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Big 12 Notes – Spring/Summer – 2024

May 21st 

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Former ASU quarterback Jaden Rashada suing Florida over broken NIL deals

From On3Sports … Sixteen months ago, Florida released quarterback Jaden Rashada from his National Letter of Intent following a highly publicized, NIL-fueled breakup. Now that separation is at the center of a lawsuit.

At the heart of the split was a four-year, $13.85 million contract that played a crucial role in Rashada flipping his commitment from Miami to Florida in November 2022. According to court documents, the Gators ultimately reneged on the unprecedented NIL collective agreement, leaving the quarterback without a school and out millions of dollars.

Rashada – now at Georgia after spending his freshman year at Arizona State – filed a 37-page complaint Tuesday morning in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida that claims he was repeatedly lied to for him to flip his commitment from Miami to Florida.

Gators’ head coach Billy Napier, former Florida director of NIL and player engagement Marcus Castro-Walker and well-known UF booster Hugh Hathcock are named as defendants. The lawsuit also names Hathcock’s former company, Velocity Automotive, which was supposed to be used to help fund the financial package.

Rashada is suing on counts of fraudulent misrepresentation, fraudulent inducement, aiding and abetting fraud, civil conspiracy to commit fraud, negligent misrepresentations, tortious interference, aiding and abetting tortious interference and vicarious liability. The complaint is an unprecedented look into high-level NIL negotiations in college football.

“Defendants’ goals were two-fold: (1) to ensure Jaden remained committed to UF; and (2) to avoid paying the promised NIL funds,” the complaint states. “Defendants knew that for most college athletes the prospect of NIL earnings is life changing. Defendants exploited this fact for their own personal advantage.”

Sources tell On3 that the drafting of this lawsuit has been a months-long process. The University of Florida is not cited as a defendant, despite the school’s head coach and a former employee being named as defendants. Rashada has tapped attorney Rusty Hardin as counsel. Hardin has built a reputation for working with athletes, with former clients including Warren Moon, Roger Clemens and Deshaun Watson.

Much of the lawsuit circles around alleged actions violating NCAA rules. Donor-driven NIL collectives are crucial to attracting and retaining talent. Just one school has seen NIL infractions levied against them. The NCAA is currently powerless over the world of NIL, as President Charlie Baker halted all investigations this winter after losing a preliminary injunction in Tennessee.

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May 20th

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NIL Market range for QB’s: $500,000 to $800,000

From CBS Sports … What does it cost to get a starting player in this current college football ecosystem?

It’s a question begging to be answered but fraught with complications. Even in Year 3 of name, image and likeness where players getting paid has become increasingly accepted, it is still beyond challenging to get real, hard data on what players are making.

There is no centralized data. There are deals that are run through platforms like Opendorse that give a sense of what the market is doing, but there are still plenty of deals happening in the shadows and not officially run through any system.

With all that in mind, CBS Sports attempted to put together as accurate a market assessment as possible. We talked to NIL agents, collective operators, college coaches and personnel staffers, players and their parents and others with knowledge of the space. There will always be outliers, but this is our best effort at establishing the market range for Power Four starters at each position. These numbers also take into account what we believe to be the retention cost to keep a player from hitting the transfer portal.

QB market range: $500,000 to $800,000

Just like in the NFL, quarterback is the most valuable position in college football. There are some notable outliers here — more on them in a second — but the industry agrees that you can get a quality starting Power Four quarterback in the $500,000 to $800,000 range.

“It’s QB1,” said a Power Four collective operator. “That’s the most important playmaker on your team and the most valuable.”

During a recent interview with Greg McElroy and Cole Cubelic, Auburn coach Hugh Freeze said he couldn’t bring himself to spend $1 million on a transfer quarterback, especially with Payton Thorne already on the roster. Thorne arrived at Auburn in spring 2023 after 26 games as Michigan State’s starter. Freeze’s comments invoked ire from collective operators frustrated with coaches complaining about the costs of doing business.

“I hate coaches who talk about NIL, and I don’t want to spend a million bucks,” said one NIL expert who works with multiple Power Four collectives. “You didn’t have to spend a million bucks. You could have a great quarterback for less than that if you knew what you were doing.”

There were schools willing to go where Freeze wouldn’t, too. The high-end price for a Power Four starting quarterback is in the $2 million range, according to multiple people with deep knowledge of the market. “There’s a couple people north of $2 million, but you’re mostly in that $600,000-$800,000,” the NIL expert said.

Like Great Osobor was the top end of the college basketball transfer market with his splashy $2 million deal to play for Washington, multiple people with knowledge of the space pointed to Miami quarterback Cameron Ward as the market leader out of the most recent winter and spring transfer portal windows. Ward, who threw for 6,966 yards and 48 touchdowns in two seasons as Washington State’s starter, initially entered the NFL Draft but wasn’t happy with his third- to fifth-round draft projection. He ultimately picked Miami over the NFL and Florida State.


May 18th

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Non-Power Four schools not thrilled with potential settlement: “We don’t have a voice in any of this”

From ESPN … As the NCAA continues to make steps toward the expected settlement of the landmark House v. NCAA lawsuit and other related anti-trust cases, there is pushback on how the NCAA plans to pay the expected $2.7 billion in back damages over the next decade, sources told ESPN.

The NCAA sent out a four-page memo to all 32 Division I conferences this week detailing how the organization plans to cut back on distribution to leagues in six annual payout categories to pay the proposed $2.7 billion in damages.

The memo detailed how the NCAA could split up an expected $1.6 billion that would come from reductions in NCAA distribution, sources told ESPN. The remaining $1.1 billion is expected to come from NCAA reserves, catastrophic insurance, new revenue and budget cuts, sources said.

Of that $1.6 billion, nearly 60% is expected to come from leagues outside the Power 5 conferences that are named in the House lawsuit, sources said. (The NCAA is named, and all of the schools are members.) The other 40% will come from the power conferences.

For example, the cost annually for the Big East is projected at between $5.4 million and $6.6 million over the next decade, according to a source familiar with the memo. The West Coast Conference, another successful basketball-centric league, is expected to annually pay between $3.5 million and $4.3 million. The lowest level of annual payouts expected to be withheld for smaller leagues is just under $2 million, which is estimated to be more than 20% of what those leagues get from the NCAA annually.

This has set off a flurry of upset commissioners and officials in those smaller-revenue leagues, including a series of meetings of the Collegiate Commissioners Association and the CCA22, which are the 22 leagues that don’t have FBS football.

Of the $1.6 billion, the NCAA will be withholding distributions from six funds across its 32 Division I leagues, ESPN has learned. Those include the basketball performance fund (via the NCAA tournament), grants-in-aid, the academic enhancement fund, sports sponsorships, conference grants and the academic performance fund.

Three categories of NCAA payments are not expected to be impacted: the equal conference fund, the student-athlete opportunity fund and the special assistance fund.

