COLLEGE NEWS AND NOTES
by Brent Beaird
May 25, 2012
NEW CHAMPIONS BOWL: Champions of SEC & Big 12 will meet in a bowl if neither team in national semis. Understand that will be rare for both SEC and B12 champs to miss Final Four. But it establishes powerful relationship like Pac-12/Big Ten. Last time "current" Big 12/SEC membership not in final top 4 rankings was 2001 regular season. Possibly a bone so they will jump on board the conference champions only movement? Since the first season of the BCS in 1998, there has never been a season where both the SEC and Big 12 finish outside of the top four. In 2001 was the only season in which current SEC and Big 12 members finished outside of the top four, but Nebraska and Colorado finished Nos. 2 and 3 that season. Both were members of the Big 12 at the time. it's been awhile, but SEC didn't finish in top 4 in 2000, 2001 & 2005. (cbssports.com)
MORE ON CHAMPIONS BOWL: The SEC announced at Noon ET an agreement with the Big 12 for their champions to meet in a to-be-determined bowl game if they are not a part of the anticipated four-team playoff beginning in 2014.
An industry source said the alliance between the two conferences will be similar to that of the Big Ten and Pac-12, whose champions meet annually in the Rose Bowl if they are not a part of the BCS championship game.
"The thinking is, the Big 12 and SEC, we're in the strongest positions right now. Let's create a big-time matchup," a source told CBSSports.com. "I don't know if other leagues will create matchups like this, but this is a way for the two leagues to develop [a partnership]."
It is uncertain what this means for the Fiesta Bowl, which has hosted the Big 12 champion since the BCS began in 1998.
Why do the SEC and Big 12 want to do this? To protect each other and to increase the likelihood of a quality matchup. Under the BCS format, their champions were guaranteed a spot in a big game, but the opponent on the other side was uncertain.
There is currently an SEC/Big 12 matchup in the Cotton Bowl, which gets the No. 2 team from the Big 12 and the No. 4 or No. 5 pick from the SEC.
Which bowl will actually host this SEC/Big 12 matchup will be determined by a bidding process. The Sugar Bowl has hosted the SEC champion since 1976 and would be expected to stay in the No. 1 slot when the conference signs its new bowl contracts, which begin after the 2014 regular season.
"The idea is that it's a consistent location," a source said. "The Sugar Bowl is the No. 1 option. If you look at the power conferences, the Pac-12 and Big 12 are matched up. The rest of the conferences [outside the Rose Bowl] aren't really matched up."
Currently, the Capital One Bowl in Orlando selects after the Sugar Bowl is filled.
It has been clear for some time that the concept of automatic qualifiers for BCS bowls would go away in whatever new postseason format was created by college football commissioners. This SEC/Big 12 arrangement seems to confirm that conferences will strike their own deals with bowls. This matchup was discussed as long ago as two years, in case the Rose Bowl was a roadblock toward some sort of postseason model.
The hope for both sides is that this agreement will work like the Rose in that when the champions are part of the four team playoff, the bowl will be free to take the No. 2 teams from the SEC and Big 12. (cbssports.com)
ECONOMIC UPDATE: USATODAY is out on who in college athletics makes the most money and who spends the most money. Not surprisingly, of the 10 biggest spenders, four are from the SEC: No. 4 Florida ($107.1 million), No. 5 Alabama ($105.1 million), No. 7 Auburn ($100.5 million) and No. 8 Tennessee ($97.6 million).
According to the 2011 figures gathered by USA Today, 13 of the 14 SEC schools operated in the black, meaning they generated enough money to cover all of their athletic expenses. The only one that didn't, according to the USA Today figures, was Missouri, which was in the Big 12 last year, but will be joining the SEC in 2012 along with Texas A&M. The Tigers were extremely close to breaking even. They spent $64,160,358 and generated $64,146,530.
Only 22 Division I public schools generated more money than they spent in 2011.
None of the SEC athletic departments were heavily subsidized, meaning they received very few funds from the school side. Mississippi State had the largest subsidy among SEC schools with 8.2 percent of its revenue ($4,819,653) coming from the school and not generated by the athletic department, according to USA Today.
