Positioning

New Boston College AD Blake James in it for the long haul – Boston Herald

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Blake James assumes control over the Boston College athletic department on July 1 with an extensive NCAA portfolio and a long-range commitment.
BC President William P. Leahy, S.J., introduced James as the school’s William V. Campbell Director of Athletics during a gathering inside the Barber Room at the Yawkey Center on Thursday morning.
James succeeds Patrick Kraft, who signed on as AD at Penn State after a two-year stint at BC. James served as athletic director at Miami from 2013-2021 but was released in November when the Hurricanes’ failed football season resulted in an administrative house cleaning.
“I could not have ended up in a better place,” said James. “I look forward to spending many years at the Heights and immersing myself into the BC community.
“As an athletics program we will strive for excellence in all that we do and compete for championships with integrity.”
James was the logical choice among the three finalists for the position. During his tenure in Coral Gables, Fla., James became a controlling influence in both the politics and the financial ways and means of the Atlantic Coast Conference, a Power-5 league of which BC is a member school.
James served on the ACC’s Football, NIL and Finance and Audit committees, so he is already positioned to champion BC’s causes the way he did for Miami.
“I think I have the great respect of my colleagues in the league and I was the first elected chair of the ACC committee,” said James. “There was outreach from I think everyone in the league and they are excited to have me back in the league.
“To be able to bring my voice and the respect I have not only in the conference, but nationally. There are a lot of moving parts and everyone who is in this industry and even those on the outside, none of us would have predicted where we are today three years ago.
“It is hard to predict the future. But my experience on the national and conference level will get a lot of respect and a great voice moving forward.”
The NCAA has undergone a sea change of institutional policies that have totally altered the landscape of collegiate athletics. The transfer portal is an open border that enables college athletes to move about as free agents without restrictions.
The Names, Image and Likeness (NIL) provision allows college athletes to market themselves and receive financial compensation through promotional venues. NIL is the elephant of the moving parts James referenced. James accepts the premise but would like to see it applied uniformly with federal oversight.
“The train has left the station,” said James. “Name, Image and Likeness is out there and we are not going to go backwards to a day in college athletics where there is not Name, Image and Likeness opportunities.
“What I would like to see is have us give it greater structure. You have 34 state laws and each one of those state laws is going to be a little bit different.
“My hope is we get to the point of a national approach. I hope the leadership of the NCAA can work with those we need to have behind the approach and I do believe it goes through Washington, D.C.”
James has taken on a significantly bigger job than he had in Miami because BC has 31 varsity athletic programs. The national average is 24 and Miami has 19. Funding that many programs from football revenues and the ACC’s annual payout of $32 million is a unique challenge James is ready to embrace.
“That’s something I’m really excited about,” said James. “There are a lot of sports I’ve never been able to be around.”
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