The NCAA does not plan to take money away from its Division II and Division III distributions, sources said. Sources cautioned to ESPN, however, that the numbers are fluid and could change.

There has been a flurry of meetings of the CCA and the CCA22 in recent days, and the tenor of those meetings has been trying to find whether additional models can be proposed that lessen the financial burden. According to a memo obtained by ESPN, the CCA22 plans to send a letter to the Power 5 and NCAA requesting additional payment models.

According to a source, one smaller non-power football league was told in the NCAA memo that it would be expected to pay more than $2.5 million per year to help cover the costs of the settlement. A source in that CCA22 league said that amount is approximately 25% of the annual NCAA revenue for the schools in the league.

“We’re not named in the lawsuit,” said a source in a smaller league. “We don’t have a voice in any of this. We’re just being told what our taxation is.”

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Choices for NCAA: $2.7 billion settlement, or $20 billion judgment and bankruptcy

From Yahoo Sports … If they reject a proposed settlement offer, officials from the NCAA and power conferences stand to face a catastrophic $20 billion in back damages as well as risking a bankruptcy filing, according to documents obtained by Yahoo Sports.

The two-page document was circulated among power conference presidents and administrators on Tuesday as ACC leaders met at their annual spring meetings in Florida. It details terms of a potential settlement in the House, Hubbard and Carter antitrust cases, a trio of legal challenges brought against the NCAA and its five power conferences seeking back pay for various athlete compensation elements.

The settlement, believed to be in the final stages of adoption, consists of three main concepts: billions in back damages; a new compensation model permitting schools to share as much as $22 million annually with athletes in a capped system; and an overhaul of the NCAA scholarship and roster structure.

The document outlines settlement concepts in detail as well as particulars around the new compensation model. It also provides university leaders with new information on hot-button topics such as how a settlement protects the NCAA from future legal challenges, Title IX’s application and the enforcement of booster-led collectives in a “new infrastructure.”

Documents specify, perhaps for the first time in writing, the total amount in back damages owed to athletes for the use of their name, image and likeness (NIL) before the NCAA lifted NIL prohibitions in 2021.

The amount is $2.776 billion.

The NCAA is responsible for paying the amount over a 10-year period, roughly $277 million annually. About 60% of that will come from a reduction in distribution to its schools. The NCAA is responsible for closing the 40% gap through other means, such as reserves, other net incomes and a significant reduction in operating expenses of as much as $18 million annually.

School distribution will be reduced by about one-fifth over the decade period of the settlement, or about $160 million per year. The NCAA annually distributes more than $700 million to its members, most from ticket sales and television rights agreements of the men’s basketball tournament.

Power leagues are anticipating a reduction of $1-2 million per year in distribution, according to the document.

However, the document notes, the tab will be significantly larger and the timeline significantly shorter with a loss in court. The document outlines settlement “pros” and “cons,” and offers “alternatives” if the settlement is rejected and if the NCAA loses in court — for some, an expected outcome based on previous legal results.

The estimated $20 billion in damages would likely be payable “immediately” after final judgment and “not over 10 years,” the document notes — a reality that would, in all likelihood, result in the NCAA and leagues filing bankruptcy. While bankruptcy may temporarily derail the active antitrust cases, it would move litigation to a bankruptcy judge for a decision, would require restructuring of a new model and would open schools to new direct claims from plaintiff attorneys.

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May 17th 

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Anti-trust settlement framework meetings next week; questions remain

From ESPN … The NCAA board of governors and several power conferences have scheduled meetings for next week to vote on a proposed settlement of antitrust lawsuits that would reset the framework for the business of major college sports.

While sources indicate broad support for moving forward with the industry-shifting settlement, athletic department and university administrators are also worried about how effective the negotiated terms will be in creating a stable system. With formal decisions just days away, the chief concern of an industry on the precipice of a historic step is a simple one: Will these settlements actually settle the college sports landscape?

To settle the looming House v. NCAA lawsuit as well as at least two other major federal antitrust claims, multiple sources say the NCAA would pay more than $2.7 billion in damages to past athletes over the next decade. Power conferences would agree to a future system for schools directly sharing revenue with athletes, a permissive choice that’s projected to be in the neighborhood of $20 million per year for each school.

The settlement looms as a quintessential conflicted college sports moment — a bold step with an undercurrent of uncertainty and the new backbone of a multibillion-dollar industry that will forge ahead without key details determined.

Sources told ESPN it would take a minimum of six months, and likely longer, to hash out the unsettled details. Revenue sharing with players is not expected to begin until fall 2025 at the earliest.

“It’s not uncommon that in order to get something across the finish line, you have to agree to leave a whole lot of things unresolved,” an industry source said. “I think the settlement is a good thing, but there are implementation issues that are really significant.”

The list of lingering uncertainties is a long one, including Title IX ambiguity, lack of direction on revenue sharing, the future role of booster collectives and the potential for rosters to be radically reshaped.

At the top of the list of those significant question marks is a concern that the terms of the settlement won’t be sufficient to fend off future legal claims that the NCAA and its schools are violating the law by placing any caps on the way schools can compensate players.

Steve Berman, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the House case, said he believes he has devised a mechanism to solve this issue. Berman has proposed that future athletes — not part of the current class-action lawsuit — would be added to the class on an annual basis. They’d receive an opportunity to opt out of the class or object to the terms of the settlement.

This plan would not give the NCAA legal protection from future antitrust lawsuits, but it would make it much harder to create a large class of athletes suing the NCAA or its schools in the future. The potential financial damages for a case with one or few athletes as plaintiffs would be much smaller, and it would be much less appealing for a future lawyer to dedicate the time and resources to fighting a case that could take years to reach a conclusion.

“What plaintiff lawyer would take that case on behalf of one student?” Berman told ESPN. “It’s unlikely [a future student would sue] because these students are going to get a lot of money, and that lawyer would have to challenge an approved settlement agreement.”

Administrators are right to be cautious about Berman’s proposal, says Marc Edelman, a sports antitrust expert and law professor at Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business.

Both Edelman and Berman compared the proposed solution to how the NFL handled a labor dispute in the early 1990s in a case called White v. NFL. Edelman, however, said a key difference in that case is that the NFL players agreed to recertify a previously existing players’ union as part of the settlement. Negotiating revenue-share terms with a players’ union — which does not currently exist in college sports — provided the NFL with protection from antitrust claims.

Edelman said it’s possible a judge would not approve a settlement that intentionally creates high barriers for future athletes to file lawsuits.

“If I were a judge, there are aspects of this settlement the way that it’s been reported that would be very concerning,” Edelman said. “…It may make a judge feel that this case moving forward does little if anything to obviate concerns about collusive behavior.”

Berman disagreed, saying the terms are fair to athletes because they can opt out of the settlement.

