Pac-12 Notes – Spring Practices

April 26th

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Mark Emmert stepping down as NCAA President

From ESPN … NCAA president Mark Emmert will be stepping down when his replacement is selected and in place or on June 30, 2023, the organization announced on Tuesday.

An NCAA release said Emmert and the NCAA Board of Governors reached a mutual agreement to have him step aside.

“Throughout my tenure I’ve emphasized the need to focus on the experience and priorities of student-athletes,” Emmert said in a statement. “I am extremely proud of the work of the Association over the last 12 years and especially pleased with the hard work and dedication of the national office staff here in Indianapolis.”

Emmert’s decision comes at a time when major college sports are being transformed by name, image and likeness and the transfer portal, which allows athletes to change schools one time without penalty.

“With the significant transitions underway within college sports, the timing of this decision provides the Association with consistent leadership during the coming months plus the opportunity to consider what will be the future role of the president,” NCAA Board of Governors chair John J. DeGioia, the president of Georgetown, said in a statement. “It also allows for the selection and recruitment of the next president without disruption.”

In January, NCAA member schools adopted a new constitution and are in the process of transforming the structure and mission to meet future needs. Emmert’s decision isn’t unexpected, as the reboot of college athletics is expected to significantly reduce the NCAA’s responsibility in management and enforcement of rules.

Each of the NCAA’s three divisions are currently working on revising or creating their own rules to align with the fundamental principles laid out in the new constitution.

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Paul Finebaum: “College football as we know it is on its last breath”

From On3.com … Paul Finebaum sees the writing on the wall. The ESPN SEC expert is exasperated with the current state of his beloved sport. Whether it’s NIL or the transfer portal, Finebaum sees the bubble bursting in the near future.

In an appearance on McElroy and Cubelic In The Morning on Monday, Finebaum was asked about the decisions of the Cavinder twins and former Kansas State basketball star Nijel Pack to transfer to Miami. Both transfer are believed to be NIL fueled, and Finebaum doesn’t believe that bodes well for college football.

“It’s not only the future, it’s the present,” stated Finebaum, on the topic of athletes choosing schools based off NIL opportunities. “I read something over the weekend from Jack Swarbrick of Notre Dame. Respected individual, highly respected. He said that he thought the NCAA current structure with the Power 5 would be obsolete by the middle of 2030, so that’s ten years off. I think he’s being very generous. I don’t think this is a sustainable model that will last another couple of years.

“Now, it’s impossible to predict the breakup of an organization like this because it moves so slowly. But it is going to come apart. The NCAA is on its last breath. I think college football as we know it is on its last breath. It’s happening with unbelievable speed. Supersonic speed that I could not have predicted.

“When we started NIL on July 1st of 2021, I think the feeling was we take a couple of years, everyone would go slow, but because of what a couple of schools did — legally, I might add — it left everyone else flat-footed. So now, the schools like Miami and others are doing whatever they can. If you’re the Cavinder twins, are you going to stay out in California if you can make the kind of money that they’re making? No. You take the deal. You used to be able to say about being an adult, but you’re only a college athlete once. When you can make money.

“I mean, how many of us are ever going to make the kind of money in our career, that some of these young people are making now? So, they’re grabbing at it. Would a guidance counselor in eight grade have advised this? No. But it’s the free market system.”

Continue reading story here

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April 25th 

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Appeals of targeting calls part of rules changes for 2022 season

From CBS Sports … The NCAA announced that several rules will be enacted for the 2022 football season, including an appeals process for the targeting rule. Additionally, changes were made to address fake injuries, fake slides, blocking below the waist and defensive holding.

Schools will now be able to appeal second-half targeting penalties to determine if the player who committed the foul will be forced to sit out the first half of the team’s next game. The conference will submit an appeal to the national coordinator of officials, who will determine if the foul was assessed correctly. If it wasn’t, the penalty would be overturned and the player will be eligible to participate in the first half of the subsequent game.

The NCAA also addressed players faking injuries to slow the pace of a game, a practice that has become more common with the widespread use of up-tempo offenses. Conferences and schools will now submit a report to the national coordinator of officials, who will provide feedback to the conference. The conference or school would then levy any additional punishment.

“We considered all options to address this issue, including allowing both teams an opportunity to substitute after a first down,” said David Shaw, Stanford coach and chair of the Football Rules Committee. “This is another step to consider in the future.”

The so-called “Kenny Pickett Rule” has also been greenlit. Any ball carrier who fakes a feet-first slide will be considered down at the spot. Pickett, the former Pitt quarterback, famously ran for a 58-yard touchdown in the first half of the 2021 ACC Championship Game vs. Wake Forest after faking a slide.

Blocking below the waist was addressed by the committee as well. It will be allowed by linemen and stationary running backs inside of the tackle box, but blocking below the waist outside of the tackle box is prohibited. Defensive holding will remain a 10-yard penalty, but will always carry an automatic first down.

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Coaches anxious to get past May 1st and Transfer Portal entry deadline

From CBS Sports … Eli Drinkwitz can’t wait for next Sunday. He’s not alone.

“Hell, yeah,” Missouri’s coach told CBS Sports. “We’re all waiting for that day.”

May 1 marks the day the transfer portal shuts down for this academic year. It closes for three months before reopening Aug. 1, the start of the 2022-23 academic year. Players in the portal by May 1 can still transfer after that date, but the deadline provides a shred of roster certainty amid what has amounted to free agency in college football.

With only one week to go, there is heightened anticipation of a final, dramatic bum rush to transfer freedom before the portal’s doors close.

By May 1, spring practices will largely be over. Position battle losers will have decisions to make. A bottleneck could form. Coaches everywhere are looking forward to exhaling if they can make it through the next week.

Continue reading story here

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April 22nd

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Arizona State loses two starters to the Transfer Portal

Note … Arizona State finished its spring practices last week. Don’t be surprised if there are announcements of a few more Buffs entering the Transfer Portal this time next week … 

From 247 Sports … Arizona State linebacker Eric Gentry and wide receiver Ricky Pearsall entered the NCAA transfer portal Thursday, 247Sports learned. Both are significant losses, as Gentry broke out in 2021 as a freshman and Pearsall led the Sun Devils in receiving.

Gentry, a three-star prospect in the class of 2021, was named a 247Sports Freshman All-American after appearing in 12 of 13 games with three starts in his first season. Spending most of his time at edge rusher and outside linebacker, he was one of Arizona State’s most effective disruptors on the defense and finished the year with 45 total tackles, five for a loss, one sack, one quarterback hurry and two pass deflections.

Gentry received a 247Sports transfer grade of 93, making him a four-star prospect and the No. 18 overall transfer available in the 2022 cycle. The Philadelphia (Penn.) Neumann Goretti High School product graded out in the 247Sports Composite as the No. 44 EDGE and No. 19 prospect in the state of Pennsylvania in the 2021 class.

The 6-foot-1, 200 pound Pearsall broke out in a major way last season, pacing the Sun Devils with 48 catches for 580 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 12.08 yards per catch. In 2020, Pearsall displayed his versatility by catching six passes for 86 yards and one touchdown, completing a 51-yard pass and rushing once for 29 yards. He has also spent time as a return man with Arizona State.

Pearsall signed with the Sun Devils in 2019 out of Tempe (Ari.) Corona Del Sol High School. The 247Sports Composite ranked him as the No. 151 wide receiver and No. 22 prospect in the state of Arizona.

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April 21st 

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USA Today Pac-12 Power Rankings (CU has work to do)

From the USA Today … The past five College Football Playoffs have been held without a Pac-12 team and that trend seems likely to continue even as the conference undergoes a significant facelift.

Two of the league’s biggest programs bring in new coaches – Lincoln Riley at Southern California and Dan Lanning at Oregon. Luring Riley from Oklahoma was a coup for the Trojans, but there is major rebuilding to be done. Lanning is fresh off winning a national title as Georgia’s defensive coordinator and has to fill the shoes of Mario Cristobal after his move to Miami.

There’s also change at Washington with the Huskies hiring Kalen DeBoer after his success at Fresno State and Washington State’s Jake Dickert begins his first full season after serving as interim coach last year after Nick Rolovich’s firing.

Utah remains the one constant. Fresh off its first Pac-12 title, the Utes look like the league’s best hope to reach the national semifinals. UCLA is poised to be in the hunt as its progression under Chip Kelly continues. Washington, Stanford and Arizona State still have big expectations for their programs, while Oregon State and Washington State might be dark horses to watch out for entering the summer.

Springtime power rankings for the Pac-12:

1. Utah (2021 record: 10-4)

Kyle Whittingham’s decision to promote Cam Rising to starting quarterback turned last season around for the Utes after a 1-2 start. It ended with a conference title and memorable shootout loss to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. Rising returns with running back Tavion Thomas, who had 21 touchdowns on the ground. Tight end Brant Kuithe was the team’s leading receiver and position mate Dalton Kincaid was right behind him. The defense again will be strong up front with Florida transfer Mohamoud Diabate slotting in at linebacker and filling a big need. The biggest worry is the secondary that was torched by the Buckeyes. Clark Phillips gives the group an elite corner but he needs some help there if Utah is going to reach greater heights.

10. California (5-7)

The Golden Bears are the lowest-rated team from the North on this list, but the margins between them and the rest of the division are very small, making a potential rise very possible. The arrival of former Purdue quarterback Jack Plummer provides some hope for an offense that needs to carry its weight for Cal to go bowling. Like most seasons under Justin Wilcox, the defense should be one of the best in the conference and keep the Bears in most of their games.

11. Colorado (4-8)

Changes were needed after the Buffaloes were statistically among the worst in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Karl Dorrell brought in offensive coordinator Mike Sanford in his overhaul of assistants. Also joining the program is Tennessee quarterback transfer J.T. Shrout, who will compete with Brendon Lewis, the team’s starter as a freshman last year. While the passing game was poor, the running game wasn’t much better and needs someone to emerge as primary ball carrier. The situation is somewhat better on defense, though overall there needs to be improvement to get into postseason consideration.

