Posted on: February 18, 2012 1:45 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2012 1:59 pm
 

Pitt HC Paul Chryst realigns offensive staff

Posted by Chip Patterson

Pittsburgh head coach Paul Chryst announced a realignment of his offensive staff on Saturday, naming former Wisconsin tight end's coach Joe Rudolph offensive coordinator.

Chryst announced that former offensive coordinator Bob Bostad has accepted a job with Greg Schiano and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bostad also was set to coach the offensive line for the Panthers in 2012, a job that will be filled by tight ends coach Jim Hueber.

“Joe Rudolph and Jim Hueber will be tremendous assets in their new assignments,” Chryst said in a prepared statement. “Joe and I worked closely on the offensive side of the ball at Wisconsin. He has a thorough knowledge of our systems and what we want to achieve offensively.

“Jim has coached some of the finest linemen in the game, pro and college. He is tremendously accomplished as a teacher of offensive line play, and his overall experience as a coach benefits our entire staff and program.”

In addition to serving as offensive coordinator, Rudolph will once again coach the tight ends for Chryst - sliding in after Hueber's move to the offensive line. Chryst still has two positions left to fill on his staff: quarterbacks coach and running backs coach. Former Wisconsin linebackers coach Dave Huxtable will coach the Panthers' defense in the upcoming season.

Pittsburgh is set to open Spring Practice on March 15. Catch up on your favorite team by checking out all the Spring Practice Dates.

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Posted on: February 18, 2012 11:17 am
Edited on: February 18, 2012 11:23 am
 

Multiyear scholarship legislation withstands vote

Posted by Chip Patterson

The NCAA's proposal for multiyear scholarships for student-athletes, adopted following the August 2011 presidential retreat, narrowly passed a membership override vote on Friday.

A total of 330 Division I institutions voted, with 62.12% voting to override the legislation. According to NCAA bylaws, a 62.5% percent majority of those voting is required for an override. According to NCAA.org blogger John Infante, only two override votes could have changed the outcome.

“I am pleased that student-athletes will continue to benefit from the ability of institutions to offer athletics aid for more than one year, but it’s clear that there are significant portions of the membership with legitimate concerns,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “As we continue to examine implementation of the rule, we want to work with the membership to address those concerns.”

The legislation does not require an institution to offer guaranteed scholarships for more than one year, but several notable football programs - including Auburn - have announced their plans to participate in the practice. While the multiyear scholarship legislation survived the override vote, a proposal to adjust the miscellaneous expense allowance is still being reviewed by the NCAA Board of Directors.

The Board will consider new options for the stipend legislation in April.

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Posted on: February 17, 2012 4:10 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 4:11 pm
 

Arrested Gator TE A.C. Leonard suspended

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The latest Florida Gator to be arrested has also become the latest Gator to be suspended.

Rising sophomore tight end A.C. Leonard was suspended indefinitely by Florida head coach Will Muschamp Thursday, following Leonard's Wednesday evening arrest on charges of simple domestic battery.

"This behavior will not will be tolerated and A.C. has been suspended from team activities at this time," Muschamp said in a statement. "I certainly don't condone this type of behavior - it is not what we expect from the University of Florida football program."

That may be the case, but it's only fair to say that arrests of one kind or another are precisely what many other people expect from the University of Florida football program--Leonard's was the 10th arrest of a Gator since Muschamp's hire 14 months ago. And the details of this one are uglier than most: according to the account given to police by Leonard's girlfriend, Leonard knocked her over with a two-handed shove, attempted to drag her out of their apartment by her hair, did pull her out by grabbing both feet, then locked the door. She reportedly suffered abrasions on both arms.

Leonard was jailed overnight Wednesday and released on his own recognizance Thursday. A blue-chip prospect in Muschamp's inaugural 2011 recruiting class, he caught eight passes for 99 yards his freshman season.

In Muschamp's defense, of the nine Gators arrested during his tenure (former corner Janoris Jenkins was arrested twice in early 2011 before being dismissed), eight of them were either signed or recruited by his predecessor Urban Meyer, Leonard included. But it was also Muschamp who vowed when he was hired that the Gators would adhere to a higher standard of behavior he dubbed the "Florida Way"; as of yet, those words seem to have fallen on deaf ears where his roster is concerned.

And judging by this picture of an (as of yet officially) unidentified Florida player riding his scooter inside the Gator football complex, tweeted early Friday morning by safety Matt Elam, those ears haven't gone un-deaf yet:

Photo HT: Throw the Flag.

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Posted on: February 17, 2012 1:40 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 2:23 pm
 

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The SEC is richer than it's ever been--but is it rich enough?

