Spurrier Decides to Retire
October 12, 2015
According to multiple sources, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier has retired. Search has begun for the 'new' head ball coach.
Spurrier informed his team and coaching staff of his decision after practice and an interim head coach will be named at 8:30 Tuesday morning. At the age of 70, he was in his 11th season at South Carolina. He led the Gamecocks to an SEC East title in 2010 and three straight 11-win seasons from 2011 to 2013. However the team has struggled in 2014 and 2015. At USC, he was 86-49 with a 44-40 mark in SEC play and five bowl wins. He is South Carolina's all-time winningest coach.
Spurrier compiled a 228-89-2 record as a collegiate head coach, played quarterback at UF from 1963 to 1966 and won the Heisman Trophy in 1966.
Guiton Added To Cougar Coaching Staff
March 1, 2015
Before there was Cardale Jones, there was another back-up quarterback that led Ohio State to big wins in our rich history, and now that signal-caller is following Tom Herman to Houston.
Kenny Guiton, who played in Columbus from 2009-13, will be a graduate assistant on the Cougars’ staff. Herman, who spent three seasons as the Buckeyes’ offensive coordinator, became Houston’s head coach this offseason. The former Buckeye QB will be coaching the wide receivers.
Guiton, a Houston native, started multiple games during the 2013 season while Braxton Miller was injured. He also led a memorable comeback victory against Purdue in 2012 while Miller was nursing an injury, a win which preserved the perfect record that season. Urban Meyer and several other coaches on the Ohio State staff praised Guiton’s football intelligence during his time in Columbus.
Line-Up Changes Planned For ESPN and GameDay
February 16, 2015
Sorry Buckeye fans, this does not include retirement of Mark May.
Last week ESPN announced Rece Davis is taking over as host of ESPN's "College GameDay," with Chris Fowler focusing on calling the Saturday prime-time games. He will be removed from the Thursday night booth. Fowler had hosted "GameDay" since 1990. Last season, he became ESPN's lead play-by-play announcer for college football, replacing Brent Musburger. That meant sometimes hosting "GameDay" in one location in the morning and traveling to another site for ABC's "Saturday Night Football." Analyst Kirk Herbstreit does the same.
"I'm extremely pleased to continue to call ESPN my professional home," Davis said. "The past 20 years have been extraordinarily rewarding and this new chapter as the host of 'College GameDay' is one I eagerly embrace. I've cared deeply about college football my entire life. As a result, I'm humbled and grateful to join the brilliant men and women who have built 'GameDay' into the sport's defining show."
Andersen Accepts Oregon State Head Coach Position
December 10, 2014
There will now be 3 new coaches in the Big Ten next year (at least).
Oregon State confirmed Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen will be their new head coach. Andersen was one of five finalists to fill the coaching vacancy after Mike Riley accepted a job offer from Nebraska. The 50-year-old head coach should prove to be a good fit for the Beavers. This is the second coach that the Badgers have lost in three years to a Power Five conference. Wisconsin also lost Bret Bielema to Arkansas.
Andersen is coming off a tough loss in the Big Ten championship game, losing to Ohio State, 59-0, after powering its way to a Big Ten West Division championship. Wisconsin was 10-3 under Andersen this season, and his brief two-year stint with the Badgers comes to an abrupt end with a record of 19-7. Including his time at Utah State, Andersen has a record of 45-31.
Now Wisconsin joins Michigan in search for a new head coach in the Big Ten. Paul Chryst at Pittsburgh would seem like a logical choice. The head coach of the Panthers was an assistant at Wisconsin under Bielema.
Bielema Trash-Talking Coach Saban?
April 8, 2013
Bret Bielema is not known for playing nice in the sandbox. Face it, he doesn't play nice anywhere. But is he arrogant enough to trash talk a four time national champion coach?
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema used an appearance last week to tweak Alabama’s Nick Saban. When the former Wisconsin coach was asked at the Saline County Razorback Club about the challenges of playing the SEC West, Hootens.com reported that he brought up Saban’s record at Michigan State.
“I came to the SEC for a variety of reasons, but the major one in my mind was to win an SEC championship,” Bielema said. “You can take Saban’s record when he was at Michigan State and when he was a coach in the Big Ten and put it against mine, and he can’t compare.”
Alabama Players Arrested - Three Charged With Robbery
February 12, 2013
Four players were arrested on various charges, including robbery and fraudulent use of a credit card. Eddie Williams, Tyler Hayes and D.J. Pettway were charged with second-degree robbery and Brent Calloway and Williams were charged with fraudulent use of a credit/debit card, according to the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.
All four players were released from jail early Tuesday morning. Word came out that each of the players was suspended from the team as the school investigates the matter. It apparently was the second arrest in two days for Williams, who was charged with carrying a pistol without a license on Sunday. According to arrest warrants obtained by TideSports.com, Pettway, Williams and Hayes physically attacked a student, punching and kicking him.
Williams and Hayes admitted to the attack, according to TideSports.com, which caused cuts to the victim’s face, a mild concussion and severe swelling, according to the warrants.
"The young men charged are indefinitely suspended as we continue to gather information and talk to the appropriate people,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said in a statement. “The University and football program have strict guidelines regarding issues of this magnitude. This behavior is unacceptable for any student-athlete at the University of Alabama and not representative of our football program."
Illinois To Host Meet And Greet For New Signees
January 28, 2013
Wouldn't it be great if they would do this at OSU, or has the school gotten too big time to cater to the fans? Now you can't even park on campus without forking over big bucks.
Illinois football coach Tim Beckman (former OSU assistant coach) and his staff will host an event open to the public to announce the 2013 Fighting Illini recruiting class at 5:00 pm on Wednesday, February 6, at the Colonnades Club at Memorial Stadium.
The Illinois coaching staff and some of the new Illini signees will greet fans as they enter the Colonnades Club starting at 5 pm. Then at 5:30, the coaching staff will talk about the entire recruiting class and video highlights will be shown of each new signee. The event is free and open to the public.
Fans can enter on the west side of Memorial Stadium at Gate 16 near the Red Grange statue and take the elevator to the third floor. Parking is free in the NW Assembly Hall lot and the grass lots west of the stadium (weather permitting).The event should be completed around 6:30 pm.
Wisconsin's Coach Bielema Heads To SEC
December 4, 2012
If he thought that Urban Meyer recruited dirty, what is he going to think when he moves to the SEC?
In a surprise move, Arkansas hire's Wisconsin's Bret Bielema as its next football coach. Bielema has been the head coach at Wisconsin since 2006. He has taken the Badgers to three straight Rose Bowls, although I am sure there will be questions as to whether or not he will coach this year's team in January's game.
Details of Bielema's contract at Arkansas are not yet known, he was making $2.5 million at Wisconsin.
