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An Argument for Allowing Student Athletes to Profit from Endorsements

ArgumentGuest post

Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled in favor of all collegiate athletes featured in past EA Sports NCAA video games to receive payment for the use of their likeness. The settlement ended up being worth $60 million overall with each athlete receiving just over $7,000 each. The big question now is, what could this possibly open the door to, and what could be next for these athletes before they head to the pros? Will the NCAA consider permitting endorsement opportunities for their athletes?

According to the NCAA’s website, current or future student-athletes could face major consequences if they accept endorsement money:

College-bound and current student-athletes who want to compete at Division I and II schools need to preserve their eligibility by meeting NCAA amateurism requirements. If a college-bound student-athlete is paid for appearing in a commercial or receives an endorsement before he or she is accepted at an NCAA member school, his or her eligibility could be affected.

The interesting part of the latest EA Sports ruling, is that a federal court is overruling the NCAA rule and is ordering the player be paid for use of their likeness. As we know, the association is very against the payment of athletes, this may not be a bad thing all around though. Especially when you consider the burgeoning NCAA betting industry.

The impact of the gambling industry

Millions of dollars are bet on college basketball and football annually, with online sportsbooks like TopBet (or Bovada, etc.) increasing the financial flow of NCAA betting beyond the reach of Vegas. None of this money will go to the universities or players, but to the oddsmakers, winners, and government (assuming taxes are paid accordingly).

However, the massive growth of collegiate sports gambling is a major indication that there is big interest and a bigger market than anticipated for these players. There is money to be made. If betting on the NCAA eventually becomes fully legal and sanctioned, players will need an alternative way to earn if the NCAA expects to keep point spreads honest. This means opening up their (player) opportunities to be paid for use of their personal brand.

To use an extreme example, the state of Colorado legalized the sale marijuana in 2013. The state then brought in $53 million in tax revenue in the first year alone. It was a radical move to legalize something that politicians had fought so hard against for decades. However, the state was immediately in the black considering it hadn’t been introduced ever before. This analogy is a little different though, because there were actual costs involved to the state, whereas there would be little to no challenges in the way for the NCAA.

The argument for permitting endorsements

Now let’s circle back to the argument of why student athlete should be allowed to profit off their own name, image and likeness. The EA Sports decision is the first stepping stone in something that could benefit the association.

Let’s just admit what we already know – the vast majority of high profile student-athletes have typically signed on with shoe or apparel companies once they’ve left their respective schools. In fact, some have even had released commercials before they’ve played in their first professional game.

According to a piece released by the Houston Chronicle, a sports agent’s commission for an endorsement is generally between 10 and 20 percent. If endorsements were allowed while student athletes were still in college, the NCAA could take that endorsement percentage.

It’s just one idea among hundreds of other scenarios, where the association could add millions of dollars to its bank account. It’s hard to find reasons why permitting student athletes to profit off their names wouldn’t work wonders for the players, teams and association itself.

FBS College Football Home-and-Home Series Schedule

Home and home series - use this one

Editor’s note: Any games canceled or opted out of after we posted this list are indicated with a strikethrough and a link to any stories regarding such cancellation.

Home-and-home football games are definitely a growing trend in college football. As teams look to strengthen their schedule with non-conference games they are increasingly scheduling these home-and-home series. Texas and Michigan have the home-and-home scheduled the furthest out at this point with games in 2024 and 2027.

Not included here are the five games each year Notre Dame is playing against ACC opponents as part of its long-term scheduling arrangement.

Here is a round-up of games within FBS through 2027:

2015

Sept. 3: TCU at Minnesota*

Sept. 5: Texas at Notre Dame

Sept. 7: Ohio State at Virginia Tech*

Sept. 12: Oklahoma at Tennessee*

Sept. 12: Oregon at Michigan State*

Sept. 12: UCF at Stanford

Sept. 12: Army at UConn

Sept. 19: Nebraska at Miami*

Sept. 19: UConn at Missouri

Sept. 19: Illinois at North Carolina

Sept. 26: USF at Florida State

Sept. 26: NIU at Boston College

Sept. 26: LSU at Syracuse

Oct. 2: UConn at BYU

Oct. 3: Wyoming at Appalachian State Continue reading FBS College Football Home-and-Home Series Schedule

June Athletics Construction Roundup

The Athletics Construction Roundup is a monthly series on construction of athletics facilities. Each month I’ll provide you with a list of athletic construction projects in progress (and recently completed) across the country, including details on budget and scope of the project.

