Category Archives: SEC
They did it again! The Southeastern Conference proved once more that they are the conference to beat with the announcement of the SEC Network. As many know the new network had been silently in the works for a while, and as SEC Commissioner Mike Slive put it today, “Goodbye Project X, and hello SEC Network.” Slive was joined by President of ESPN, John Skipper, to announce that come August 2014 the new network will make its grand debut.
SEC partnered with ESPN for a 20-year agreement extending through 2034, the longest agreement in sports. “The SEC Network will provide an unparalleled fan experience of top quality SEC content presented across the television network and its accompanying digital platforms,” Slive said.
“We will increase the exposure for all 14 of our institutions, and we will showcase the incredible student-athletes in our league.”
The new multiplatform network will air SEC content 24 hours a day and seven days a week, including over 1,000 live events its first year, 450 televised and 550 shown digitally. It will also show 45 live SEC football games annually (including three per week) and more than 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, 75 baseball games and other events from the league’s 21 sports. Not just that, but programming will also consist of studio shows, original content such as SEC Storied, spring football games, signing day and pro days coverage.
The SEC is following in the footsteps of other conferences with networks such as the Big 10 and Pac-12 but is doing it with a little more finesse. What makes this deal so unique from the others (besides ESPN’s name being attached) is that the league partnered with its primary rights holder, ultimately allowing more movement through the distributors. “This is not a regional network,” Skipper said. “This is a national network.”
“We’re confident this is a new and unique opportunity, nothing like this has been done before,” Skipper said. “[T]he level of distribution we’ll have at the beginning, the quality of the production, the amount of the games that we’ll have, the sort of integration with digital platforms, is taking this to a whole new level”
AT&T U-Verse, the fastest growing television provider in the U.S., has been secured as the networks first national distributor.
CBS will continue to have the first pick of SEC games each week, but will no longer have an exclusive window at 3:30 p.m. as it has in past years. After CBS chooses its game, the decision on what will air on SEC Network versus other ESPN platforms will be made by a “content board.”
Slive declined to answer any questions on the financial details when asked about specifics of ownership percentages but did say, “both ESPN and SEC are happy.”
ESPN affiliate sales and marketing will oversee the network’s day-to-day operations. The network will originate from ESPN’s Charlotte, N.C., offices with additional staff located at the company’s Bristol, Connecticut headquarters. Staff announcements and additional details will be made in the coming months.
Follow Mackenzie on Twitter @KenzieThirkill
Selena Roberts’ serious allegations against the Auburn athletics department earlier this week caused an uproar among members of the media and college football fans. If true, the story’s accusations of rampant drug use by football players, coaches handing players money under the table and academic officials changing football players’ grades to ensure their eligibility, are enough to turn Auburn athletics on its head. Tucked away in the story, though, is an issue more pressing and with greater possible harm than any NCAA sanction can impose. It is one that may cost former Auburn football player, Mike McNeil, his freedom.
McNeil is currently facing trial on two felony counts of first-degree robbery. The charges stem from allegations that four former Auburn football players robbed a home while armed. While building allegations of Auburn’s alleged athletic improprieties to a crescendo, Roberts quickly slipped a fact into her story that a trained legal eye would not let go unnoticed. Eight paragraphs into Roberts’ Auburn expose, was the following quote,
“To show you how innocent he is, Mike is willing to go to trial because he says he didn’t do it,” says Ben Hand, who recently was dismissed as McNeil’s attorney after the family formally complained that he had a conflict of interest. “Mike McNeil didn’t rob anyone.”
As it turns out, McNeil’s attorney previously represented a man who lived in the house that McNeil allegedly robbed. In the legal world, this is called a “conflict of interest.” And in the legal world, a conflict of interest is a reason for which a criminal defendant can appeal the outcome of his case, should he be convicted.
Roberts’ assertion in her article that Hand was dismissed as McNeil’s attorney is incorrect. That is because today, the Auburn educated judge hearing McNeil’s case ruled that Hand could not withdraw as counsel for McNeil’s case. Rather, McNeil’s case will proceed to trial next Monday.
