The All Things CW notes column by Christopher Walsh appears in five parts each week, with the latest on the Alabama Crimson Tide. This is …
An hour before tip, the student section at Coleman Coliseum was jam-packed. That’s not unusual when many of the big-name opponents are in town, but the Alabama Crimson Tide was hosting an underrated, feisty Mississippi State team, which it had already defeated this season.
It was also on dreary, chilly Wednesday night. So fans had plenty of reasons to maybe sit this one out.
But why miss an opportunity to see this team play?
It’s hard to believe that it’s already year four of the Nate Oats era in Tuscaloosa, and unless something surprising happens one has to believe that there’s the potential for him to be here for a long, long time.
Season No. 2 led to a conference championship, and now we’re seeing the Crimson Tide making a run for another, only this time with a roster of players Oats brought to Alabama.
He’s getting the credit and recognition that’s more than deserved, but it’s time for the person who has really been turning Alabama into a basketball school (which some said would be nearly impossible) to take a bow, Greg Byrne.
He’s the one who sold Oats on the program’s potential, while simultaneously appearing to have kept Nick Saban happy.
Additionally, plans are in place for a new area, which is on target to become reality if and when the economy improves enough and construction costs decline. A critical part of Phase II of the Alabama Standard initiative, it’s hopefully just a matter of time before more than the foundation is in place.
His latest coup was overlooked by many earlier this week when Alabama announced reaching a unique NIL deal with a sports marketing giant: Alabama Athletics Extends Multimedia Rights Relationship With Learfield.
It’s a 15-year agreement that includes creating a unique hub for name, image and likeness (NIL) called The Advantage Center inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Scroll to Continue
Alabama’s previous contract with Learfield, signed in 2014, was for 10 years and guaranteed the Crimson Tide more than $160 million. Financial terms of the new deal were not released, but according to Sports Business Journal, it’s “believed to be one of the most lucrative in the country along with Ohio State and Texas.”
It could be a revolutionary deal, and feeds into what’s been Byrne’s No. 1 priority since he left basketball haven Arizona for Alabama in 2017: Make sure the athletic department’s success under Saban will go on, and on, and on …
Meanwhile, Tennessee announced that it’s reached a contract extension with athletic director Danny White, starting at $2.2 million annually, with a six-year rolling term. That’s up from his original deal paying him $1.8 million annually.
Through White’s first two years on Rocky Top, the Volunteers have captured six SEC team championships, had record fundraising in 2021-22, and hired Josh Heupel when the dysfunctional football program could only be described as a disaster (with NCAA penalties looming).
According to Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated, the deal is believed to make White the highest paid athletic director in the Southeastern Conference, and among the top eight nationally.
Yes, he’s making more than Byrne, although Alabama has been good to him.
Byrne was initially paid $900,000 for his first year, and had incremental increases written into his deal. In 2022, his contract was updated for a fourth time, which will pay him an average of $1.7 million through the 2028-29 academic year.
That was last year, though, as any good agent would say.
Consider Saban, Oats and Byrne to be the university’s version of the triangle offense in basketball, or the best three-man band since Rush (or Nirvana if you’re so inclined). Alabama should do anything and everything it can to keep them together for as long as possible.
Take 1: Tale of the Tape, No. 1 Purdue vs. No. 2 Alabama
Seven former IU basketball players saw minutes in the NBA this season. Three of them are with teams in the 2023 NBA Finals. The Miami Heat and the Denver Nu
Cancel that flight plan, Denver. Turns out, the NBA Finals are starting in the Mile High City after all.And Jimmy Butler was proven right.Finally, we have a tit