Football

Notre Dame is replacing its football surface with a synthetic turf. Maintaining the natural surface at Notre Dame Stadium had been a struggle for many years.

Renderings of UCLA’s previously announced Football Performance Center have been released.

Rendering of UCLA's Football Performance Center (by ZGF Architects LLP)
Rendering of UCLA’s Football Performance Center (by ZGF Architects LLP)

Purdue wants to take down Texas A&M by building the largest videoboard in college football.

Last month, Louisiana-Monroe’s turf project began. The new surface was made possible by a previously announced $450,000 donation from JPS Aviation.

In a trend that is only going to grow, North Carolina is adding a Distributed Antennae System to improve cell service at Kenan Memorial Stadium.

Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium and Carver-Hawkeye Arena will receive a similar system.

This is a great look at the benefits to the community provided by a previously announced project at Colorado’s Folsom Field.

Renderings of Texas A&M’s previously announced renovation of the Bright Football Complex have been released.

Iowa State has also released renderings of its south endzone project at Jack Trice Stadium.

Work has begun on Arizona State’s renovation of Sun Devil Stadium. The project will result in a reduced capacity of 60,000, down from 71,700.

Arenas

NC State’s Reynolds Coliseum, the home of women’s basketball, volleyball, and wrestling, will soon receive a $35 million renovation. Also included in the project is an athletics hall of fame.

The previously announced renovation of Arizona’s McKale Arena has begun.

Both the men’s and women’s Conference USA basketball tournaments are heading to Birmingham.

Florida expects to begin work on an estimated $50 million renovation of the O’Connell Center after the 2014-2015 basketball season. The work will result in a reconfiguration that eliminates the building’s ability to host indoor track events.

Basketball

Ground has been broken on Utah’s Huntsman Basketball Center. The $36 million project should be completed in July of next year.

That project caused some to ask if BYU is falling behind in the basketball arms race.

Master Plan

WVU has unveiled a $106 million facilities plan. A majority of the work will focus on preventative maintenance.

Here is a great update on the numerous projects currently underway at Middle Tennessee.

Georgia State wants to transform the Turner Field area into a mixed used complex that would include housing, retail, and athletic spaces. Perhaps the most ambitious facet of the project involves transforming the current home of the Atlanta Braves into a 30,000 seat football stadium.

Ground has been broken on Colorado’s previously announced $143 million master plan.

Multi-Purpose

Oakland has announced a 108,000 square foot indoor facility. The $4.9 million project will include space for baseball, softball, football, and soccer.

A large videoboard project has announced by UTEP. The $3.4 million plan includes a new board for the Sun Bowl which will measure as the largest in Conference USA.

April Athletic Construction Roundup

After a very brief hiatus, the monthly Athletics Construction Roundup is back! It is hard to believe that I have been writing these for over a year now. To celebrate, I’m pleased to unveil a fresh format for the roundup; one that I hope is easier to read and carries less of a rigid, academic feel to it. If you truly hate the new format, feel free to let us know in the comments section.

The Athletics Construction Roundup is a monthly series on construction of athletics facilities. Each month I’ll provide you with a list of athletic construction projects in progress (and recently completed) across the country, including details on budget and scope of the project.

Football

Oklahoma is letting fans vote on the field design for its spring game. Voters will have to choose between six endzone layouts and three midfield logos.

Astroturf will be installing the new turf at Oklahoma State’s Boone Pickens Stadium next month. The new surface is the same as the one installed last year on two fields at the Cowboys’ Sherman E. Smith Training Facility.

Florida State has announced facility upgrades that a locker room renovation. In an interesting move, the facility will include a replica of the set used on ESPN’s College GameDay.

Season tickets are sold out for Baylor’s inaugural season at McLane Stadium. The $260 million stadium will open in the fall.

