Tag:Jerry Hinnen
Posted on: July 20, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 5:23 pm
 

Big Ten Network revenues up 21 percent

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Earlier today, we discussed how the Big Ten Network's increasing revenues are no doubt putting pressure on the SEC to find a way to change their 15-year television deals--and the static, locked-in revenues that come with them.

So it's not bad timing that Illinois just made public exactly how big an increase the Big Ten is seeing in those BTN revenues (emphasis added):
The conference will pay Illinois a record $22.6 million, with $7.9 million coming from the network, according to figures provided by the university. That's a 21 percent increase over last year's $6.5 million share from the BTN ...

By comparison, the Southeastern Conference distributed an average of $18.3 million to each of its member schools for 2010-11. The Big 12 divvied $145 million among its members for an average of a little more than $12 million.
We didn't major in economics, but we're confident nonetheless that a 21 percent increase over the space of one year in a sluggish economy is a mighty fine figure for any business. Even if the BTN doesn't continue that kind of explosive growth, multiplying any kind of similar figure over the next several years would equal massive, massive payouts to the Big Ten's schools.

And, again, over those same several years the SEC is scheduled to earn the exact same amount in television revenue as they did this year. It would take quite some time for the resulting difference in payout to have any noticeable impact on the field, if it ever did. But at the very least, the BTN is helping put the Big Ten in position to compete with any conference in the country.

(Now, if the Big Ten's teams would just spend some of their money on assistants ...)



Posted on: July 20, 2011 12:23 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 12:39 pm
 

Can the SEC renegotiate its TV contract or not?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The SEC's feeling pretty good about itself these days, and you don't even need to see the league's impressively unsubtle media guide cover (or equally to-the-point Media Days T-shirt) to know it. When you're in the middle of a streak of five-straight national titles, distributing record amounts of revenue to your member schools, watching your most prominent critic scramble in the wake of the Ohio State scandal, and just generally becoming more and more college football's resident 500-pound gorilla, a little bit of chest-puffing is going to come naturally.

In fact (assuming the continuing NCAA investigation into Cam Newton's eligibilty doesn't gain any more traction), there's really only one black lining to the SEC's giant silver cloud: its television contracts.

Yes, the same contracts primarily responsible for all that record-breaking revenue. The money they're generating today isn't a problem; it's the money they'll generate in the year 2023 that might be, when the 15-year deals the SEC signed with CBS and ESPN in 2009 will still be in effect.

As the even-more-lucrative deal signed by the Pac-12 this year illustrates -- a deal that still allows Larry Scott's league the right to start its own network, an option the ESPN-locked SEC doesn't have -- by the time 2015 or 2016 rolls around, the SEC will be being paid far less than market value for its product ... to say nothing of the start of the next decade. That the Big Ten's and Pac-12's conference networks promise to produce exponentially increasing revenue during the life of the SEC's (finanically static) contract must make the situation even more uncomfortable for Mike Slive.

Which is why he addressed the topic head-on in yesterday's chat with the Associated Press, promising that his conference would not be simply twiddling its televised thumbs for 13 more years (emphasis added):
"Obviously when we did our deal we set the pace, and in our contract we have a concept called look-ins," Slive said. "At periodic points during the life of the contract, we can sit down with ESPN and take a look-in and look at the status of television, technology, all aspects of television, and at that point make adjustments that the parties agree are appropriate to make sure that everything that we intended to achieve with the contracts would in fact be available to us."
Are we wrong in thinking this is Slive's veiled attempt at asserting that, yes, they will be asking ESPN for more money? That once that "status of television" has changed, the "look-in" will give him the opportunity to renegotiate the deal?

We don't think so. And if that's Slive's intent, it could make for some very interesting discussion at these "look-ins." Because when asked to comment on the SEC's contract in June, ESPN official Burke Magnus didn't sound particularly open to altering the basic terms of the contract (emphasis added):
"We knew when we made a 15-year deal that time was not going to stand still so we purposely built in these look-ins," Magnus said. "They don't reopen the deal. There's no outs. It's an opportunity for both of us to really take stock of where we are and see what we could be doing better."
There's a lot of wiggle room in both of these statements, of course, even before we account for the possible game-changer that would be SEC expansion. Slive could simply be referring to digital distribution or kickoff times on ESPN2 or any of a dozen other things. Magnus could simply be indicating that the SEC won't be jumping to another network, not ruling out his network giving the SEC a raise. But the plainest reading, we think, is that Slive is going to want some fundamental monetary change to the contract ... and that ESPN may dig in its heels against "reopening the deal."

As SEC Media Days begins today, Slive will have plenty to celebrate. But until he secures the same financial footing for his league that the Big Ten and Pac-12 enjoy -- not just today, but for the future -- he'll still have one major question hanging over his tenure. Here's to hoping SEC Media Days gives us something approximating an answer to it.


Posted on: July 19, 2011 5:21 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 5:49 pm
 

Georgia Tech's Johnson blasts NCAA decision

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson has long had a reputation for saying exactly what's on his mind--no more, no less.

