Daily Compliance Item- 5.8.15- Current Event

Degrees of disagreement over NCAA graduate transfer rule

PHOENIX — All over the desert this week, where five FBS conferences held spring meetings and a number of other coaches and administrators flew in for golf and lavish resort parties on the Fiesta Bowl’s dime, they were tying themselves in knots trying to explain the unexplainable.
The college athletics world has concluded that unpaid amateur athletes changing schools mid-stream — or even after earning an undergraduate degree — is a problem that needs to be fixed, so they’re scurrying to fix it. Things are going to change, probably within the next year or two, and the end result is almost certainly not going to make it easier for those athletes to exercise what, in any other area of academia, would seem to be a fundamental right.
Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson, expected to graduate May 17, became the latest to exercise that right on Thursday, announcing he would take his degree and final year of football eligibility elsewhere this fall.
But leave it to Akron coach Terry Bowden, who inherited his father’s gift of plain-speaking populism if nothing else, to see this madness the same way as most people who haven’t been entrenched in the bubble of college sports.
“They should let (transfers) play right away everywhere,” Bowden said. “They shouldn’t have to sit. The coaches leave. If we can go get a million-dollar contract somewhere else, why can’t the player leave? It’s no different than schools that want to get rid of a coach or a coach that wants to leave in the middle of his five-year contract. Nobody stops them. I don’t think it’s right.”
Though there are a host of issues the various NCAA committees must tackle in the next year, it appears that reforming transfer rules has risen to the top of the board.
And around the five-star Arizona Biltmore resort where coaches and college athletics officials met and socialized this week, Bowden’s viewpoint would have gone over like a spoiled bottle of Chateaux Margaux.
The reason? Because even though a 2012 study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that roughly one in three college students transfers at some point — that’s not athletes, just regular students — the college sports community has come to the collective view that an athlete who makes that same decision is somehow a problem that needs to be fixed.
Already, the NCAA has eliminated hardship waivers that allowed athletes to apply for immediate eligibility based on things like family illnesses. And because there is a two-year window for all of Division I to address transfers before it could possibly become an area for just the Power Five conferences to deal with in the autonomy structure, more changes are almost certainly coming.
“Student-athletes are transferring at rates higher than ever before, and it’s incumbent upon the membership to explore why and if there’s a better way to look at the issue,” UCLA athletics director Dan Guerrero said.
That’s fair, but it’s also not the crisis many make it out to be. In men’s basketball, where much of the hand-wringing over transfers has occurred, ESPN counted 604 transfers in 2014, with the numbers likely to exceed that this year.
So the fundamental question that needs to be asked is this: Is it really some major failure on the part of college athletics or an indictment on society that 1.72 players per Division I basketball program transferred last year? And even if rules made it more difficult to transfer, would it really make much difference?
“Everybody’s circumstances are different, and that’s why I don’t know if you’re ever going to change it,” said Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford, who himself transferred from Missouri to Kentucky as a player.
“We have discussions: How do we slow it down? I don’t know if there’s an answer for that. I don’t know if just taking away the waivers is going to stop it. I think it’s just society in general now. I don’t know if there’s anyway to control what a kid is thinking in his mind that he maybe wants something different. And sometimes it may be what he needs. How do you decide that for somebody? I don’t think there’s any good answer to it or solution to it.”
But the NCAA is going to do whatever it can to bring those numbers down, pushing to return whatever sliver of college athletics can be salvaged back to its scholastic mission. In an era where the athletes are winning court cases and getting new financial benefits — Full Cost of Attendance stipends are about to become reality, and name, image and likeness payments could soon follow — they are going to use the academic enterprise as their biggest weapon in the ultimate legal battle for the soul of college sports.
If the NCAA can’t connect sports to academics in any real way, its argument to prevent a free market system could be dead on arrival.
