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CEDAR FALLS — The Missouri Valley Conference’s annual men’s basketball summer press conference with its respective coaches was anything but ordinary Thursday.
The press conference — held on Zoom — marked the first time new conference commissioner Jeff Jackson met the media. It also aligned with the first day that student-athletes could profit off of their names, images and likenesses.
Questions about the MVC’s vision and current standing in the basketball landscape with its new commissioner took a back seat to a litany of questions for Jackson and the league’s coaches regarding the path forward — and potential bumps in the road — regarding the new era NIL rights is ushering into amateur athletics.
UNI coach Ben Jacobson — who agreed to a two-year contract extension Thursday through 2028-29 — echoed the comments of the league’s other coaches that much is yet to be learned about NIL.
“We’re in a state that did not pass an individual state law,” Jacobson said. “So our institution right now is in the process of, and real close to, having a policy in place that will govern it for the time being. Until we get to the point where there’s a national standard for what NIL is going to look like. I think this is going to be really good for student-athletes.”
Asked if he’s prepared to discuss opportunities with recruits at UNI, Jacobson offered some clarity on what is and isn’t permissible in the NIL era.
“The way I understand it, that (recruiting pitch) piece is not supposed to be part of name, image and likeness,” Jacobson said. “If we get direction, clarification maybe, that we’re able to have it be part of every recruiting pitch — but at this point my understanding is we are not agents. We are not the ones that are working these deals.”
Details of Ben Jacobson’s new contract
Jacobson’s contract extension does not include any raises to his base salary ($400,000), media fee ($200,000), appearance fee ($225,000 rising to $300,000) or longevity pay ($125,000), per an open records request from The Gazette. It does include modest raises to performance bonuses, such as winning the MVC regular season, tournament championship and qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.
Most notably, what’s changed in the contract is the buyout structure.
Jacobson can designate two schools to have a lower/capped buyout; previously; that amount was lowered from $1 million to $500,000.
Additionally, for any school that would buy him out that are not among the previous two designated schools, they now only pay 10 percent of his remaining compensation to UNI, instead of 30 percent, which is what the previous contract stated.
AJ Green recovering from hip surgery
AJ Green recently passed his last functional tests for his surgically repaired hips.
Green participated in summer workouts, but has yet to participate in any contact or team drills.
“From a strength standpoint he’s getting close,” Jacobson said. “From a movement, side-to-side from an explosive standpoint — running and jumping — he’s still not where he wants to be before he gets back into live action. So he’s doing great, but we’ve got and he’s got some more work to do just in terms of the work to get some quickness, mobility (and) explosion. That hasn’t all come back yet. I think within six weeks were there.”