12. Arizona (1-11)

This ranking might be harsh for the Wildcats even with them coming off a one-win season in Jedd Fisch’s debut. The team got better throughout the campaign and Fisch then landed an impressive recruiting class and some impact transfers. Among the key additions are quarterback Jayden de Laura, who started the past two seasons at Washington State, wide receiver Jacob Cowing from Texas-El Paso and Southern California defensive lineman Hunter Echols. Another possible impact comes from heralded wide receiver recruit Tetairoa McMillan. Arizona will start in the basement, but don’t be surprised if it finishes much higher.

Read full story here

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April 20th

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CU; Arizona in the Bottom Ten for wins in the 21st Century 

From On3.com … Achieving success can be tough. Sustaining success is even harder. But what about sustained failure? We will, in a way, delve into both sides of the equation today as we look at the winningest and losingest Power 5 programs this century and over the past decade (2012-21).

Truthfully, even a casual fan won’t be surprised at the winningest Power 5 programs, nor a few of the losingest. But there still were a handful surprises on both sides. Here’s a closer look.

By the way, the only non-Power 5 program in the top 10 this century or in the past decade was Boise State. The Broncos have the second-best winning percentage this century and the sixth-best of the past decade. (Win totals from school websites as well as sports-reference.com and Stassen.com, both of which are gems.)

This century, bottom 10

TeamWin percentageRecord
10. Iowa State.447122-151
9. Rutgers.433116-152
8. Arizona.431113-149
7. Syracuse.414110-156
6. Colorado.412110-157
5. Illinois.37498-164
4. Indiana.36996-164
3. Vanderbilt.33889-174
2. Duke.32787-179
1. Kansas.30680-181

+ Kansas won 12 games in 2007 and eight in ’08. That means fully 25 percent of their wins this century came in two seasons. The most the Jayhawks have won in a season since ’08? Five in ’09.

+ Perhaps the most illustrative stat about the barren wasteland that is Vanderbilt football is this: The Commodores have had seven winning seasons in the past 50 years. They had back-to-back winning records under James Franklin in 2012-13 – and 20 percent of their wins this century came in those two seasons. (An aside: Vandy has had three winning SEC records in the past 50 years.)

+ Almost a third of Iowa State’s victories this century (39) have come in the past five seasons under Matt Campbell. He has guided the Cyclones to five winning seasons in a row. The last time that was done? Try 1923-27, when Iowa State was 4-3-1 in each of those five seasons. The next time someone says, “Well, what has he really done?’ feel confident in saying he got the Cyclones off the mat and now has them in the middle of the ring throwing real punches.

+ Colorado was 10th nationally in winning percentage in the 1990s (.742). This century? The Buffs have had just five winning seasons; they had four seasons with double-digit wins in the ’90s.

+ Indiana has had three winning seasons this century – and those three years (two of them under current coach Tom Allen) accounted for 22 percent of the Hoosiers’ wins (21) in that span.

Read full story here

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April 16th

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Big Ten negotiating with multiple networks over TV rights – deal expected to be announced by Memorial Day

From the SportsBusinessJournal … A curious situation has been afoot during Big Ten media rights negotiations this year that has caused a lot of head scratching by TV network and digital executives.

Two senior Fox Sports executives — Mark Silverman and Larry Jones — are taking active roles during the conference’s media rights negotiations.

That means Silverman, Fox Sports president and COO, and Jones, Fox Sports executive vice president of business, have been in the room and listening intently as executives from rival companies — AmazonAppleCBSESPNNBC and Turner — make their pitches for the conference’s rights packages.

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren leads these meetings, of course. He has run the conference for three years and has final say on which company ends up with the rights. Kerry Kenny, the conference’s senior vice president of television, media, analytics and emerging platforms, also plays a big role during each of these meetings.

Executives say they’ve never encountered this type of situation before where they have had to make their pitch not only in front of a competitive network, but actually to its executives.

It’s all on the up-and-up, even if the situation is unusual. Sources say Fox Sports already has a deal in place to renew its Big Ten pact, so it’s not as though Silverman and Jones are gaining trade secrets as a way to enhance their own bid.

The presence of Silverman and Jones in these negotiations is part of a deal Fox Sports cut with the Big Ten when the previous rights agreements were signed in 2017.

The earlier deal gave Big Ten Network control of the media rights to the Big Ten conference for an undetermined period of time. Silverman, who ran Big Ten Network back in 2017, was part of the negotiations with ESPN as a BTN rep back then.

This year, Silverman and Jones are taking part in these talks as designated representatives of BTN, the channel in which Fox Sports is a majority owner and the entity that controls the Big Ten rights.

Essentially, the two Fox Sports executives are acting as both designated BTN representatives and media consultants, which is one reason why the Big Ten did not hire a media consultant to help it through these negotiations.

For months, one of the biggest mysteries surrounding the Big Ten’s negotiations has been about who Warren was using as a consultant. There hasn’t been a clear answer. The idea that it’s two well-established network executives certainly comes as a surprise.

The specifics of Fox’s new deal are not set — not even Big Ten or Fox executives know how many games that package will have as the conference still is trying to sell one, two or possibly three more packages to other suitors. The number of games going to Fox is dependent on how the conference structures these other packages. The conference expects to award these packages by Memorial Day.

Continue reading story here

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April 14th

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ESPN ranks Top 100 running backs of the past 60 years: Two Buffs in the Top 25

… Pac-12 well represented, with 23 of the top 100 … Only Oregon State and Utah are not represented on the list … 

From Bill Connelly at ESPN … Until the mid-1960s, substitutions in college football were minimal. All-around athletes dominated, playing frequently on both sides of the ball. But with the end of the mandate on one-platoon play in 1965, specialization began to reign. Players better at offense became offensive players, players better at defense became defenders, and rather quickly, running backs took over. From 1965 to 1988, running backs won 17 of 24 Heisman Trophies, dominating the 1970s and early 1980s in particular.

As the game has changed, so has the position. We see very few running backs getting 25 carries per game, and only three RBs have won the Heisman in the 21st century. The position is evolving, but it’s still a key piece of almost every college football offense. So let’s take a moment to commemorate the best backs we’ve seen.

Here are the 100 best running backs of the past six decades, the period since specialization took over the sport.

From the Pac-12 …

100. Greg Lewis, Washington (1987-90)

98. Rueben Mayes, Washington State (1982-85)

94. Mel Renfro, Oregon (1961-63)

93. Mel Farr, UCLA (1964-66)

89. J.J. Arrington, Cal (2003-04)

88. Bryce Love, Stanford (2015-18)

82. Woody Green, Arizona State (1971-73)

79. Anthony Davis, USC (1972-74)

74. Toby Gerhart, Stanford (2006-09)

73. Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona (2011-13)

63. Royce Freeman, Oregon (2014-17)

37. Ricky Bell, USC

Years: 1974-76
Career stats: 3,689 rushing yards (5.2), 185 receiving yards (10.3), 29 TDs

As a USC tailback in this era, it almost feels like a fluke that the future No. 1 pick didn’t win a Heisman. He finished third in the voting while rushing for 1,957 yards in 1975, then finished second while rushing for 1,433 yards as a senior.

36. Chuck Muncie, Cal

Years: 1973-75
Career stats: 3,052 rushing yards (5.6), 1,085 receiving yards (11.2), 38 TDs

Another great dual-threat back, Muncie put together a season for the ages in 1975, rushing for 1,460 yards (6.4 per carry) and catching 39 balls for 392 more. Cal recorded its first top-15 finish in 25 years, and Muncie finished behind only Archie Griffin in the Heisman voting.

31. Marcus Allen, USC

Years: 1978-81
Career stats: 4,810 rushing yards (5.2), 801 receiving yards (9.3), 47 TDs

Allen patiently waited for his turn in the USC backfield, then made up for lost time. He rushed for 1,563 yards as a junior before producing one of the greatest senior years you’ll ever see: 433 carries (36 per game!) for 2,427 yards and 22 touchdowns.

30. LaMichael James, Oregon

Years: 2009-11
Career stats: 5,082 rushing yards (6.6), 586 receiving yards (11.5), 57 TDs

Chip Kelly’s Ducks went 34-6 from 2009-11, finishing in the top five twice and nearly winning the 2010 national title. James was the face of those teams, rushing for at least 1,500 yards each year and scoring 24 times during that blessed 2010 run. An underrated superstar.

28. Darrin Nelson, Stanford

Years: 1977-81
Career stats: 4,033 rushing yards (5.7), 2,368 receiving yards (11.1), 40 TDs

Nelson’s talent was so unique that he nearly made last summer’s Best College Receivers list too. In four seasons at Stanford, he topped 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards three times each.

27. Mike Garrett, USC

Years: 1963-65
Career stats: 3,221 rushing yards (5.3), 399 receiving yards (11.1), 29 TDs

One of the first big-time-high-volume running backs, Garrett averaged 26.7 carries per game during a senior season that earned him 1,440 yards and an easy Heisman win over three other backs on this list (Grabowski, Donny Anderson and the guy listed one spot above him).

25. Eric Bieniemy, Colorado

Years: 1987-90
Career stats: 3,940 rushing yards (5.6), 380 receiving yards (14.1), 42 TDs

One of the first major recruiting wins of the Bill McCartney era at Colorado, Bieniemy came to town hoping to raise the program’s profile and left it as the headliner (1,628 yards, 17 touchdowns, third in the Heisman voting) for a national champion.

17. Rashaan Salaam, Colorado

Years: 1992-94
Career stats: 3,057 rushing yards (6.3), 412 receiving yards (10.8), 33 TDs

After a brief, post-1990 reset, Colorado nearly won the national title again in 1994 thanks to Salaam’s Heisman performance. He rushed for 2,055 yards and 24 touchdowns and caught 24 passes to boot as the Buffaloes lost only to national champion Nebraska.

15. Christian McCaffrey, Stanford

Years: 2014-16
Career stats: 3,922 rushing yards (6.2), 1,206 receiving yards (12.2), 31 TDs

A Keyes for the 2010s, McCaffrey somehow combined 2,109 rushing yards with 645 receiving yards in 2015, finishing behind only Henry in the Heisman voting. Maybe the only reason he didn’t rush for 2,000-plus again the next year? He missed two games with injury.

13. Charles White, USC

Years: 1976-79
Career stats: 6,245 rushing yards (5.4), 541 receiving yards (9.2), 53 TDs

It makes sense that Marcus Allen had to wait for his shot in the lineup considering White was the guy in front of him, rushing for 3,909 yards, winning a Heisman and leading the Trojans to a combined 23-1-1 record and dueling top-two finishes in 1978 and ’79.

