Former Southern Illinois football coach Jerry Kill is taking over the athletics department, effective immediately.
SIU Carbondale chancellor Carlo Montemagno made the move Thursday after deciding not to renew athletic director Tommy Bell’s contract, which expires next month. Montemagno said it is time “to make a change in leadership that will help the program fulfill its potential.”
Kill’s oversight of the department will begin immediately. He is not the interim athletic director, the school said, but is adding oversight of athletics to his duties.
With the partnership, the Jazz are the 14th NBA franchise or franchise ownership group, to be involved in esports outside of the NBA 2K League. In a trend that began in early 2015, owners from the Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks and others have bought into the esports industry, which is expected to hit $1 billion in global revenue in the next three years, according to Newzoo, a market analysis firm focused on video games and esports.
“The NBA does a fantastic job at reaching out to communities and getting people interested early on in their game, their players and their brand,” Vander Linden said. “They do a really good job of that. They’re continuing to grow their interests worldwide. I think what you have is this natural tie between the traditional sport of basketball with gaming, especially with the players now who are coming into the league in the last three or four years. They travel with consoles and laptops, and they play different games, and they connect with some of their fans through those platforms.”
The NBA allows high school players to enter the G League without the wait. The Commission on College Basketball recommended Wednesday that the NBA and NBPA allow high school players to enter the draft, but college basketball has no ability to effect change on the issue. The NBA and NBPA must collectively bargain a change of the early entry rule.
The Commission on College Basketball made a recommendation to allow college players who declare for the NBA draft to retain their eligibility should they go unselected in the draft.
The NBA has a record 236 early-entry candidates for the 2018 NBA draft, which includes 181 NCAA and 81 international players. It is an increase of 30 percent over the 2017 draft. That rule change could benefit both the NBA and college basketball, because even the G League can’t absorb such an influx of marginal pro prospects.