Getting More Money From TV

Plus: Concussion Diagnosis Recommendations. Removing Cannabis? Softball Rules Committee Recap

JUNE 19, 2023 | written by STEVE ULRICH

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1. Getting More Money From TV

by Billy Witz, New York Times

“For more than 20 years, fans of college sports like softball, baseball, women’s basketball and more than two dozen others have known just where to find N.C.A.A. championships — on ESPN’s spectrum of channels.

The arrangement has worked well for both parties: The N.C.A.A. ensured that its top athletes would perform on a national stage, and ESPN added hundreds of hours of live programming to a college sports portfolio that is anchored by college football and men’s basketball games.

Now, though, with that deal set to expire in a year, it is increasingly likely that the next media rights deal for those 31 championships will look much different from the current one, which has been widely criticized as undervalued — particularly for its marquee event, the Division I women’s basketball tournament.”

» Why it Matters: There is much for the N.C.A.A. to consider. Have the interests changed at ESPN, whose parent company, Disney, is in the midst of slashing 7,000 jobs? What about at other networks, like CBS and NBC, which have fewer cable networks but do have fledgling streaming platforms? And might streaming-only companies like Apple, Amazon and YouTube, which have selectively begun to acquire sports rights, be players?”

» Between The Lines: “The N.C.A.A. has hired Endeavor, a global sports media company, to help develop its strategy for negotiations, which have not yet begun. Baker has said he expects a rights deal to be completed around the end of the year.”

» Reality Check: “Even if the money ends up in the same place — eventually wending its way back to colleges’ coffers — conference media rights deals are fundamentally different from what the N.C.A.A. will be selling. A conference agreement extends over the course of a season, while the N.C.A.A. is selling playoffs or championship events, which are condensed into a matter of days or weeks.”


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2. Updated Consensus Statement On Concussion In Sport

“A group of more than 100 expert researchers and clinicians from around the world has released an updated consensus statement on concussion in sport, which includes new scientific evidence and revised recommendations on concussion diagnosis, management and prevention.

Committees and task forces involved in the development and management of health and safety recommendations for NCAA members, including the Concussion Safety Advisory Group and Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports, will review this guidance and consider updates to current member resources, such as the Concussion Safety Protocol Checklist and Concussion Safety Fact Sheets.”

» What They’re Saying: ""The updated consensus statement will become the most widely recognized guidance in the world on the diagnosis, management and prevention of concussion in sport," said NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline, who served on the panel of international experts that led the research. "Its impact will be felt across the globe, including among NCAA member schools and conferences and their student-athletes."

» What’s Next:The NCAA's Sport Science Institute will be facilitating a meeting in June for CSMAS representatives and the Concussion Safety Advisory Group to review the new consensus statement and consider updates to relevant membership resources. Any changes will be made and distributed on a timeline to be determined in consultation with CSMAS and the membership.”

3. Removing Cannabis From Banned List?

“The NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports signaled its support for removing cannabis from the Association's banned drug list and testing protocols. The committee will gather input from the membership this summer, with final action expected in the fall.

This issue was referred to the committee, which met in Indianapolis, by Divisions II and III. Those divisions asked CSMAS to further consider the Association's cannabis policy and whether NCAA drug testing should be limited to performance-enhancing substances.

For the cannabinoid class to be removed from the NCAA list of banned drugs, each of the three NCAA divisional governance bodies would have to introduce and adopt legislation.”

» Reality Check:The rationale for considering the change was largely informed by the December 2022 Summit on Cannabinoids in College Athletics and includes the consensus opinion that cannabis is not a performance-enhancing drug and that a harm reduction approach to cannabis is best implemented at the school level.”

» Of Note: “The committee supported the general direction of preliminary concepts developed by the Mental Health Advisory Group to update the NCAA Mental Health Best Practices document. With the committee's preliminary support, the Mental Health Advisory Group will continue its work to develop final recommended updates to the best practices for the committee to consider later this year.”


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4. Rules Committee Recap

“The NCAA Softball Rules Committee at its meeting this week in Indianapolis proposed that when pushing off the pitcher's plate, both feet of pitchers could disengage from the playing surface during their delivery, starting in the 2023-24 academic year.

Under the proposal, the pitcher's pivot foot could become airborne with one push from the pitcher's plate. However, pitchers would not be allowed to replant their pivot foot, resulting in pushing off from a second point and the pitcher being farther away from the pitcher's plate.

All rules proposals must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel before they can be implemented. The panel is scheduled to discuss softball rules recommendations via videoconference Aug. 10.”

» Quotable: "Pitchers are more athletic today," said Shena Hollar, committee chair and softball coach at Lenoir-Rhyne. "Other organizations are allowing pitchers to disengage from the ground. This rule puts us in line with everyone else."

5. Texas Gov. Signs Bill Restricting Teams Trans Athletes Can Join

by Monica Madden, News Nation

Gov. Greg Abbott held a bill signing ceremony Thursday afternoon to sign legislation he says will “protect women’s sports,” but LGBTQ advocates say it harms their community.

Senate Bill 15 bans collegiate-level transgender athletes from competing on sports teams that do not align with their biological sex assigned at birth. It expands on similar restrictions that were signed into law two years ago, applying to sports play for Texas public schools grades K-12.”

» The Bottom Line:SB 15 will require college athletes to join teams that align with their biological sex, regardless of the gender they may identify as. It also allows civilians to file lawsuits against a college or university if they believe the school is violating the law. Those who report any violations will be provided whistleblower protections, according to the bill.”

» What They’re Saying: “This legislation is not about participation. This legislation is not about restricting anyone’s opportunities,” Rep. Valoree Swanson said in May. “It is not fair that young women are watching their records get broken, accolades taken and scholarships awarded, not to other women, but to biological man.”

6. Lightning Round ⚡️

🗞 News. Patrick Colbert was named commissioner of the Commonwealth Coast Conference. A graduate of Colby-Sawyer, he previously served as deputy commissioner of the Western Athletic Conference.

🗞 News. Middlebury's Jane Earley was named the Division III Honda Athlete of the Year. 

🗞 News. Faculty are not happy with the hiring of Lee Wong as interim president at Connecticut College. They are concerned due to a process that they say ignored their voices.

7. Comings and Goings

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