The Birmingham News reported Friday that according to the league's tax documents, the SEC distributed a conference record $19.5 million to each of its member schools for the 2010-2011 season, an increase of $1.2 million on both its 2009-2010 payout and its initial 2011 estimates. Thanks to the new(ish) CBS Sports/ESPN television contracts fueling the increase, those revenues also represent a whopping $6.5 million per-school bump -- a 50 percent increase -- over the league's distribution numbers just two seasons before. 

That's the great news for the SEC. The less-great news is that those figures still leave them a bit behind the Joneses Mike Slive is looking to keep up with in the Big Ten and Pac-12; the Sports Business Journal recently estimated those conferences' per-member distributions* at "close to $21 million," with the growth from their respective networks expected to push those numbers even higher in the coming years. The SEC, meanwhile, is locked into its current contracts until 2023, with TV revenue only increasing 3 percent in the second year of the league's new deals. 

That those revenues will be divided 14 ways rather than 12 following the additions of Texas A&M and Missouri would be another headache for Slive if those additions didn't also open up the possibility for a renegotiation of those television contracts. The ACC's ongoing expansion-triggered renegotiation is expected to net the league an additional $1 to $2 million per team per year--hardly chump change, but likely not the sort of numbers that would keep the SEC even with the Big Ten and Pac-12 come 2017 or '18, much less the tail end of its current contract (which could also be extended as part of the renegotiation).

Make no mistake: the SEC is currently swimming in money, will continue to swim in money, and has the kind of advantages that have nothing to do with money -- overwhelming fan interest, proximity to recruiting hotbeds, a firmly cemented reputation as college football's gold standard -- that will keep it at or near the top of the college football heap. Slive is hardly in crisis management mode. But "or near" may not be good enough for the SEC after its recent run, and a potential $4 or $5 million gap per-school between the league and its Midwestern/West Coast "rivals" -- sustained over a period of years -- could (or would?) eventually even (or even tilt) the playing field. 

Times are no doubt very, very good for the SEC both on the field and in its checkbook. But the upcoming negotiations between the league and its TV partners will likely play a huge role in whether future times are as very good or not.

*The SBJ also estimated the SEC's distribution figure at only $17 million, which could be either a good sign or a bad one from an SEC perspective; if that figure was simply wrong while the Big Ten's and Pac-12's was accurate, then the gap isn't as wide as believed. But if the SBJ was simply being conservative across the board and the B1G's/P12's numbers are also underestimated, it would mean those leagues' networks and TV deals have established a substantial financial edge even before they really get rolling.    

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Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:52 pm
 

Oliver Luck thinks divorce is worth it

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's hard to blame West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck for being in a good mood these days. After all, his son Andrew Luck is likely going to be the top pick in the NFL Draft in a few months, and he was just able to successfully complete the move of West Virginia from the Big East to the Big 12.

A conference that's standing on more solid ground than the Big East at the moment.

Of course, at the same time, the move did prove to be rather costly for West Virginia. The school has to pay the Big East $20 million because of it. Not that Luck cares about the money, as evidenced by what he told 790 The Zone in Atlanta during a recent interview.

“Well, it’s the old adage: Why is divorce so expensive? Because it’s worth it," said Luck.

Which is an old adage that I've never heard, but one that made me laugh all the same.

You know who I'm guessing won't find it all that funny, though? Luck's wife, and the mother of his four children, Kathy. I'm guessing Oliver will have some explaining to do when he gets home.

Looks like leaving the Big East will cost West Virginia $20,000,049.99 as Oliver Luck will probably be picking up a dozen roses in the near future.

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Posted on: February 17, 2012 11:49 am
 

Rutgers, Arkansas agree to 2012-13 home-and-home

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Two round scheduling holes -- one in the Big East, one in the SEC -- each found a round peg Friday as Rutgers and Arkansas officially agreed to play a home-and-home series starting this fall in Fayetteville.

Thanks to the latest round of conference realignment, both programs found themselves with gaps to fill in their 2012 slate--Rutgers needing a replacement for Big 12 defector West Virginia, and Arkansas one for Texas A&M, thanks to their nonconference series with the Aggies becoming a conference matchup instead. 

The agreement has been rumored for weeks, but became official with statements issued by both sides Friday morning. The 2012 meeting will be held at Arkansas's regular home stadium in Fayetteville on Sept. 22, 2012, with the return game set for Sept. 21, 2013. The game will mark the first-ever meeting between the schools and the first time any SEC program has made the trip to Piscataway.

“It is a constant priority to secure marquee scheduling opportunities for our football program and our fans,” Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti said. “This home-and-home series with Arkansas clearly illustrates another enhancement of that strategy ... This agreement further enhances our future non-conference game schedule which includes Penn State, Miami and UCLA.

“We are pleased to add a quality non-conference opponent like Rutgers to our 2012 football schedule,” Razorback athletic director Jeff Long said. “The additions of Texas A&M and Missouri and the delay in the release of the conference schedule posed some specific scheduling challenges for the 2012 season. We know that many other events around the state are contingent on the Razorback football schedule and we appreciate the patience of our fans as we worked through this process.”

