A Deeper Look Into The Potential Damages In The O’Bannon Case

The O’Bannon case has recently been in the news again. This time the focus has been on the release of the plaintiffs’ class certification expert report. In the report, Stanford economics professor Roger Noll attempts to show that the plaintiffs will be able to prove their case against the NCAA using evidence that is common to the putative class members (i.e., current and former Division I basketball players and FBS football players). If plaintiffs cannot make this showing, their case will not be certified as a class action and the case will likely fade away. So the report is one of the most important documents that will be filed in the case.

Most of the media’s coverage of the report has focused on Noll’s live broadcast revenue damages calculations. Specifically, it has been reported by a number of media outlets that under Noll’s formula SEC football players on team rosters during the 2009-10 school year would share $61.5 million of live broadcast revenue, SEC basketball players $42.5 million, Pac-10 football players $26.3 million, and Pac-10 basketball players $30.4 million. The media reports don’t explain how Noll reached these numbers. But, because you have the good sense to read BusinessofCollegeSports.com, you will now learn.  I must give one warning though.  If you don’t like math you might want to skip the next few paragraphs.

The first step in Noll’s formula is determining the amount of live television revenue a conference’s football and basketball teams generated in a given year. According to Noll’s figures, in 2009-10 the SEC’s football teams generated $123,096,376 in live television revenue and its basketball teams generated $85,043,590.  The Pac-10’s football teams generated $52,506,327 and its basketball teams generated $60,480,049.  (On a side note, the huge gap in the amount of TV revenue earned by the SEC and the Pac-10 points out just how far the Pac-10 was falling behind the other BCS conferences in revenue generation.  Luckily, the Pac-10 members hired Larry Scott as their commissioner and have now closed the gap).

Noll’s formula assumes that this revenue is shared equally among conference members.  That leaves us with the following per-team revenue numbers:

• Each 2009-10 SEC football team earned $10,296,733 in live broadcast revenue.

• 2009-10 SEC basketball teams earned between $6,991,974 and $7,205,685 in live broadcast revenue (the basketball calculations also include a small amount of school specific live television revenue).

• Each 2009-10 Pac-10 football team earned $5,250,633 in live broadcast revenue.

• 2009-10 Pac-10 basketball teams earned between $5,519,602 and $7,142,893 in live broadcast revenue.

Noll’s formula also assumes that yearly live broadcast revenue is split evenly between a school’s athletic department and the members of the men’s basketball and football teams. So, each of the per-team numbers above is divided in half to calculate the players’ share of the live broadcast revenue. Here are those numbers:

• 2009-10 SEC football players’ share per school: $5,129,016

• 2009-10 Pac-10 football players’ share per school: $2,625,316

• 2009-10 SEC basketball players’ share per school: between $3,490,636 and $3,597,328

• 2009-10 Pac-10 basketball players’ share per school: between $2,744,750 and $3,551,969

Lastly, to calculate the per-athlete damages, Noll divides the players’ share of the live broadcast revenue by the number of players on a team’s roster.  Because the roster size is different at each school, the amount of per-athlete damages varies by school. Here are the per-athlete damage numbers:

• Per-athlete damages for an SEC football player on a 2009-10 roster vary from $46,627 to $66,610.

• Per-athlete damages for a Pac-10 football player on a 2009-10 roster vary from $26,253 to $44,497.

• Per-athlete damages for an SEC basketball player on a 2009-10 roster vary from $177,860 to $295,475.

• Per-athlete damages for a Pac-10 basketball player on a 2009-10 roster vary from $171,547 to $253,171.

A couple of interesting observations can be made by examining the per-athlete numbers and Noll’s model in general.

First, although football generates more total broadcast revenue, basketball players will be entitled to more money under Noll’s damages calculation than football players. There is one reason for this: because of the large difference in roster sizes there are fewer players on a basketball team to split the revenue with.

The per-athlete basketball and football numbers are so skewed by roster sizes that a basketball player at a mid-major like Bucknell would be entitled to more live broadcast revenue than a football player at USC. Using Noll’s formula, a basketball player on Bucknell’s 2009-10 team would be entitled to $34,903. (This revenue comes solely from the broadcast rights to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament).  A member of the 2009-10 USC football team is only entitled to $28,229.