“The transfer process needs a lot of work,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. “The mid-year admission from high school will be in that mix. The post-graduate transfer will probably have some stipulations put around it. The process of transferring whether there’s a residence requirement, whether you can be on aid right away, whether you can do it more than once, whether you leave benefits at your old school to go to a new school. It needs to be a partnership but it isn’t a one-way street where the student can do whatever they want and the schools can’t do anything. There has to be a better partnership than that.”
It’s unclear exactly what will happen, but two things seem almost certain at this point: Transfer rules that vary from sport to sport will likely be standardized to some degree, and the graduate transfer exception is probably going away.
The latter will be controversial. Currently, athletes who earn their undergraduate degrees and have eligibility remaining are allowed to transfer and play right away.
The rule began solely with academics in mind but has evolved to the point where — at least in Division I basketball and the Football Bowl Subdivision — it is usually about athletics.
“There’s a lot of kids that are backups all their life and they’re thinking, ‘Hey I got my degree, I can go somewhere and have a chance to start,’ ” Cincinnati football coachTommy Tuberville said. “I think that’s good for a kid.”
Some recent developments, however, have touched nerves among coaches, particularly when Eastern Washington’s highly accomplished quarterback Vernon Adams took advantage of the rule to transfer to Oregon. If it seemed like one of the nation’s premier programs plugged a position hole by poaching from an FCS school, well, it’s hard to argue.
But even those who find it distasteful have taken advantage of the rule when necessary.
“Is it right? Probably not,” said Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter, who got quarterback Brandon Connette last year from Duke on a graduate transfer. “If I’m not involved in it, I don’t know that it’s a great rule. Then again, we’re probably going to sign another one this year.”
When the NCAA shuts down the loophole, it will cite statistics that show graduate transfers are not completing graduate degrees in large numbers. Essentially, football and basketball players who go that route are using the rule to finish their athletic eligibility, then leaving school to pursue other endeavors.
“There’s so much focus on professionalism and question about whether student-athletes are being exploited; in some cases it feels like it really is only about the athletics (with regard to transfers),” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said. “That’s concerning to some of our (administrators).
“If you come at it from the point of view of, ‘Why should you care?’ and your view is student-athletes don’t care about academics, you won’t be persuaded by this, but there’s a lot of data that shows transfer student-athletes don’t do as well. It doesn’t relate to positive outcomes from an academic standpoint. If you don’t care, I won’t persuade you that it matters but people who make decisions on our campus care.”
But the graduate transfer is the opposite of exploitation. It gives them an incentive to fulfill their end of the bargain — to graduate — and then, in return, gives them the freedom to do what they want with any remaining eligibility.
What it also undoubtedly becomes, however, is a headache for coaches paranoid that other programs are going to scour their roster and recruit someone straight off their campus.
“I’ve taken transfers and I’ve lost transfers,” Bowden said. “Most of our coaches are so protective, and I don’t think it’s right. Ninety percent of what happens is a guy isn’t playing, they tell him he’s not going to be playing and he wants to go somewhere else and play. I just think if you want them to stay, you’ll find a way to play them.”
That sense of fundamental fairness is why Stanford’s David Shaw adamantly supports the current rule, even though just this year he’s lost running back Kelsey Young (to Boise State), fullback Patrick Skov (to Georgia Tech) and tight end Charlie Hopkins (to Virginia) to graduate transfers.
“I’d love to have those guys back,” Shaw said. “But then I look at it and say, ‘You know what? Would those guys be in position to where they’re kind of rotating in with us?’ If they have a chance to go be ‘the guy’ someplace else, they’ve done their part for me, for Stanford University. They’ve played their tails off, they’ve stayed the course with school, they graduated. You graduate from college in four years? No one should be able to tell you that you can’t go someplace else to play a fifth year.
“If they change this rule so now I can force a kid to stay with me and be my backup, I think that’s just cruel and unusual.”
Not unusual, though, for an industry that often decides what is right and fair during lavish weekends at five-star resorts that seem an awful lot like echo chambers.
This article was selected for educational purposes only.
Jennifer M. Condaras 
Associate Commissioner
BIG EAST Conference

