Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
Tag:Jerry Hinnen
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.    

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get College Football updates on Facebook   

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.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get College Football updates on Facebook   
Posted on: February 16, 2012 2:08 pm

Report: five Frogs tested positive for marijuana

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

According to a report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegramrumors of 60-to-80 TCU football players failing a random drug test have been grossly exaggerated.

In police documents filed as part of the campus-wide investigation that led to the arrests of four Horned Frog players Wednesday, now-former Frogs Tanner Brock and Devin Johnson are quoted telling undercover officers that as many as 82 TCU players tested positive in the Feb. 1 test. But sources told the Star-Telegram Thursday that, in fact, only five of the 102 Horned Frog players failed the screening, with another 11 players showing trace amounts within the test's margin for error. 86 players' tests came back negative.

Although some of the drugs sold to officers during the sweep included prescription drugs, cocaine, and acid, the only substance found in the five positive tests was marijuana. Though Brock (pictured) told officers he had failed the test, it was not immediately clear if the four arrested (and dismissed) players had produced positives or not.

Having been administered on National Signing Day, the test was reportedly ordered by head coach Gary Patterson after a recruit declined a TCU offer over his concerns of widespread drug use on the team. But an anonymous former player told the Star-Telegram that marijuana is far less prevalent among the Frogs is far less than the arrests and Brock's and Johnson's statements would imply.

"There was definitely a small group of guys using weed but nothing more than that," the source said.

Ask Patterson, and he'll likely tell you that even five positives is five too many. But after the embarrassment of Wednesday's headlines and the details found in the police affidavits, Thursday's report -- if accurate -- puts the ratio of Frogs using marijuana (4.9 percent) at a rate far lower than the accepted ratio of total college students who use marijuana, and should be one for Patterson to be thankful for.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get College Football updates on Facebook   

Posted on: February 15, 2012 6:26 pm

Syracuse AD: Rutgers rematch "not an option"

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

With the Big East now officially reduced to seven football-playing members after the departure of West Virginia, the conference's 2012 scheduling dilemma has reached its crisis point--doubly so if Boise State can't find a way to ride to the rescue. Perhaps nothing illustrates the direness of the league's scheduling situation than earlier reports that Syracuse and Rutgers have considered playing twice in the 2012 regular season, with the Scarlet Knights hosting the Orange as originally scheduled and the Orange hosting Rutgers either in the Carrier Dome or Yankee Stadium.

But even with a yawning Mountaineer-shaped gap in their schedules and not much more than six months until the 2012 season kicks off, Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross told ESPN CNY radio  Tuesday that a second game against the Scarlet Knights was "not an option." As transcribed by Orange blog Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician, Gross's response to the Yankee Stadium suggestion:

No. Not an option and I guess the simplest way to answer it is just no. It's just all wrong. It's not even an option. We're playing [USC] at the New Meadowlands next year and we have great respect for those folks, what they've set up for us. It'll be like a bowl game for us and we'll have all the trains and buses and everything going down, so that's our New York game. But besides that, we won't be playing ... home and home with members of the same conference.

On the one hand, this will save both the Orange and the Scarlet Knights the awkwardness of playing the kind of home-and-home college football series rarely seen since the turn of the 20th century; aside from New York City-based Orange fans greedy enough to want their team to visit the city twice (or any Syracuse-based diehard hoping for some immediate revenge for last year's 19-16 Rutgers win at the Carrier Dome), it's hard to imagine who at either school might want to play the in-season rematch.

On the other, at least a second game against each other would give the Orange and Scarlet Knights someone to play. As it stands, Boise's late addition to the schedule could be the only thing standing between the two programs and outright desperation, though they could also receive some highly ironic last-minute help from the Mountaineers, of all people--the settlement between WVU and the Big East requires the Mountaineers to "use its reasonable best efforts to help" the remaining Big East members find scheduling partners, including those from WVU's new Big 12 home "if possible."

But whatever solution the Big East, Orange, and Scarlet Knights finds (and our current bet is simply on Boise making the leap in the near future), Gross's comments do make clear what it won't be.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get College Football updates on Facebook   

Posted on: February 15, 2012 4:42 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2012 7:05 pm

Georgia CB Commings suspended 2 games for arrest

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Georgia will be without starting cornerback Sanders Commings for the first two games of the 2012 season following his suspension for a January domestic violence arrest.

The Bulldogs announced the suspension Wednesday, which will keep Commings out of the team's season opener at home vs. Buffalo and -- much more importantly -- their week 2 visit to Columbia for Missouri's first-ever SEC game. A rising senior, Commings started all 14 games for the Bulldogs in 2011 and led the team with 12 passes broken up.

Commings was arrested in downtown Athens January 21, with witnesses telling police Commings had struck a female victim with which he was "cohabitating" in the face following a verbal altercation. Though Right had no comment either at the time or in the statement issued by the program Tuesday, he did say following Commings' booking that "any time a student-athlete is arrested it is a matter of serious concern."