10. Reggie Bush, USC

Years: 2003-05
Career stats: 3,169 rushing yards (7.3), 1,301 receiving yards (13.7), 38 TDs

If you want to deduct points from Bush’s ledger for his splitting of an amazing USC backfield with LenDale White, go for it. If you still resent that he won the Heisman in 2005 instead of Texas’ Vince Young, fine. My counterpoint: Bush was the most hypnotic, hold-your-breath running back of the 2000s. He goes in the top 10.

5. O.J. Simpson, USC

Years: 1967-68
Career stats: 3,423 rushing yards (5.1), 320 receiving yards (8.9), 36 TDs

Maybe the most accomplished juco transfer this side of Cam Newton, Simpson showed up at USC and immediately became one of the best players in college football. As a junior, he rushed for 1,543 yards, 13 TDs, a loping 64-yard score in a win over No. 1 UCLA and a No. 2 Heisman finish. He somehow topped that as a senior: 1,880 yards, 23 scores and a Heisman win.

4.   Ricky Williams, Texas … 3. Herschel Walker, Georgia … 2. Archie Griffin, Ohio State … 1. Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State … 

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April 13th

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Nick Saban: “I don’t think what we’re doing right now is a sustainable model”

From the Associated Press … Nick Saban’s willingness to adapt and often be a catalyst for change in college football, both on the field and off, has propelled Alabama to six national championships in 13 seasons.

The 70-year-old coach is confident his program will continue to thrive during this new era of college athletics, with players having more opportunities to earn money than ever before and more power to determine where they play.

But the current state of college football has Saban concerned.

“I don’t think what we’re doing right now is a sustainable model,” Saban told The Associated Press in a recent interview.

That’s a common theme among coaches these days, with Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Southern California’s Lincoln Riley among the most prominent who have echoed Saban’s sentiments. The combination of empowered athletes and easily accessible paydays is changing the way coaches go about their business.

The uncertainty comes with the NCAA in a weakened state following last year’s Supreme Court loss and in the midst of a dramatic restructuring. Schools and the NCAA itself would prefer federal legislation to regulate how athletes are compensated for their names, images and likenesses, but when that might come and in what form is unknown.

That has led to concerns about vast sums of money flowing in and around college athletics, including brazen entities called collectives put together by well-heeled donors whose donations have traditionally funded everything from lavish facilities to multimillion-dollar buyouts of fired coaches around Power Five conferences.

“The concept of name, image and likeness was for players to be able to use their name, image and likeness to create opportunities for themselves. That’s what it was,” Saban said. “So last year on our team, our guys probably made as much or more than anybody in the country.”

Paying a player to attend a particular school is still a violation of NCAA rules, but NIL deals have quickly become intertwined with recruiting — both high school prospects and the growing number of college transfers.

Continue reading story here

Former USC quarterback JT Daniels to sign with West Virginia

From CBS Sports … Former Georgia and USC quarterback JT Daniels announced Wednesday that he is committing to West Virginia over Missouri and Oregon State. The former five-star prospect was listed as a junior on the Georgia roster this past season and will have at least one season left to play for the Mountaineers.

“Going up and down the roster, I feel like they have very, very good pieces everywhere,” Daniels told ESPN. “It feels like a great fit for quarterback. I feel like there’s a really, really, really good team that I’m going to step into and do my part to contribute.”

Daniels’ career began with promise as a true freshman at USC in 2018 before a knee injury derailed his sophomore season and led to the emergence of Kedon Slovis as the Trojans quarterback. Following the 2019 season, Daniels transferred to Georgia and received immediate eligibility. Though he was still rehabilitating his knee early in his time at Georgia, he emerged as the Bulldogs’ starter late in the 2020 season. Ultimately, he never fully wrestled the job away from Stetson Bennett IV, who wound up leading UGA to the national title this past season despite beginning the year buried on the depth chart.

Though Daniels has battled injuries and been beaten out in two locations, his career numbers are solid. Daniels has completed 63.8% of this passes and thrown for 32 touchdowns with just 16 interceptions. He figures to become the frontrunner for the starting job at WVU as the Mountaineers come off a 6-7 season and seek to gain traction in coach Neal Brown’s fourth season as head coach. The Mountaineers ranked ninth out of 10 Big 12 teams last season with just 5.4 yards per play.

With Daniels’ addition, the upcoming Backyard Brawl between West Virginia and Pitt on Sept. 1 will have a distinct USC flavor as former Trojans QB Kedon Slovis will be on the Panthers’ sideline as a transfer.

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April 11th

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Former Oregon player suing school and former coach for $100 million

From 247 Sports … Ex-Oregon football player Doug Brenner is suing the NCAA, University of Oregon and former Ducks head coach Willie Taggart for $100 million in damages after suffering life-long injuries during a series of controversial workouts in 2017, according to a report by Heather Dinich. Oregon and Taggart are named as defendants in a suit from the former Oregon offensive lineman who has since added punitive damages against the NCAA from a suit first filed in January 2019 in Oregon circuit court.

Taggart plans to attend the trial along with former strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde, who has also been named by Brenner as a defendant.

“I care about every one of the players I’ve coached like they are my own sons, and I want each of them to be successful on and off the field,” Taggart said in a statement responding to the report. “I would never want any of them to suffer any injury. I disagree with the things Doug Brenner has said in his complaint and am sorry we’re involved in this lawsuit. But I still wish him the best.”

Brenner’s lawsuit claims Oregon showed negligence with workouts in 2017 and he has accused Taggart and Oderinde of imposing physical punishment on the players.

Brenner claims he was in a group with other players four consecutive days in 2017 for 60 to 90-minute early-morning workouts and water was not made available. His lawsuit states, according to the report, “that Taggart and Oderinde didn’t review the training program with the school’s sports medical staff, and Oregon failed to require them to do so.”

It also says Oregon’s football medical staff “acknowledged that the workout went beyond the student athletes’ natural limits after the first day, but rather than stop the workouts, university staff brought in oxygen tanks on the second day.”

Continue reading story here

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April 10th

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LOL – USC coach Lincoln Riley on his $8 million recruit: “I think anybody can realize that’s not good for this game”

… You’ll note that, a) Riley didn’t deny he was getting a commitment from a quarterback recruit who is being paid $8 million to commit to USC; and b) he is not taking any steps to not accept that commitment in the name of improving the game … 

From USCFootball.com … USC head coach Lincoln Riley shared some strong opinions on the growing impact of Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) in the already competitive field that is college football recruiting. Riley was asked how he feels NIL has altered recruiting since it’s been implemented.

“It’s completely changed it. It doesn’t even resemble what we used to do before NIL. In every sense of the word, it’s different.  You know, the reality is it’s made what’s gone on at certain places for a long time, it’s going to put it out in the open, so maybe some positives there. I’m a fan of guys being able to capitalize on their NIL,” he said. “There was no doubt it was going to seep into recruiting at some point. I think that anybody that cares about college football is not real pleased with that because that wasn’t the intention. We all get that. A lot of people voiced concerns when NIL came up that there had to be a plan for that. Instead, we instituted NIL without any plan for that, so that’s why we’re at where we’re at. And I’m sure, at some point, there is going to be a market correction if you will, with recruiting. Hopefully, there will be because in a perfect world they stay separate. High school kids, his family, their state, if they an NIL opportunity, that’s great. College kids if they an NIL opportunity, fantastic. I want them to do super well. It shouldn’t cross over. But unfortunately with the way the rules are set up, it has crossed over. It’s over a lot right now and it’s totally changed recruiting.”

Riley was asked in a follow up question on the specific example of an unnamed 2023 high-profile prospect that signed a deal that will pay him as much as $8 million deal by his junior season.

“I think anybody can realize that’s not good for this game,” he said. “College football is such a great thing and that’s certainly not what anybody is after. It is what it is. But it was going to happen. And honestly probably good that something that outrageous happened as soon as it did because I think it shines a pretty bright light on, we got something here that we need to take a look at. I think we got enough people out there that we can figure out a better, smoother path that can separate the two. Again, fully supportive of guys being able to make money of their Name, Image and Likeness. Fully supportive of that, no matter where they are at. But it should not be a part of recruiting. They ought to know what opportunities are there, what the current players are getting, sure. Absolutely. You want to know that. But these promises that are made when guys are in high school are not good for the game. Hopefully we can find some ways to address it, keep the two separate.”

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April 8th

Report: If NIL goes unchecked, “The Pac-12 as we know it could cease to exist”

From the San Jose Mercury News … As it wades across the most turbulent era in the history of college athletics, the Pac-12 is drifting ever closer to an existential crisis.

It has nothing to do with conference realignment — with poaching by the Big Ten or SEC — and everything to do with talent acquisition.

With recruiting elite prospects in the era of name, image and likeness (NIL).

NIL grants athletes in all sports the right to receive uncapped compensation for promotional and endorsement endeavors, so long as the payments don’t come directly from the university.

It became the law of the land last summer and has created a lawless land.

In the world of NIL, the rules of engagement are blurred, NCAA oversight is non-existent, and the cheating that used to occur under the table is now in plain sight — inevitable, unstoppable and, it appears, perfectly acceptable.

NIL opportunities weren’t supposed to be dangled as recruiting inducements for transfers or high school players but … wouldn’t you know it … are being dangled as recruiting inducements for transfers and high school players.

In fact, that has quickly become their primary purpose.

And at the highest levels of Pac-12 power, there are questions about the path forward — and if there should even be a path forward.

Should the schools become immersed in aspects of NIL that contradict the spirit of amateurism still alive in Ivory Towers across the conference?

“Some schools want to pursue football and basketball at the highest level,’’ a source said. “Other schools think that approach is destructive.”

If NIL remains unchecked for years to come — the NCAA has asked Congress for help regulating the marketplace — the Pac-12 eventually could cease to exist as we know it.

A split into divisions based on donor support for NIL was one of several possible outcomes, but hardly the most extreme, offered to the Hotline by conference sources and NIL experts. (One source wondered if schools would simply stop playing major college football.)

Why donor support?

Because after eight months of NIL, the so-called donor collectives (or consortiums) have emerged as the prime movers in the marketplace — the fundamental drivers of recruiting.