Daily Compliance Item- 5.1.15- Current Event

Court filing: NCAA, conferences say scholarships could be reduced

The NCAA and a group of 11 major conferences say that if rules restricting what athletes can receive for playing college sports are eliminated, it would “likely lead many — if not most” Division I schools to reduce the number of scholarships for players on football, men’s basketball and/or women’s basketball teams.
The assertions came as part of filing Thursday night in which the association and the conferences asked U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken to not allow a pair of lawsuits to proceed as class actions.
The suits seek injunctions that would essentially allow unlimited compensation for Bowl Subdivision football players, as well as for Division I men’s basketball and women’s basketball players.
One of the cases began on behalf of former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston, who is no longer involved as named plaintiff. It was consolidated with other suits and now covers football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball players in the 10 FBS conferences and the Western Athletic Conference. It is being led, in part, by lawyers from Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, the same firm that is involved in an array of cases against the NCAA and represented former Arizona State and Nebraska football player Sam Keller in a suit before Wilken that also involved video game manufacturer Electronic Arts and eventually settled.
The other case is being pursued on behalf of plaintiffs led by former Clemson footballplayer Martin Jenkins and two current Wisconsin athletes — basketball player Nigel Hayes and football player Alec James. It covers football and men’s basketball players in the power conferences, and it is being directed by Jeffrey Kessler, who gained renown for his representation of professional sports players’ unions and involvement in a case that set the stage for NFL free agency.
If the cases are not certified as class actions, they become limited to the named plaintiffs only. For them to be certified by a judge as class actions, the plaintiffs must demonstrate, among other things, that the case involves questions of law or fact that are common to the prospective wider class and that the named plaintiffs “will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.”
In Thursday night’s filing, the NCAA and the conference’s used an expert’s report and excerpts of depositions from various named plaintiffs to assert that elimination of the NCAA’s rules “would be sure to produce vigorous recruitment or and substantial payments to the most talented athletes — a group that allegedly includes the named plaintiffs themselves … But there can be no doubt that the requested injunction also would lead to the reduction or elimination of scholarships and athletic opportunities for many of the thousands of less renowned student-athletes whom the named plaintiffs claim to represent …”
If Wilken’s ruling and injunction in the Ed O’Bannon antitrust case are upheld on appeal, schools would have little ability to reduce the value of scholarships for FBS football players and Division I men’s basketball players. She ruled that while the NCAA would be allowed to cap the amount of compensation that may be paid to athletes while they are in school, the NCAA would not be permitted to set this cap below the cost of attendance.
The NCAA and the conferences wrote that Jenkins said in his deposition that “he was sure that his teammates who left Clemson early to play professional football would have stayed at Clemson longer if they had been paid to play college football.” This, said the NCAA and the conferences, would result in some potential class members being on teams in roster slots that would otherwise go other potential class members.
In addition, citing the depositions of Jenkins, Hayes, James and others, the NCAA and the conferences argued that because athletes are “prepared and able” to play FBS football and Division I men’s and women’s basketball as walk-ons, the lifting of rules limiting athlete compensation would result in schools concentrating their financial resources “on compensating superstars” and in “many players being paid less than they currently receive in financial aid.”
The plaintiffs in the two cases have until May 28 to respond to Thursday night’s filing. Wilken has scheduled a hearing on the class certification issue for July 23.
This article was selected for educational purposes only.
Jennifer M. Condaras 
Associate Commissioner
BIG EAST Conference

Daily Compliance Item- 4.24.15- Current Event

Armour: Coaches’ talk about giving athletes more help now sounds cheap

The schools in the power five conferences haven’t even started cutting the checks yet, and already some coaches are moaning about how paying the full cost of attendance is going to give somebody else an advantage.
Spare me.
For years, coaches at the major football and basketball programs have been saying more needs to be done for their athletes. Sure, athletes get their education paid for. But that’s chump change when compared with the billions they’re generating for their schools and conferences through television deals, ticket sales, advertising, merchandise and donations.
When you consider that these “student-athletes” devote upwards of 40 hours a week to their sports during the season, it begins to look more like slave labor than a fair trade. Especially when those scholarships don’t even cover the full cost of attendance.

But it was one thing to champion the idea of giving athletes more when it was just that, an idea. Now that schools can cover the cost of attendance, beginning with the 2015-16 school year, some coaches are showing that, contrary to their claims, it’s really notabout the kids.
It’s about winning, plain and simple.
“I think extra money or more money to our student-athletes is a proper way to go. But the way we’ve done it, where there could be tremendous difference in what we give as opposed to another school gives, are able to give, we’ve never done anything like that in college football before,” Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer said Wednesday during a teleconference with ACC football coaches.
“I’m disappointed,” Beamer continued. “I think it’s not the way to go.”
Neither does Louisville coach Bobby Petrino.
I think they have a lot of work to do on the cost of attendance because obviously you don’t want it to be an advantage for one school over the other,” Petrino said. “It would certainly be good for the University of Louisville, but I’m not sure that’s fair throughout the country to have it be different at one school than the other.”
News flash: Unless you put all schools on the moon, or in some corner of South Dakota, the playing field in college athletics is always going to be unequal. No offense to the good folks of Starkville, Miss., but the Mississippi State campus is never going to compare to Stanford’s. The weather at Syracuse is never going to be as good as it is inSan Diego State.

