Okay, no surprise: your average P5 AD is… well, average. He/She operates in a world where it’s expected that all the money rolling in will be spent on something. And since that something isn’t labor-related expense, outsized amounts are going to flow to people like Bobby Petrino and Charlie Weis. It’s the nature of the beast.
The funny part is how these folks expect to be perceived as shrewd business people.
That’s not the funniest part, though. Now they want you to believe that the coronavirus has taught them a lesson and that, going forward, it’s not going to be business as usual. Cross their hearts and hope to die ($$).
“For now, the days of buying out coaches’ contracts like drunken sailors are gone,” one Division I athletic director said on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely.
Something that won’t happen this fall that did last fall: a school paying a $20 million buyout to get rid of a head coach before the end of his second full season, as Florida State did with Willie Taggart, then hiring a new staff. There’s no way to justify something like that in this financial climate.
“No,” Castiglione said. “There’s not.”
One senior administrator referred to it as “course-correction.” Another used the term “recalibration.” Either way, it could be one area of college athletics that faces something of a reckoning in the coming months and years. And after years of skyrocketing salaries for head football and head men’s basketball coaches with leverage largely in their agents’ hands, it comes as welcome news to those in athletic departments.
I’m sure Jimmy Sexton went to bed last night with the cold sweats thinking about how much harder it’s going to be negotiating with an athletic director who would only talk tough anonymously.
Here’s what “recalibration” actually looks like.
But on the other side of the pandemic — once we reach the middle of the decade — two expanded revenue streams suggest a bright outlook for budgets:
1) As Navigate explained in December, the (seemingly inevitable) expansion of the College Football Playoff would be highly lucrative:
“Based on the average payout by ESPN on a per-TV-viewer basis, we estimate that an expansion to eight teams would bring in at least another $420 million per year, and expansion to 16 teams would add another $560 million annually.
“That’s tens of millions of dollars in additional revenue for the conferences — and millions for the individual schools.
“Combine that with the current payout for the four-team event, $467 million per year from ESPN, and the total for eight teams would be $887 million per year. A 16-team event would generate up to $1.45 billion per year.”
2) The next round of media rights deals will bring massive cash to the Power Five, as well.
Navigate’s latest projections call for an increase in value of 50-to-100 percent.
“The next set of TV deals, we believe, will be enriched, not harmed, by what’s happening right now — that shift toward home (viewing),’’ Maestas said.
“We’re about to release projections, and it’s roughly a 50-to-100 percent jump in TV money for all the conferences other than the ACC; they’re just stuck in a very long deal.
“This return to a new normal (after Covid-19) — these universities won’t be down for long. All those deals come up in the next four or five years. That means every major Power Five will take another significant step forward in their budgets.”
Yeah, that’s some day of reckoning coming. Be afraid, Jimmy. Be very, very afraid.