Continue reading story here

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April 6th

Next Pac-12 media contract could bring about pleasant surprises

From the San Jose Mercury News

The Pac-12 will blow past expectations with its media rights contract.

First, let’s address the timing. The contracts with ESPN and Fox — and the Pac-12 Networks distribution partners — expire in the summer of 2024, which would point to next winter as the start of negotiations for the next contract cycle. However, we believe the process could be expedited.

The networks currently are negotiating with the Big Ten. Once those conclude (in the late spring or early summer), they could quickly pivot to the Pac-12 and wrap everything up by the end of 2022. We wouldn’t bet on that outcome, but it’s possible.

We predict the key pieces for the Pac-12’s next media rights contract will look something like this:

— The terms. Let’s first define the discussion: The annual revenue distributions to each campus — the numbers that get so much media attention — include revenue from March Madness and the College Football Playoff. Our projections are limited to Pac-12 distribution rights for regular-season broadcasts (football and men’s basketball) and the football championship game.

Two factors shape our projections: 1) The sizzling market for live sports (see: the recent NFL and MLB media deals); and 2) the coterminous nature of the Pac-12 rights.

One of the few things former commissioner Larry Scott got right with the media strategy was to ensure that all contracts expired at the same time — in the summer of ’24. That will allow Kliavkoff to saddle to the negotiating table with the football and basketball inventory currently on Fox and ESPN and the 36 football games on the Pac-12 Networks.

With scale comes leverage and flexibility. In our opinion, the Pac-12’s next media rights deal will bring an average annual value of $600 million, which breaks down to $50 million per school over the course of the deal. (The Year One value would be less, assuming an escalator of three or four percent.)

For context, recall that the existing 12-year, $3 billion deal with Fox and ESPN averages $250 million annually ($21 million per school). So yes, we expect the average value to more than double — in part because of market forces, in part because 36 football games will be added to the inventory. (Those games are worth far more to the conference within a package sold to ESPN and Fox than they have been on the Pac-12 Networks.)

The duration of the contract cycle could be eight years, 10 years, perhaps even 12 years — but whatever the length, it will assuredly have an option to reassess midway through.

— The partners. As the current rights-holders, ESPN and Fox have an exclusive negotiating window with the Pac-12. The conference can discuss options with other potential partners, but it cannot engage in formal negotiations with CBS, NBC, Amazon, etc., unless ESPN and Fox are unable (or unwilling) to lock up the Pac-12 during the exclusive window.

Continue reading story here

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April 5th

Bob Bowlsby stepping down as Big 12 Commissioner

From ESPN … Bob Bowlsby, who has led the Big 12 since 2012, and most recently steered it through the tumultuous announcement of the departures of Texas and Oklahoma, will “step away from the Commissioner’s chair” later this year, the league announced on Tuesday.

Bowlsby will remain at the conference helm until a new commissioner is selected and then will transition to a new role in the league office, the announcement said.

“After more than 40 years of serving in leadership roles in intercollegiate athletics, including the last 10 with the Big 12, and given the major issues that college sports in general and the Big 12 specifically will address in the next several years, I have reached a natural transition point in my tenure as Commissioner, as well as in my career,” Bowlsby said.

Last year, after Texas and Oklahoma — the league’s two most prominent members — announced they were bolting for the SEC, Bowlsby steadied the league and engineered the additions of BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston, who will join no later than the 2024-25 academic year. Texas and Oklahoma have publicly said they will remain until their Big 12 rights expire in 2025.

“The Big 12 will soon bring in our four new members and negotiate a new grant of rights and media rights agreements,” Bowlsby added in the statement. “I truly believe the Big 12 and our member institutions are in a strong position now and as we look into the future. As such, this is an appropriate time for me to step away from the Commissioner’s role so that the next leader of the Conference can take the reins on these significant matters that will come to the forefront before the end of the term of my employment agreement in 2025 to set the stage for the Big 12’s future ongoing success.”

Bowlsby was appointed commissioner in 2012, following defections from Nebraska, Missouri, Colorado and Texas A&M to other leagues. He added TCU and West Virginia and was able to maintain the Big 12’s role as a Power 5 league and reinstated the conference’s title game in 2017.

Continue reading story

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April 3rd

Kayvon Thibodeaux the latest Oregon Duck to fall in the eyes of the NFL

From Sports Illustrated … It’s becoming a pattern to see a highly-successful Oregon prospect fall ahead of their respective NFL Draft and Kayvon Thibodeaux is the latest victim.

Long viewed as the top prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft, the latest mock drafts have the nation’s former No. 1 recruit nearly falling outside the top-ten despite the quarterback class being underwhelming.

At least when Penei Sewell fell to No. 7 in 2021 three quarterbacks went before him in the first three picks, deflating Sewell’s draft slot. That’s not the case with Thibodeaux with only Malik Willis seen as a top-ten level prospect (maybe Kenny Pickett gets in there too due to positional scarcity).

Instead of falling due to a quarterback craze, Thibodeaux has basically been called lazy by draft experts, inside and outside the NFL.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said he “isn’t an elite bender” and also cited “spotty” effort, a similar comment that has made headlines in the past two months. ESPN’s Todd McShay remarked in February that there were concerns from NFL teams that Thibodeaux “doesn’t play with the same fire as other prospects.”

Unfortunately this has become a reoccurring issue for Oregon prospects ever since Mario Cristobal became the Ducks head coach.

In 2020, Justin Herbert was scrutinized over an inability to lead or read opposing defenses for months. Los Angeles ignored those “red flags,” drafted the Senior Bowl MVP sixth overall and he won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Meanwhile the Dolphins drafted Tua Tagovaolia instead, and two years later are doing PR-damage control after failing to land Deshaun Watson.

Continue reading story here

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March 31st 

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NCAA President begs Congress for NIL legislation (since the NCAA couldn’t)

From ESPN … NCAA president Mark Emmert said Thursday at the Final Four that the association needs to work with Congress to create a uniform name-image-likeness model across all 50 states in order to properly regulate it moving forward.

Beginning last July 1, college athletes have had the opportunity to benefit from their name, image and likeness. The NCAA has its own name, image and likeness policy, but it defers to individual state laws on the exact regulations surrounding it.

The different state-by-state laws, Emmert said, have made it difficult to adopt a consistent NIL model across all colleges and universities.

“It is unfortunately a circumstance where we’ve got now 30-plus different states with different laws,” he said. “We need to work with Congress to create one federal landscape. We’ve had a variety of legal actions in the courts with all of that.

“That supersedes the board’s ability … We have got to have Congress find a single legal model by which NIL and other relationships with student-athletes can be regulated. That’s going to be a big task.”

Emmert spoke at length Thursday about the landscape-shifting changes in college sports over the past few years, including NIL, the transfer portal and the Supreme Court’s decision in the NCAA v. Alston case, which unanimously found the NCAA was violating antitrust law by placing limits on the education-related benefits that schools can provide to their student-athletes.

Continue reading story here

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March 30th

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CBS Sports: Pac-12 Spring Questions

From CBS Sports … Spring camp is underway as the Pac-12 experiences a season of change across the league. There are new head coaches at the three biggest jobs in the league (Oregon, USC and Washington), and first-year Trojans coach Lincoln Riley suddenly gives West Coast football a new face.

While the Pac-12 has not put a team into the College Football Playoff since 2016, the league’s middle class is quietly growing. Oregon State and Utah had breakout seasons, while UCLA and Washington State seem ripe for ones themselves. Even bad situations at Arizona and Colorado added some juice through the transfer portal. Ultimately, the answers to these questions could decide the Pac-12 title.

Here is the biggest question mark facing each Pac-12 team during spring camp.

Colorado

Where will offense come from after Jarek Broussard’s transfer?: The Buffaloes ranked as perhaps the most miserable offense in the Pac-12 in Karl Dorrell’s first full season. Things only got worse after Broussard, the team’s promising young running back, transferred to Michigan State, leaving the Buffaloes without a single returning skill talent who reached 400 yards rushing or receiving.

Colorado added three major playmakers from the state of Texas to try to fill gaps. Receiver R.J. Sneed comes from Baylor after posting 1,500 yards receiving over the past three years. Ramon Jefferson cleared 1,000 yards rushing twice and led Sam Houston to a national championship. Maddox Kopp, a quarterback transfer from Houston, is a hidden gem.

Tweaks aren’t enough to fix a unit that ranked No. 129 in total offense and No. 121 in scoring offense, however. Dorrell needs to quickly develop new playmakers.

Read full story here

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March 29th 

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Pac-12 finally moving out of its expensive offices in San Francisco

From CBS Sports … The Pac-12 announced Tuesday that it will leave its headquarters in San Francisco and allow most employees to work remotely in order to boost revenue for its member schools. The current 11-year lease for its 113,000 sq. ft. of space, which is slated to end in 2023, reportedly costs the conference $6.9 million per year in rent, according to The Oregonian.

“The Pac-12 is committed to best supporting our employees by providing a work environment that accommodates today’s modern world and gives our employees maximum flexibility to live and work where they want, while still fostering collaboration among staff and our valued member institutions,” said Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff. “We are also committed to ongoing best-in-class production of Pac-12 events. We are excited for what this new remote and flexible work environment can do to support our employees, and for the new ways it will allow for us to reinvest in our member universities so that they can best support student-athletes.”

The move, which was unanimously approved by the conference’s Board of Directors, is designed to allow employees the flexibility to work remotely and provide the opportunity to come together in-person for meetings on campuses and within the Pac-12’s geographic footprint. Production employees, including those with the Pac-12 Networks, will continue to work on-site until the current lease expires.

Continue reading story here

Washington star linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio “will miss some games” due to new injury 

From The Seattle Times … Edefuan Ulofoshio (projected as a second round 2023 NFL Draft pick) missed the second half of the 2021 season with an undisclosed injury.

The Washington linebacker’s return will have to wait.

Ulofoshio — a 6-foot-1, 230-pound junior from Anchorage, Alaska — “will miss some games” with another unspecified injury suffered during winter conditioning, UW coach Kalen DeBoer announced Monday.

“We hope to have him for a part of the season,” DeBoer said. “I know he’s determined to push through. If you guys know Eddy as well as I do, you know he’s a determined guy, and motivated, always upbeat. He’s attacking it.”

