Larry Scott and the Pac-12: Why it pays to have a good commissioner
If, 20 years from now, Pac-12 football has jumped into a higher stratosphere than it presently exists in, we'll look back at the league's first few years under commissioner Larry Scott as the time when the leap happened. Beginning with his hiring in 2009, the Pac-12 has added Colorado and Utah, updated its name, changed its logo, brought all of its' schools multimedia rights under one umbrella to re-sell as one entity, started a national TV network to go with six regional networks and opened a communciation bridge to Asia.
Along with all that change, Scott brought a truck full of cash to the conference as well.
According to Steve Berkowitz of USA Today, the latest Pac-12 tax filings show a total revenue of $175.9 million for the conference, up more than 57 percent from its previous haul of $112 million. While those figures still lag behind the Big Ten and SEC, this jump comes before the Pac-12's 12-year, $3 billion deal with ESPN and Fox kicks in, and well before Pac-12 Networks money becomes fully realized.
If nothing else, the conference's revenues will rise next year just because of one-time costs that the Pac-12 absorbed in 2011-12. In order to start the Pac-12 Networks and package the league as one whole entity to ESPN and Fox, the league had to buy back each school's individual media rights and pay the costs associated with starting seven television networks. With those debts out of the way, Pac-12 dollar figures will soar in the coming years.
In all, the league netted $85.63 million in TV revenue, just north of $40 million in bowl payouts, nearly $28 million in championship payouts from other sports and just over $22 million from other sources. Among the schools, Stanford and Oregon led the way with more than $15 million, followed by Washington ($13.5 million), USC ($13.4 million) and UCLA ($12.7 million). Utah and Colorado earned $4.1 million and $3.4 million, respectively, as new members.
While Scott has been hard at work lining the pockets of his member schools, the commissioner has managed to save more than a little scratch for himself. Scott earned nearly $3.1 million in salary and bonuses in 2011, well ahead of his fellow conference leaders and almost double that of everyone's favorite commissioner, Mike Slive. Pac-12 deputy commissioner Kevin Weiberg took in more than $560,000 that same year, more than Big East commissioner John Marinatto (who has since retired) and Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky. Weiberg served as Big 12 commissioner from 1998-2007 before leaving to oversee the launch of the Big Ten Network and subsequently the Pac-12 Networks.
Read USA Today's full report here.
Examining the highest and lowest-paid Big Ten assistants
Thanks to the work of the Detroit Free-Press, we now have a database of salaries for every assistant coach in the Big Ten (except for Northwestern and Penn State, who aren't subject to open-records laws). Some of this information has been covered previously through the USA Today coaching salary database, but it's a worth another look due to raises earned and staff turnover from the conclusion of the 2012 season to now.
Before we examine the paychecks of individual coaches, let's first take a look at collective pay of entire staffs. The Big Ten's richest coaching staff resides at Ohio State, where the Buckeyes' nine assistants together command $3.416 million. Ohio State is followed by Michigan ($2.805 million), Nebraska ($2.6485 million) and Wisconsin ($2.495 million). Indiana checked in at the bottom of the list at a shade above $1.956 million. As a point of reference, Alabama's nine assistants will pull a collective $4.38 million in 2013.
Next, let's look at the 10 highest and 10 lowest-paid assistant coaches in the Big Ten.