At that trial, McNeil faces three options when it comes to legal representation. The first, is to be represented by a lawyer who once represented someone whose home McNeil allegedly robbed. The second is for McNeil, without a college degree, to represent himself in a felony case in which he faces 21 years to life in prison. The third option, is for McNeil to hire a new attorney who will assist his conflicted attorney. That attorney will have 72 hours to prepare for a trial that took the prosecution nearly two years to bring to fruition.
Arguably, there is not an attractive choice present in this bunch. As depicted above, Hand has maintained McNeil’s innocence to the media and will likely advocate zealously for him. Additionally, the presiding judge in McNeil’s case, in ruling that Hand cannot withdraw from the case, determined that the prosecution will only proceed to trial against McNeil on two charges, as opposed to the seven charges he was originally facing. This was based upon the judge’s finding that conflicts existed between Hand and those charges, but were not present in the two charges McNeil continues to face. Regardless of these facts, questions likely persist in McNeil’s mind as to whether his attorney bears any biases towards him and if he will receive a fair shot at justice.
As the time on the clock dwindles down to McNeil’s trial date, a review of 11th Circuit (the circuit in which Alabama is located) and Supreme Court case law is necessary. One basis upon which a defendant can appeal his conviction is for ineffective assistance of counsel. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that a criminal defendant’s right to effective assistance of counsel is violated where a defendant’s attorney has an actual conflict of interest that affects the defendant adversely. Something is an actual conflict of interest when a lawyer has inconsistent interests. 11th circuit case law says that a conflict of interest exists when a defendant can point to specific instances in the record to suggest an actual conflict or impairment of interest. Specific instances could include an attorney choosing to elicit or failing to elicit evidence helpful to one client but harmful to another.
The question here, then, is does Hand have inconsistent interests when it comes to representing McNeil? While Hand represented a resident of the home McNeil allegedly robbed, that representation came on an unrelated matter that occurred prior to the alleged robbery. Given the differential between the matters and the time that has passed sense, does an actual conflict exist?
If an actual conflict of interest existed, case law also requires that the conflict adversely affected the counsel’s performance in order to successfully appeal on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel. A defendant must show three things to prove an adverse effect: 1. That the defense attorney could have pursued a plausible alternative strategy, 2. that the alternative strategy was reasonable and 3. that the alternative strategy was not followed because it conflicted with the attorney’s external loyalties.
At this stage, only McNeil and Hand know what alternative strategies exist, if any. And at this stage, it is likely that they are the only two people who know why one defense strategy was chosen over another.
Should McNeil be convicted and wish to appeal his case, the real question that may persist is whether he waived his right to conflict-free counsel. A defendant waives his right to conflict-free counsel when he chooses to proceed to trial with an attorney who has an adverse conflict of interest. Arguably, this decision could bar an appeal on this issue, as the Supreme Court case of Johnson v. Zerbst found that a “waiver of the right to conflict-free counsel ‘disposes of the need to evaluate the actual or potential ineffectiveness of counsel caused by the alleged conflicts of interests.’” To demonstrate a waiver, it must be shown that the defendant was aware of the conflict, recognized it could impact his defense and knew of his right to obtain other counsel. Notably, today, the presiding judge in McNeil’s case advised him of his right to proceed to trial without an attorney or with a new attorney to assist Hand. It is to be seen what decision McNeil makes.
Many unknowns face Mike McNeil at this moment. The decisions facing McNeil as his trial approaches are lofty. Truth be told, they are likely as big as the choice he made to commit to playing football at Auburn University.
Follow Alicia Jessop on Twitter @RulingSports.
The University of Kentucky has recently announced a unique building project and partnership. The details can be found at UKNOW, the university’s own news site. Here are the highlights:
• A $65 million renovation and expansion of the Gatton College of Business and Economics. The $65 million project will be initially funded with $25 million in gifts and $40 million in agency bonds, approved by the legislature.
• The $100 million construction of a Science and Academic Building. The 263,000 square foot building will be funded by agency bonds and is the result of a partnership with athletics unlike any other in the country. UK Athletics will fund 65 percent of the building’s debt service ― or, in total, about $65 million.
