Sports Update

by Frank Baldwin May 28, 2015

Marcus Mariota ranked 39th among world's most marketable athletes

Marcus Mariota has yet to take a snap in a NFL game, but he's rapidly becoming a global brand. Mariota is ranked 39th among the world's most marketable athletes, according to Sports Pro, a sports industry magazine. The magazine ranked the Tennessee Titans and former Oregon Ducks star quarterback because of his Hawaiian background, endorsements that include Nike, Subway, Beats by Dr. Dre along with plenty of advertising: "Hawaiian-born, Mariota follows a path less trodden, giving added appeal to his brand. The talk surrounding a draft pick can often spiral out of control and some players never make the grade from college level to the NFL. But with a Nike deal already signed – and a TV advert already in the can – the spotlight is firmly on Mariota. A good rookie season will see all manner of brand endorsements and deals coming his way." The magazine's criteria included value for money, age, home market, charisma, willingness to be marketed and crossover appeal. It ranked athletes from across the world for their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer and published a list of the 50 athletes worthy of investments during the next three years. 

Mariota was selected second overall by the Titans in the 2015 NFL Draft. He was the first Oregon player to win the Heisman Trophy. He also led the Ducks to the national championship game. Mariota was rated ahead of such prominent and established stars as Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers (ranked 41st) and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (42nd). Why is Mariota ranked ahead of established NFL star such as Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Manning? This list is based the future, not the past or what's hot now. The official method looks three years ahead. Rodgers, Manning and Tom Brady aren't even on the list. Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was ranked 24th, while Golden State Warriors star guard Stephen Curry was ranked seventh and Houston Rockets star James Harden 27th. Tennis player Eugenie Bouchard sits atop the list of the top-five athletes. She is followed by soccer star Neymar, golfer Jordan Speith, swimmer Missy Franklin and auto racing driver Lewis Hamilton.

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You're a genius, Rob; bet they miss you at Kentucky!

The Oregon Ducks are No. 1 — in Athletic Department Revenue!

The Oregon Ducks are national champions. In accounting, at least.

The university's athletic department revenue of $196,030,398 for the 2013-14 school year is the most among NCAA Division I public institutions. Private schools were not included because they do not have to publicly disclose their figures. Though Oregon reported the staggering figure to the NCAA in April, it wasn't known how UO stacked up nationally until Tuesday, when USA Today published its annual database of public athletic department finances and on top were the Ducks — more than $35 million in revenue ahead of second-place Texas.

The department's $83.5 million difference between its revenue and operating expenses of $110.4 million is also the widest among its peers.  But you won't find the Ducks necessarily hanging a banner anytime soon for the No. 1 ranking. While many other schools would be Duck-green with envy over the figure, UO officials say the sky-high revenue presents a far rosier picture than reality because a huge chunk of it, $95 million more specifically, stems from in-kind facility gifts — also known as the price tag of the Hatfield-Dowlin football complex, which debuted in 2013 and was largely underwritten by Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife, Penny. "It's clear that the number is pretty big, but in reality you can't spend a building," said Craig Pintens, a senior associate athletic director at Oregon. "It's not cash. It's a physical asset."

Combined with $740,000 in sports camp revenues that Oregon says it can't keep, and Matthew Knight Arena bond reserve revenue of $550,000 that UO can't spend, there is $96.3 million on the books "that do not represent a spendable cash in-flow to the Department of Athletics," UO reported. It reported its $110.4 million in expenses, an increase of $15.4 million over the previous year, is also not quite what it seems. Per UO, $11 million of that stems from "non-capitalized furniture, future and equipment gifted to the athletic department." A more accurate bottom line? Oregon says it earned $99.1 million of revenue and spent $98.8 million in 2013-14. (That revenue, in contrast, would rank 22nd overall nationally.) That thin margin of operating in the black will be tested starting in August when Oregon begins paying the full cost of attendance for its student-athletes. 

Division I leaders approved in January a new spending allowance that pays the full cost of attendance. In effect it fills in the gap between what a scholarship covers — tuition, fees, room and board and books — and the actual price of living as a student-athlete. That money is calculated differently by each university; at Oregon, it will be $2,382.  Oregon says it awards the equivalent of 240 scholarships annually, which means next year's expenses just went up by about $572,000. 

"We need to be able to find new ways and innovative ways to generate revenue," Pintens said. "We didn't increase ticket prices this year in football, and football is the lifeblood of our revenue. By not raising ticket prices we have to find sources for that revenue somewhere. And our expenses continue to rise with the cost of attendance and the meals legislation, which we were on the forefront of, but it cost this past year about $750,000 approximately in our budget. "All those measure are great for student-athletes and we want to continue to do things that are going to benefit our student-athletes and those things cost more money."

Oregon expects its revenue for the 2015 fiscal year to reflect a truer gauge of the department's finances; the Ducks' 2015 budget projects $98.4 million in revenue, with 68 percent of the money generated by its high-profile football program, which won a school-record 13 games in 2014 before losing in the first College Football Playoff national championship game to Ohio State. It's not all grim in the Casanova Center, however. The Ducks were one of 24 athletic departments, USA Today found, that met the NCAA's definition of self-sufficiency. Ticket sales of $26.6 million were an increase of $1.4 million and represent an Oregon record since USA Today began updating its finances database in 2005. It also drew $35.5 million in rights and licensing fees, an increase of $4.5 million, plus $1.7 million in student fees and $440,000 in university funds. In total, it reported a subsidy of $2.1 million. Behind the Ducks and Longhorns, Michigan ($157 million), Alabama ($153 million) and Ohio State ($145 million) rounded out the revenue top five, with Washington coming in as the next-highest Pac-12 public university at No. 20, with $100 million in revenue.