In addition to lawsuits brought by plaintiff attorneys, the NCAA is also currently being sued by multiple state-elected attorneys general. Settling the House case would not eliminate those threats, which are less dependent on providing lawyers with a financial incentive to pursue action against the NCAA.

Some college sports leaders say they are hoping a settlement that includes significant revenue-sharing money in the future will be enough of a show of good faith that Congress will provide them with an extra layer of antitrust protection to preserve parts of the college sports system. The NCAA and its conferences have been lobbying on Capitol Hill for a bill that would eliminate the threat of future lawsuits — including those that come from state attorneys general — for several years without making much progress.

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May 16th

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100 days to kickoff, Big 12 stories dominate college football

From ESPN … In exactly 100 days, Florida State and Georgia Tech will kick off the season on Aug. 24 at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. With what’s unofficially dubbed “Week 0,” college football’s offseason drought will mercifully end with a game that has ACC title implications.

But this isn’t just a countdown to kickoff.

It’s a flare ahead of a 12-team College Football Playoff — the most historic change to the sport’s postseason since the Bowl Championship Series ended in 2014. It’s the start of a football season without the Pac-12 for the first time in more than a century. And it’s the beginning of historic conference realignment that includes moving the L.A. schools to the Big Ten and the Big 12’s biggest brands to the SEC.

It’s also the end of some eras, as former Alabama coach Nick Saban has retired, and former Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has moved onto the NFL after winning a national title.

To get you ready for 100 days from now, ESPN reporters compiled 10 lists of 10 (100! Even sportswriters can do that math). We’ve got you covered — from the best stories to the best games, Heisman hopefuls and upsets to watch, first-time playoff participants and first-time conference matchups. Just three more months and one week until it all unfolds.

Who’s counting?

Well, we are …

Ten best stories

3. What does Deion do for an encore? If you think Deion Sanders has become less polarizing because Colorado went 4-8 last season, look no further than the firestorm that erupted after he went on social media and criticized a former player who had been critical of the program. Sanders returns two players with first-round potential in the 2025 NFL draft in quarterback Shedeur Sanders and receiver/defensive back Travis Hunter. Sanders went back into the portal for another roster makeover, revamped the offensive line and has vowed to make a bowl game this season. Will the team get it done?

2. New faces, new places: We have talked a lot about expansion over the past two years, but now we get to actually see what it looks like when Texas and Oklahoma play SEC schedules; Oregon, Washington, USC and UCLA play Big Ten schedules; and Stanford, Cal and SMU get into some #goacc action. Then there is the Big 12, which feels more wide open than ever with Texas and Oklahoma gone, and the additions of Utah, Arizona, Arizona State and Colorado. Buckle up!

1. Expanded playoffs! A 12-team playoff is here, and it could not have come at a better time after the way last season ended. The five highest-ranked conference champions, plus the next seven highest-ranked teams will play for the national championship. How the committee will decide the rankings is always put under a microscope, and while there will not be the same pressure as getting four teams right, there will be scrutiny over how many of the at-large teams come from the same conferences. Add in first-round games played in home stadiums (a first!) Dec. 20 and Dec. 21, and there is plenty to get excited about … even if we are still 100 days from kickoff.

Ten games to watch

10. Kansas State at Colorado, Oct. 12: By Week 2 of the 2023 season, Colorado-mania had taken over the country and Buffs games were the biggest show around. Sure, the hype didn’t last, but coach Deion Sanders is back with what should be an improved team in 2024 and there’s every reason to think the show could be even bigger this time around. Colorado starts with North Dakota State, Nebraska, Colorado State, Baylor and UCF — and only NDSU of the FCS finished with a winning record last year. So, imagine a world where Coach Prime has his team sitting at 5-0 with K-State, one of the Big 12’s top teams, coming to town? There’s a good chance Sanders will find some beef with coach Chris Klieman that no one quite understands but we will nevertheless talk breathlessly about for days.

Ten potential FCS-over-FBS upsets

10. South Dakota State at Oklahoma State, Aug. 31: The Jackrabbits will take a 29-game winning streak into 2024 after winning the past two FCS national titles, but a trip to Stillwater will be their most difficult test in years.

5. North Dakota State at Colorado, Aug. 29: North Dakota State is among the preseason national championship FCS favorites and will begin the season with what will almost certainly be its most-watched game ever at Colorado, which is full of question marks after losing eight of nine to end Deion Sanders’ first year in charge.

Ten first-time conference matchups

9. BYU at Utah, Nov. 9: The Holy War is back after a three-year hiatus and, as a conference game going forward, should be the most hotly contested rivalry in the new Big 12.

7. Oklahoma State at Colorado, Nov. 29: This old Big Eight rivalry has been revived, with coach Mike Gundy facing off against Deion Sanders in a meeting that could hold Big 12 title game implications.

Ten coaches to watch

4. Baylor’s Dave Aranda: He led Baylor to a Big 12 title and a No. 5 finish in 2021 but is just 11-23 during his other three years in Waco. Aranda reclaimed defensive playcalling duties and needs more from the Jake Spavital-led offense to earn a return for Year 5 in 2025.

Ten Heisman contenders

10. Avery Johnson, QB, Kansas State: Insert your “Hey, didn’t he play in the NBA and coach at Alabama” joke here. But the sophomore with the luscious locks electrified Little Manhattan one year ago whenever he had the football in his hands. Then again, he already owns a Pop Tarts Bowl MVP trophy, so a Heisman might feel like a letdown.

Ten first-time playoff teams

8. Arizona: Plenty of talent remains after former coach Jedd Fisch left for Washington, starting with quarterback Noah Fifita, who threw for 2,869 yards and 25 touchdowns in just nine starts.

7. Oklahoma State: Without OU and Texas in the way, the Cowboys’ chances of earning the Big 12’s automatic bid increase, especially with quarterback Alan Bowman returning along with Doak Walker Award winner Ollie Gordon II and receiver Brennan Presley.

6. Kansas State: The Wildcats lost to Mizzou and Texas last year by a combined six points and continue to trend up under coach Chris Klieman. Their schedule includes home games against Arizona, Oklahoma State and rival Kansas.

3. Utah: The Utes have a strong chance to win the Big 12 and earn an automatic bid as the champion of their new conference with the veteran leadership of quarterback Cam Rising and a team that is always well-coached and formidable up front.

Ten playoff bye contenders

8. Kansas State: The Big 12 race figures to be wide open, and even though we’ve pegged Utah as the favorite, K-State and Utah don’t play in the regular season. So their only meeting could end up being in the conference championship game. The other team to watch in the Big 12 is Oklahoma State, which returns 21 starters. K-State and Oklahoma State play Sept. 28 in Manhattan.

6. Utah: The Utes will be counting on two players returning from serious knee injuries that forced them to miss all last season — quarterback Cam Rising and tight end Brant Kuithe. They also added some talented players in the portal. Coach Kyle Whittingham led Utah to Pac-12 championships in 2021 and 2022. Now it’s time to collect some hardware in the Big 12.