• A $110 million renovation of Commonwealth Stadium and the Nutter Training and Recruiting Center. The project ― which will add suites and club seating, while improving the fan experience throughout the stadium ― will be paid for by agency bonds and funded through the construction of suites. UK already has a waiting list for suites.
The first thing that stands out is an athletic department building announcement, particularly one from a major program, being included in an announcement of general university projects. Yes, all of the projects were approved on the same day but it is rare to see a university present such a united front with its athletic department. Keeping with that theme, the second bullet point contains an incredible nugget: the athletics department will fund over half of the cost of a campus building completely unrelated to athletics. In fact, all three projects will be funded by the university without the use of state funds. The project is being called BBNUnited. BBN, of course, stands for Big Blue Nation, the common nickname for Kentucky’s fan base. While many athletic departments donate money to their university (often to the general scholarship fund), very few make the sort of commitment that Kentucky has.
Critics of college athletics often lament how much is spent by athletic departments. Those critics believe, sometimes mistakenly, that university money that should be for academics is being used for athletics. This is certainly an old debate that dates back to at least the 1930’s when Chicago disbanded its athletics program and left the Big Ten in an attempt to focus on academics. In turn, to improve its enrollment and academics, Michigan State invested heavily in athletics and claimed the vacant spot in the conference. Details about the Chicago/Michigan State debate can be found in this book.
More recently, Spellman College similarly disbanded its Division III athletic program last fall. Citing concerns over spending one million dollars each year to benefit 80 student-athletes, the female only college decided to close the program. The money previously used for athletics will be used to support a new college-wide fitness program that will theoretically be utilized by all 2,100 students.
Clearly, there are vocal proponents of college athletics as well. As a result of Florida Gulf Coast’s recent tournament run, the old phrase about athletics being “the front porch of the university” has been thrown around at every chance. March Madness often highlights the good that college athletic departments can provide to a university. This includes national exposure and thousands, if not millions, of on-campus visitors each year. While it is well known that athletics can bring unmatched exposure for some universities, it is refreshing to see an athletic department so invested, literally and figuratively, in its university.
ESPN sports business reporter Kristi Dosh (who also happens to be BusinessofCollegeSports.com’s founder) had a piece yesterday giving some perspective to University of Tennessee’s financial situation. One of the points she makes is that Tennessee’s outstanding debt on athletic facilities isn’t out of line with the rest of the SEC.
Here’s a look at outstanding facilities debt at each SEC school and the annual debt service (payments) for the 2010-2011 school year (the most recent available). All information is from NCAA financial disclosures. Vanderbilt’s information is not available via public records requests.
2010-2011 SEC Athletics Debt
|School||Outstanding Athletics Debt||Athletics Annual Debt Service|
|Alabama||$207.2 million||$13.3 million|
|Louisiana State||$202.0 million||$13.5 million|
|Tennessee||$188.1 million||$7.7 million|
|Georgia||$120.8 million||$7.9 million|
|South Carolina||$112.9 million||$3.5 million|
|Auburn||$106.1 million||$10.1 million|
|Florida||$80.8 million||$5.8 million|
|Arkansas||$64.1 million||$7.3 million|
|Texas A&M||$45.8 million||$6.6 million|
|Mississippi||$41.8 million||$4.6 million|
|Missouri||$26.8 million||$3.1 million|
|Mississippi State||$24.8 million||$2.3 million|
|Kentucky||$18.7 million||$2.7 million|
As Dosh points out in her article, this isn’t a true apples to apples comparison. For example, she notes Kentucky carries no debt on Rupp Arena, because it’s owned by the city. Check out her piece for more information.
Documents obtained from University of Tennessee show its football season ticket base has dropped by approximately 10,000 people since 2009. However, net revenue (profit) from football remains above average amongst other SEC members:
Football Net Revenue 2010-2011
|South Carolina||$35.4 million|
|Texas A&M*||$30.0 million|
|Mississippi State||$10.8 million|
*Texas A&M and Missouri were not yet members of the SEC in 2010-2011
The real issue, as noted in Dosh’s article, is the limited reserves Tennessee athletics currently has on hand: $1.95 million. That is one area not in line with other SEC schools, as AD Dave Hart notes in Dosh’s piece.
