By Jon Wilner
Bay Area News Group
Pac-12 Stock Report
↑ Rising: Washington recruiting.
Silly us. We thought the Huskies had everything wrapped up in December. Turns out, Chris “No Drama” Petersen isn’t quite finished.
The first came late last week, when Concord De La Salle’s Tuli Letuligasenoa, one of the top defensive tackle prospects in the west and a USC commit, announced he would visit UW.
The second came Wednesday, when Julius Irvin, a 4-star cornerback from Anaheim, picked the Huskies over USC and Arkansas … err, make that Alabama.
Washington over USC and Alabama.
The third-year Arizona State coach was awarded a modest contract extension but a hefty salary increase this week. Hurley and the Sun Devils visit the Huskies Thursday at 8 p.m.
Per a detailed report by azcentral.com, Hurley will receive a $700,000 raise in July, pushing his base pay to $2.1 million.
Allow me to provide some context on Hurley’s $2.1 million:
Roy Williams makes $2.09 million.
Yep, the ASU coach who has never won an NCAA tournament game stands to earn more than the North Carolina coach who has won three national titles.
Now, it’s entirely possible that Williams has received a raise since his $2.09 million was reported in the USA Today salary database, and that his base for 2018-19 will exceed Hurley’s.
So let’s heap more context onto the pile. (Figures courtesy of USA Today)
• ASU’s Bobby Hurley: $2.1 million - Sweet 16 or better: zero times
• Gonzaga’s Mark Few: $1.6 million - Sweet 16 or better: seven times
• Xavier’s Chris Mack: $1.4 million - Sweet 16 or better: four times
• Miami’s Jim Larranaga: $1.3 million - Sweet 16 or better: three times
• Notre Dame’s Mike Brey: $970,00 - Sweet 16 or better: three times
The Hotline doesn’t begrudge Hurley a dime: Make whatever you can make. (Did we mention that he has annual six-figure bumps? No? Well, he has annual six-figure bumps.)
But is it fiscally responsible to pay a coach with no NCAA wins — and no current suitors — like he’s been to the Final Four?
Ultimately, fiscal responsibility is whatever ASU athletic director Ray Anderson and president Michael Crow say it is.
Even if their definition is, well, unique.
↑ Rising: Pac-12 football alumni.
No conference … not the Big Ten, not the ACC, not even the SEC … has more players on the Super Bowl active rosters than the Pac-12.
We won’t list them all, because there are 21, but one note on the topic:
Of all teams, Arizona produced the starting quarterback: Philadelphia’s Nick Foles.
I say that because the Wildcats, over the decades, have produced exactly one modern-era NFL quarterback: That would be Philadelphia’s Nick Foles.
(He was drafted by the former Eagles coach who is also a former Oregon coach and is the current UCLA coach.)
Arizona also claims a non-quarterback of some renown: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
And people call it a basketball school.
↓ Falling: United Airlines Memorial Coliseum
Perhaps it feels and sounds so damn wrong because we’re not used to iconic stadiums being renamed.
The Rose Bowl remains the Rose Bowl.
Yankee Stadium isn’t Bank of America Stadium.
Lambeau Field isn’t Got Milk Field.
If it’s a new facility, that’s one thing.
If it’s a basketball arena, that’s one thing.
But to rename an iconic outdoor venue like the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum?
From a business standpoint, the idea of selling naming rights makes sense.
The deal is worth $69 million over 16 years, which averages out to $4.3 million annually.
The cost of the Coliseum renovation is pegged at $270 million. I don’t know how the debt is structured, but let’s keep it simple and assume $9 million per year for 30 years.
The naming rights will pay almost half the annual debt service.
Could USC have gotten more? On the surface, it might seem that way:
Washington, with an assist from the shrewd negotiators at Navigate Research, sold Husky Stadium naming rights to Alaska Airlines for $41 million over 10 years.
So Washington is collecting $4.1 million annually for the naming rights to a stadium that’s in the 14th largest market and has never hosted a Summer Olympics, while USC is collecting $4.3 million annually for the naming rights to a stadium in the second-largest market that has hosted two Summer Olympics.
That said, the deals are not identical — the Huskies’ agreement with Alaska, for example, includes sponsorship of an Athletic Village on campus — so definitive conclusions are probably unwise.
Unless your conclusion is that United Airlines Memorial Coliseum won’t ever, ever sound right.