Ulofoshio’s absence is particularly concerning, considering the lack of experienced depth among UW’s linebackers. Graduate student Pitt transfer Cam Bright is expected to slide into a starting spot alongside sophomore Carson Bruener, who emerged following Ulofoshio’s injury last fall. Sophomores Daniel Heimuli and Alphonzo Tuputala and junior Cerritos College transfer Demario King will compete at the linebacker spot as well.

But when it comes to scholarship linebackers, that’s the whole list.

Continue reading story here

Pac-12 Spring Game kickoff announcements filled with contradictions

From CBS Sports … Spring games are right around the corner across college football, which gives fans a rare first look at their teams during a long offseason. After the chaos of the past two seasons, having a normal spring game will be a big moment for many programs.

More than 50 Power Five programs have announced spring games at this time, with a few others offering open practices for fans. Of course, spring games must be taken with a grain of salt as history is littered with spring-game champions who never contributed for their team in the fall. Still, getting an early look at depth and development around the country can be instructive.

Note The CBS list has CU with a noon start to its “Spring Showcase”, while CU has announced it will start at 1:00 p.m., MT, on April 23rd. It also has UCLA starting at 9:00 a.m., PT, with Utah’s Spring game also starting at noon, MT (guess CU and Utah will have to arm wrestle for the coveted Pac-12 Mountain coverage) … stay tuned … 

TEAMDATETIME (ET)CHANNEL
ArizonaSaturday, April 92 p.m.Pac-12 Network
Arizona StateSaturday, April 98:15 p.m.TBA
CalSaturday, April 304:30 p.m.Pac-12 Network
ColoradoSaturday, April 232 p.m.Pac-12 Network
OregonSaturday, April 234 p.m.Pac-12 Network
Oregon StateSaturday, April 162 p.m.Pac-12 Network
StanfordSaturday, April 94 p.m.Pac-12 Network
USCSaturday, April 233 p.m.ESPN
UCLASaturday, April 2312 p.m.Pac-12 Network
UtahSaturday, April 232 p.m.TBA
WashingtonSaturday, April 30 2:30 p.m.Pac-12 Network
Washington StateSaturday, April 236:30 p.m.Pac-12 Network

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March 27th

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ESPN columnists: How does the Pac-12 get back on track?

From ESPN

Rittenberg: Quarterback development and USC returning to the national radar. The two concepts are connected, as USC added the biggest quarterback prize in the transfer portal in Williams. If things pick up where they left off in Oklahoma, Williams will be contending for national awards, and USC will field a thrilling and productive offense under Riley’s direction. But the Pac-12 needs more teams to upgrade at the most important position. Will Oregon take a step with Auburn transfer Bo Nix joining Ty Thompson and Jay Butterfield under the direction of new offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham? New Washington coach Kalen DeBoer is a proven quarterback guru, and has an interesting first group that includes Indiana transfer Michael Penix Jr., former five-star recruit Sam Huard and multiyear starter Dylan Morris. UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Utah’s Cam Rising both took big steps in 2021, and have opportunities to grow this coming season. The Pac-12 footprint might not be as football crazy as other parts of the country, but look how many top quarterbacks come out of California and Arizona alone. Once the Pac-12 starts capitalizing on its local talent, the conference’s overall profile will improve.

Low: Pretty simply, USC has to be USC, as in the USC of the Pete Carroll, Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart days (minus the NCAA issues, which by the way, wouldn’t be an issue in today’s NIL world). The Trojans were a fixture nationally and flirted with three straight national championships. They were named AP national champions in 2003, won the BCS national championship game to cap the 2004 season and lost to Texas in the BCS national championship game to cap the 2005 season. Without USC returning to national relevance under Riley, it’s hard to see the Pac-12 doing so on a regular basis. There’s no reason given the recruiting pool on the West Coast and the attraction of playing in Riley’s offense that the Trojans shouldn’t rejoin the national conversation and give the West Coast a pulse again when it comes to chasing championships.

Hale: Perhaps the strangest twist to last year’s coaching carousel was the way USC’s hiring of Riley was framed as not just a win for the Trojans, but for the whole Pac-12. That’s how desperate this league is for something to hang its hat on. But the truth is, Riley has a big job in front of him at USC, and there are certainly no guarantees of a quick fix. Meanwhile, the league’s other traditional competitors — Washington, Oregon and Arizona State — either have new head coaches or, in Herm Edwards’ case, a coach with one foot out the door due to off-field issues. I tend to think success is cyclical (it wasn’t that long ago USC was the toast of college football, after all), but the Pac-12’s upswing might still be at least a year away.

Dinich: It doesn’t have to be USC. Is that the ideal situation for the league and its branding? Yes. But if Utah were to finish in the top four this fall, the negative narrative would still change. The Pac-12 needs somebody — anybody — to be great. Nobody complained when Oregon (2015) or Washington (2016) finished in the top four (ahem, except maybe Penn State that year). I agree with Adam in that recruiting, retaining and developing quarterback talent is a critical component, but overall consistency has been lacking. The Pac-12 is notorious for beating itself up. It needs a one-loss conference champion that captures the country’s attention. The ACC can vouch for that path to national relevance.

McGee: Let’s start small, shall we? Just get through September while still in the conversation. Oh, and win a bowl game. Just one. I remember years ago we were all at ACC media days breathlessly asking then-commissioner John Swofford if his league was going to survive because everyone thought it was going to be eaten by the SEC and Big East. He calmly said, “If we win our non-conference games in September and Thanksgiving and win our New Year’s Day bowl games, this panic talk will stop immediately.” And they did, so it did. This September the Pac-12 teams play TCU, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Minnesota, BYU and Michigan State. Win even 50% of those games and it’s a step in the right direction. Then they have to get better bowl tie-ins. I love the Alamo Bowl, but the drop off from the Rose Bowl to that game is like stepping off the pool deck of Riley’s new house.

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March 26th

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USC Assistant coach Dave Nichol, age 45, dies

From ESPN … USC assistant football coach Dave Nichol died Friday at the age of 45, the school said.

USC did not release a cause of death, but a source told ESPN that Nichol had cancer.

Nichol was hired on Lincoln Riley’s new staff at USC as the associate head coach for offense and inside wide receivers coach. He led a long and accomplished career in coaching, including stints at Mississippi State, Washington State, East Carolina and Arizona.

“We are heartbroken and devastated,” Riley said in a statement. “Dave was such a tremendous human being and a fantastic football coach. He absolutely loved the game and constantly poured his heart and soul into his teams. He will be dearly missed.”

On March 21, Riley announced that Nichol was focusing on a medical matter and would be away from the team.

Nichol began his career as a student coach at Texas Tech in 2000 and 2001, after playing wide receiver for the Red Raiders, earning a letter in 1999. He also worked at Cisco College in Texas and had stints at both Texas Tech and Baylor as a graduate assistant.

He spent four years at Washington State as a receivers coach under Mike Leach, and then served as the inside receivers coach at Mississippi State the last two seasons.

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March 25th

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Not a surprise that over-seeded Arizona was bounced in Sweet Sixteen game

From the San Jose Mercury News … We have come to the final, deeply subjective explanation for the loss to Houston in the Sweet Sixteen:

Arizona’s credentials — not to mention the aura it carried into the NCAAs with a 31-3 record — were inflated by its dominance of a mediocre conference.

How do we know the Pac-12 was mediocre during the regular season?

Because it won just 67 percent of its non-conference games and was 2-11 against opponents ranked in the AP top 25.

Because it received just three NCAA Tournament bids, one less than the Mountain West, and sent just two teams into the second round.

The Pac-12 had two superior teams this season, and one of them, UCLA, was rarely healthy.

The Wildcats were the one-eyed team in the conference of the blind, which made for a gaudy resume.

It also made them appear better than they were.

Put another way: Their weaknesses were rarely exposed.

The evidence for our theory doesn’t end with the 12-point loss to Houston. The Wildcats were pushed to overtime in the second round by the No. 8 seed, TCU, which finished fifth in the Big 12.

So combine Arizona’s inflated credentials with an opponent that was substantially better than its seed, presented matchup problems and held a decisive edge at point guard — in part because of injury — and a reasonable explanation begins to take shape.

It doesn’t diminish what the Wildcats accomplished in a season that nobody saw coming and should be cherished for years.

It simply adds contexts to the events of Thursday night.

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March 24th

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Look out Nike! Adidas to offer 50,000 college athletes deals to endorse its products

From CNNBusiness.com … Following a landmark Supreme Court decision last year that opened the door for college athletes to make money, sponsors have scrambled to nab the highest-profile NCAA players. But Adidas is playing the game differently.

Rather than exclusively going after individual sponsorship deals, Adidas announced Wednesday that it will create a name, image and likeness (NIL) network for up to 50,000 college athletes to become paid endorsers for the brand.

Adidas did not say how much college athletes will be paid, but the program will be open college athletes at 109 Division 1 schools. Adidas says the program will be a “sweeping, equitable network” and will roll out over the next 12 months.

Adidas is the first major sports brand to create a program for paying college athletes. Its archrival Nike announced in December that it signed a sponsorship deal with UCLA sophomore soccer player Reilyn Turner, the company’s first-ever student athlete sponsorship.

By opening the floodgates to tens of thousands of student athletes, Adidas’ systematic approach could make it an attractive option for college players looking for endorsement deals. That could help Adidas get a leg up on its competitors, which have so far entered the field primarily with a “tap an athlete on the shoulder” approach.

College athletics rake in billions of dollars through sales of tickets and merchandise plus lucrative TV contracts for high-profile sports like football and basketball.

Continue reading story here

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March 22nd 

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Wilner finally getting his wish: Improved USC football and UCLA basketball

From the San Jose Mercury News … Two teams and two weeks remain in the Pac-12’s quest to end its national championship drought in the major sports.

Not since the 2004 season in football and the 1996-97 season in basketball has the conference claimed a trophy in either of the money makers.

But even if Arizona and UCLA falter in the final weekends of the NCAA Tournament, the past few months have positioned the conference for long-haul success with shrewd moves by the schools responsible for so many past triumphs.

Finally, after years of stumbling and fiddling while everything seemed ready to burn, USC and UCLA have locked up coaches capable of winning big in both major sports.