That Clemson’s clearance to buy its new toy, err, jet, came on the very same day Tigers coach Dabo Swinney was bemoaning the “nightmare” that paying full cost of attendance is going to create is just too rich.
“Will that change the balance between the haves and have-nots? I think it won’t,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said Thursday when he was asked about cost of attendance during the Associated Press Sports Editors’ annual meetings with league commissioners. “I think the answer is, it won’t change it any more than it already has been changed.”
Kids select schools for a variety of reasons — playing time, academics, coaching, visibility, friends, proximity to home. The idea that a recruit is now going to pick School X because he or she will get $5,000 to cover the full cost of attendance as opposed to $2,000 is as laughable as multi-millionaire coaches whining about financial inequity.
Of course there are details about paying the full cost of attendance that need to be worked out, including monitoring and verification. That’s always the case with something new. But this is a step in the right direction, and the coaches need to give it a chance to work before trying to torpedo it.
Otherwise, all that talk about wanting to help their athletes is just that. Talk.
And cheap talk at that.
This article was selected for educational purposes only.
Jennifer M. Condaras 
Associate Commissioner
BIG EAST Conference

Daily Compliance Item- 4.16.15- Current Event

Sullivan | Everybody out of the pool at WKU

There is no happy medium with hazing. There is not one line that can be crossed with impunity and another ringed with barbed wire and guard towers.
All of it is objectionable. All of it is degrading. All of it warrants the harsh rebukes and stinging sanctionsWestern Kentucky University has delivered to its swimming and diving teams.
Faced with evidence of hazing, sexual assault and sexual harassment, and an investigation that concluded coach Bruce Marchionda had been aware of the “pervasive culture” for several years, WKU President Gary Ransdell dropped a neutron bomb on the Bill Powell Natatorium on Tuesday: a five-year suspension of the entire program.
Short of dropping the sport permanently, the five-year suspension represents one of the most thorough housecleanings in the history of college athletics. SMU football, the last Division I program to receive the NCAA’s repeat-offender “death penalty,” was shut down for just two seasons, the second of its own volition. When San Francisco and Tulane voluntarily dropped their basketball programs in the 1980s, those self-imposed bans lasted three and four years, respectively.
WKU has set a precedent here and, also, a tone.
“I never heard of a suspension like that occurring in college athletics,” said Western New England law professor Erin Buzuvis, co-founder of the Title IX Blog. “I think it’s a sign of increased awareness, attention and focus on the problems of sexual assault and hazing.
“Without assessing the specific facts, I’m happy to see that universities are not shying away from situations when (stern) responses are warranted. I’m happy to see that, in the abstract, that’s on the table.”
The backlash has been predictable. Powell, the former coach for whom the natatorium is named, told the Bowling Green Daily News that the university’s decision amounted to “overkill.” Numerous complaints have been lodged on the speculative theory that a non-revenue sport was singled out for sanctions that would not be applied to football or men’s basketball. Others have complained that the innocent have been punished along with the guilty.
This much is a matter of interpretation. It’s not just the ringleaders who bear responsibility when initiation rites turn demeaning or dangerous; when binge drinking leads to lewd photographs of passed-out students or worse; when sharing a secret means complicity in a crime.
Anyone who allows such a culture to persist assumes some of the blame when things go bad.
No one wants to spoil the party. No one wants to turn on teammates after gaining their trust through group bonding. Still, any athlete who fails to see the lesson in the Western Kentucky case is not paying attention. The standards have been raised for campus conduct and the penalties are more permanent. If you want to behave like a barbarian now, you can put an entire program in peril.
Some of this is the product of a fear of liability in potential lawsuits. In those cases that involve sexually hostile environments, an offending institution can also run afoul of Title IX requirements and put its federal funding at risk. And when coaches and administrators are aware of issues of this nature and fail to act decisively, the repercussions can be severe, as Ohio State marching band director Jon Waters learned last summer.

“Greater liability is a risk when you don’t take action,” Buzuvis said. “(But) even above and apart from that, I think that shows if you’re concerned about student welfare and wellness, you have to make sure students aren’t doing things that are dangerous.”

