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Volume 24 No. 158


The Big East Conference this afternoon will announce that its "non-FBS programs are splitting from their brethren," according to sources cited by Lenn Robbins of the N.Y. POST. The presidents of the seven schools -- DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova -- this morning held a teleconference with Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco, who was "hoping to hold the league together." However, sources said that the seven schools "had had enough of the defections that had wreaked havoc on the league in the last couple of years." It was unknown whether the schools "were going to dissolve the league," which would allow them to "keep the name and its contract" with MSG for its postseason basketball tournament. Big East members including Temple, Cincinnati, UConn and South Florida "are in terrible limbo" (, 12/13).'s McMurphy, Katz & O'Neil cite Big East bylaws that state the conference “can be dissolved in a vote of the league members by a two-thirds majority.” A source said that Temple, as a football-only member, has “voting rights but can't vote on dissolution of the league.” With Temple “unable to vote, that gives the seven basketball schools enough votes to dissolve the league.” If the seven basketball schools leave the Big East, it will be “a crippling blow to the Big East's media rights negotiations.” A source said that if the Big East lost the seven schools, it “would decrease the value of the league's media rights by ‘15 to 20 percent.’” These factors also could “affect decisions by Boise State and San Diego State to join the league in 2013 as football-only members” (, 12/12). In Hartford, Paul Doyle cited a source as saying that Georgetown is “leading the faction as teams consider breaking away and forming a league, perhaps inviting other basketball schools from around the country or partnering with the Atlantic 10” (HARTFORD COURANT, 12/12).

:’s Dennis Dodd reported Boise State President Bob Kustra oversees a school that "wields more power than ever in its 80-year history." If the school “bolts the Big East -- and it could, easily, today if it wanted to -- the reconfigured league falls apart,” unless Cincinnati or the seven Catholic schools “beat Boise State to it.” There was “interest from a rights-holder in televising Boise State's home games only, similar to Notre Dame.” That is not to say Boise State “would go independent, but it is a sign that the football program alone has television value no matter where it ends up” (, 12/12).'s Mark Blaudschun reported one of the networks that Aresco was “counting on coming through with a significant offer” for Big East TV rights was NBC/Comcast, which “ostensibly needs programing for its cable outlet.” But sources said that the money “offered to the Big East by NBC/Comcast will be very much on the low end of the spectrum” (, 12/12).

The Univ. of Texas football program during the ‘11-12 season “generated the most revenue and highest profit among all programs, but the rest of the top 10 saw some changes,” according to NCAA data cited by Kristi Dosh of Michigan finished in second place with $14.8M more in profits than in '10-11, as an additional home game “accounted for about $6 million in additional revenue.” Perhaps “most glaringly absent from the top 10 most profitable programs is Penn State, which held the second spot just a year ago and third the previous year.” PSU fell to 11th place with $66.2M in revenue, a $6.5M reduction. Revenue among FBS programs “ranged from a high" of $103.8M at Texas to a low of $3.6M at the Univ. of Louisiana-Monroe. The average FBS program brought in $25M, with a median of $19.9M. The highest expenses for a football program ($36.9M) went to Alabama, "which has the nation’s highest-paid head coach, Nick Saban.” Saban last season “took home a $4.8 million paycheck” (, 12/12).

Notre Dame

LIMITED-TIME OFFER: In Knoxville, Mike Strange noted Tennessee is “offering a limited number of 2013 season tickets without the usual required donation,” hoping to “win back fans after three consecutive losing seasons.” The $300 season tickets are “for the higher rows of the south end zone upper deck.” UT Associate AD/Communications Jimmy Stanton said that the school earlier "had sold approximately one third of the 1,500 no-donation tickets” (, 12/13).

Ticket demand for the Notre Dame-Alabama BCS National Championship game in Miami is reaching a "Super Bowl-level fervor" with sales at StubHub "on pace to break the site record by 25 percent," according to Michael Casagrande of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. The average ticket on StubHub as of Monday afternoon "was priced at $1,912 with six premium seats already selling at $8,824 and the game is still three weeks away." StubHub Head of Communications Glenn Lehrman said that sales figures "officially passed totals" from last season’s Alabama-LSU title game in New Orleans. The average ticket price "for that game was $1,565." Orange Bowl VP/Communications Larry Wahl said, "I’ve been doing this for 35 years … and I’ve never seen anything like this" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 12/11). Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick at the ‘12 IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum last week said, “There’s a limit to how many tickets can be made available with 17,000 to each school, and we’ve had over 100,000 requests ten days after we qualified and it continues to grow. So it’s a challenge, but it’s a great success problem to have” (THE DAILY). ESPN’s Joe Tessitore said it is "unbelievable the demand” for tickets to the Notre Dame-Alabama game, as the "secondary market average ticket price -- not talking 50-yard-line lower level -- is over $1,000.” Tessitore: “It doesn’t cost you anything to just sit back on your couch at 8:30 on ESPN” (“College Football Live,” ESPN, 12/12).

WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS...: In Seattle, Bob Condotta noted Washington and Boise State were each "allocated 11,000 tickets to sell" for the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. UW officials on Tuesday said the school had "distributed nearly 4,000 tickets." MAACO Bowl Exec Dir Dan Hanneke "visited Seattle last weekend" and said that he was "pleased with the early ticket sales, though he said it was also anticipated that Boise State might not sell as many this year as it has the past two seasons, since Boise State also played in the game in 2010 and 2011" (SEATTLE TIMES, 12/12). In Boise, Chadd Cripe reported BSU could "fall about $100,000 short on its ticket commitment" for the game. The school has "distributed about 3,100 tickets, including tickets for the band and players' families." About "2,200 of those tickets were purchased -- $121,000 worth" (IDAHO STATESMAN, 12/12).

WORSE COMES TO WORSE: In Reno, Chris Murray noted Nevada "has sold fewer than 100 tickets, according to the school’s ticket sales office," for Saturday's Gildan New Mexico Bowl. To "break even in tickets sales, Nevada would have to sell a little more than 3,000 tickets." Mountain West Conference Deputy Commissioner Bret Gilliland said that conference teams "have historically sold about 6,000 tickets per bowl game." Nevada also will "travel its band and cheerleading squad for the game at an added cost." The athletic department still "expects to make a nice chunk of money that it says will be funneled to the general administration fund." Nevada Senior Associate AD Keith Hackett said, "We’re hoping that we can make $25,000 to $50,000. We’ll make a little bit less overall, but we’re using the same approach as we always have. We’re always as budget-conscious as possible" (, 12/12).

RAISING ARIZONA: In Michigan, Mike Griffith noted Michigan State has "sold approximately 2,000 of its 11,000-ticket allotment" for the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Ariz. against TCU. The bowl is "coming off back-to-back record breaking crowds thanks in large part to Iowa." Last year's Iowa-Oklahoma game drew 54,247 and in '10, Iowa-Missouri drew 53,453. Bowl game Chief of Communications Andy Bagnato said, "We had Iowa two years in a row and sold many tickets. This year we'll just have to see. The other thing about this game, because people know tickets are available, you can have a pretty strong walk-up crowd." Griffith wrote MSU's "inability to market and sell tickets like other Big Ten schools could have played a role in BCS bowl games passing them over in favor of other Big Ten programs with a better tradition and reputation for bringing more loyal fans to bowl games." MSU AD Mark Hollis said that he is "concerned that a poor Spartan following at this year's Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl will affect the program's image even more and hinder Michigan State's ability to get attractive bowl invites in the future" (, 12/10).

: Northern Illinois Dir of Ticket Operations Eric Schultz yesterday said that "fans have claimed approximately 5,500 tickets" for the Discover Orange Bowl. In Illinois, the DAILY HERALD reports approximately "10,000 tickets priced between $75 and $165 remain available in the Huskie sections" of Sun Life Stadium. NIU is "responsible to fill 17,500 seats" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 12/13). Virginia Tech AD Jim Weaver Tuesday said ticket sales for the Russell Athletic Bowl against Rutgers in Orlando had been "fairly slow." Weaver said that VT "had sold less than 3,000 of its 13,500 ticket allotment thus far." In DC, Mark Giannotto noted it "doesn’t help that tickets are going for as little as $4 on secondary market websites like StubHub." VT's ticket office is "forced to sell tickets that have a face value of $72" (, 12/12). Toledo has "sold only about 300 tickets" for Saturday's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl matchup against Utah State. However, there will be "no ramification for scant ticket sales," as the school will "not be required to pay for any of 2,000 tickets that go unsold" (TOLEDO BLADE, 12/13).

The Univ. of Michigan yesterday announced its Sept. 7, 2013 home game against Notre Dame "will be in primetime," according to Kyle Meinke of The game will be "a rematch of last year's Under The Lights" game, which was the "first night game in Michigan Stadium history." Michigan AD Dave Brandon has said that he is "looking to host one night game per year, and wishes to do it within the first five weeks of the season." The announcement, then, is "not a surprise because Notre Dame is the highest-profile matchup within that window." Notre Dame "cancelled games against Michigan in 2015-17, and the series already was headed for hiatus in 2018-19 as Notre Dame begins its partnership with the ACC." The teams' final scheduled game "will be in South Bend" in '14. An official game time "has not been announced, although it will be at night and carried by ABC or ESPN" (, 12/12). The DETROIT NEWS noted before kickoff of the game, Michigan will "honor its 1940 Heisman Trophy winner, the late Tom Harmon." He will be "recognized as a Michigan Football Legend during a pre-game ceremony" (DETROIT NEWS, 12/12).

BACK TO THE BELTWAY: Navy and the Redskins today announced that the Notre Dame-Navy game in '14 will be played at FedExField, marking the first time the schools have played their annual matchup at the venue since '98. The game this year was held at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland (Navy).