Hokie Tracks is Extremely Excited for the "Battle of the Bastards"

The ACC Network, 757 recruits, and a Michael Vick documentary are among the topics of thought.

[Mark Umansky]

This is the two-weeks-overdue edition of Hokie Tracks, which coincidentally is about the right amount of time for enough interesting football information to accumulate during the summer.

The ACC Network. David Teel wove a myriad of details regarding the ACC's new media agreement with ESPN throughout columns over the last four weeks. In the middle of May Teel wrote, "The ACC and ESPN eventually will team on a new, more lucrative model for presenting the conference's events." In a piece on Wednesday, Teel outlined the need and likelihood for the ACC to play nine conference games to help secure a new media deal.

Indeed, nine games are quite possible if, as expected, the ACC and ESPN agree by year's end to broaden the league's exposure through traditional (cable) and progressive (online streaming) means.

It seems inevitable the ACC and ESPN will strike a new media agreement. The ACC's grant of media rights through 2026-27, approved in 2013, essentially eliminated conference defectors. Meanwhile, a new deal with the Four-Letter should help keep the league on pace with its contemporaries in the Power Five. A cash influx would be beneficial to Virginia Tech, whose collective alumni are among the worst fundraisers in the ACC, and who has to compete regionally for talent with cash heavy powers from the SEC and Big Ten. Thirty-three percent of the Hokies' $80.3 million in revenue in 2014-15 came from the ACC ($26.7 million), and more than half of the top-line was TV money ($217.9mm of $403.1mm).

Regarding scheduling, the transition from an eight- to a potential nine-game ACC football schedule would certainly make Whit Babcock's job more difficult. Tech's scheduled a full slate of four non-conference opponents through 2025, with only a single open slot in 2022. The Hokies' savvy athletic director may be able to void game contracts with ease. However, in the seasons where Tech is doubled, or even tripled up with Power Five opponents on its non-conference slate, exactly which team to drop becomes a tough question to answer. Do Babcock, Justin Fuente, and other stakeholders favor a more winnable or marketable schedule.

In any event, unlike Florida State, Clemson, Louisville and Georgia Tech, the Hokies are fortunate not to play an SEC rival annually. Those arrangements are ones Babcock's counterparts will not be able to wiggle out of. Moreover, with nine ACC games a year Tech would play its rotating opponents in the Atlantic division once every three years. That would mean more frequent appearances by the 'Noles, Tigers and Cardinals on the Hokies' schedule.

If a nine-game ACC football schedule does come to fruition, a logical thing to do would be to use non-conference games to balance it out, e.g. schedule a marque Power Five non-conference opponent in Lane when Tech's fifth road game is at Wake Forest. (I understand the irony and it's delicious.)

Michael Vick documentary set to debut in July. I expect Bleacher Report to produce a polarizing chronicle on the rise, fall and (in progress) redemption of Vick. B/R's video work is among the best online.

Virginia Tech made the cut in Tahj Capehart's top ten. Capehart is a 4-star wide receiver who hails from the 757. Zohn Burden and Holmon Wiggins are tasked to land him for the Hokies.

Prior to dropping his top ten, Capehart provided an overview of the schools factoring prominently in his recruitment. He also divulged his plans to end his recruitment either before his upcoming senior season or midseason.

The Hokies have ground to make up in their pursuit of Jordan Williams. The four-star, 757 defensive end plans to commit in August, and he recently provided an in order list of his top-five: Clemson, Virginia, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and Ohio State.

Kevin Jones resigned as assistant athletics director, special projects and design. Jones will pursue his MBA from Virginia Tech and continue grow his design firm.

"We appreciate the many contributions Kevin has made to Tech Athletics, especially his work in the past two years," Babcock said in a release. "Kevin will remain a great ambassador for the Hokies even though he will no longer be serving in an official capacity. His design concepts on Union Park at English Field, as well as his tireless efforts in transforming the look and feel of the Merryman Center will be lasting contributions to our department for many years to come."

Pursuing a graduate degree and building a business are admirable, and respectable endeavors. As far as Jones' tenure with Tech's administration, it's at best unclear if he was successful at developing relationships with, and ultimately extracting money from, Hokies in the pros β€” the responsibility of his former role which moved the needle.

Offensive excitement is tempered until a quarterback emerges. The Hokies boast NFL-caliber players at its skill positions. The offensive line the most talented it's been in quite a few years. Head coach Justin Fuente is an offensive guru. However, as David Hale notes, Jerod Evans is the wildcard.