Top 10 Big Ten Assistant Salaries
1. Greg Mattison, Michigan defensive coordinator - $750,000
2. Tim Beck, Nebraska offensive coordinator/QBs - $700,000
3. Al Borges, Michigan offensive coordinator - $600,000
Luke Fickell, Ohio State defensive coordinator/LBs - $600,000
5. Everett Withers, Ohio State assistant HC/co-DC/safeties - $580,000
6. Tom Herman, Ohio State offensive coordinator/QBs - $550,000
7. Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State assistant HC/defensive coordinator - $512,500
8. Dave Aranda, Wisconsin defensive coordinator/LBs - $480,000
Andy Ludwig, Wisconsin offensive coordinator/QBs - $480,000
10. Tim Banks, Illinois defensive coordinator/DBs - $400,000
Bill Cubit, Illinois offensive coordinator/QBs - $400,000
John Shoop, Purdue offensive coordinator/QBs - $400,000
Bottom 10 Big Ten Assistant Salaries
1. Marcus Freeman, Purdue linebackers - $120,000
Jafar Williams, Purdue running backs - $120,000
3. Mike Bellamy, Illinois wide receivers - $125,000
4. Gerad Parker, Purdue tight ends/recruiting coordinator - $130,000
5. Ben Strickland, Wisconsin cornerbacks - $140,000
6. Deland McCullough, Indiana running backs - $153,300
Brandon Shelby, Indiana cornerbacks - $153,300
8. Zach Smith, Ohio State wide receivers - $155,000
9. Greg Colby, Illinois defensive line - $180,000
A.J. Ricker, Illinois offensive line - $180,000
Al Seamonson, Illinois outside linebackers - $180,000
For what it's worth, Michigan, Michigan State and Nebraska have the league's highest minimum salaries; no Michigan assistant makes less than $205,000 and none of the 18 Michigan State and Nebraska assistants earn less than $200,000.
All told, the average Big Ten assistant coach makes $267,640.30 per year. Check out the full database here.
ECU's 2013 trailer captures the excitement surrounding the program
Coming off a strong 8-5 season last year, there is a lot of excitement surrounding the East Carolina program heading into 2013.
This well produced video trailer captures that feeling of excitement that has the program, and the fans, looking forward to this fall.
Video: This program knows how to have fun and grind
Good spring football video here from Salve Regina (D-III - RI) showcasing how a Division III school grinds during the spring portion of the off season, while still finding ways to keep work outs fresh and fun.
It looks like these guys understand how to have fun and get after it.
New commissioner, new roster and a new logo for the Sun Belt
After changing over half its roster and hiring a new commissioner, the Sun Belt has decided it's time for a new logo. Beginning July 1, the conference will have new logos and a new motto - "Together We Rise" - which were unveiled Sunday.
“Like many conferences, the Sun Belt is undergoing change,” commissioner Karl Benson. “We saw this as an opportunity to embrace this change. We are taking a new direction, one that is modern and progressive in its approach. Our conference can be as good as we want it to be and we will all ‘rise together’ in the upcoming years. Our new brand is a perfect reflection of that mindset.”
The current logo, a literal take on the conference's name, will retire at the end of next month after more than 15 years in use. The new logo (which could double as an office supply company's logo if you ask us) features a color representation of each Sun Belt member school.
Here is the secondary logo:
As a reminder, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Middle Tennessee and North Texas have departed for Conference USA and Western Kentucky will follow in 2014. Georgia State and Texas State will join the league this fall, with Appalachian State, Idaho, Georgia Southern and New Mexico State on the way a year from now.
The Scoop on What You Missed This Week
How is it possible that the season feels further away now than it did in February?
The Starting Five: Our five best stories of the week.
- In 2011, Sul Ross State ranked 132nd in Division III in total offense. A year later they had the best offense in the entire NCAA. What changed? Their quarterback graduated, then he became their offensive coordinator. Meet 23-year-old Scotty Walden, the next Kliff Kingsbury.
- Last weekend, Prince Harry visited the Air Force football facility and was greeted by exactly zero Falcons players. Why? The NCAA, the same group claiming to be a champion of the student-athlete, wouldn't let them. Add another track to the NCAA's greatest hits album.
- The most underpaid coach in college football probably isn't who you think it is.
- If you're a head coach, you should be on Twitter. This is why.
- There isn't a head coach in the country who would do more to raise money for his program than Ron English, although we'd like to see Bill Snyder try this.
The Film Room: Each week we come across a ton of great videos from across all levels of football. Here's a taste of the best videos we posted this week.
- Take an all-access look at Vanderbilt's spring game.
- It's that time of year: how the Oregon State strength staff sets up its summer schedule.
- Oregon put all its extra Nike gear on sale. Here's how it happened.
- If you've got half an hour to kill, Notre Dame's 2012 season highlights are outstanding.
The best of the rest: Here's everything you need to know outside of coaching news that happened in the world of college football this week.
- Rutgers and Maryland fans rejoice, the Big Ten has released its 2014 schedule.
