All posts by Kristi Dosh

Four New College Football Teams Take the Field in 2015

Four New College Football Teams Take the Field in 2015

Four New College Football Teams Take the Field in 2015UAB made big headlines last December when it announced the end of its football program (which has since been reinstated*). Everyone wondered – would this become a national trend?

Since the day UAB cut the program, I’ve been very outspoken about the fact that I think it was an isolated incident. I’ve spoken to athletic directors and presidents around the country, and no one believed any other school was seriously considering dropping football.

Need more convincing? The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame announced today that colleges and universities offering football is at an all-time high of 773 programs with four new teams taking the field this fall: East Tennessee State University and Kennesaw State University begin in the Football Championship Series, Finlandia University starts a Division III team, and Lyon College joins at the NAIA level.

Current tabulations have eight additional programs launching from 2016-2018, including UAB’s reinstated program. From 1978 to 2014, 179 football programs were added to colleges and universities across the country.

There’s an entire chapter in my book Saturday Millionaires: Why Winning Football Builds Winning Colleges about the benefits of a big-time college football program, from increased enrollment to free advertising for the university. Although my book focuses on programs at the FBS level, programs at other levels often experience some of the same benefits.

Finlandia University, for example, is launching seven new athletic programs over the next seven years in an attempt to increase its enrollment, which currently sits at just 485. The goal is to bring in 217 additional student athletes (70 for football alone), which would result in a whopping 44 percent increase in enrollment.

Finlandia’s current tuition is $21,610 annually (and there are no athletic scholarship at the Division III level), equating to a $4.7 million increase in revenue annually if there were 217 additional students (obviously not accounting for any discounted tuition rates or financial aid that might impact Finlandia’s bottom line).

What Finlandia is doing is nothing new. It’s a trend we’ve seen at quite a few smaller schools in recent years.

Included with the NFF’s press release was a great list showing all of the programs being added in the next few years, as well as a look back at additions made since 2008: Continue reading

Schools pick up tab for insurance

Texas A&M Paying Tab for Ifedi’s Loss of Value Insurance

Schools pick up tab for insuranceLast year, Texas A&M discovered a new use of the Student Assistance Fund, a pool of money created out of revenue from the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and earmarked for student athletes with financial need. The fund has typically been used for expenses like trips home and clothing, but Texas A&M asked for a clarification last year regarding the insurance needs of student athletes and sparked a bit of a new trend when it spent $50,000-60,000 on a loss-of-value insurance policy for Cedric Ogbuehi.

Although disability insurance has been around for student athletes for quite some time, loss-of-value insurance is a newer phenomenon. Loss-of-value insurance pays out if a student athlete falls precipitously in the NFL draft due to an injury.

I wrote an in-depth piece for SportsBusiness Journal last year on this growing trend – which schools have purchased the policies, whether there’s any danger of depleting the SAF through the purchase of these policies and more – that you can read here (they’ve made it public, so you should be able to read even without a subscription).

Now Texas A&M is in the news again, with CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd reporting the Aggies have purchased a loss-of-value policy for redshirt junior offensive tackle Germain Ifedi.

There are few cases of these policies paying out for student athletes, although former USC student athlete Marquis Lee is currently embroiled in a legal battle with Lloyd’s of London over his policy and the injury that led him to drop in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Want to learn more about loss-of-value insurance and how the SAF has been used previously to purchase policies, please read my article for SportsBusiness Journal.

Comparing Licensing Agreements in College Athletics

Comparing Apparel and Licensing Contracts in College Sports

Comparing Licensing Agreements in College AthleticsIf you follow college sports at all, you probably noticed Tennessee’s move from Adidas to Nike last week. Many of you would probably be surprised to learn the cash value of Tennessee’s new Nike deal is less than the cash received under its Adidas deal. Why, then, would Tennessee make the switch? Is the Vols brand trending downward?

It’s definitely not the latter. Tennessee was ranked #12 in the nation on Collegiate Licensing Company’s last set of rankings. CLC represents over 200 collegiate properties, including the vast majority of schools in the Power Five conferences (although Fermata Partners has made a splash in the marketplace over the past year with the addition of Kentucky, Georgia, Oregon, Miami and, most recently, Notre Dame). At the end of the 2012-2013 fiscal year, Tennessee ranked #15 on CLC’s list, so the brand has, in fact, not degraded.