Texas has hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to complete a feasibility study on the possibility of enclosing the south endzone at Royal-Memorial Stadium. Although the expansion would increase capacity, its primary goal would be addin additional suites to the stadium.

Work will begin in May on Virginia Tech’s long awaited indoor practice facility. The $21.3 million project should be completed by the fall of 2015.

Arkansas State has added three LED digital displays to the area outside of Centennial Bank Stadium.

 

Basketball

VCU’s men’s and women’s basketball will call a new complex home in 15 months. The $25 million project includes locker rooms and practice courts.

A similar project will be built at Georgetown. The John R. Thompson Intercollegiate Athletics Center will be a $60 million, 144,000 square foot facility when it is completed in 2016.

Humphrey Coliseum at Mississippi State is getting a new centerhung video board. The project also includes standard upgrades such as shot and locker room clocks.

 

Baseball

Southern Illinois’ Itchy Jones Stadium opened last month. This photo gallery provides a detailed look at the facility and the festivities surrounding its opening.

 

Softball

With a new program often a new facility follows. That’s the case with Montana as a $1 million stadium will built before the department’s inaugural softball season begins next year.

College Athletes Can Form A Union: What’s Next?

The regional National Labor Relations Board in Chicago issued a stunning decision Wednesday, granting employee status and unionization rights to college football players at Northwestern University (PDF of decision here).  The decision will almost certainly be appealed to the national NLRB in Washington, D.C., and from there can move over into the federal appellate courts and ultimately the Supreme Court.  While we won’t have a final resolution to this issue anytime soon, the decision issued today was significant and will have immediate impact.

Remember, we’re less than three months away from a trial in the O’Bannon v. NCAA case which has been in the courts since 2009.  A judgment against the NCAA there would no longer allow it to profit off of student-athlete (or should I now call them employee-athlete-students?) images and likeness without compensation.

We also had a new case filed just this month directly targeting the cap on scholarship amounts, demanding that the free market determine what a school may offer a prospective student-athlete.

In January, the NCAA hosted sessions at its convention on the future of Division I athletics.  But the feedback was skeptical and the detail missing.  The presentation reeked of bureaucratic speak such as new committees and task forces.

Now with this NLRB decision, you get the feeling the entire student-athlete / amateurism model is going off the rails.  But what did the decision actually say and how does it apply?

It says the scholarship (walk-ons are excluded) college football players at Northwestern University are employees, and have the right to unionize and collectively bargain for compensation and benefits.  The decision focused mostly on the level of control the school, via its athletic department and coaching staff, has over its athletes.  It covered in depth the athletes’ daily routine, the hours spent on football, and the rules that must be adhered to in order to remain on the team and keep the scholarship.  Special emphasis was placed on the fact the scholarship is contingent on a number of different factors which all ultimately are controlled by Northwestern, the employer.

Northwestern tried to argue that a 2000 NLRB decision involving graduate-students at Brown University should control, and lead to a determination the athletes are not employees.  (I went through a detailed analysis of this last month).  The NLRB said the Brown case did not apply here, and even if it did, the result would be the same.

Presumably, today’s decision would allow other private university athletes to follow a similar path.  The NLRB does not govern public institutions, so athletes at state schools will have to navigate the unionization process in their own state under state law.

To this point, the College Athlete Players Association (CAPA) has not said it will pursue increased financial compensation and/or salaries for performance.  It’s focus has been on better health care as well as some type of structure to receive funds from likeness and image use, as well as sponsorship revenue (i.e. along the lines of O’Bannon case issues).  However, the authority granted by the NLRB today would certainly permit increased compensation to be included in any collective bargaining.

It’s also difficult to read today’s decision and not think it could very easily be applied to many other sports at many different levels down the road.  As I mentioned, the focus was much more on the time commitment of the athletes and the control the coaches and school have over them, rather than the large amount of revenue the athletes in major college football generate.  Many student-athletes in non-revenue sports and at smaller schools are on scholarship, put in the same hours, and are under the same university control.  It will be interesting to see which group of college athletes follows in Northwestern football players’ footsteps.