Below is a breakdown of the total revenue and total expenses for SEC schools in 2011. Vanderbilt is a private institution and not included:
- 1. Alabama: $124,498,616
- 2. Florida: $123,514,257
- 3. LSU: $107,259,352
- 4. Tennessee: $104,368,992
- 5. Auburn: $103,982,441
- 6. Georgia: $92,341,
- 7. Arkansas: $91,768,112
- 8. Texas A&M: $87,296,532
- 9. Kentucky: $84,878,311
- 10. South Carolina: $83,813,226
- 11. Missouri: $64,146,530
- 12. Mississippi State: $58,981,769
- 13. Ole Miss: $49,180,892
- 1. Florida: $107,157,831
- 2. Alabama: $105,068,152
- 3. Auburn: $100,497,784
- 4. Tennessee: $97,580,406
- 5. LSU: $91,796,925
- 6. Kentucky: $82,840,006
- 7. Georgia: $80,759,498
- 8. South Carolina: $80,525,711
- 9. Arkansas: $79,392,988
- 10. Texas A&M: $78,310,805
- 11. Missouri: $64,160,358
- 12. Mississippi State: $51,588,743
- 13. Ole Miss: $47,109,301
SEC TEAM NOTES
ALABAMA: A little less than two week ago, Alabama's Nick Saban was asked about his schools success recruiting the state of Georgia. He joked that he still had a lake house in the Peach State (though it's for sale). We pointed to two factors that we believe have played a role in 'Bama inking 20 Georgia natives in the past four classes:
1. Georgia produces too much talent for UGA and Georgia Tech - until this year the only FBS-level programs in the state - to be able to keep it all at home.
2. Saban has repeatedly played games in the Georgia Dome, smack in the heart of Atlanta.
In 2008, 'Bama faced Clemson in the first Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome. A year later, Virginia Tech served as the Tide's opener in that same game.
Next year, Alabama will once again face the Hokies in Atlanta. And yesterday we learned that the Tide's 2014 opponent in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is expected to be West Virginia. Saban told a 'Bama booster group yesterday that a game against his home state's top university was on the docket. The Charleston (WV) Daily Mail reports today that a West Virginia official has confirmed that a UA-WVU game "is in the works."
For Georgia fans tired of seeing Alabama play a primetime game on the opening weekend of the season in their home state year-in and year-out, get used to it. Saban's done it twice before and now two more are officially lined up for future dates. Expect more of the same moving forward. (mrsec.com)
QB VERBAL: The nation's sixth-ranked pro-style quarterback, Cooper Bateman officially announced via prepared statement that he committed to Alabama's 2013 class. Bateman's commitment finally gives Alabama the big-time quarterback prospect it's been seeking for the past two classes. A four-star recruit from Salt Lake City, Utah, Bateman is 6-foot-3, 190 pounds.
ARKANSAS: KNWA News Anchor Matt Turner has confirmed that University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long was one of the candidates to replace Bob Bowlsby as the new athletic director at Stanford University. That's according to three separate sources close to the situation, and one of the people providing the information is a school official at the University of Arkansas. The primary source, who wants to remain anonymous, says Stanford officials "reached out" to Long about filling the vacancy but added that Long has not yet responded to the inquiries. The source also said that Long is not a finalist for the job despite rumours circulating on internet message boards. As for Stanford's former athletic director, Bowlsby informed school officials on May 1, 2012 that he's leaving the university to become the commissioner of the Big-12 Conference.