Revenue = Cash + Product + Royalties

The answer to the Tennessee question really lies in the differences between Adidas and Nike and their contracts. Continue reading

Nebraska Moneyball

Moneyball Comes to Nebraska Athletics

Nebraska MoneyballIf you enjoyed Moneyball (and, yes, I liked it before Brad Pitt’s adaptation on the big screen) you may be in favor of Nebraska’s latest move: hiring a Director of Sports Analytics and Data Analysis.

According to a press release issued by Nebraska, Tucker Zeleny, a recent PhD grad from Nebraska, will don that title going forward. Zeleny is a Nebraska graduate, completing his doctorate in statistics this past May. His dissertation focused on weigh lifting data collected by the Husker football team.

Zeleny will head a new department within the Huskers’ athletic department, which will work with all 24 of Nebraska’s sports to “collect, analyze and summarize data related to team and individual performance.” The team will also spend some time collecting data and analyzing it in relation to how the athletic department operates as a whole.

“I am excited that Tucker has joined the athletic department and will be leading this newly created department,” said Steve Waterfield, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Performance and Strategic Research. “I have been impressed not only with Tucker’s analytical skills, but also with his ability to apply these skills in a practical, effective manner that gives Husker sports teams a competitive advantage.  Our sports teams and departments stand to benefit significantly from the information Tucker and his staff will provide.”

“I’m very excited to be joining the athletic department,” Zeleny said. “Sports analytics is becoming a hot area. There is a ton of data out there right now and with new sport technology being made available seemingly every day, there will only be more. Any additional information or advantage we can provide to the various coaching staffs, and to the department in general, is a huge positive.”

College Football Playoff, College Football Playoff Revenue

College Football Playoff Revenue Makes Every Conference Richer, Except One

College Football Playoff, College Football Playoff RevenueWhich conferences benefitted the most from the transition to the College Football Playoff?

It depends on how you look at it.

The Mountain West saw the largest percentage increase in revenue from $3.6 million to $23.5 million, a 553 percent increase. It was the Pac-12, however, who saw the largest increase in pure dollar and cents with a $41.4 million increase.

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

Full conference-by-conference financials for the College Football Playoff vs. the Bowl Championship Series now available here.

Obama wants to end tax deductions

Obama Wants to End Tax Deduction for Donations to College Athletics

Obama wants to end tax deductionsThe new budget President Obama sent to Congress this week calls for an end to tax deductions for donations made to college athletic departments for season tickets or preferential seating, also known as seat-related contributions. Currently, 80 percent of these donations are tax deductible.

The administration claims people would pay an additional $2.5 billion in taxes over the next decade with this change.

No doubt, college athletics administrators will watch this development closely. Donations are the highest source of revenue in virtually every athletic department. Yes, even higher than those television contracts you hear so much about.

Here is a random sampling of schools throughout FBS to give you an idea of the revenue they generate from donations compared to their total distribution from their conference (television contract, championships, etc.) and the NCAA (March Madness):

School Donations NCAA + Conference Distribution
Alabama $34,233,035 $23,855,929
Louisville $28,935,662 $15,349,134
Michigan $31,285,461 $27,845,239
Texas $37,386,271 $21,740,373
Western Kentucky $3,379,547 $1,634,776
Utah State $2,962,548 $1,888,296
Central Florida $5,088,098 $3,333,291
Source: Reports filed by schools with the NCAA for the 2012-2013 school year
The numbers above include all contributions reported for the year, not just donations made as required for season tickets or preferential seating. However, those seat-related donations account for the majority of donations on a year-to-year basis according to the development folks I’ve interviewed.
Would fans still donate if they no longer received that 80 percent tax deduction? One athletic director told me for my book Saturday Millionaires a couple of years ago that he thought donations would drop by as much as half without the deduction.
Would fans really be willing to give up their seats and all the years of points they’ve built up if they weren’t getting the tax deduction? I’m sure there would be some at the lower end of the scale who might not see it as such a good investment anymore, but I’m not wholly convinced it would have a major impact on giving.  I’d love to hear from those of you working in development in the comments section!
As a side note, Obama’s budget plan also calls for an end to the use of tax-exempt bonds to build facilities for professional sports teams. The plan states debt to finance those facilities would be taxable if 10 percent or more of the facility is used for a private business (i.e., a professional sports team). Implementation is projected to be worth $542 million in tax revenue over ten years.
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Donors conditioning gifts on successful recruiting