By: James Maddox
Recently, the University of Kentucky launched kfundonline.com, a website dedicated to athletic fundraising efforts. One of the main purposes of the website is to help raise funds for upgrades to Commonwealth Stadium where the football team plays.
The website states that the stadium will undergo a $110 million renovation beginning later this year and ending in time for the 2015-2016 season. Stadium upgrades will consist of additional suites and club seats, new press facilities, upgrades to the Nutter Training Center, and a new team store, amongst other additions and improvements. The school is also considering reducing the seating to improve the quality and value of the remaining seats, in hopes of increasing the game day experience for fans.
Known for its prominent basketball program that is coming off a national championship last season, it is clear the athletic department at the University of Kentucky is making strides to compete with their conference foes in football in the financial arena. According to the latest available data, the SEC powerhouses that have won a championship in the past 10 years, such as Alabama, Auburn, and Florida, reported a net income of at least $40 million during the 2010-2011 year; Kentucky only cleared half of that. During that same time period Alabama, Auburn, and Florida spent at least $1.2 million on facility upgrades; Kentucky spent approximately $101,548.
UK seems to be making the right steps to create a more well-rounded athletics program. Their website has also stated intentions to improve Memorial Coliseum where the volleyball and women’s basketball teams play.
Newly hired football coach Mark Stoops took to Twitter to give his stamp of approval of the renovation of the football facilities. He recently tweeted “Renovation of Commonwealth Stadium and Nutter Training Center will be fun for fans and help our recruiting. #BBNUnited”.
Guest author: Tyler Jamieson (BusinessofCollegeSports.com Intern)
When it comes to cash the SEC is king…
…but just barely. NCAA disclosures (and EADA reports for private schools) from the 2010-2011 school year (the most recent available) reveal that the SEC is top dog when it comes to revenue. In 2011, schools from the SEC and Big Ten conferences both posted revenues of over $1 billion. The SEC earned top billing with earnings of $1,080,219,133, with the Big Ten right behind at $1,078,727,312.
The SEC also led the nation with a staggering 5 schools posting revenues of over $100 million. Leading the way was Alabama ($124,498,616), followed by Florida ($123,514,257), LSU ($107,259,352), Tennessee ($104,368,992), and Auburn ($103,982,441). The Big Ten was second with 3 schools over $100 million: Ohio State ($131,815,821), Michigan ($122,739,052), and Penn State ($116,118,025). The Big 12 had two schools over $100 million: Texas, with the highest overall net revenue in the country ($150,295,926), and Oklahoma ($104,338,844).
What’s even more impressive about the SEC’s revenue numbers is how far they have climbed since 2004-2005. Since 2004-2005 the conference as a whole has almost doubled their revenue, skyrocketing from approximately $600 million to over $1 billion. Over that time the average SEC school’s revenue has jumped from approximately $55 million to a little over $91 million, which is a robust 71% increase.
Once again amongst the notables is Alabama who doubled their revenue from $62 million to $124 million, no doubt due to recent success on the football field with the hiring of Nick Saban and 2 National Championships in the past 3 years. Also among the big movers was Mississippi State who back in 2004-2005 had a very paltry (by SEC standards) revenue of $26 million. In 2010-2011 the Bulldogs took the SEC crown for highest percentage climb in revenue since 2004-2005 with a 131% increase up to $59 million, but that still leaves them at less than half of Alabama and Florida are earning.
With a $3 billion television deal set to kick off in 2012, the PAC-12 is in position for some serious growth. In 2010-2011, the conference had the 2 lowest net revenue earners for all automatic-qualifier conferences. Utah, still transitioning from its move from the Mountain West Conference, had a revenue of $38 million, and Washington State came in at just under $40 million. Those numbers will no doubt see hugely significant increases in the coming years with each school in the conference estimated to receive over $20 million a year from the new TV deal.
