Alabama trustees formally approve Nate Oats' 5-year deal

New Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats' contract includes hefty buyouts if he leaves for another job or is fired. University of Alabama trustees Wednesday formally approved Oats' 5-year deal worth $2.45 million annually, though the university had earlier released some of the details. Alabama would owe Oats $9,187,500 if he's fired without cause - such as for personal conduct or NCAA violations - by March 14, 2020. The buyout would go down to $7.35 million the following year and decrease each year. Oats would owe Alabama $8 million if he left for another job before that date. That number goes down $2 million annually until the final year when he would owe $1 million. Assistant coach Antoine Pettway, the only holdover on Oats' staff, will make $325,000 annually under a two-year deal, a raise of nearly $45,000.
May 15, 2019

NCAA to consider allowing athletes to profit from names

The NCAA is looking at how its rules can be modified to allow college athletes to be compensated for their names, images and likenesses. NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors announced Tuesday that Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith will head a new working group on the topic. "This group will bring together diverse opinions from the membership - from presidents and commissioners to student-athletes - that will examine the NCAA's position on name, image and likeness benefits and potentially propose rule modifications tethered to education," Ackerman said in a statement. "We believe the time is right for these discussions and look forward to a thorough assessment of the many complexities involved in this area." The NCAA said a final report from the working group is due to the Board of Governors in October. NCAA rules forbid athletes in most circumstances from receiving benefits or compensation for their names, images and likenesses from a school or outside source. For example, college athletes cannot take part in commercial advertising or sign autographs for money - which infamously got Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel into trouble with the NCAA in 2013. "While the formation of this group is an important step to confirming what we believe as an association, the group's work will not result in paying students as employees," Smith said. "That structure is contrary to the NCAA's educational mission and will not be a part of this discussion." The NCAA's amateurism rules have faced several legal challenges in recent years and threats from lawmakers. A federal antitrust lawsuit brought by former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon in 2009 challenged the NCAA and its member schools' right to use athletes' names, images and likenesses without compensation. The case led to the elimination of the NCAA Football video game series and in 2014 U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled the NCAA could not restrict schools from paying athletes up to $5,000 per year for names, images and likenesses. That part of the ruling was overturned on appeal, but the issue has been one that continues to hound the NCAA; how rules are applied often seems inconsistent if not illogical. Last year, a kicker at UCF gave up his scholarship rather than stop making money off his profitable YouTube channel, which threatened to make him ineligible. But Notre Dame basketball star Arike Ogunbowale was allowed to participate in the popular television show "Dancing With the Stars." While the Rice Commission on College Basketball avoided making a definitive recommendation on the issue of name, image and likeness in its report to the NCAA last year, the commissioners did encourage the association to take a long look at its rules. "It is hard for the public, and frankly for me, to understand what can be allowed within the college model - for the life of me I don't understand the difference between Olympic payments and participation in `Dancing with the Stars' - and what can't be allowed without opening the door to professionalizing college basketball," former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said at the time. Recently, legislation was introduced in Congress aimed at lifting restrictions that keep athletes from profiting from their fame while they are in school. Rep. Mark Walker, a Republican from North Carolina, introduced the Student-Athlete Equity Act in March that would have tweaked the tax code in a way that could have forced the NCAA to allow athletes to profit from the names, images and likenesses. "Signing an athletic scholarship with a school should not be a moratorium on your rights to your name, image, and self-worth," Walker said.
May 14, 2019

Orange Bowl switched from Jan. 1 to Dec. 30

This season's Orange Bowl is moving to Dec. 30, with a prime-time kickoff, after originally being scheduled to be played the afternoon of New Year's Day. The Orange Bowl has traditionally been played at night, but the earlier kickoff was initially planned when it became part of the six-bowl rotation that hosts the College Football Playoff. The Orange Bowl will not be hosting a national semifinal this season. Had it stayed on Jan. 1, the Orange Bowl would have been competing against other traditional New Year's Day games and kicked off around 1 p.m. EST. The switch gives it an exclusive television window on Monday night, two days after the CFP semifinals are played on Dec. 28. The Orange Bowl is the first college bowl game to be played at night, a tradition that started in 1965.
May 13, 2019