Bielema, 42, is leaving the only job he's had as a head coach, and the school where he has worked since 2004. Bielema was defensive coordinator for two seasons under Barry Alvarez before becoming Wisconsin's head coach in 2006. He's gone 68-24 in Madison, with four seasons with 10 or more victories. Wisconsin advanced to its third consecutive Rose Bowl Saturday with an upset romp over Nebraska in the Big Ten Conference championship game.
PSU Player Transfers Within Big Ten
August 2, 2012 11:30
The Penn State bulk transfers continue but now we have witnessed the first move to a Big Ten school.
There was no doubt red-shirt freshman Ryan Nowicki would transfer from Penn State and today he made it official. What made it big news is he is the first player to transfer within the Big Ten conference. The redshirt freshman will be transferring to Illinois. Of all the teams that were discussed as possible landing places last week, it is clear the aggressiveness the Illini was showing in Happy Valley paid off for them.
The Arizona Republic's Richard Obert was the first to report the news, tweeting "OL Ryan Nowicki just told Illinois coaches he will be playing for them, leaving Penn State."
Nowicki was not presently on the Penn State two-deep roster so it was expected he would leave based on the combination of the penalties and the coaching change. He had listed the Illini as a favorite as of last week, per the Arizona Republic.
As for the next player on the clock, that may be incoming freshman tailback Akeel Lynch as he is deciding between staying at Penn State and transferring to Iowa.
Roll Tide? Alabama's Championship Trophy Shatters
April 17, 2012 1:00 pm EST
Many college football purists question if the University of Alabama should have been eligible to play in the BCS championship game this past season. Call it fate, call it karma, but the crystal prize for winning the game over LSU last January had a pretty short shelf life.
According to CNN affiliate WIAT and ESPN’s Alex Scarborough, the $30,000 Waterford crystal football that tops the trophy from the American Football Coaches Association fell and shattered on Saturday when the father of an Alabama player caught his foot on a rug where the trophy stood at Alabama's Mal Moore Athletic Facility. The accident is said to have happened after the Crimson Tide’s annual Spring Game, which 78,526 fans watched Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
Mel Pulliam, marketing director for the AFCA, which issues the trophy to BCS-winning teams, said Alabama would be responsible for paying for a replacement.
During the media day activities before the championship game for the 2006 season between OSU and Florida, I had the opportunity to be pictured with that year’s trophy. I guess that one is no more as well. As the story goes, when high school recruit Orson Charles visited Florida in 2008, the tight end knocked over Florida's 2006 championship trophy. Charles ended up playing for SEC rival Georgia, I guess Urban must have decided he did not have good enough hands to play for the Gators. Gregg
Ex-Penn State Football Coach Joe Paterno Has Died At Age 85
January 22, 2012 1:00 pm EST
Rumors had circulated the day before, but the story is fact now. Joe Paterno, a permanent figure at Penn State for almost half a century, died at the age of 85. Two months ago he had been diagnosed with a treatable form of lung cancer. The cancer was found during a follow-up visit for a bronchial illness. A few weeks later, Paterno broke his pelvis after a fall but did not need surgery.
Mount Nittany Medical Center said in a statement that Paterno died at 9:25 a.m. of "metastatic small cell carcinoma of the lung." Metastatic indicates an illness that has spread from one part of the body to an unrelated area.
Paterno had been in the hospital since Jan. 13 for observation after what his family called minor complications from his cancer treatments. Not long before that, he conducted his only interview since losing his job, with The Washington Post. Paterno was described as frail then, speaking mostly in a whisper and wearing a wig. The second half of the two-day interview was conducted at his bedside.
Paterno's death just under three months following his last victory called to mind another coaching great, Alabama's Paul "Bear" Bryant, who died less than a month after retiring. Most people familiar with Joe know that football and family was his life.
Paterno built a program based on the credo of "Success with Honor," and he found both. The man known as "JoePa" won 409 games and took the Nittany Lions to 37 bowl games and two national championships. More than 250 of the players he coached went on to the NFL.
"He will go down as the greatest football coach in the history of the game," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said after his former team, the Florida Gators, beat Penn State 37-24 in the 2011 Outback Bowl.
Paterno roamed the sidelines for 46 seasons, his thick-rimmed glasses, windbreaker and jet-black sneakers as familiar as the Nittany Lions' blue and white uniforms.
The reputation he built looked even more impressive because he insisted that on-field success not come at the expense of high graduation rates.
But in the middle of his 46th season, the legend was shattered. Paterno was engulfed in a child sex abuse scandal when a former trusted assistant, Jerry Sandusky, was accused of molesting 10 boys over a 15-year span, sometimes in the football building. Outrage built quickly when the state's top cop said the coach hadn't fulfilled a moral obligation to go to the authorities when a graduate assistant, Mike McQueary, told Paterno he saw Sandusky with a young boy in the showers of the football complex in 2002.
Paterno waited a day before alerting school officials and never went to the police.
When the scandal erupted in November, Paterno said he would retire following the 2011 season. He also said he was "absolutely devastated" by the abuse case. But the university trustees fired Paterno, effective immediately. Graham Spanier, one of the longest-serving university presidents in the nation, also was fired. Paterno was notified by phone, not in person, a decision that board vice chairman John Surma regretted, trustees said. Lanny Davis, the attorney retained by trustees as an adviser, said Surma intended to extend his regrets over the phone before Paterno hung up him.
After weeks of escalating criticism by some former players and alumni about a lack of transparency trustees last week said they fired Paterno in part because he failed a moral obligation to do more in reporting the 2002 allegation. An attorney for Paterno on Thursday called the board's comments self-serving and unsupported by the facts. Paterno fully reported what he knew to the people responsible for campus investigations, lawyer Wick Sollers said.
"He did what he thought was right with the information he had at the time," Sollers said.
Paterno played quarterback and defensive back for Brown University and set a defensive record with 14 career interceptions, a distinction he still boasted about to his teams in his 80s. He graduated in 1950 with plans to go to law school. He said his father hoped he would someday be president. But when Paterno was 23, a former coach at Brown was moving to Penn State to become the head coach and persuaded Paterno to come with him as an assistant.
In 1963, he was offered a job by the late Al Davis – $18,000, triple his salary at Penn State, plus a car to become general manager and coach of the AFL's Oakland Raiders. He said no. Rip Engle retired as Penn State head coach three years later, and Paterno took over.
At the time, Penn State was considered "Eastern football" – inferior – and Paterno courted newspaper coverage to raise the team's profile. In 1967, PSU began a 30-0-1 streak.
But Penn State couldn't get to the top of the polls. The Nittany Lions finished second in 1968 (behind Ohio State) and 1969 despite perfect seasons. They were undefeated and untied again in 1973 at 12-0 again but finished fifth. Texas edged them in 1969 after President Richard Nixon, impressed with the Longhorns' bowl performance, declared them No. 1.
"I'd like to know," Paterno said later, "how could the president know so little about Watergate in 1973, and so much about college football in 1969?"
