Author Archives: Lauren Nevidomsky
SportsBusiness Daily is reporting that each BCS Conference that holds a conference championship game saw an increase in attendance this year as compared to last year.
The following chart shows how much attendance increased (or decreased) this year as compared to the last two years:
|Conference||% Change from 2011-2012||% Change from 2012-2013||Absolute Change from ’12-’13|
Craig Bohl, head football coach at North Dakota State University, has proven himself to be a mighty competitor by coaching the Bisons to two consecutive national titles. A coach like this is a dream for both fans and players.
Luckily, Bohl has shown that he remains committed to coaching at NDSU, despite his performance potentially making him a target for other school’s looking to change up their coaching situations. This is exactly why attorneys for the school, along with President Dean Bresciani and AD Gene Taylor, sought to make Bohl’s departure from NDSU rather undesirable.
One of the most salient provisions of Bohl’s 8-year contract extension is one that requires him to pay NDSU $100,000 to coach at a different NCAA institution. If he decides to jump ship from the FCS and go to a bowl-eligible team, he will have to pay even more: upwards of $413,000. Such buyout penalties are supposed to entice Bohl to stay with the team, even though he has previously reiterated his interest to stay at NDSU. It has been noted, however, that these provisions are highly uncommon, as usually the buyout penalty is higher when a coach decides to leave for a team within the same conference, as opposed to a whole different subdivision.
Other contract provisions include:
- Yearly salary: $205,503
- Annual raise(at least): 5%
- Additional earnings: 3% of all home game ticket sales; $60,000/year for media appearances
- Bonuses for wins: $2,500 for all Missouri Valley Conference Championship away games; $15,000 for National Championship
- One year ban on recruiting potential NDSU recruits to new team if he leaves NDSU
Many people live for their college football teams. However, once college ends, an alumnus does not always have the opportunity of living within the school’s network area. This problem has now been solved: TuneIn, the leading service for free online radio, has partnered with IMG College, Learfield Sports, ESPN Radio and Spartan Sports Network to provide free access to hundreds of college football games from coast to coast. Never again will a college football fan have to suffer the heartbreak of not being able to get real-time coverage of their beloved college football team’s performance on the field.
Thanks to TuneIn’s new partnership, all college football fans will now have the opportunity to catch free, live games from all of the major conferences. Pac-12 fans are even more in luck: every Pac-12 game will be broadcast.
These games can be accessed for free via the TuneIn app, which is available for download on iPhone and Android. It can also be accessed via tablets, vehicles and gaming consoles, and can be heard in over 200 countries and territories. Once in the app, one just needs to search for “college football” or go to the sports category and select college football. Then you can see which games are offered and either listen to them or add them to a digital calendar to be reminded of the upcoming game when it starts. You can also see a list online here.
Conference branding in the NCAA is crucial in creating an image and vision for a given conference. The latest conference to come out with a total transformation is the America East, a Division One non-FBS conference, which recently welcomed its 9th member, UMass-Lowell. As a student attending one of the America East member institutions, this post will address my take on the conference’s branding efforts and what other conferences can learn from them.
Why Branding is Essential for the America East
The America East is an interesting example to analyze given its member institutions. I am a senior at Binghamton University and have seen firsthand how this name sometimes fails to carry its own weight. While interning this summer in New York City, some had no idea what my university was, even though it was located three hours north of the City and has a strong academic reputation in the State of New York. Yet, when other interns would say that they attended universities like Michigan and Duke, there would be no questions as to what those institutions were because these schools have national reputations that eclipse their respective conferences. The reputations of America East schools are heavily regionally-based; once you leave the Northeast, the schools’ recognition levels drop-off dramatically.
This recognition issue is magnified by the fact that the America East is currently not an athletic powerhouse. For example, the last time that any member institution made it past the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament was in 2005.
Additionally, student enrollment at member institutions may impact recognition. If you look at the Big Ten, the schools’ student populations range from just under 15,000 to close to 60,000. In the America East, student populations only range from roughly 7,000-25,000. The sheer disparity in student populations alone, puts the America East conference at a competitive disadvantage in terms of visibility amongst Division 1 Conferences since less students have the ability of becoming a part of the America East legacy.
As a result, if the America East wants to be known nationally, its new image must elevate it to a level where despite its inherent weaknesses it can be nationally recognizable.
