Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Chancellor Mike Lovell on Thursday named Andy Geiger AD in a move he hopes will "put several years of turmoil" inside the school's athletic department behind him, according to Don Walker of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Lovell said that the "bold move involving Geiger, who was athletic director at Ohio State and four other university athletic programs over a long career, is a step toward stability and continuity in the department." Lovell said that Geiger, 73, has a "one-year appointment through June 30, 2013, and could stay beyond that." The appointment, which came "swiftly after former athletic director Rick Costello resigned last month, represents a hiring coup for UWM." Geiger emerged as a candidate "just over a week ago," when College Sports Associates head hunter Todd Turner phoned to ask Geiger, "who was in semiretirement ... if he was interested." Geiger said Thursday, "I found my pulse quickening. 'Wow, that's a chance to get back on a campus and get back in the game a little bit.'" Geiger will play a "large role in the shaping of an ongoing campuswide strategic plan for the campus." At or near the "top of his agenda will be the study and discussion of building a multipurpose arena on campus to serve sports as well as provide a new home for convocations and concerts." Lovell said that the study "is a year away." Lovell: "Clearly, playing basketball downtown may not be the best solution for us in the long run" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/11). Geiger was SportsBusiness Journal's National AD of the Year in '03 (THE DAILY).
A BIG SCORE: In Milwaukee, Michael Hunt writes, "Unquestionably, Thursday was a huge day for a school and an athletic department that are not accustomed to doing things in a big-time way." Geiger is "as big-time as it gets in the business, a giant in his industry." He was at Ohio State for 11 years, and nothing is "bigger on the college-athletics landscape than The Ohio State University." Hunt asks why Geiger would leave retirement to "take on the challenge of guiding a shaky mid-major for at least a year through what Chancellor Mike Lovell calls 'a transition period' for the athletic department?" It sounds like Geiger "intends to keep it completely real at UWM, with the goal to make it better than it is with no illusion for it to be more than it sensibly can be" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/11).
The NCAA Thusday announced the D-II and D-III men’s basketball championship games will be played in Atlanta on April 7, “the off day between the Division I semifinals and championship game,” according to Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. The NCAA said that “the unprecedented decision to crown the champions of all three of its divisions in the same city on the same long weekend is part of the organization’s grand plan for celebrating the 75th anniversary of college basketball’s national tournament.” Tucker notes starting times have not been set, but the “Division II game will be televised on CBS and the Division III game on CBS Sports Network.” NCAA Dir of Public & Media Relations Erik Christianson said that “only the championship games in those divisions will be played in Atlanta.” Christianson added, “Both divisions will need to adjust the formats” of their tournaments, and the D-II and D-III basketball committees will meet “to decide how to best accommodate the change in format” (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 5/11).
Penn State acting AD David Joyner brings “more outside experience and acumen to the job than most of his peers in the Big Ten,” according to Donald Gilliland of the Harrisburg PATRIOT-NEWS. Joyner said, “I didn’t need this job. … I wanted this job because I felt an obligation to help my university through perhaps the most difficult time in its history.” He said of the program, "We're becoming 31 units working together for the betterment of everyone.” Joyner: “We have our individual goals, but this is about Penn State’s intercollegiate athletics and how can we be the most successful program that’s ever existed.” When asked about his critics, Joyner said, “I think they associate me with what happened to coach Paterno, so therefore I must be a bad guy. … We may never change those people” (Harrisburg PATRIOT-NEWS, 5/10). Meanwhile, Joyner said that football season-ticket sales are "slightly off.” However, four months remain "until the season opener, and the athletic department is still actively promoting the availability of tickets.” He suspected that the slow sales “could in part be due to fans’ feelings about the scandal, along with changes implemented last season to the season-ticket policy that angered some fans.” The AP's Genaro Armas noted 64,500 season tickets “have been sold for the upcoming season, including 2,500 new season-ticket holders.” About 69,000 season tickets were sold for all of last season. Joyner said sales “are accelerating and moving in the right direction, but we haven’t caught up pace yet.” However, donations to the athletic booster club are “ahead of last year’s pace.” A Penn State spokesperson said that “contributions to the Nittany Lion Club’s annual fund already amount to $17 million in a fiscal year that ends in June.” That amount matches the total for the entire ’10-11 fiscal year (AP, 5/9).