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May 15th

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Cormani McClain finally finds a home – Florida

From ESPN … Former Colorado cornerback Cormani McClain, who headlined coach Deion Sanders’ first recruiting class with the Buffaloes, is transferring to Florida, his agent, Hector Rivas of Disruptive Sports, told ESPN.

McClain, ESPN’s No. 14 recruit in 2023, visited Florida last week with his mother and Rivas. The Lakeland, Florida, native will return to his home state after entering the transfer portal last month.

After a slow start to last season, he started four games and appeared in nine for Colorado, recording 13 tackles and two pass breakups. McClain initially committed to Miami but flipped to Colorado in January 2023, shortly after Sanders was hired. In a YouTube video posted shortly after he entered the portal, McClain said he planned to “bring the old version of me out and change the narrative of [what] everyone’s thinking of my name, be part of a real and a great program that’s going to impact me at my best abilities.”

He noted that academics have never held him back and that he doesn’t want to “just play for clicks, I want to be involved in a great leading program.”

McClain, who will have three years of eligibility left and a redshirt available, joins a Florida defense that has been aggressive in the portal this winter and spring. The Gators also added defensive backs Jameer Grimsley (Alabama), Asa Turner (Washington) and Trikweze Bridges (Oregon), and also made additions at linebacker and along the line.

Sanders, in an interview last month with DNVR Sports, said he wishes the best for McClain.

“I pray to God that he goes to a program that challenges him, as well as holds him accountable and develops him as a young man,” Sanders told DNVR. “Unfortunately, we weren’t the program that could accomplish that.”


May 14th

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UCLA hit with $10 million/year buyout payment to Cal (but reduced from six to three years)

From the San Jose Mercury News … The University of California Board of Regents on Tuesday directed UCLA to pay $10 million a year to Cal’s athletic department to compensate the Bears for revenue lost because of UCLA’s move into the Big Ten.

But the Bruins emerged from the meeting at UC Merced with a partial victory as the special committee on athletics narrowed the payment timeframe from six years to three. The $30 million total subsidy will begin in the 2024-25 academic year and end in the summer of 2027, at which point the regents will revisit the issue.

The committee’s decision is on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting of the full board under a heading titled: “Committee Reports Including Approvals of Recommendations from Committees.”

The narrowing of the timeframe from UC President Michael Drake’s original six-year proposal followed a discussion on the roiling landscape of college sports, where the NCAA’s economic model is under legal assault and the major conferences are expected to implement a revolutionary revenue-sharing plan with athletes.

“The landscape is turbulent,” Cal Chancellor Carol Christ told the regents during the open session.

Nathan Brostrom, the UC’s chief financial officer, led the discussion as several members of the special committee on athletics expressed concerns over what is being framed as a “contribution” from Westwood to Berkeley.

Regent Keith Ellis addressed his “strong reservations because of the precedent it sets where we take from one campus and give to another.”

At one point, Regent Richard Sherman suggested that the payment timeframe be reduced to one year.

Chair Richard Leib countered by noting that the disparity in revenue between the UCLA and Cal athletic departments “has gotten a lot worse” since Dec. 2022, when the regents approved a contribution ranging from $2 million to $10 million.

The Bruins are expected to receive approximately $60 million per year through 2030 from the Big Ten’s media rights agreement with Fox, CBS and NBC.

Meanwhile, Cal was forced to enter the ACC following the demise of the Pac-12. In their new home, the Bears will receive about $10 million annually for seven years — or about 30 percent of what the ACC’s full-share members earn — before their distributions ladder up in the 2030s.

The size of UCLA’s annual support payment is based on a roughly $50 million disparity in the media-rights revenue between the campuses.

However, the subsidy won’t solve Cal’s financial woes.

The Bears reported a $2.7 million operating surplus in the 2023 fiscal year but needed approximately $34 million in support from the central campus to sneak into the black.

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May 13th

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Insider info – How NIL deals get done: “I was on the phone with agents every day”

From The AthleticIn February, a federal judge in Tennessee blocked the NCAA from enforcing its prohibitions against recruits signing monetary deals with booster groups. Though the NCAA has sought to restrict the use of NIL as a recruiting inducement, financial conversations are becoming much more direct between NIL collectives and transfers.

NIL collective CEO 1: We’re in direct contact with our coaches about roster management daily. It’s three conversations — high school recruiting, which is the smallest piece, it’s your current roster, and it’s portal recruiting. And we’re talking to our coaching staff daily, weekly, about all three buckets. It was a needed change. Now that everything’s kind of out in the open, the athletes now have full visibility of what each particular school is offering, and we can communicate with our coaches now, which helps us manage budgets and rosters.

NIL collective CEO 2: That wall of separation that was supposed to exist between collectives and student-athletes was enjoined by that district court decision.

NIL collective CEO 3: I’m told to make contact once there’s an official visit set up, and usually I’m making contact with a parent or an agent. It’s been very agent-heavy lately, especially during the December portal. I was on the phone with agents every day.

General manager 1: If you’re dealing with a high-quality transfer, it’s usually an agent. If it’s a G5 kid or something like that, it’s usually the kid and their parents.

Player 3: I’ve been hearing from a ton of agents, even prior to me entering the portal because of the NFL. But then once I went into the portal, I heard from a lot more agents who said they wanted to build a relationship through NIL to represent me. But I just felt like I didn’t really need that, so I decided not to go with anyone.

Agent 4: I abide really conservatively to the solicitation rules. Anybody that comes to me is strictly referral-based.

Agent 5: We don’t really target clients that are trying to enter the portal. In our experience, we have clients who are already clients that want to enter the portal. There’s been maybe a couple rare situations where we’ve been called to assist someone enter the portal, but that’s not usually how we do it. That’s not our target clientele.

Player 5: I did use an agent, but just in the beginning part of it. I think he got my number from someone. I honestly don’t know how that worked, and then I had a bunch of agents reach out asking me to do NIL representation. I had friends who went through a similar (process).

Agent 1: Yes, we’re an agency and charge a percentage of the contract negotiated with a collective or marketing agreement. But we’re really an athlete development company. I’m not jumping into who is making money in the portal and how do I place him at Team X so I get a cut out of it. For me, it’s how do we build out your brand, monetize that and then put you in position to become the player you want to be. We want guys who want more than the bag. We take our clients on a case-by-case basis.

Agent 6: We had a kid who signed, and then two days later he went in the portal and asked to get out of our contract. We could’ve been a–holes and said no, but we said sure. I assume he was working with someone else who could get a certain offer.

Personnel staffer 1: Some of them are highly qualified agents who are reputable and have history and background of success within the world. Then you have this other group of agents who have no f—ing clue what they’re doing. They’re just latching on. A kid hits the portal and all these agents are just sharks DMing them. These kids are like, “My buddy got an agent and made $100,000 — I should get one too.” So they get this agent on Twitter and this guy has no idea what he’s talking about and is asking for 10, 15, 20 percent of the contract when the NFL maximum is 3 percent.