A national title finally came in 1982, after a 27-23 win over Georgia at the Sugar Bowl. Another followed in 1986 after the Lions intercepted Vinny Testaverde five times and beat Miami 14-10 in the Fiesta Bowl.
They made several title runs after that, including a 2005 run to the Orange Bowl and an 11-1 season in 2008 that ended in a 37-23 loss to Southern California in the Rose Bowl.
He and his wife, Sue, raised five children in State College. Anybody could telephone him at his home – the same one he appeared in front of on the night he was fired – by looking up "Paterno, Joseph V." in the phone book.
Though his overall reputation will now be tarnished, no one can take away what he meant to the game of college football.
NCAA Ruling Made Public Against OSU
December 20, 2011 2:30 pm EST
After a year of review and discussion, the Buckeye program finally gets to hear the final punishment for their transgressions. According to the report from the NCAA, the Ohio State University was cited for failure to monitor, preferential treatment and extra benefit violations in its football program. Coach Tressel was found to have engaged in unethical conduct for not reporting NCAA rule violations.
The penalties in this case, some of which were self-imposed by the university and adopted by the committee, include a one-year postseason ban for the 2012 season, additional scholarship reductions, disassociation of both an involved booster and a former student-athlete, forfeiture of almost $340,000 and a vacation of records. In addition, the former head coach received a five-year show-cause order that limits his athletically related duties and applies to any NCAA member school which may consider employing him. The public report includes additional details.
According to the facts of the case, eight football student-athletes received more than $14,000 in cash payments or preferential treatment from the owner of a Columbus, Ohio, tattoo parlor. In addition to free or discounted tattoos and cash for memorabilia received by these student-athletes, one football student-athlete received a loan and discount on a car.
The committee also found the former head coach concealed these NCAA violations when he was notified of the situation, which led to his unethical conduct finding.
“Of great concern to the committee was the fact that the former head coach became aware of these violations and decided not to report the violations to institutional officials, the Big Ten Conference or the NCAA,” the committee stated in its report.
Specifically, the committee noted that the former head coach had at least four different opportunities to report the information, and his failure to do so led to allowing several football student-athletes to compete while ineligible. Many of these student-athletes were key contributors to the team’s winning 2010 season.
Following the Committee on Infractions hearing on August 12, the enforcement staff and university investigated additional allegations that had come to light. These additional violations centered on a booster providing nine football student-athletes with more than $2,400 in payments for work not performed and cash. The university also was cited for failing to monitor the booster’s employment of football student-athletes. Ohio State conceded it could have done more to monitor the booster by taking additional steps that would have reduced the likelihood of these violations occurring.
The penalties, some of which were self-imposed by the university and adopted by the committee, include:
•Public reprimand and censure.
•Three years of probation from December. 20, 2011, through December. 19, 2014. The public report contains further details on the conditions of this probation.
•Postseason ban for the 2012 football season, which includes the conference championship game.
•Reduction of football scholarships from 85 to 82 for each of the 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years. This is an increase from the university’s proposal of five initial scholarships spread over three academic years.
•Vacation of all wins for the 2010 football regular season, including the 2010 Big Ten Conference co-championship and participation in the 2011 Sugar Bowl. The public report contains further details (self-imposed by the university).
•Forfeiture of $338,811, which is the amount the university received through the Big Ten Conference revenue sharing for its appearance in the bowl game (self-imposed by the university).
•Five-year show-cause order for the former head coach. The public report contains further details.
•Disassociation of the booster for 10 years, including among other conditions, the prohibition of any financial or other support (self-imposed by the university).
•Disassociation of a former student-athlete for five years, including among other conditions, the prohibition of any financial or other support (self-imposed by the university).
The members of the Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case include Dr. Dennis Thomas, the commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and chair of the Committee on Infractions. Other members are Britton Banowsky, commissioner of Conference USA; John S. Black, attorney; Melissa (Missy) Conboy, deputy director of athletics at the University of Notre Dame; Roscoe Howard, Jr., attorney; Eleanor Myers, faculty athletics representative and law professor at Temple University; James O’Fallon, law professor and faculty athletics representative for University of Oregon; and Gregory Sankey, associate commissioner of the Southeastern Conference.
Penn State Board of Trustees Remove Paterno From Position
November 9, 2011 10:30 pm EST
Both football coach Joe Paterno and president Graham Spanier are out at Penn State. No one is surprised by this based on the current sex scandal on campus, but it will take a while for students and PSU football fans to get used to the idea. Spanier chose to resign Wednesday and will be replaced temporarily by provost Rodney Erickson.
Paterno released a statement today indicating he would retire after the season, but the university's board of trustees met and decided Paterno would not be allowed to continue as coach effective immediately. Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley has been named interim coach.
It was very clear from Paterno's earlier statement that former coach Jerry Sandusky is guilty and JoePa knows it. So just like Coach Tressel, it is not what he did, it is how he handled information.
Paterno’s announcement earlier today:
I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case. I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief.
I have come to work every day for the last 61 years with one clear goal in mind: To serve the best interests of this university and the young men who have been entrusted to my care. I have the same goal today.
That’s why I have decided to announce my retirement effective at the end of this season. At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can.
This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.
My goals now are to keep my commitments to my players and staff and finish the season with dignity and determination. And then I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to help this University.
TCU May Leave Big East Before They Arrive
October 6, 2011 3:00 pm EST
Finally a conference move that makes some sense. The Big 12's presidents and chancellors voted unanimously to authorize negotiations with the TCU, who play in Fort Worth, Texas, and boast the defending Rose Bowl champion. The Horned Frogs were planning to leave the Mountain West for the Big East next year. TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini Jr. suggested a move to the Big 12 might be a better decision for his school, a former member of the old Southwest Conference that once included current Big 12 members Texas, Texas Tech and Baylor. It also included Texas A&M, which is leaving the Big 12 for the SEC next year.
Big East officials declined immediate comment. The Big 12 said interim Commissioner Chuck Neinas would begin talks with TCU immediately.
The move would also be a financial windfall for TCU. Big 12 chancellors and presidents have agreed to equally share revenue from the conference's most lucrative television deals if member schools agree to give those top-tier rights to the league for at least six years. The agreement is subject to approval by university governing boards.
Texas A&M to Join SEC
September 25, 2011 6:00 pm EST
SEC presidents and chancellors announced Sunday that Texas A&M will join the conference as the league’s 13th member July 1, 2012, and the Aggies will begin competing in all sports for the 2012-13 academic year.
“The Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors are pleased to welcome Texas A&M University to the SEC family,” said Dr. Bernie Machen, chair of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors and president of the University of Florida. “The addition of Texas A&M University as the SEC’s 13th member gives our league a prestigious academic institution with a strong athletic tradition and a culture similar to our current institutions.”
The expansion is the SEC’s first since South Carolina joined the conference in September of 1991 and Arkansas in August of 1991.
