Tuesday, December, 18, 2018
'Innovative' Deal: Texas to Get Use of $300M Arena
The University of Texas may soon get use of a $300 million arena with little if any financial input from boosters or taxpayers.
"This is an innovative deal that will be good for the city and the university," UT President Gregory L. Fenves told the Austin American-Statesman. "UT is a strategic partner with our community, and I’m looking forward to discussing the details, subject to the regents’ approval, later this week."
As it stands, the plan involves leasing 6.64 acres of campus to Los Angeles-based venue-management firm Oak View Group LLC, which will build and manage the arena while providing UT with approximately 60 dates per year to host basketball games, graduations and other university functions. To be located just south of the Longhorns' football stadium, the proposed arena would accommodate up to 17,000 people, but seat 10,000 spectators in its basketball configuration.
The university will own the building upon completion, while a OVG will recoup all revenue for 10 years. After that period, UT will get a percentage of annual revenue.
The UT athletic department has at least $14 million in annual debt service payments scheduled through 2044, according to audited figures obtained by the American-Statesman. With principal and interest payments, Texas athletics is still on the hook for $306.7 million for previous construction. With the new facility, Texas will at most have to pay for some incidentals, possibly concerning traffic and utilities.
One shortcoming has already emerged, however. The arena will not include attached practice space, something men's and women's basketball coaches were initially told it would, thus potentially putting Texas at a recruiting disadvantage compared to schools such as Kansas, which offers one-stop convenience for its student-athletes.
Friday, December, 14, 2018
Can Do: Bears Nix Beer Plastic Cups at Soldier Field
For the first time since the 2002 renovation of Soldier Field, the stadium vendors are selling beer to Chicago Bears fans in cans as opposed to pouring the beer in plastic cups.
The trend toward cans has been slowed by concerns that full cans of beer can be hurled from the stands and cause injury, as has been the case in isolated incidents in the NFL and MLB.
But the Bears' adoption of cans has a more positive spin, according to one vendor. "We wanted to bring cans to Soldier Field because they are more environmentally friendly," said Marty Malone, spokesman for supplier MillerCoors. "The cans provide a ready-to-consume and recyclable container, eliminating the need for cups and cutting down significantly on waste."
Industry insiders told the Chicago Sun-Times that a>bout 20,000 cases of beer are sold at the 61,500-seat stadium every year, including at the Bears' 10 preseason and regular season games and at a few concerts. At 24 cans per case, that's 480,000 cans of beer.
Tuesday, December, 11, 2018
Report Outlines Mistakes in McNair Tragedy
University of Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair visibly struggled to complete an outdoor workout May 29. In fact, teammates had to physically help the 6-foot-4, 341-pound McNair cross the finish line during a series of 10 110-yard sprints in the 83-degree heat that afternoon.
Monday, December, 10, 2018
Baraboo Coach Resigned Amid Shock of Nazi Salute Pic
Once it went viral, it was hard to avoid seeing the prom photo showing a large group of Baraboo (Wis.) High School students seemingly giving a Nazi salute. Soon after Baraboo's varsity softball coach saw it, she took a stand and resigned.
Thursday, December, 06, 2018
Hosting Games In a Stadium Under Renovation
Among the parking attendants, ticket scanners, concessions workers and security professionals working Memorial Stadium at the University of Missouri this fall, one individual holds an atypical football game-day job title: crane operator. As the Tigers and their opponents toil on Faurot Field, a giant boom looming beyond the stadium's south end zone has required someone to sit at the controls every home Saturday and keep it still.
Wednesday, December, 05, 2018
MSU Applications Down in Wake of Nassar Scandal
Michigan State University continues to realize the tangible cost of the Larry Nassar scandal, as applications to the university have decreased for the second consecutive year, even as Big Ten Conference peer institutions and other schools across the nation continue to see increases.
Nassar, the osteopathic physician employed by Michigan State and USA Gymnastics, was convicted earlier this year of sexually abusing multiple girls and women in his care and possessing child pornography. He is currently serving a minimum 100-year prison sentence.
