Category Archives: Pac-10

How the Arizona Wildcats Made the College World Series…and Money

It has been quite a season for the University of Arizona baseball team.  Winning the most games of any Wildcats baseball team for a single season since 1989, the Wildcats punched their ticket to Omaha, NE and the College World Series after beating St. John’s University in the NCAA Super Regional tournament.

While the Wildcats’ road back to Omaha is impressive, perhaps what is more interesting about the team’s season is the increase in revenue enjoyed by the the University of Arizona baseball program.  While the team’s on-field success drove interest in the program, the increase in revenue was largely generated by the team’s move from its previous on-campus home of 44-years, Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium, to the off-campus location of Hi Corbett Field.

Given the history that the Wildcats created while playing at Jerry Kindall Field, along the field’s convenient on-campus location, there was some initial resistance from Wildcats baseball fans regarding the move.  However, University of Arizona Director of Athletics, Greg Byrne, knew that the move to the former Spring Training facility of the Cleveland Indians and Colorado Rockies would bring great things to the team and the Arizona athletics department.

“When we did this, our thought was that there was a community connection with Hi Corbett.  It was a dramatic facility improvement for our team, as we have a great clubhouse, locker room and training facilities.  We felt that if we could re-engage Tucson with our baseball program, it would have a tremendous impact for us this year and many years to come,” Byrne said.

Byrne’s intuition about the success that moving to Hi Corbett Field could bring the baseball program was correct.  The athletics department invested $350,000.00 to update the field’s clubhouse and provide it with University of Arizona paint and banners.  After those measures, Hi Corbett was open for business and fears that fans may not attend games at an off-campus location were quickly quashed.

For starters, ticket revenue for the baseball team this season was five-times that of what it was last year.  In 2011, Arizona baseball brought in $69,000.00 worth of ticket revenue.  This season, the baseball team brought in just shy of $350,000.00 in ticket revenue, which does not include revenue for tickets sold during the NCAA Regional tournament or NCAA Super Regional tournament.  Arizona baseball games were a hit with fans this season, as the team has brought in an average home attendance of 2,460.  Last season, the average attendance for games was just over 1,000.  The popularity of watching the Arizona baseball team play at Hi Corbett Field is further demonstrated by the fact that during one weekend series against Arizona rival ASU, the baseball team was able to bring in ticket revenues of $98,500.00.  The ticket revenue that Arizona baseball was able to generate during one weekend series was nearly $30,000.00 more than it generated all last season.

Along with obtaining revenue from ticket sales, Arizona’s athletic department also receives revenues from concession sales at the baseball games.  One luxury the athletics department has found in its move to Hi Corbett, is the ability to sell beer at baseball games.  This year, $360,000.00 worth of concessions, including beer, were sold at Arizona baseball games.  Of that gross number, the Arizona athletics department received $160,000.00 from Hi Corbett’s concessionaire.  Although beer sales accounted for a significant portion of the concession gross receipts, Byrne is quick to note that he does not believe beer sales are driving ticket sales.  “The nice thing, is that for our NCAA Regional game, we had 5,400 people at the game and we didn’t sell beer.  They came to support Arizona baseball; not for the amenity of beer,” said Byrne.

Arizona’s move to Hi Corbett has also presented the school’s athletic department with another way to generate revenue:  Hosting NCAA postseason baseball games.  For the first time in 20 years, the Wildcats hosted the NCAA Regional baseball tournament.  Additionally, Arizona hosted its first-ever NCAA Super Regional baseball tournament.  To host these tournaments, the athletics department placed bids with the NCAA.  The starting bid for the NCAA Regional tournament was $35,000.00, while the bid for the NCAA Super Regional is $50,000.00.  Byrne noted that the Arizona athletics department exceeded the bid amount for the NCAA Super Regional tournament.  Although Arizona spent money to bring these tournaments to Tucson, it gets to keep ticket sales revenue exceeding  the bid amount.  Additionally, the athletics department gets to keep all concession revenues from the tournaments.  On the first day of the NCAA Regional tournament, $24,000.00 worth of concessions were sold.

For the first time since 2004, the Arizona Wildcats baseball team took the field in Omaha to compete for the College World Series.  While the team’s success is much to celebrate, the financial turn-around of the program that was sparked by the team’s play and move to Hi Corbett is another cause for celebration.  Last year, the baseball team lost revenues of $816,000.00.  This year, Byrne expects the team’s net loss in revenues to be closer to $650,000.00.  In the next five years, Byrne expects the teams net losses to be under $500,000.00.  Although these numbers still represent net losses, in the grand scheme of things, it is a major win for the University of Arizona baseball program.

A Lucky Opportunity: How Andrew Luck’s Success Has Helped Stanford Athletics

One thing is certain to happen this evening at Radio City Music Hall:  The first name to be called in the 2012 NFL Draft will be that of former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

In his four years at Stanford, Luck threw for 31 wins, led Stanford to three bowl appearances and was a runner-up for the Heisman Trophy twice, all while completing an engineering degree in architectural design.  Luck’s impressive resume at Stanford left the university with not only a stronger football program, but with a great marketing opportunity.

Joe Karlgaard has served as Stanford’s Senior Associate Athletic Director for Development since February 2011.  Prior to that, he was the athletic director at Oberlin College for six years and as a Stanford student, worked in Stanford’s track and field office.  When asked whether a Stanford student-athlete has captivated donors like Luck, Karlgaard says the school has never seen a current student-athlete as celebrated as Luck.

