Posted on: October 12, 2011 2:56 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2011 9:39 pm
 

Big East CEOs refused to increase exit fees

The Big East’s presidents and chancellors discussed but did not approve a proposal that would have increased the league’s exit fee to between about $12 million and $15 million, up to three times the current amount, during the league’s Oct. 2 meeting, according to league documents obtained by CBSSports.com.

Give commissioner John Marinatto credit; at least he tried to make it tougher for teams to leave the league.

The proposed new exit amount was for the greater amount of $5 million or “150 percent of the gross revenues received by a departing team in its final year in the league.” Those revenues vary by school but are estimated between $8 million and $10 million annually for the football members.

The league’s current withdrawal fee is $5 million, with 27 months notice required.

In the Oct. 2 meeting, the league’s presidents and chancellors also were scheduled to continue dialogue about “potential legal strategies in the wake of the departures of Pittsburgh and Syracuse.”

The refusal of the presidents and chancellors to increase the exit fee is another challenge to the league trying to survive the departure of TCU, Pittsburgh and Syracuse and with the possibility of other members leaving to other conferences.

Four days before the Oct. 2 meeting, Marinatto sent an email to league presidents and chancellors.

In the email, obtained by CBSSports.com, Marinatto wrote:

“The Big East’s media rights outlook remains optimistic as the Conference continues to be a vital and attractive media rights property heading into our scheduled September 2012 ESPN discussions. Further, we will provide you with an updated report on our BCS automatic qualifying status, arguably our single most valuable asset – which, with the help of the addition of TCU, continues to place us in a solid position for the upcoming cycle.”

Four days after the Oct. 2 meeting at Georgetown, TCU received an invitation to the Big 12 and notified the Big East it likely would accept the invitation. TCU officially was accepted into the Big 12 on Monday.

Marinatto’s email also touched on the league’s uncertain future. He wrote:

“The most important issue for us to focus on, however, is the future of the Conference and specifically how we can stabilize our situation in order to convey a level of comfort and security to any potential new members and provide them some assurances about their future with us.  Toward this end and per our football school discussion (Sept. 21) in New York City, we have added a new agenda item to discuss a proposed bylaw amendment in the form of the attached regarding our current withdrawal clause.”

It's unknown if the proposed new exit agreement also would require 27 months notice.

Marinatto’s email also to league leaders indicated that the Big East "will also be prepared to discuss potential legal strategies in the wake of the departures of Pittsburgh and Syracuse."

Posted on: October 11, 2011 5:09 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2011 5:27 pm
 

Dad says Garcia violated "zero tolerance policy"

TAMPA, Fla. – Gary Garcia, the father of former South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia, said his son was dismissed from the program Tuesday for “having a couple of beers,” which violated the zero tolerance policy Stephen had agreed to abide by.  

“We have a lot of decisions to make right now,” Gary Garcia told CBSSports.com Tuesday afternoon. “We don’t know what his options are yet. We’re trying to absorb everything that’s happened. It’s happened so quickly.”

Gary Garcia was with his son in Columbia, S.C., helping Stephen pack to return to their hometown of Tampa, Fla. Garcia graduated in May.

“Obviously, he’s responsible for his own actions, which we’ve told him from the beginning,” Gary Garcia told The Tampa Tribune. “The stuff he did in the beginning, he should’ve known better than that. He should’ve made better decisions. We understand that.

“I don’t hold the university responsible for it. Stephen did it. He should be responsible. You only get so many chances.”

Stephen Garcia had been suspended – and reinstated five times. He told CBSSports.com after the Gamecocks’ season opening victory against East Carolina how appreciative he was of getting one final chance.

"Once I was told the conditions (to meet) in order for me to return, I knew I would be able to come back and just get it done,” Garcia said on Sept. 3. “Get back on the team at whatever cost. I don't know where I'd be right now if Coach (Steve) Spurrier, (athletic director) Mr. (Eric) Hyman and President Dr. (Harris) Pastides didn't give me the conditions and allow me one more final chance."

Spurrier said he was “saddened this has occurred.”

“We all feel like we’ve given Stephen numerous opportunities to be a student-athlete here at South Carolina,” Spurrier said in a statement. “Obviously, he has chosen not to follow the guidelines of his reinstatement contract. We wish him the best.”

Gary Garcia said his son had agreed to a zero tolerance to return to the team in the summer.

“I don’t know many college kids who can handle zero tolerance, but those were the choices we had,” Gary Garcia said. “You could second-guess yourself. Should he have even come back here? Go somewhere else?

