Debbie Yow Q&A, part II

Matt Carter, Editor
The Wolfpacker

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NC State media relations

Earlier Tuesday, The Wolfpacker released part I of our interview with NC State Director of Athletics Debbie Yow.

Link: Debbie Yow Q&A, part I

In part II of our interview, Yow covers finances, academics and the performance of the non-revenue sports.

What is the overall state of the athletic department financially?

“Our operations are good. We stretch every dollar spent. We will use $1.5 million of our reserves for the transition of the men’s basketball staffs made back in March. That is why the reserve exists, for normal business practices like that and for capital projects and maintenance.”

That speaks to how crucial the ACC Network will be.

“It’s pivotal. It must be successful. We finished the year fifth out of the five Power Five leagues with the least payout per school. We cannot remain in that position and sustain the level of success that we currently have across the league.”

What updates have you received from the league on the status of the ACC Network, given the recent ESPN layoffs?

“The latest update is from the chief financial officer of Disney, who spoke about two months ago at a conference, as did John Skipper, president of ESPN.

“She said when people cut the cord and go to another means of distribution that ESPN is getting their fair share.

“She didn’t specify exactly what it would cost to get ESPN in a cord-cutting model, but it is likely disproportionate, compared to other channels.

“That made me feel better than anything anybody else had said. She pretty much was putting a stake in the ground and saying, ‘It’s ESPN folks. Whether we’re in a skinny bundle where you can get 40 channels instead of 120 or not, we’re getting our fair share.’

“That’s what really matters, how much they get out of that skinny bundle cost.”

When is it on track to launch?

“August of 2019.”

How are NC State’s student-athletes performing academically?

“Our graduation success rate was 83 percent, and that matches our highest graduation success rate ever. These rates are now measuring a class that entered here seven years ago, in 2010.

“It’s fascinating when you really understand how it works that it has nothing to do with what is happening right now.

“You compute a six-year graduation rate, and then you add one year for the NCAA to confirm the data so that it is accurate. By the time it’s published, it’s been seven years since that class entered college.”

What are your thoughts on the Wolfpack’s Directors’ Cup performance?

“There are a number of good things. Thirteen teams reached postseason competition, and we have a chance to reach the Top 30 this year in the Directors’ Cup.

“We had a meeting with the sport supervisors to talk one more time about getting into the Top 25. We are getting closer and closer, but we have not done it yet. What we realized is we have 13 teams score out of 23, so that means 10 teams didn’t bring any points to the table.

“The highest number of teams to ever score in a single year is 14, and until we get to the point where we have at least another five sports scoring, we cannot get to the Top 25. When you are at this level, everybody we are competing against also has good coaches, and a number of them have larger budgets.”

You had a couple of sports like rifle that were so close.

“In rifle, we finished ninth nationally, and you have to finish eighth to earn points. We missed going to the next round of men’s golf by two strokes, and women’s golf was close too. But we’re not there.

“We do talk like everybody else does, especially when you are invested in it. We sit there and say how close we are, two strokes here, one stroke there.

“I participate in that, and pretty quickly I turn to the group and say, ‘Whatever the reason is, it didn’t happen, and we understand we need a greater number of teams to score.’

“We got right down to the spring, and there was tremendous pressure on all the spring sports to deliver. However, we didn’t score in outdoor men’s track and outdoor women’s track, as an example.

“We need to spread the responsibility across all the sports and not just go down to the wire to make it work.”

Another sport that was close to moving on was women’s basketball against Texas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

“I sound just like a fan, I know I do, but I am watching, and I can see what I consider officiating errors and it hurts.

“We told Wes Moore there were some things we can’t control. The best thing you can say to your team was we have to figure out a way to make up the difference for a bad call or two in the last minute of a game.

“I loved that team. Those four seniors that graduated were really special. He has significant turnover in his program this year and a tougher schedule for 2017-18, we’ll see how that goes.”

Was the sixth seed in the NCAA Tournament fair for them after beating four top-15 teams?

“We obviously wanted a higher seed. We have a director of analytics who was a wrestler for us and just finished earning his MBA at State. We went through a lot of this, and it turned out it really wasn’t as unfair as I originally thought it was. We need to do better if we want to get that home seed. I am okay with that and looking forward to this upcoming season.

“Wes is one of the best X and O coaches I’ve ever been associated with in any sport. He just understands how to motivate his team, how to win, what system to put them in to win.

“For him and his staff, it’s all about recruiting. He’s going to have to recruit successfully against some of the best programs in the nation, like Notre Dame.

“What an incredible win over Notre Dame in Reynolds last winter when they were No. 2 in the nation. I was very proud of that night. The future is bright there.”

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