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Volume 24 No. 178


Cal will "hire its next AD amid a financial crisis, dipping alumni satisfaction and tickets sales, and with first-year head coaches leading its two biggest revenue-generating sports: football and men’s basketball" after AD Mike Williams announced he will not seek a contract extension, according to Rusty Simmons of the S.F. CHRONICLE. New Cal Chancellor Carol Christ has been "adamant about a campus-wide neutralization of debt" by '20, and that goal will be a "colossal task." The athletic department "lost more than" $20M in the past fiscal year, "largely because of debt" from a nearly $500M renovation of Memorial Stadium. Christ said that "cutting entire sports is a 'last resort' and that the university may assume a large portion of the athletic department’s stadium debt -- despite faculty opposition." The university has "not specified a timeline for hiring Williams’ replacement or decided whether to employ an outside search firm" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/17). The San Jose Mercury News' Jon Wilner, who broke the news of Williams' future, said there is a "revolving door" currently at Cal, as it is a "very difficult environment to educate or administrate in right now, just with the financial situation.” There are a "lot of benefits" to being the school's AD, but the “financial hurdle is gigantic." The pool of candidates "will depend, to a certain extent, on what happens in the next couple of months with the budget situation." Wilner noted Christ has indicated they might "not cut sports, maybe they’ll be able to figure out other ways to manage down the deficit." Wilner: "If they get that resolved and then they start their search, they could have a lot better candidate pool. If they want to bring somebody in to bring the hammer, then it’s going to be a lot tougher” ("1.Question,", 8/16).

TALE OF THE TAPE: Williams said that academic achievements at Cal have been his "proudest accomplishment." Williams: "Going from worst to first in the APR in football I think, is an extraordinary story. I think that the work we did with the short-term finances, with Under Armour and Learfield and $7 million net new money every year for the next 10 years. Those are pretty extraordinary accomplishments, in terms of that revenue space, I think if you look at the core of Cal athletics, I think it's in a pretty strong space." He added: "There were and there remain a lot of misconceptions about the stadium and stadium financing and that debt. I think, still, there is much work to be done in explaining what the operating budget for Cal Athletics looks like, with and without the stadium debt" (, 8/16).

GLOOM & DOOM?'s Ray Ratto noted Cal is "staring at quite possibly the bleakest future a major athletic university ever has." Cal’s been "blowing through money it hasn’t been taking in for years upon years, didn’t realize the deficit-cutting benefits of the Pac-12 Network (because they largely don’t exist)." The day of reckoning "looms closer and closer, especially now" that Christ "described the deficit as 'corrosive' and has insisted that the athletic department have a balanced budget" by '20 (, 8/16).

The Univ. of Missouri as of yesterday had sold 22,919 football season-ticket packages to the "general public and 4,856 student ticket packages," according to Dave Matter of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The general public figure is down about 15% from this time last year, when MU had sold 26,950 tickets. However, student sales are up 114% from last year at this time (2,260). This year’s student sales have "already surpassed last year’s final sales figure of 3,008." Single-game sales have also been "robust this summer." Last year at this time, MU had sold 1,346 single-game tickets, but that figure is "already 11,606 as of this week." Matter notes this year, student football ticket packages are "tethered to student basketball ticket packages." Men's basketball ticket sales have "exploded this offseason," meaning student football ticket sales are up as well. As of this week, MU has "sold 5,105 general public basketball season tickets." That has already "passed last year’s final figure (4,434)," an uptick of 15% (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 8/17).

WHEN DOES FOOTBALL START?'s Allan Taylor reported West Virginia’s athletic department as of last week had projected football season-ticket sales to "top out around 27,000, continuing a five-year decline." WVU Senior Associate AD/External Affairs Matt Wells said that the football program has "sold about 26,300 packages for its six-game home schedule." The three weeks leading up to the opener typically attract an "additional 500 to 1,000 buyers." Meanwhile, WVU "sold all 17,000 seats allotted for its highly anticipated" neutral-site opener against Virginia Tech at FedExField, which was "not part of the season ticket package" (, 8/11). In Wyoming, Brandon Foster reported Wyoming athletics has now sold "more than 10,000 season-tickets for the upcoming football season." The school said that there has been a 27% increase in season-ticket sales from '16. The 10,000 mark has been "met just once before," in '11, when Wyoming hosted Nebraska. Wyoming will host Oregon at home this year, as well as the Border War against Colorado State (CASPER STAR-TRIBUNE, 8/13).

: In Norfolk, Harry Minium noted Old Dominion "appears close to selling out" of football season tickets for the ninth consecutive year. ODU had "sold 12,500 tickets as of Tuesday, just a few hundred short of selling out." ODU has "sold out all 54 games in eight seasons at the 20,118-seat Foreman Field" (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 8/16). In Tampa, Joey Knight wrote the effect of new USF football coach Charlie Strong "hasn't resulted in a spike in season-ticket sales." The school reported last week it had sold 14,074 season tickets, a "modest dropoff from last season (15,973)," when USF's home slate included games against Florida State, Navy and UCF. On the "upside: The school reported 600 new season-ticket accounts" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 8/12). Texas Tech Senior Associate AD/External Operations & Strategic Communications Robert Giovannetti said football season-ticket sales are "about on pace." However, he noted that in odd numbered years, the school does not have home games against Texas and Oklahoma, which "contributes to ticket sales" (, 8/15).