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May 12th

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Could walk-ons be eliminated under new player compensation models

From … Can you imagine a world without college football walk-ons?

Well, it’s at least under consideration.

As part of a proposed new athlete compensation model, power conference leaders are considering significantly reducing football rosters, potentially moving from a roster of more than 115 to as few as 85-95 players. That figure (85) aligns with the maximum scholarship number permitted under NCAA rules.

The concept, circulated across administrative meetings over the last week, is part of what could be a sweeping and historic transformation of the industry in the coming few months — all of it rooted in a settlement agreement of various antitrust lawsuits. Any settlement of these cases — House, Hubbard and Carter — is expected to feature as much as $2.9 billion in back damages for former players, a future revenue sharing model with current athletes and an overhaul of the NCAA scholarship and roster structure.

Negotiations over a settlement are deep enough that NCAA and college executives are socializing plans of a new compensation model, including a permissive revenue-sharing concept that could see schools distribute to athletes more than $20 million annually starting as soon as 2025.

An overshadowed but impactful piece of the proposed new model is the addition of roster limits by sport and the expansion of scholarships. While the model features new roster limitations, it removes scholarship restrictions by permitting schools to expand financial aid to the entirety of a sport’s roster positions.

For example, under current rules, the NCAA permits schools to distribute 11.7 scholarships across a baseball roster of 32 players. Under a potential new model, a school could, if it chooses, distribute full scholarships across all 32 spots.

However, the new roster limit for baseball and other sports has not been defined. Those briefed on the matter caution that the idea is only under consideration. Conversations are steadily evolving.

While there continues to be heated debate over the football roster figure, a plan socialized with administrators, as well as coaching staffs, entails a reduction in the 120-person football roster by as many as 35 spots. The concept would eliminate all walk-on positions at most power schools, though programs are not required to provide scholarships to the NCAA maximum of 85 players.

Continue reading story here


May 10th

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Report: UCLA to owe Cal $50- $60 million for leaving for the Big Ten

From ESPN … The University of California Board of Regents is expected to accept a recommendation that UCLA pay University of California at Berkeley $10 million a year for six years as a result of the Bruins’ upcoming move to the Big Ten and the demise of the Pac-12.

The recommendation was made by UC president Michael Drake and will be voted on during a regents meeting Tuesday at UC Merced.

In order for the Regents to affirm UCLA’s move to the Big Ten in December, 2022, the university agreed to pay UC Berkeley between $2 million and $10 million because of how the move would affect the Cal athletic program.

Cal agreed to join the Atlantic Coast Conference last year after the Pac-12 couldn’t negotiate a media deal, causing eight of its members to leave.

Besides increased travel costs, Cal will have a reduced share of the ACC’s media rights deal.

According to a report by UC’s president, the difference between UCLA’s annual media rights distribution from the Big Ten and UC Berkeley’s share from the ACC will be approximately $50 million per year.

Drake is also recommending that if there is a significant change in revenues and/or expenses for either school, exceeding 10% over 2024-25 projections, UCLA’s contribution can be reevaluated by the regents.

UCLA and the University of Southern California announced on June 30, 2022, that they were leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten. USC is private and not part of the UC system.

The Regents became involved shortly after the announcement when Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom criticized UCLA’s move because chancellor Gene Block and athletic director Martin Jarmond did not give advance notice to the regents.

In 1991, campus chancellors were delegated authority by the UC Office of the President to execute their own contracts, including intercollegiate athletic agreements. But the regents heard during an August 2022, meeting that they retain the authority to review decisions impacting the UC system, meaning they could affirm, overturn or abstain from following up on UCLA’s decision.

The Regents voted four months later to let the move go ahead. Besides the payments to its sister school, UCLA agreed to make further investments for athletes, including nutritional support, mental health services, academic support while traveling and charter flights to reduce travel time.

“From the very beginning we said we understand we may need to help Berkeley. We’re OK with it and happy it is resolved,” Block said after the regents approved the move.

Edging closer to a settlement on House case: “Hopefully we’re finally about to get a new model for college athletics”

From The Athletic … The exhaustion, but also the relief, was clear in the voice of a longtime college sports administrator late last week. This power broker is neither a hard-liner nor a revolutionary. But when granted anonymity to discuss negotiations surrounding a high-profile lawsuit, they had this to say on the subject of a possible settlement in House v. NCAA: “Hopefully, we’re finally about to get a new model for college athletics.”

That sums up the feelings of plenty of people in college sports these days.

A vibe shift within the industry is coming to a head this spring. After so much time complaining about and fighting the changes wrought by name, image and likeness freedoms and the transfer portal, it appears … emphasis on appears … that college leaders have reached a new stage: accepting their new normal and seeking actual, realistic solutions.

The evidence for this comes from the movement toward a settlement in the House case, in which plaintiffs are seeking damages for past athletes for lost earnings from the years before NIL reform, along with changes to the system to benefit current and future athletes. The two sides are discussing the details of a deal, first reported by ESPN and confirmed by The Athletic, which would cost the NCAA and its schools billions of dollars and would set a new framework through which athletes can directly receive a cut of their schools’ revenue.

That cut could total around $20 million per year for all of a school’s athletes — football, basketball, non-revenue sports, men’s and women’s teams — according to those briefed on the talks. Schools would participate in revenue sharing on an opt-in basis, so some could choose to pay less than the proposed maximum, half of it or none of it.

This does not solve the problems (assuming they are problems) with the transfer portal, NIL and pay-for-play. But in the eyes of administrators, it’s a key step, as revenue sharing would have a domino effect on NIL and perhaps the portal: Schools directly paying athletes can alleviate donor fatigue. There could be ways to use revenue sharing to convince players not to transfer. And the willingness to even turn to revenue sharing could be a step toward actually getting help from the government.

Until now, the NCAA has been seen in some quarters as trying to roll back the clock on athletes’ rights. Now, as one administrator put it, the organization could go to Congress and say, Look what we’ve done here, we’ve fixed some of these wrongs. Now can you work with us? 

Just to be clear: The House settlement is not a done deal. Other details could emerge if and when it is settled. Jeffrey Kessler, the attorney for the plaintiffs, has not commented publicly since the buzz of a looming settlement intensified, nor have college leaders, none of whom would speak on the record for this story. But conversations with people in the industry have shed light on how things got to this point and what remains to be done.

Continue reading story here


May 9th

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Big 12 Power Rankings: CU “perhaps the toughest team nationally to project”

From CBS Sports … The Big 12’s identity has shifted dramatically over the past two years as the league’s expanded from Orlando to Salt Lake City and from Houston to Cincinnati. But heading into its first season with the 16-team alignment, one factor stands above the rest: parity.