“I think that Andrew certainly has a profile in college athletics that we haven’t seen at Stanford in a long time.  Tiger Woods may have a similar profile, but his profile grew after he left Stanford and won the Masters.  Luck is a two-time Heisman finalist, who helped us turn around our football program and performed well in the classroom,” Karlgaard explained.

The profile Luck developed during his four-year tenure at Stanford has assisted the Stanford athletics department in fundraising.  In particular, the athletics department has received two anonymous donations totaling $15 million dollars from donors who said they were inspired by Luck.  While these large donations were definitely given as a result of Luck’s presence at Stanford, Karlgaard believes that Luck has motivated others to donate money to the Stanford athletics department.

The $15 million which the Stanford athletics department received from donors who were inspired by Luck will only further propel Luck’s positive presence on the campus.  According to Karlgaard, the $15 million will be used to fund endowment and capital projects.  One capital project that will be funded in part by the $15 million donation, is Stanford’s renovations to its Arrillaga Family Sports Center.  Stanford will break ground this summer on the 18 month renovation process to the facility.  Renovations will include an expanded weight room, new football locker room, two new auditoriums, new football coaches offices and new film rooms.  The total cost of the renovations to the Arrillaga Family Sports Center is expected to be $18 million, of which Karlgaard indicates has all been raised by Stanford.

Luck’s presence as Stanford has been used by the athletics department to generate annual giving donations.  Stanford athletics utilizes the website for annual giving purposes.  As of this Tuesday, the front page of the website features a nine-and-a-half minute video featuring Luck discussing his experience at Stanford.  Karlgaard said that the email was pushed out to donors who have not given this year to the annual find with invitation for them to donate to the athletics department.  Within 24 hours of the video being uploaded, it had received over 2,000 page views.

As for whether Luck’s being drafted number-one will further motivate donors to give money to Stanford athletics, Karlgaard said, “I don’t think his going number-one necessarily changes the minds of our donors regarding how they feel about Luck or Stanford football.  He’s the whole package.  He’s the consummate student-athlete as Stanford envisions it.  His success on the football field and his commitment to finishing his degree in a rigorous subject, like architecture, have inspired our donors at a variety of levels.  I don’t think his going number-one has any real impact.  If the Colts decided to take Robert Griffin III, I don’t think we would see any real downturn to our donations for development.”

Today, there is an air of excitement on the Stanford campus, as the school’s quarterback is expected to be the first name called in the NFL Draft.  However, given the profile Andrew Luck built-in his four years at Stanford, his name will certainly continue to ring out on Stanford’s campus.

Highest Net Income Amongst Athletics Departments

To conclude this week’s series, will list in order the athletics departments earning the highest net income  in 2010-11.

Issue has been raised by some over the classification of revenue minus expenses in this series as “profit,” since athletics departments are nonprofit organizations.  It should be noted, that in the disclosures to the Department of Education, the athletics departments do not report either profit or net income.  Rather, they report their revenues and expenses.  For this series, profit/net income was calculated by subtracting the total expenses reported from the total revenues reported.

As noted above, the data was obtained from the Department of Education and is for 2010-11.  The data from the Department of Education is by no means perfect.  Throughout this series, net income was calculated by subtracting the “grand total expenses” from the “grand total revenues” that the athletic department reported to the Department of Education.  Expenses in this instance included:  head and assistant coach salaries, athletically related student aid, recruiting expenses, operating (game-day expenses) and “not allocated” expenses.  The expenses faced by athletic departments, however, may be greater than those reported in this snapshot provided by the Department of Education.  For example, an athletic department may have capital expenses outside of those expenses included in the report.  This all being said, this data is the only data publicly available for both public and private institutions.  Thus, it at least provides some insight into athletic department revenues, expenses, and net income before taking into consideration additional expenses, like capital projects.

In 2010-11, 48 athletics departments in BCS AQ conferences generated a positive net income.

School Athletic Department Net Income
Alabama $31,684,872.00 SEC
Penn State $31,619,687.00 Big Ten
Michigan $26,649,499.00 Big Ten
Texas $24,317,815.00 Big 12
Kansas State $23,395,408.00 Big 12
Notre Dame $19,147,710.00 Big East
Ohio State $18,630,964.00 Big Ten
Oregon $16,433,642.00 Pac-12
Oklahoma State $14,365,376.00 Big 12
Michigan State $13,512,269.00 Big Ten
Arkansas $11,285,623.00 SEC
LSU $10,401,982.00 SEC
Florida $10,056,601.00 SEC
Georgia $9,575,569.00 SEC
Oregon State $954,682.00 Pac-12
Oklahoma $8,064,477.00 Big 12
Purdue $6,773,110.00 Big Ten
Mississippi State $6,306,583.00 SEC
Virginia $6,038,664.00 ACC
Vanderbilt $5,767,543.00 SEC
Iowa $5,296,068.00 Big Ten
Indiana $5,293,816.00 Big Ten
Nebraska $5,170,608.00 Big Ten
Virginia Tech $4,314,760.00 ACC
Louisville $3,952,601.00 Big East
Auburn $3,484,657.00 SEC
Texas A&M $3,224,429.00 Big 12
Texas Tech $3,124,246.00 Big 12
Kentucky $3,122,674.00 SEC
Miami $2,763,826.00 ACC
Washington $2,330,501.00 Pac-12
Illinois $1,815,596.00 Big Ten
Colorado $1,763,633.00 Pac-12
Arizona $1,524,374.00 Pac-12
Utah $1,147,160.00 Pac-12
South Carolina $762,726.00 SEC
Syracuse $717,817.00 Big East
North Carolina $660,231.00 ACC
Wisconsin $655,421.00 Big Ten
Duke $567,207.00 ACC
Maryland $263,711.00 ACC
Clemson $216,318.00 ACC
North Carolina State $192,151.00 ACC
California $181,167.00 Pac-12
Missouri $143,588.00 Big 12
Iowa State $121,686.00 Big 12
Connecticut $94,522.00 Big East
Tennessee $14,447.00 SEC