With Lincoln Riley in charge of USC football and Mick Cronin at the controls of UCLA basketball, the conference’s most successful programs have the best combination of coaches since Pete Carroll was winning titles for the Trojans  and Ben Howland and the Bruins were regulars at the Final Four.

Each school’s secondary sport is seemingly well positioned, too, with Andy Enfield winning 20 or more games annually for USC basketball and Chip Kelly finally over the hill with UCLA football.

The shift toward stability first took shape in December, when the Trojans lured Riley away from Oklahoma with a contract believed to be worth in excess of $100 million. (Championships aren’t cheap.)

A month later, after qualifying for a bowl for the first time in five years, UCLA agreed to a contract extension with Kelly.

Then came the basketball moves:

— On March 9, the Trojans announced a contract extension for Enfield.

— On March 17, UCLA did the same with Cronin.

Both coaches are signed through the 2027-28 season, and both chose to remain in Los Angeles despite drawing interest from Power Five schools close to their roots.

Enfield, who grew up in Pennsylvania and went to college in Baltimore (Johns Hopkins), was reportedly on Maryland’s list.

Cronin, who’s from Cincinnati, rejected overtures from nearby Louisville to restore the Cardinals to blue-blood status.

Finally, a conference that repeatedly has lost head coaches to Power Five competitors — from Cuonzo Martin (Cal) on the basketball side to Mike Leach (WSU), Mel Tucker (Colorado) and Mario Cristobal (Oregon) in football — was able to keep two successful coaches in place.

As a quartet, Riley, Kelly, Cronin and Enfield represent the best combination of major sport coaches in Los Angeles in decades. (Kelly’s contract is the first to expire, but not for four more years.)

The development comes just in time for the Pac-12, especially with regard to Riley and Cronin.

Continue reading story here

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March 21st 

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Pac-12 has two of the highest-paid coaches in college football

Colorado’s Karl Dorrell contract is for $3.2 million/year, 8th in the Pac-12

From 247 Sports … College football’s highest-paid coaches ahead of the 2022 season is a who’s who list of former national champions and those knocking on the door of their first, including several assuming new roles as first-year leaders of storied programs. USC landing Lincoln Riley and Brian Kelly’s move to LSU resulted in huge, long-term contracts for the high-profile pair coaches, not to mention notable extensions for Mel Tucker and James Franklin within the Big Ten, among others.

If there’s more extensions or substantial raises this offseason, that would mean Alabama’s Nick Saban likely gets a bump in salary, too, thanks to specific contract language that guarantees he’ll be one of the nation’s highest paid coaches. One coach surprisingly not on the list of the top 10 highest-paid is Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, who just led the Wolverines to their first Big Ten Championship of his tenure last season.

Harbaugh went from the Big Ten’s highest-paid coach at $8 million in base salary to the fourth highest-paid in the conference after taking a massive paycut in January. That got revised, however, and he’s set to make $7.05 million in 2022, almost the same number as Oklahoma first-year coach Brent Venables and just behind Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss and Georgia’s Kirby Smart.

No. 6 … David Shaw … Stanford

2022 compensation: $9.5 million

The latest: Mel Tucker signed a mega extension at Michigan State in November, one that will pay him $95 million over the next 10 years. According to Spartan Tailgate’s reporting, two MSU alumni — Mat Ishbia and Steve St. Andre — are funding the massive raise from just over $5.5 million per season to a now massive annual salary. Michigan State will owe Tucker his full salary if he is fired at any point without cause. Tucker led the program to 10 wins and a berth in a New Year’s Six bowl last fall. He is currently the Big Ten’s highest-paid coach.

No. 1 … Lincoln Riley … USC 

2022 compensation: $10 million (estimated)

The latest: Unable to match USC’s expensive contract offer, Oklahoma watched its elite head coach leave for the Trojans last fall during a wave of coaching moves that shocked the profession across college football and set the standard in a new, expanding market. Lincoln Riley inked a long-term contract worth approximately $110 million (reportedly since USC is private) that included a lavish mansion in Los Angeles, among other expansive perks. Riley took home $7.6 million with the Sooners last season, a number that made him the Big 12’s highest-paid coach and one of the nation’s richest at the time.

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March 20th 

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Collegiate athletics in need of a hero if amateurism is to survive

From YahooSports.com …  Today’s guest columnist is Rick Burton of Syracuse University.

In his 2020 book The Splendid and the Vile, author Erik Larson noted during World War II, U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill instructed anti-aircraft gun crews to fire at German bombers flying at an altitude exceeding the range of Britain’s defensive firepower. The reason? The sound created by ground-based guns gave the English hope.

On a different battlefield, the NCAA has lost a lot lately, making one pressing question logical: Is a there a single Churchillian figure able to provide university presidents with confidence for America’s intercollegiate sports future?

Since June 2021, when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a 9-0 ruling that the association violated antitrust laws by determining limits on educational benefits, the NCAA has been regrouping. Now, on the West Coast, plaintiffs have sued USC, UCLA, the Pac-12 and NCAA, leaning heavily on the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) guidance that college athletes can unionize and seek formal labor protection for their services.

While there is no NCAA Players Association yet, the ground shakes with discussions about potentially viewing NCAA athletes as employees at the schools currently providing tuition, room, board, books, clothing, a “Cost of Attendance” stipend and, for some, $5,980 in educational benefits.

“We’ve been on the defensive as the NCAA forever,” said Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith recently. “I can’t remember when we were ever on the offensive.”

That sounds like a veiled call for a hero. Someone like diplomat Condoleezza Rice or billionaire Laurene Powell Jobs, or a progressive conference commissioner like the Big East’s Val Ackerman, who can realign athletic allegiances while simultaneously reimagining college sports.

“I’m not sure there is any one single person out there who can tackle that challenge,” said Ackerman, the first president of the WNBA. “It will take a village and probably Federal intervention to sort out all the legal complexities involved.”

Could a new leader better serve the upscale village neighborhood made up of the 69 NCAA schools in the Power Five conferences (SEC, Big 10, ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12), while keeping the word “college” in college sports? Or are forces already mobilizing within powerful football conferences to secede from the NCAA and design a league concept where athletes take classes they like (or are recommended by their agents) while receiving salaries negotiated based on performance, position or potential.

…  Continue reading story here

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March 19th

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Athlon Spring Pac-12 Rankings: CU in double digits

From Athlon Sports … Spring practice has already started or will soon for all 12 teams in the Pac-12 for the 2022 college football season. Although it’s tough to get an accurate read on teams from practices in the spring, this is the first set of official workouts and provides some insight into the upcoming year.

Utah – the reigning Pac-12 champion – tops the spring power rankings for ’22. Coach Kyle Whittingham’s squad can lean on quarterback Cameron Rising and running back Tavion Thomas for a run at a repeat, and as usual, the Utes will piece together one of the Pac-12’s strongest defenses. USC is arguably the most intriguing team in the conference. The Trojans are poised to improve under new coach Lincoln Riley, and the transfer portal additions of quarterback Caleb Williams and a handful of players only bolster their chances of contending for the Pac-12 crown. UCLA headlines the next group of teams in the South, with Arizona State, Arizona and Colorado up next. Oregon should be the team to beat in the North, with Oregon State, Washington and Washington State anchoring a strong middle tier in the division. Stanford and California should fight for bowl eligibility this fall.

12. Colorado
What to Watch on Offense:
 Coach Karl Dorrell hopes a coordinator change (Mike Sanford Jr.) helps to spark an offense that averaged only 20.3 points in Pac-12 play last year. Better quarterback play from either Brendon Lewis and JT Shrout would help, but the Buffaloes also need to show marked improvement in the trenches.

What to Watch on Defense: The Buffaloes have work to do on this side of the ball. The defense gave up 30.3 points in Pac-12 games last year and suffered several key losses, including linebackers Carson Wells and Nate Landman and three starters in the secondary.

Continue reading story here

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March 18th

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Cheering for your enemy: What each “unit” is worth to the Pac-12 for every NCAA victory

From Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News … The Hotline is tracking the NCAA Tournament’s most important number. It’s not the win total. It’s the unit total.

Every unit earned translates to millions of dollars for the Pac-12, which is then split among all the schools.

Fortunately, the formula is simply enough for fans to monitor at home.

Here’s how it works:

— Every game played, except the championship, goes on the books as a unit earned. The Pac-12 had three teams in the field and was guaranteed at least three units. Each victory adds to the collective total.

— The units are carried forward for six years with an ever-increasing annual value.

— To keep the numbers simple, let’s say the conference earns five units in the 2022 tournament.

Each unit will be worth $340,000 next year. Five would mean $1.7 million for the conference, or $142,000 per school.

The following year, the units earned now will be worth $342,000. The year after that, $348,000.

Over the course of the six-year payout cycle, a single unit collected this month will carry a future value of approximately $2 million for the conference.

That doesn’t sound like much, especially when split 12 ways, but the units are pooled over a six-year rolling cycle at the increasing valuations listed above.

Last year, the Pac-12 earned 19 units from its breakthrough performance in the NCAA. Those 19 are worth about $40 million to the league over the course of the payout cycle.

The compounding aspect turns a single victory into serious money — and reason to root for a team you might hate.

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March 17th

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Spring practices: Only three Pac-12 teams are settled at quarterback

From the San Jose Mercury News … We have been blunt in our assessment of the quarterback play last season: It was below standard — far below standard, in fact.

The degree to which the situation improves depends largely on a bevy of newcomers.

USC transfer Caleb Williams (from Oklahoma) is the headliner, of course. But his familiarity with coach Lincoln Riley’s system should greatly ease the transition.

Instead, our focus is on newcomers elsewhere:

Arizona’s Jayden de Laura (from Washington State), Cal’s Jack Plummer (Purdue), Arizona State’s Paul Tyson (Alabama), Oregon’s Bo Nix (Auburn), Washington’s Michael Penix (Indiana) and Washington State’s Cameron Ward (Incarnate Word).

Add the unsettled situation at Colorado and the expected competition at Oregon State, and nine teams have new starters or face a level of uncertainty.

It’s easier to name the teams with established returning starters: Stanford (Tanner McKee), UCLA (Dorian Thompson-Robinson) and Utah (Cam Rising).

— Tracking the DC progress

The upheaval at quarterback this winter was exceeded only by turnover at the defensive coordinator spot, where eight teams have new playcallers.

