Photo credit: Bobby Magee via Flickr

Texas A&M Wrongly Cast as Bully in 12th Man Trademark Dispute

Photo credit: Bobby Magee via Flickr
Photo credit: Bobby Magee via Flickr

Just one month ago, Texas A&M was depicted as a bully who got its thrills from suing double amputee cancer survivors. The story generated headlines like these:

“Texas A&M threatens to sue double amputee, cancer survivor”

“Texas A&M tackles double amputee over ’12th Man’”

“Texas A&M plays hardball with a double amputee over 12th Man trademark”

Those headlines appeared on July 2nd and 3rd when news broke that Texas A&M sent multiple cease and desist letters to a group of Bills fans who founded the site 12thManThunder.com, one member of which happens to be a double amputee cancer survivor.

Charles “Chuckie” Sonntag, the aforementioned individual, told reporters earlier this month, “My experience has proven two things: a handicapped person can accomplish just about anything – and Texas A&M will sue just about anybody.”

Today the headline is that Texas A&M has reached a settlement agreement with the group that will result in the 12thManThunder.com domain name and associated social media accounts reverting to Texas A&M. And Chuckie Sonntag has sure changed his tune.

Click here to continue reading my piece on Outkick the Coverage.

You can also listen to my Saturday Millionaires podcast for more on this issue.

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Say Goodbye to Division IV

453653643In my opinion, Division IV was like Texas threatening to leave the Big XII; it was never going to happen. Texas wanted Longhorn Network and all the money that came with it, and the Power 5 (the ACC, Big XII, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC) want autonomy within the confines of the NCAA.

Click here to keep reading my thoughts on why Division IV isn’t happening over on Outkick the Coverage.

Rendering of TDECU Stadium at University of Houston (photo credit: University of Houston)

Sold: Naming Rights for Houston’s New Football Stadium

Rendering of TDECU Stadium at University of Houston (photo credit: University of Houston)

Rendering of TDECU Stadium at University of Houston (photo credit: University of Houston)

When University of Houston plays its first football game in its new on-campus stadium on August 29th against UTSA on national television, the announcers will refer to it as TDECU Stadium thanks to a new naming rights deal. A 10-year, $15-million gift from TDECU gets the local credit union naming rights and a suite on the 50-yard line.

Here at BusinessofCollegeSports.com we’ve been tracking naming rights deals for intercollegiate athletics facilities. Houston’s new deal brings the average annual value of naming rights for football stadiums to $879,594 (based on available data). Read more about our naming rights study here. We also maintain a full database of known naming rights deals.

Houston’s deal will be a nice infusion of cash for an athletic department that reported $42 million in total revenue last year. Mack Rhoades, Houston’s Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, had this to say about the partnership:

“From the beginning of this process, we have been very strategic with how we chose our naming rights gift. We wanted an entity that aligned with our core values, cared about its workforce and its clients, invested in the community and the University. We’ve found that and more with TDECU.”

TDECU’s President and CEO Stephanie Sherrodd was equally as enthusiastic about the partnership:

“We are thrilled and honored to have this opportunity to partner with the University of Houston.  We are proud to have the TDECU name on the new stadium as a visible sign of our commitment to the University and the Houston community, TDECU’s core values are shared by the University of Houston in improving the lives of those around us in order to build for the future.”

Houston has already sold out all suites (26), loge boxes, suite decks, party patios and club seating in the new football stadium as it looks forward to its second season in the American Athletic Conference.

Naming Rights Banner

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Conference Realignment Timeline

When I was writing my business of college football book, Saturday Millionaires, it was practically a full-time job keeping up with conference realignment from 2010-2013. Lucky for me, all got quiet about the same time I published the book, so you’ll find Chapter 4 is still a completely accurate tale of not only this round of realignment but previous rounds as well.

Feeling nostalgic for the good ole days when you never knew what conferences might look like in a week or a month or a year? Here’s a detailed timeline of how it all played out….

A big thank you to my intern extraordinaire, Lauren Nevidomsky, who helped me put this together!

Cal Stadium

Barbour Becomes Second Female FBS AD to Step Down this Summer

Cal Stadium
Photo credit: Flickr user John Morgan

Cal will reportedly be announcing today that AD Sandy Barbour, who’s led Cal’s athletic department since 2004, will step down and move to the academic side. She’s the second female athletic director to step down from an FBS athletic department this summer. Georgia State announced in May that AD Cheryl Levick would move into a new role as special assistant to the university president.

That leaves six women at the helm in FBS athletic departments:

Julie Hermann, Rutgers

Debbie Yow, North Carolina State

Lynn Hickey, UT-San Antonio

Kathy Beauregard, Western Michigan

Tina Kunzer-Murphy, UNLV

Heather Lyke, Eastern Michigan

When UNC-Charlotte moves up to FBS next year, Judy Rose will become the seventh female athletic director at the FBS level. You could also perhaps count Chris Plonsky, Director of Women’s Athletics at University of Texas, since Texas has divided the AD role between men’s and women’s sports.

Women might be in the minority at the FBS level, but three of the current female ADs have been hired in the past two years: Hermann at Rutgers, Kunzer-Murphy at UNLV and Lyke at Eastern Michigan.  In 2012, there were only five female athletic directors at the FBS level.

Why do you think there are so few women ADs at the FBS level (and even at the Division I level overall)? Is it discrimination? Do women not want the job? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Thank you to my Twitter followers who helped me track down exactly how many female ADs are currently in FBS!

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