Big 12: John Currie

Just when you thought you'd seen everything on social media, the athletic directors from Kansas State and Mississippi State took things to a different level Friday.

K-State's John Currie and Mississippi State's Scott Stricklin apparently agreed to a home-and-home series on Twitter. The two ADs went back and forth before agreeing to a deal. Obviously it is a tenative plan, but it came together in a matter of hours.

If only LeBron had accomplished things this quickly.

It all began when Currie invited Stricklin to bring his team to play some football at Bill Snyder Family Stadium:

Stricklin responds with suggested years for the series: Currie's response: Deal done.  
IRVING, Texas -- Despite the dissolution of the BCS, the Big 12 leadership decided during the first day of spring meetings Wednesday that it would keep the same formula for breaking three- and four-way ties.

[+] EnlargeBob Bowlsby
AP Photo/Tim SharpBig 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby addressed several topics during the first day of spring meetings, including a tiebreaker tweak and unlimited meals for student-athletes.
With one slight tweak.

The BCS standings previously determined the third step of the tiebreaker. Beginning this season, it will be the College Football Playoff committee that will do the tie breaking.

“The biggest change we made was we struck the places where it said BCS and inserted CFB poll,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. “So there really wasn’t much of a change to it.”

Going forward, in the event of a three- or four-way tie, the highest-ranked team in the College Football Playoff poll (that does not advance to the playoffs) will be the Big 12 representative in the Champions Bowl (aka, the Sugar Bowl) against the SEC.

Everything else in the three-way tiebreaker will remain the same, including the head-to-head clause that was added following the 2008 season.

That year, Oklahoma emerged out of a Big 12 South Division three-way tie with Texas Tech and Texas despite losing to the Longhorns earlier that season. The Sooners were ranked one spot ahead of Texas in the BCS standing and thus advanced to the Big 12 title game.

Spearheaded by former Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds, the Big 12 amended the three-way tiebreaker to allow head-to-head to come back into play should the top two teams be ranked within one spot of one another. Had the clause been in effect in 2008, Texas would have played for the Big 12 title instead of the Sooners.

"DeLoss' lasting legacy," Kansas State athletic director John Currie joked of the amendment.

Currie added that the three-way tiebreaker would be on the agenda during the athletic directors’ meeting in August in case “something developed” within the College Football Playoff ranking system.

No momentum for early signing period

Two weeks ago, the ACC concluded it would recommend an early signing period in college football to the College Commissioners Association.

The Big 12, conversely, was far from reaching a consensus on the issue on Wednesday.

“I don’t perceive any extreme momentum for that,” Currie said of the Big 12 opinion. “For every argument for that, there’s a big stack of arguments against it. Whether or not the intended result of an early signing period would reduce chaos on the back end, does that really offset? Is an early signing period going to drive more early recruiting and more early decisions? I personally believe those decisions are being made far too early in many cases.”

An early signing period is on the agenda for the College Commissioners Association’s June meeting. The ACC wants the early signing period to begin Aug. 1.

“The biggest challenge we have is a lot of people are in support of it, but there are a multitude of different options out there,” Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw said. “The football recruiting subcommittee is going to gather feedback from high school coaches, student-athletes, coaches and try to make a determination on a date that makes sense. It’s something that will be looked at extensively.”

Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt is actually chair of the NCAA football recruiting subcommittee.

Feeding the monster

Last month, the NCAA's legislative council approved a proposal to allow Division I schools to provide unlimited meals and snacks to all athletes, including walk-ons.

A chunk of Wednesday’s meeting in Irving was spent discussing how the Big 12 would implement the new legislation, which takes effect Aug. 1.

“I was really surprised during the meetings at how much variance there was among schools,” Bowlsby said. “And yet there was a fairly high comfort level that although there were uniqueness, that institutions could deal with them in their own way without others thinking, ‘Oh gosh, they’re going to get an advantage on us.’

“It was an interesting discussion that we maybe we can move into an era where all of us don’t have to do exactly the same things.”

One possible area of variance? How much each institution might spend on the unlimited meal plan.

Currie said he expects Kansas State to spend somewhere between $700,000 and $1 million a year. Texas athletic director Steve Patterson, meanwhile, estimated Texas’ cost could soar “north of $2 million.”

While the details are still being worked out across the board, Currie said Kansas State would add a morning snack to its student-athlete training table, as well as “fueling stations” in different facilities for before and after practices. Currie also said inside Kansas State’s new $65 million Vanier Football Complex will be a “significant nutrition area” that will give Kansas State's student-athletes access to items like banana smoothies into the night.

“This is going to be very positive,” Currie said. “One of the best things we’ve done.”

Big 12 lunchtime links

March, 3, 2014
Mar 3
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Look who's back!