Donors Conditioning Gifts to Athletic Departments on Successful Recruiting

Donors conditioning gifts on successful recruitingYou read that headline right – some donors are now conditioning their gifts on their team’s successful recruitment of specific student athletes.

Chadd Scott over on SportsDay Now has a story about a new site called Ubooster, which allows donors to condition their gifts on a specific team signing a specific student athlete. If the student athlete declares his intent on National Signing Day, the athletic department will receive the donation. If not, the donor doesn’t make any donation at all.

Clemson has already indicated it will accept no donations through this method. I wouldn’t be surprised to see every other school follow suit.

You can read more about it over on SportsDay Now. In the interest of full disclosure, the writer is my husband. I’m only mad he found the story before I did!

Pinterest for College Athletics

Pinterest Best Practices for College Athletic Departments

Pinterest for College AthleticsSometimes my content on this site is geared more toward those of you working in college athletics, and this is one of those posts….

From the ability to reach younger alumni to easily engaging with women (who make 85 percent of all consumer purchases) and reaching some of the most affluent online adults, Pinterest can be a valuable marketing tool for intercollegiate athletic departments. If you’re not convinced your athletic department should be on Pinterest, start with this post. If, however, you’re convinced and just need some help boosting your department’s Pinterest presence, then this is the post for you.

I could probably write an entire eBook on best practices for college athletic departments on Pinterest, but here are a few to get you started:

Write good descriptions

From your profile and board descriptions to the pins themselves, spend a little time thinking about what you write. Although Pinterest is primarily a visual platform, search engines do crawl and index Pinterest. You’ll want to use keywords such as “Iowa State Athletics” in your profile description and in board descriptions.

Click here to keep reading on INKsights, my PR firm’s blog!

UCF East Side Club

UCF Adding New Premium Club: East Side Club

When the UCF Knights host Florida International to open the 2015 season on September 5th, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the fabulous Florida lifestyle from within the confines of Brighthouse Networks Stadium in the new East Side Club.

1 ESC in stadium

The new 10,000 square foot area, located between the 30-yard lines, will offer an open-air sun deck, chair-back stadium seating and tons of amenities. You can sip on a frozen drink and bask in the sunshine before, during and after the game, with the club having extended pre- and post-game hours.

Other amenities include:

  • Preferred VIP entrance into the stadium
  • More than 15 flat-screen TVs
  • Enhanced WiFi connectivity
  • Private restrooms
  • Gold Zone parking

2 ESC under stadium

“The ESC will be a showcase for the Central Florida region,” UCF Vice President and Director of Athletics Todd Stansbury said. “This is a great place to live, work and play and the ESC will exemplify that. When a viewer anywhere in the country tunes in to watch a UCF football game, they will see shorts and flip-flops – they will see the Florida lifestyle.”

This marks the first major addition to Brighthouse Networks Stadium since it was built in 2007. The project is expected to cost $2.6 million and generate revenue from both memberships and corporate partnerships. Learn more here.

Do you have facilities news? Submit your news here for article consideration and inclusion in our monthly construction update.

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Power 5 Approve Cost of Attendance

Power Five Approve Cost of Attendance for Student Athletes at NCAA Convention

Power 5 Approve Cost of AttendanceIt came as no surprise that the Power Five conferences easily passed the cost of attendance measure being considered at the NCAA convention on Saturday. The final vote tally was 79-1 in favor of going to scholarships that cover the full cost of attendance, with 64 of the 65 schools and all 15 of the student athletes voting in favor of the proposal.

Click  here to keep reading my commentary on Outkick the Coverage on