New Hokies coach Justin Fuente played his cards close to his chest throughout spring practice, but it's clear the quarterback with the most upside for Virginia Tech at the moment is Evans, a juco transfer who split first-team reps throughout the spring. Fuente is a whiz with QBs, so there's optimism he can develop Evans quickly. More importantly, the Hokies have a wealth of offensive weapons. Now the question is whether Evans responds this offseason and seizes the starting job during fall camp. If Virginia Tech has its QB, Fuente's rebuilding job might go far more smoothly than many currently expect.

Hoops commit Nickeil Alexander-Walker is ranked No. 34 in the latest 2017 ESPN 100. The 6-6 shooting guard has earned a bevy of praise from Canadian basketball pundits.

"Nickeil is the best two-way player in Canada," Shane James, the Co-Director of Under Armour Canada Elite, told SNY.tv, "With his 6-foot-6 frame he can defend multiple positions and play multiple positions offensively. His biggest strength is his ability to use and finish with both hands and his feel for the game. The kid's a talent. Reminds me of a young Paul George."

82 days until Hokies football. Things you should do until then, follow TKP on Instagram, and like TKP on Facebook.

Comments

Looks like capehart doesn't know the difference between a chicken and a turkey...
Also, the part about us being terrible donors is a little embarrassing.

It's more than a little embarrassing.

NC State is the shocker on that list.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Not for me. The Wolfpack Club is one of the best run booster clubs in America. It's a model that VT should follow.

Can you elaborate?

Twitter me

Sure. First things first, I can tell you at least 5 different people that I know in the Wolfpack Club where I can call them up and just talk to them, this includes Bobby Purcell. Not a big donor by far, but a long time 30+ year donor. They make sure that your questions are answered and they you're in touch with what they are doing for the student athletes and facilities. In the 10+ years I've been a donor to the Hoke Club, I've never talked to anyone, nor has anyone reached out to me.

Second, they've done a really great job of selling facility upgrades the last 15 years, and have given new donors the opportunity to benefit from those upgrades with premium seating. There is a very fine line between donors who have donated $1,000 every year for 30 years and donors who donate $30,000 in a year with respect on who do you determine to be the more "loyal" donor. I think State has struck a happy medium between the two where both are happy with the benefit of their contribution.

Third, They do a great job of getting students involved. They have the student wolfpack club which gets alumni hooked early to the idea of being in the alumni booster club. Even if you only have 20% participation with the student body, if you retain 10% of that as alumni, it's a tremendous benefit.

All in all, it's really about communication and selling boosters that they are benefiting the program and gaining the personal investment in the success of NC State. VT just doesn't have that.

VT has a student Hokie Club. I've talked to Hokie Club reps and employees almost biweekly and I'm just an Orange and Maroon donor. While I agree there could be improvements to the Hokie Club I disagree that the blame is solely on the Hokie Club.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

The student Hokie Club is relatively new. I was unaware of anything like it during my time at VT, which were the most prosperous years for the football team outside the late 90s. Opportunity missed for an entire generation of students.

Regarding contacting the HC, do you initiate, or do they? Never once since graduating have I ever gotten so much as a postcard or email from the HC. I know there are technological challenges (because of Banner) that have held things back, but when I get nearly monthly communication from the VT Alumni Association and absolute silence from the HC, whose job it is to solicit donations, I think there is a serious problem. Hopefully it's in the process of being fixed, but I think this certainly says a lot about the fundraising failures.

Both ways. My local Hokie Club rep emails, calls and texts me often.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

The only time I ever get called about the Hokie Club is to remind me my annual donation is coming up, and only that comes from a local rep who is more interested in football seating priority than actual fundraising for Tech.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

I've never been contacted by anyone in the Hokie Club either, local or otherwise.

I joined on my own and was never contacted personally by the HC to welcome or get my thoughts, questions, opinions. I did receive an email. I only found out about my local club through a friend who just happened to know the right person.

Once I went to the town hall meeting for the scholarship fund presentation, I connected with a few HC members. However, there has been no direct feedback or anything since.

I think there is a problem with HC reaching out to all donors. They flock to the rich members or the longest running members. They just don't seem as interested in small, newer money at least in my area.

I would be a surprise for the Pulaski County Hokie Club. Been a Member for Many a Years. Never hear anything. Amazing I see things like this posted. I gave a Few Dollars too....

Jack R.

Recently, the Pulaski County HC started a twitter account: @ hokieclubpc (minus the space). I don't live there but it is the closest locale to me that does have its own handle. Might be a good way to get in touch with HC members.

Hokie Fireman (and this is not a call out), honest question: if you were to condense it into numbers and percentages, what percentage would say lies with the HC and what percentage would you say lies elsewhere?