The Bulldogs will no doubt be fine without Commings against the 3-9 Bulls, and with nine other starters returning to the nation's No. 5-ranked defense, the Dawgs will no doubt be favored at Missouri as well. But with national No. 1 recruit Dorial Green-Beckham in the Tiger fold, the matchup between the home team's receivers and Georgia's Commings-less secondary will be one to watch very closely.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get College Football updates on Facebook   

Posted on: February 15, 2012 3:40 pm

VIDEO: Oliver Luck talks WVU move to Big 12

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's officially official: not only is West Virginia the newest member of the Big 12, the Mountaineers will play a full Big 12 schedule this coming fall and avoid an awkward lame-duck final season in the Big East. (Sorry, Pitt and Syracuse. The 'Eers will send you a postcard.)

Their freedom from the Big East hasn't come cheap, of course, but it nonetheless remains a major feather in the cap of Mountaineer athletic director Oliver Luck. Luck stopped by the CBS Sports Network's Tim Brando Show to talk about the process of making the jump, the "blue-sky opportunity" of competing in their new conference digs, and even an Archie Manning-starring anecdote on raising a famous quarterback. Watch below:

Posted on: February 15, 2012 2:40 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2012 7:05 pm

Boise looks to "cover expenses" for Big East leap

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It wasn't even two weeks ago that no less an authority than Boise State president Bob Kustra said it was "too late" for the Broncos to consider moving to the Big East for the 2012 season. But with West Virginia now officially out the Big East door, Broncos officials admitted Wednesday that the school is in active talks with the league about joining this fall after all--and actively searching for the money that would make it happen.

Bronco athletic director Mark Coyle told the Idaho Statesman that though the final amount to get Boise out of the Mountain West and into the Big East -- and the WAC, where the Broncos' Olympic sports teams are headed -- "changes by the minute," there is "a sense of urgency" for the school to reach a decision soon.

“With the departure of West Virginia, it’s created this talk about somebody jumping to the Big East. We have had those conversations, but it’s not a simple black and white answer,” Coyle said. “Yes, we want to make sure that football has a solid home, but we have to have a solid home for our 18 other sports ...  Before we make any move, we need to make sure we cover all our expenses."

Those expenses are estimated to be between $7.5 and $9 million in exit fees due the Mountain West, and possibly an entry fee due the WAC to accommodate the Olympic teams on short notice. But just as West Virginia's exit has created a hole in the Big East schedule that the Broncos could fill, so the Broncos' future league could re-route the $10 million the Mountaineers are paying in their own exit fees -- or the potential $9 million in revenues the league plans on withholding from WVU -- to the MWC or WAC to help grease the skids for Boise's arrival.

Despite the potential hiccups, with Boise interested in speeding up their arrival, the Big East desperate to avoid a season with only seven football teams (just ask Syracuse and Rutgersand the necessary cash hypothetically available, it will now be a surprise if the Broncos don't make the leap this offseason. One potential monkey wrench, however: the Mountain West-Conference USA merger, which could in turn destabilize the reeling WAC and leave the Bronco Olympic sports high and dry. Coyle called the merger a "new twist in the conversation."

But as the expansion experience of the Mountaineers (as well as schools like Missouri) have shown, where there's a will to expedite the conference-jumping process, there's usually a way. That the Broncos now publicly have the former and a game-plan for the latter, it's not hard to imagine them going from "too late" to "already there" in a matter of weeks.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get College Football updates on Facebook   

Posted on: February 15, 2012 1:10 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2012 1:14 pm

Leach inspires Friday Night Lights film script

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Having a thinly veiled version of himself play a key role in the movie version of The Blind Side has only seemed to boost the career of Hugh Freeze, the new Ole Miss head man and the only FBS coach we can think of to have the details of his life turned into elements of a major motion picture. So maybe the folks at Washington State should be happy to hear the details revealed Tuesday regarding the planned Friday Night Lights movie.

FNL executive producer and director of the original Friday Night Lights film Peter Berg told MTV that the saga surrounding Mike Leach's controversial departure from Texas Tech would become the inspiration for one of the new movie's principal storylines. According to Berg: 

"[Screenwriter Jason Katims] has come up with a really great storyline that parallels what happened to Mike Leach, one of my heroes, a coach at Texas Tech who was unjustly fired and unjustly accused of mistreating a player with a concussion, which was proven to not have been the case. He's now at Washington State getting ready for what I think will be a great redemption story," Berg explained ... "The idea is to really revolve it around the coach."

While Leach's account of his treatment of Adam James and subsequent dismissal from Lubbock has not yet been "proven" in the legal sense, the drama over his battles with James (and ESPN analyst/senatorial candidate father Craig James) and the Texas Tech brass could provide fodder enough for an entire movie trilogy.

Of course, Berg may be fortunate just the get the one Leach-inspired movie made; while saying "We're not done with Friday Night Lights," he also admits that corralling all of his principal actors together for the film wouldn't be easy. (And star Taylor Kitsch sounded less than gung-ho about reprising his role as Tim Riggins, saying he'd "maybe do a cameo or something.")

So we wouldn't advise the Cougar public relations staff in Pullman to start work on their "Mike Leach: movie hero inspiration" promotional campaign just yet. But just ask Freeze: if Berg does get his Leach-centric script into production, it surely won't hurt Leach's already formidable reputation as one of the most fascinating characters in college football.

HT: Grantland 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get College Football updates on Facebook   
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or