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Volume 24 No. 117


Arizona State's athletic department revenue "took another jump to a record" $94.6M for FY '16, creating a $5.5M surplus in its annual operating budget, according to Jeff Metcalfe of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. ASU revenue increased 12.1%, up from $84.4M for FY '15, while expenses rose 6.2% from $83.8M to $89M. That is a "bottom line increase" of slightly more than $5M from $566,525 for FY '15. ASU VP/Athletics Ray Anderson said, "We're making progress. We're nowhere near where we should be (in revenue) given the attractiveness of our sports, the size of our alumni base and the attractiveness overall of our vision." Metcalfe noted Anderson started at ASU in January '14, midway through FY '14, when athletic department revenue was $74.7M and the budget surplus was $164,919. ASU "first began charging students $75 per semester for athletics" in FY '15. ASU's 13% revenue increase in FY '15 was "primarily due to implementation of the student athletic fee." For FY '16, the revenue jump "comes mostly from increases in the combined categories of media rights, NCAA distributions and Pac-12 distributions." In the royalties, licensing and sponsorships category, ASU revenue rose to $13.6M, "largely due to a new athletic apparel contract" with adidas that took effect in July '15. Meanwhile, on the expense side, ASU's largest increases for FY '16 "were for athletic student aid, support staff/administrative compensation and direct overhead/administration expenses" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/16).

Ohio State AD Gene Smith begins his three-year term on the CFP Selection Committee this month, saying he has a "chance to do something special," according to a Q&A with Dennis Dodd of Despite the role, Smith is still "serving as a powerful administrator with oversight over a top five football program." He "replaces Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez as a Big Ten rep," joining former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer and Robert Morris President Chris Howard as the "newbies on the committee." Smith also has been a member of the NCAA infractions committee and D-I men's basketball committee. Excerpts of the Q&A are below.

Q: The CFP is a lot of work. What compelled you to want to do this?
Smith: The way the inaugural (CFP) committee was set up -- the guidelines, the procedures -- I think it's marvelous what they've done. I feel comfortable first and foremost going into that system. And the game gave me so much. It all started back in high school with this great game.

Q: Have you solicited any former or current committee members on the time commitments?
Smith: No. We have Big Ten meetings in February. I’m hopeful at that time I can sit down with Barry, learn from him everything about the experience he had. If I didn’t have the basketball committee experience, I might have a different perspective. That was five years of a lot of traveling, watching a lot of games, studying information on teams. I think, if I didn’t have that experience, I’d have more trepidation.

Q: You played in the poll era. You were an administrator in the BCS era and now you’re part of this process. Why is the CFP better, more fair?
Smith: I had great apprehension about the CFP. I was a BCS guy. A lot of it was personal. I had the old traditional thought of the value of bowl games being rewards. Now, I still feel we have too many bowls. That’s been lost to some degree. From a narrow point of view at Ohio State, they benefit from the BCS. We had more appearances (10) than anybody. I went into the CFP with apprehension. After seeing it, how it worked and seeing how committee set up selection process, I’m a fan now. I think it works. I’m concerned about the other bowls. What we do with them and for them?”

Q: Are there too many bowls? The Poinsettia Bowl recently folded. Will the market take care of the glut?
Smith: Over time, yes, because that is a financial issue. Over time, the realities will set in. That was one. I hated to see it go way from the perspective it provided those young men. We need to look at the reality of what we are and where we’re going (, 2/16).