Slippery Rock professor Brian Crow, one of the NCAA’s registered anti-hazing speakers, says part of the problem “is there’s a big disconnect between what constitutes hazing and what 19-year-olds think of as hazing.” A 2008 University of Maine study found that nine out of 10 students who had experienced hazing behavior in college did not consider themselves to have been hazed. In 95 percent of the cases in which a student identified an experience as hazing, they did not report it to campus officials.
Crow says warning athletes about the criminal penalties or civil actions that could result from hazing has less impact than the potential loss of eligibility, playing time or the cancellation of a season.
“This is often why victims go along with hazing,” he said. “They feel the suffering of hazing is probably not as bad as having their teammates get punished in that manner.”
Western Kentucky’s message is to speak up before it’s too late.
This article was selected for educational purposes only.
Jennifer M. Condaras 
Associate Commissioner
BIG EAST Conference

Daily Compliance Item- 4.10.15- Current Event

Ohio State QB Braxton Miller broke NCAA rule with Instagram post

Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller broke an NCAA rule last month with an Instagram post that was determined to be a promotion for Advocare nutritional supplements. Though he was technically ineligible while the matter was under consideration, his eligibility has been reinstated “without any conditions,” the school announced Thursday.
On March 24, a photograph was posted to Miller’s Instagram account showing Miller and Brandon Oshodin, who is owner of Authentik Fitness in Columbus, Ohio, seated at a table with an array of Advocare products. Oshodin was later identified as an Advocare dealer.
Miller, a two-time Big Ten offensive player of the year who missed all of last season after a shoulder injury, later deleted the post, but the school investigated. According to the statement, Ohio State reported the violation to the NCAA, which prohibits student athletes from promoting “a commercial product.”
“This was considered a minor violation and the matter is now closed,” the school’s statement said.
Earlier today, the twitter account for Ohio State’s athletic compliance department (@OSUCompliance) tweeted: “Student-athletes may not endorse or promote (in any manner) businesses and/or their products or services. #ProtectYourEligibility”
Miller is part of a three-way quarterback competition for the Buckeyes, who won the College Football Playoff national championship in January.
This article was selected for educational purposes only.
Jennifer M. Condaras 
Associate Commissioner
BIG EAST Conference

Daily Compliance Item- 4.3.15- Current Event

I was so happy to find such a great article on this Good Friday.  Happy Easter everyone!!!!

Furman catcher Jake Kinsley donates life to stranger

Three years had passed. Jake Kinsley had forgotten all about it.

During his freshman year at Furman University, Kinsley participated in a bone marrow donor drive to aid a relative of a Furman tennis coach. Kinsley, a native of Manhasset, New York, submitted his information to Be The Match, a national marrow donor program.

He was not a match. His name remained in the Be The Match registry, but he did not hear back from the donor program, except for occasional generic marketing emails.

“I’d throw it right in the junk mail box,” said Kinsley, now a senior catcher on the Furman baseball team. “I was thinking it would never come up again.”

Kinsley’s assumption held until this winter, when a peculiar number popped up on his cell phone. It was from Be The Match.

“They were saying I’ve been identified as a possible match for a mother with leukemia,” Kinsley said. “It’s not something I thought about, really, but when the opportunity presented itself, it was one I was more than happy to take advantage of.”

Amid winter workouts, Kinsley underwent the preliminary tests and screenings. In February, he received another call. He no longer was classified as a possible match.

He was a perfect match.

“For someone to be a perfect match, you’re looking for that needle in a haystack.”Ashley Collier

“It is very rare to even be called as a potential match. That’s like only one in 70,000,” said Ashley Collier, the Be The Match South Carolina community engagement representative. “For someone to be a perfect match, you’re looking for that needle in a haystack.”

According to Collier, a bone marrow transplant is many patients’ last chance to defeat cancer.

“The chemotherapy is not going to work anymore. There’s no more going into remission. This is it,” Collier said. “For a patient, that may be their only match. There may not be other options, and that could mean their life.”

Grasping the gravity of the opportunity, Kinsley did not mind that being the needle in the haystack required him to take several needles in the arm.

“I didn’t think twice about it when given the offer,” Kinsley said. “Just knowing that it’s that important to that person and you’re able to help them even if you don’t know them.”

Kinsley will undergo the transplant procedure next week. He will be forced to sit out of Furman’s game at Clemson University on Tuesday.

“ I didn’t think twice about it when given the offer.”Jake Kinsley

“He’s going to miss probably close to a week of his senior year, the last year that he’s going to play baseball, and he loves baseball,” Furman coach Ron Smith said. “That’s an extraordinary sacrifice. In his eyes and our eyes, it’s well worth it, that one week compared to a lifetime for another person.”

Kinsley’s roommate, pitcher Matt Solter, said this sacrifice is a perfect match to Kinsley’s personality.

“He such a selfless kid, in every aspect of his life,” Solter said. “He doesn’t even want anybody thinking that what he’s doing is something super extraordinary, which it is. He mentioned it once, just to let me know what’s going on. Other than that, he hasn’t talked about it. He’s just a humble guy.”