How the America East Re-Branded
In my opinion, the rebranding of the America East was done with great understanding of the task at hand. Its new tagline, “Building the Complete Student Athlete,” shows its attention to the conference’s strengths beyond the playing field. After interning in Binghamton University’s Athletic Department, and seeing an America East member institution run first-hand, I can tell that the conference wants its student athletes to find success not only with their teams but also in their academic, social, and professional lives. This tagline is essentially immortalized in the new symbol which has an A featuring three stripes to create an E. These three stripes, in turn, represent the conference’s three pillars: Academic Achievement, Leadership On and Off the Field, and Athletic Excellence. Additionally, since the logo can be color customized to each member institution’s school colors, the America East philosophy and image is able to infiltrate all the way through to each school’s local community, ensuring that all stakeholders feel a connection to the new brand.
What is interesting to note is that Zach Kelley, director of Brand Strategy at SME Branding, stated that the conference “desire[d] to relate to a more youthful and adventurous millennial demographic.” This desire can be directly related to the aforementioned discussion of student enrollments. With these schools admitting far fewer students than schools at some of the powerhouse conferences, potential student athletes may not find the America East member institutions as appealing. For example, a smaller school inherently has a smaller alumni network, which can be crucial when looking for a job once a student athlete’s college career is over. Yet, if the rebranding strategy works, potential student athletes may see the America East conference as great place to grow and play, and realize the conference’s potential to be nimble in a time of changing college athletic landscapes.
In terms of trying to carve a niche in an environment already saturated with well-known conferences, the America East understood the necessity to redefine itself. This transformational time, in terms of leadership and membership, will hopefully positively impact its legacy in the long-run. I am interested to see how the conference’s brand imaging and commitment to progressiveness will impact the recruitment of future student athletes. Only time will tell.
Recently, the America East Conference revealed its transformation. Its new logo, look, and brand identity exemplify the future of the conference and the living legacies of its member institutions. This change, however, got me thinking: what is really behind the brand and marketing strategies of each of the NCAA conferences?
In theory, the brand of each NCAA conference is supposed to help differentiate it from its competing conferences. It is meant to help create a story that vendors, alumni, fans, and students alike can feel proud of being a part of. In the midst of the many recent waves of conference realignment, this story is especially important to manufacture in order to ensure that the conferences live up to their historic ideals and adapt to the changing times.
The brand of each conference is essentially an extension of the brand of each member institution. Yet, where does the brand image of each school end and the brand image of the conference begin? As such, do schools with huge fan bases and followings directly affect the brand image of their conference? Do conferences with schools that are dominant in either football or basketball (or both) inherently have stronger brand identities or are the brands actually more creative and innovative? On top of this, where does the brand image of the conference end and the brand of the entire NCAA organization take over?
Over the coming weeks, I will be exploring the theme of brand identity within the NCAA. I will be looking at it mostly from the conference perspective, but will look to see how each member institution’s own brand image influences its conferences image as a whole.
Leave a comment below with some things you might like to see covered going forward about conference branding with the NCAA.
So long Northeast-10, UMass-Lowell is off to the America East. As of July 1, 2013, the UMass-Lowell River Hawks will be joining the Albany Great Danes, Binghamton Bearcats, Hartford Hawks, Maine Black Bears, UMBC Retrievers, UNH Wildcats, Stony Brook Seawolves, and Vermont Catamounts as the 9th team in the American East conference, filling the void that will be left by the BU Terriers when they leave for the Patriot League. The America East board unanimously approved the new addition, and couldn’t be happier to admit the school into its conference.
Except for its hockey program, UMass-Lowell’s sports teams currently compete at the Division-II level in the Northeast-1o Conference. They have been a member of the Northeast-10 since 2000. The move from Division II will be exciting for the school as it will raise its prestige and level of competition, while paving the way for the addition of both men’s and women’s lacrosse programs. Yet, despite the upgrade to Division I in the next few months, UMass-Lowell will be ineligible for postseason play until after the four year reclassification period from DII to DI, which will end in before the 2017-18 season.
However, even though reclassifying may strengthen the school’s reputation, especially in the Northeast, upgrading divisions never comes without a cost. For example, it is almost certain that the cost of running the athletic department will increase. Coaches’ salaries will increase, and new coaches will be brought in, in particular to coach the new lacrosse programs. Recruiting budgets will rise as the school will need to spend more money finding higher caliber athletes to propel it to the levels that other America East schools are competing at. Additionally, the NCAA requires that Division I schools provide a greater number of scholarships to be awarded; as such, scholarship expense may increase dramatically in some sports.