There are two key dates coming up soon as this process moves forward.  Northwestern must file a list of eligible employees with the NLRB (Chicago) by April 2nd so that an election can take place regarding forming the union.  Then, Northwestern has until April 9th to file an appeal with the national NLRB in Washington, D.C.  It most certainly will do that, and where it goes from there is likely a long, windy road through the federal courts.

Northwestern football players won a victory today.  What remains to be seen is whether, upon further review, the decision is confirmed or reversed.

 

Follow Daniel at collegesportsbriefs.com and @Daniel Hare.

 

 

January Athletic Construction Roundup

The Athletics Construction Roundup is a monthly series on the construction of athletics facilities. Each month I’ll provide you with a list of athletic construction projects in progress (and recently completed) across the country, including details on budget and scope of the project. Here are the construction projects from the past two months:

University of Iowa
After installing unique video walls at Kinnick Stadium, Iowa repurposed the previous board and installed it at the softball facility. The “new” videoboard at Pearl Field is 16 feet tall and 28 feet wide.

University of Hawaii
After repeated construction delays on the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex, the NCAA has stepped in and could punish Hawaii’s athletic department. Currently, student-athletes are left to use public locker rooms.

Hawaii is also looking to replace the scoreboard at Les Murakami Stadium. The current model has been known be inconsistent.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette
As a part of a previously announced athletics master plan, a made for TV groundbreaking was staged during the Ragin’ Cajuns’ football game against Troy. The first phase of the project will add 6,000 endzone seats.

University of Southern Mississippi
In a move that could become a trend, Southern Miss has introduced a social media suite at Reed Green Coliseum.

Vanderbilt University
Vandy has opened its new indoor practice facility. Among other features, it includes a full length football and a videoboard.

University of North Carolina
North Carolina is in serious, but preliminary, talks about renovating or replacing the Dean Smith Center. No matter which path the project takes, it will include revenue generators such as suites or club levels.

University of Arkansas
Currently the only team in the SEC without a dedicated basketball practice facility, Arkansas will break ground on one of their own. The $25 million facility will be completed by the summer of 2015.

Prairie View A&M University
Prairie View A&M has selected PBK Sports to design its previously announced 15,000 seat stadium and adjoining field house. The projected is expected to be completed in 2016.

San Diego State University
SDSU has unveiled plans for a $14.5 million basketball practice facility. The 23,500 square foot facility could be done by July 2015.

University of Michigan
Michigan will be building a $6 million operations center. The 18,000 square foot facility will house the department’s laundry facilities and maintenance shops, among other spaces.

University of Kentucky
Renderings have been released for a previously announced renovation of Commonwealth Stadium. Although overall capacity will be reduced, the $110 million project will add suites and a dedicated student entrance.

Iowa State University
Following a $25 million donation, Iowa State seems prepared to finally move forward with long standing plans to enclose the south endzone at Jack Trice Stadium. The project still needs to be approved by the board of regents.

Seton Hall University
Seton Hall has opened the Charles W. Doehler Academic Center.

Lafayette College
The recently completed $1.7 million renovation of the Kirby Sports Center has been well received. The project included both practical and aesthetic upgrades.

Drake University
Drake has broken ground a basketball practice facility. The $8 million facility should be completed by fall 2014.

University of Toledo
Toledo has announced a $5 million renovation to Larimer Athletic Complex, its main football building. The project will begin in February and increase space in many areas, including offices and the weight room.

Duke University
Deputy director of athletics Mike Cragg provides an update on previously announced projects at Duke and a few details on the planned renovation of Cameron Indoor Stadium in this interview.

Indiana University
IU is preparing for a major overhaul to Assembly Hall. The project would carry a $30 to $40 million price tag and include premium seating, a jumbotron, and a new entrance way. In related news, following a substantial donation the arena will now be known as Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall going forward.

South Dakota State University and University of South Dakota
South Dakota Regents had a busy day in which they approved numerous projects at the South Dakota State and the University of South Dakota. It unanimously approved the previously announced football stadium for SDSU. It also authorized multiple previously announced projects at South Dakota, including a new multi-sport arena.

University of Arizona
Arizona has announced an $80 million renovation of the McKale Center that will be completed in phases. The design includes a unique entry tunnel that will allow intimate fan access to the team in the moments before they take the floor.

