Category Archives: Football

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.

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 FoxSports.com.

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

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!

NCAA travel stipends

NCAA Will Allow Travel Stipends for Families Attending Championships

NCAA travel stipendsImagine you’re playing in the very first College Football Playoff. You walk out of the tunnel to thunderous applause, your eyes scanning the crowd. When you were a kid, your mom and dad always sat on the 40-yard line, three rows up. Back then you thought it was annoying when your mom yelled,”That’s my baby!”, but if you’re honest, you wish she was here now trying to scream it over the crowd. Unfortunately, your parents can’t afford the trip to Dallas.

No doubt, there are student athletes on Ohio State and Oregon’s rosters whose parents can’t afford to make the trip for next Monday’s game. Tuesday, however, the CFP made an unexpected announcement…

Click here to keep reading my piece on OutkicktheCoverage.com.