Although these increased expenses may come as a burden in the short-run, UMass-Lowell’s addition to the America East, especially if its teams find success, may have great benefits in the long-run. Having a school with a great sports program is a pull factor for many prospective students. This may cause applications to rise, which will allow the school to increase its academic profile even more than it has over the past several years.
By: Shanette D. Buford-Brazzell
Recently, DePaul University made the huge announcement that they are considering moving all of their Men’s Basketball home games into United Center, the home of the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks.
DePaul University, a NCAA Division I and Catholic University, currently plays its 16 home games at the Allstate Arena, in Rosemont, a suburban neighborhood outside of Chicago. This contract to play there runs through 2015. During the 2011-12 season Men’s Basketball home games attendance was 130,486, with an average of 7,676 spectators. The possible move to downtown Chicago will bring more spectators and increased attendance for the Blue Demons.
According to a Crain’s Chicago Business article it was reported that “the university is considering the United Center or a new facility to be built near McCormick Place.” Many people have their own opinion about the possible move of the Men’s Basketball games, while others aren’t too happy about it. The move has its pros and cons: students will have a shorter travel trip to games from their campus in Lincoln Park. The travel time from the campus to the Allstate Arena is currently twenty-seven minutes. Yet, the move to United States could decrease their commute to only eight minutes! Similarly, The Blue Demons fans and spectators from the city wouldn’t have to travel far either.
DePaul University mentioned in their strategic plan V2018 that one of their goals was to seek various opportunities to bring Men’s Basketball back into Chicago. In a recent interview with Journal Online, DePaul’s spokesman, Director of Communications for Men’s Basketball and Golf, Greg Greenwell, stated “DePaul will consider any proposal that will help us accomplish that goal”.
A spokesman from United Center confirmed that there are reports from sports facility’s owners, who had recent conversations with the university about Men’s Basketball playing games at the facility. However, there hasn’t been any confirmation from DePaul’s Athletic Director Jean Ponsetto.
What: New NCAA Enforcement Program–Created by a 13-member group of presidents, athletic directors, commissioners, and others in the collegiate athletic community
When: Effective August 1, 2013
Who: Affects accountability of Head Coaches in the NCAA
Where: NCAA Campuses across the nation
- To increase accountability of coaching staffs to uphold integrity of collegiate model of athletics in wake of some of the worst scandals in NCAA history
- To provide a stronger deterrent for individuals who believe that the benefits and advantages of violating NCAA regulations outweigh the severity of punishment
- To better differentiate between who was actually responsible for violations by making coaches bring the penalties they incurred individually to a new school if they decide to change jobs
|Old System||New System||Why the Change?|
|Levels of Violation||2 (Major and Secondary)||4 (Ranging from severe breaches of conduct to incidental infractions)||Makes the Violation Code Less Rigid|
|Division I Committee Members||10||Up to 24||Allows less severe cases to be dealt with in a more timely manner by creating sub-groups|
|Hearings for Level I Cases by Committee on Infractions||5 times annually||10||To deal with severe cases more efficiently and effectively|
|Basis of Penalties for Head Coaches||Did Head Coach Know of Violations or Have “Presumption of Knowledge?”||Presumed responsibility, unless proven otherwise||To ensure that head coaches provide ample materials informing assistant coaches on how to properly act|
Ever since social media became popular, and the number of users of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter skyrocketed, people have always been warned to be cautious of how they present themselves online. High school students often change their last names so that college admissions counselors can’t find them and college students often deactivate their accounts during the job-hunting process. Additionally, those smart enough to ensure that their social media presence is spotless avoid posting any racy photos or any stories describing their weekend shenanigans. However, it has not been common for authorities to outwardly prevent someone from doing these things if they so choose. Yet recent developments prove that this censorship of social media may soon become an increasing trend.
This past summer, the International Olympic Committee came up with a whole list of guidelines for athletes to follow when posting Tweets or Facebook posts. In an attempt to preserve the sanctity of the Olympics and its name, many of the guidelines seemed harmless, but others, such as the ban against promoting one’s sponsors (if they weren’t official sponsors of the Olympics) caused resentment among many athletes. To be reminded of this, check out this story: American athletes lead revolt against IOC ban on social media use to promote sponsors.