60 with Hokie Club 40 with fans/alums not stepping up. Just look at how few fans/alum support the schools endowment, sports programs, buy season tickets. There is clearly an outreach disconnect which I think is trying to be changed but it's a lengthy process. But in my experience in trying to recruit new Hokie Club members people just don't care enough to not only give but to just learn about it.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

VT does have a student Hokie Club, but as a former member I can't say I know why it even exists. In two years I got nothing out of it other than an email confirming that I had signed up.

That's the thing man, the reward at NC State is the opportunity to be seated in the best sections for FB and BB. I believe it's a points system based on the amount of non-revenue sports that you attend that determines your ranking. Again, it's a way to start early in getting people conditioned to providing more support to get more reward.

Same way at UNC, App State and Duke. You cannot get in demand tix at a North Carolina school if you are not supporting your team in non-revenue sports.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

It started a year and a half ago and unfortunately until recently hasn't had much to offer in terms of tangible benefits to current members. That should be changing quite soon. Also, you get points which, under the new system, are a pretty significant boost to your HC standing.

Joe, am I reading this right that the donor number is total donors with no regard to alumni or non-alumni? So that means the percentage of alumni giving could be significantly lower for schools with a larger public appeal (ND or UM, for instance). So it's probably even less than 4% of living alumni donate for us...

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

You are probably reading that right. Worsham isn't an alum but is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) donors.

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior" Stephen M.R. Covey

β€œWhen life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” David Wilson

This is correct. Whit and Bill Lansden, head of Hokie Club, have mentioned this before. It is very likely that the percentage of living alumni who donate is less than that 4% number.

Ugh, these numbers sadden me every time I see them.

Its the one thing that made the whole "but we did such a good job of running in the black" run a little hollow during the Jim Weaver era. Sure, we ran in the black by penny pinching the shit out of everything we did, but that was completely out of necessity because we are an absolute failure when it comes to fundraising. 4% of alumni donate, and that number is probably exaggerated on its own. Total dollars raised ranks 3rd to last in a 13 school conference despite having the 5th largest (and rapidly growing) alumni base.

No matter how you break it down, its pathetic.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Wait-ok, so NCSU, Loserville, WtF, LOLUVA AND GagTech are in front of us!?!? Pardon my french, but f-k that shit!

It be interesting to slice these numbers since the Beamer era. I always felt like the alumni before that period had far less interest in athletics and were mostly focused on the corps and education with athletics being just an entertainment option rather than a point of pride.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

At least we're ahead of Virginia.
...

This is scored like golf, right...?

___

-What we do is, if we need that extra push, you know what we do? -Put it up to fully dipped? -Fully dipped. Exactly. It's dork magic.

But, what is the correlation between donor success & football success. Miami is down there sucking hind-tit along with us and they've enjoyed quite a bit of football success nonetheless. I think the dollar amount of the donations has to figure in. You could feasibly have a smaller donor base percentage-wise but have a bigger amount of revenue if the donations were big dollars. I just can't wrap my brain around the numbers just yet.

BroncsZoo

That's what being around South Beach will do. Combine that with the history they have and the NFL pipeline they created, and the program sells itself.

That being said, they haven't even sniffed a division title since joining the ACC 10 years ago, so their lack of fundraising has taken its toll.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

in 2012 they were actually tied for first in the coastal, but were not eligible for postseason due to self-sanctions.

the following year they were 2nd. they've been closer than we have lately sadly.

Regarding scheduling, the transition from an eight- to a potential nine-game ACC football schedule would certainly make Whit Babcock's job more difficult. Tech's scheduled a full slate of four non-conference opponents through 2025, with only a single open slot in 2022. The Hokies' savvy athletic director may be able to void game contracts with ease. However, in the seasons where Tech is doubled, or even tripled up with Power Five opponents on its non-conference slate, exactly which team to drop becomes a tough question to answer. Do Babcock, Justin Fuente, and other stakeholders favor a more winnable or marketable schedule.

Unpopular opinion, but I'm of the belief that you shouldn't shy away from a tough schedule. The best teams just win tough games.

Twitter me

I'm with you. I'd watch us lose a game against a good opponent. We used to have the "anyone, anywhere" mentality and it's about damn time to get it back.

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior" Stephen M.R. Covey

β€œWhen life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” David Wilson

I don't think it went anywhere.

It's Time to go to Work

About half our opponents over the past 4 years seem to think so

Its play anyone anywhere, not win all of our games. We played Alabama in Atlanta, a home and home with Ohio State, and we have Tennessee in Bristol. We are playing anyone and anywhere.

It's Time to go to Work

It's not all that intimidating to say we'll play anyone anywhere, and then lose to East Carolina and Duke at home. After all, we play to win the game, right? I don't think any goals are accomplished by agreeing to play against the big boys.