QB TRANSFERRING: Former Hog receiver Quinta Funderburk was rumored to be headed to Syracuse to continue his playing career. Based on a person who would or should know, he is already at where he was rumored to be heading. The receiver's high school coach confirmed to multiple media outlets that, yes, his former player will be an Orange in 2011, buttressing that by telling a Rivals.com website that Funderburk "was at the school [Wednesday] working out and… heading up there Saturday for summer school." (rivals.com)
AUBURN: Auburn's roster will have 81 scholarship players if all signees qualify academically and report as scheduled by August. Those 81 players include walk-ons who were granted scholarships last year -- Blake Burgess and Ikeem Means -- and are likely to have them renewed in 2012. It DOES NOT include current walk-ons -- like Corey Grant -- who might be given scholarships later this summer. Auburn is four short of the NCAA maximum of 85. Auburn has about 65 percent underclassmen. (al.com)
Here's the breakdown by classification: Seniors: 12 (14.8 percent); juniors: 16 (19.8 percent) sophomores: 22 (27.2 percent) freshmen: 31 (38.3 percent)
GEORGIA: Eight months after Jakar Hamilton decided to transfer from Georgia, and a couple of months after Derrick Lott made the same decision, both players have apparently found new, lower-level locales in which to continue their collegiate careers.
Hamilton's high school coach, Lee Sawyer, confirmed to CFT via email that Hamilton has enrolled at South Carolina State and just completed his first semester at the school. While Sawyer could not say whether his former player is officially eligible to play this season, a SCSU official confirmed that, barring the unexpected, Hamilton will be on the field for the Div. 1-AA (FCS) school this fall.
In 2010, Hamilton played in 13 games, starting five of those contests. Expected to compete for significantly more playing time in 2011, a stress fracture in his lower right leg effectively ended his season, and it was announced in September that he would be transferring from the Bulldogs program.
As for Lott, he's dropping down a level as well, with the Chattanooga Times Free Press reporting that the defensive tackle will play for Tennessee-Chattanooga this year. Lott signed with the school last week. (cft.com)
FLORIDA: Florida redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Leon Orr has endured his third run in with the law. According to Alachua County court records, the 6-foot-5, 310-pound Orr was cited for knowingly driving with a suspended license on Monday. While that's a second-degree misdemeanor, it could mean bigger trouble for Orr stemming from an earlier arrest this year.
He was arrested on Jan. 10 and charged with possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia after the University Police Department searched his dorm room. Both charges were misdemeanors.
Orr accepted deferred prosecution and was ordered to pay $50 for the cost of the case and either an additional $150 or serve 12.5 hours of community service. However, part of Orr's deal stipulated that he follow all laws for six months. This latest incident appears to be in violation of the terms. Orr was also cited for driving with a suspended license on Feb. 24 of last year. Orr recorded 10 tackles and one sack last season for the Gators. (jacksonville.com)
OLE MISS: Three football players are in immediate danger of not being eligible for the fall, coach Hugh Freeze said Thursday. Receiver Nickolas Brassell will be transferring from Ole Miss after losing his academic eligibility. (clarionledger.com)
TENNESSEE: Tennessee will be taking part of its preseason camp on the road. The Vols will practice from Aug. 9-15 at Milligan College in Johnson City, Tenn., which is about a two-hour drive from Knoxville. The timing of the week in Johnson City coincides with the projected dates for moving all operations and offices of the football program into the new training center from the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex. With the football team and most supporting units out of town, the facilities staff will be able to complete the move in a more efficient and organized manner and without the burden associated with having the team currently on-site. (espn.com)
The ACC has announced game times and TV networks for all home games for the league in its first three weeks of the season, as well as for all of its 2012 Thursday night games on ESPN and all of national television games confirmed to date. The 2012 Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game, which will be played Dec. 1 in Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., will be nationally televised by either ABC, with an 8 p.m. kickoff, or ESPN at 7:45 p.m.
This year's Chick-fil-A Kickoff will feature both NC State and Clemson. NC State faces Tennessee on Friday, Aug.31, in a 7:30 p.m. game which will be nationally televised by ESPNU. Clemson will play Auburn on Saturday, Sept. 1, in a 7 p.m. contest that will be nationally televised by ESPN. (espn.com)
ESPN THURSDAY GAMES: Thursday ESPN primetime will feature 4 straight ACC starting late October: Clemson at Wake, VA Tech at Miami, FSU at VA Tech and UNC at Virginia.
