New Univ. of Cincinnati AD Mike Bohn on Thursday during his introductory press conference said getting out of the American Athletic Conference and into one of the five power conferences is "the No. 1 priority," according to Tom Groeschen of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. Bohn: "I lived it myself when I led the (Colorado) move to the Pac-12, and I understand how important that is." UC President Santa Ono said that the school "interviewed Bohn and four other finalists," and that Bohn was "given a five-year contract." Ono said Bohn "was the unanimous No. 1 choice." Bohn, who replaces Whit Babcock, was "forced out of his Colorado job last May, after eight years." Ono said that the circumstances of Bohn's departure from Colorado "did not factor into in UC's search." Ono: "Not at all. This is a person of integrity." Groeschen notes UC is currently undergoing an $86M "renovation of Nippert Stadium," and Bohn was "involved in renovating facilities at Colorado's Folsom Field" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 2/7).
Univ. of Colorado AD Rick George on Thursday said that the school has "already raised more than half" of the $50M needed to begin work on a $143M facilities project later this spring, according to a front-page piece by Kyle Ringo of the Boulder DAILY CAMERA. George: "We've got a good, solid vision for where we want to go, and I think people are wanting to invest." He said that CU "has more than 50 gifts committed and documented," and added that most of the money "has come from people who have donated to the athletic department in the past." George said that several former athletes "have committed to making major gifts as well." The CU athletic department prior to this has "never raised" more than $15M in one year. George said that his predecessor, new Cincinnati AD Mike Bohn, "had raised some of the money for the project, but the majority of it has been raised since August." The CU Board of Regents in December approved George's plan for $143M in facilities upgrades "in and around Folsom Field" and required that about $50M be "raised before construction can begin." George has maintained that he has a "goal of beginning construction this spring or early this summer with a target date for finishing the project" in early fall '15 (Boulder DAILY CAMERA, 2/7).
The Univ. of Tennessee will open the '15 football season at LP Field against UAB in a move that "further underscores the increased priority Tennessee is placing on the Nashville/Midstate area," according to David Climer of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. This is the "first of two scheduled season openers at neutral sites" for UT, including the '16 season-opener against Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway. UT AD Dave Hart said playing at a neutral site is "revenue neutral" compared to a home game at Neyland Stadium. He added, "We’ve run all those numbers. It doesn’t impact us one way or another from a revenue standpoint. It’s a chance to get into an area that is very, very important to us." Hart is a "fan of neutral-site games," and the school "could play in Atlanta and Charlotte in upcoming seasons" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 2/7).