Yes, it's important to play in these big nonconference games, and no, we don't tend to shy away from a matchup with anyone. But the "anyone anywhere" mentality used to mean we liked our chances against any team in the country, in any venue in the country. Unfortunately, we've definitely gotten away from that.

We don't shy away from anyone. We haven't backed down and scheduled a NC State type OOC schedule. You are basically saying you just want to have a better team.

It's Time to go to Work

NC State type OOC schedule

God what a joke they've been the past couple of years. This year, believe it or not, they're actually kind of respectable. The OOC slate this year is: Bill & Mary, ECU, ODU, and ND. Obviously they're forced into playing ND and would probably be playing some low tier FCS team if they weren't but still.

Haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate, and hetzers gonna hetz

Don't give them too much credit. ODU was probably still an FCS team when they scheduled them.

"Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our heart with tolerance."
-Stan Lee

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
-Ron Swanson

"11-0, bro"
-Hunter Carpenter (probably)

We don't shy away from anyone. We haven't backed down and scheduled a NC State type OOC schedule. You are basically saying you just want to have a better team.

I think you're missing the point. I literally just said we don't shy away from anyone. When vtfly initially said that we used to have that "anyone anywhere" mentality, I think he meant it was visible on the field. Not just that we showed up.

If you play a tough enough schedule, you'll get into the playoff even if you drop a game.

But, if you're going to have an "anytime, anywhere" mentality, you have to win some of those games, especially when they are big showcase games.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior" Stephen M.R. Covey

β€œWhen life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” David Wilson

There is a difference between a tough schedule and a foolish schedule. The best teams in the country don't play 11-12 games against power 5 teams.

It's Time to go to Work

Right now our 2021 OOC includes Richmond, Michigan, WVU and ND. Do we really want to drop Richmond to play 12 P5 teams just to "not shy away" when 11 P5 teams and an FCS will be plenty for SOS?

no problem here. Just make ND join the ACC outright before 2021

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

How simple

No, I'd rather drop WVU.

Listen to HOAT, this horse knows what he's talking about

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

You got my vote. It's literally a "no-brainer".

Nice to see we are in the mix for some top recruits, but even though it's WAY early, I'm a little concerned. After both the Spring Game and the big camp this weekend, radio silence so far on the recruiting trail. I'm hopeful that our recruiting situation is in "wait-and-see" mode and people want to see what Fuente and Co. can do on the field this season. But UVa is currently ahead of us for a top target - not a good look.

think Williams is really the only in state guy they are ahead of us for though. I don't believe they have much of a shot at any of the other from the top 10.

Outside of hunter and capehart not sure who we are really in the mix for this year in the top 10 (already landed garbutt). Williams seems like a done deal to Clemson for me and can't blame him with their DE success lately and venables claiming a #1 defense recently.

In recent years, we have had a handful of commits between the Spring Game and summer camps. Not a single verbal from anyone during both events, blue chip recruit or not. As I said, I'm hopeful people are just watching and waiting to see the on-field product, but the silence is concerning. If we could just get a big commitment from someone like Hunter, that would get momentum going in a huge way. I will be very disappointed if we whiff on all the top guys currently considering us.

Fuente has been recruiting these people for a few months. It takes time to build relationships with them.

It's Time to go to Work

a lot of our defensive staff have been here for a bit more than a few months, right?

Plus, Zohn is a holdover from the previous staff, and he's been recruiting heavily in the 757 for us.

That doesn't overshadow the fact that you have a new head coach, which is incredibly important. The only people that aren't majorly affected are linebackers and defensive lineman being recruited by Foster and Wiles.

It's Time to go to Work

which ironically is one of the positions that we keep missing out on. in state DL talent.

also agree a new HC is very important obviously, but your post came across as if we had an entirely new staff which is far from the case.

It is almost an entirely new staff. Its not "far from the case" when only 3 people were retained and one changed the position he coaches.

It's Time to go to Work

I see those donor numbers and it makes me very sad, then I remember the way people reacted to increased ticket prices/seat fees and it makes me want to throw up. Especially when those same people whine about how we don't recruit like the big boys.

82 Days til football....

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

Do we have a sports medicine program for Williams? He did not actually say we suck but I did not get any warm fuzzies. He's going to Clemson!

"Hey Bud, you wont have to hold the opponent to 17 points anymore."

Human Nutrition Food & Exercise covers the same material for the major. It's largely sports medicine/dietitians/personal training as a major.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

Thanks Nerd. A leg for you. My son did that at Longwood. He's in the fire academy now.

"Hey Bud, you wont have to hold the opponent to 17 points anymore."

I'm not too excited about an ACC network, mostly because you know it's going to be run by this guy and his friends

Click here to destroy wall.

Oddly enough, I think a drunk baby may be better at scheduling than our current situation.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.