Category Archives: It’s Just Bidness

Letting Steve Patterson have his cake and eat it, too.

Honestly, I don’t have a problem at all with someone defending the Texas AD’s management strategy on the basis of “hey, we all know it’s a business”.

It just seems to me if that’s the road you choose to go down, you’ve got to call Patterson out on the hypocrisy of his rationale for not allowing student-athlete compensation.  Because either it’s a business you’re running, or it’s not.  Unless your definition of business includes maintaining an artificial construct – sorry, an illegal artificial construct –  to justify not having to deal with the same labor costs other businesses face.  In which case, Walmart is jealous.

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“He has turned the Horns ‘brand’ into a commodity to be sold.”

Sally Lehr, your problem is that what you see as a bug, Steve Patterson sees as a feature.

I fear for the rebranding.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.

Money for nothing.

An Ohio State blogger looks at what Big Ten expansion hath wrought and concludes, outside of jacking up revenues, not a whole lot.

Which, when you think about it, is a conclusion you can draw for all of the P5 conferences.  Not that any of the folks running them could care about what you conclude.

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Giving new meaning to the phrase “TV money”

I’m linking to this Jon Solomon post about P5 conference revenues, not because there’s any real surprise they’re skyrocketing, but because when you see this…

The ACC filing obtained Friday by CBSSports.com was the last filed by the five major conferences. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott was again the country’s highest-paid commissioner last year at $3.5 million. The Big Ten’s Jim Delany was credited with $3.4 million, although the Big Ten said about $830,000 of his compensation was reported as deferred payment in previous years. The Big 12’s Bob Bowlsby made about $2.5 million, and the SEC’s Mike Slive was at $2.1 million.

Swofford was credited with $2,042,752 in base compensation and $76,107 in nontaxable benefits. He totaled nearly $2.2 million in total pay during the 2012 calendar year.

… you suddenly realize that the two conferences that own all or some of their networks are paying their commissioners a million dollars a year more than the others.

Glad they’ve got their priorities out in the open.  After all, those networks don’t program themselves.

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The Nostradamus of conference realignment

Who had the foresight to write this five years ago?

A collateral consideration for all of us as national leaders in intercollegiate athletics is the creation of a few “mega-conferences” may result in more governmental, legal and public scrutiny. Pressure to compete may rise with resulting higher salaries and more churning of ADs and coaches. Clear identification of the highest level of intercollegiate athletics reduced to a smaller grouping of (e.g. four 16-member conferences) could cause eventual tax consequences and tremendous pressure to pay those student-athletes responsible in programs driving the most revenue and pressure, and whose coaches and administrators are receiving more and more financial rewards.

The answer may – no, check that – will surprise you.

If the handwriting was on the wall that far back, it really makes the strategy we’ve seen the schools and the NCAA pursue in the interim look that much more futile.  Though not unexpected.

Conference realignment did reset the television rights market, which did make athletic directors and coaches a lot richer. At the same time, seeing people who insisted they weren’t part of a multibillion-dollar business acting exactly like they were part of a multibillion-dollar business turned public sentiment away from the schools and toward the athletes. O’Bannon v. NCAA was already in the pipeline, but these moves helped the plaintiffs’ attorneys to take the tack that would ultimately win them the case. Meanwhile, more lawyers smelled blood—or money, or both—and jumped in with suits of their own. Northwestern football players, aware of their role in the cable television universe, petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for the right to unionize. Under intense pressure, the wealthiest five conferences convinced the other Division I leagues to allow the richest to make rules for themselves so they could pay athletes more. (Leaders also acted as if this was charity and not a response to lawsuits.)

Camel farming is easy.  Managing oil production is a lot trickier.  And so far, these guys aren’t even living up to OPEC standards.

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“And, it will enhance the fan experience at Terp games.”

Maryland intends to join the ranks of beer providers at football games, because, you know, it’s all about being able to “enhance the fan experience in the facilities”.  The fact that the school will make money is just an added bonus.

I do like that there’s an egalitarian side to this.

In 2008, the university decided to allow beer and wine sales starting in the 2009 football season in Byrd Stadium’s 64 new luxury suites. That policy — similar to policies at many other schools — states that suite sales must be carefully monitored, sales personnel trained and certified, and drink maximums enforced.

“Beer and wine sales are already available to the hundreds of fans in the boxes and mezzanine level at our sports venues,” Loh noted in the letter. “This proposal will extend that option to fans seated elsewhere.”

Of course, there are those who don’t think the plebes can hold their booze.

“We told them we didn’t think it was a good idea,” Charles W. Caldwell III, chairman of the county’s Board of License Commissioners, said Wednesday of being briefed recently on the plan. “I don’t think they paid any attention to us.”

Maybe it’s because you don’t pay as well, Charles.

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All kinds of ways to spend money

Here’s a really good piece on how the money comes in and goes out at Mississippi State, which just celebrated a record year for earnings.

MSU’s athletic department reported a record “profit” of $7.8 million for the academic school year (profit is in quotation marks because technically it’s a non-profit we’re looking at here), but even that’s misleading when you consider how the money is being spent.

So where does all the money go? Most of the $62,275,111, the revenue taken in by MSU from all avenues this year, goes right back into the university.

Stricklin paid out $20.1 million in coaching salaries across all sports in 2014-15, and roughly $10 million of MSU’s annual athletic budget cover scholarship money for student-athletes.

“We pay the university for every student-athlete,” said Stricklin. “Every football player that’s on full scholarship, it’s not just ‘Hey, come here for free,’ the athletic department is writing a check back to the university for that. Our scholarship budget this year, including the extra miscellaneous figure for cost of attendance, will be close to $10 million. So the new money from the SEC, that’s about equal to our scholarship bill is on an annual basis.”

That may look like a real outlay to the athletic department, but to the school?  Hardly.  Sure, there are some marginal expenses incurred, but it’s not like MSU is having to spend every scholarship dollar it receives on actual costs.  There’s “profit” in there, too.

Unlike, say, the coaching salaries.  But they’ll never be able to afford to compensate the kids, right?

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