Arizona hired Johnny Nansen off UCLA’s staff to replace Don Brown, who became the head coach at Massachusetts.

Arizona State promoted Donnie Henderson to the role following Antonio Pierce’s departure to the NFL.

UCLA hired Bill McGovern to replace controversial playcaller Jerry Azzinaro.

USC’s new defensive playcaller is Alex Grinch, who held the same position at Oklahoma under Lincoln Riley.

New Washington coach Kalen DeBoer appointed co-coordinators: Eric Morrell and William Inge. (Both served on DeBoer’s staff at Fresno State.)

Washington State coach Jake Dickert, who ran the defense last season while serving as the interim head coach, hired Brian Ward away from Nevada to run the unit.

Oregon State’s defensive boss is somewhat new: Trent Bray was the interim coordinator late last season and promoted to the full-time role before the LA Bowl.

Oregon also has a familiar name in charge of the defense: Tosh Lupoi, who worked for several Pac-12 teams in the 2010s, joined Dan Lanning’s staff after a stint in the NFL.

Again, it’s easier to list the teams that haven’t made changes: Colorado, Utah, Cal and Stanford.

Continue reading story here

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March 16th

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Power Five average payout estimates through 2029: Big Two and Little Three

From nvgt.com … Our team estimated the rise in average Power 5 conference payouts over the next 8 years. You can see from the chart above that each conference’s average payout is expected to increase significantly during that time. We project that the SEC will overtake the Big 10 for the top spot, paying out over $100M to member universities by the end of this decade.

A few considerations to keep in mind when analyzing these results:

  • These estimates include all Tier I, II, and III media rights for each conference.
  • These estimates are based on historical growth rates in college and pro media rights deals.
  • These estimates include a new CFP agreement in 2026 with expansion to 8.
  • It is widely expected that expansion will occur in some form over this time period. We used an 8-team expansion, rather than the commonly discussed 12-team expansion in an effort to factor in the additional revenue, but remain conservative in our estimation.
  • These estimates include current realignment (SEC & Big 12) and their impact on media rights values.
  • These new estimates also include how the ACC Network will have a full year of distribution beginning in FY 2023.
  • These estimates do NOT reflect any strategies conferences may adopt in the structuring of their media rights, the negotiation process, or other potential moves to maximize value.
  • These estimates do NOT reflect adjustments from advance payouts of conference distributions or other COVID related adjustments that are not public knowledge.
  • These estimates include additional revenue from NCAA units, bowl payouts, conference championships and other revenue streams beyond media rights; all of these revenues are assumed to have steady growth rates.

 

Navigate's P5 Conference Payout Estimates

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March 11th

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What is it like to work with Bill Walton?

From the San Jose Mercury News … With Bill Walton on the call for several Pac-12 Networks broadcasts, mirth and mayhem — or is it nonsense and lunacy? — are sure to rule the airwaves.

One of the greatest players in college basketball history is one of the sport’s most polarizing broadcasters. There’s no middle ground when it comes to the champion of the “Conference of Champions.”

But what’s it like to work alongside Walton during a broadcast? How does he prepare for games? Does he even prepare?

Robinson: “The first thing I’d say is that working with Bill is completely different from any other basketball game I’ve ever called. It’s so different that I find it fun. If it’s not the most compelling game, and Bill understands this better than anyone — remember, he did Clippers games for years — then it’s entertainment. We aren’t comedians. He doesn’t tell jokes. But he entertains. He has fun.”

Pasch: “The thing that’s hilarious and heartwarming is that when Bill does a game, it’s like he’s getting ready for Game 7 of the NBA Finals. He starts 90 minutes before tipoff and has a stretching routine. He’s inhaling energy chews and protein shakes and bars. It feels like he’s ready to play a game and even though I’m his teammate on the broadcast, in some ways I’m like Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar)— I’m Bill’s adversary. That gives you a glimpse into how important it is to him.”

Robinson: “I worked a game with (Pac-12 Networks analyst) Eddie House. I had conversations with both coaches before the game, asked them who’s healthy and all that stuff and came up with storylines to drive to Eddie during the broadcast. But Bill is so focused on preparation that he goes to the shootaround” — a light workout several hours before tipoff — “and talks to people all around the program about the players. He does the work I usually do. So when I work with Bill, I don’t deal with the players’ backgrounds. I focus on the metrics.”

Bernstein: “I prepare for a game regardless of who the analyst is, whether it’s Sean Farnham or Corey Williams or Don MacLean. We have production meetings and discuss the themes and ideas. But it’s completely different with Bill. He keeps us totally in the dark about what he’s going to do during the broadcast. He wants our reaction to be like the viewer’s. There’s nothing contrived, nothing staged. It’s all organic.”

Continue reading story here

George Kliavkoff press conference: Moving Pac-12 offices; Monday/Tuesday conference games in the offing? 

From KSL.com … Noteworthy items from Kliavkoff’s news conference at T-Mobile Arena:

— Kliavkoff has adopted a no-comment policy with regard to the stalled the College Football Playoff expansion talks.

The Pac-12 joined the Big Ten and ACC in voting against CFP expansion, each for different reasons. At this point, a 12-team event is unlikely before the 2026 season.

The next time he comments publicly “will be to announce a new format,” Kliavkoff said.

— The Pac-12 has started the process of locating a new home for the conference office and the Pac-12 Networks.

Options seemingly include remaining in the Bay Area (but not in San Francisco), Los Angeles, Las Vegas and perhaps another location.

Kliavkoff said that issue also will be discussed Saturday at the CEO meeting.

— The conference played all 120 men’s basketball conference games despite the majority of teams going on multi-week COVID pauses.

There were 17 games rescheduled; each team played 10 home and 10 away games.

“The fact that we got all those rescheduled … is, frankly, miraculous,” Kliavkoff said.

— The need to play make-up games early in the week — so they don’t interfere with the Thursday-Saturday travel rotation — has sparked discussion about using Monday and Tuesday as part of the regular schedule.

“It has opened our eyes,” said deputy commissioner Jamie Zaninovich, who oversees men’s basketball.

He expects the head coaches to discuss “creative ideas to leverage more days of the week.”

Read full story here

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March 9th

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Oregon leading scorer Will Richardson (possible Round Two opponent for CU) to miss the Pac-12 tournament

From DuckTerritory.com … According to a report from Jon Rothstein of CBS, later confirmed by the UO Athletic Department, Richardson will miss the Pac-12 Tournament due to a non-COVID illness. Oregon’s star point guard played in 30 of Oregon’s games this season but missed the season finale against Washington State.

The Ducks limped into the Pac-12 Tournament, dropping six of their last eight contests, including losing four in a row in the final two weeks of conference play.

Oregon’s hopes of making the NCAA Tournament hinged on a successful run through the Pac-12 Tournament, and without Richardson, the path got much more difficult.

Richardson came into the tournament averaging 14.1 points per game, leading the team. Richardson also led the team with 108 assists this season, averaging out to over 3.5 per contest.

However, Richardson’s final few games were uncharacteristically poor for the senior out of Georgia, putting together 13 points in the last three games, including a zero-point performance in a loss to rival Washington.

Oregon is set to take on Oregon State (3-27, 1-19) on Wednesday for the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament starting at 3:30 PM MST.

Continue reading story here

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42 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes”

  1. It’s funny. In short, capitalism works, until it doesn’t.

    I don’t have the answer for college football. Not sure anyone does, but clinging to the status quo won’t fly, I don’t think.

    The NFL is basically a socialist organization. A very, very, very wealthy socialist organization. They went that way to preserve themselves. Salary caps. No-tampering rules. Worst team gets first pick, etc. The owners still get the lion’s share of the pie, but it’s spread around relatively well.

    Same w/ the NBA, and probably MLB.

    I keep saying it, but I’m all for kids being able to access their piece of the tens of billions of dollars from the NCAA pie.

    And, if you’re going to try to stop pay for play, what about pay for training table? Pay for facilities? Pay for coaches salaries and buy-outs? Why did Mel leave Boulder? He got paid to leave. Why did Lincoln leave Norman? He got paid to leave. Why did Brian leave South Bend? He got paid to leave. Some coaches don’t chase that. Many do.

    Some (fine, many) players will chase that. Many won’t. And, I think the market forces will settle down, around NIL, too. But maybe I’m naive. I just think that you can take the $90k Cam Ward example or the alleged $8-mill or whatever to the high school prospect. I’d say that $90k was money will spent. TBD on the high school prospect. Now, will the $90k Cam Ward pay day turn into $90million for some stud transfer down the road? Maybe. So, the players in college may make more than their coaches? Oh the horror (and yes, I think there needs to be an element of teaching kids how to handle those riches; the NFL, and NBA et al are still woefully awful at that).

    Maybe if the powers that be said, “look, we’ve got like $20billion in revenue from college football, and another $20billion or whatever from basketball, how do we get a fair share (ok, that’s naive, but at least an unfair-ish share) of that to the players, and players of all the other sports that are all in college?” that would be a good place to start, seems to me. Whether that’s funds in a pool for future medical care, going back to school and earning your degree once your “eligibility” is exhausted, etc. Lots of options, including paying players, without whom, the whole enterprise would fall apart.

    As a wise man once said, oh the times, they are a changin’.

    It’s always interesting to watch things evolve, or devolve.

    Go Buffs

  2. So, how do you try to limit pay for play for kids, without applying the same rules to their coaching staffs?

    Go Buffs

  3. Fuck this shit. I wish the NFL would start a spring development league and those that want to go to
    college can go to college and those that just want to play ball can go to the development league.

  4. so the new NCAA is going to make your head explode?
    kinda weird when rational changes are described as radical.
    I didnt read the entire article but I didnt see any mention of enforcement. Herm The worm has a free hand, I’m sure, and he and others are bound to continue their nefarious ways.

    1. Interesting the bit ten commish and the sec commish are leading this and want to delegate just about everything to the conferences

      Several athletic administrators and college sports insiders discussed the Transfer Committee’s concepts under the condition of anonymity. They include (1) eliminating scholarship caps on sports that offer only partial scholarships; (2) abolishing the limitation on the number of coaches per team; (3) expanding direct payments from schools to athletes; (4) reconfiguring the recruiting calendar; and (5) implementing closed periods in the NCAA transfer portal. At least the first three items will be left in the decision-making hands of individual conferences, if the concepts are approved.