And the reason he has that reputation is interviews like the one published today by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in which Johnson flat-out unloads on the NCAA decision to vacate the Yellow Jackets' 2009 ACC championship. A few choice comments:
“The NCAA can’t take away the memories or what happened on the field. Let’s say somebody took something illegal. I’m still not convinced that happened, but let’s say it did. Well, you’re punishing 115 guys who didn’t do anything but work their butt off" ...

"If we were trying to cover the thing up, we would’ve just said that [athletic director] Dan [Radakovich] never told me anything. Their perception of what happened and my perception of what happened wasn’t close.”

Johnson’s perception: “That they came in here and talked to seven or eight kids and they didn’t find what they were looking for.

“I’ve been in this business a long time. You see all the things that are going on in college sports today, and you get slammed for this? I mean, come on now ...

“If you went out and you did something to gain a competitive advantage, if  you knew you cheated or you paid somebody, it might be easier to swallow,” Johnson said. “But when you don’t feel like you’ve done anything wrong, it’s tough to take.”

We don't blame Johnson at all for being upset. Having the ACC title stripped -- the AJC reports the championship trophy has been moved to a closet -- and four years' worth of probation hanging over the program is a tough blow for a coach who by the NCAA's own admission did nothing wrong.

But if there's anything the NCAA has been consistent about in handing down its recent rulings, it's that (say it with me) the cover-up is worse than the crime. Tech officials prepping athletes Demaryius Thomas and Morgan Burnett for interviews with NCAA investigators after being specifically told not to isn't the worst offense in the world, but there's not much question it does fall underneath the "cover-up" umbrella.

And as for "competitive advantage," Tech was cautioned that star receiver Thomas had "eligiblity questions" and played him against Clemson in the ACC title game anyway. No, it's not "paying somebody" (to use Johnson's term), but if using a player you know could be ineligible -- and was later proven to be -- isn't a "competitive advantage," then what is?

So we sympathize with Johnson's plight, and appreciate his candor. But we can't quite bring ourselves to agree with him that the NCAA overstepped its bounds, either.


Posted on: July 19, 2011 1:04 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 1:12 pm
 

Stoops says Arizona's Criner 'ready to go'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It sounds like this summer's Juron Criner story is going to have a happy ending.

Reports late last month claimed that Arizona's All-American wide receiver status for the 2011 season was "uncertain" after an "erratic episode" that had resulted in his hospitalization. But Wildcat head coach Mike Stoops told the Arizona Daily Star today that Criner was "here and ready to go" once the team's fall camp opens on Aug. 4.

"We anticipate him being the same player - or a better player - than he was a year ago," Stoops added.

Stoops declined to offer details on Criner's summer absence from a scheduled ESPN publicity event or address the prior reports, saying only that the Biletnikoff Award Watch List member was forced to deal with "family issues" that would remain "personal."

The news could not be any better for Wildcat fans who have already had to deal with four torn ACLs on the Arizona roster this offseason, inclduing starters Jake Fischer and Adam Hall.  Criner isn't only the Wildcats' best player at any position by a substantial margin; he accounted for 31 pecent of the 'Cats 2010 receiving yardage singlehandedly. If there was one player Stoops absolutely, positively could not afford to lose this offseason, Criner was him.

Fortunately, it doesn't look like Stoops will lose him after all. Pac-12 secondaries can officially start worrying again.




Posted on: July 19, 2011 11:16 am
Edited on: July 19, 2011 11:39 am
 

Cody Green won't be transferring to USC

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When last we left former Nebraska quarterback Cody Green and his efforts to find a transfer destination, he was promising to visit USC and take a long look at Lane Kiffin's Trojans.

Either Green didn't end up liking what he saw, or Kiffin decided Green wasn't worth the invite, or some combination of the two -- because Green will not be headed to USC, per this report from Fox 26 Sports. His final two candidates?
"There's two schools, between Baylor and the University of Tulsa," Green said. "They're great schools academically, and that's a big part of it; and offensively, where they're going and in the future, both of those schools are at the peak of their game."
That decision's not entirely surprising. With the Trojans boasting four blue-chip quarterbacks already on the roster and a scholarship shortage, USC always seemed like something of a longshot for Green.

But that hardly means Green is settling. Both Baylor and Tulsa -- as he correctly points out -- boast high-flying, quarterback-friendly offenses that Green's four-star arm and above-average mobility should fit into snugly. And both should be more than happy to welcome Green with open arms; while neither is hurting for QB play with the Bears' Robert Griffin III and the Golden Hurricanes' G.J. Kinne around, signal-callers with Green's combination of raw ability and BCS-level experience don't just fall into these programs' laps everyday.

So Green's decision may not wind up making the kind of headlines it would have if he'd headed west. But it should prove a win-win situation for him and his new team all the same.


Posted on: July 18, 2011 3:45 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 11:03 am
 

The SEC's media guide cover is subtle

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

We don't know many SEC fans who wouldn't admit, if pressed, that the league's supporters can be just a wee bit obnoxious when it comes to the conference's five consecutive national championships. It kind of comes with the "five consecutive national championships" territory.