Today, the Big 12 and SEC announced that they have entered into a five-year contract which will allow champion of each conference to play each other in a New Year’s Day bowl game beginning in 2014. The contract is tailored to fit in with the new four-team playoff model, in that if the respective Big 12 and SEC champions are set to play in that game, different schools from each conference will play in the Big 12 and SEC match-up.
In making this announcement, the Big 12 and SEC have kept themselves ahead of the game when it comes to the reorganization of the college football playoff structure resulting from the expiration of the BCS’ current deal. This should come as no surprise to college football fans, as SEC commissioner Mike Slive has been at the forefront of proposing captivating alternatives to the current BCS system. It was Slive who first suggested the four-team playoff system, which will likely be adopted as the new BCS alternative. Today, Slive has once again protected the football notoriety of his conference, and the Big 12 has done the same, by ensuring that one team from each conference is present in a major, New Year’s Day bowl game.
The possibilities for this match-up are nearly endless, and quite fascinating. When considering the conference realignment landscape that took Big 12 programs Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC, this proposal raises the possibility that those two teams could someday face off against former rivals on national television on New Year’s Day. For fans mourning the end of the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry, this agreement presents the opportunity for the rivalry to flourish on a large-scale stage. Understandably, that would require both teams to become the champion of their football-competitive conference–but, at least it’s a possibility.
Questions remain about how the bowl will be orchestrated. For instance, it is unknown whether it will be held in a set location annually, like the Pac-12 and Big Ten’s Rose Bowl, or if it will travel to a new location each year. Given that SEC and Big 12 fans travel more than fans from other conferences, it may be worth each conference’s time to investigate the possibility of rotating the bowl game throughout various sites. This would open up the possibility of attending the game to more of the fans who are diehard supporters of SEC and Big 12 football. Additionally, it would raise the possibility of introducing each conference’s respective teams to new markets.
In the future, issues that will need to be addressed as a result of this bowl marriage relate to the bowls that each conference is currently aligned with. For instance, the Big 12 champion plays in the Fiesta Bowl each year. Will that continue? Is it possible that the agreement will result in the Fiesta Bowl being one of the sites that the bowl rotates through? Furthermore, what will happen to the current Big 12 No. 2-SEC No. 4 or 5 matchup, better known as the Cotton Bowl? Like the possibility just noted about the Fiesta Bowl, could this new bowl also rotate through the Cotton Bowl location? What will become of the SEC champion hosting Sugar Bowl?
My hunch is that the bowls will not agree to a game which rotates amongst them. Such would not be lucrative to the bowls. Thus, what the Big 12 and SEC have done with this move, is to strip the respective bowls of their power and transfer it to themselves. In doing so, they’ve opened up a bidding war of sorts, where the bowls will be expected to woo them with options. If none is suitable to the conferences, my guess is that they will launch a new bowl which will rotate throughout Big 12 and SEC locations.
Overall, this is a great move by the Big 12 and SEC. It is so, because it is a move that keeps them on top of the bowl shuffling/college football playoff landscape.
To conclude this week’s series, BusinessofCollegeSports.com will list in order the athletics departments earning the highest net income in 2010-11.
Issue has been raised by some over the classification of revenue minus expenses in this series as “profit,” since athletics departments are nonprofit organizations. It should be noted, that in the disclosures to the Department of Education, the athletics departments do not report either profit or net income. Rather, they report their revenues and expenses. For this series, profit/net income was calculated by subtracting the total expenses reported from the total revenues reported.
As noted above, the data was obtained from the Department of Education and is for 2010-11. The data from the Department of Education is by no means perfect. Throughout this series, net income was calculated by subtracting the “grand total expenses” from the “grand total revenues” that the athletic department reported to the Department of Education. Expenses in this instance included: head and assistant coach salaries, athletically related student aid, recruiting expenses, operating (game-day expenses) and “not allocated” expenses. The expenses faced by athletic departments, however, may be greater than those reported in this snapshot provided by the Department of Education. For example, an athletic department may have capital expenses outside of those expenses included in the report. This all being said, this data is the only data publicly available for both public and private institutions. Thus, it at least provides some insight into athletic department revenues, expenses, and net income before taking into consideration additional expenses, like capital projects.