Second, in many instances, a BCS football player’s live broadcast damages would not even be equal to the value of his athletic scholarship. For example, the per-athlete number for Stanford’s 2009-10 football team is $36,463. The value of a full athletic scholarship at Stanford in 2009-10 was over $50,000.

Lastly, while the O’Bannon case is still a long way from resolution, if it results in a system like Noll’s being implemented if will be a shock to the collegiate athletics model. Division I members will lose a large chunk of their athletics budgets. As a result, colleges are paying close attention to the case. For example, the Big 12 has recently convened a task force to study what the college sports landscape will look like if the O’Bannon plaintiffs are successful.

The NCAA will also lose the vast majority of its revenue if the plaintiffs prevail. Nearly 88% of the NCAA’s revenue comes from the sale of the broadcast rights for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. But, in a post O’Bannon world, all of that money will be distributed to Division I men’s basketball players and the schools, not the NCAA. Despite this, the NCAA will not be as affected as the schools. The NCAA already distributes 96% of its annual revenue to NCAA member schools. The loss of NCAA revenue will most hurt the schools that are reliant on the NCAA distributions.

In the end, the O’Bannon case has the potential to be as important as the U.S. Supreme Court’s NCAA v. University of Oklahoma Board of Regents decision. That decision granted schools the ability to sell the broadcast rights to their athletic events. Prior to tha decision, the NCAA controlled and sold the television rights. With schools allowed to sell their television rights, money began to flow directly into the school’s athletics coffers. If the O’Bannon plaintiffs are successful, some of that money will begin to flow directly into the hands of the student-athletes.

Michigan State Receives Donation from Hollis Family

By: Jason Singer

Mark and Nancy Hollis used to be just another two faculty members on the Michigan State campus. Yet, after their $1 million donation to the University, they are anything but just that.

The donation will be divided as follows: half of the money will go to the academic section of the University, and the other half will go to the athletic program. The athletic portion will goes towards funding the “North End Zone” project at Spartan Stadium. This project will help develop the facilities for both present and future student-athletes. Many sections of the stadium will be improved and renovated, including both the home and away locker rooms, the media center, concession areas and restrooms.

Mark Hollis, who was named the Athletic Director in 2008, knows first hand how important the facilities are to the program. He even stated that him and his family will “continue to support this expansion of Spartan Stadium, which is critical to the future of the football program and will improve the entire athletic program.”

When Mark and Nancy Hollis attended Michigan State together, they knew that their lives were influenced by fellow students, faculty members, and others who were involved with them on the MSU campus. They beleive this still stands true today. As a result, they decided to donate and create this scholarship fund to continue the positive influence on others that Michigan State has had on them.

The scholarship fund they created is known as The Hollis Family Endowed Scholarship. Only a portion of the invested income earned is spent each year. The remainder is added to its previous amount, which increases the scholarship from the initial year.  Doing this will allow Michigan State to give out scholarships for years to come, long into the future.

By donating this great gift to their alma mater, Mark and Nancy Hollis have helped Michigan State for the better, as the renovations to Spartan Stadium, and the scholarships for incoming students, will improve this impressive university a great deal. The future of Michigan State is looking great, and people will always look back to the Hollis family as important campus influences.

Miami’s Hurricane Club Prevails Despite Recovering from Scandal

BY: LAURA STRAUB

University of Miami fans might be content with the team’s 4-4 start this season, but problems off the field, in particular scandals within the booster program in the past two years, have the potential to plague the success of the program.  As with most private universities, Miami’s sports programs are supported through financial support from alumni, professional players, professional businesses and fans, but this system of funding was rocked in the wake of the Nevin Shapiro scandal.

The scandal, which broke during 2010 and 2011, came in the form of a Yahoo Sports Report.  The report, complied and written by Charles Robinson implicated over 70 current and former Hurricanes players and coaches for numerous NCAA violations including illegal recruitment tactics such as prostitutes, strip clubs and expensive dinners.

