No matter how good or bad your football team is nowadays, chances are high that your school is planning to upgrade football facilities in order to keep up with the burgeoning college athletics arms race.
Case in point lies in Lawrence, where Kansas is set to embark on a whopping $300 million renovation of Memorial Stadium that will also include an indoor practice facility. AD Sheahon Zenger disclosed the plans on Wednesday night while speaking at a booster function, according to the Kansas City Star.
“It will be something that will be just that next step in transcending our program to the next level,” Jayhawks head coach David Beaty reportedly said. “We really do have to keep up with the facility war that goes on out there.”
Memorial Stadium is one of the older stadiums in the Big 12, dating back to the 1921 opening of the site. While there have been a handful of updates in the past few years, there hasn’t really been much of a major renovation since 1998-99. Plans for the updated design and any additional features should be unveiled in September based on the timeline that Zenger disclosed.
No word on if Kansas is planning on adding any waterfalls to project just yet however.
While no decision has been made, a Clemson transfer has whittled his to-do-list down to a quartet of potential landing spots.
Speaking to TigerNet.com Monday, Korrin Wiggins confirmed that he will transfer to either East Carolina, Maryland, Michigan or Oregon. Kansas and North Carolina State, among others, had previously been mentioned as possibilities for the transferring defensive back.
As Wiggins graduated last month, he’ll be eligible to play immediately at whichever FBS program he chooses. The 2017 season will be his final year of eligibility.
In 2015, Wiggins started six of the 13 games in which he played. However, a torn ACL in summer camp the following year cost him the entire 2015 season. As a reserve last season, the safety played in seven games. He started one of those contests.
All told, Wiggins played in 32 games before deciding to transfer from the Tigers in mid-May.
While the perception is that the Big 12 is lagging behind on the field, the conference and its membership is doing just fine at the bank, thank you very much.
Friday afternoon, commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced that nine of the 10 schools in the conference will each receive a revenue payout of $34.8 million. And what of the 10th? In early February of this year, the Big 12 announced that it will withhold 25 percent of future revenue payments to Baylor, only releasing the monies to the scandal-plagued university “pending the outcome of third-party verification review of required changes to Baylor’s athletics procedures and to institutional governance of its intercollegiate athletics programs, among other matters.”
Thus far, Bowlsby said, that total is in the neighborhood of $6 million.
As for the other members, the windfall represents a 15-percent increase from a year ago. In 2016, each school received in the neighborhood of $30.4 million, which was a 20-percent increase from 2015.
When Tier Three revenue is taken into account, Texas will pull in nearly $50 million in revenue while Red River rival Oklahoma’s number is around $42 million.
Kansas athletics director Sheahon Zenger has signed an extension to remain on the job through the 2020-21 academic year, the school announced Sunday.
Zenger has been on the job since 2011, meaning the new deal will take him past the decade mark in Lawrence.
“Since Sheahon’s arrival in Jan. 2011, Kansas Athletics has enjoyed success on and off the field,” Kansas chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said in a statement. “I am confident that under Sheahon’s leadership Athletics will experience even more success in the coming years.”
Zenger did not hire Bill Self, but he did hire Charlie Weis, which cost KU more than $5.6 million in buyout money after he was fired for going 6-22 leading the Jayhawks from 2012-14.
David Beaty was since hired to run the program, who has infused an outlook brighter than his 2-22 record would suggest.
Zenger said the new contract will allow him to fix football. Via the Kansas City Star:
Under Zenger’s watch, KU has most notably added numerous construction projects, including Rock Chalk Park and the DeBruce Center, which houses the original rules of basketball. He has spoken previously about completing those ventures to “clear the deck” financially so focus could be placed on football and Memorial Stadium renovations — two things he now says are “really the top priorities for me in the next four years.”
“We want it to be a place that people just love to come to,” Zenger said of Memorial Stadium. “We have such history there. I think it’s the greatest setting in the nation for college football. We just need to get it to the point where it’s a place that’s just revered.”
The extension includes a raise from a base salary of $619,000 to $700,000.
It’s a bad time for the Big 12. The conference isn’t signing blue chip prospects at the rate of its peers, isn’t producing draft picks at the rate of its peers and isn’t reaching and winning big games at the rate of its peers.
But the Big 12 is still getting paid at the rate of its peers.
The league’s contracts with ESPN and FOX combined with its 10-team set up have allowed the Big 12 to keep pace with the SEC and Big Ten and remain ahead of the ACC and Pac-12 in financial distribution. The Dallas Morning News‘s Big 12 writer Chuck Carlton tweeted on Friday the league’s per-school distribution will again grow 10 percent to more than $33 million in 2017-18.
The SEC distributed just north of $40 million in 2016-17, while the Big Ten was at $33 million by 2014-15.
However, since the Big 12 does not have its own television network, its conference distributions do not include third-tier rights, which its schools keep and sell on their own — like the Longhorn Network. So schools like Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are likely getting paid equal or above their SEC and Big Ten peers.
Now if only they could start recruiting and winning like them, too.