Oregon's 2014 revenue
Total subsidy: $2,155,099
Ticket sales: $26,625,906
Contributions: $124,927,474
Rights/licensing: $35,580,734
Student fees: $1,715,099
School funds: $440,000 (listed as "direct state or other government support")
Other: $6,741,185
Total revenue: $196,030,398

Oregon's 2014 expenses
Coaching staff: $36,465,523
Scholarships: $9,959,416
Building/grounds: $36,187,900
Other: $27,884,107
Total expenses: $110,378,432

Pac-12 schools' 2014 revenue 
1. Oregon: $196,030,398 (first nationally)
2. Washington: $100,275,187 (20th nationally)
3. Arizona: $99,911,034 (21st nationally)
4. California: $90,262,142 (27th nationally)
5. UCLA: $86,426,780 (29th nationally)
6. Arizona State: $74,729,269 (40th nationally)
7. Colorado: $64,226,758 (49th nationally)
8. Oregon State: $63,301,794 (50th nationally)
9. Utah: $56,470,310 (53rd nationally)
10. Washington State: $54,426,818 (54th nationally)
* Data not released for private schools USC and Stanford

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Gotta' grab these guys before they change the rules!

Matt Hegarty, Notre Dame offensive lineman transfer, joins Oregon Ducks

Matt Hegarty, an offensive lineman who announced in March he would transfer from Notre Dame after completing his degree, will join the Oregon Ducks in 2015. The program welcomed Hegarty, from Aztec, New Mexico, in a tweet Tuesday afternoon. At 6-foot-4 and 295 pounds, Hegarty was a top-100 prep recruit who played in the U.S. All-American Bowl as a senior before suffering a stroke early in his career in South Bend. Hegarty underwent surgery in December 2012 to repair two undetected holes in his heart that he'd had since birth, said his father, Bryan, in a 2013 Chicago Tribune article. He recovered and appeared in 12 games in 2013 for the Irish before starting 11 of 13 games in 2014 at either guard or center. His experience at center is key for the Ducks, whose search for a replacement for the graduated Hroniss Grasu, Oregon's four-year starting center and All-America who was drafted by the NFL's Chicago Bears in May, remained unresolved after spring practices.

His versatility also fits in line with offensive line coach Steve Greatwood's priority on athleticism, which proved invaluable as Oregon overcame multiple injuries to its line by sliding linemen around to different positions during its push to the College Football Playoff national championship game last season. In March, Hegarty told ESPN.com in a statement that he opted to transfer when Notre Dame asked him to switch positions, saying his urgency to play comes from almost having his career cut short. "My goal is to contribute this season, continue to develop my skills and pursue my dream of playing in the NFL," he told ESPN.com. "Because of this goal, I have asked for a transfer to play at another school where I can contribute more on the field. Notre Dame has amassed formidable depth on the O-line and have many very talented players to fill all positions."

Hegarty becomes the second player with plans to arrive at Oregon after using an NCAA rule that allows players who have graduated with remaining eligibility to play immediately at another school. Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. announced in February he will transfer from the Cheney, Washington, Football Championship Subdivision school in mid-June to Oregon, though that plan hinges on his graduation. Oregon lost its entire left side of last season's offensive line to graduation in the offseason, with tackle Jake Fisher and guard Hamani Stevens now in the NFL. Tyler Johnstone, a junior who missed last season while recovering from consecutive knee ligament injuries, was limited from full-contact spring practices in April but is expected to retake the left tackle position, where he started at in 2013. Guard and center, however, remain wide-open positions races. Among the many who rotated in at center in spring practices were Jake Pisarcik, Cameron Hunt and Matt Pierson, who all played elsewhere on the line in 2014. Doug Brenner is another candidate expected to be ready for fall camp, albeit inexperienced, but he sat out spring drills in a walking boot.

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Go, Joe!

Oregon Ducks' Joseph Young competes in individual workouts after strong NBA draft combine performance

Former Oregon Ducks star guard Joseph Young plans to build on his solid performances at the NBA draft combine by producing strong outings during the individual pre-draft workouts with teams. The increased attention paid to the former Oregon star guard and Pacific-12 Conference player of the year comes after his strong performances at the NBA Draft combine earlier in May. Young averaged 13 points, three rebounds and two assists a game in two games at the combine.

"I showed that I can make plays at a high level and I can also defend," Young told oregon.247sports.com. "The combine helped me a lot." Young was scheduled to work out for the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday and is scheduled to work out for the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday. Young visited the Indiana Pacers May 18th. "It went well. I wasn't really nervous," Young told Pacers.com after his workout. "I thought I really competed."

The 6-foot-2 Young was a shooting guard at Oregon, but will need to make the transition to point guard in the NBA. Young said he's very prepared and already making the transition. "That's part of learning the game and expanding your game," Young said. "I can play the one and the two spots. I'm a versatile scorer and I can distribute." Young will also visit the Washington Wizards (June 1st), Dallas Mavericks (June 3rd), Memphis Grizzlies (June 9th), and the Brooklyn Nets (June 11th). Yahoo.com and Draftexpress.com has Young going to the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 53rd overall pick of the draft. NBADraft.net has Young going to Utah with the 43rd overall pick.

The draft is scheduled for June 25.




Frank Baldwin
Frank Baldwin

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