The epicenter of the scandal fell on former Miami University booster Nevin Shapiro and his Ponzi scheme.  Through his Ponzi scam, he swindled investors out of over $900 million.  Shapiro is now imprisoned and out of the picture; however, this situation has left many questioning whether Miami University will still be able to raise as much money for their athletic programs as they had prior to the scandal.

The University of Miami booster program, The Hurricane Club, has rallied in the face of this scandal and has not only surpassed the 2011 membership mark, but has reached its membership goal of 5,500.  The Hurricane Club is celebrating its 40th anniversary with the additional goals of raising scholarship support to $10.1 million and upping participation in their 40/40 program to 40 percent.

Membership in the Hurricane Club can be attained through the purchase of priority seating for either the University of Miami football or basketball games or by an outright annual donation.  The annual donation can be made at six different levels with dollar amounts ranging from $40 to $30,000.  Annual donations come with an assortment of perks, including lapel pins and car decals, priority to purchase tickets for rivalry and bowl games, and priority seating.

Although Shaprio is currently in prison over his unethical involvement with Hurricane Club funds, the program has had a successful year in reaching their funding goals, evidently showing the significant impact a winning record has in terms of fundraising.

However, attendance at Hurricane’s home football games does not seem to compliment the team’s nor the booster program’s recent success.  According to CBS Sports, attendance at the Hurricane’s home opener was 39,345 fans. Yet, a picture taken by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press from the press box in the second quarter shows an unsettling ratio of empty orange seats to excited fans.

It seems only logical that the success of an athletic program could impact fundraising efforts. This money would go towards more program improvements. Nevertheless, the question of whether or not the fans are overlooking the success of the team because they are disenchanted by the Nevin Shapiro scandal remains to be answered.

Davidson Says “No, Thanks” To The CAA, College of Charleston Says “Yes, Please”: What Happens Next?

Last week the Southern Conference made an announcement that had been rumored for weeks: Davidson has rejected the Colonial Athletic Association’s invitation to join and will remain in the Southern Conference. While some may be surprised at Davidson’s decision to remain in a less highly-rated conference, the decision actually makes sense for a number of reasons.

First, although the CAA is a higher rated basketball conference (14th in last year’s RPI compared to the Southern Conference’s 23rd), moving to the conference wouldn’t have necessarily benefitted Davidson’s basketball program.  It could have actually harmed the program.

Davidson’s men’s basketball team is currently the cream of the crop in the Southern Conference.  This would not be the case in the CAA.  Although the CAA has recently received multiple tournament bids, it is usually a one bid conference like the Southern.  In moving to the CAA, Davidson would be moving to a tougher one bid conference, thereby harming its chances of making the NCAA tournament on a regular basis as it recently has done as a member of the Southern Conference.

Second, I doubt Davidson would realize much, if any, financial benefit from moving to the CAA.  Although the CAA did recently sign a television deal with NBC Sports Network that will increase the conference’s national exposure ( NBCSN will carry 18 CAA men’s basketball games nationally this season), the CAA members receive no money from the deal.  NBCSN pays for the members’ production costs.  That’s it.  And there is no guarantee that any of Davidson’s games would actually be selected for a national broadcast.  NBCSN did not select one of my alma mater’s games for a national broadcast this year.

It is true that the CAA has recently received much larger payouts from the NCAA’s Basketball Distribution Fund than the Southern ($3,355,296 versus $2,156,976 for the 2010-2011 season).  However, most of the CAA’s larger payout has been a result of VCU’s recent NCAA tournament successes.  With VCU now gone to the Atlantic 10 and Old Dominion leaving the CAA next year for Conference USA, the CAA is losing two of its basketball programs most likely to experience deep tournament runs. As a result, the Basketball Fund payouts for the CAA and the Southern will likely be much closer in the future.

Lastly, Davidson is just different than most other Division I members.  It is content with its current position in the college sports pecking order.  There is nothing wrong with that.