Should Kansas Jump on the Luxury Suite Bandwagon?

By: Victoria Baldwin

In 2012, Louisville’s basketball program brought in more than $42.4 million in revenue.

Kristi Dosh, founder of BusinessofCollegeSports.com and author of a book on the business of college football, Saturday Millionaires, attributes the high revenue to luxury suites at Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center.

Victoria's Basketball Suite Graphic 1

Louisville is just one school taking advantage of revenue from luxury suites. Syracuse’s Carrier Dome brings in millions to the program, and Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina are making arrangements to add suites to their historic arenas.

The KFC Yum! Center is home to 72 luxury suites at $85,000 to $92,000 a piece. They generate more than $6 million in revenue. That’s just for rent. Tickets, donations, fees, food and drinks come with an additional cost.

Louisville attaches donations ranging from $250 to $2,500 to the rights of season tickets and that’s not including the price of the actual ticket.

“Adding those suites gives them the ability to tack on the annual fee that is the right to purchase fee on the suite and that is where you make the money,” Dosh said.

The basketball program isn’t the only benefactor. The revenue from luxury suites goes into the general athletic fund that benefits other Louisville sports.

“In the last 14 to 15 years under (athletics director) Tom Zurich, every single sport, with the exception of football, got a brand new facility,” Dosh said. “They’re using that money to prop up the other sports that aren’t making any.”

While Louisville is leading the pack, basketball-rich Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina are in different stages of adding suites to their historic arenas.

Kentucky released renovation plans during the summer to add suites to Rupp Arena, while Duke is raising money to add bunker suites in place of old basketball offices. Cameron Indoor doesn’t have the space newer facilities have, and they’re planning the bunker suites so they don’t lose thousands of seats in the bowl area that bring in high donations.

In February, North Carolina’s athletic director Bubba Cunningham said he would be interested in adding luxury suites but recently there have been talks of building a completely new arena.

Suites are not suitable

The University of Kansas’ Allen Fieldhouse has been home to five national championship teams and dozens of conference titles.

Although Kansas basketball has a 200-game sellout streak dating back to the 2001-02 season, the Jayhawks’ revenues are ranked No. 13 in the country at $16.4 million. Allen Fieldhouse holds 16,300 fans with little room for luxury suites.

Victoria's Basketball Suite Graphic 2

“For a school that has a history of sellouts like that, I think they are leaving money on the table,” Dosh said. “Based on what I’ve seen at schools who do have suites and who do have that sort of demand, there are definitely millions of dollars.”

Greg Gurley, director of development for KU’s Williams Fund, a fundraising arm of the athletics department, said Kansas has the high demand to fill the suites but the renovations could ruin the history of Allen Fieldhouse.

“If we had basketball suites, there would be a line out the door to get them,” Gurley said. “The question is how do we do it? More importantly, do you want to change the integrity of the building by adding suites? That’s the question to ask.”

Kansas is in a struggle between reaping the rewards of the luxury suite boom and losing valuable, reasonably-priced tickets for the average fan. Gurley said at this time there haven’t been any serious discussions to add luxury suites to Allen Fieldhouse.

Martin Haynes, an architect at 360 Architecture in Kansas City, was the designer who proposed the bunker suite plan for Duke based on a study he did years ago.

Haynes said Kansas could only add suites to the upper bowl area on the North side of Allen Fieldhouse between the parking garage and the arena.

“At the very top of the bowl, you could blow out the wall and create suites at that level,” Haynes said. “It’s something you could do. Anywhere else it really would just destroy the integrity of Allen Fieldhouse.”

Allen Fieldhouse is home to one of the best home court advantages in the country because of how close students are to the court. Gurley, who also played at Kansas from 1992-95, said adding suites would ruin this atmosphere.

“That’s why all of the media people that come to Lawrence, it would be hard pressed to find anybody, even if they were a fan of another school, to not feel like Allen Fieldhouse is the coolest or one of the coolest places in the country to watch a basketball game,” Gurley said.

While the rest of the basketball “Blue Bloods” renovate their stadiums to bring in millions of dollars, Kansas fans will have historic Allen Fieldhouse to enjoy for quite a bit longer.

