Category Archives: It’s Just Bidness

Falling up

Jesus, what nets you a big raise these days.

Ray Anderson will continue as Arizona State athletic director through September 2022 under terms of a three-year contract extension.

Anderson, 64, signed a five-year contract as ASU Vice President for Athletics that was due to expire in February 2019. He now will continue through at least the 2021-22 school year with an annual base salary of $800,000 that took effect in July 2017.

… Anderson made $642,600 per year in base salary under his original contract. He also is eligible for numerous academic and athletic performance bonuses that could potentially double his annual salary.

In 2016-17, Anderson earned $462,178 in bonuses — $112,208 based on athletic performance and $349,970 for academic performance such as Academic Progress Rate and athlete grade point average.

Aside from the ludicrousness of getting a bonus for student-athletes’ academic performance when they don’t, the athletic performance he’s being rewarded for is what, exactly?

ASU football, men’s basketball and baseball had losing seasons in 2016-17. Football and men’s basketball improved this school year although Anderson made a football coaching change and created a new leadership model for that sport.

ASU’s 2016-17 Directors’ Cup finish for overall athletic department on-field success was the lowest ever (No. 43).

Evidently, he’s on a roll.  With Herm Edwards’ coaching stint off to a blazing start, to boot.

And some of you wonder where they can come up with the money to pay players.



Filed under General Idiocy, It's Just Bidness

Larry Scott, certified man of genius

So, what’s the highest paid conference commissioner up to these days?  Building a powerhouse TV network, it seems.

Kagan’s research shows that, in addition to its well-documented limited reach (i.e., households), the Pac-12 National network generates a dramatically lower average subscriber fee than the SEC and Big Ten networks.

Perhaps more surprising is that the Pac-12 National’s subscriber fee has dropped over the years — and not by a few cents, either.

It has plunged.

According to Kagan, the Pac-12 National network received an average of $0.30 per subscriber (coast-to-coast) when it was launched in 2012.

That number accounts for the higher fees paid by subscribers inside the conference’s home markets and the lower fees paid by out-of-market subscribers (i.e., viewers from Topeka to Bangor to Miami).

To be clear: That tiered fee structure is standard practice for college networks. The SEC’s subscriber fees are higher in Birmingham than Billings; the Big Ten doesn’t command the same fee in Albuquerque as it does in Ann Arbor.

But here’s where the situation gets interesting.

Kagan’s research listed the average national subscriber fee in five-year increments:

* In 2012, the Big Ten commanded $0.37 per sub, while the Pac-12 National network received $0.30.

* By 2017, the Big Ten’s average sub fee had jumped to $0.48, an increase of 30 percent, while the Pac-12 fee had dropped to $0.11.

That’s right: From $0.30 to $0.11 in the five-year span.

Of the 24 networks listed in the research report that existed in both 2012 and 2017, the Pac-12 Network was one of only four that experienced a drop in sub fees over the span. The others were the Olympic Channel, the Tennis Channel and beIN Sports.

Nifty trick, that.

Now, Wilner goes on to point out that the Pac-12 probably hasn’t lost money in the process.  That’s because it’s swapped subscriber fees for subscriber eyeballs.  To put it more succinctly,

“They took lower revenue in order to reach more homes,” said Adam Gajo, a Kagan analyst who covers regional sports networks.

This, in a day when demand for televised live sports seems almost bottomless, doesn’t seem like optimal marketing.

But let’s view this hypothetically:

Even if Kagan’s estimates for Pac-12 National are off by 25 percent — a complete whiff — the network would still be generating an average of just $0.14 per sub.

That’s in line with the Tennis Channel and the World Fishing Network but nowhere close to the Big Ten or SEC networks.

To reiterate: The fee drop doesn’t mean the Pac-12 Networks are cratering.

They aren’t.

But the Kagan estimates are more evidence of a lagging business … another nugget to help fill in the pixels … to help us gain a slightly better understanding of the finances.

After all, the Pac-12 Networks are a nine-figure annual enterprise owned by 10 public (and two private) universities.

If you’ve ever wondered if you have what it takes to run a P5 conference, Larry Scott is here to tell you not to sell yourself short.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football

Today, in slippery slopes

It sounds like Iowa’s athletic director is having some sleepless nights because of Jeffrey Kessler.

Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said Thursday he is concerned that a pending lawsuit against the NCAA may flip the current college sports model on its head.

“I disagree that we should have an open-market, pay-for-play (system in which) student-athletes are employees,” Barta told reporters after the monthly meeting of the Presidential Committee on Athletics.

Last week, a federal judge ordered the NCAA back to court to defend its limits on the compensation college athletes can receive. A trial was set for Dec. 3. The plaintiffs are seeking a system that would apply only to major-college football and Division I men’s and women’s basketball players.

That’s one aspect that worries Barta.

“What does that do for all the other sports? What does it do for other challenges like Title IX?” Barta wondered. “Right now, we have 24 sports and they’re funded primarily through football and men’s basketball. So what happens to all our Olympic sports? I’m just concerned about all the possible dominoes that could occur.”

Must suck that you aren’t good at dominoes — if, by “dominoes”, you mean doing the same thing that every chief executive of a big business in this country does every day.

Here’s Iowa’s financial reality.

You know what really bothers assholes like Barta?  Having to do their job.  Life is so much easier when you have more money rolling in than you know what to do with it.

Why is Barta an asshole?  Because it’s not just about him.

That’s the so-called “Olympic model” of sports. Barta rejected that notion as well.

“This is about a student-athlete experience. Our student-athletes graduate at a very high rate and they come here to do two things — compete at the highest level in the sport that they love and earn a degree from one of the great universities in the country. And they come here with that in mind, not to be an employee,” Barta said.