Despite Davidson’s rejection, the CAA didn’t leave its foray into the Southern Conference empty handed.  On Friday, the College of Charleston’s board of trustees gave the school’s president authority to negotiate Charleston’s entrance into the CAA.  Charleston’s president cited a number of reasons for being in favor of the move: stronger conference opponents, increased opportunities for at-large bids to NCAA tournaments, the ability to  recruit better student-athletes, stronger academic support for student-athletes, alumni living outside South Carolina will now have access to Charleston games, and access to the resources of the Colonial Academic Alliance, which promotes undergraduate research, study abroad opportunities, and faculty and staff professional development.  It’s obvious from this list that Charleston is looking to enhance its athletic and academic programs in making the move.

So, with Charleston in the fold where does the CAA go from here?  Look for at least one other Southern Conference member to join Charleston in the CAA at some point.  Rumors have focused on UNC-Greensboro, Elon, and Furman. Whatever happens, don’t expect the CAA to retain whatever membership configuration it ends up with for long.  There are only 4 teams remaining from what was the CAA when I graduated in 2001.

On a side note, if there would have been fewer defections since then, along with a few additions, the CAA would be even better basketball-wise than it recently has been.  Check out this hypothetical conference line-up: Richmond (left after 2000-2001 season), VCU (left after 2011-2012 season), Old Dominion (leaving after 2012-2013 season), East Carolina (left after 2000-2001 season), George Mason, Drexel, Delaware, William and Mary, UNC-Wilmington, James Madison, Northeastern, and Charleston.  That conference would compare favorably to any other mid-major basketball conference in the nation.

Will NCAA Change Tennis to Fit TV?

BY: CAITLYN LAWRENCE

During the July meeting of the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee, ideas were presented that would reduce the dual match length and change the format of the championships. Quickly after these ideas were released, many coaches and student-athletes were protesting the recommended changes, especially those pertaining to shortening the dual match format. After the Division 1 cabinet met earlier this month, the majority of the proposals pertaining to shortening the matches were defeated. However, the cabinet did encourage the committee to research other methods to decrease dual match length and to present these ideas during the next meeting in February.

Even though the changes originally presented to shorten match length were rejected, that does not mean that the Division I dual match format is safe. The Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee is still searching for methods to shorten the length of a dual match. However, it should be noted that tennis at the collegiate level is already abridged with doubles matches being only a pro-set to eight games. So why is the committee trying to find other ways to shorten the dual matches?

According to the Report of the NCAA Division 1 Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee July 10-12 Meeting, a dual match can last up to 4.5 hours. No other NCAA sport requires the student-athlete to compete for this duration. Also, the report noted that match length deters fan support and it does not allow for media coverage. The committee argued that by shortening the time of a dual match so it would take between 3-3.5 hours there would be more opportunity for local and national television coverage of the sport, as well as live streaming on the internet.

The most notable change suggested that singles matches would be best two-out-of-three matches with the third set being a super tie-breaker (the first player to ten points wins). However, would removing the third set increase the appeal?

The most popular tennis matches viewed on TV are the men’s grand slam finals, which are played as a best three-out-of-five sets, a not so fan-friendly format according to the Division 1 Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee. The 2012 Wimbledon final between Andy Murray and Roger Federer was the highest-rated and most-watched tennis match ever for ESPN, averaging a 2.5 US rating and having 3.925 million viewers. Did I mention it took 4 sets to complete the match?

That’s not the only instance of a longer match that drew in viewers. This year’s five-set US Open final drew in 16.2 million viewers, compared to the 11.8 million who tuned in to the four-set final from last year. The three-set women’s final (in grand slam women’s tennis the matches are a best two-out-of-three contest), brought in the most viewers for the US Open ladies final since 2002, with an audience of 17.7 million. It would seem longer matches are not what is deterring tennis fans.

Currently, professional tennis viewing is going through an increase in popularity. When looking at the number of viewers for the Gentlemen’s Wimbledon Final, we see that in 2010 the final received a rating of 1.6, whereas this year the final received an average rating of 2.5 and had 3.925 million viewers.

In women’s professional tennis we see the same trend. In 2010, the women’s final only earned a rating of 1.6 and increased to 2.0 this year. Therefore, tennis is increasing in popularity, regardless of match length. So what is preventing the popularity of Division I tennis?