In previous posts from this series, you’ll remember that every Big Ten athletics department ranked in the top-50 for revenues and expenses.  However, neither Minnesota nor Northwestern achieved a net income above zero.

The conference with the highest percentage of members having a positive net income was the SEC.  All but one SEC member (Ole Miss) generated a positive net income in 2010-11.  The SEC was also home to the athletics department with the highest net income of any BCS AQ school, Alabama.  However, the ten schools generating the greatest net income in 2010-11 are from a mix of conferences.  The only conference not represented in the top-10 is the ACC.

Conference # of Athletics Departments % of Conference
ACC 8 50%
Big 12 8 80%
Big East 4 25%
Big Ten 10 83.33%
Pac-12 7 58.33%
SEC 11 91.60%

Top-50 Largest Athletics Department Spenders

This week, showed you the revenues, expenses and net income of athletics departments in the BCS AQ conferences.  To conclude this series, is ranking the top-50 athletics departments with the highest revenues, expenses and net income.  In this installment, we will show you which athletics departments spend the most.

The data was obtained from the Department of Education and is from 2010-11.  While this data is not perfect, it is the only data publicly available for both public and private institutions.

School Athletic Department Expenses Conference
Texas $125,978,117.00 Big 12
Ohio State $113,184,855.00 Big Ten
Florida $112,951,656.00 SEC
Tennessee $102,480,757.00 SEC
Auburn $100,497,784.00 SEC
Oklahoma $96,274,366.00 Big 12
LSU $96,019,689.00 SEC
Michigan $95,836,991.00 Big Ten
Wisconsin $92,939,345.00 Big Ten
Alabama $92,225,560.00 SEC
Iowa $87,607,487.00 Big Ten
Florida State $86,946,503.00 ACC
Penn State $84,498,339.00 Big Ten
Louisville $83,783,719.00 Big East
South Carolina $82,941,941.00 SEC
Georgia $82,765,498.00 SEC
Kentucky $81,755,641.00 SEC
Stanford $81,125,476.00 Pac-12
Arkansas $80,482,490.00 SEC
Minnesota $78,924,683.00 Big Ten
Nebraska $78,509,148.00 Big Ten
USC $75,707,273.00 Pac-12
Notre Dame $75,360,209.00 Big East
Virginia $72,400,342.00 ACC
Texas A&M $71,719,872.00 Big 12
North Carolina $70,709,553.00 ACC
Kansas $70,028,683.00 Big 12
Washington $69,306,426.00 Pac-12
Oregon $67,900,835.00 Pac-12
Michigan State $67,450,913.00 Big Ten
Duke $67,418,981.00 ACC
UCLA $66,003,893.00 Pac-12
Indiana $64,878,825.00 Big Ten
California $64,825,171.00 Pac-12
Boston College $64,078,272.00 ACC
Connecticut $62,948,800.00 Big East
Clemson $60,958,659.00 ACC
Baylor $59,859,235.00 Big 12
Purdue $59,293,193.00 Big Ten
Missouri $58,862,366.00 Big 12
WVU $58,003,719.00 Big East
Miami $57,561,177.00 ACC
Maryland $57,501,307.00 ACC
Virginia Tech $56,762,362.00 ACC
Arizona $56,750,057.00 Pac-12
Northwestern $56,214,293.00 Big Ten
Pittsburgh $56,044,309.00 Big East
Oklahoma State $55,757,830.00 Big 12
Illinois $55,723,771.00 Big Ten
Arizona State $55,378,783.00 Pac-12

While 80 percent of the Big 12’s members ranked in the top-50 in terms of revenue generated, only 70 percent ranked in the top-50 for expenditures.  Thus, it is expected that at least several Big 12 members should generate a net income in the black.  Only four Big East members ranked in the top-50 for revenue generated.  However, five Big East members ranked in the top-5o for expenditures (Pittsburgh did not generate enough revenue to make the top-50 list, but is on the top-50 list for expenditures).  Again, every Big Ten athletics department made the top-50 list for expenditures.

The chart below depicts how many places each conference held in the list and the percentage of the conference which made the list.

Conference # of Athletics Departments % of Conference
ACC 9 75%
Big 12 7 70%
Big East 5 31%
Big Ten 12 100%
Pac-12 8 67%
SEC 9 75%

Top-50 Highest Athletics Department Revenues

This week, has shown you the revenues, expenses and net income (profit) of athletics departments in the BCS AQ conferences.  To conclude this series, will rank the top-5o athletics departments with the highest revenues, expenses and net income.  First up is athletics department revenues.

