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Extra Points is hiring *and* hitting the road

Plus: What does the NIL era mean for elite European hoops?

Good morning, and thanks for spending part of your day with Extra Points.

Forgive me, friends, but I have a bunch of #announcements to share with everybody before we get to the #content.

First, I’m headed to NACDA, and I’d love to talk to you!

I’ll be in Las Vegas from Sunday, June 9th through Wednesday, June 12 for the NACDA (National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics) Conference. I’m scheduled to moderate a panel discussion on House/revenue sharing/NIL on Sunday and have meetings early in the morning on Monday and Tuesday, but have a relatively flexible schedule the rest of my time. If you’re in town and would love to chat for a bit, I’d love to talk. Shoot me an email at Matt @ ExtrapointsMB.com.

We’re also looking to do some hiring

We’re already in the process of expanding our Extra Points team to help with research projects and customer service requests. While we may decide to do additional hiring in the future, there are two other places where we’d love to hire some help immediately.

First, I’d love to pay for some advice on how to best support and develop Athletic Director Simulator 4000. The current version of the game is fun, and we’re happy to continue to support it with new questions and balance tweaks, but we also have larger ambitions for what ADS4000 can be. We have a Game Design Document, a budget, and resources to help support the development and evolution of the game…but we also don’t know what we don’t know.

If there are folks out there in the software project management/software design/games/homebrew software world who might be willing to chat, I’d love to pay for an hour or two of your time so we can better understand how we can best get to where we want to go. Should we be changing languages? What components could us rank amateurs potentially handle vs what would need to be outsourced? Should we get serious about porting this thing to consoles or Steam? I dunno!

If you think this is something you’d be able to help us with, shoot me an email, and let’s set up a time to talk later this week (or after I get back from NACDA). I will pay you for your time, and obviously, we’ll pay for any coding/art/design labor.

Second, we’re also looking for other writers.

I think there is a world, maybe in the somewhat near future, where this publication grows enough to support another full-time writer. I don’t think we’re quite there yet, but I think we’re close….which is good, because I cannot do everything else Extra Points needs me to do and write four good newsletters a week, forever.

Extra Points is always happy to take (and pay for) one-off freelance pitches. We commissioned a few of those last month, and we’re going to publish some of those stories very soon. But I would also be open to a potentially longer-term commitment with the right writer.

We’re really looking for a) writers with at least some professional experience, and b) folks with a passion and ability to write about topics that would fit under the current Extra Points umbrella. Potential examples could include stuff like Olympic sports issues and governance, Title IX, public finance, higher education policy, open records, video game development, sports tech, event operations, and more. We’re also happy to publish (and pay for) guest editorials from industry practitioners, athletes, and academics.

Shoot me a note at [email protected] if you’d like to talk more.

Okay. let’s talk about some news.

Could big NIL money spell big trouble for elite Euro basketball?

I’m old enough to remember when the conventional wisdom was that college basketball was becoming an outdated dinosaur for elite basketball talent. With the G-League, Overtime Elite, and high level competition (and potentially good salaries) in Europe, Asia and Australia, the idea of a five-star going to campus for a year or two looked like an anachronism.

But now in the NIL era? That conventional wisdom is out the window. G League Ignite is dead, and now, some are concerned that actually, not only will American teenagers not take contracts in Europe, but more Europeans are going to come over here.

In conversations with David Carro Funes, CEO of FairPlay Agency and Octagon Basketball Europe Senior Director, he stated that the impact of NIL on European basketball is two-fold: “Clubs lose two things: clubs lose the leverage to pay guys b*****t money and clubs lose the motivation to develop young players.”

Regarding the “BS” money, Carro Funes described that in today’s system, “a player like Luka Doncic would never play for Real Madrid if NIL existed. For a player that good, the amount of money an American college could offer him would be much more lucrative than any EuroLeauge contract at that age. It is a widespread practice in Europe that talented players are signed to long-term youth contracts that, and, for players like Luka, who is capable of playing on the first team before age 18, make a tiny fraction of what older players command.” 

The Tl;DR here, according to the story, is that many European basketball clubs depend on the contract buyout fees they get from the NBA when one of their elite young players joins the league. Those fees help justify the costs of youth development academies and help balance overall team budgets. But if more teenagers can leave for (allegedly) substantially higher “salaries” in college programs, the economics of the entire system could change for European teams.

I’m not sure if I’m ready to declare the current European youth basketball development system bankrupt yet. There are still plenty of legal hurdles that international athletes have to jump through to secure significant NIL payments, and in a world where high level college basketball players are deemed employees, many of these basketball prospects will struggle to get visas without changes to current immigration law. I don’t know if the college athlete labor market has stabilized enough, or if there’s enough data, to draw major conclusions.

But even so, kudos to Noah Henderson for thinking of a unique angle to NIL reporting. This is certainly a development worth monitoring, especially given how well some of these clubs have done in developing and teaching basketball skills for NBA-caliber prospects. It’s also worth keeping an eye on other international leagues or sports that could be impacted, like in hockey.

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How are the mid-majors doing in the College Baseball Tournament?

Last year, I spent some time at Coastal Carolina and chatted with a few folks around Sun Belt baseball to try and better understand if programs from outside the P4 could still compete for national championships.

One of my takeaways from that experience is that trying to apply the mid-major moniker that we may use for football and basketball doesn’t always make sense in college baseball. Schools like Coastal Carolina, Southern Miss, Tulane and UC Irvine might not sit in elite college basketball conferences, but in terms of fanbase or facilities, there’s nothing mid-major about them.

Another good example? Dallas Baptist. While the Patriots were eliminated by Grand Canyon over the weekend, they’re one of just five schools who have made the last ten tournaments. They won 45 games this season, beating teams like Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Baylor and Alabama during the regular season. And that story in The Athletic makes it clear…the school has made a clear and concrete investment in college baseball.

As of this writing, the tournament hasn’t been too kind to many upstarts outside of college baseball royalty. Either ECU or Evansville will advance from the Greenville regional to face Tennessee, and UConn is in good position to advance from the Norman regional. But non-power teams that earned two seeds, like Southern Miss, Indiana State, Louisiana Tech, UNCW and San Diego, all failed to advance.

There’s a legitimate chance that the College World Series will have maybe just one program from outside the SEC and ACC.

That isn’t to take away from the impressive programs built at places like DBU and Southern Miss. But in a world where baseball scholarship offerings in the SEC, ACC and Big 10 could potentially increase, and where it’s already become much harder for smaller programs to hang on to talent they develop…whatever gap exists between the LSUs and the Louisiana Techs could get much, much larger.

This newsletter is brought to you by Teamworks:

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At launch, Wallet will integrate with Teamworks Influencer to streamline NIL payments for student-athletes. This integration allows collectives, businesses, and donors to quickly transfer funds directly into student-athletes' Wallet accounts without incurring any fees from Teamworks.

Thanks for reading. Excited to share more news with you this week.

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