"He made a commitment to South Carolina and his teammates. He wanted to win a championship. He had a chance this year. God works in mysterious ways. I don’t know what’s ahead for him, but it will be something.”

Gary Garcia said it was almost a sense of relief for his son and the chance for a fresh start. He said his son does not have an alcohol problem.

“I don’t think he has to get anything squared away,” Gary Garcia told the Tribune. “He has been doing well. I don’t think he’s a loose cannon. He’s a wannabe college student who has a lot of eyes on him.

“To start off like he started (with numerous suspensions) was not on level ground. He was below the ground. At home, he’ll be a lot more conscientious. The players and coaches here (at South Carolina), they’ve called and texted him. They just think he’s a college kid. Leave him alone. Everything he does gets reported. He’s an SEC quarterback. He’s not Tim Tebow. But there’s only one Tim Tebow, I know.”

Gary Garcia said he plans to eventually contact former Tampa Bay Bucs coach Jon Gruden and others for advice on what options his son has as far as playing professionally. But he said he’s more concerned about his son returning home to Tampa.

"At the end of the day, we’re going to keep our heads up," Gary Garcia said. "He’s going to do something good. Something good will come out of this. God has a plan for him. We don’t know yet, but it’s going to be something special."



Posted on: October 11, 2011 1:50 pm
 

Big East plotting football, hoops divisions

Officials from what’s left of the Big East’s dwindling football membership had another conference call on Tuesday morning and there remains no specific timetable on adding UCF, but “appears an invitation is forthcoming” for the Knights, the league’s No. 1 target.

The presidents, chancellors and athletic directors continued to discuss potential expansion candidates. Among those mentioned were UCF, Air Force, Navy, Temple, Houston, SMU and Boise State, a league source told CBSSports.com.

While Commissioner John Marinatto said in a statement Monday the league would consider a model with 12 football members, part of Tuesday’s call was discussing the possibility of splitting the football and basketball conference into divisions, once the football side is replenished.

Navy, Air Force and Boise State are being considered as football members only, while UCF, Temple, Houston and SMU are at the top of the list as all-sports members so it’s unknown right now how large the basketball membership could grow.

The Newark Star-Ledger reported one proposed alignment discussed at Tuesday’s meeting consisted of Rutgers, UConn, South Florida, UCF, Temple and Navy in an East Division with West Virginia, Louisville, Cincinnati, Air Force, SMU and Houston in a West Division.

However, there remains the very real possibility Louisville and West Virginia may not be in the league and bound for the Big 12 if Missouri leaves for the SEC or the Big 12 expands to 12 teams.

What make Temple, SMU and Houston attractive to the Big East, one source said, is their respective television markets. Philadelphia (Temple) is the nation’s No. 4 market, Dallas (SMU) is No. 5 and Houston is No. 10.

Beyond Navy, Air Force and UCF, a league source said “no one team is definitely next” as an expansion candidate.

There also appears to be conflicting opinions on pursuing Boise State. Some league members support adding Boise State because of the Broncos’ recent success, which would help the league with its future BCS status. However, others believe Boise State, located nearly 700 miles west of Air Force and nearly 2,200 miles from Tampa/USF, is simply too far to consider.

Boise State president Bob Kustra said in a statement Monday that the Broncos “are looking forward to their inaugural season” in the Mountain West Conference and he “has great confidence in the future direction of the Mountain West.”

“While we are certainly flattered to be mentioned in connection with other conferences and we hold those leagues in high regard, our current focus is on continuing to build the outstanding athletic programs that have helped make Boise State a popular and compelling national brand," Kustra said.

“The landscape of college athletics is exceptionally fluid, and we are continuing to monitor the situation. We are confident that Boise State will be well positioned for future success, and we will evaluate our status with the best interests of the entire university in mind. Boise State’s athletic achievements, academic and research successes, popularity, and vision for future growth make the university an extremely valuable conference partner.”

A league source also told CBSSports.com that Army is no longer being considered as a candidate by the Big East. “They’ve been honest with us and that they’re not interested because of the challenges they had previously in Conference USA,” the source said.

Army was in C-USA from 1998-2004. The Cadets were 9-41 in C-USA play and finished last in the league five of the seven seasons.

Posted on: October 11, 2011 11:04 am
Edited on: October 11, 2011 11:21 am
 

Big 12 commish: league will be 10 teams in 2012

Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas said Tuesday his league will give Missouri as much time as it needs – until the end of this academic year, if necessary – to make a decision whether to remain in the Big 12 or leave for the SEC. 