Collegiate sports are only popular in the US, as other countries do not offer collegiate-level sports. How does this effect tennis? Tennis is a sport that is popular worldwide. Therefore, many international athletes come to the US to play collegiate tennis. Of the international student-athlete population, 23.2 percent play tennis, whereas in basketball the percentage is 9.5 percent. It is even less for football, with only 1.4 percent of the international student-athlete population playing. Furthermore, in Division I tennis 38.4 percent of the men’s players and 49.9 percent of the women’s players are international.

This does not bode well for the popularity of collegiate tennis considering it will only be viewed by North Americans. Additionally, with other powerhouse sports dominating US sports culture – such as basketball and football – tennis becomes a difficult sport to market.

Let’s compare professional tennis television ratings to those of the most popular NCAA sports: basketball and football. This year’s US Open final drew in 16.2 million viewers worldwide, which was an increase of 4.4 million viewers compared to the 2011 final. However, compare this to the 2012 March Madness championship and the BCS Championship game and we see that they pulled in 20.005 million and 24.214 million viewers respectively, the majority of these viewers being from North America.

This shows that there is a great viewing audience available in America, however tennis does not have the popularity here to pull in that grand of an audience. If professional tennis has trouble matching the number of viewers NCAA basketball and football draw, it is difficult to market the potential for NCAA tennis. There is not as much money available here.

Would changes to the format that shorten playing time increase the sports popularity in America? It seems unlikely considering the professional tennis ratings are going up, even with longer match times. Much of the excitement of tennis comes from the third-set intensity where players have to dig deep mentally and physically to become the victor. Additionally, when it is considered that the matches that draw in the most viewers are also the longest, the men’s grand slam finals, it would seem that shortening the match duration may not increase the sports view ability.

For now, Division I collegiate tennis players and fans do not need to worry about losing the third set since the cabinet rejected the idea. However, with the Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee looking for ways to increase the sports popularity and view ability will they discover ways to change the format of matches? Will changing the length of matches also affect the dynamic of the sport? Is shortening the matches really the method to increase popularity since in the past, longer professional matches have drawn in more viewers? We will have to wait and see what changes may come to Division I tennis in the spring when the cabinet meets again.

Fan Rewards Go Social

Rewards programs are not new. Whether for pumping gas, swiping your credit card or booking a flight, companies have long sought to incentivize consumer loyalty. Think about it: between commercials, people in booths at the airport and internet pop-up ads, rewards programs are becoming ubiquitous.

College athletics fan rewards programs, where athletics departments give out prizes based on attendance at various sporting events, are also nothing new. Recently, a new trend has developed in this arena, one that seeks to combine the rewards concept with social media. Social media fan rewards programs have been popping up around the country, including schools like Oregon, Florida State, Duke and Penn State, among many others.

The premise is simple: fans are already interacting via social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Instagram, often immediately before, during and immediately after athletic contests. Schools utilizing this technology are now providing a platform for fans that makes it easy for them to interact and engage (and spread the good word of the athletics department), while also garnering points to be used for free swag (and who doesn’t like free swag?).

One of the earliest adopters of these programs was Baylor, whose Baylor Bold Rewards program kicked off at the beginning of the 2011 academic year. At the time Associate AD John Garrison stated that, “With so much of our communication moving to social media, we felt this rewards program would be the way to get beyond our ‘friends’ to our friends’ friends.” The program has generated over 22 million social media impressions over the course of a year. That ability to expand a fan base is a big reason these programs have themselves gone “viral”. It’s about rewarding fans for spreading your message about your brand to their friends. Now, not only are more and more schools getting into the act, but conferences are as well, with the Big Ten Network, Horizon League and SWAC all launching their own iterations recently.

Two of the leaders in this burgeoning industry are Row 27 and Lodestone Social. Row 27 was responsible for Baylor’s groundbreaking program and also offers a number of other social marketing tools through their Fanmaker App Suite. Each company boasts long lists of clients from major programs, and each promises to galvanize a fan base through social media while dangling the carrot of the potential monetization of those social media initiatives. Lodestone Social’s pitch is to, “unite the void between social media efforts and revenue, connecting the passion of the crowd to the power of your team.”

