Plus: more conference realignment insights, Mark Emmert's potential golden escape plan, and more:

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In other news, the latest episode of Going For Two is now available wherever you get your podcasts. This was our mailbag episode, and we tackled a bunch of your questions, including:

  • Which FBS programs actually COULD pull off going independent? We went down the list, conference by conference, and perhaps some of our arguments might surprise you. Honestly, I think the path is more viable for struggling G5 teams right now than it is for big-budget P5 programs.
  • How to think like a university administrator when you’re evaluating rumors over whether a D-I team should reclassify down, or if a D-II program should bump up. There are other Hartfords out there, but not every struggling low-major is the same!
  • How should we define what a “revenue” sport is in the year 2021, and what sports could potentially generate more revenue. Surprise! We’re both pretty bullish about the financial prospects of several women’s sports.
  • The best places to eat across the college sports universe, or where I sing the praises of the delicious press box food at Rutgers.

Man. I cannot wait to get out of this basement and hit the road again. Travel has been nearly impossible since Extra Points became my full-time job, and I can’t wait to actually talk to coaches, administrators and academics face to face…and also eat something very stupid on my way home.

A few other stories caught my eye recently…

Deion Sanders is delivering attention. Is that enough?

Last month, I wrote about how ACU claimed that their upset of Texas in the Men’s Tournament was worth $200 million in exposure…and how that figure should be considered as something very different from $200 million in, you know, actual money.

They’re not the only school to make a similar claim. Via USA TODAY:

A university spokesman told USA TODAY Sports on Friday that the Tigers athletic department has generated the equivalency of $185 million in advertising and exposure since Sanders was hired in September to revitalize the football program — and more — at the HBCU school. Surely, this is “The Deion Effect” that athletic director Ashley Robinson stated during a recent interview with USA TODAY Sports.

The story goes on to detail the various marketing initiatives Sanders is pushing for.

The potential value of Sanders-related exposure might be different for a Jackson State than it might be for ACU. Jackson State’s athletic department is under-resourced compared to most PWI peers, and if the relentless promotional pressure that Sanders applies leads to better equipment, facilities or athlete opportunities, then that might actually provide a bigger long-term benefit for the Tigers than say, beating Alabama A&M.

My gut is that Jackson State will attract outsized media attention, even if the team doesn’t win the SWAC, just by virtue of Sanders’ personality and media connections…but perhaps not all publicity is good publicity. After all, an awful lot of those national Jackson State stories this season weren’t about the school’s biology department or their recruiting class, but about the bizarre was-Deion-robbed-during-a-game-or-nah incident. The school’s press infrastructure better prepared to handle that increased scrutiny.

After all, one of the items on the Sanders marketing Big Board?


We’ll see if that idea gets through the university licensing department.

That’s why you have one of those, right? To give the school some…protection?

Okay, let’s talk about something else before you all unsubscribe.

Could Mark Emmert get a new gig?

NCAA head Mark Emmert is one of the easiest punching bags on the internet, and not entirely without a good reason. It’s tough to find anybody who really thinks the NCAA is doing a great job right now, from athletic directors to coaches to media members to politicians. Sure, the job is probably impossible, and absorbing slings and arrows so specific university presidents don’t have to is part of the gig…but still.

The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report says that Emmert may be a target for a new gig…or an old gig, depending on how you look at it.

LSU did not respond to questions about how many applications the executive search firm that has been retained by the Board of Supervisors has received and the agenda for Wednesday’s 3 p.m. meeting had not been publicly posted by publication deadline.

Regardless of the official slate of applicants, multiple sources familiar with the situation say back channel but legitimate efforts are under way to try to recruit former LSU Chancellor and current NCAA President and CEO Mark Emmert for the position.

Emmert, who served as chancellor at LSU from 1999 to 2003, is widely considered to be one of the best leaders in the university’s history. He is credited with creating the LSU Flagship Agenda, attracting top-flight faculty and researchers and hiring football coach Nick Saban, who led LSU to its first national championship.

Emmert has close friends in Baton Rouge, including LSU Athletic Director Scott Woodward, whose stepson is married to Emmert’s daughter, and LSU booster Richard Lipsey, who recently returned from a wine-tasting trip he and his wife take annually with the Emmerts.

Emmert has also been a university president at Washington.

On one hand, an Emmert departure would certainly be a welcome development for the legion of frustrated conference commissioners, athletic directors and university-level staffers, and allow Emmert a measure of dignity in how he left the NCAA. But given the problems around LSU’s athletic department right now, from Title IX compliance to legal exposure to a litany of side issues that could be described as extensions of the proverbial Good Old Boy network…do you really want to be seen as potentially doubling down on that culture? Will that hurt the long-term goals of the institution?

Emmert also makes well more than the typical university president in his current job, (nearly $3 million, while many state flagship leaders make under $1 million) but if he had reason to believe he wasn’t long for Indianapolis, taking a paycut isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Without structural governance changes, I’m not optimistic that an Emmert replacement would automatically be better for the NCAA and member institutions, especially if they went out and got like, Arne Duncan to be the replacement.

It would be pretty strange to see a change like this happen, only for Emmert to end up on some NCAA subcommittee, throwing barbs at his replacement.

Higher education is a weird business. And man, it’s even weirder in Louisiana…so maybe this is a development worth monitoring.

Oh, here are two other newsletters I think you’d like reading:

Hey, you can appreciate a good newsletter, right?

  • I’m not a big pro football guy (can you blame me? I grew up in Ohio), but I know a lot of you are, and you’d probably enjoy Going Long with Tyler Dunne, which seeks to provide deeper, way more insightful commentary on professional football. But he also did this really interesting story on Coastal Carolina, and what they’re trying to build from a talent evaluation and team culture perspective.
  • I *AM* a big public records guy, and pound for pound, not many people in the college sports game do a better job of finding them and using them to tell interesting stories than Andy Wittry. His newsletter, Out of Bounds, is practically a sister publication to Extra Points, and one that I think is worth checking out.

Those aren’t #ads…they’re just two other sports newsletters that I think my readers would enjoy.

This, on the other hand, IS an ad.


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