Conference Musical Chairs
September 20, 2011 5:00 pm EST
It seems like we just went through all this a year ago. I am sure all of you have been following the conference merry-go-round for the past week but I am not convinced just yet that much is going to happen. Keep in mind that it sounded like we were in for major changes last time and when the dust settled only a couple of teams moved.
Where do we stand now? First, the ACC has approved the move of Pittsburgh and Syracuse from the Big East. However, the Big East is going to enforce the conference clause that says you have to give 27 months notice and pay a $5 million moving fee. Think the ACC is going to wait until 2014? We will soon find out. And let's not forget TCU in all this. The poor Horned Frogs come to the Big East next year, let's hope there is a conference left when they get there.
The SEC has already agreed to take Texas A&M and have a tentative agreement to also bring along Missouri as well and will move Auburn to the East if it all happens. Still with us?
But the biggest fun is between what is left of the Big 12 (can they start using a different name now?) and the Pac-12. Texas may agree to move if they can bring their TV network and Texas Tech. And Oklahoma and and Oklahoma State may come if the Longhorns go but now they are saying they will stay in the Big 12 if commission Beebe is fired. When did this stop being about institutions of higher learning and start being about money? Oh that's right, when people started making tons of it.
Hurricanes the Next Team Under the NCAA Microscope
August 15, 2011 1:00 pm EST
With the August 12th meeting between OSU and the NCAA behind us, hopefully the Buckeyes can start looking forward with less distractions. But the NCAA will not be resting. According to AP reports, NCAA investigators visited the University of Miami campus today looking into claims that more than a dozen former or current football players received gifts and services from convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro.
Shapiro has told the NCAA he provided players with the use of a yacht and other favors, said his attorney, Maria Elena Perez. Shapiro and Perez have been talking with the NCAA about the matter for a couple of months and provided documentation. University officials didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. School officials and current players were expected to be interviewed.
Will this get coverage night after night on ESPN, probably not. Will there be an SI special report, doubtful. Only OSU get this type of attention and love.
Larry Coker, the Hurricanes' coach from 2001 through 2006 who now holds the head coaching job at Texas-San Antonio, said he recognized Shapiro by name but wouldn't be able to by face.
"If he walked up to me right now I wouldn't know it," Coker told ESPN's Joe Schad. "He was 'around the program.' I certainly wasn't aware of any improprieties. Now, when you look at college athletics today, would it surprise me if somebody gave gifts to players? No, it wouldn't."
Another former Miami coach, Randy Shannon, who was fired in November, had no comment when contacted by ESPN.
Shapiro's relationship with the program dates back about a decade. Some of the alleged incidents occurred in the past four years, which would be within the NCAA's statute of limitations regarding violations.
Shapiro, 42, was sentenced in June by a New Jersey federal judge to 20 years in prison for his role in an investment fraud scheme. He pleaded guilty to charges related to running a multistate Ponzi scheme that prosecutors say left more than 60 investors in Florida, Indiana and New Jersey with nearly $100 million in losses.
Oklahoma and Texas A&M Considering Move To SEC
July 20, 2011 4:00 pm EST
We heard these stories when the Big Ten was talking expansion and now they are surfacing again. A source told Sporting News on Wednesday that both Texas A&M and Oklahoma are so concerned about rival Texas gaining a recruiting advantage with the newly formed Longhorn Network, the two institutions could turn to the SEC if the problems can’t be figured out. If it results in the Big 12 folding and Texas becoming independent, I am all for it.
The core issue: The Longhorn Network will televise live high school football games in the state of Texas, an obvious recruiting advantage for Texas.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive said Wednesday that he will “continue to do what is in the best interest of the SEC.”
“It is my job to make sure the SEC is the premier league,” Slive said. “For me to exclude any action that would preclude that from happening would be inappropriate.”
Texas A&M and Oklahoma were both in talks with the SEC last summer when Texas was contemplating a move to the Pac-10. The Big 12 eventually made it work in the 11th hour, in part because of heavyweight Texas’ deal to pursue its own television network outside of the league coffers.
Now that the network will include televising high school games in the state of Texas, the dynamics of the Big 12 (and the SEC) could still change. Slive said that he is “comfortable” with the current 12-team SEC, and that it would take a “paradigm shift” for the SEC to expand.
Texas A&M and Oklahoma looking for a new home would be that kind of shift. Moreover, Slive said the SEC’s television deals with CBS and ESPN have clauses that allow them to renegotiate if the conference structure changes.
In other words, adding two teams wouldn’t mean the SEC is dividing the current revenue pie. It would mean, more than anything, completely restructured deals that would likely dwarf the $2 billion-plus the SEC receives from current CBS and ESPN deals.
So in other words, the rich will get richer, and OSU will still be penalized because a couple of players sold their gold pants.
USC Loses 2004 Title
June 6, 2011 7:15 pm EST
For a week now, the popular comparison for the potential punishment for Ohio State has been the recent judgement against USC. Today, things looked a bit worse for Buckeye Nation as the BCS stripped USC of its 2004 national title.
The decision was not unexpected but required the NCAA's May 26 rejection of USC's appeal of sanctions stemming from the Reggie Bush investigation to move forward.
The BCS ruling vacated the results of the 2005 Orange Bowl -- the national title game for 2004 -- as well as the Trojans participation in the 2006 Rose Bowl, in which USC lost to Texas, 41-38, in the championship game.
As a result of the BCS's Presidential Oversight Committee ruling, there will be no BCS national champion in the record book for the 2004-05 season. This was primarily a statement from the BCS that they want to be in compliance with NCAA rules. The BCS and NCAA are not formally affiliated, but the BCS reacted to the NCAA finding that Bush was ineligible during the 2004 season because he received extra benefits from a would-be sports marketer.
"This was not an unexpected outcome," USC athletic director Pat Haden said. "We will comply with all requirements mandated by the result of this BCS vote."
One of Haden's first moves when he took over as AD last year was to give back the school's copy of the Heisman Trophy that Bush won in 2005. Bush later relinquished his own Heisman and the trust in charge of handing out the award announced the '05 winner would be left vacant.
The BCS waited until USC appealed the NCAA sanctions, which included a two-year ban from postseason play and a loss of 30 scholarships over three seasons, to make a decision about its championship. The NCAA denied USC's appeal on May 26.
At that point, it was just a matter of time before the Trojans' 55-19 victory against Oklahoma in the 2005 Orange Bowl was wiped from the record books.
The Trojans will not have to relinquish The Associated Press national championship.
Fiesta Bowl fined $1M, stays in BCS
May 11, 2011 5:30 pm EST
The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl will be allowed to remain part of the Bowl Championship Series, though it must pay a $1 million fine for apparent illegal campaign contributions and inappropriate spending.
The BCS presidential oversight committee also attached several other conditions as it let the Fiesta Bowl remain part of the system for deciding college football's national champion. They included steps to strengthen the Fiesta Bowl's board along with greater supervision of executives to make sure the problems are not repeated, according to materials obtained by The Associated Press.