Perhaps more than any other power league in America, the Big 12 stands alone as a wide-open race. Incoming contenders Utah and Arizona will have their say. Old reliables Kansas State and Oklahoma State will defend their territory. The battle for Texas between TCU, Houston, Baylor and Texas Tech is only just beginning. As many as 10 teams have a legitimate shot to make the conference title game.

Between the Big 12 Championship Game’s return in 2017 and 2022, there was a new participant every year. Texas and Oklahoma State both previously made the game prior to 2023, but neither had won it heading into AT&T Stadium. In fact, five of the eight legacy members have reached the title game in its seven years of existence. Adding four legacy Pac-12 teams to the “Freshman Four” additions of 2023 and the number of potentially new matchups explodes.

But with parity comes complication, especially when your job is to rank the tightest grouping in the country. Here’s how the Big 12 stacks up as spring comes to a close and rosters start getting finalized.

  • 1. Utah
  • 2. Kansas State
  • 3. Kansas
  • 4. Oklahoma State
  • 5. Arizona
  • 6. Iowa State
  • 7. West Virginia
  • 8. UCF
  • 9. Texas Tech
  • 10. TCU
  • 11. Colorado … Colorado’s mess of contradictions makes them perhaps the toughest team nationally to project. The Buffs finished last place in the Pac-12 in 2023 but featured two of the best players in the nation in corner Travis Hunter and quarterback Shedeur Sanders. Colorado posted perhaps the worst running game in America, but every offensive lineman and running back are gone. On paper, they appear to have upgraded the OL position, but that was true last year, too, before the historically bad results. The defensive line transfer talent is off the charts, but defensive back is a little shakier. From a depth perspective, there’s almost no way to tell what Colorado has with all the turnover, not even counting turning over half their coaching staff and both playcallers. Ultimately, the unpredictability lands them right around the middle tier of the conference.
  • 12. Baylor
  • 13. BYU
  • 14. Cincinnati
  • 15. Houston
  • 16. Arizona State

Read full story here


May 7th

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Former Washington quarterback Sam Huard transfers to Utah

From 247 SportsCal Poly quarterback Sam Huard, a former 5-star recruit, has his next stop. Huard is headed to Utah, which joins the Big 12 this fall. Huard has two years to play out his final two seasons of eligibility.

The Utes will return Cameron Rising for his seventh season and also have true freshman Isaac Wilson along with Brandon Rose as scholarship quarterbacks.

“Utah has an unbelievable culture and the people and the program were some things that I felt were the best for me at this point in my career,” Huard told 247Sports. “To be in a great spot and to compete every day with great people around me, being in the room and learning from one of the best quarterbacks in college football, while being able to have two years in a great system was a big part of it.”

Huard originally signed with Washington in the class of 2021 as a five-star recruit. His lone start at Washington was against Washington State in the 2021 Apple Cup, a 40-13 loss after the Huskies had fired coach Jimmy Lake. As a 2022 redshirt freshman, he backed up Michael Penix Jr. for the Huskies before transferring to Cal Poly. Huard spent the 2023 campaign with the Mustangs, throwing for 2,247 yards on 184-of-302 passing with 18 touchdowns in nine starts. He entered the transfer portal last week and received a visit from Utes offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig.

Continue reading story here


May 6th

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NFL Evaluator: Shedeur would have been QB1 in 2024 NFL Draft

From CBS Sports … With the 2024 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, it’s time to start gearing up for the class of 2025. If you check out the way-too-early mock draft from CBS Sports NFL Draft expert Ryan Wilson, you’ll notice a familiar name at the top: Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders, the son of longtime NFL star and Colorado head coach Deion Sanders.

The younger Sanders is in consideration to be one of the top picks in next year’s class, but apparently, had he entered the 2024 class, he could have been viewed in the same league.

“He was QB1 for me if he came out this year,” a longtime NFL evaluator told The Washington Post.”You have to manage him a little differently, and Deion is going to be heavily involved … so you have to be prepared to deal with that bullshit. But I love watching that kid play. He’s a born winner.”

Sanders’ Buffaloes started the season 3-0 before dropping seven of their final eight games in 2023. The Sanders-led offense averaged 30.8 points per game, but the defense yielded 38 per contest, rendering the Buffs largely unable to keep up over the second half of the year. Sanders found better team success at Jackson State, with the Tigers going 10-2 in 2021 and 11-1 in 2022. Still, he has apparently put himself in great position for 2025, and seemingly would have for this year, had he chosen to enter the 2024 draft.

“Absolutely, he was a first-round pick,” an NFL general manager told The Post. “Absolutely. There would have been seven [taken in the first round]. We obviously didn’t do as much work on him as the other quarterbacks once he announced he wasn’t coming out, but he would have been in the top three [quarterbacks] for us this year, I think, had he gone through the entire process. He probably would have been up there with [Caleb] Williams and [Jayden] Daniels.”

Continue reading story here


May 5th

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Report: Are Group of Five schools being raided by the Power Four?

From CBS Sports … In the new world of recruiting with no transfer restrictions and NIL, there’s a harsh reality for Group of Five teams these days. When a Group of Five coach walks into a recruit’s school or home, he is fully aware that if he gets that recruit to commit, and if that recruit becomes a top player, there’s a good chance he’ll soon lose him to a Power Four school.

In the 2024 transfer cycle, 247Sports has five Group of Five players ranked in the top 75 overall, and all five transferred to Power Four schools.

The perception is that Group of Five schools are being raided every offseason by Power Four conferences, and that their rosters are being left bare because of the transfer portal. Perception isn’t always reality, though, so we did a deep dive into the transfer numbers to see if this is really the case for Group of Five conferences.

In this past transfer window, Group of Five schools lost 239 players to Power Four programs. That works out to around four players for each Group of Five program. Sixty of 62 Group of Five programs have lost at least one transfer to a Power Four school this year, with Army and Sam Houston State being the lone exceptions. New Mexico State, James Madison, and San Diego State were hit the hardest after losing at least 10 transfers to Power Four schools.

Schools that lost the most transfers to Power Four

  • New Mexico State — 13
  • James Madison — 12
  • San Diego State — 10
  • Ohio — 9
  • Memphis — 8

Normally, all the talk is about Group of Five schools losing their top talent to power conferences, but it also works both ways. So far, 325 power-conference players have transferred to Group of Five schools, meaning Group of Five schools have actually added 86 more power-conference players than they’ve lost. Schools like Charlotte, North Texas, Marshall, East Carolina, and Nevada have loaded up on the most Power Four transfers in this cycle.