“I hope Allen Fieldhouse is there for 100 more years, but that’s just me,” Gurley said.

 

Victoria is a senior at the University of Kansas majoring in journalism with a focus on broadcasting. To see more of her recent work, visit her website: www.victoriabaldwin.wordpress.com.

November Athletics Construction Roundup

The Athletics Construction Roundup is a monthly series on construction of athletics facilities. Each month I’ll provide you with a list of athletic construction projects in progress (and recently completed) across the country, including details on budget and scope of the project.

Stanford University
Following other major programs, Stanford has unveiled a $21 million addition to the Arrillaga Family Sports Center. Highlights of the football facility can be found in this video.

University of Maine
A prominent alumni couple, whose name is already the football field, has donated $800,000 for a new videoboard at Morse Field in the Alfond Sports Stadium. The board is expected to be ready for the first game of next season.

University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati has released new renderings of the previously announced renovation and expansion of Nippert Stadium.

University of Miami
The 34,000 square foot Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence has been officially dedicated after opening phases. The facility also includes a new football locker room and player lounge.

Tulane University
According to Scott Cowen, the university’s president, Yulman Stadium probably will not be ready in time for the start of the 2014 season. The football stadium’s progress could be delayed due to weather.

Texas A&M University
In an innovative fundraising effort, A&M will sell the grass from the playing surface at Kyle Field. Each piece of grass will come with a care guide.

Auburn University
Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs provides updates on a number of previously announced projects in this open letter.

Louisiana Tech University
As a part of a series of athletic construction projects, Louisiana Tech has announced an $18 million football complex at the south endzone of Joe Aillet Stadium. The facility will include a weight room, team meeting areas, and expanded stadium seating.

Louisiana Tech has also completed a $1.2 million project that includes a videoboard, sound system, and control room at the Thomas Assembly Center.

University of South Dakota
Due to concerns over cost and environmental issues, the design plans for a new arena have changed dramatically. Although previous plans had the arena floor underground, it will now be at ground level.

University of Richmond
Richmond opened the newly renovated Robins Center to the media for a preview. Among several features, the project included videoboards, hospitality areas, and refurbished seating.

University of California, Los Angeles
Although its long-term future remains in jeopardy, Jackie Robinson Stadium will be the home to UCLA baseball for the 2014 season.

University of Arkansas
After last month’s flooding, Bud Walton Arena was repaired and is game ready. The basketball teams missed two practices as a result of the damage.

University of Michigan
The Michigan Athletic Department could be headed for a legal battle with city officials over an electronic billboard outside of Michigan Stadium. The Ann Arbor City Council believes that the marquee is distracting to drivers.

Clemson University
Clemson has announced a major renovation to Littlejohn Coliseum. Details on that project, and several others that are currently ongoing, can be found here.

Grambling University
After player protests led to a cancelled football game, Grambling has announced that the weight room will undergo a $32,000 upgrade.

Mississippi State University
The administration and baseball staff at Mississippi State has asked fans for ideas about a possible renovation to Dudy Noble Field. Head Coach John Cohen has asked that the upgrade create the illusion that stands are full when a strong, but not capacity crowd, is in attendance.

Pennsylvania State University
Penn State’s Pegula Ice Arena has opened. The $90 million arena will be the home to the men’s and women’s hockey programs.

Weekly Q&A Series: Steve Barrick, Associate AD of Operations (Belmont University)

In an effort to provide aspiring sports business professionals with a deeper insight into the college athletic world, BusinessofCollegeSports.com will be conducting weekly Q&A’s via email with industry professionals working in higher athletics. This week’s guest is Steve Barrick, Associate Athletic Director of Operations at Belmont University.

Check out the Q&A below and let us know what you think of Steve’s advice on Twitter.

BusinessOfCollegeSports.com — When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in sports?

Steve Barrick — My junior year in college. I was pursuing an undergraduate degree in advertising and realized that I really missed the sports world. At the time, I was working in the Campus Recreation Department at WKU and loved being around sports as an administrator.