"The message is they had cleaned house and addressed their problems, but our group doesn't believe they went far enough," said Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS, in a telephone interview with the AP. He added that the $1 million fine was meant to reflect the "serious nature of the matter."
The BCS called for the $1 million to be donated to charities serving Arizona youth.
In a statement, Fiesta Bowl chairman Duane Woods said: "The Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors understands and accepts the sanctions imposed by the BCS. We think that these tough but fair measures are consistent with our commitment to reform the Fiesta Bowl's governance and rebuild trust. The fine is substantial, but we are pleased that the BCS has directed that the funds benefit the youth of Arizona."
A recent internal report by the Fiesta Bowl detailed about $45,000 in reimbursements to employees for political donations, an apparent violation of federal and state laws. It also revealed lavish and inappropriate spending, such as $33,000 for a Pebble Beach, Calif., birthday bash for then-CEO and president John Junker; $13,000 for the wedding and honeymoon of an aide; and a $1,200 strip club tab for Junker and two others. Junker has been fired.
The oversight committee Wednesday accepted recommendations made in a report by a BCS task force that was "deeply troubled" by the Fiesta Bowl's actions. Those actions, the task force said, "strongly suggests that the bowl's executive staff frequently acted with scant regard for ethics and proper conduct. Further, it is the opinion of the task force that the bowl's board of directors over the years was negligent in its oversight responsibilities."
Even with the ruling, the Fiesta Bowl is not entirely in the clear yet. An NCAA panel will decide whether to continue licensing the bowl. That panel recently delayed the decision, saying it wanted to gather more information and review the BCS task force findings. The NCAA also said it will re-examine its role in licensing bowls more generally and has put a three-year hold on any new postseason games in the wake of the Fiesta Bowl's problems.
The BCS task force said that the Fiesta Bowl had taken several steps in the right direction since the internal report came out, such as changing expense reimbursement processes for senior staff and establishing criteria to serve on the board.
Among other things, the BCS said the Fiesta Bowl must also remove board members who were found to have engaged in inappropriate conduct; include at least two members from the "collegiate community" on the board, such as faculty members or athletic directors; conduct an annual internal audit and share the results with the BCS executive director; replace its auditing firm (PriceWaterhouseCoopers) or bring in a new supervisory partner; and consult with the BCS on the hiring of a new executive director.
As to whether the moves will satisfy critics, executive director Hancock said, "These are strong actions in keeping with the nature of what was revealed in their report. These actions were not taken to satisfy or not satisfy any critics. They were taken because they were the appropriate actions, in light of the findings."
Former Gopher Coach Dies
March 17, 2011 12:00 pm EST
The football coach who led the Minnesota Gophers to a national championship and two back-to-back Rose Bowls has died at age 98. Murray Warmath died Wednesday in Bloomington of natural causes, the University of Minnesota said in a statement on its Web site.
Warmath led the Gophers for 18 seasons and made two trips to the Rose Bowl. He was named coach in 1954. After the Gophers finished in last place in the Big Ten in 1959, angry fans tossed garbage on his front lawn and hung the coach in effigy.
But it was just a year later that Warmath led Minnesota to the national championship.
Warmath, raised in Tennessee, was remembered for his hard-nosed discipline and desire for social change. He was one of the first major college coaches to take a number of black athletes in a single recruiting class. Big Southern colleges were still segregated at the time and many Northern colleges refused to recruit black players. Warmath started one of his black recruits, sophomore Sandy Stephens, at quarterback.
"If Minnesota let Sandy Stephens play quarterback, then we knew we could trust Murray," tackle Ezell Jones said. "We knew that was a man who had a great deal of courage and character."
The Gophers, with Stephens at quarterback, played on national TV in the 1961 and 1962 Rose Bowls.
"There was no Super Bowl then," said Judge Dickson, a halfback from 1959 to 1961. "And there weren't a lot of (college) bowls like there are today. The most visible bowl was the Rose Bowl. (Black athletes) were heavily influenced by watching us play in the Rose Bowl."
Minnesota finished second in the Big Ten in 1961 and was selected to go to the Rose Bowl again when Ohio State declined an invitation. The Gophers beat UCLA 21-3 in the 1962 Rose Bowl.
The Gophers shared the Big Ten title with Purdue and Indiana in 1967. It's the last time Minnesota has had at least a share of the conference championship.
USC Appeals NCAA Sanctions
January 22, 2011 5:30 pm EST
I am hoping that USC provides a blueprint to approach the NCAA but odds are not in their favor. If they are successful, perhaps Ohio State can follow suit as they will be doing the same thing soon in an effort to reduce the penalties against Terrelle Pryor and four of his teammates.
The Trojans want the NCAA to reduce a two-year bowl ban to one year. They're also hoping the NCAA will limit football scholarship reductions to five in each of the next three years instead of the scheduled 10.
The NCAA imposed those penalties June 10 after ruling Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush and basketball player O.J. Mayo received improper benefits. The university also was cited for a lack of institutional control. Bush gave back his Heisman Trophy.
After requiring schools to prove "abuse of discretion" after a rules change instituted in 2008, only one appeal has been successful. The other 10 failed.
ESPN's Mark May Feels OSU is Getting Special Treatment
December 24, 2010 8:00 am EST
Buckeye fans for years have basically held Mark May at arm's length. He picked Miami to beat Ohio State 47-0 in the 2002 Championship game. He was calling for the Death Penalty for the football program during the time of the Clarett saga and the Troy Smith punishment in the 2004 season.
This year I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and as our buddy Joe Hylton always reminds us, "keep in mind the 'E' in ESPN stands for Entertainment". Maybe Mark and his special new glasses is just playing a role. But yesterday he went too far in his comments on the latest OSU drama. He is basically saying the NCAA is giving the Bucks special treatment and they would have used a stiffer punishment if it was SEC players.
Listen here to his comments and the reaction from Mel Kiper Jr.
Florida's Gain is Texas' Loss - Muschamp New Gator Coach
December 11, 2010 9:30 pm EST
It did not take long after Urban Meyer stepped down as head coach for Florida, that the office was filled with his replacement. In a press release from the school, it has been announced that Will Muschamp, defensive coordinator for the University of Texas, has been named the successor as Florida's head football coach. The news was first reported by the Associated Press.
Muschamp originally was next in line once Mack Brown retired. I guess there will not be any pressure to remove Mack Brown after their 5-7 season now.
"This is a dream come true to be the head coach of the Florida Gators," Muschamp said in a statement. "I grew up watching the Gators and whatever other SEC team was on television. I have great memories watching SEC football with my father on Saturdays and playing football in the back yard with my two brothers right here in Gainesville."
Muschamp, 39, has been the defensive coordinator for Texas for the past three seasons. He played safety for Georgia in the early 1990s and was a graduate assistant for Auburn. He then returned to Auburn as a defensive coordinator for two seasons before moving to Brown's staff at Texas.