CHICK-FIL-A CLASSIC GAMES: Some good games are headed to the Atlanta: Tennessee-N.C. St & Auburn-Clem (2012), 'Bama-Virginia Tech (2013); 'Bama-West Virginia & Boise-Ole Miss (2014) (cbssports.com)
SWAFFORD COMMENTS: Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford said Wednesday that the possibility of Florida State leaving the league was not brought up "in any formal way'' during last week's ACC meetings.
In a phone interview from Amelia Island, Fla. -- where the meetings were held -- Swofford touched on a wide range of topics. He said ACC schools prefer a postseason plan for football that would incorporate the bowls for at least the semifinal stage of a four-team playoff with conference champions meeting "a certain standard within the rankings.''
The ACC is set to add Pittsburgh and Syracuse at some point in the future, but it remains unclear exactly when that will happen. Pitt last week filed a lawsuit against the Big East Conference in a Pennsylvania court in an attempt to expedite its exit from that conference and join the ACC for the 2013-14 academic year. When that happens, the ACC will go to a nine-game conference schedule in football. Swofford said that in odd-numbered years, Atlantic Division teams will play five home games with Coastal Division teams playing five at home in even-numbered years. (si.com)
CLEMSON: Clemson rising sophomore running back Mike Bellamy was ruled academically ineligible and won't return to school next fall. Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said last Tuesday that Bellamy plans to enter a junior college this summer. Bellamy was a Parade All-American and considered consensus a five-star prospect in the mold of former Clemson star C.J. Spiller. Yet Bellamy never found his place on the field and got in trouble off it when he was sent back to campus by Swinney on the day of the Tigers' ACC title game against Virginia Tech.
Bellamy and receiver Sammy Watkins were supposed to be the speedy, offensive talents who would electrify a Clemson offense that struggled to score points in 2010. And while Watkins became an AP All-American and a record-setter as a freshman, Bellamy couldn't always find the open holes. When he did break free, Bellamy was just as likely to fumble as he was to find the end zone.
Bellamy was suspended for the first half against Boston College for complaining about playing time in a Facebook post. He was among the last ones out of the locker room after a thrilling comeback win at Maryland where Watkins was the star.
Bellamy had fumbles against Georgia Tech and North Carolina State as the Tigers followed their 8-0 start with losses in three of their next four games.
Junior tight end Dwayne Allen and starting running back Andre Ellington both tried to mentor Bellamy and keep him focused. The loss of Bellamy means that both of Clemson's high-profile recruits might be absent when the Tigers open the season against Auburn in September. Watkins was arrested earlier this month for possession of marijuana and a controlled substance. Swinney has promised Watkins will be punished, although he hasn't revealed what that will be. (al.com)
Swinney said he has yet to decide on a punishment for Watkins. Watkins was arrested earlier this month and charged with drug possession. As for the transition to new defensive coordinator Brent Venables, Swinney said everything went smoothly
FLORIDA STATE: The first three game times of the 2012 football season have been announced:
- Murray State will be at 6p.m. on ESPN3.com
- Savannah State will be at 6 p.m. on ESPN3.com
- Wake Forest will be at noon on either ESPN or ESPN2
BOWDEN ON BIG 12: In an interview that aired last Sunday morning at 9 a.m. ET on the SiriusXM show College Sports from All Angles with Jack Arute, Arute asks ex-FSU head coach Bobby Bowden what his message would be to his former school in regards to future conference affiliation. His response? In essence, get your football program in better shape and get back to ruling the ACC before even thinking about moving to a higher-quality football conference.
"My message would be stay in the ACC," Bowden told Arute in a transcript provided by SiriusXM. "Do you want to win a National Championship at Florida State? You've got a better chance in the ACC than you have in the Big 12, or even the SEC.