BOCS.com — You obtained your undergraduate and graduate degree (both from Western Kentucky). Is a graduate degree necessary to work in collegeathletics? Or does it just depend on the position?
SB — In this day and time, I think a graduate degree is essential for job placement. The sports industry has just gotten too competitive. The graduate program curriculum should afford you significant opportunities to network and make needed contacts.
BOCS.com — Did you intern/work for free/volunteer during your undergraduate/graduate career? If yes, where? How valuable were those experiences for you before obtaining your first job in sports?
SB — I did not volunteer or intern while in college. I worked for the WKU Campus Recreation Department in a couple of different roles from my sophomore year in college to the completion of my graduate program (Recreation Administration).
BOCS.com — What do you do on a daily basis as the Associate AD of Operations at Belmont University? (can be brief). As a follow-up, how long have you been in your current position?
SB —  I have been an administrator in the Belmont University Athletic Department since the fall of 1998. In general, I oversee all athletic department operations on-campus and off-campus (Curb Event Center and the ES Rose Park Sport Fields Complex). Job responsibilities include but are not limited to coordinating team home schedules and times, game operations, liaison with BU Campus Security and BU Facility Management Services, scheduling of practices at Rose Park, coordinating maintenance, housekeeping and security at Rose Park, and liaison with Metro Park Administration.
BOCS.com — When you’re looking at a prospective intern or a graduate assistant to have in your department, what types of qualities/skills are you looking for to make you want to say ‘I need this person on my team’?
SB — When looking at interns or GA’s, I look for experience and maturity first. I like individuals who are detailed oriented, know that they have to pay their dues, are team players, and understands that the sports industry does not work on a 9 – 5 work day.
BOCS.com — For someone wishing to pursue a career in college athletics, what’s the one or two pieces of advice you’d give them?
SB — Network and get as much sports industry experience as possible.

Follow Mark on Twitter.

Defending Champ UCLA Prepares to Fight Possible Eviction

Jackie Robinson Stadium
Jackie Robinson Stadium (via UCLABruins.com)

A story that has been developing for several months, but has received little national interest to this point, took another twist this week. Court documents reveal that UCLA is now seeking legal remedies that would allow the Bruin baseball team to continue playing at Jackie Robinson Stadium. In one of the strangest athletics facility stories in recent years, the defending national champions could be out of a home due to an illegal lease agreement.

Jackie Robinson Stadium sits on land that belongs to the Veterans Administration. In late August, a federal judge ruled that the land can only be used for the benefit of disabled veterans and no other outside uses. The ruling stems from the original deed for the land that states that the 388 acres must be reserved forever. A number of federal statutes outline the use of federal VA land and stipulate that it must be used for healthcare services for veterans. Currently, the land in L.A. is home to the stadium, a film studio storage lot, and several other businesses. In 2008, Congress prohibited the Department of Veterans Affairs from entering into new leases on the land in Los Angeles. This current lawsuit was brought forth by local veterans. The most recent ruling, assuming that it is upheld, will be enforced in early March of next year.

Until this week, UCLA has stayed out of the legal proceedings. The local NBC affiliate has aptly described UCLA as staying “on the sidelines” during the legal process. Immediately after the ruling, athletic director Dan Guerrero did issue a statement. In addition to giving some insight into UCLA’s potential argument to keep playing in the stadium, he included this statement:

“Despite our optimism and high expectations of playing the 2014 season at Jackie Robinson Stadium, we are doing our due diligence to identify other viable locations, in the event that the federal court forces us to vacate the stadium.”

One would assume that UCLA’s legal team could potentially tie up proceedings long enough to allow the Bruins to complete the 2014 at Jackie Robinson Stadium. But if the team is evicted, it would be in a better spot than most programs as there would be no shortage of alternate venues in the Los Angeles area. Clearly, the athletic department has a responsibility to create a contingency plan in case the ruling is upheld. However, it is interesting that Guerrero is so open about what could be perceived as doubts about the possible success of the case.

Jackie Robinson Stadium opened in 1981 and underwent a renovation in 2006. The current seating capacity is 1,250 and UCLA did not rank in the top 50 in attendance for the 2013 season. Going forward, this court ruling and subsequent eviction could be the catalyst for a new, on-campus stadium. College baseball has seen a rash of new construction in recent years and there is a little doubt that UCLA would benefit from a larger, modern stadium.