Indiana Names New Head Coach
December 7, 2010 4:00 pm EST
Indiana University announces Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson as its new head football coach today, according to a source close to the program. According to a report by the Bloomfield Herald Times, Wilson will replace Bill Lynch, who was fired on November 28th, after four seasons as head coach.
An assistant at Oklahoma since 2002, the 49-year-old Wilson served as offensive coordinator for the Sooners since 2006. In 2008, he won the Frank Broyles Award as the top assistant coach in the nation.
From 2002-05, Wilson was the co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Oklahoma and the Sooners never failed to reach a bowl game during his time in Norman. The Sooners won the Big 12 championship and will play in the Fiesta Bowl against Connecticut on Jan. 1.
Prior to his tenure at Oklahoma, he was the offensive coordinator at Northwestern under coach Randy Walker, helping the Wildcats to a share of the Big Ten title in 2000. Before that, he coached with Walker at Miami (Ohio) from 1990-1998.
Minnesota Hires Kill From Northern Illinois
December 5, 2010 8:30 pm EST
I guess the Big Ten is getting their coaches from the MAC now? OK maybe that was not fair, afterall Urban Meyer was at Bowling Green just a few years ago and now he has a National Championship. According to AP reports, Minnesota has hired Northern Illinois coach Jerry Kill to take over its struggling football program. Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi confirmed the decision Sunday night.
Kill went 23-16 and led the Huskies to bowls in all three of his seasons there. Northern Illinois went 10-3 this season, including a 34-23 victory at Minnesota that laid the groundwork for Gophers coach Tim Brewster to be fired.
Minnesota went 3-9 and 2-8 in the Big Ten this year. Brewster was fired in October after the team started 1-6 in his fourth season on the job. Interim coach Jeff Horton finished the season with wins over Illinois and Iowa.
Kill inherits a program in shambles.
Maturi made a big gamble when he hired Brewster, a tight ends coach for the Denver Broncos at the time who had no previous experience as a head coach or coordinator in college or the pros, to take over for Glen Mason.
It was a disaster from start to finish. Brewster went 0-10 in trophy games, butted heads with Maturi on several occasions and wasn't able to capitalize on brand new TCF Bank Stadium, a shimmering $300 million project that was supposed to put the once-proud program back on the map.
Brewster's lack of success quickly took the shine off the wonderful new stadium, with the student section half-empty for most games and a lack of energy and excitement that was supposed to have been created when the Gophers moved back to campus after more than two decades of playing in the Metrodome.
Head coaching experience was a must this time around after the Brewster move failed so badly, but Kill doesn't bring the big-name recognition that some of the initial names mentioned -- Boise State's Chris Petersen, Mississippi State's Dan Mullen, former Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer and former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti -- brought to the table.
Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach openly campaigned for the job, but the Gophers never strongly considered him.
Indiana Fires Coach Lynch
November 29, 2010 12:15 am EST
It appears at least two teams will be looking for a new coach next year in the Big Ten. Will that number reach four before the firings are complete?
The Associated Press has reported Bill Lynch's tenure as Indiana coach has ended. Lynch was fired Sunday with one year left on his contract, a day after Indiana reclaimed the Old Oaken Bucket from Purdue to earn their only conference victory in a third straight losing season.
Lynch's 19-30 record over the past four seasons, three conference wins in three years, the failure to reach another bowl game after his first season are the primary reasons for the dismissal.
While Indiana won all four of its nonconference games, it lost the first seven Big Ten games and four of those by double digits. Until Saturday's overtime win at Purdue, the Hoosiers had lost 12 straight conference games and 15 straight league games away from their home field.
Any lingering hopes Lynch had of keeping the job, however, evaporated during a two-week span this month when the Hoosiers were blown out 83-20 at Wisconsin and then lost 41-24 against Penn State. The second loss eliminated them from bowl contention for the third straight year.
Among the names that have been bandied about during the past month are former Ball State coach Brady Hoke, now at San Diego State, and former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach.
WAC Plans to Add FCS Teams
November 10, 2010 11:00 pm EST
The University of Denver, Texas-San Antonio and Texas State will join the WAC in 2012-13 to offset the departures of Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada to the Mountain West, according to multiple sources. UTSA, which still needs official approval from the board of regents, and Texas State will join in all sports. Denver will join for all sports except for football, since the Pioneers don't play at the FBS level.
The WAC will have eight football members, nine for men's and women's basketball. The WAC would have had six members in 2012-13 if nothing had been done, with Hawaii, Louisiana Tech, Idaho, New Mexico State, Utah State and San Jose State.
Montana could also join the WAC in all sports, especially if the Grizzlies decide to bump up from FCS to FBS in football. Montana, a FCS power, is expected to make a decision in the next few weeks. If the Grizzlies decide against the move then Seattle would likely step in with all sports except football.
The WAC's perfect scenario, according to multiple sources, is to get to nine football schools, including Montana, and 10 basketball schools.
UTSA will start its football program as an FCS independent in 2011. UTSA won't be in the Southland Conference in football that season. UTSA is then expected to make the jump to FBS football in 2012. UTSA will play in the Alamo Dome, home to the Alamo Bowl.
Texas State and UTSA will leave the Southland Conference and pay an estimated exit fee of $250,000 per school. Denver, which has been in the Sun Belt since 1999-2000, won't have a penalty for leaving, according to sources.
Coach Dantonio Returns to Coach this Week
September 28, 2010 4:00 pm EST
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio spoke to the media at his weekly press conference today at the Spartan Club in Spartan Stadium. Dantonio answered questions for the first time since suffering a heart attack following MSU's overtime win against Notre Dame on September 18th. It appears he plans to watch this week’s game against the University of Wisconsin from the press box, two weeks after suffering a heart attack.
“I’m going to ease back into this much like anybody would after any injury,” Dantonio, 54, said today at a news conference.
Dantonio was admitted to a hospital in Lansing, Michigan, in the early morning of September 19th -- hours after the Spartans beat Notre Dame 34-31 in overtime -- and had a stent inserted to open a blocked blood vessel leading to his heart.
The fourth-year coach said walking on the sideline for three hours may be too tiring, so he’ll instead watch from the press box as Michigan State welcomes Wisconsin, which is ranked ninth in the national coaches’ poll. Both teams are 4-0.
Offensive coordinator Don Treadwell filled in as coach last week, when the Spartans beat Northern Colorado 45-7 and Dantonio watched the game from home.
Michigan State Coach Suffers Heart Attack
September 19, 2010 12:00 pm EST
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio, former defensive coordinator for Ohio State, suffered a heart attack early Sunday following the 34-31 overtime victory over Notre Dame.
The 54-year-old coach underwent a cardiac catheterization procedure by Dr. Chris D'Haem at Sparrow Hospital in East Lansing. A small, metallic stent was inserted to open a blocked blood vessel leading to Dantonio's heart.