One recent example of this “unity” is when Ole Miss and Mississippi State jointly announced in September that C Spire Wireless had signed on to become the official wireless partner of the universities’ social media rewards programs. The sponsorship will allow fans who participate in the Ole Miss Social Rebels and Hail State Social Rewards programs to interact with C Spire Wireless and earn additional rewards and giveaways, and also allow both universities to better engage their fans during games through their smart phones. It is believed to be the first program of its kind in the country, but is not the only way to make money from social media efforts. For example, in 2011 the University of Michigan made $376,478 in revenue from Facebook referrals alone.

Not everyone is impressed with social media fan rewards programs, however. A recent post on the digital and social media blog Digital Hoops Blast questioned if social media rewards programs are necessary at all. The three arguments made to support this notion are: 1) that these programs cause schools to lose focus on creating and sharing amazing content by focusing instead on points, 2) these programs dictate what social networks are better for fans to engage in by skewing the point scheme (more for a like on Facebook than a retweet on Twitter for example), and 3) the automation that totals up points to decide who your best fans is impersonal, which is counterintuitive to how you would want to connect with your best fans.

Those are great points but ultimately these programs are not going to go away. If Michigan, Ole Miss and Mississippi State were able to monetize their social media efforts, you can bet others across the nation with similar or even larger social media footprints are in the process of forming similar partnerships. Rather than the latest tech trend these programs appear to be an extension of what athletics departments have been doing with “traditional” fan rewards programs for years. For this reason look for companies like Lodestone Social, Row27 and others to continue to saturate the market, and for a social rewards program to come to a university near you (if it hasn’t already happened).

Could the Atlantic 10 New Media Agreement Foster More Basketball Success?

BY: CAITLYN LAWRENCE

Division I basketball is led by a powerhouse of six conferences (the Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, ACC, and Pac-12), but is it possible that there are conferences on the outside trying to edge their way in? After securing eight-year partnerships with ESPN, CBS Sports Network, and NBC Sports Group for its media television rights, the Atlantic 10 Conference looks as though it is making strides towards becoming a more dominant force in NCAA Division I basketball.

This new media agreement is linked to the conference’s basketball success. Outside of the big-six conferences, the A-10 is the only conference to have 41 at-large NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament selections in the past 20 years, including three last year. In the past decade, the A-10 has had 62 postseason appearances, and for the fifth year in a row, the Atlantic 10 has had 12 at-large selections, the seventh most among all other DI institutions, placing the A-10 right behind the big six conferences.

That success surely played an integral role in the A-10′s new television deal.

The agreement reached will more than double the amount of Atlantic 10 basketball exposure. There will be 146 men’s basketball exposures and 46 exposures for women’s basketball programming. For women’s basketball, that is a considerable increase of 77 percent. These appearances will be distributed among the three networks: ESPN, CBS Sports Network, and NBC Sports Network expanding the exposure of A-10 basketball. This new agreement will allow the Atlantic 10 to reach over 33 million television households, which is about 33 percent of the US television market.

This exposure will contribute to the success of Atlantic 10 basketball popularity, in turn promoting the schools of the conference. Success in sports often leads to increased student applicants. For example, the success of the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) basketball team during the 2011 NCAA tournament, translated into approximately $677 million in free advertising. This free advertising created an increase in admission inquiries by 350 percent. Therefore, basketball success can increase the interest of attending that institution, but the success is insignificant if there’s no reach to the public, which is why this media agreement is so important. With the Atlantic 10 being in 7 of the top 25 media markets in the US, this agreement could help popularize A-10 schools.

With the past success of the Atlantic 10 conference in DI basketball and the new exposure it is guaranteed with the new media agreement, it is possible more students, and potentially more student-athletes, will inquire about schools in this conference. This could increase the depth and level of this conference and maybe even give them the growth they need to stay competitive with the big six of Division I basketball.

2012 BusinessofCollegeSports.com Exclusive Midnight Madness Guide

Today marks the start of college basketball season, as teams are allowed to begin practicing in preparation for the upcoming 2012-2013 NCAA basketball season at 5 p.m. ET.  BusinessofCollegeSports.com reached out to some Division I Men’s Basketball pre-season favorites to learn what their plans are for Midnight Madness.  The following is one of the most comprehensive guides available online detailing the exciting events hosted by perennial NCAA basketball powerhouses.