Lunch links: Stoops goes silent

July, 1, 2013
7/01/13
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I'm not crying, it's just been raining on my face.
Dubai! ... DUBAI!
Kansas State athletic director John Currie was one of four named the Under Armour AD of the Year.

Kansas State has had one of the best seasons in the major sports of any program in the country. The football team captured a Big 12 title and a BCS bid, and the baseball and basketball teams also won Big 12 titles.

Only four BCS schools have done that in the three major sports in a single year since 1998. It was also the first Big 12 school to have all three teams named coach of the year in the respective sports.

Currie will accept the award on Saturday in Orlando.
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder has signed a five-year contract extension through the 2017 season, the school announced Thursday morning.

The school announced the deal pays Snyder $2.75 million for the 2013 season, with annual increases of $100,000 in each season thereafter.

"Coach Snyder's daily drive, focus and energy in continuing to build the K-State football program are truly remarkable and inspirational," athletic director John Currie said in a statement. "While he is not one to focus attention on himself, President (Kirk) Schulz and I felt that it was important to recognize in this very significant way his tremendous leadership and commitment to continuing to lead the K-State football program."

See more on this story here.

I'll have more on this story later today.

Forbes: Texas, K-State cashing in

December, 20, 2012
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Forbes Magazine released their annual report on the business of college football, which includes the most valuable teams, teams with the biggest bang for their buck, and those providing the worst value on the field.

The most valuable team? Texas, of course.

From Forbes:
College football’s most valuable team is now worth $133 million, up from $129 million last year. The Longhorns generated $104 million in revenue in 2011, the first time a college football team has ever cleared the $100 million mark. While the Big 12’s conference distributions increased to $19 million in 2011, about 40% of Texas’ football income still came exclusively from ticket sales ($32.4 million) and sponsorships ($8 million).

Not too shabby. The best value, though? That's the new Big 12 champion: Kansas State. Credit AD John Currie here for running a tight ship that still manages to be successful.
The Wildcats spent an average $1,445,623 per victory over the last three seasons. They are closely followed by the Stanford Cardinal ($1,522,942 per win) and NC State Wolfpack ($1,580,752 per win).

Oregon (No. 6), LSU (No. 7) and Oklahoma (No. 8) are the only three teams in our ranking to make our list of college football’s most valuable teams. The three teams also manage to rank among college football’s best teams for the money despite spending more than the average team from 2009 through 2011.

As for the worst value? Well, when you only win one game and you're an AQ-conference team, you know it's coming. KU checks in at the bottom of the list when it comes to value.
... the Kansas Jayhawks, who are far and away college football’s worst team for the money, spending more per victory over the last three seasons than any other team from an automatic-qualifying (AQ) conference. In fact, the Jayhawks have spent more than $8 million per victory over the last three seasons, $2 million more per win than any other AQ team.

The Jayhawks have managed the feat despite maintaining below-average expenses. Kansas spent $48 million from 2009 through 2011 while the average AQ team shelled out $53 million. But the average AQ team hasn’t been so downright dismal on the field. Kansas has won six games over the last three seasons. The team spent $2.5 million to bring in Charlie Weis and start turning things around. Weis hasn’t had much time to work, but the team promptly posted a single victory, its lowest seasonal win total since 1988.

No surprises there. Not a pretty picture. We'll see if Weis gets it turned around on the backs of his huge juco haul.

Lunch links: Recruiting's darker side

July, 10, 2012
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NCAA release date! Best day of the college football summer, folks.

Lunch links: New life for Greg Davis

June, 25, 2012
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Not sure what it says about me, but this was pretty interesting. I remember it well.

Fun with Big 12 AD salaries!

May, 24, 2012
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USA Today released its annual survey of athletic director salaries, noting that they're rising almost as fast as coaching salaries. How did the Big 12 stack up?

Here's how they ranked:
  • DeLoss Dodds, Texas: $1,095,756
  • Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma: $975,000
  • Bill Byrne, Texas A&M: $690,000
  • Mike Alden, Missouri: $659,775
  • Kirby Hocutt, Texas Tech: $580,000
  • Jamie Pollard, Iowa State: $450,000
  • Sheahon Zenger, Kansas: $450,000
  • Ian McCaw, Baylor: $423,449
  • John Currie, Kansas State: $412,500
  • Mike Holder, Oklahoma State: $387,560

I kept old Big 12 schools in this list because they were in the Big 12 when these numbers were taken.

For the new schools?
  • Oliver Luck, West Virginia: $405,600
  • TCU's Chris Del Conte was paid $115,639 for a partial-year salary. He took over in October 2009, and his full salary was not available on public tax returns.

The most surprising name on the list was Mike Holder, who is at the bottom of the list, despite holding the position since 2005. Oklahoma State's not exactly starved for money these days, either.