"The procedure was successful and blood flow to the heart muscle was restored," D'Haem said. "I'm very pleased with the outcome of the procedure. Coach Dantonio is resting comfortably following his procedure and is expected to make a full recovery.
"He is young, in excellent shape, and the damage to his heart was minimal. Coach Dantonio made the right decision to come in and get checked out immediately."
Dantonio will remain at Sparrow Hospital for a few days for monitoring. His return to the sidelines will be determined at a later date. During Dantonio's recovery, offensive coordinator Don Treadwell will manage the day-to-day responsibilities of the head coach. MSU's next game is Saturday at home against Northern Colorado at noon.
Dantonio first began feeling ill after Saturday night's game, shortly after meeting with the media at Spartan Stadium, at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday.
According to John Lewandowski, MSU associate athletics director for communications, Dantonio left the press conference and was on his way to do a television interview when he stopped to sit down, saying he didn't feel right. At that point, team physicians examined Dantonio and it was determined he should head to the hospital. His wife, Becky, drove him to Sparrow Hospital and they arrived about 1 a.m., and Dantonio was given an electrocardiogram.
At around 2:30 a.m., Lewandowski was informed that Dantonio had suffered a heart attack and was again notified around 3:45 a.m. that the coach was in surgery.
"He's doing very well," D'Haem said during Sunday's press conference, adding that Dantonio was resting comfortably. "We expect, long-term, for it to have no negative impact."
Utah Joins the Pac-10(12)
June 17, 2010 4:00 pm EST
In 2008, the Utah Utes were undefeated, destroyed Alabama (the 2009 National Champion), yet was never considered for a shot at the title game. Now they can get their shot.
As the newest member of the Pac-10, the Utes will be playing for a guaranteed spot in one of college football's elite bowl games rather than hoping to sneak in with an at-large berth. Utah officially joined the Pac-10 on Thursday, leaving the Mountain West Conference for the prestige and more lucrative opportunities of a league where things such as the Heisman Trophy, Final Four and national titles are distinct possibilities instead of long shots.
The Pac-10 invited Utah to join the league on Wednesday and university President Michael Young officially signed on in front of a crowd of elated boosters a day later. After playing one final season in the Mountain West this fall, Utah will join the Pac-10 -- or whatever the expanded league's name will become -- in 2011. There is a guaranteed BCS spot for the Pac-10 winner, but that will mean getting through a schedule of one of college football's most prominent conferences.
The Utes are 7-3 against the Pac-10 in the last 10 meetings, including wins over Arizona in 2004 and Oregon State four years later during the Utes' two unbeaten runs to the BCS.
The Utes were the only unbeaten team in 2008, and they didn't get a chance to play in the BCS title game. A rout of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl bolstered Utah's claims of being worthy. The Utes ended up finishing No. 2 in the final AP poll -- the school's highest finish.
The Pac-10 was courting a good chunk of the Big 12 but was turned down when Texas decided to stay put. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Texas A&M also decided to stay in the Big 12, which will be down one school when Colorado joins the Pac-10 in either 2011 or 2012.
Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott said Thursday that there are a number of logistics to work through, including whether the expanded Pac-10 will form divisions in football and play a conference championship game. There is also the matter of the name, which will no-longer be accurate.
NCAA Brings Penalties Against USC
June 10, 2010 5:00 pm EST
It took six years, but the Trojans are FINALLY going to begin to pay for some of their transgressions.
The NCAA ruled the University of Southern California athletic department exhibited a lack of institutional control from 2004 to 2009 for a wide array of rules violations committed in its football, men’s basketball and women’s tennis programs. The findings of its investigation came in a 67-page report released today.
USC officials said in a statement they planned to appeal the decision. What do they really want to appeal, they didn't think the punishment was enough? How about taking back the money they earned while Reggie Bush was wearing #25.
“We acknowledge that violations occurred and we take full responsibility for them,” Todd Dickey, USC’s senior vice president for administration, said in the statement. “However, we sharply disagree with many of the findings in the NCAA Committee on Infractions Report. Further, we feel the penalties imposed are too severe for the violations identified in the report.
“We will accept those sanctions we believe to be consistent with penalties imposed upon other NCAA member institutions found guilty of similar rules infractions. We are hopeful that the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee will agree with our position on appeal, and reduce the penalties.”
As a result of the violations – which mainly centered on Heisman Trophy-winning running back Reggie Bush and basketball star O.J. Mayo – the NCAA’s probe resulted in USC being hit with multiple penalties. Among them:
• A postseason ban in football following the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
• A loss of 30 total football scholarships over the 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons.
• A vacation of all football victories starting in December 2004 and running through the 2005 season. This includes the national championship win over Oklahoma on Jan. 4, 2005.
• All statistics vacated for Bush, Mayo and an unnamed women’s tennis athlete in the games which the NCAA deemed them ineligible due to rules violations.
• Bush and Mayo must be disassociated from USC athletics.
• An acceptance of USC’s self-imposed penalties on its basketball program, which included a forfeiture of all wins in 2007-2008 and a one-year postseason ban.
• All titles won during ineligible games must be vacated and trophies and banners must be removed.
• A vacation of wins in the women’s tennis program from May 2006 to May 2009, for long distance telephone violations committed by a student-athlete.
• A reduction of recruiting days for the men’s basketball program in 2010-2011.
• Four years of probation.
The investigation was split into four primary parts: Bush and the football program, Mayo and the basketball program, an unnamed tennis player and the women’s tennis program, and finally, the failure of the athletic department’s infrastructure when it came to overseeing and policing its programs and athletes.
Absorbed in its entirety, the report called the USC investigation “a window onto a landscape of elite college athletes and certain individuals close to them who, in the course of their relationships, disregard NCAA rules and regulations.”
The NCAA’s findings were largely built around Bush, Mayo, and USC’s oversight of the pair, with investigators determining the athletes disregarded NCAA rules with a full awareness of their indiscretions. The report indicates the Bush and Mayo were able to engage in rule-breaking at least in part because of USC’s negligence, which included lack of staffing in the area of compliance, lax regulation on the sidelines and in the locker room, and, in at least one instance, a rebuke of running backs coach Todd McNair, who the NCAA cited for lying during the investigation. Said the report, “[McNair] knew or should have known that [Bush] and [New Era Sports marketing agents] were engaged in violations that negatively affected [Bush’s] amateurism status. The assistant football coach provided false and misleading information to the enforcement staff concerning his knowledge of [the marketing agents’] activity and also violated NCAA legislation by signing a document certifying that he had no knowledge of NCAA violations.”
Among the fallout from the sanctions, Paul Dee, the chairman of the Committee on Infractions, said current USC football players can request to be released from their scholarships prior to the start of the 2010 football season. Dee also said that any sanctions appealed by USC will not take effect until any appeals have been ruled upon.
USC and any individuals punished in the report can appeal the NCAA’s findings in the coming months. Those appeals are heard by the Infractions Appeals Committee, which meets at various times over the course of the year. Dee said he could not speculate how long any appeal could stretch out, but he said the NCAA’s documentation in this case is over three-feet tall when placed on a table, and all or part of that would have to be reviewed in such an appeal.