To learn more about the history of Midnight Madness, click here.

Arizona

What:  McDonald’s Red-Blue Game

When:  Sunday, October 21 at 2:00 p.m.

Cost:  $5 to $8 dollars by October 20, $7 to $10 dollars the day of the event.

Event details:  Along with featuring an inter-squad scrimmage, the event will commemorate the 25th anniversary of Arizona’s 1988 Final Four team. Many members of the team are expected to return to campus and be in attendance.

Connecticut

What:  First Night sponsored by Webster Bank

When:  Friday, October 12 at 5:00 p.m.

Cost:  Free, with the first 75 students to arrive receiving VIP courtside seating.

Event details:  The event begins with an autograph signing session with the men’s and women’s teams.  Recording artist Bobby V will perform, as will the UConn band, cheer and dance squads.  The event features introductions of the players and coaches, a dunk contest and giveaways.

Creighton

What:  Bluejay Madness, presented by First National Bank of Omaha

When:  Friday, October 12 at 8:00 p.m.

Cost:  Free

Event details:  The event will include player introductions, a three-point shooting contest, a dunk contest and scrimmages.

Duke

What:  Countdown to Craziness

When:  Friday, October 19.  The team will hold a practice before military personnel at Fort Bragg on October 15, which will be televised by ESPNU.

Cost:  The event is ticketed at an unspecified cost.

Event details:  The event features a Blue-White scrimmage and dunk contest, along with other activities.

Florida State

What:  Seminole Madness

When:  Friday, October 12 at 7 p.m.

Cost:  Free

Event details:  FSU students will compete against assistant coaches in shooting challenges.  The team will compete in three-point and dunk contests as well as a scrimmage.  Autograph and photo sessions will be held after the event.

Indiana

What:  Hoosier Hysteria, presented by Smithville

When:  Saturday, October 20 at 7:00 p.m.

Cost:  Free

Event details:  Fans will get their first look at what is expected to be an impressive 2012-13 Hoosier team.  A canned food drive will also be held for a local food bank.

Kansas

What:  Late Night in the Phog, presented by Hy-Vee

When:  Friday, October 12 at 6:30 p.m.

Cost:  Free

Event details:  The event features music by the KU pep band, skits by both basketball teams, video highlights, coach and player introductions, and scrimmages by the KU men’s and women’s teams.  A food drive of non-perishable items to be given to a local food bank will also be held.

Louisville

What:  Red-White Men’s Basketball Scrimmage

When:  Saturday, October 13 at 4 p.m.  The team will hold a private practice on Friday, October 12.

Cost:  $5 to $10, which Louisville says is used to cover facility costs.

Event details:  The first of three Red-White scrimmages, Saturday’s event coincides with Louisville’s homecoming.  Along with watching the men’s basketball team play, fans will have the chance to be entered into a drawing for a trip to the teams’ upcoming game in the Bahamas.

Marquette

What:  Marquette Madness

When:  Friday, October 12 at 7 p.m.

Cost:  Free

Event details:  Fans will receive a glow-in-the-dark t-shirt and watch as the team’s surfboard from the Maui Invitational, in which Marquette will play this season, is delivered.  Special jumbotron presentations will be made and teams will compete in activities.

Michigan State

What:  Midnight Madness

When:  Friday, October 12 at 9:30 p.m.

Cost:  Free

Event details:  Last season, Michigan State men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo entered the arena in a fighter jet.  Fans are expected to once again be surprised by Izzo’s entrance.  The event will feature an autograph signing session, introduction of the men’s and women’s teams, performances by the Spartan Marching Band, Michigan State cheerleaders, MSU dance team and Sparty, along with giveaways.

North Carolina

What:  Late Night With Roy

When:  Friday, October 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Cost:  Free

Event details:  Fans will get their first glimpses of the 2012-13 Tar Heels at the event named for men’s basketball head coach, Roy Williams.

North Carolina State


What:  Primetime with the Pack, presented by PNC

When:  Friday, October 12 at 7:00 p.m.

Cost:  Free

Event details:  The event will include player introductions, skills competitions, giveaways, autograph sessions and a scrimmage.