“There’s no timetable,” Neinas said. “Everything is in place. We’re preparing for 2012. We’ll see what occurs.”

Neinas said he has had recent decisions with SEC commissioner Mike Slive. Neinas said he told Slive “if you’re going to extend an invitation to Missouri please let me know.” 

Neinas also said no matter what decision Missouri makes, the Big 12 would be a 10-team league in 2012 - with Missouri and new member TCU

"If Missouri is going to change horses (conferences), it won't be for 2012 anyway," Neinas said.

Whether the Big 12 eventually grows to 12 teams, there has been no decision made, Neinas said. 

“There is no consensus from conference members on going to 10 or 12 members,” Neinas said.

Neinas added there was some support last month for staying at nine teams (if Missouri left for the SEC), but that was no longer the thinking about league members. 

“The idea (with or without Missouri) would be (for the Big 12 membership) 10 or 12 teams,” Neinas said. “It won’t be 16.”

The decision to expand to 12 would have a big impact on the Big East. Sources have told CBSSports.com that Louisville is the top candidate of the Big 12 if the league adds one member and if it expands by more than one, West Virginia is another strong candidate. 

Neinas did not discuss any potential expansion candidates on Tuesday’s conference call.

He did say, however, that an Associated Press report that Missouri could make $12 million more annually in a 14-team SEC was not accurate. 

“They (a 14-team SEC) would have to increase their television revenue by $168 million,” Neinas said.

The Big 12’s interim commissioner said Missouri reacted “favorably” to the addition of TCU. He also added Texas will continue to have a nationally televised Thanksgiving game, but with Texas A&M gone to the SEC, the Longhorns’ opponent for future seasons has not been determined. It, in all likelihood, will not be against TCU, Neinas said.

Posted on: October 10, 2011 10:45 pm
 

Sources: Big East contacts UCF

The Big East Conference contacted the University of Central Florida on Monday, perhaps setting the stage for the Knights to join the league, Big East and college football industry sources told CBSSports.com.

The Big East, which announced Monday morning that it would consider a model with 12 football members, expressed interest in UCF, which may lead to a meeting later this week between Big East and UCF officials, an industry source said.

UCF has not received an invitation to join the Big East as an all-sports member, but one could be extended in the coming days. The Big East is looking to replace TCU, which was announced Monday as the newest member to the Big 12, and Pittsburgh and Syracuse, which are headed to the ACC.

Big East commissioner John Marinatto also contacted Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky about the Big East’s interest in the Knights, Boston.com reported.

After a brief two-year stint in the Mid-American Conference, UCF has been in Conference USA since 2005. The Knights, 3-2 this season, have been to bowl games in four of their six seasons in C-USA, winning the league title in 2007 and 2010. They went 11-3 last season, defeating Georgia in the Liberty Bowl.

The Knights have lobbied publicly and privately for Big East membership for several years and would jump at the chance to join the league. UCF coach George O’Leary told me last season he thought the Knights “would be a great candidate” for the Big East.

“When you look at the school size, facilities, academics, the weather and the (nation's No. 19) TV market is something that Orlando brings,” O’Leary said last year. “There are a lot of major plusses why UCF would be considered. The big thing is all we can do is win, continue to do the things we need to do and all the other things will take care of itself.

“Obviously I think we have everything in place to move.”

The Big East is guaranteed to remain an automatic qualifying BCS conference through the 2013 season. After that, though, it’s uncertain if the Big East would retain its automatic qualifying status. O’Leary told me it’s imperative for UCF to get into a BCS league.

“No question with the economy, the BCS would solve some problems that way as far as the economy and marketing,” O'Leary said last year. “The TV exposure and recruiting – they (the recruits) want to know if you're a BCS school or not. There are a lot of major plusses just from exposure standpoint.”

On Monday morning, Marinatto released a statement that said the league’s presidents authorized him “to engage in formal discussions with additional institutions” and the league is “considering moving to a model that includes 12 football playing schools.”

The Big East has been pursuing the academies – Navy, Air Force and Army – for years. A league source said Monday night the Big East believes Army was a “long shot” to join the league, but Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk told CBSSports.com Monday the Midshipmen continue to monitor the Big East and that joining the league "remains an option."

On Saturday, Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh told the Denver Post “our interest is high in the Big East.”

Posted on: October 10, 2011 12:42 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2011 12:51 pm
 

Big East wants 12 members, but who will it get?

Big East presidents and chancellors Monday authorized Big East commissioner John Marinatto “to engage in formal discussions with additional institutions and are considering moving to a model that includes 12 football playing schools.”