      1. Not surprising. Items 2 and 3 would allow the Big 10 ad SEC to expand their gap between them and the have nots. Nothing rational about that as for as the entire college game goes.

        1. Don’t tell anyone this, it’s top secret, but the army of “analysts” some programs in the SEC and Big 10 (and likely the ACC, Big 12 and Pac 12) have already coach players directly. Additionally, some of those programs already paid players directly, before NIL.

          Go Buffs

  5. I was thinking about this whole transfer portal and the ones that left CU to get playing time at a lesser school, what ever happened to wanting to graduate with a good degree from a great school? All of those that went to other (lesser) schools are not going to go pro and are not going to get the quality degree that they would have got from CU.

    But they left chasing playing time.

    Maybe this is why Karl is going after HS recruits over the transfer portal… If he’s also asking what their study is going to be and determines that they want to be at CU AND graduate with a degree from CU; they are more likely to stay in the future.

    I hope/would think he’s asking these kind of questions.

    Stanford built teams with their academics requirements, so getting the right students on the team with great coaching is the only why CU completes with NIL. Sure a couple of breakout stars will still leave, AND with summer school, redshirts and greyshirts even, a student can graduate with 2 years to play and could leave then anyway, so recruit good athletes who want a degree from CU first and coach them up.

    I think Karl has put together a really good staff, at least it reads and sounds as such. Can CU keep these coaches if they start winning. Is Karl getting guys that want to coach for the purity of the game or mercenaries that will leave for more money as soon as they get a chance?

    1. I’m sure a lot of these kids think they still have a shot in the NFL mostly unrealistic of course. At least they will accept reality a lot sooner than athletes in Hockey and Baseball, both of which have tiered minor league systems. College is the NFL minor league.
      I dont follow baseball but I personally know some guys who wasted their youth chasing the dream in hockey. Sure a few guys rise up through the minors to get a pro contract, most of which are short lived but almost all are bodies to fill out the rosters…….making 30k a year, staying in cheap motels.
      Slap Shot was one of the best sports movies of all time.

    2. It is a bit harsh to criticize coaches for wanting more money by calling them mercenaries. Everyone is then a mercenary at some point. I don’t recall anyone criticizing MMT for leaving because of the money. It simply was an offer he couldn’t refuse. As I recall most of the criticism was because of the way he let. Middle of the night, lying and basically acting in a classless manner.

  6. I guess Barry Sanders was in the top 5? Couldn’t access the ESPN+ story. That dude was by far the best running back I’ve ever seen, in person, or otherwise. One of my buddies and roommates at the time was from Detroit and played against him growing up. As OSU was coming to town, he said “we’re in trouble” and he was right. Saw Barry run for like 350 yards against us in the fall of 1988.

    Reggie? He was electric. But Barry was electric, and a durable bruiser. Who spent a decade or whatever on a not good Lions team. Because he loved Detroit, I guess.

    I guess Chris Brown got no love on that list? Oh well.

    Go Buffs

    1. 5. O.J. Simpson, USC … 4.   Ricky Williams, Texas … 3. Herschel Walker, Georgia … 2. Archie Griffin, Ohio State … 1. Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State … 

    2. Went and watched the Buffs play in Stillwater when Thurman Thomas was dominating the BIG-8. The Cowboys were killing the Buffs behind him. He got hurt and we were all thinking, thank goodness that’s over. Who comes in as his backup…Barry Sanders. We were all in shock after about three rushes.

      1. In my football watching life there have only been two backs that were appointment viewing. Barry and Marshall Faulk…hope he was in Top10 .

  7. I went to a couple of those ’75 games in Berkeley. Muncie was unstoppable. Should be ranked higher.
    Reggie Bush? pffft. I didnt watch him during the regular season but in the NC game he wasnt much of a factor. Kept running out of bounds to avoid contact. Young should have been the Heisman winner.
    Lost in the fog of history is Charlie Davis. I would rank him right up there with Bieniemy and certainly Salaam who probably had the benefit of a great O line. Boy could we use them now.
    AZBuff, who seems to have quit posting, might be the only guy besides me in here who watched Charlie play

  8. Riley has to be paid well over 10 million a year. Would he say that is good for college football?

    8 million over 3 years is 2.66 million a year. Thus is the university of spoiled children and I’m sure most of their starters will be getting some kind of NIL money but 2.66 million might still be a problem in the locker room….especially if this guy is a QB and the second stringer turns out to be just as good at a “paltry” 50 thousand a year.

    Can you imagine if they had the NIL when CU recruited Darrel Scott and paid him 2.66 million his freshman year?

  9. Not worried about Thibodeaux. He will be a millionaire before the summer gets here regardless. You have to also remember all this mealy mouthing by those scribe/experts, most of who never played a down past middle school, could be an attempt, probably a vain one, as a smoke screen for one of their GM buddies a little further down on the draft order.

    1. Now that the NIL is going with steam the fans are kinda making slaves of tjhemselves

      Now that NIL has no limits I’m just wondering if a time will come when I will quit making myself a slave as a fan.

  10. just dawned on me right after I posted that now with the portal and NIL USC can have the best recruits from the rest of the pac teams

  11. Why dont these pundidiots ……………I’m looking straight at your Rittenberg and Low……just suggest we let USC pick and choose the best recruits from the rest of the PAC schools and make sure we play our 4th string when we face USC so they can single handedly bring the conference back to respectability.
    These jerks ought to move to india where they can cover cricket in the caste system.

  12. This September the Pac-12 teams play TCU, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Minnesota, BYU and Michigan State.

    Pac 12 needs those wins and The Buffs need to do their part with Wins over TCU and Minnesota.

    Go Pac 12 and Go Buffs Handle It.

  13. Kinda late for Wilner to describe the win benefit in the dance. What the hell happened between last year and this year? Enfield’s spoiled children laid down and submitted. UCLA came real close to being eliminated. AZ may be the last team standing after the second round. Did the conference wilt on the vine or did the ret of the world catch up? looks like the former.
    sigh

  14. at least one betting site picks OSU to cover a 9.5 point spread. Wonder what the odds are for an outright win? Might be large enough to throw away a bennie

  15. Rivals says Buffs just offered Fairview QB Bekkem Kritza…class of 2025. Does that mean he was a freshman last year? I just watched his highlites and they are unbelievable especially for a freshman.
    TD after TD on long bombs.
    Heiliger Strohsack
    Some of you posters must be around Boulder. Is this kid going to be so good only schools like Alabama and Ohio state have a chance with him?

    1. You may be the single spigot of optimism this off-season. That isn’t a bad thing. We all hope you are right, and Karl and co prove the rest of us wrong. Maybe the team will pull together in a “we’ll show them” way. Having a qb Will go a long way in that effort. Kinda worried about the defensive backfield too, but it is all about the qb.

      Go Buffs

      1. “We all” and especially “The rest of us” is a large ignorant assumption on your part. Which is not unusual for you.

        It’s gonna be what it is gonna be, but I refuse to influenced by you or the “minimal understanding” pundits where the Buffs are, let alone predicting and measuring what they don’t know.
        buffs.

        Yup got work to do. Just remember who the Buffs really are. (across all sports) a less than great sports university bordering on Good. With the history and ability to upside to outstanding on a year to year basis.

        Oh ya, and don’t forget the ” single spigot of optimism” Exaggerating fool.

        You caught me on a good morning.

        Rocking early

  16. So the NCAA is going through some anal time consuming data search to find back up for some petty changes to game time rules. Meanwhile Herm the worm and his residence worm farmers are laughing their arses off

  17. The Oregon piece is an interesting article, except that it doesn’t mention Knight until the end. WTF? He is maybe the only reason for their sustained success post Aliotti and Kelly. And speaking of maybes… maybe all these super recruiters like Cristobal are just not good football coaches? A good used-car salesman is usually not a good mechanic.

  18. Oregon a stepping stone. How bout Notre Dame? Thats a real head scratcher. Saban is probably gnashing his teeth at night because there are no other programs out there who will pay him more than Alabama…even with huckstering AFLAC.
    mo money…thats all that matters.

  19. 8th best roster? Not bad considering that normally Buffs are penciled in 11 or 12. Reason for hope? Oregon a steppingstone program for coaches? Must feel like a kick in the crotch for the faux elitists in Eugene. I’m they think they’re a destination.

  20. The college football ante keeps going up.
    I’m wondering where this is going to end up in my living room. I already pay 150 a month for the basic satellite service which includes 80 percent shopping channels, some movie channels which show the same damn movies every week, network channels, news channels and very few sports channels. If I want the premium movie or drama series channels (which I dont) and Disney plus (which I dont either)and maybe a bunch of other new things I dont even know about the bill could most likely double.
    With the bidding war that will erupt, as reported in this article for the big 10 I could easily see all of football going to these pay per view extras too. ESPNU already is and to get that you have to take with it other channels that I dont want just so they can have an excuse to jack up the price.
    How much longer before I have to get another mortgage (just payed it off) to watch college football?

    1. Well, the cut the cord movement of streaming was an illusion of help. We can’t stream well here, so not an option, but it sounds like after putting together the services you want, it approaches any othe cable or satellite cost. Maybe I will go back to rabbit ears and tinfoil?

      Go Buffs

    2. Yo boys, the cost to watch any thing is amazing. Must be the 20% inflation.

      And it is amazing how all these companies are hooked into each other.

      I have a place in Florida
      I rent it during “the season”
      there i have
      xfinity tv (220 channels)
      xfinity wireless 50
      xfinity sports package. (nfl, nba, mlb, nhl, acc, big10, pac 12, SEC, Big 12)

      At my Boulder house I have
      No cable
      wifi from centurylink. 40 and phone

      Fire tv (4 sticks)

      with the fire tv and my florida comcast set up
      I can watch just about anything I want in boulder. all the sports channels,

      xfinity on the go is nice too as here again all the sports channels are available.

      Also have espn+
      Total cost monthly
      florida 155
      espn 7
      Fire 15
      cent link 70 (includes phone)

      total 247

      Holy crap I am paying that much to watch all that junk?
      Yup I am

      Since Florida is a rental and I offer if for rent 11 months out of the year, I can write off 11 months of xfinity……………..and I can still use it mobile and through prime.

      It’s a dog eat dog world out there

      Gotta do what you gotta do

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