This censorship trend has since moved into the realm of college sports, specifically two schools in the state of Kentucky. According to this article posted in The Chronicle of Higher Education, both the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky are banning their student athletes from using upwards of 400 different words on Twitter. Though most of them are the names of various sports agents, the remaining terms tend to be those associated with sex, drugs, and rock and roll. If these words are used by the student-athletes, the image of “Big Brother is Watching” comes to mind, since coaches will be alerted to this through special monitoring software.
Now, I’m all for preserving one’s reputation and wanting to present oneself in the best light possible, but has this ban taken it a step too far? How about the monitoring software – are college sports becoming Orwellian? Maybe that’s over-thinking it a little, but isn’t there any other way to ensure the dignity of one’s school and program without infringing on First Amendment rights and banning student-athletes from using certain words? I understand that in theory, athletes should know themselves that certain words should not be used in their Tweets but in reality, this does not always happen. So what’s the best solution? Let us know what you think below!
According to the latest reports, Simon Fraser University, located in British Columbia, Canada may be the first full-fledged international member of the NCAA. After participating in the pilot-program for Canadian schools for the past several years, SFU is now the first university to come this close to full NCAA membership. If approved by the Division II President’s Council on August 9, SFU’s 17 sports could be competing in the NCAA within the month.
By becoming full members, SFU sports teams will be able to compete for regional and national titles and the school’s student-athletes will be eligible for athletic scholarships and all-America awards. This move will be used to pave the way for more international membership, both from Canadian and Mexican schools.
The only thing initially currently in between SFU and NCAA membership is accreditation status, as the NCAA currently requires that all member schools be accredited by a U.S. agency. At present, both the NCAA membership committee and its executive committee have voted to support a change in the constitutional language, which would allow SFU to become a member of the NCAA as long as it is actively seeking accreditation by one of the six accreditation programs in the U.S., and is in good standing in their own nations’s accreditation program.
An application for accreditation has been filed with the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCUU). The NWCUU is an accrediting agency for the Northwest U.S. region – mainly Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Last fall, following the formal results from the NWCCU visit, Simon Fraser University had been cleared for Candidacy for Academic Accreditation status. This status indicates that the university has achieved initial recognition and is progressing towards accreditation. The process will be complete by 2017 at the earliest. Now, once the NCAA’s President Council approves the revised legislation, which it originally recommended, Simon Fraser University will be competing in the NCAA.
Simon Fraser has a history of playing against United States universities. From 1965-2001, it played in the small-college National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). However, when many of its opponents started leaving for the NCAA in the 1990s, SFU was left as an “unaffiliated” member of the NAIA. This then prompted Simon Fraser’s first attempt to join the NCAA, but it was turned down.
Consequently, Simon Fraser partially move to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Canada West conference to avoid the scheduling and logistical problems created for the teams competing in the NAIA. However, depending on the sport, SFU has either continued playing in the NAIA or moved to CIS. As a part of the NCAA, Simon Fraser has been competing in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) as a provisional member for the past two years. It has been eligible for GNAC championships for the past year. To better understand its progression from CIS to NCAA over the last few years, see this: NCAA Transition Timeline
In the GNAC, the distance between Simon Fraser and its furthest opponent, University of Alaska-Fairbanks is roughly 1400 miles, but the distance between Simon Fraser and its furthest opponent in Canada West, University of Manitoba, was only 1155 miles. In Football, the overall distance between SFU and its four opponents (Humboldt State, Western Oregon, Central Washington, Dixie State) is about 2040 miles, while in the Canada West, the overall distance between SFU and its four closest opponents out of the total six (UBC, University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Saskatchewan), was 1678 miles. When you added the two remaining schools (University of Manitoba and University of Regina), the distance totaled about 3656. This distances were acquired by adding up the approximate distance between Simon Fraser and each individual university, as determined by http://www.distancefromto.net/.
This move to the NCAA, will allow greater exposure for SFU’s student-athletes, especially within the United States. The NCAA is regarded as a much more competitive conference than both the NAIA and CIS, and will allow SFU’s sports teams to elevate their play to a higher level.
What do you think of this move? Is it a good idea to expand NCAA membership north and south of the border — in similar fashion to the MLB, NHL, and NBA? Will Simon Fraser benefit from going back to its roots and competing against American schools once again? Leave us your comments below.