Dick Tomey, winningest Arizona football coach, dies at 80

Dick Tomey, the winningest football coach in University of Arizona history, has died at 80. He died surrounded by family Friday night in Tucson, his family and the university said. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in December. Tomey spent 14 years at Arizona, going 95-64 while taking the Wildcats to seven bowl games, including the Fiesta Bowl in 1993. Arizona went 12-1 in 1998 under Tomey and beat Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl to finish a program-best No. 4 in The Associated Press poll. He began his career as a head coach at Hawaii in 1977 and closed it at San Jose State before retiring in 2009 at 71. Tomey was 183-145-7 overall in 20 years as a coach. "On the football field he was a tough as nails coach, who loved fierce competition and the thrill of team building," the family said in a statement Saturday. "He loved his players, every single one of them - always. "He was hard on them. He constantly raised the bar. He could do that because he knew how to find the goodness and the talent in people. If he didn't find it immediately, he kept looking until he did, and once he found goodness/talent he never lost sight of it." Born in Indiana, Tomey graduated from DePauw University and got his first varsity job coaching defensive backs at Davidson in 1985 after stints coaching freshmen teams at Miami of Ohio and Northern Illinois. Tomey spent four seasons at Kansas before following Pepper Rodgers to UCLA. He was the Bruins defensive coordinator in 1976 before being named Hawaii's coach in 1977. Tomey turned around the Rainbow Warriors, leading the program to its first AP ranking in 1981. He went 63-46-3 at Hawaii before being hired to replace Larry Smith at Arizona in 1987. Tomey went 25-35 in five seasons at San Jose State. North Carolina coach Mack Brown said on Twitter that college football lost a "true legend." "I've never met a more passionate, loving man, who was also one of the best coaches to ever coach," he said. Tomey is survived by his wife, Nanci; a son, Rich, and daughter Angie. The family said a celebration of life will be announced later.
May 11, 2019

NCAA committee proposes moving 3s to international line

The NCAA men's basketball rules committee is proposing moving the 3-point line to the international distance and resetting the shot clock to 20 seconds following offensive rebounds. Both rules could take effect next season in Division I. College basketball's other two divisions would wait until 2020-21 to move the 3-point line because of the cost. The Playing Rules Oversight Panel will vote on the recommendations June 5. Rules committee members made their proposals after receiving feedback from the coaches who competed in the NIT each of the past two years, which used the international line on an experimental basis. The international 3-point distance is 22 feet, 1.75 inches, a little more than a foot back from the current college line. "Freedom of movement in the game remains important, and we feel this will open up the game," said Colorado coach Tad Boyle, the committee's chairman. "We believe this will remove some of the congestion on the way to the basket." The line moved out a foot to 20 feet, 9 inches before the 2008-09 season. The NCAA said the 3-point percentage dipped from 35.2% in 2007-08 to 34.4% in 2008-09 with that change, though it eventually climbed back to 35.2% in Division I by the 2017-18 season. The proposal for the shot-clock change was designed to improve the pace of the game, with the NCAA stating the committee believes the full 30-second clock isn't needed when the offensive team securing the rebound already is in the front court. As with the current rule, the clock reset would take place only when a shot has hit the rim.
The committee also proposed:
- Assessing Flagrant 2 fouls, which include ejections, if derogatory epithets are used.
- Allowing coaches to call live-ball timeouts during the final two minutes of regulation or overtime.
- Expanding replay reviews to include basket interference or goaltending calls in the final two minutes of regulation or overtime.