- After 13 years as the Warriors, Hawaii's football team is going back to its original nickname - the Rainbow Warriors.
- This high school program wants your help choosing its next helmet design.
- Memphis is also putting its new (Cincinnati Bengals-inspired) uniforms up to a vote.
- Boise State is slightly tweaking the smurf turf.
B1G ADs tackle how to put fickle fans back in seats
Deserved or not, the Big Ten isn't a conference known for its skill in changing directions. Whether it's a defensive player or just how the league conducts its business, Big Ten football is viewed unit that is perfectly happy to remain stuck in its ways and has no interest in changing, thank you very much.
No one is more aware of that than the conference's own athletic directors. While the group can't do anything to change what's happening on the field, they can fight another demon that has recently started plaguing the league - getting modern fan bases to actually attend games.
Dealing with student bodies that won't attend games if something as simple yet vexing as rainy weather shutting down text-message capabilities and equipping antiquated stadiums for wireless and video capabilities are common demons shared across the conference. In a league with seven stadiums of greater than 70,000, Big Ten athletic directors devoted time at their recent league meetings to fight this enemy together.
"Part of that is to make the league be perceived in reality what it is, and that's a little bit more hip, a little bit more cool," Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis told ESPN.com. "I have three kids that are age 14, 18 and 20, and they're a great resource for me to bounce ideas off from a Michigan State perspective. But I think we need to take that as a league a little bit as well.
It's not your grandfather's conference any more. There's so much greatness and so much tradition that needs to be continued and talked about, but also try to add a little unique freshness that's unique to young kids."
The anecdote above about students no-showing games because they can't text wasn't hyperbole, either. As Hollis said, "One of our biggest no-show rates in football was the Iowa game," Hollis said. "And I'd go out and walk the streets and start talking to kids, 'Why didn't you go?' And they said, 'We couldn't text because it was raining.' They couldn't have their phones out. That kind of hit me pretty hard."
So, how do you ask a fan to give up a Satuday on the couch in front of the flat screen to buy a ticket and take in the game live? Better video screens, reliable Wi-Fi, more accessible concession stands, better restrooms. More night games wouldn't hurt, but if you have to play a noon kickoff, Brady Hoke's idea of free donuts for students is a good start.
On top of that, offer fans an experience they can't get at home. Like a four-hour football extravaganza with 70,000 of their closest friends.
"More highlights, more scores, more fun, coloring outside the lines a little bit," Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said. "We'll play to our strengths -- the band, the cheerleaders, the pageantry of college football, flags and color, engagement of students -- and spent a lot of time really trying to enhance that. That's not only a great thing for our fan experience, it translates into the cool factor for recruits who come in."
Bill O'Brien: 'I'm not the unity coach...'
When Bill O'Brien was tabbed take over the Penn State program, he took over a athletic department that had fallen on rough times in the wake of the Sandusky scandal. Many fans and people across the country looked at O'Brien to unify Penn State country once again.
While some repairs have definitely been made, and O'Brien has put his own stamp on the program in just 17 months at the helm, he has made it clear during this years off season tour of speaking engagements that he's not the "unity coach" for the University.
“I’m not the unity coach. I’m not the coach of unity,” O’Brien told the crowd Wednesday according to StateCollege.com. “I’m the football coach. It is my job to do the best job I can for the football program as long as I am the head coach here. I’m not the unity coach.”
He then expanded on what he believes are priorities for head coaches in his eyes beyond the wins and losses and everything else that the general public attributes to a head coach.
“I think it’s important part of being a football coach is to sell tickets, raise money and give people a positive feeling about what you’re trying to do,. I think I have a responsibility to support the other teams because the football team is a big deal here.”
Notice that "unity" was a word that had no place in that description.
“I just want to do the best job I can for the players we coach, for the university I work for and for the history and the tradition of the program.” he added.
While he admits that he still has a lot to learn as the head man in charge, O'Brien continues to illustrate that he's got an excellent handle on what is expected of him and his staff in Happy Valley. That, coupled with his constant self evaluation and willingness to learn and adapt, is going to make football fun to watch for years to come out in State College.