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Volume 26 No. 207

Colleges

FSU "shouldn't take a financial hit" over moving their football season opener against Boise State from TIAA Bank Field to Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee "because of insurance coverage written into the contract," according to Henry & Burlew of the TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT. FSU was "expecting a large payday from the Jacksonville game after selling around 45,000 tickets." Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said Thursday that all tickets purchased for the game "will be refunded." There will be "no reserved seating in the stadium Saturday, and general admission tickets are being sold on FSU's website for $10." Tickets "can be purchased on game day at the stadium for $15." Parking will also be free of charge. Plans to move the game due to Hurricane Dorian "came as early as Wednesday when university officials reached out to Tallahassee City Manager Reese Goad" (TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT, 8/30). Curry said that staging the game "would have been too perilous" with Dorian's unpredictable path. In Jacksonville, Gary Smits notes estimates are that 28,000 fans were "coming to the game from outside" the Jacksonville area. FSU would have kept 100% of the ticket revenue since it was a home game and how much it loses "depends on how many fans come to the game in Tallahassee" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 8/30).

Lyke has hired eight head coaches and brought plenty of changes to Pitt since being hired in '17
Photo: pitt
Lyke has hired eight head coaches and brought plenty of changes to Pitt since being hired in '17
Photo: pitt
Lyke has hired eight head coaches and brought plenty of changes to Pitt since being hired in '17
Photo: pitt

Pitt AD Heather Lyke brings a "renewed sense of hope" to the school's athletics, offering a "chance to start over and move on from whatever shortcomings defined the school's athletic programs over the past several years," according to Craig Meyer of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. Pitt has "fallen behind its major conference peers, perhaps even significantly so," with many of its teams "struggling." The men's basketball team has "disintegrated in the latter half of the decade" and the football program has been "average for much of the past four decades." But Pitt's "biggest source of confidence" comes from the fact that "changes have been afoot in Lyke's time." Since taking over in '17, she has hired eight head coaches, a mark that is "unusually high." But "swift, drastic changes make sense." Financially, Pitt still "lags behind many of its conference peers." In '17, the school spent $89.93M on athletics, ranking it "ninth of the ACC's 15 members." Meanwhile, Pitt's expenses increased nearly 36% over a five-year span from '12 to '17, the "third-sharpest rise of any ACC school in that time." Lyke said of turning Pitt athletics around, "There is no magic dust. It takes time doing it the right way" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 8/29).

NEW LOOK: THE ATHLETIC's Sean Gentille wrote it is an "ongoing process" for Lyke. In spring '17, Pitt had a "rebranding committee," $2M budget and "most crucially, step-by-step involvement with Nike" to rebrand the school's athletics program. Two years later, the "work was unveiled -- and it was far from just a color swap." Last August, Pitt announced it was "streamlining its primary logo and adopting the royal-and-gold scheme." Pitt Deputy AD/External Affairs Christian Spears said that for Pitt, this year is "about reintroducing the colors and letting the new logos 'get absorbed.'" Spears added that next year's "heavy lifting" will mean a "new, alternate football jersey" (THEATHLETIC.com, 8/29).

OSU's announced attendance last fall remained among the highest in the nation but fell to 101,947
Photo: getty images
OSU's announced attendance last fall remained among the highest in the nation but fell to 101,947
Photo: getty images
OSU's announced attendance last fall remained among the highest in the nation but fell to 101,947
Photo: getty images

Season ticket sales for Ohio State football games have "seen the largest drop-off in at least a decade," according to Joey Kaufman of the COLUMBUS DISPATCH. OSU sold 50,868 non-student season tickets for this season, a 4.3% "decrease from last season when it sold 53,151." OSU's announced attendance last fall "remained among the highest in the nation but fell to 101,947, its lowest mark" since '00. Season ticket sales have "largely dropped over this decade," with a 7.4% decline since Urban Meyer's first season in '12. For the latest drop, OSU Deputy AD Diana Sabau "pointed to the absence of Michigan on the home schedule as the biggest factor, among other nationwide trends." OSU also "sold partial season tickets for the first time" this season. Sabau said that the school sold "about 6,000 partial season tickets and planned to introduce more options in the future" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 8/30).

NATIONWIDE TREND: Univ. of New Mexico Deputy AD/External Affairs David Williams said that for the second straight year, football season tickets are "down with 6,213 sold as of Wednesday." In Albuquerque, Steve Virgen notes Williams and the school's marketing staff have "intensified efforts" ahead of the football season opener against Sam Houston State on Saturday. They have "made special offers available to sell more season tickets and/or five- and four-game packages" (ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL, 8/30).

The Univ. of Michigan men's basketball team has "sold out of season tickets" and reached the "highest demand for season tickets in 19 years with 11,163 claimed" for coach Juwan Howard's first season, according to James Hawkins of the DETROIT NEWS. That mark "surpasses last year's sales of 10,775 and is the most" since the '00-01 season. UM students have "claimed 3,255 season tickets so far, which passes last year's total of 3,086." Last season, UM "recorded the second-highest home attendance in program history with a total of 225,079 over 18 games" -- trailing only the '85-86 season total of 259,160 (DETROIT NEWS, 8/29).