Syracuse

What:  AmeriCU Credit Union Orange Madness, presented by TK99

When:  Friday, October 12 at 8:00 p.m.

Cost:  Free

Event details:  Rapper Wale will perform, and fans will watch the teams compete in scrimmages, skills challenges and other activities.

University of Wisconsin Opens LaBahn Arena

BY: ALI JENKINS

Over a year and a half ago, construction broke ground for LaBahn Arena, the new $34 million home of the University of Wisconsin’s hockey team. To much anticipation, the doors finally opened Oct. 1, officially ushering in a new era in Badger sports.

The arena directly affects six University athletic programs, namely hockey. Boasting the new Lance Johnson Memorial Rink, a 2,273-seat facility, and state-of-the-art locker rooms, the recently displaced men and women’s hockey programs now have a place to call home.

In addition to the revamped dressing rooms, a new student-athlete dining area for team’s post-practice and pregame meals opened where the men’s basketball locker room once stood. Now both teams at the Kohl Center, hockey’s old home, and LaBahn Arena will get to reap the benefits of the new facility and the luxuries found within.

Other amenities include contemporary offices for women’s hockey, new dressing rooms for the swimming and basketball teams, video theaters and an expanded sports medicine area.

While the upgrade may seem a bit excessive, its main purpose is ensuring the safety of Badger student-athletes. In recent years, the men’s hockey team was forced to travel three miles off campus to the Bob Johnson Hockey Facility for practice, because the Kohl Center was decorated for basketball. The journey usually meant maneuvering through busy roads, like Park Street and John Nolen Drive, sometimes on scooters with heavy equipment bags in the dead of winter.

If that facility was unavailable, the team had to relocate to the on-campus Camp Randall Memorial Sports Center. Despite the Shell’s close proximity, team skates there required players to dress at the Kohl Center before traveling down busy Dayton Street.

The men’s hockey team wasn’t the only program displaced on occasion. The women’s hockey team, although based at the Shell, had to travel in similar circumstances when ice time became available at the Kohl Center.

The new arena will cut down on potential travel accidents and allow both programs a place to practice year-round.

The men and women’s swimming programs also benefit from the new arena. A bridge connecting LaBahn to the Southeast Recreational Facility will give swimmers easy access to their new locker rooms, coach and student-athlete lounges and athletic training facilities.

You can check out photos of the construction from start to finish here.

Does Athletic Success Lead to Academic Failure?

BY: ALI JENKINS

It is no secret that on-field success leads to an increase in national awareness and student applications. Whether it’s a winning season or an upset, America’s obsession with football runs deep.

Blame it on the 24/7 media bombardment or the laziness of today’s college students, but one thing is certain: football glory leads to academic short-comings.

A recent study published in the October issue of American Economic Journal: Applied Economics found a direct correlation between male non-athletes increased partying and decreased studying in the fall semester and the success of their football program.

The study, conducted by University of Oregon researchers Jason M. Lindo, Isaac D. Swensen and Glen R. Waddell, revealed male students dedicate less time to studying and more time to drinking and “risky behaviors” when their collegiate team plays well.

Although the study was conducted at the University of Oregon, the results reflect the attitude of students nationwide. No longer are academics at the forefront of the mind. Now, more and more undecided high school seniors are swayed from one institution to another based on athletic superiority.

A national championship season or a Rose Bowl victory can entice and persuade students to apply and enroll in a college they never expected to attend. But to the horror of parents and university faculty, academics take a back seat to the celebration of athletic success.

Twenty-four percent of males said their study time was reduced “definitely” or “probably” based on the team’s success on the field. Both in absolute terms and relative to females, male grades tend to decrease significantly when the football team succeeds.

Nearly half of the males surveyed admitted to partying more when the team won.

The effects trickle down to female non-student athletes as well. The researchers found that females whose GPA’s improved alongside the success of the football team were less likely to drop out of college following a winning season, although the exact reason for the decrease is unknown.

The study begs the question, “How do you encourage on-field success while maintaining an emphasis on academic excellence?”

Left up to their own devices, students are going to choose the easy route every time. It is up to the schools to teach them that while athletic success is great, education is the key to real-world achievement.