In 2010-11, 48 athletics departments in BCS AQ conferences generated a positive net income.
|School||Athletic Department Net Income
|Penn State||$31,619,687.00||Big Ten|
|Kansas State||$23,395,408.00||Big 12|
|Notre Dame||$19,147,710.00||Big East|
|Ohio State||$18,630,964.00||Big Ten|
|Oklahoma State||$14,365,376.00||Big 12|
|Michigan State||$13,512,269.00||Big Ten|
|Texas A&M||$3,224,429.00||Big 12|
|Texas Tech||$3,124,246.00||Big 12|
|North Carolina State||$192,151.00||ACC|
|Iowa State||$121,686.00||Big 12|
In previous posts from this series, you’ll remember that every Big Ten athletics department ranked in the top-50 for revenues and expenses. However, neither Minnesota nor Northwestern achieved a net income above zero.
The conference with the highest percentage of members having a positive net income was the SEC. All but one SEC member (Ole Miss) generated a positive net income in 2010-11. The SEC was also home to the athletics department with the highest net income of any BCS AQ school, Alabama. However, the ten schools generating the greatest net income in 2010-11 are from a mix of conferences. The only conference not represented in the top-10 is the ACC.
|Conference||# of Athletics Departments||% of Conference|
This week, BusinessofCollegeSports.com showed you the revenues, expenses and net income of athletics departments in the BCS AQ conferences. To conclude this series, BusinessofCollegeSports.com is ranking the top-50 athletics departments with the highest revenues, expenses and net income. In this installment, we will show you which athletics departments spend the most.
The data was obtained from the Department of Education and is from 2010-11. While this data is not perfect, it is the only data publicly available for both public and private institutions.
|School||Athletic Department Expenses||Conference|
|Ohio State||$113,184,855.00||Big Ten|
|Penn State||$84,498,339.00||Big Ten|
|Notre Dame||$75,360,209.00||Big East|
|Texas A&M||$71,719,872.00||Big 12|
|Michigan State||$67,450,913.00||Big Ten|
|Oklahoma State||$55,757,830.00||Big 12|
While 80 percent of the Big 12′s members ranked in the top-50 in terms of revenue generated, only 70 percent ranked in the top-50 for expenditures. Thus, it is expected that at least several Big 12 members should generate a net income in the black. Only four Big East members ranked in the top-50 for revenue generated. However, five Big East members ranked in the top-5o for expenditures (Pittsburgh did not generate enough revenue to make the top-50 list, but is on the top-50 list for expenditures). Again, every Big Ten athletics department made the top-50 list for expenditures.
The chart below depicts how many places each conference held in the list and the percentage of the conference which made the list.
|Conference||# of Athletics Departments||% of Conference|
This week, BusinessofCollegeSports.com has shown you the revenues, expenses and net income (profit) of athletics departments in the BCS AQ conferences. To conclude this series, BusinessofCollegeSports.com will rank the top-5o athletics departments with the highest revenues, expenses and net income. First up is athletics department revenues.
The data was obtained from the Department of Education and is from 2010-11. While this data is not perfect, it is the only data publicly available for both public and private institutions.
|School||Athletic Department Revenue||Conference|
|Ohio State||$131,815,819.00||Big Ten|
|Penn State||$116,118,026.00||Big Ten|
|Notre Dame||$94,507,919.00||Big East|
|Michigan State||$80,963,182.00||Big Ten|
|Texas A&M||$74,944,301.00||Big 12|
|Oklahoma State||$70,123,206.00||Big 12|
|Kansas State||$68,875,266.00||Big 12|
Several things stand out in this list. First, every Big Ten team made the list. This is notable, as the SEC is typically viewed as the “power conference” when it comes to all things finance. The SEC had a great showing in the top-50, but only nine of its twelve athletics departments made the list. The conference with the least athletics departments on the list was the Big East, which only placed four of its members on the list.
The chart below depicts how many places each conference held in the list.
|Conference||# of Athletics Departments on List||% of Conference|