Now the question is: what schools will make up those 12?

With TCU gone before it even got here and Pittsburgh and Syracuse headed to the ACC in 2014 (and they hope even earlier than that), that leaves six football members – Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida and West Virginia.

For now.

That number could reduce further if Missouri goes to the SEC. Louisville and West Virginia is considered the strongest candidates for the Big 12 now that BYU apparently is no longer as highly regarded by the Big 12.

Navy, Air Force and Army remain the prime targets of the Big East as football only members. However, with the news that the Big East is pursuing 12 football schools, if the league went to a nine-game league schedule, that actually might not be an attractive option for the academies having only three non-conference games.

Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk told CBSSports.com Monday the Midshipmen continue to monitor the Big East and that joining the league remains an option.

Other Big East targets are Temple, of the Mid-American Conference, and a number of Conference USA schools headed by Central Florida and East Carolina.

The Newark Star-Ledger reported Sunday that Boise State was a possibility as a football-only member. Last month in a Big East presidents meeting, the Broncos were brought up as an expansion candidate, but the consensus was the school was too far away and there were concerns with their recent NCAA issues, a source said.

However, that was before TCU announced it received a Big 12 invitation, which the Horned Frogs will formally accept Monday night. Does that mean the Big East is warming to Boise State - or that desparate for members?

As far as any problems in having a 12-team football conference and a resulting basketball membership of up to 20 schools, a league source told me the size of the basketball membership is not a concern.

“You can have 50 teams in basketball (in the conference),” the source said. “It doesn't matter. That's why they have the NCAA tournament.”

The reality for the Big East is, other than continuing to pursue the academies, it must wait to see what happens with Missouri and the Big 12/SEC and the resulting dominos before proceeding further.

During Monday’s teleconference, the presidents were “still discussing appropriate figures” for increased withdrawal fees, an individual on the call told CBSSports.com.

The withdrawal fee is currently $5 million and a school must provide 27 months notice.

Last month Marinatto told CBSSports.com that the league will not allow Syracuse and Pitt to leave before their 27-month withdrawal requirement expires, keeping them in Big East until June 30, 2014.

On Saturday, Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh told the Denver Post “our interest is high in the Big East. That's fair to say. This stuff is moving fast.”

Air Force has to decide whether to remain in a comfortable situation in the Mountain West or leave for an uncertain future in the Big East, once an automatic qualifying BCS league that may or may not still be an AQ BCS conference when the new BCS cycle begins before the 2014 season.

Even with the league holding a second conference call in four days among officials from representative from the remaining Big East schools, there wasn’t much accomplished said one frustrated individual on the call.

“Nothing accomplished,” he said.

Posted on: October 8, 2011 6:52 pm
 

Kansas State still undefeated

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Under appreciated and underrated: that pretty sums up Kansas State. So does undefeated.

The No. 20-ranked Wildcats held off Missouri Saturday afternoon.

The Wildcats are 5-0 for the first time since 2000 when Kansas State was the Big 12 North Division champions and finished 11-3.

Kansas State’s defense held Missouri, which rolled up 532 yards two weeks ago at Oklahoma, to less than 350 yards. Missouri had zero yards offense in the first quarter.

How much is Kansas State underappreciated nationally? The Wildcats were undefeated playing at home against 2-2 Missouri and the 20th-ranked Wildcats were between a 3-and-4 point underdog.

Yet, the Wildcats still pulled off the “upset.”

Can they win another Big 12 championship? Probably not with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State both looking very impressive. But the Sooners or Cowboys better not underestimate the Wildcats.

Posted on: October 7, 2011 5:44 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2011 8:55 pm
 

Louisville replaces offensive coordinator

Louisville assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Mike Sanford is no longer with the program and has been replaced as offensive coordinator by quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson, CBSSports.com has learned.

Sanford, 56, did not make the trip to Chapel Hill, N.C., for Saturday’s game at North Carolina. He also did not attend any practices this week leading up to the UNC game. Sanford was in his second season with the Cardinals after five seasons as head coach at UNLV. He was 16-43 with the Runnin’ Rebels from 2005-09. He also was previously offensive coordinator at Utah and Stanford.

Watson came to Louisville before this season from Nebraska. Watson will take over the offensive coordinator duties Saturday against UNC and for the rest of the season. UL officials declined comment.

Louisville (2-2) was averaging 18.7 points per game under Sanford, ranking last in the Big East and 105th out of 120 FBS schools in scoring offense. The Cardinals also were 86th nationally in total offense, averaging 359.7 yards per game.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com