The data was obtained from the Department of Education and is from 2010-11.  While this data is not perfect, it is the only data publicly available for both public and private institutions.

School Athletic Department Revenue Conference
Texas $150,295,932.00 Big 12
Ohio State $131,815,819.00 Big Ten
Alabama $123,910,432.00 SEC
Florida $123,008,257.00 SEC
Michigan $122,486,490.00 Big Ten
Penn State $116,118,026.00 Big Ten
LSU $106,421,671.00 SEC
Oklahoma $104,338,843.00 Big 12
Auburn $103,982,441.00 SEC
Tennessee $102,495,204.00 SEC
Notre Dame $94,507,919.00 Big East
Wisconsin $93,594,766.00 Big Ten
Iowa $92,903,555.00 Big Ten
Georgia $92,341,067.00 SEC
Arkansas $91,768,113.00 SEC
Louisville $87,736,320.00 Big East
Florida State $86,946,503.00 ACC
Oregon $85,740,068.00 Pac-12
Kentucky $84,878,315.00 SEC
South Carolina $83,704,667.00 SEC
Nebraska $83,679,756.00 Big Ten
Stanford $81,125,476.00 Pac-12
Michigan State $80,963,182.00 Big Ten
Minnesota $78,924,683.00 Big Ten
Virginia $78,439,006.00 ACC
USC $75,707,273.00 Pac-12
Texas A&M $74,944,301.00 Big 12
North Carolina $71,369,784.00 ACC
Washington $70,231,336.00 Pac-12
Indiana $70,172,641.00 Big Ten
Oklahoma State $70,123,206.00 Big 12
Kansas $70,028,683.00 Big 12
Kansas State $68,875,266.00 Big 12
Duke $67,986,188.00 ACC
Purdue $66,066,303.00 Big Ten
UCLA $66,003,893.00 Pac-12
California $65,006,338.00 Pac-12
Boston College $64,078,272.00 ACC
Connecticut $63,043,322.00 Big East
Clemson $61,174,977.00 ACC
Virginia Tech $61,077,122.00 ACC
Colorado $60,923,253.00 Pac-12
Miami $60,325,003.00 ACC
Baylor $59,859,235.00 Big 12
Missouri $59,005,954.00 Big 12
Arizona $58,274,431.00 Pac-12
WVU $58,003,719.00 Big East
Maryland $57,765,018.00 ACC
Illinois $57,539,367.00 Big Ten
Northwestern $56,214,293.00 Big Ten

Several things stand out in this list.  First, every Big Ten team made the list.  This is notable, as the SEC is typically viewed as the “power conference” when it comes to all things finance.  The SEC had a great showing in the top-50, but only nine of its twelve athletics departments made the list.  The conference with the least athletics departments on the list was the Big East, which only placed four of its members on the list.

The chart below depicts how many places each conference held in the list.

Conference # of Athletics Departments on List % of Conference
ACC 9 75%
Big 12 8 80%
Big East 4 25%
Big Ten 12 100%
Pac-12 8 67%
SEC 9 75%

Highest Athletic Department Net Income: Pac-12

Next up in’s look into the athletic departments with the highest net income is the Pac-12.  Yesterday, showed you net income of athletic departments in the ACC, Big 12 and Big Ten conferences.  Today, we’ll wrap up the conferences with the Big East, Pac-12 and SEC.  Tomorrow, we will show you the top-50 athletic departments with the highest net income.

The data was obtained from the Department of Education and is for 2010-11.  The data from the Department of Education is by no means perfect.  Throughout this series, net income was calculated by subtracting the “grand total expenses” from the “grand total revenues” that the athletic department reported to the Department of Education.  Expenses in this instance included:  head and assistant coach salaries, athletically related student aid, recruiting expenses, operating (game-day expenses) and “not allocated” expenses.  The expenses faced by athletic departments, however, may be greater than those reported in this snapshot provided by the Department of Education.  For example, an athletic department may have capital expenses outside of those expenses included in the report.  This all being said, this data is the only data publicly available for both public and private institutions.  Thus, it at least provides some insight into athletic department revenues, expenses, and net income before taking into consideration additional expenses, like capital projects.


School Total Athletic Department Revenues Total Athletic Department Expenses Net Income
Arizona $58,274,431.00 $56,750,057.00 $1,524,374.00
Arizona State $55,378,783.00 $55,378,783.00 $0.00
California $65,006,338.00 $64,825,171.00 $181,167.00
Colorado $60,923,253.00 $59,186,620.00 $1,736,633.00
Oregon $85,740,068.00 $69,306,426.00 $16,433,642.00
Oregon State $50,843,837.00 $49,889,155.00 $954,682.00
Stanford $81,125,476.00 $81,125,476.00 $0.00
UCLA $66,003,893.00 $66,003,893.00 $0.00
USC $75,707,273.00 $75,707,273.00 $0.00
Utah $38,091,533.00 $36,944,373.00 $1,147,160.00
Washington $70,231,336.00 $67,900,835.00 $2,330,501.00
Washington State $40,617,093.00 $40,617,093.00 $0.00

In 2010-11, seven of the twelve Pac-12 athletic departments generated a positive net income.  The five Pac-12 athletic departments which generated zero  net income were:  Arizona State, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington State.  Notably, Stanford had the greatest amount of expenses last year in the Pac-12, at $81,125,476.00.

