‘The State of College Athletics’
SPOKANE, Wash. – West Coast Conference Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich will discuss, “The State of College Athletics: How Did We Get Here and Where Are We Going?” at the Gonzaga University Dean’s Business Forum Breakfast starting at 7:30 a.m., Friday, Jan. 25 in the Jepson Center’s Wolff Auditorium. Admission is $15 for the public ($5 for students), and includes a 7 a.m. continental breakfast. Register online at www.gonzaga.edu/sbaevents.
Named the second full-time commissioner of the WCC on March 9, 2008, Zaninovich has led the conference (in which Gonzaga competes in intercollegiate athletics) to unprecedented growth in the areas of television and championships. He has expanded WCC membership for the first time in three decades and has become an active voice on the national scene through work on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee and the Collegiate Commissioners Association.
Zaninovich’s tenure at the West Coast Conference has been highlighted by a five-year strategic plan (2010-14) focused on three high-level strategic goals for the league: competitiveness, exposure and leadership. These three goals are addressed through men’s basketball nonconference scheduling and performance strategies, a video streaming enhancement program, approval of a Sportsmanship Initiative, launch of a new conference mark, and continued commitment to increasing the WCC voice within the NCAA governance structure.
The conference has grown in championships through a successful transition of the Zappos.com West Coast Conference Basketball Championships to the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The event has set tournament records for revenue, total attendance and single-game attendance, and will remain at the Orleans through 2013 after Zaninovich negotiated a multi-year extension with the facility. Zaninovich also was instrumental in creating two successful off-the-floor events in Las Vegas – the WCC Hall of Honor and the Zappos.com/WCC Shoe Drive.
Zaninovich led the WCC expansion to nine members when Brigham Young University accepted an invitation to join the conference on August 31, 2010. BYU marked the first addition to the WCC since Gonzaga and the University of San Diego entered the league prior to the 1979-80 school year.
Zaninovich, named by the Sports Business Journal in 2010 as among the prestigious “40 Under 40” top young professionals in the sports industry, also has advanced television coverage to showcase the WCC brand regionally, nationally and internationally. The WCC signed an eight-year contract extension with ESPN in June 2011 that will make ESPN the WCC’s national TV home through the 2018-19 season. The agreement increased by 25 percent the number of annual men’s ESPN basketball appearances and includes additional exposure for the WCC Basketball Championships and Olympic sport events.
The WCC has entered a formal men’s basketball television partnership the last four seasons with Cox San Diego, Comcast California, Fox Sports West and Comcast Northwest that spans Northern California, Southern California and the Pacific Northwest while creating a WCCTV student-media initiative that has led to increased original content on wccsports.com. In addition, the conference has expanded its footprint globally with games televised annually to ESPN affiliates in Australia, Europe, Latin America and South America.
In external relations, Zaninovich negotiated a long-term sponsorship rights agreement with IMG College and oversaw the creation of new media initiatives highlighted by unprecedented Internet, radio and TV coverage of the conference basketball championships.
Appointed to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee in 2011-12 and a past chair of the Division I Collegiate Commissioners Association Division I Subdivision, Zaninovich helped create a partnership with the Pacific-12 and Big West conferences on men’s and women’s basketball officiating training and evaluation programs with the addition of Dave Libbey and Violet Palmer as the WCC coordinators of basketball officials. Zaninovich is a founding member of the Board of Managers and Competition Committee of the Men’s College Basketball Officiating, L.L.C., and a past member of the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics. Before joining the WCC, he was a senior associate athletic director at Princeton University.
For more information, please contact A.J. Hawk at (509) 313-7036 or via email.