NCAA: Spikemark out, Clippd in as golf scoring and ranking provider

NCAA: Spikemark out, Clippd in as golf scoring and ranking provider
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The NCAA is moving on from Spikemark after a tumultuous few months.

The NCAA announced Monday evening that Clippd, a golf data platform with ties to college golf, will be taking over for Spikemark as the NCAA’s official golf scoring and ranking provider after what the NCAA described as “an agreed handover period.”

The move comes a day after Spikemark failed to meet its promised deadline to publish its first rankings, which were created by strokes-gained founder Mark Broadie.

Golf Channel previously reported earlier on Monday that Clippd had been brought in by Spikemark CEO and former UCLA coach Derek Freeman to help fix Spikemark’s myriad issues since Freeman, a former NCAA committee member as well, received the NCAA contract in July. Those problems included a non-functioning website, app and live-scoring platform.

Shortly after the NCAA’s announcement on Monday, Clippd revealed on its website that Freeman approached their company in September with an “urgent request.”

“The complexities, including all divisions, formats, etc., proved more difficult than we ever could have anticipated,” Freeman said in Clippd’s release.

Clippd says it helped Spikemark relaunch its website and app, using Clippd’s data platform, on Sept. 27 and that currently 75% of NCAA D-I golf tournaments this fall have been published with the remainder of D-I, D-II and D-III scores “being added daily.”

“By supporting Spikemark we were supporting college golf across the country,” Clippd CEO and co-founder Piers Parnell said in a release. “With our expertise in golf, data science and enterprise software construction we are uniquely positioned to help.”

Clippd has numerous partnerships in college golf, including with College Golf Experience, which runs camps and is endorsed by the Golf Coaches Association of America, and over 100 college programs such as the reigning NCAA champion Wake Forest women and defending NCAA runner-up Georgia Tech men.

“By far the best program we’ve ever used,” one coach said of Clippd’s performance-insights offering.

The NCAA added in its announcement that after being contacted by Spikemark, “Clippd has worked to provide the infrastructure necessary to compile, validate and publicize fall 2023 results from all Division I, II and III men’s and women’s golf competitions,” and that Broadie will continue to be the ranking authority and is working with Clippd to deliver initial rankings shortly after the end of the fall season.

“We are confident that Clippd will lead us through technology challenges faced during the 2023 fall season, and serve as a valuable partner into the future, as well,” said Joni Comstock, NCAA senior vice president of championships. “The goal of this partnership is to fully deliver the quality services that our student-athletes and the college golf community deserves.”

An NCAA spokesperson told Golf Channel that Clippd “did not acquire Spikemark but will be taking over from Spikemark following an agreed handover period.”

It’s unclear, however, if Clippd went through the NCAA’s RFP process, which it uses for all of its outside vendors, including Spikemark, which replaced Golfstat this year. Golfstat, which had a three-decade-plus partnership with the NCAA, underwent significant downsizing after losing the NCAA contract, though it has continued to provide live scoring for hundreds of tournaments this fall as Spikemark failed to deliver.

Freeman, who retired as UCLA’s coach after the 2021-22 season, told Golf Channel in September that Spikemark was “rushed.”

“This whole thing, you know, we rushed it and probably put it out too fast,” Freeman said, before adding, “I don’t sleep, I don’t eat, I don’t leave the house,” Freeman adds. “It’s not healthy, honestly. That’s how concerned and committed I am to making this right. I’m doing everything humanly possible to make sure that this works.”

Freeman and Spikemark are now out, and Clippd is in.

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