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  • MAILBAG: Mid-Major NIL, EA Sports College Football, press box food and more:

MAILBAG: Mid-Major NIL, EA Sports College Football, press box food and more:

Let's open the mailbag!

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

I’m working through a couple of other reported stories and tech projects at the moment, which means today is a great day to open up the ol’ reader mailbag. I accept mailbag questions on a rolling basis in my Twitter DMs, mentions, and in my email at [email protected]. But like, if you mailed me a question or reached out to me on LinkedIn, well, I’d probably still answer.

Your questions!

Reader Scott, (and several others), asked:

With West GA leaving the Gulf South are you hearing anything about other schools leaving the GSC for D1? What about any other D-II schools?

The best information I have right now is that UWG’s decision to reclassify to D-I did not immediately change any membership timelines for any other GSC institution. My understanding is that UWG’s decision was also not entirely unexpected in D-II circles.

One thing I’ve better understood since starting Extra Points and being on this beat is that the reclassification process, typically, takes a really long time. Schools usually hire consultants (if not multiple consultants) to help them better understand where they’ll need to invest to be competitive in the future, as well as their obligations for Title IX compliance. Since the decision to change classifications extends far beyond the athletic department, it also usually means institutional-wide strategic plans, new fundraising, new sports, new facilities, etc., etc.

All of this is to say that a school typically isn’t going to jump into a decision over a two, three-week span. I first became aware of UWG’s serious interest back in June, I think, and I’m sure it had been going on for months before I heard about it.

Could I see a world where some combination of West Florida, Alabama-Huntsville, and/or Valdosta State decide to reclassify to D-I? Sure. Are they actively in the process of making that jump right this second? Not to the best of my knowledge…but things can change.

For what it’s worth, the institutions that I hear the most about potentially moving from D-II to D-I, outside of the GSC, are also mostly in the Southeast. Don’t be shocked if the next school to announce an intent to join D-I is a D-II school without football, for example.

Reader Derick asks,

has any Athletic Director played Athletic Director Simulator 3000 and provided feedback yet?

During development, I ran potential questions, answers, and probabilities by a lot of ADs, as well as agents, collective operators, academics, and other industry professionals. I wanted to make the game as realistic as we possibly could, while still making it a) possible to operate, given my technical limitations and b) fun.

I know of a few who have played the game since it was published (and for a while, there was an AD in the ASUN who had one of the highest scores), but I haven’t gotten a ton of direct feedback post-release.

I think it would be fun to play the game with a sitting AD (at any level) on camera and then make a newsletter about it. I may try to get some folks to play it with me at the Women Leaders conference in New Orleans next month, but there’s no reason we couldn’t also do this now. If you want your AD to do it, please very gently and politely encourage them on Twitter. If YOU are an AD that wants to play the game with me, shoot me a text or an email. It’d be fun!

Reader Kleetus, as well as random people in my DMs just about every week, asks:

When do you think we will get a NCAA Football teaser trailer or ANYTHING for that matter seeing how the game is tentatively less than a year away?

I’ve tried to limit my writing and public commentary on EA Sports College Football to what I actually know…stuff I can verify with receipts and/or conversations with individuals with direct knowledge. So let me preface my response here with this…I don’t know the answer in the same that I know the other stuff I’ve written about the game.

Earlier in the summer, I heard rumblings that there was the possibility that EA might release some screenshots or share more behind-the-scenes development updates in September, perhaps bringing in a few football players to the studios and sharing information about motion capture and stuff. Unless something wild happens like, today, that isn’t happening.

It isn’t unusual for AAA sports video games to not release trailers, screenshots, or officially sanctioned information until much, much closer to the expected release date. 2K did not release detailed gameplay information until about a month before release, for example. I understand that many gamers aren’t giving EA any benefit of the doubt, or view the company’s silence here as proof that there’s something wrong with the game…but I can assure you, there’s nothing unusual about their PR strategy at the moment. And everything I’ve heard internally matches EA’s repeated public statements…the game is still on track to be released next summer.

That being said, I would be very surprised if the college football season concludes without any official information, trailer, commercials, etc. If I learn anything more concrete, I promise to share it.

Reader KC asks:

What’s the best press box food you’ve ever had?

Man, I’ll never forget the first time I ever got press box food. I think it was the third high school football game I ever covered…Licking Valley at Whitehall, and somebody brought a pizza into the box for me and the other reporter working the game.

Was it good? Objectively, no. But nobody fed me the first few games I covered, and I legitimately didn’t know that sometimes food was part of the gig. I felt like I hit the big time. I was a serious professional journalist who didn’t have to sprint downstairs to buy Taco in a Bag from the band boosters at halftime.

The best food I think I’ve ever actually eaten in a press box? Rutgers. Best brownie I’ve ever had in my life. A++. I remember Maryland bringing up some ice cream from their campus creamery that was also outstanding. People forget there are cows on Maryland’s campus. It’s more Big Ten than you’d think.

and finally, The Sickos Committee asks:

What does NIL look like for MAC football? In my mind, it’s like local restaurants and car dealerships, but I honestly have no clue.

Good question!

Many MAC schools do have NIL collectives, just like P5 programs. Blueprint Sports operates collectives supporting Toledo, Bowling Green, and Ohio. Broncos Will Reign supports athletes at Western Michigan and Boneyard Victor. E supports NIU. Structurally, most of them aren’t too different from many other collectives…the bulk of the money comes from donations and fan “subscriptions”, rather than brands.

The biggest obvious difference is in payroll size. As far as I’m aware, there aren’t MAC collectives right now running around with two-million-dollar payrolls like there are for some major conference groups. It is generally less common for MAC, or other mid-major collectives, to take heavy roles in high school athlete recruitment. The major fundraising goal for these groups is to retain athletes, rather than explicitly recruit out of high school.

There are MAC football players, just like any other athlete at any other classification, who are making real money from actual, honest-to-God brand deals…and restaurants, car dealerships, direct-to-consumer products, sports nutrition, and energy drinks tend to be the larger brand categories. But if you want to earn big NIL money and you’re not going to attract a six-figure bagman deal in the transfer portal, your best bet is to be a great social media pitchman. That’s a very different skill set from blocking and tackling.

If you’d like to buy ads on Extra Points OR in ADS3000, good news! They’re affordable, and we still have openings for this year. Drop me a line at [email protected]. If you have news tips or FOIAs you want to share, I’m at [email protected]. Otherwise, I’m at [email protected], @MattBrownEP on Twitter, @ExtraPointsMB on Instagram, and @MattBrown on Bluesky

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