The offseason of UCF athletic director Danny White continues.
No, this isn’t another article about the Knights’ being national champions or releasing marketing studies or anything, even, to do with the upcoming season. No, this has to do with his conference’s upcoming television deal. The AAC’s rights expire after the 2019-20 season as is typically the case with such deals, negotiations for what happens starting in 2020 are going to commence in the coming months.
Per The Athletic’s Chris Vannini, those current deals with ESPN and CBS pay the league around $21 million a year and many around conference are expecting a big jump soon in the payouts.
“I don’t know how the first five years of our conference could have gone any better, with across-the-board success, particularly in football,” White said. “Whether you look at television ratings, competitive success, New Year’s Day bowl wins, we’ve way outperformed.
“I think our current deal is way undervalued, and everybody understands that. We’re all really confident we’ll get a much more significant television deal that puts us on par with where we should be, with the Power 6 conferences.”
While the AAC and those in the league continue to push that they are on par with the other Power Five conferences, that simply isn’t the case when you look at everything from actual NCAA governance to the cold hard cash each league receives. Even the much discussed Pac-12 Networks is contributing more to the conference’s schools than the $21 million the AAC receives and the league itself falls far short of its peers when it comes to total revenue. In 2016-17 alone, AAC revenue dropped below $75 million compared to over $500 million for the Pac-12, SEC and Big Ten each. Even in the Big 12, Texas alone takes in nearly as much TV revenue from the Longhorn Network (roughly $15 million a year) as the entire AAC does.
Given that the original deals were signed in 2013 with ESPN and CBS back when realignment was going crazy, White is absolutely correct in his assessment that the current deal is a little undervalued and a solid increase is in the cards for the league in the not-to-distant future. But as far as that winding up coming close to what the Power Five are bringing in? It seems like a stretch to say the least.
Another FBS player has decided to continue his playing career at a lower rung on the college football ladder.
Over the weekend, Stony Brook announced that head coach Chuck Priore has added CeQuan Jefferson to his Seawolves roster. As Stony Brook plays at the FCS level, the defensive back will be eligible to play immediately in 2018.
Additionally, Jefferson comes to the Seawolves as a graduate transfer after opting to leave Temple earlier this offseason.
Jefferson was a three-star member of the Owls’ 2014 recruiting class. The Richmond, Va., native played in a total of 31 games with the Owls, although he missed the last two-thirds of the 2017 season because of an unspecified injury.
One of those 31 appearances for Jefferson came during Temple’s 38-0 win in 2016 over… Stony Brook.
We’re used to coaches competing for just about everything in college football but we might soon be upon an age where everybody at the FBS level is going after… passport stamps?
Well, maybe not but at least head coaches are broadening the horizons for some of their players as overseas trips become more and more common for football programs like they are for numerous other NCAA sports who often tour abroad for a few weeks each offseason. Temple just recently returned from a trip to Tokyo, Japan as part of some clinics put on by the school and it sounds like everything went so well that head coach Geoff Collins told The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman and Stewart Mandel that he’s already planning for next year’s edition in a pretty cool locale.
“We’ve got a campus on Rome so we’re going to go to Italy next summer. It will be a blast,” said Collins. “We took eight (players) to Tokyo so I’m shooting for 12 the next time since it was such a success.”
The Owls’ excursions overseas are certainly scaled down from what we’ve seen from programs like Michigan, which just recently returned from France as part of their second big trip across the pond. Still, Collins will be the second major football coach to take his team to Rome and if he can wind up meeting the Pope like Jim Harbaugh did on his team’s trip two years ago, then it will be a rousing success for the school and will probably lead to even more teams doing the same.
If nothing else, it’s quite the carrot on the stick for Owls players letting the destination slip out. If you thought guys practiced hard before, imagine telling them a trip to Italy is on the line this fall…
It’s all quiet on the conference realignment front but at least one conference is realigning where its offices are located.
The American Athletic Conference (AAC) has been based in Providence, Rhode Island ever since it split from the Big East back in 2013 but will be packing their bags for the Dallas area in two years when, the Dallas Morning News reports, their lease expires on their current office space.
“Dallas has become almost the epicenter of college football. I’ve made no bones about it, we’re planning to move our conference offices here,” commissioner Mike Aresco told the paper. “We think we belong closer to more of our schools. We’ve got a school (SMU) here, which means people are coming in all the time.”
Aresco isn’t wrong about Dallas being the epicenter of college football (though Atlanta would have a good argument) between the annual season-opening games at AT&T Stadium, the Cotton Bowl, several FBS teams in the area and a host of important groups based nearby. That includes the College Football Playoff, Conference USA, the Big 12 and the National Football Foundation, who are all based in North Texas and have their main offices located fairly close together near the suburb of Irving.
The move follows the league’s journey westward after a few rounds of expansion and will definitely make travel a little bit easier for everybody throughout the conference. While they will be going from one edge of AAC territory to another, it’s certainly more convenient to get to Dallas than into Providence and the league is already putting several events like the men’s basketball tournament in the region.
Perhaps the biggest unanswered question from all of this will be if the AAC keeps its famous clambake that kicks off media day every football season. Perhaps Tulane and the Texas schools have already mentioned transitioning the event to a crawfish boil.
The Michigan Wolverines are not the only college football program tkaing their brand across an ocean. Although on a much smaller scale, Temple football will be sending a handful of representatives to Japan for a nine-day trip to help promote the sport of football abroad.
Temple head coach Geoff Collins will be joined by eight Temple football players making the trip; Michael Dogbe, Frank Nutile, Jaelin Robinson, Shaun Bradley, Linwood Crump, Isaiah Wright, Dan Archibong and Matt Hennessey. This will be no true vacatrion for these Temple football players, however, because they will be earning three college credits for their efforts in helping to teach and promote the sport while in Japan.
The trip initially started as an opportunity for Collins to travel to Japan for some football coaching clinics, but the opportunity to involve a small number of football players was too great to pass up. The trip will make visits in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.
“I’m looking forward to experiencing a new culture and sharing our knowledge of football to those in Japan eager to learn,” Collins said in a statement (per Philly.com). “I know our players will have a great time and serve as tremendous ambassadors for Temple and our football program.”