Kansas State's John Currie is a newcomer to the job, and a first-time athletic director who has helped K-State become the most profitable athletic department in the country. You've got to expect a raise is coming his way, even though he had a high-profile gaffe when hoops coach Frank Martin exited stage right all the way to South Carolina.

Not surprising to see Texas and OU at the top, but that's a pretty big gap between Dodds, Castiglione and the rest of the league, especially now that Missouri and Texas A&M are gone.

Dodds is only the fourth-highest paid AD, behind Vanderbilt, Florida and Louisville's athletic directors.

What else stuck out to you?

Lunch links: Buyer's remorse at Mizzou?

May, 23, 2012
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If I wanted to run a monkey hotel, I'd install a banana buffet.
The Big 12 made it official on Thursday afternoon: Stanford AD Bob Bowlsby is the new man in charge of the Big 12. He'll be introduced as commissioner at a press conference on Friday morning.

I'll be there at the Big 12 offices in Irving, Texas, for sure, so be sure to check the Big 12 blog for coverage.

Bowlsby will take over for interim commissioner Chuck Neinas on June 15. Neinas replaced fired commissioner Dan Beebe in September 2011.

"I am proud to have been selected to lead the Big 12 Conference as its Commissioner. The member institutions represent the best in competitive intercollegiate athletics and they occupy a prominent place in the history of sports in America," Bowlsby said in a statement. "I am excited to work with a very talented and committed group of Presidents and Chancellors to advance the Conference on the national sports landscape. Additionally, the directors of athletics, senior woman’s administrators, faculty athletics representatives, coaches and conference office staff are among the very best in the country. The future is exceedingly bright and I look forward to engaging with my colleagues to achieve great things in the years ahead."

In a tweet, Kansas State AD John Currie said the league's presidents and search committee "hit a home run" with the hire.

"Bob Bowlsby is a highly respected and experienced college athletics administrator who has a reputation for integrity and excellence. His vision will be shaped by successful experiences at leading institutions in other BCS conferences which will serve the Big 12 very well as he leads us into a bright future," Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw said in a statement.

Oklahoma president David Boren also lauded the selection.

"His combination of skills makes him the ideal selection," Boren said in a statement.

Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis explained those skills in the Big 12's announcement of the Bowlsby hire.

"The institutions of the Big 12 wanted a Commissioner that could take us to the next era as a conference with the addition of TCU and WVU, and we unanimously agreed Bob is that leader," Hargis said. "The search committee looked for a candidate that has a vision for the next generation of college athletics, and his credentials and ideas exceeded this. He understands enhancing athletic competition among conference schools, the challenge of balancing academics and athletics for our student-athletes, and working with our broadcast and bowl partners."

Lunch links: W.Va. reaction to Big 12 move

May, 2, 2012
5/02/12
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A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
NEW YORK -- Kansas State athletic director John Currie asked a simple question. If the BCS bowls don’t use the BCS ratings to pick the BCS teams, then why have the standings?

Kansas State finished No. 8 in the final BCS standings. The Wildcats (10-2) got passed over by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in favor of No. 11 Virginia Tech and No. 15 Michigan. Currie, speaking on a panel with four other athletic directors at the IMG Intercollegiate Athletic Forum, said, “We don’t necessarily have to have labels that designate this group of games better than all the other games, unless we’re going to objectively put the people into the games.”

Kansas State will play No. 6 Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. It joins the Rose, the Fiesta and the Allstate BCS National Championship Game in matching up top-10 teams. Currie is thrilled that Kansas State is going to Dallas. Wildcat fans bought every ticket and filled every hotel room they could find the last time Kansas State played in the Cotton Bowl. They would have done the same in New Orleans.

The Sugar Bowl took Virginia Tech and Michigan, expecting them to do those things, too. The selection struck at the credibility of the BCS.

“We have to be in control of how we’re presented, in terms of whether we’re ethical and following some explainable scenario,” Currie said. “That’s our responsibility.”

He clarified after the forum that he didn’t intend to suggest that the Sugar Bowl had done anything unethical. He met Sugar Bowl executive director Paul Hoolahan in New York on Monday afternoon. Hoolahan explained to him the fact that the Hokies had been to the Sugar Bowl twice before played into the decision.

Asked who let Kansas State down, Currie said, “I let us down, because I didn’t know the people well enough to do whatever we’re supposed to do. If that’s what we’re going to be about, whoever had a relationship 40 years ago, I don’t think that’s the thing to stand up and tell student-athletes. ‘Hey, you get to do this or this because of somebody else’s relationship.”

Gotta love the system. In a completely unrelated note, athletic directors Bob Bowlsby of Stanford and Scott Woodward of Washington, also on the panel, said they believe a plus-one is inevitable.

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