This week on "Beers, Business, and Balls", Andy Katz joins the show! Coming in around the 18:46 mark, you may recognize the name as he is the face of March Madness. Andy Katz is an NCAA.com correspondent who worked at ESPN for 18 years as a college basketball reporter, host, and anchor. He's covered every Final Four since 1992 and currently works with Big Ten Network, Fox, and FS1.
Andy Katz shared his stories at ESPN and making brackets with President Obama, his most recent Power36, and expectations for the Big East, Providence College Friars, and the Bryant University Bulldogs. In addition, we dove deep into some recent topics such as the ESPN layoffs that took his job, the recent NIL agreement in college sports, and what top draft prospects can stick in the draft.
The 2017 ESPN Layoffs - Andy's Thoughts and Feelings
"Everyone deals with things like this differently. I was really caught off guard. I couldn't imagine this happening. 18 years at ESPN, 8 years doing to the brackets with President Obama, countless March Madness tournaments. They didn't replace me, they just got rid of the position, and still haven't replaced it.
I never thought it would make sense to be angry and to show that anger publicly. By doing so, it would hurt your career potential. I was hurt, really hurt. It felt like someone walking up to you and saying they don't love you anymore. It was a shock. You then get the "it's not you, had nothing to do with you, just a tough decision", and I don't think I did anything wrong, it was strictly a financial decision. They got rid of 100 of us and wiped out a lot of money and a tax write-off. I think they are lesser for it because they got rid of a ton of experience.
I feel great right now. I don't have any bitterness towards them, because I had 18 great years and did great things. I hold my head up high. I felt that I created a good trend there with my work."
The "Name, Image, and Likeness" Policy in College Sports
"First off, I think we are all learning right off the bat, and we [national media] were assuming that this was just college football and basketball. I did not know the gymnast from LSU [Olive Dunn] was the most followed college athlete on social media in the country. I didn't know the Cavinder Twins from Fresno State were huge.
Now, they need to have something with them. Whether it's they are talented, they are doing TikToks, they are engaging, they have to have something. That's the one thing that will be interesting to follow. At the end of the day, you still need something that's marketable. Or how you present yourself on Instagram. It's not just going to come to you.
If you're just an offensive lineman from Alabama. Awesome, you are at Alabama, but you are also just another offensive lineman. What's the difference? This won't benefit you. It's still a meritocracy in some form and fashion. We are going to see this initial wave in the next couple of months. Then, things are going to settle down. Not everyone is going to get these big deals as college athletes. Will people benefit if someone throws for 10 TD's and they become a household name? Yeah maybe.
I think the one big miss of the NCAA for years, which I thought was fighting a fight that made no sense, was athletes using the college's name. For example, my daughter is a theater major at Northwestern. She could technically have a voiceover class and title it with Northwestern's name on it, with no problem. Before July 1st, an athlete couldn't have a sports camp with the college's name on it, with any promotional material on it. That was just ridiculous. They were just so rigid on some things, so I hope athletes can benefit from this.
It will be interesting to see how companies marketing budgets look and how universities either benefit or get hurt from this."
Upcoming NBA Draft Prospects who can "stick" in the league
"Cade Cunnigham and Jalen Suggs, you can't go wrong with either of those two. Cade is going to go one because of his size, but I absolutely love Suggs. We have talked about this on the air, but you can see that he was a former quarterback, he has unbelievable court vision, I love how he can pass. I think because of a couple of instances, Cade has the advantage, that's the reason he's going to go one, and Suggs could go anywhere from 2-4 depending on a team's need. I think it will be a big mistake if Suggs drops too far. I think both have star potential."
Follow him on Twitter at @theandykatz.
Follow his March Madness 365 weekly podcast here.