Last year, Oregon generated the greatest amount of revenue of any Pac-12 athletic department with $85,740,068.00.  Subsequently, Oregon also enjoyed the greatest amount of net income in the Pac-12 at $16,433,642.00.  Four other Pac-12 athletic departments enjoyed net income over $1 million:  Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Washington.

Which Schools and Conferences Support Multi-Year Scholarships?

Recently, NCAA Division I institutions and their conferences voted on whether to overturn a measure enacted by the NCAA Board of Directors in October 2011 which allowed Division I institutions to offer student-athletes multi-year scholarships.  The effort to overturn the measure was narrowly defeated.  Of those eligible to vote, 125 voted to uphold the measure, 205 voted to overturn it, 2 abstained and 35 did not cast votes.  To overturn the measure, 5/8 of those voting (or, 62.5 percent) were required to vote in favor of overturning the measure.  Thus, the vote to overturn the measure was short by 0.38 percent of votes.

Given how close Division I institutions came to overturning the right to offer multi-year scholarships, one may wonder how votes were split on the issue.  First, consider those BCS automatic qualifying conferences and schools which voted to continue to allow Division I institutions to offer multi-year scholarships:

BCS AQ Conferences & Schools Voting to Allow Multi-Year Scholarships
Arizona State
Atlantic Coast Conference
Big East Conference
Big Ten Conference


Michigan State
Mississippi State
North Carolina State
Notre Dame
Ohio State
Oregon State
Penn State
South Carolina
Southeastern Conference



Wake Forest
Washington State

Most notably, the only BCS AQ Conference which voted to overturn the multi-year scholarship measure was the Big 12.  The ACC, Big Ten, Big East, Pac-12 and SEC conferences, on the other hand, all voted in favor to continue allowing schools to offer multi-year scholarships.  The only Big 12 member to vote to uphold the multi-year scholarship measure was Missouri.  However, it should be noted that Missouri will join the SEC later this year.  Many of the SEC’s member institutions voted similarly to continue to allow multi-year scholarships.

Of those 125 conferences and schools voting to allow schools to offer multi-year scholarships, 36.8 percent were BCS automatic qualifying conferences or schools.  This is a significant number, especially when considering that the majority of schools casting a vote on the issue were non-BCS AQ schools.  It further demonstrates that a majority of BCS AQ institutions are in favor of granting multi-year scholarships.  This is important, as whether a school offers multi-year scholarships may greatly affect recruiting and athletic department budgets going forward.

Next, consider which BCS AQ conferences and schools voted to overturn the NCAA’s measure allowing multi-year scholarships:

BCS Conferences and Schools Voting to Disallow Multi-Year Scholarships




Big 12
Boston College


Florida State
Georgia Tech
Iowa State
Kansas State
Oklahoma State



St. John’s
Texas A&M
Texas Tech

Virginia Tech


Of the 205 conferences and schools which voted to override the NCAA’s measure allowing schools to offer multi-year scholarships, only 25 were BCS AQ conferences and schools.  Thus, BCS AQ conferences and schools only accounted for 15.6 percent of those wishing to disallow multi-year scholarships.  Most interesting, however, is that the Big 12 and its member institutions accounted for 31.25 percent of the BCS AQ schools and conferences voting to disallow multi-year scholarships.

The question to be raised given these numbers is, what competitive disadvantage does the Big 12 believe it faces if multi-year scholarships are allowed to be granted?  Opponents of the multi-year scholarship measure have made the reasons as to why they do not support the measure clear.  First, granting multi-year scholarships binds schools and athletic departments to student-athletes who may not be able to perform up to required standards either on the field or in the classroom.  Additionally, granting multi-year scholarships may impose a greater financial burden on athletic department budgets and may provide those schools offering multi-year scholarships with a recruiting advantage over those which do not offer multi-year scholarships. 

These factors may have been relevant in the Big 12 voting in large measure to not support multi-year scholarships.  In 2010-11, the Big 12 only had one school (Texas) which broke into the top-10 in terms of its recruitment expenses.  Likewise, in terms of the top-50 most profitable NCAA programs, the Big 12 once again only placed one of its teams (Texas football) into the top-10.  Given these factors, it is likely that the Big 12’s largest concern with offering multi-year scholarships rested upon a cost-benefit analysis of the measure, and what its teams would be able to offer budgetary-wise in terms of multi-year scholarships.

One thing is certain:  because NCAA Division I institutions and conferences voted to uphold allowing multi-year scholarships, it will be interesting to see the recruiting advantages those schools offering them receive going forward.

Grading This Year’s Coaching Hires (Part 1)

With the detailed information on the finances of college sports you receive here at, it should come as no surprise that BCS football programs are not “fun and games” or “just sports” to administrators and athletic departments. The difference between a winning and a losing football program on a school’s budget is pronounced. Thus, the difference between making the right or wrong coaching hire is as well.

The SEC is one conference, by and large, that has hired the right coaches and those coaches have succeeded. Among 2011 coaching salaries, six SEC coaches rank among the top 11 in the country in compensation (Saban, Miles, Petrino, Richt, Chizik, Muschamp, with Urban Meyer preceding him in high compensation rank). Those coaches have not only led SEC teams to six straight national titles, but those crystal balls, the television contracts, and national reputation of the conference have in turn led to six SEC mens athletic programs with recruiting budgets in excess of one million dollars annually for the 2010-2011 academic years. Success begets success begets even more success.

