College Athletics

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Pat Kondelis, Director of HBO’s New Documentary ‘The Scheme,’ On Christian Dawkins And The College Hoops Scandal

  • 25-year-old Christian Dawkins, the subject of a new HBO documentary, was at the center of hundreds of thousands of dollars that were funneled to college basketball recruits.
  • “All of this is done under the table, and it’s all secretive. So it’s really difficult to try to get an accurate number,” Kondelis says of how much money was circulated in the scheme.

HBO’s new documentary, ‘The Scheme’ tells the behind-the-scenes story of how 25-year-old Christian Dawkins ended up at the center of the biggest criminal case in collegiate sports history – with Dawkins himself serving as the film’s first-hand narrator.  The film, which will debut on HBO on March 31, chronicles the two-year undercover FBI investigation into college basketball corruption that came to a head in 2017 when Adidas executives and assistant coaches at major college programs were arrested in a pay-for-play […]

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Niagara University Alum Takes Sports Industry Knowledge To Harvard

(Niagara University is a proud partner of Front Office Sports) To jumpstart a career in college athletics, sports management students need an education that gives them individualized attention and the opportunity to earn plenty of practical experience. Andrew Chesebro, the current assistant director of marketing and communications with the Harvard Varsity Club, found both at Niagara University. Chesebro completed his undergraduate study at Niagara University in 2007. A Central New York native, he saw a sibling and family friends attend […]

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Spring Sport Athletes Face Complicated Decisions as NCAA Extends Eligibility

  • The NCAA hasn’t announced timelines for eligibility extensions, adding uncertainty as many spring athletes face a number of options ahead of summer drafts.
  • An additional season of just for affected seniors could cost public schools in the Power Five conferences anywhere from $500,000 to $900,000, but will also cost most of the athletes.

Grant Ament, a redshirt senior lacrosse player at Penn State, had a decision to make. Turn pro and join one of the professional lacrosse leagues, or look to return to school to complete his otherwise lost final year of college eligibility. Ament, who projected as a top pick for both the Premier Lacrosse League and Major League Lacrosse, knew a lacrosse contract would likely be available to him, while a scholarship might not be. The Nittany Lions’ leading scorer ultimately […]

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Varsity Partners Grows Team, Offers Unique Insight Into Current State Of Sports

  • VP's new Vice President of Business Development aims to help the organization grow their footprint.
  • The group will host a virtual educational session for college sports marketers on Tuesday, March 31st.

(Varsity Partners are proud partners of Front Office Sports) It’s a strange and unprecedented time for the sports industry, but live events will eventually return. In the meantime, sports professionals can use this time to take stock of what is truly important personally and professionally and possibly even emerge from social isolation with new ideas. Varsity Partners, a group of fan strategy and branding experts in college sports, are hoping to do just this and inspire others to do the […]

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College Esports to Carry On in Now-Crowded Online Space

  • The inability of collegiate esports gamers to play at in-person tournaments and events “hasn’t dampened their spirit to play or represent their school,” said esports consultant.
  • “It’s sort of fascinating because our board has authorized this because they see this as forward-looking,” said the Big East’s Val Ackerman.

The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference was set to become one of the first Division I NCAA Conferences to hold its esports championships concurrently with its men’s and women’s basketball championships this month in Atlantic City.  But, as coronavirus-caused cancellations swept through the sports world, that feat never came to fruition as the basketball tournaments were shuttered. However, the esports championship will continue, as the beauty of esports is that, in a time where live events are no longer possible, the […]

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Without Live Events, Social Media Takes Center Stage For College Athletes

  • Social is “the only stage [college athletes] have right now” without postseason tournaments and pro days to help them boost their professional prospects, says Opendorse CEO.
  • A highlight reel that Michigan State's Cassius Winston retweeted is seeing 27 times his number of normal engagements.

A farewell post complete with a college highlight video from Marquette’s Markus Howard has more than 6,000 more likes and almost 14,000 more video views than his average post with an 89% increase in comments – 3.9 times more overall engagement than his other content, according to Opendorse.  Without live sports to fill fans’ time, increased consumption of athlete content on social media has helped a host of college athletes, like Howard, outperform their norms – from Dayton’s Obi Toppin […]

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Inside The Ivy League’s Decision To Be The First Mover On Coronavirus

  • “Everyone is saying, ‘Oh, look, the Ivy League had it right to begin with.’ But the reality is that we had it right for us,” the Ivy League executive director said.
  • Within 48 hours of the conference’s decision, all college basketball postseason play was canceled.

Initially cast as the overreactor or the outlier, the Ivy League wound up playing a leading role in what Big East commissioner Val Ackerman described as “the most extraordinary stretch of days I’ve ever had or ever seen in my 30-plus years of working in the sports business.”  That stretch included a sweep of college basketball cancellations, all the way up to the entire NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments and eventually, the entire spring sports calendar. And while the Ivy […]

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March Madness Cancellation Puts Safety Ahead of Substantial Revenue Losses

  • “It's just about impossible to insure against this,” the Big 12 commissioner told reporters. “There will be a very substantial loss of revenue.”
  • NCAA and conference television rights contracts are worth millions - and sometimes billions - of dollars.

“Fluid” was the word of the week within the college basketball space, with teams and conferences adjusting to coronavirus developments in virtually real-time to ensure the safest experience for fans, schools, venues and everyone else involved.  That is, until “canceled” became the more common word on Thursday – one that prioritizes health and wellbeing but comes at a steep cost to individual conferences and, as of Thursday afternoon when March Madness was officially canceled, the NCAA.  The evolving nature of […]

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NCAA Faces New Challenges Following Decision to Hold March Madness Without Fans

  • Between 700,000-800,000 fans purchased tickets to attend March Madness games in 2019.
  • The NCAA is considering moving later rounds of the tournament to smaller venues given that no fans will be in attendance this year.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that it would hold the upcoming men’s and women’s basketball tournaments without fans due to the coronavirus crisis, following the lead of several other sporting events, states, and cities across the country. The same restrictions will apply to all other NCAA winter sports championships. “I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events, including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family in attendance,” NCAA president Mark […]

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NCAA’s Coronavirus Decision Looms Large For March Madness

  • More than 75% of the NCAA’s annual revenue comes from its March Madness television deals alone.
  • The decision to cancel or close doors for the DI men’s basketball tournament would cost the NCAA hundreds of millions of dollars either way.

As coronavirus spreads throughout the United States leading up to both college conference tournaments and the NCAA DI men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, so too does concern about hosting events in a public space. Without a clear answer to date, conferences, institutions, and partners all await the NCAA’s next move – one that could cost college sports’ governing body a significant sum. What will – or should – happen is the question on everyone’s mind as March Madness nears.  The […]

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