A Bowl Game in December, In New York?
March 9, 2010 10:25 am EST
NEW YORK - The first Pinstripe Bowl will be played at Yankee Stadium on December 30th, including the No. 3 team in the Big East and the No. 6 school in the Big 12, excluding Bowl Championship Series participants.
ESPN agreed to a six-year contract to televise the first bowl in the Northeast since the 1981 Garden State Bowl at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. This will be the first bowl game at Yankee Stadium since Nebraska defeated Miami 36-34 at the old ballpark on December 15, 1962.
New Era Cap Co. Inc., known primarily as the supplier of major league caps, agreed to a four-year deal to be the title sponsor in its most notable venture outside baseball.
Not only do we not really need another bowl game, will there be a lot of Big 12 fans traveling up to New York in December?
The Government Wants to Challenge Legality of BCS
January 29, 2010 6:01 pm EST
(AP) — WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is considering several steps that would review the legality of the controversial Bowl Championship Series, the Justice Department said in a letter Friday to a senator who had asked for an antitrust review.
In the letter to Sen. Orrin Hatch, obtained by The Associated Press, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote that the Justice Department is reviewing Hatch's request and other materials to determine whether to open an investigation into whether the BCS violates antitrust laws.
"Importantly, and in addition, the administration also is exploring other options that might be available to address concerns with the college football postseason," Weich wrote, including asking the Federal Trade Commission to review the legality of the BCS under consumer protection laws.
Several lawmakers and many critics want the BCS to switch to a playoff system, rather than the ratings system it uses to determine the teams that play in the championship game.
"The administration shares your belief that the current lack of a college football national championship playoff with respect to the highest division of college football ... raises important questions affecting millions of fans, colleges and universities, players and other interested parties," Weich wrote.
Weich made note of the fact that President Barack Obama, before he was sworn in, had stated his preference for a playoff system. In 2008, Obama said he was going to "to throw my weight around a little bit" to nudge college football toward a playoff system, a point that Hatch stressed when he urged Obama last fall to ask the department to investigate the BCS.
Weich said that other options include encouraging the NCAA to take control of the college football postseason; asking a governmental or non-governmental commission to review the costs, benefits and feasibility of a playoff system; and legislative efforts aimed at prompting a switch to a playoff system.
Weich noted that several undefeated teams have not had a chance to play for the national championship, including TCU and Boise State this year and Utah last year.
"This seemingly discriminatory action with regard to revenues and access have raised questions regarding whether the BCS potentially runs afoul of the nation's antitrust laws," he wrote.
Hatch, a Utah Republican, was steamed that his home state team was deprived of getting a chance to play for the title last year.
"I'm encouraged by the administration's response," he said in a statement. "I continue to believe there are antitrust issues the administration should explore, but I'm heartened by its willingness to consider alternative approaches to confront the tremendous inequities in the BCS that favor one set of schools over others. The current system runs counter to basic fairness that every family tries to instill in their children from the day they are born."
Under the BCS, the champions of six conference have automatic bids, while the other conferences don't. Those six conferences also receive more money than the other conferences, although the BCS announced this week that the ones that don't have automatic bids will receive a record $24 million from this year's bowl games.
BCS officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Florida Coach Urban Meyer to Step Down After Bowl Game
December 26, 2009 7:30 pm EST
During the ESPN coverage of the Pittsburgh-North Carolina bowl game, it was announced that Florida coach Urban Meyer, who was admitted to a hospital because of chest pains following the Southeastern Conference championship game, is stepping down because of health concerns.
Meyer resigned Saturday, calling it quits after five seasons in Gainesville and two national titles. He goes into the bowl game with a 56-10 record at Florida that includes a 32-8 mark in league play and a school-record 22-game winning streak ended early this month against Alabama.
Urban Meyer is stepping down at Florida after the Allstate Sugar Bowl, and he goes out on top among current FBS coaches. His win percentage (95-18 .841) is the highest among active coaches with at least five years experience.
Meyer, 45, says he consulted with his family, his doctors, school president Bernie Machen and athletic director Jeremy Foley before deciding it is in his best interest to focus on his health and family. Meyer has been to the hospital at least twice since suffering chest pains after the SEC title game, a Florida source told ESPN.
The problem is not life threatening, a Florida source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN's Chris Mortensen. The same source said Meyer will remain in Gainesville in a non-coaching role to be defined later.
Meyer will hold a news conference in New Orleans on Sunday afternoon and will coach his final game in the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati on New Year's Day.
Meyer has a wife and three children -- the oldest recently started college at Georgia Tech -- and has said repeatedly he would never stay in coaching long enough to be like Florida State's Bobby Bowden or Penn State's Joe Paterno.
Potential successors to Meyer could include Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, Boise State's Chris Petersen, Arkansas' Bobby Petrino, who was the other top candidate in 2004 when Meyer got the job, former Florida Gator and Super Bowl-winning NFL coach Mike Shanahan and former Meyer assistants Dan Mullen and Charlie Strong. Former Florida offensive coordinator Mullen just finished his first season as head coach at Mississippi State. Defensive coordinator Strong was named the head coach at Louisville earlier this month.
Big Ten Looks to Become Big Ten Plus Two
December 11, 2009
Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez says the Big Ten will soon make a more aggressive push toward adding a 12th member. Speaking to Wisconsin's athletic board, Alvarez, the former longtime Badgers football coach, said the conference already has investigated possibilities for expansion "from all over the country." And though he places no timetable on the search, Alvarez thinks conference commissioner Jim Delany will respond to a group of athletic directors and coaches who want expansion.
"I have a sense he is going to take this year to really be more aggressive about it," Alvarez told the board. "I just think everybody feels [expansion] is the direction to go, coaches and administrators."
Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has been the most vocal advocate of a 12th Big Ten team, and he has support from several of his fellow coaches.
A 12th team would allow the Big Ten to split into divisions and hold a conference championship game. The Big Ten typically ends its football season two weeks before the other BCS conferences, though the addition of a permanent bye week in 2010 will shrink the gap by a week.
"We're irrelevant for the last three weeks of the football season because we're not playing," Alvarez said Friday.
Paterno has stumped for expansion several times, but Delany -- who was unavailable for comment -- told ESPN.com this spring that the league has no immediate plans to add a 12th team.
"There's not an obvious move," Delany said in May. "There might be to some coaches, including Coach Paterno, but it's not as obvious to the university presidents and to the athletic directors.
"There are a lot of schools that could take a lot away, but there aren't a lot that could bring so much to make the choice an easy one. You have to have a lot to make something go like this, and it's broader than really a championship game or a basketball tournament."
The Big Ten most recently expanded with Penn State, which began competing as a league member in football in 1993. The league has made runs at Notre Dame but hasn't had serious discussions for several years.