Yes, one can easily argue the SEC’s unprecedented run of success began with great hires. Hiring the right man is the challenge that faced 13 BCS conference schools this offseason. The coaching climate today is a harsh one. Patience is a word lost in among an administration’s vernacular. The days of the five-year plan are long gone. Turner Gill lost his desk nameplate after just two seasons in Lawrence, Kansas, and 27 out of 120 FBS schools (22.5%) made coaching changes this offseason.

Therefore, it’s only natural I provide you with my hit and miss predictions for each of the 13 BCS schools who have hired a new coach for 2012. A second opinion is provided by friend and fellow sports media colleague, Brent Beaird.

13. Todd Graham – Arizona State

Analysis: Where or where have our principles ventured off to? Used to be that we valued honor and commitment. Yet when a man (term used loosely) like Todd Graham is able to climb the collegiate ranks, one wonders what has happened to “The Golden Rule.” Yes, I’m fully aware that Graham led Rice, a perennial doormat, Rice, to a 7-6 record in 2006. That his 36-17 mark at Tulsa was a marginal uptick over Steve Kragthorpe’s 29-22 in the four years prior there, and finally that his 6-6 standing at Pitt this past season did little to under or overwhelm. Yet I must wonder aloud about the quality of the message we’re sending the very young people that Graham is supposed to be mentoring. What’s being conveyed is that in life, you win at all costs, that you may break protocol if it suits you, that one can show not an ounce of gratitude and/or loyalty yet still find promotion around every corner. Here’s a coach who left Rice only a few days after being rewarded with an extension and a significant raise, who left Pitt after but one season via a text to an assistant coach, who then had to relay the impersonal communication method to the players. I struggle not to stoop to name calling when discussing Graham. I’ve often been told, “You get what you give.” That said, perhaps the nation’s most notorious party school and Todd Graham are a perfect fit. Grade: F   Rank: 13/13.

Brent’s Second Opinion: Todd Graham of Arizona State-Graham has a lot of trust to build after leaving two schools in a six-year period after only one year Grade: (D+) Rank: 13/13

12. Bill O’Brien – Penn State University

Analysis: A hearty congratulations is in order to Bill O’Brien,  former offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, for he has managed to significantly out kick his coverage. To use an all-too common analogy, O’Brien represents the “average joe” who just landed a supermodel. Upon witnessing a couple such as this walk into an establishment, everyone in the place is thinking the same thing – “There goes a guy who owns a plane.” But I’m not here to hate. It could work out for the “We Are Penn State-ers” in Happy Valley. I’m just not sure that it will. Penn State managed to find itself in the tenuous position of a “grass is always greener dumper,” failing to realize what it had until it was gone, then in total desperation, accepting the first smiling face that took a flier. This past season, O’Brien was seen throwing a sideline temper tantrum at “The Franchise,” Tom Brady, one in which Brady took the high road but O’Brien’s reputation never fully recovered from. And while his 14 years as an assistant and an offensive coordinator in the college ranks don’t leave his resume bare, of all offensive coordinators either active or inactive with four plus years of experience dating back to 2001, only three have engineered offenses that averaged fewer than 30 points per game.  Grade: D+   Rank: 13/14

Brent’s Second Opinion: Bill O’Brien of Penn State-Don’t forget he had 14 years of experience at Georgia Tech, Maryland and Duke. Grade:(C)   Rank: 10/13.

11. Tim Beckman – Illinois

Analysis: In the landscape of college football today, seemingly every “have not” football program treks across the desert looking for the next Urban Meyer. And without fail, at introductory press conferences, athletic and PR departments do a yeoman’s job convincing you they’ve found him. For me to offer the full-fledged “Beckman Buy-In,” however, I need a more thorough body of work than what presently appears on Beckman’s resume:

  • All of three years of head coaching experience at Toledo.
  • A record of 21-16, leaving before the bowl game in ’11.
  • Offenses that averaged 33ppg, defenses that gave up 32.

It is the opinion of the author that the MAC and their intra-conference competition provides a level playing field among the 13 member institutions. Therefore, an average coach should win as many as he loses in this league. Beckman’s three-year mark does little to move the proverbial needle, although if one can look past the small sample size, 16-9 in the final two campaigns does offer some hope. Whether Beckman can achieve success in a conference with the history and prestige of the Big 10 is an entirely different and unanswered question. Grade: C   Rank: 11/14

Brent’s Second Opinion: Tim Beckman of Illinois-Beckman has valuable coaching experience as the head man at Toledo and from working with Meyer at Bowling Green Grade:  (B-)   Rank:8/13.

Marc Ryan is a sports talk radio personality in the Florida Panhandle. You can follow him on Twitter: @marcryanonair.

Division I Athletics Departments’ Social Media Policies

It seems like almost weekly that a story arises about a coach banning players’ use of social media websites or about student-athletes making controversial remarks on websites like Twitter.  Given the commonality of these stories in this social media age, reached out to numerous Division I athletics departments to learn what type of social media policies their departments have adopted.  The following demonstrates how some of the top athletic departments in the nation are allowing their student-athletes to utilize social media.