The agreement completes Arkansas's 2012 schedule, while Rutgers still needs one additional conference opponent. With a rumored in-season rematch with Syracuse off the table, the Scarlet Knights -- like the rest of the Big East -- are no doubt hoping fervently that Boise State will swoop in to rescue the league schedule.

Arkansas also announced that it would be playing Ole Miss in Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium and LSU in Fayetteville. With Arkansas traditionally hosting LSU in Little Rock, the latter game will mark the Bayou Bengals' first visit to the Arkansas campus since the Hogs' inaugural SEC season in 1992.

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Posted on: February 17, 2012 10:05 am
Edited on: February 17, 2012 10:09 am
 

James Franklin denies tampering allegations

Posted by Chip Patterson

One of the many twists and turns in the transfer of Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien has been the reported stipulation that prevents O'Brien from accepting financial aid from Vanderbilt. It is common for hopeful transfers to be blocked from future opponents - O'Brien also cannot accept aid from future ACC opponents, West Virginia, and Temple - but the Commodores are not currently on any future Terrapins schedule.

No Maryland officials, including head coach Randy Edsall, have elaborated on why Vanderbilt is not an acceptable landing place for O'Brien, but it is likely because of former Terps offensive coordinator James Franklin. Franklin was O'Brien's offensive coordinator, and thought to be a candidate to replace Ralph Friedgen, before accepting the head coaching job at Vanderbilt. Speaking to a local radio station, Franklin addressed the allegations regarding his involvement in O'Brien's departure.

“I don’t like innuendos and comments being made about tampering and things like that,” Franklin told 104.5 The Zone in Nashville.  “You guys know me. I’m the type of guy, I’m going to have relationships with my players. I hope to have relationships with the guys that play for me for the rest of my life.

“But the fact that people would make accusations that we tampered or did this or did that, again, I’m just going to defend our program and defend our character and how we do things. But I think it’s ridiculous to think that I’m not going to have relationships with these kids after I leave places.”

Todd Willert, O'Brien's high school coach, told CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman he expects the quarterback's family to appeal Edsall's reported restriction in order to have the option to transfer to Vanderbilt.

"I believe they will," said Willert. "This weekend, Danny and his family will sort through everything. They think (Vandy) should be an option but I don't know exactly what they'll decide. It should be an option for him.  Just be fair to everybody. Danny has no ill will towards anybody."

O'Brien is set to earn his undergraduate degree from Maryland this spring, and will be eligible to compete immediately as long as he enrolls in a graduate program not offered in College Park. It is the same transfer rule that allowed Russell Wilson to compete right away at Wisconsin. Unlike Wilson, O'Brien will still have two full years of eligibility once he joins a program.

Willert told CBSSports.com there has been a lot of interest, but would not reveal what schools have attempted to contact O'Brien. In addition to Vanderbilt; Stanford, Michigan State, Wisconsin, East Carolina, and Ole Miss are all believed to be in the mix.

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Posted on: February 16, 2012 5:49 pm
 

2012 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff: 2 games in 2 days

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

We've known since September 2010 that the 2012 edition of the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game would be the annual event's first doubleheader, one matching up Auburn and Clemson in one game and Tennessee and North Carolina State in the other. But Thursday saw the organizers reveal that for the first time, the Kickoff will become a two-day event, one matching up the Volunteers and Wolfpack on Friday, Aug. 31, and the Tigers and other Tigers Saturday, Sept. 1.

“When we created the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game with ESPN, our goal was to kick off the season in a special and memorable way,” Chick-Fil-A Bowl president and CEO Gary Stokan said in a statement. “With these two games, and these four teams and their fan bases, this is going to be a colossal weekend of football in Atlanta – like nothing you have ever seen before.”

While we don't begrudge Stokan or the athletic directors quoted in the statement their excitement over "the first-ever double hosting of marquee, BCS-style games on back-to-back days in the same venue," we also won't begrudge any neutral fans their lack of excitement over games that -- frankly -- don't quite live up to that "BCS-style" billing. Clemson may have won the ACC last season, but none of the other three participants won more than 7 regular season games, with the Vols' 5-7 mark a particular disappointment. (That billboard-worthy Orange Bowl drubbing at the hands of West Virginia even took a bit of the shine off of Clemson's 2011, too.) There's also the little detail that Auburn and Clemson doesn't exactly qualify as an exotic nonconference matchup any longer, not with the two teams having played each of the last two seasons and three of the past five. 

We won't argue with Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips when he calls the Auburn-Clemson tilt "one of the national highlights of the opening weekend of college football." But compared to past games like Alabama-Clemson in 2008 or Georgia-Boise State in 2011, we're forced to point out the 2012 Kickoff isn't quite that kind of highlight, either.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com