But at least we know the league office would never stoop to such lowest-common-denominator chest-beating, right? That Mike Slive and his administration would accept their good gridiron fortune with grace and humility, right? That official conference literature like, say, the cover of the 2011 SEC Media Guide would only reference the league's accomplishments with the most delicate subtlety, right?

Wrong. So, so wrong:



As they say: It ain't bragging* if you can back it up.

*Seriously, though, they're totally bragging.



Posted on: July 18, 2011 3:22 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 3:22 pm
 

Report: Reggie Bush Heisman back with Bush family

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When last we tuned into "As the World of Reggie Bush's Heisman Trohpy Turns," the sporting world's most famous doorstop was being stored at USC-friendly museum the San Diego Hall of Champions as reports claimed Bush had elected not to forfeit the trophy after all.

Today's latest news won't do much to refute those reports, unfortunately for those expecting to seeing it returned to the Heisman Trust. According to the Dan Patrick Show, the SDHOC has "returned the 2005 Heisman Trophy to former USC running back Reggie Bush and his parents, Lamar and Denise Griffin."

"In doing so," the SDHOC said in a statement, "the organization feels it is best to direct any further questions to the Bush family or the Heisman Trust.” And with that, you can consider the museum's hands washed of the situation.

We still seem to be a long way from any kind of resolution, though. According to the report, the Trust contacted both the SDHOC and the Bush family last week to ask the trophy be returned to New York's Downtown Athletic Club--potentially the development that triggered the museum's return of the trophy to the Griffins. The same source claimed that the Trust has "made multiple calls to Bush’s representatives" since Bush publicly forfeited "my title" as Heisman winner, without any reponse from Bush's camp.

With Bush continuing to decline comment and the trophy in his family's possession, it seems more likely than ever that if Bush intended to return it, he would. But he doesn't.

We'd previously suggested that Bush simply keep the Heisman if he really wanted to be that bitter and defiant, but that argument was largely based on the assumption the Trust hadn't actually requested Bush return it. If the Trust has not in fact moved on -- if they feel the dignity of their trophy is being compromised somehow -- they're within their rights to expect Bush to return it.

The longer he doesn't, contrary to what Bush seems to hope, the more and more attention will be paid to the issue. It's past time for Bush to either acquiesce to the Trust's wishes or announce that he's not returning it after all; whatever conclusion the situation reaches, it's badly overdue for that conclusion to arrive.

HT: DocSat.
Posted on: July 18, 2011 1:49 pm
 

Franchione draws Hawaii ire in scheduling snafu

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Seriously, who wouldn't want to schedule a game at Hawaii?

It's too expensive to make a habit out of it if you don't share a conference with the Warriors, but consider the benefits: you get to visit Hawaii. The NCAA's Hawaii scheduling exception lets you play a 13-game season, perfect for the young, developing team. The game will likely start late enough that it's certain to land on television somewhere, possibly even reach a national audience*. Also, you get to visit Hawaii.

So what kind of coach would not only turn down the Warriors, but do so by first reaching a scheduling agreement with them and then backing out just as most teams are finalizing their 2012 slates? Why, college football's old friend Dennis Franchione, now the head man at newly-minted FBS program (and 2012 WAC member) Texas State.

And no, as the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports, the folks at Hawaii are none too thrilled with Franchione's decision (emphasis added):

After "five or six months" of talking, UH said an agreement was worked out to bring the Bobcats here, only to have Franchione scuttle it when contracts were to be sent out.

When Texas State asked for a better financial package, UH said it complied, upping the terms. When the Bobcats requested a home game, UH said it offered a two-for-one deal and would make a later appearance in San Marcos.

Texas State athletic director Lawrence Teis said the Bobcats were interested in UH when they found out they would not be eligible for a bowl or the WAC title in '12 and saw a trip here as "great." But Teis said "we also had not completed (scheduling) our other 12 games yet ... Ideally, if Hawaii would have been in September or October, we probably could have made this work."

Instead, as a 13th game in December, "Coach Fran was concerned that (date) would cut into recruiting, which we desperately need to do moving to (the FBS) level," Teis said ...

[I]t has been taken very personally in Manoa, where athletic director Jim Donovan said, "We won't be working with Texas State anytime in my tenure."

To recap: Franchione could have given his fledgling program an extra week of practice and an extra game at the stage when it needs it the most; a likely television date for a team no doubt desperate for exposure; a home game against a nationally-recognized Mountain West opponent that won 11 games last year; and, oh yes, two visits to Hawaii. He turned it all down to spend one extra week recruiting (at a date on the calendar when most recruits have long since already decided their destinations), and turned it down in such a fashion as to eliminate all possibility of getting it back in the future.

So consider us skeptical this is the best decision for Texas State. To be fair, Franchione has no doubt forgotten more about coaching college football (as the saying goes) than we'll ever know. But we're also pretty sure we'd have known enough to tell him selling a super-secret newsletter to big-money Texas A&M boosters wasn't such a great idea ... and this one doesn't seem all that hot, either.

*A national audience at 1 a.m. Eastern, but still.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com