ESPN reports that undergraduate applications to Michigan State fell 8.3 percent over the past year, a drop of roughly 3,000 applications to 33,129, and an even steeper slide than the 3.6 percent decline realized in Fall 2017 applications.
The Nassar story broke in 2016, and the headlines keep coming.
On Tuesday, the university announced that it had completed its financial transfer to a court-created settlement fund, thus fulfilling its agreement with Nassar's sexual assault survivors. According to the Lansing State Journal, the $425 million transferred is earmarked for 332 survivors. That fund will now be frozen, though prior claims will be honored.
A separate Healing Assistance Fund set up by the university will likewise be frozen. Closing the fund early, interim MSU President John Engler wrote in a memo to trustees, "permits us to use the $8.6 million remaining balance in the Healing Fund to reduce the amount of our borrowing to pay the settlement," the State Journal reported.
Also on Tuesday, Michigan lawmakers advanced more bills inspired by the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case — voting to ease the prosecution of alleged abusers, stiffen child pornography penalties and let more people speak at sentencings under certain circumstances, according to an Associated Press report.
Tuesday, December, 04, 2018
Ohio State, Spielman Reach Settlement Over Image Use
Ohio State University has settled a legal challenge by legendary linebacker Chris Spielman over the use of his likeness on sponsored banners outside Ohio Stadium, with the university spending nearly as much on legal representation as the $140,000 settlement amount.
A two-time All-American for the Buckeyes in the 1980s, Spielman last year launched a class-action suit against Ohio State on behalf of other players depicted on the banners but who couldn't afford to represent themselves. In all, 64 banners sponsored by Honda appear outside Ohio Stadium, despite the players neither granting permission nor receiving compensation.
Spielman's suit against talent agency IMG remains unsettled, and his attorney, Bret Adams, stated that the case against IMG has national implications, since it sells the names and likenesses of players at other universities, as well.
According to public records obtained by The Lantern student newspaper, Ohio State invested at least $136,436.09 in its defense, despite the fact Spielman had pledged to return his portion of any settlement back to the university. Spielman's $140,000 award will be donated to the William White Family Fund for ALS and the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research, both of which reside at Ohio State. Meanwhile, he will no longer make disparaging comments about the university.
Monday, December, 03, 2018
School: No Hazing in Football Players' Naked Oreo Run
Byron (Ill.) High School officials have concluded that an incident that led to the suspension of 10 football players for three games this season involved voluntary participation and thus fell short of hazing.
Friday, November, 30, 2018
Counterfeiting Leads Ohio State to Nix Printable Tickets
After taking steps to warn fans of the potential for fraudulent online ticket sales, Ohio State University has resorted to suspending its print-at-home ticketing program ahead of the winter sports season.
Four days before the Buckeyes' home football game against rival Michigan on Nov. 24, OSU's department of athletics issued a press release warning fans about fraudulent sales, particularly in the form of PDF-style printable tickets. It listed authorized sellers as Ticketmaster, the Ohio State ticket office and the Ohio State ticket exchange. An email to fans during the week leading up to the game encouraged fans to cover ticket barcodes when posting photos of them on social media. Social media is another channel used by the athletic department to reach fans prior to the start of the football season and before big games.
Still, some 300 individuals arrived at the turnstiles Nov. 24 with tickets that weren't legitimate. In some cases, the bar code was scanned and rejected. In others, the barcode worked but the seat assignment had been manipulated to scam buyers into thinking they would be sitting in seats worthy of higher pricing. Such tickets could come from such unauthorized sources as StubHub, eBay and Craig's List. "Tickets that are printed in a PDF format, printed on a home computer, those are very easy to manipulate," associate athletic director Brett Scarborough told The Lantern student newspaper. "Fans that don’t have a trained eye can easily get duped."
The often emotional confrontations that result from fans being turned away have factored into Ohio State's decision to simply scrap the whole concept.