Kinsley has started three games during his Furman career. He has compiled four hits through the past three seasons. Yet Smith asserted that statistics do not measure Kinsley’s impact on the team, campus and community.

Kinsley eagerly participates in the team’s service initiatives, including the Mauldin Miracle League and the annual Vs. Cancer Foundation fundraiser. Kinsley has been selected to the Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll while double-majoring in business administration and Chinese language studies. He already has accepted a post-graduation position with an investment bank in Atlanta.

“… There is a greater purpose out there, and I’m starting to see that now.”Jake Kinsley

“Jake embodies what you want in a student-athlete,” Smith said. “He’s very bright. He works very hard. He’s very unselfish. He gives of himself, which is unusual for some 18- to 22-year-olds. Now, for him to make this extraordinary sacrifice, it’s very special.”

Kinsley is not permitted to contact the recipient until a year after the transplant. He does not know where the patient lives or what stage of cancer she faces. He only hopes that his donation will allow her to live well beyond that contact date.

“I’m going to have to give up a little bit of what I love in baseball, but it’s all worth it, to help someone else out and give them another chance at life,” he said. “My mom and dad always say I’m not just playing sports to play sports. There is a greater purpose out there, and I’m starting to see that now.”

This article was selected for educational purposes only.

Jennifer M. Condaras 
Associate Commissioner
BIG EAST Conference

Daily Compliance Item- 3.27.15- Current Event

As Final Four nears, NCAA opposes Indiana religious freedom law

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The NCAA is “especially concerned” by a recently enacted law in Indiana, which hosts this year’s Final Four, that grants businesses the right to refuse service to gay and lesbian couples, NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement released on Thursday.

“The NCAA national office and our members are deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events,” the statement read. “We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees.

“We will work diligently to assure student-athletes competing in, and visitors attending, next week’s Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis are not impacted negatively by this bill. Moving forward, we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce.”

The measure, which was signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana on Thursday, gives state businesses the right to not provide service to gay and lesbian couples based on “religious freedom.”

The NCAA is headquartered in Indianapolis.

Whether the NCAA should host the biggest event of the college basketball season in a state that is potentially unaccommodating to fans and tourists of a particular sexual orientation is a “bigger decision” for the governing body to make, North Carolina State forward Abdul-Malik Abu told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday.

“I know that decision probably won’t be based on moral views but probably more currency-based,” said Abu.

“I definitely feel like that law is really backwards. You shouldn’t be able to reject anybody based on what they believe in, definitely. That’s the NCAA’s choice.”

Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer said, “I’m not concerned. I’m sure we’ll find some good food no matter what. We are so focused on this game right now. I can’t even think about that city yet.”

Dakarai Tucker, a guard/forward for Utah, said of the law, “I don’t think that’s right. That’s something that was dealt with a long time ago. I just don’t think that’s right at all. It’s a free country. Anybody has any right to go anywhere they want to. This is in Indianapolis? Yeah, I think it’s a concern.”​

The Final Four will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on April 4.

This article was selected for educational purposes only.

Jennifer M. Condaras 
Associate Commissioner
BIG EAST Conference

Daily Compliance Item- 3.20.15- Current Event

Teams that spend on recruiting make tourney, except Auburn


Kansas spends more money recruiting men’s basketball players than any other public school in Division I, about $2.1 million over a recent five-year span. Louisville, at $2 million, and Kentucky, at just under $2 million, are right behind. That makes sense. Each is a name-brand powerhouse with national championships of recent vintage.

Auburn, the next biggest spender at about $1.6 million, is a bit of a surprise. The Tigers doubled their spending over five years without so much as making the NCAA tournament field.

“It was a bad return on investment,” Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs told USA TODAY Sports. He said he authorized the increased spending — from $203,000 in 2008-09 to $465,000 in 2012-13, the most recent school year for which full numbers are available — at the behest of then-coach Tony Barbee, hired in 2010.

“It didn’t work out,” Jacobs said. “So I fired him.”

Recruiting is the lifeblood of college sports and a USA TODAY Sports analysis of 214 public schools found a correlation between schools that spend big on recruiting and schools that had success making the NCAA tournament from 2010 to 2014. (The one-year lag accounts for the time it takes for recruiting classes to enter school.)

