan Wolken of USA TODAY. That was a "key element" that SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany "had been pushing for." Instead of a two-thirds supermajority, the new model "outlines two ways autonomous legislation can be passed" -- either a 60% approval and a "majority in three of the five conferences" or a "simple majority if it's supported by four of the five conferences." The D-I BOD will vote on the new set-up Aug. 7, and if it passes, "each of the 65 power conference schools will have one voting representatives on autonomous issues." Each of the Power Five also will have "three voting athlete representatives for a total of 80 votes." Approval of the new structure will "pave the way for major conferences -- and others in Div. I who want to adopt the legislation -- to make significant rules changes including full cost of attendance scholarships" (USATODAY.com, 7/18). CBSSPORTS.com's Jon Solomon reports if the proposal passes, there will be a 60-day "override period for the membership." At least 75 schools would "have to request an override to require the board to reconsider the rule change, and 125 schools are needed to suspend the rule change until the board meets to reconsider" (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/18).

    SMITH CONFIDENT OF SUCCESS: Ohio State AD Gene Smith said he believes the outcome of the vote "is going to be highly positive." He added, "In the end, we’ll be able to do what we want to do for our student-athletes in our types of institutions.” In Columbus, Todd Jones notes the Power Five seek "increased autonomy in part because legislation for a $2,000 stipend for athletes was initially passed in 2011, only to have a majority of the 347 members in Division I override the proposal." Smith: "The top 65 are different. Our resources are significantly different than the other schools. We have the capacity to do more things for our student-athletes that other schools can’t do. ... We should be allowed to do those” (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 7/18).

    TRIANGLE OFFENSE: In Durham, Harold Gutmann reports North Carolina AD Bubba Cunningham, Duke AD Kevin White, NC Central AD Ingrid Wicker-McCree and NC State AD Debbie Yow gathered Thursday to discuss the "complications of the cost of attendance issue." Should the Power Five receive more autonomy on athlete benefits, Yow "believes that the first issue up for debate would be providing athletes with the full cost of attendance." She said, "It sounds like such a simple idea but is anything but that, for a couple of reasons." Yow also spoke on Title IX and said it "doesn’t recognize revenue-producing sports." Yow: "If we’re going to do this for the men, are we also going to have to do this for the women?” Meanwhile, Cunningham said that UNC "already gets $500,000 a year from an NCAA student assistance fund that can be given to student-athletes in need, and some athletes get up to $11,000 a year." He was "concerned that spending more money could decrease the opportunities for kids who want to play collegiate sports." Wicker-McCree said that earlier this summer, the MEAC, "decided not to follow a new NCAA guideline that allows Division I athletes to receive unlimited meals and snacks." She said that the "cost of attendance issue would be another challenge for non-Power 5 conferences, though she didn’t think that should be a reason to stop it from moving forward." Meanwhile, White said that a scholarship athlete at a private school like Duke "could already be receiving the equivalent of $500,000 in benefits over a four-year career." He would "prefer a system that provided full cost of attendance only to those in need instead of offering it to everyone" (Durham HERALD-SUN, 7/18).

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  • Univ. Of North Texas Set To Add Alcohol Sales In Public Sections For Football Games

    UNT fans will be able to purchase alcohol on Apogee Stadium's concourse level

    Univ. of North Texas football fans "will be able to buy beer in public sections of Apogee Stadium this fall for the first time, a move school officials believe will help grow athletics revenue and ticket sales," according to a front-page piece by Vito & Duncan of the DENTON RECORD-CHRONICLE. UNT on Thursday announced that the school "will begin selling beer this season on the concourse level." The school "previously only sold beer on Apogee’s restricted-access club and suite levels." UNT AD Rick Villarreal said that beer "will be sold only at Mean Green games and not at any high school games played there." UNT President Neal Smatresk said that there "was no major internal opposition to the proposal." UNT execs "spoke with school officials from Louisiana-Lafayette, Western Kentucky and Houston about their experiences with beer sales at football games in the last few months." Villarreal: "One of the reasons we are doing this is to create new revenue. It’s hard to put a number on what it will generate because if the fans come in and buy a beer, they might also buy a hot dog or a hat." UNT "has set a new home-game attendance record in two of the last three years and believes selling beer will help continue that trend, while maintaining a safe environment" (DENTON RECORD-CHRONICLE, 7/18).

    BOOZE MOVEMENT: The MOTLEY FOOL's David Stegon noted approximately 25 of the 126 FBS schools "allow for alcohol sales in their stadiums." The majority, including Cincinnati, Houston, Louisville, Memphis and Tulane, "are in metropolitan areas." The schools "allow drinking to help in a competitive entertainment marketplace." With this opportunity to "bring in extra revenue, expect more schools to follow suit." College football "is a major revenue stream for many of the top universities ... and college sports have never been shy about trying to maximize profits." In the end, economics "will drive this decision." Alcohol "is coming to more college football games," as it is "too lucrative not to" (FOOL.com, 7/16).

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  • Big East's Stu Jackson Says Conference Is Facing A Critical Time In Its Growth

    New Big East Conference Senior Associate Commissioner/Men's Basketball Stu Jackson said "part of my mission" is to strengthen the conference, because it "historically has had great tradition with storied programs and everyone is aware of its history and we're at a pivotal time in terms of continuing to build on that tradition and an excellent brand going forward in a 10-team league." Jackson, appearing on Milwaukee-based WSSP-AM, added, "We can't equate the 10-team league with a 16-team league that it was formally, but if the opportunity for growth and building upon that old tradition is really, really positive. What we have to do is continue to field teams that are at a national level ... and we think we have the opportunity to do that." Jackson said of whether he feels the conference needs football to be competitive nationally, "We want to be the best basketball-centric league in the country, and if that means we need to continue to make our programs stronger or out in the future we expanded the league, we want to do things and brand ourselves as the premier basketball league in the country." The "reality is we don’t have football and we're not one of the soon-to-be super five conferences, but what we do want to be is the best collegiate basketball league in the country and I have no doubts that we will." But Jackson said the Big East "can't get ahead of ourselves" in terms of expansion because "we have first got to build on the strength of the ten teams that we have." Jackson: "Once we do that and are able to maybe take another step and grow the conference, so be it" ("Chuck and Wickett," WSSP-AM, 7/16).

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  • Michigan Regents Nix Big House Fireworks Proposal, Cite Tradition, Risk, Neighbors

    Michigan fans may have to do without fireworks displays at football games

    The Univ. of Michigan Board of Regents "took a strong stand Thursday against fireworks at Michigan Stadium, voting down an athletic department proposal," according to Mark Snyder of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. The department had "requested support for fireworks shows" during the school's Sept. 13 game against Miami of Ohio and Oct. 11 game against Penn State. The proposal called for fireworks "in-game after scores, a halftime show against Miami and a postgame 'July 4 style' show." The Regents voted the proposal down "after a 20-minute discussion." The "extended conversation was extremely rare for an athletics proposal as most are quickly approved by the board." Regent Laurence Deitch said the plan's risk "outweighed its rewards." He also said the plan was "disrespectful to our neighbors" and "inconsistent with the University of Michigan's tradition and culture." Regent Mark Bernstein "opposed it on traditional grounds." He said, "I love fireworks, but not at a Michigan football game. We are not Comerica Park or the Super Bowl or Disney World or a circus and the important point is we shouldn't try to be. At a certain point enough is enough." Michigan Stadium "previously had fireworks" during two events in '10 (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 7/18). Deitch: "I have religiously attended (UM) football games for 50 years. I have not found that experience lacking of fireworks" (DETROIT NEWS, 7/18).

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