Athletics Department Allows Use of Social Media

Teams Restricting Social Media Use

Insider’s Notes




Arizona’s Director of Athletics Greg Byrne said, “Student-athletes must register their accounts with our compliance department.  We talk with them regularly about what they post.”

Boise State


Football student-athletes are not allowed to use Twitter and are told to make their Facebook accounts private. Boise State’s Assistant Athletic Director of Media Relations Max Corbet said, “There is not a department policy.  It is pretty much left up to each individual head coach.”

Florida State



FSU’s Assistant Athletic Director/Sports Information Director Elliott Finebloom said, “We try to educate [student-athletes] on the positives and negatives of engaging in various social media platforms.




Georgia’s Assistant Sports Communication Director Kate Burkholder said, “Our feeling on this is that we make it as clear as possible that they are accountable for what they share, and they shouldn’t make any comments they wouldn’t make if they were getting interviewed on SportsCenter.  This year our media training team (outside company) incorporated a lot of social media etiquette into their lesson.  Every team goes through this training regardless of the level of exposure the team receives.  Any further policies are left up to the coaches, but generally speaking, our policy is to educate and monitor rather than to ban.






While individual coaches are allowed to determine whether their student-athletes can use social media, none have prevented their student-athletes from using social media. Kansas’ Associate Athletics Director for Communications and Media Relations Jim Marchiony said, “Kansas Athletics has a general student-athlete policy regarding how individuals are expected to present the university. . . Student-athletes’ use of social media falls under our general student-athlete conduct policies.”

North Carolina

While the athletics department adopted a “Use of Social Networking Policy” last year, it encourages the use of social media by its student-athletes. In 2010, football coach Butch Davis banned the use of Twitter when UNC was under NCAA investigation.  However, new football coach Larry Fedora is not banning the use of Twitter.As of two weeks ago, women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell banned the use of Twitter so that her team can focus on basketball. UNC’s Associate Athletic Director for Communications said, “We have a policy that was put into place last year, the Use of Social Networking Policy.  There are guidelines and a monitoring component.  Each sport has a designated coach or administrator who monitors social media.  Each student-athlete who wishes to participate in social media, which we encourage, has to accept the monitor as a friend on Facebook, or the monitor must follow them on Twitter.

Ohio State


Each sport sets its own social media guidelines. Ohio States’ Associate Athletics Director for Communications Dan Wallenberg said, “Our student-athletes are not restricted from using social media, however each team has the discretion to establish rules and penalties as they see fit.”




Oklahoma’s Assistant Director for Communications said, “We allow our student-athletes to participate in social media.  Our coaches do not have a ban on them.”

Oklahoma State

Each sport sets its own social media guidelines. One Oklahoma State coach (unidentified by the university) doesn’t allow student-athletes to use social media. Oklahoma State’s Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations Kevin Klintworth said, “Our policies vary between programs.  We have one coach that doesn’t allow social media at all.  Most of them do as long as coaches are “friends” or “followers.”

South Carolina


Certain teams restrict student-athletes’ use of social media.  Last season, Coach Spurrier didn’t allow the football team to use Twitter during the season so they could focus on football.  Players were allowed to resume use after the season. South Carolina’s Media Relations Director Steve Fink said, “We aim to educate [student-athletes] with guidelines and tips for using these sites wisely.”




TCU’s Assistant Athletics Director for Media Relations Mark Cohen said, “TCU student-athletes are permitted to use Facebook and Twitter.  Each sport at TCU sets its own social media guidelines.  No sports at TCU have banned the use of Facebook or Twitter.”




USC’s Sports Information Director Tim Tessalone said, “We work hard to educate [student-athletes and coaches] on the proper use of social media.”



Each sport sets its own social media guidelines.  However, no coach has banned the use of social media by student-athletes. Wisconsin’s Director of Athletic Communications Brian Lucas said, “I know that Coach Bielema [football] deals with his players on a case-by-case basis.  If he has an issue with something a student-athlete has posted, he deals with the student-athlete one-on-one as opposed to imposing limitations on the team.

Facilities Tour: University of Arizona

In 1926, the starting quarterback and catcher of the University of Arizona’s football and baseball teams died as the result of injuries sustained in a car accident.  Before passing away, John “Button” Salmon would whisper the words into the ears of Arizona football coach Pop McKale, which would come to be the school’s battle cry:

“Tell them. . . tell the team to bear down.

A memorial to John "Button" Salmon is present near the McKale Center.

In the 85 years since the young Salmon whispered the words which would become the battle cry of thousands of Wildcats, the University of Arizona has amassed a proud tradition of producing winning teams and successful student-athletes.  Arizona’s 19 teams have won 20 NCAA Championships over the years and have produced 152 Olympians.

Recently, I had the great opportunity to visit the campus in sunny Tucson and take a tour of some of the school’s athletic facilities with Director of Athletics, Greg Byrne.

ESPN's College Game Day was on hand at the McKale Center when I visited campus.

Joining the Wildcats in May, 2010, saying that Byrne has been an asset to the program since then, would be an understatement.  In a place like Tucson, where the nearest professional sports team is located over 100 miles away, the Wildcats are viewed by residents as local celebrities of sorts.  Byrne has the charisma and personality to make practical strangers feel like they have known him forever.  During our two-hour tour, he genuinely greeted everyone he passed, shook hands often and answered every question asked of him.  Every few feet we would walk, someone would say, “Hey Greg!” and most often, he’d respond with, “Hey!  You o.k.?”