Among the eight schools that made the tournament all five years, the average five-year spending was $1.2 million and the average annual spending was $231,000. Among the 33 schools that made the tournament three or more times, the average five-year spending was $912,000 and the average annual spending was $182,000. Among the 181 schools that made the tournament two times or fewer, the average five-year spending was $384,000 and the average annual spending was $77,000. And among the 144 schools that did not make the tournament in any of the five years, the average five-year spending was $325,000 and the annual average spending was $65,000.

But don’t use recruiting dollars as a guide to fill out your bracket. Once a team is in the tournament, recruiting expenses are a much less reliable predictor of how deep teams will advance. The spending of programs that reached the round of 16, the round of 8 and the Final Four over the five years shows little connection to spending, with as many thrifty programs as big spenders among the teams in those elite rounds year after year.

Certainly, many of the biggest spenders didn’t get far in the tournament at all. Among the top-25 recruiting spenders, seven didn’t win even one tournament game in the five seasons, 10 never reached the round of 16, 15 never reached the round of 8, and 19 didn’t reach the Final Four.

Two programs that reached Final Fours — Kansas and Louisville — spent more than $400,000 a year on average while two others —Wisconsin and Virginia Commonwealth — spent well below $100,000 a year on average. Everyone else is fairly evenly distributed in between.

Wisconsin gets a big bang for its recruiting buck. The Badgers, who enter this tournament as a No. 1 seed, spent $299,000 over the five-year span, with average annual spending at a bit under $60,000. Likewise San Diego State averaged below $55,000 — less than the five-year and annual averages of the 144 schools that did not make the tournament in any of the five years. The Badgers and Aztecs made it in all of them.

“I see a lot of other people’s money,” Wisconsin associate head coach Greg Gard said, “and I think it would be hard to spend that much money. You really have to try.”

Recruiting costs, by the NCAA’s definition, include transportation, lodging and meals for prospective student-athletes and institutional personnel on official and unofficial visits, as well as telephone call charges, postage and such. The costs also include the value of use of an institution’s own vehicles or airplanes as well as the in-kind value of loaned or contributed transportation.

Kansas’ recruiting spending is driven in part by the program’s use of private aircraft, mostly university-owned. For example, according to data published earlier this month by the Lawrence Journal-World, KU’s basketball program spent nearly $275,000 on private aircraft for recruiting during the 2013 fiscal year. That accounts for just more than half of the nearly $515,000 the school reported spending on men’s basketball recruiting that year.

“We trust Bill Self to know what he and his staff need to keep our men’s basketball program among the very elite programs in the nation,” Kansas athletics director Sheahon Zenger said Tuesday in a statement to USA TODAY Sports. “It would be difficult to overstate what Kansas basketball has meant to this athletics department, our university, the City of Lawrence and the state of Kansas.”

Jacobs said Auburn increased use of a university jet when Barbee was hired “so that our coaches could go wherever they felt they needed to go to sign the best players in the nation. … I wanted to take away every possible excuse. I wanted to give (Barbee) and his staff whatever it was they thought they needed to be successful here.

“It did not pay off for us, but it took the excuse off the table.”

The average five-year spending for all of the 214 public schools in the analysis was $465,000 with average annual spending of $93,000. Of the 49 public schools in the five power conferences, the average five-year spending total was $954,000, with annual average spending of $191,000.

Taken together, men’s basketball recruiting costs at Division I public schools were $22.7 million in 2012-13, up $5 million in five years. Some of the increased spending is due to higher costs of travel and some of it is likely due to an NCAA rule change that took effect in 2012 allowing schools to pay actual round-trip transportation costs for up to two of a prospective recruits’ parents or guardians on their official visits. That rule applies only to basketball recruiting.

Just 13 schools accounted for about half of the $5 million spending increase, including four that went up about $250,000 each. Kansas’ spending increased by 35% over five years, Louisville’s by 91% and Kentucky’s by 60%. Somehow Wisconsin gets by spending only 15% of what the top spenders do.

Schools in power conferences spending more on recruiting

Gard pointed out that Wisconsin concentrates its recruiting in the Midwest, which cuts down on national travel, or the need for university jets.

“I don’t think we have any secret potion,” Gard said. “We don’t go overboard when we travel and when we stay places.”

Auburn hopes its spending will bear fruit under the tenure of Bruce Pearl, who just finished his first season as coach with a surprising three-win run in the SEC tournament before falling to Kentucky. Jacobs said Pearl did not ask for any increase in the recruiting budget. Jacobs believes Pearl’s name and oversize personality mean he is a known quantity to recruits and their parents.

“From a recruiting standpoint,” Jacobs says, “that just pays dividends you can’t put a price tag on.”