“I think the Olympic model is unique to the Olympics. … I like the collegiate model. It doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. It doesn’t mean it’s perfect. The collegiate model has worked for 100 and some years. It’s a great model that can be made better, but not flip and turn into an employee and employer relationship.”

This is why these guys oppose the Olympic model for college.  They’re scared shitless that a court is going to see outside compensation as the camel’s nose inside the tent, and — poof! — that hundred years of exploitation goes up in smoke.  Then Gary Barta would have to work for a living.  No wonder he’s uneasy.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Talk to the hand

Echo chamber thinking:

ACC commissioner John Swofford on potentially paying players in college basketball: “There’s no interest of people in higher education to go that route. There’s so many complications that come with it. I’ve not talked to a single athletic director, commissioner or president that has any interest in paying players.”

Gee, what a surprise.

Now if only you can get the courts to agree.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Today, in posturing

Hey, remember when Ohio State AD Gene Smith got all holier than thou about coaches’ salaries?

Though Ohio State pays its coaches in the upper echelon of salaries, it has avoided paying what Athletics Director Gene Smith believes to be unnecessarily large salaries for coaches.

“I don’t even put Texas A&M in our sphere because I’m considering Urban [Meyer]’s situation with three years left on his contract,” Smith said during Ohio State’s Board of Trustees’ Talent and Compensation Committee meeting Thursday. “Talking with [Susan Basso, vice president of human resources] and [Joanna McGoldrick, associate vice president of total rewards], that’s not even someone that we’re comparing with because it’s so ridiculous.

“It’s the same way with Alabama and their total salary. Take it off the sheet because it doesn’t matter. Because it’s just no value to it. It’s a reactionary type of management.”

Good times.  You know what’s coming next, right?

Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer will be paid $7.6 million for the 2018 season under a two-year contract extension approved Thursday by a committee of the university’s governing board.

The deal, subject to approval by the full board at its meeting Friday, will give Meyer a $1.2 million raise over what he made for the 2017 season, according to a release from the school.

For those of you out there doing math, TAMU is paying Jimbo an average of $7.5 million a year and Saban makes a little over $7 million a year, too.

Good thing Gene’s not reacting.


Filed under It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, It's Just Bidness, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

For (our) love of the game

The 10 highest-paid public employees in the country are all college head coaches(h/t Walt)

  1. Nick Saban, University of Alabama football coach, Alabama – $7.09 million
  2. Jim Harbaugh, University of Michigan football coach, Michigan – $7 million
  3. John Calipari, University of Kentucky basketball coach, Kentucky – $6.88 million
  4. Urban Meyer, Ohio State University football coach, Ohio – $5.86 million
  5. Bob Stoops, University of Oklahoma football coach, Oklahoma – $5.86 million
  6. Charlie Strong, University of Texas football coach, Texas – $5.16 million
  7. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State University football coach, Florida – $5.15 million
  8. Sean Miller, University of Arizona basketball coach, Arizona – $4.95 million
  9. Bill Self, Kansas University basketball coach, Kansas – $4.94 million
  10. James Franklin, Penn State University football coach, Pennsylvania – $4.4 million

My guess is the next ten are, too.  And let’s not forget those selfless assistants, toiling away in relative anonymity.

And a note: The 24/7 Wall Street list isn’t the overall highest-paid public employees in the country – it’s the highest paid from each state. For example, Alabama assistant coach Lane Kiffin was paid $680,000 last year, far above most of those on the non-coaching high-paying list, but since he’s not Alabama’s highest-paid employee, he isn’t included.

Bitch and moan all you like about what that says about government and academic institutional priorities, but the reality is that’s nothing more than a reflection of our priorities.


Filed under It's Just Bidness

Good thing it’s not a job.

Well, at least Herm Edwards is dispensing with subtlety.

Arizona State football is trying to become more NFL-like, and first-year head coach Herm Edwards sent a harsh NFL-style message to his team Tuesday.

Edwards told his players before they began the fourth week of spring practice that cuts likely are coming, including to some with scholarships if performance dictates after the spring game April 13.

Edwards, an NFL head coach for eight years, then repeated that message to the media after practice, saying any scholarship players who are cut would retain their financial aid if they opt to stay at ASU as a student.

But, Herm, you’re not in the NFL.  These are student-athletes.  Are you sure you’re supposed to be using the word “cut” here?

When Edwards was hired, ASU created a new leadership model patterned after an NFL front office that brings athletic administrators into roles with players development, personnel and recruiting.

“You’re accountable to compete every day,” Edwards said. “You don’t lose your scholarship, you lose the ability to play. It’s always worked that way in football. That’s how you become a competitive team. You want to get in the two-deep. You should want to play. You don’t want to sit four years and sit the bench.”

Edwards said having fewer players short term due to cuts would not hurt because, typically, 45 players are used in a game.

It’s going to be an interesting season, to say the least.

Really, if, you want to play for Edwards, what can you say?  This, I guess, if you’re buying in.

“Being at Arizona State, I’ve seen people come and go. Coaches, players. It’s not a big deal any more. That’s what you’ve got to expect in the NFL. Guys come and go, they get cut.”

But, kid, you’re not in the NFL.  You’re an amateur, right?

“It’s professionalism at its finest,” Wilkins said. “It’s going to be a rude awakening when they go from student-athlete to student. I think that’s how it has to be. There’s got to be competition at every single point. When there’s not competition is when people get stagnant, and being complacent is when things start going bad.”

I bet Larry Scott is having a shit fit right now.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football, The NFL Is Your Friend.