"You say, 'Well, gosh, they're much stronger in those conferences.' Yeah! They beat up on each other and you can't hardly get there. You know what? Florida State, wait 'til you get good enough to rule the ACC then you start looking for someplace to jump. But my opinion? They should stay right where they are." (cft.com)
BROOKS INACCURATE: Former FSU All-American linebacker and former Board of Trustees member Derrick Brooks shook things up today when he said that it was his understanding that the "Big 12 has contacted FSU". We've (warchant.com) confirmed with sources both within FSU and the Big 12 that this simply isn't the case. That's not to say some rogue AD or a major booster from the Big 12 could have possibly talked to a booster or other non-decision maker at FSU, but as far anyone with real decision making power it simply hasn't occurred yet. In fact, we've been told several times that until the Big 12 meetings take place later this month, and maybe not until new commissioner Bob Bowlsby officially takes office in mid-June will there be any contact between the Big 12 and FSU. I was also told until the decision makers at Texas and Oklahoma get in the same room and discuss this (first opportunity is the Big 12 meetings), it's simply impossible that there would be any contact initiated by the Big 12 to FSU.
All that being said, we heard again today that there legitimate interest on the Big 12's part. One highly placed official admitted that there "could be a conversation" with FSU down the road. The Big 12 expansion committee (headed up by the OSU president) is still meeting and most believe they are working on scenarios to present to the league on the possibility of FSU joining the Big 12.
In conclusion on the FSU-Big 12 stuff (for now at least) most believe that eventually a conversation between the two sides will take place. But it will probably not happen for a while, not until, at the earliest when Bowlsby is officially in office. (warchant.com)
FSU REVENUE: Why do some FSU folks want to join the Big 12? Total revenue in 2011: Florida $123.5 million, FSU $78.6 million. FSU's revenue has increased 17% since 2006. Florida's has increased 49%. The ACC's highest revenue maker (Florida State) made less money in 2011 than 9 SEC schools and 7 Big Ten schools (Jon Solomon of al.com)
MIAMI: Miami coach Al Golden said last Tuesday that quarterback Stephen Morris has been medically cleared and is ready to participate in the Hurricanes' offseason program. Players report back to campus Tuesday and Golden said Morris will get right to passing drills and working with receivers on individual routes. Golden has previously said that Morris was ahead of schedule in his return from back surgery. Morris did return for the final week of spring practice, but he was limited and didn't participate in the spring game. Now that has changed, and Golden fully anticipates a quarterback competition this summer and into the fall between Morris and Ryan Williams, who emerged during the spring. (espn.com)
POSSIBLE NCAA NEW RULES: The NCAA overhaul of its body of rules may call for the suspension of a head coach whose assistants commit violations, as well as a fine for a university up to five percent of its annual athletic budget, according to proposals discussed Monday at the Atlantic Coast Conference spring meetings.
An NCAA special committee, led by Clemson president James F. Barker, is attempting to streamline rules enforcement to provide "stronger, more predictable penalties" and greater accountability for university officials, from presidents to athletic directors to head coaches. The committee issued an interim report last month and is circulating some proposals among the membership for discussion.
The proposed changes include multiple levels of violations, rather than just the "major" and "secondary" levels now in force. This would allow the NCAA to be more nimble in how it adjudicates lesser violations.
It also includes fines, depending on the severity of the violation, of 0.25 percent to five percent of an annual athletic budget, or a sport's revenue, whichever is greater.
The penalty for scholarship reductions may be as high as 50 percent of a sport's allotment. A death penalty may be administered for one year -- for lesser offenses -- to as many as three-plus years.
It's difficult to find anyone in intercollegiate athletics who does not want the NCAA to move beyond outdated, nitpicking regulations and to handle cases in a more timely matter. But the discussion of greater accountability is meeting resistance from those who would be held accountable.
Under the current NCAA bylaw, a head coach is "presumed" to have knowledge of what is occurring in his program and "can be responsible" for the actions of his assistants.
The proposed change would do away with presumption. It would make the head coach responsible for his assistants' actions regardless of his knowledge of them. The penalties would range from 5 to 100 percent of competition in a season.
The NCAA included in the discussion material some examples of behavior for which a head coach would be held accountable, such as in-person, off-campus contacts with a recruit during a dead period, providing team gear to a recruit, or multiple phone calls or contacts when they are not allowed. (espn.com)
Brent Beaird writes for Lindy's Sports, Gator Bait magazine and Samsportsline.com. He can be heard on 1010XL sports radio in Jacksonville, Florida. Brent, who is a Heisman Trophy voter, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
E-MAIL BRENT AT email@example.com