University of Arizona Athletics Director Greg Byrne, Alicia Jessop and ESPN's Mark May.

Byrne’s approachability and commitment to developing the University of Arizona’s athletics programs to the highest degree will help the University of Arizona chart a new level of success in athletics in upcoming years.

Our tour began outside of the McKale Memorial Center.  Most notably, the McKale Memorial Center is home to the Lute and Bobbi Olson Court.  Named after the former coach and his late wife, the Wildcats basketball teams plays their home games before a seating capacity of 14,545.

The McKale Center on game day. Thousands of UA students pack the "Zona Zoo" for the white out against the University of Washington.

The McKale Center is also home to an academic area, sports medicine facilities, equipment operations and all of the athletic department’s offices.

Long known for its relationship with Nike, the Arizona athletics department is home to two rooms lined from floor-to-ceiling with Nike's; one for the football team and one for the basketball team. Each football player receives three pairs at the start of a season.

A helmet and shoulder pad room is also present in the McKale Center. Each football player is provided training in how to spot defects in a helmet as an extra layer of precaution against concussions.

Also present in the McKale Center is a state-of-the-art strength and conditioning facility, the Bill Estes, Jr. Family Strength and Conditioning Center.  The expansive area is notably marked with University of Arizona logos and pictures of successful former student-athletes like Jenny Finch, Jim Furyk and Lorena Ochoa, to further bolster Wildcat pride amongst student-athletes.

A look inside the Bill Estes, Jr. Family Strength and Conditioning Center in the McKale Center.

The 21,000 square foot Bill Estes, Jr. Family Strength and Conditioning Center is home to 20 multi-use racks, 22 full circuit machines and six complete sets of free weights, all which bear customized Arizona logos.

The Bill Estes, Jr. Family Strength and Conditioning Center also has 32 cardiovascular machines. If you look to the left of the picture, you can see football coach Rich Rodriguez preparing to workout on one!

The weight room in McKale is one of two weight rooms available to student-athletes.  A second weight room, for use by the basketball team, is also located in the Richard Jefferson Gymnasium.

The exterior of the Richard Jefferson Gymnasium, which resembles the former Bear Down Gym on the campus, only stands 30 feet tall, because the building is sunk 17 feet into the ground.

Richard Jefferson played basketball for the Wildcats from 1998 to 2001.  Drafted by the Houston Rockets, Jefferson presently plays for the San Antonio Spurs.  In 2007, Jefferson made what is believed to be the largest donation made by a professional athlete to his alma mater, when he donated $3.5 million dollars to build the Richard Jefferson Gymnasium.

The Richard Jefferson Gymnasium is home to the school’s basketball and volleyball practice facilities.  It has two full-court basketball courts and five volleyball cross courts.

Two full-court practice courts are found inside of Richard Jefferson Gymnasium. The courts are also utilized by the volleyball team.

Overlooking the courts is a weight training and cardiovascular center specially designed to meet the size requirements of basketball players.

A view of the strength and conditioning facility used by Arizona's basketball players which is located in the Richard Jefferson Gymnasium.

In other words, the treadmills have extended tracks and the weight training equipment is longer than that found in other weight training facilities.

Greg and Mark, who both stand tall at 6'6", were good sports and demonstrated the equipment. "No one has ever asked me to demonstrate equipment during an interview," said Byrne.

As mentioned above, all of the athletic department’s offices are currently housed in the McKale Center.  However, in 2013, Arizona’s football team will have new offices located in the brand new North End Zone facility in Arizona Stadium.  Byrne explained that presently, Arizona’s football team is one of few BCS teams whose offices are located in a basketball facility.

Construction on the North End Zone project recently began and will be completed in 2013. However, the Wildcats will still play the 2012 season at Arizona Stadium.

The school recently commenced construction on the $72,300,00 North End Zone project, which has a scheduled date of completion of June 2013.  The 183,683 square foot project will add football offices, a new football locker room and football strength and conditioning center.  The addition of the North End Zone strength and conditioning center means that there will be an impressive three weight rooms for student-athletes to access at the University of Arizona.  A sports medicine area for student-athletes and cafeteria open to all University of Arizona students will also be present in the North End Zone facility.  The North End Zone facility will also be home to new concourses and loge and club level seating.

A rendering of the North End Zone project.

A rendering of the new North End Zone seating.

The seats in the new North End Zone will face the 5,356 foot video board, pictured above, which made its debut in Arizona Stadium in 2011 and is the largest video board in the state of Arizona.

Currently, all suites at Arizona Stadium are enclosed. The North End Zone project will give fans the option to purchase open-air suites.

The completion of the North End Zone facility in 2013 will further signal the vast improvements of Arizona’s programs and facilities which Byrne has spearheaded as Director of Athletics.

Most importantly, however, it will give University of Arizona student-athletes one more reason to bear down.

Sincere gratitude is owed to Greg Byrne for granting me a generous amount of time in his busy schedule and opening up the University of Arizona’s athletic facilities to me and’s readers.  A big thank you is also owed to James Francis for assisting with the tour and forwarding renderings of the North End Zone project.  Thank you both!