MAC Commissioner talks ground game

Last month’s announcement that Mid-American Conference Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher had signed on for an additional three years atop the league capped a crucial year for the league that saw a beefed up deal with ESPN, a new TV partner in CBS Sports Network, and expanded bowl opportunities among recent highlights. With “MACtion” set to return in just over a month with the new college football season, Cynopsis Sports spoke with Dr. Steinbrecher about the state of the conference, the cost of attendance stipends and what we can expect in the years ahead.

Steinbrecher on the state of the conference: The MAC is in a good place. We’ve had a very stable membership, as we are the only FBS conference that has neither added nor lost a full member in well over a decade. We are growing our revenues as a league, which provides us with more resources to send back to the member institutions for them to use to support the students who participate in collegiate athletics. The things we’ve done as a league, for the past five or six years, in conjunction with our growing media opportunities have lifted this conference from a nice regional brand to a good national brand. Some good things are happening at our member institutions right now.

On TV partnerships: We’ve had the opportunity now to work with ESPN to start to build out the sub-licensing. So we have CBS Sports Network coming aboard this year which will build our national exposure through a different platform. I think you will see some additional sublicensees come aboard over the next couple of weeks as we continue to build out the exposure we have not only in football and basketball but across an array of sports for us.

On cost of attendance: Based on where we are in today’s world where, particularly at the upper end of the spectrum, it is probably the right thing to do. It was done very inelegantly, I think. The legislation that was passed didn’t put in place some of the protections that probably needed to be there, a level of transparency to better govern where institutions are setting their numbers. I think most people are doing it right but you are hearing about some schools that are growing their number rather significantly and that has cause for concern. All of our institutions are on board with it. A couple are phasing it in, but others are doing it right off the bat.

On expansion: Never say never, that’s rule number one. The second rule is that you expand for two reasons: you expand to survive and you expand to get stronger. We are certainly not in survival mode so we would only look at people that make us stronger, and you could probably measure that across a number of metrics: academic profile metrics; on-field performance metrics; does it bring additional value to your TV and marketing rights, etc. etc.,. All of those would be things you would take into consideration.

On Akron cutting sports: They are going through an institutional retrenchment. They are looking at everything across the board and athletics will play a role in that. You never want to see programs drop, but I understand what they are going through. As soon as they announced what they were doing, we immediately provided a blanket waiver of our intra-conference transfer policy so that those young men could transfer within the league if that was of interest. It does not affect their standing in the conference. We go from 12 to 11 teams in baseball, and it doesn’t endanger the sport in the conference. Next week we will be discussing what we will do now.

Related Stories

Jane Latman takes helm at Travel Channel

Jane Latman takes helm at Travel Channel

In the latest Discovery shuffle post-Scripps acquisition, Jane Latman is new GM at Travel Channel, reporting to Henry Schleiff. Latman also will continue to serve as EVP, development and research, for Investigation Discovery and American Heroes Channel, and GM of Destination America.

Galecki’s SciJinks to debut in May

Galecki's SciJinks to debut in May

Using science as the foundation for stunts and practical jokes, SciJinks, the new science prank show hosted by Johnny Galecki, will premiere Wednesday, May 16 at 10p on Science Channel. Galecki, along with science “prankologists” Tamara Robertson and Jason Latimer, test out science on unsuspecting marks, drawing from chemistry, physics, technology, engineering and more.

Amazon Prime serves up US Open deal

Amazon Prime serves up US Open  deal (Facebook)

Amazon Prime Video continues to bolster its sports rights portfolio, locking in a deal with the USTA to snag the exclusive live telecast rights to the US Open Tennis Championships for the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. The five-year agreement, which begins with the 2018 US Open, will bring live and on-demand content to […]

Networks get their NFL plays

Networks get their NFL plays (Facebook)

Armed with its new Thursday Night Football package, FOX kicks off its coverage of the regular season with Week 1 as a national weekend on Sept. 9 pitting the Cowboys/Panthers and the Seahawks/Broncos at 4:25p while Thanksgiving will see the Redskins/Cowboys on the channel. This year’s Thursday Night Football package on FOX begins in Week […]

11 series land renewals on CBS

11 series land another season on CBS

CBS renewed 11 more series for the 2018-19 season, for a total of 17, including the entire Tuesday and Friday night lineups. Coming back are Blue Bloods, Bull, Hawaii Five-0, Madam Secretary, MacGyver, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, Survivor, The Amazing Race, 48 Hours and 60 Minutes.

CynCity

Cynsiders

Instagram