2024 Group of Five transfer additions and subtractions

  • Incoming Power Four players: 325
  • Players lost to Power Four schools: 239
  • Difference: +86
ConferenceIncoming P4 PlayersPlayers Lost to P4Difference
Sun Belt815526

The numbers don’t lie, and while each circumstance is different — especially when a player is dropping down a level — there are certainly opportunities for Group of Five schools to take former power-conference players and give them the playing time or bigger role that they weren’t receiving before. One example would be Luke McCaffrey, who appeared in 11 games and started two games at quarterback for Nebraska in 2019 and 2020 in the Big Ten. Fast forward three years after a transfer to Rice, a position change to wide receiver, and 13 receiving touchdowns in 2023, and McCaffrey was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Washington Commanders.

The hit rate of former power-conferences players transferring to Group of Five schools and then getting drafted is extremely low, but there are success stories where players got a new opportunity to play at that level and succeeded. Running back Peny Boone had 258 yards rushing and two touchdowns in two seasons at Maryland before transferring to Toledo, where he was eighth in the FBS with 1,400 yards rushing and 16 total touchdowns in 2023. He went from a Big Ten backup to the MAC Offensive Player of the Year. Now, Boone has transferred back to the Power Four this offseason and will look to lead the UCF rushing attack in 2024.

While the perception that Group of Five schools are being raided by power conferences for their top talent is true, the reality is that Group of Five programs also have a chance to build their rosters with power-conference players, too. Group of Five coaches know that the next McCaffrey or Boone just committed to a Power Four school and that it’s only a matter of time until they get a chance to change someone’s career trajectory because of the portal.

Read full story here


May 4th

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CBS Sports: Why Shedeur is a Top Five NFL Draft Pick

From CBS Sports … Amid all the back-and-forth on social media this week between Deion Sanders, his son Shedeur, former Colorado players and many othersDeion made a statement I absolutely agree with: “[Shedeur] will be a top-5 pick.”

Excitement about Shedeur is not just because writing about him and Colorado nets audience engagement. I believe he is legitimately the top quarterback in college football and the favorite to be the first quarterback selected in the 2025 NFL Draft, though I do not think he will be the No. 1 overall pick.

There is strong competition from Texas’ Quinn Ewers, Alabama’s Jalen Milroe, Georgia’s Carson Beck all very close behind, but Sanders clears them for now. Here’s why.

The Stats

  • Sanders threw for almost 300 yards per game and only had three interceptions in 430 attempts, completing 69% of his passes while suffering 21 drops by his receivers.
  • His 27 touchdown passes ranked No. 12 nationally.
  • This was despite being under pressure the majority of the season behind the nation’s second-worst offensive line, which gave up 56 sacks for almost 500 yards.

Scouting Report

  • With an excellent arm to make all the throws necessary, Sanders is an extremely accurate passer, both in the pocket and on the move. He does a great job of keeping his eyes downfield to go through his progressions and make the high-percentage completions, despite the constant pressure that he was under all season.
  • He does a great job of manipulating the safeties and can make the tight-window throws that are necessary at the next level.
  • An excellent post-snap processor as well, Sanders extends the plays to give his guys an extra second or two to find green grass. He is an excellent athlete with a thick lower half who uses his athleticism to extend and make plays. Sanders has excellent feet and technique both in the pocket and on the move.

To Improve

  • Sanders can do a better job of staying in the pocket longer and giving his offensive lineman a better idea where he is as he drifts in the pocket more than he will be able to at the next level. His launch point is all over the place.
  • Even in times where he was not pressured immediately, he would often drift. He also can do a better job of throwing away the ball under pressure, as many of the 56 sacks could have been avoided by just throwing it out of bounds when outside the pocket instead of eating it.

While it will be difficult to throw fewer than three interceptions, I expect that we will see the best version of Sanders and an improvement overall in Colorado as a program as the Buffaloes enter the Big 12 from the Pac-12. I do have some concern with the talk that his father is trying to manipulate the draft process and teams that can select him, but I think they’ll be pleased with the range of his draft outlook.


May 3rd

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Cost to settle House lawsuit could reach $2.7 Billion 

From ESPN … The NCAA’s national office might be footing the bill for a settlement expected to be more than $2.7 billion in the landmark House v. NCAA lawsuit and other related antitrust cases, in hopes of reshaping and stabilizing the college sports industry, sources told ESPN on Thursday.

Sources told ESPN this week that parties have proposed the NCAA’s national office — rather than its individual member schools or conferences — would pay for the settlement of past damages over a period of 10 years. The NCAA payments would be paid to former college athletes who say they were illegally prevented from making money by selling the rights to their name, image and likeness.

The settlement would come with a corresponding commitment from conferences and schools to share revenue with athletes moving forward, sources said. The settlement would establish a framework for power conferences to share revenue with their athletes in the future. Sources have told ESPN that schools are anticipating a ceiling of nearly $20 million per year for athlete revenue share moving forward. (That figure is derived from a formula that’s expected to be, per sources, 22% of a revenue metric that’s still being discussed, which is set to be based on various revenue buckets. It would be up to the schools to share that much.)

The dollar value and timing, sources cautioned, is not set and could change due to the myriad variables involved in the case.

Steve Berman, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs, told ESPN he believes the House case is “the difference-maker” after more than a decade of legal battles chipping away at NCAA rules. Berman declined to comment on the specifics of the ongoing settlement talks but said the plaintiffs’ leverage is growing as the case moves closer to trial.

“Our leverage is a big cannonball rolling down a hill and picking up speed,” Berman said. “The longer they wait, the more they’re going to have to pay. It’s that simple.”

Continue reading story here


May 2nd

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Report: Athlete compensation may cost $30 million/year

From … A bag slung over his shoulder and luggage in his hand, Baylor football coach Dave Aranda hustled down the main staircase at the Hyatt Gainey Ranch after the annual Big 12 conference meetings.

He buzzed through the lobby for a quick hello and then jettisoned out the door with a destination in mind. “I’m going to see the (Arizona) Cardinals,” he said, smiling. “Got to learn how to do all this!”

A college coach or administrator visiting a professional sports organization is not necessarily groundbreaking. But Aranda’s visit — presumably to learn more about roster management and pay scale — is indicative of the times.

The college sports industry is moving closer to the inevitable: a direct athlete-compensation model.

As industry executives continue to negotiate with plaintiff lawyers in the House antitrust case, details of a future compensation model — a necessary piece to any settlement agreement — continue to emerge. Those who shared details were granted anonymity as they were not authorized to speak about a proposed settlement that continues to undergo changes.

While negotiations are active and have been for as many as eight months — not a new revelation within the industry — concepts of the proposed new model are becoming more formalized as leaders work to meet a deadline set by attorneys.

Money figures are becoming clear: For those in the power conferences, the price tag is steep.

The 10-year settlement agreement could cost each power school as much as $300 million over the decade, or $30 million a year. That figure assumes a school meets what is believed to be: (1) a $17-22 million revenue distribution cap for athletes; (2) at least $2 million in withheld NCAA distribution for back damages; and (3) as much as $10 million in additional scholarship costs related to an expansion of sport-specific roster sizes — a concept previously unpublicized.

