Big Ten’s per-member payout this year? Nearly $25 million


(Prepare for the Florida State-to-Big Ten rumors in  three… two… one…)

Already flush with cash, each member of the Big Ten will realize a significantly higher windfall than they’ve ever received in the past.

According to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch over the weekend, 11 of the 12 members of the conference — Nebraska, which officially joined the league last year, does not yet receive a full share — will receive an estimated $24.6 million this year in shared revenue.  The Post-Dispatch obtained the financial information from the Illinois athletic department.

The nearly $25 million per-school payout (pictured) is a record for the conference, topping the $22.8 million total each member received last year.  In 2008, each school received $18.7 million, meaning the payouts have increased over 35 percent the past four years.

By comparison, the paper notes, SEC schools were paid $19.5 million last year.  That financial gap between the two most powerful conferences in the country should be closed in short order, however, as the SEC will reap the benefits from a revamped TV deal in the not-so-distant future.  How much reaping could be potentially be involved?  “[A]bout $8 million a year in revenue under soon-to-be-renegotiated television agreements,” USA Today wrote Monday morning.

The Big 12 and ACC recently completed — or will soon officially complete — new deals that will pay each conference member annually an average of roughly $20 million and $17 million, respectively, over the life of the contract.  The Pac-12’s new-ish deal is expected to pay each member in the neighborhood of $22 million a year.  Actually, that could be a very lowball number for the Pac-12; in that same USA Today piece, it’s estimated that the conference could make at least $30 million a year per member when the revenues from national television deals and regional Pac-12 networks are combined.

The Big Ten’s record haul comes despite the payout from the wildly successful Big Ten Network coming in less than last year.  In 2011, Big Ten schools received $7.9 million from the network; this year, that total will drop to “just” $7.2 million.  A 22-percent increase in its television deals, however, more than offset that dip in network payouts.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.