"A step we’ve taken moving forward is we’re eliminating the option to print tickets to PDF, which is where industrywide a lot of the counterfeit tickets are being seen," Kate Nushart, director of ticket operations and analytics at Ohio State, told The Lantern. "What we’re doing moving forward is allowing customers to either use traditional, hard tickets that we would print or that Ticketmaster would print, or their mobile phone for entry."
Wednesday, November, 28, 2018
Suit Spurs Eastern Michigan to Revive Women's Tennis
Eastern Michigan University announced it will reinstate women's tennis in spring following a conference call Tuesday between EMU lawyers and two students who sued the university in June claiming it violated the spirit of Title IX with its decision last year to drop women's tennis and softball and men's wrestling and swimming and diving.
Friday, January, 05, 2018
AB Today 2017: Our Top 10 Stories of the Past Year
Deregulation and legal action. Out-of-control training and recruiting practices. These were topics that drew much of our readers’ attention in 2017. AB Today has compiled a list of the top stories that broke in this space over the past year. Here are the 10 that garnered the most page views, in ascending order:
Wednesday, November, 30, 2016
AB Show 2016: The Magic of Orlando
There’s something about Orlando, Fla., that stirs the nostalgia in this AB Show-goer. It’s where the conference and expo (as it used to be known) was held my first eight years at Athletic Business, and it has been there another four times since. In all, Orlando has served as the annual home away from home for AB roughly half the time in our show’s 35-year history.
Monday, November, 10, 2014
Get to Know Your Peers When Attending ABC
This is a story about a conversation Lou Holtz and I never had.
Tuesday, August, 12, 2014
Robin Williams Drew Attention to Inaugural Augie’s BASH
Robin Williams possessed the kind of frenetic magnetism that dared you to look away. For me, it wasn’t possible. The actor/comedian’s larger-than-life persona was tailor-made for a movie screen.
Thursday, January, 17, 2013
Blog: The Tangled Webs of Lance Armstrong, Manti Te'o
The twisted tales of Lance Armstrong and Manti Te'o are now intertwined. Heroes to many, these athletes have lived lies before our eyes, and now those lies are unraveling within the same week.
Monday, December, 03, 2012
Blog: The Life and Death of Rick Majerus
The first time I saw Rick Majerus in person, he was sitting in seldom-used end-court bleachers that had been wheeled into position for a Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Class C basketball sectional at my high school alma mater's field house. I was there to cover a game for my hometown newspaper, The West Bend News. Majerus, an assistant coach at Marquette at the time (this was the mid-'80s), was there to scout Kohler, Wis., phenom Joe Wolf, who would eventually attend North Carolina.
Friday, August, 17, 2012
Blog: Cheer These Pro Athletes for Giving Back
Assuming your membership in the Latrell "I have a family to feed" Sprewell Fan Club has expired, may we suggest a couple of options.
Sunday, January, 17, 2010
Blog: Still Believing, 34 Years (and Counting) Later
Editor's Note: AB Senior Editor Paul Steinbach authored this piece in January 2010, but with February 22nd marking the 34th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice and the U.S. men's hockey team facing off against Canada on Friday, the message still rings true.
For nearly 30 years now, the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team has been an off-and-on obsession of mine.
Thursday, December, 10, 2009
A Choice to Make
There's precedent for a Catholic institution sticking with a coach despite his pro-choice stance on abortion. Rick Majerus is in his third season heading the St. Louis University men's basketball program after admitting during a TV interview at a January 2008 Hillary Clinton campaign rally that he is "pro-choice, personally." But will a Catholic institution hire a pro-choice coach? Somehow, during speculation that University of Cincinnati head football coach Brian Kelly is next in line to bear the Notre Dame football cross, the rumor spread that Kelly, an Irish Catholic who decades ago campaigned for Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart, is pro-choice. But no one seems to know for sure. "I searched online media archives all day today trying to find one reputable media reference to Kelly's stance on abortion," read a Tuesday post by Brooks at sportsbybrooks.com. "I found none."
Wednesday, November, 11, 2009
Hit 'Em Straight
When the AB editors dedicated our July issue to best environmental practices in the athletics, fitness and recreation industries, we managed to overlook one egregious hazard to our planet's health: golf balls.