The $30 million price tag, a startling figure for an industry that has only provided athletes with mostly non-cash resources, is about 20% of the average athletic department budget of public schools in the ACC, Big Ten, SEC and Big 12.

However, as reported earlier this week, the revenue-sharing portion of the new model is “permissive,” meaning schools are not required to reach the cap or share revenue at all. Schools will also have the discretion to expand scholarships, or not, across new roster limits expected to be implemented across all sanctioned sports.

While concepts are murky and questions linger, a framework of a new model is becoming more visible and socialized with high-ranking administrators across the four power conferences.

Meanwhile, that deadline — within the next 40 days — is approaching quickly.

Continue reading story here


12 Replies to “Big 12 Notes”

  1. This Rashada story is classically fascinating, to me.

    So, where’s the inevitable conclusion? Has to be contracts, right? Or, do they just roll with the ol’ buyer beware style (both for the kids/athletes and their sponsors)? Then, if it’s contracts, are there trade clauses? No-trade clauses? Let’s see, we got you on contract for three years, but it’s not panning out that well. We’re going to trade you to Eastern Kentucky for that guy that blossomed over there, plus a couple backups. No wait. To Harvard. For the education.

    Go Buffs

  2. It’s too bad Cormani didn’t work out with The Buffs. Hopefully he can find his game with the Gators. Good luck young man.

  3. So Cormani (sp) says he left cause he didn’t wanna play for Clicksand wanted to play for a real team.

    Sheesh that is harsh. But Prime still loves him.

    Go Prime……………………..I guess I am feeling better every day about the “Prime Process”

    1. Prime gave the perfect response. Everyone is playing for clicks. The accusations are envy. Cant imagine what would happen to this world if the internet went down. Might be a much calmer place.

  4. The athletic’s story on NIL is not news to Deion. I wonder if he and his staff use that insight talking to kids? Yes. Yes they do. Probably too bluntly, but that’s not a bad thing.

    Go Buffs

  5. UCLA $$$$$ ——> CAL. 🤑🤔 Well, it only makes me feel good that CSU wasn’t in the same conference or have the same regents.

  6. For a while I looked at CBS sports and their articles about the Buffs. My takeaway is that they do not know what they are talking about. They said Savion Washington (the offensive lineman) was a “massive loss” when he entered the portal. Really? He was a revolving door pass blocker. They clutched their pearls and got the vapors when ol Cormani and Dylan hit the road. Like the coach said “its not the starters who are leaving”.

  7. “The Buffs are hard to project, due to transfers”

    Correct! But the following statement is lazy!

    “On paper, they appear to have upgraded the OL position, but that was true last year, too, before the historically bad results. The defensive line transfer talent is off the charts”.

    A couple of things about this statement & the projection:
    1st, The Buffs had upgraded to last year’s “historically bad results” from guess what?

    A previous year’s worst results! Prime couldn’t get class A beef for the trenches to come to a 1-11 team his first year, but there was enough new talent to improvement to a 4-8 team that out scored the previous year’s team AND gave up less points per game losing by a smaller margin than the previous year too. Now Prime is upgrading again from where the Buffs ended… At 4-8, NOT 1-11, so upgrading should bring the Buffs to a higher level of play and as mentioned, Prime still has Hunter & Shedeur.

    So writer go out on a limb and talk about the ceiling for the Buffs too, it’s easy to say slight upgrade and somewhere in the middle, where’s the insight? If most of the transfers (out) went down a level and most coming in are a higher level of PT & experience, give some insight to how much. Isn’t that what analyst do?

    2nd, “The defensive line transfer talent is off the charts”.

    Nice to read, but how? And how much can that effect a team’s win/loss record when 6 games were one score losses? And, how much can both lines and the upgrades in talent and experience help each other to close that gap faster? AND???

    Analyze writer. This is all too lazy and writing 6 generic sentences gleamed from stats and headlines on 16 different teams fills up an article really fast. But writing analyzes about where they started and where they could go takes more than gleaming some stats; it takes thought on what ifs.

    What if:

    A team adds 6 points per game and lowers their defense’s time on the field?
    What can a defense that has a stronger line and who is playing less minutes to do for the offense?
    If playing from a better field position?
    And so on.

    Most teams only get to upgrade in some key places, but lack that something special to put it all together, CU has two stars in leading roles with possibly the 1st in the NFL draft QB AND Hunter to use those upgraded players with.

  8. Gotta winder how Sanders is going to resolve Shedeur’s graduation. Is he expecting a Penix style transfer or looking for one in high school? There was a rumor a 5 star was going to visit but has anyone heard if he actually did or wasnt convinced?

    1. 2025 five-star quarterback prospect Julian Lewis (No. 4 QB; No. 16 overall recruit in the nation) … and USC commit … will be taking an official visit to Boulder on June 21st.

  9. “The Sanders-led offense averaged 30.8 points per game, but the defense yielded 38 per contest”

    This is my biggest argument for more wins this year is both these numbers can be changed just by the offense being better and the defense just not being on the field as much. We know from his numbers at JSU and have seen what he can do when he has a competitive O-line. So, is it too much to believe that with the new players on the offensive line that Shedeur isn’t going to excel?

    Or at least improve?

    OK, so where does some improvement leave him?

    “Sanders threw for almost 300 yards per game and only had three interceptions in 430 attempts, completing 69% of his passes while suffering 21 drops by his receivers, 27 touchdown passes.”

    So what’s a little improvement here? 350 ypg or more? 3 int in 500 att? Comp 70% or more, on more than 430 passes? Can he get an extra TD in half of the games and/or get them into a field goal the other half?

    “This was despite being under pressure the majority of the season behind the nation’s second-worst offensive line, which gave up 56 sacks for almost 500 yards.”

    Some of these sack yards were instead of TOs and I’m good with that. More time and less pressure will give him better reads, something the new system is suppose to address too, so how much improvement is needed… Numbers wise for Shedeur to deliver 2, 3 or 6 more wins even?

    On the defense, we’ve seen an upgrade in linemen & edge rushers too, add in the above giving them less time on the field and improved play and it’s hard not to believe the Buffs can win more games and if Shedeur can do what he’s already done, just at a higher level, he’ll be #1!

    Here’s hoping for a healthy season for all of the Buffs, the rest should fall into place nicely behind “the plan”… I [still] believe.

  10. I dont see any competition right now for Sheduer to be the number 1 QB in next year’s draft. If the O line is above average and Shurmur doesnt dink and dunk him to death put yer money on him.
    Having said that who knows who else is going to emerge? the season is still months away. You know the QBs for the top teams are going to have serious O lines and receivers too.
    I thought Penix was at least the 3rd best QB in this draft . You know me…throw deep and often.
    Lamonica, Stabler, Biletnikoff, and of course Branch, made me a Raiders fan for those years. I was hoping the Bronchies would take Penix but Payton got the dink and dunker he wants.

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