Contributing: Nicole Auerbach, Christopher Schnaars and Kevin Trahan

This article was selected for educational purposes only.
Jennifer M. Condaras 
Associate Commissioner
BIG EAST Conference

Daily Compliance Item- 3.13.15- Current Event

NCAA nearly topped $1 billion in revenue in 2014



The NCAA had total revenue of nearly $1 billion during its 2014 fiscal year, according to an audited financial statement the association released Wednesday.

The total resulted in a nearly $80.5 million surplus for the year – almost $20 million more than the surplus the NCAA had in 2013 and the fourth consecutive year in which the annual surplus has exceeded $60 million.

USA TODAY Sports has compiled the NCAA’s financial statements for each of the past 10 years, and the latest surplus is the largest the association has recorded during that time. Its greatest previous annual surplus was the $70.9 million it recorded in 2012.

The latest surplus increased the NCAA’s year-end net assets to nearly $708 million — more than double where they stood at the end of its 2008 fiscal year.

Among the NCAA’s nearly $665 million in unrestricted net assets is an endowment fund that had grown to more than $385 million as of the end of the 2014 fiscal year. The fund grew by more than $59 million in 2014, by far the greatest one-year increase since it was established in 2004.

 NCAA had $989 million in total revenue in fiscal 2014, according to the statement. It had $908.6 million in total expenses, including $547.1 million distributed to Division I schools and conferences.

The new financial statement – dated Dec. 12, 2014 – also provided some insight into the NCAA’s recent legal costs and how it plans to pay for various legal settlements – and the role of insurance in those matters. The association has been involved in a series of high-profile lawsuits ranging from the Ed O’Bannon and Sam Keller cases relating to the use of athletes’ names and likenesses, to concussions cases, to litigation that rose from the Penn State infractions case.

The concussions case has reached a proposed settlement under which the NCAA would provide $70 million for concussion testing, diagnoses, education and research. The statement states that: “Negotiations are continuing with NCAA insurers to fund the medical monitoring fund, should the settlement agreement reach final approval stage with the Court. Settlement is contingent upon a funding model acceptable to the NCAA.”

As for the $20 million settlement the NCAA has proposed to make in the Keller case, the statement says “funding will be provided by a combination of insurance proceeds and settlements with third parties.”

The statement also takes note of the “unfavorable verdict” the NCAA received in the O’Bannon case, in which U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken also awarded the plaintiffs their legal costs and fees. The NCAA has appealed the verdict and is contesting the plaintiffs’ lawyers request for nearly $50 million in attorney’s fees and costs.

“At this time,” the statement says, “the NCAA cannot reasonably estimate the amount of loss, if any, that may result should an unfavorable resolution occur upon appeal.”

However, the statement says that the NCAA has incurred attorney’s fees while defending against these various legal matters and those fees are recorded in the statement’s figures. The statement says the fees are included among the expenses categorized as “Association-wide programs.” Those expenses grew by $36 million in fiscal 2014 to $158.1 million. That differential is unlikely to be entirely attributable to increased legal costs, but from the association’s 2010 fiscal year through its 2013 fiscal year, its expenses for association-wide programs were never reported as being more than $128.3 million.

The NCAA gets most of its annual revenue from its long-term multimedia and marketing rights agreements with CBS and Turner Broadcasting that are primarily tied to the Division I men’s basketball tournament — $700 million in fiscal 2014 and growing at rate of about 3% per year.

During a news conference at the NCAA convention in January, NCAA President Mark Emmert said “the other pieces of (association) revenue are predominantly also out of the tournament because of ticket sales and other ancillary efforts around the tournament.”

Emmert did not discuss financial specifics at that time, but he said the association had particularly good revenue growth in 2014, in part because the Final Four drew NCAA tournament-record crowds at the enormous AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. While 2014 tournament attendance declined overall compared to 2013, more than 79,000 attended both the national semifinals and the final.

“Great big venue and lots of people attending,” Emmert said. “It will be hard to achieve that same result in a somewhat smaller venue this year” when the Final Four will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The endowment fund has been designated as a quasi-endowment, which means the money is intended to be retained and invested, but unlike a permanent endowment, its principal can be spent. It was established in 2004 by the NCAA Executive Committee, a group of college presidents that oversees association-wide matters, primarily to protect against an event that could impact what is overwhelmingly the NCAA’s greatest revenue source: the Division I men’s basketball tournament.

This article was selected for educational purposes only.

Jennifer M. Condaras 
Associate Commissioner
BIG EAST Conference