The NCAA Women's Basketball Rules Committee approved an experimental rule to use the international 3-point line for postseason events, excluding the NCAA championships in each division. Committee members, who met this week in Indianapolis, want to examine whether moving the line back to the distance of 22 feet, 10.75 inches will enhance the game. The current women's 3-point arc sits at 20 feet, 9 inches.
May 10, 2019

Oklahoma, Georgia to play home-and-home series

Perennial football powers Oklahoma and Georgia have agreed to play in 2023 and 2031. The programs have played just once - Georgia won a 54-48 overtime thriller in the College Football Playoff after the 2017 season. Oklahoma will host the Bulldogs on Sept. 9, 2023, the same year of the 100-year anniversary of the opening of Oklahoma's Memorial Stadium. Georgia will host on Sept. 13, 2031. Both schools have been filling their future schedules with powerhouse programs. Oklahoma will face Alabama in 2032 and 2033 and Clemson in 2035 and 2036. Georgia has announced home-and-home series with Clemson in 2029 and 2030, Texas in 2028 and 2029, UCLA in 2025 and 2026 and Florida State in 2027 and 2028. Both schools made the latest announcement Monday.
May 6, 2019

Mannix immediately eligible at Texas Tech with NCAA waiver

McLane Mannix will be able to play next season for Texas Tech after an NCAA waiver that made the Nevada transfer immediately eligible. Mannix transferred in January and went to spring drills with the Red Raiders. A native of nearby Midland, Texas, Mannix initially went to Nevada, where he had 107 catches for 1,653 yards and 13 touchdowns the past two seasons.
May 5, 2019

Clemson lets assistant coach go amid corruption trial

Clemson has parted ways with men's basketball assistant coach Steve Smith after his voice was heard on a federal wiretap involving defendant Christian Dawkins on the ongoing trial into college corruption. The video from 2017 included Smith commenting about why Clemson's football team is so successful and Dawkins telling Smith he could help get cash to the family of ex-Duke star Zion Williamson if he had chosen to attend Clemson. University officials said Friday that Clemson would not renew Smith's contract that expired last month. Clemson basketball coach Brad Brownell said he supports the decision to let his seven-year assistant go. Smith was scheduled to have his contract renewed at a board of trustees meeting last week until he was heard in court talking with Dawkins and an undercover FBI agent about several things, including why Clemson's national championship football program is so successful. Smith said in the July 2017 video "if you do it and use resources at Clemson, like you can really keep everything tight." Later in the video, Smith said, "It's a small college town. You can come to a game one night, after the game, you seed a dude out there in a nice looking suit, you like, `wait a minute now.'" Testimony from financial adviser Marty Blazer indicated he believed that meant boosters would give players improper benefits. Dawkins and amateur basketball coach, Merl Code Jr., are charged with paying bribes to assistant basketball coaches to help secure NBA-bound players as customers. Ex-assistant coaches at Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State and Southern Cal have pleaded guilty to bribery conspiracy and await sentencing. Clemson started a review of its football and men's basketball programs after the wiretap was played in court. "We feel very strongly that those were unfortunate comments and we are doing our due diligence, but there is no reason to believe, and nothing that we've been able to find at this point in time, that implicates the football program in any of that," Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said. Radakovich met with Brownell and Smith this week. Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney told The State newspaper of Columbia at a booster club event that Brownell had reached out to apologize for Smith's comments. Swinney was disappointed with the characterization and is proud of how he runs his program. "We've always been a program committed to doing things right way and we always will be," Swinney said.
May 3, 2019

Cure Bowl to be played at Orlando City Stadium

The 2019 Cure Bowl will be played at Orlando City Stadium. The Cure Bowl will be the first non-soccer sporting event to take place at Orlando City Stadium, since its opening in March 2017. Kickoff for the fifth-annual Cure Bowl will be December 21, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. "We are excited about the Orlando Sports Foundationıs partnership with Orlando City Stadium and the unique atmosphere that will be created for the Cure Bowl," CEO of the Orlando Sports Foundation and Executive Director of the Cure Bowl Alan Gooch stated. "I canıt wait to see a college football game in Orlando City Stadium. We believe all fans will have a great experience and this will help us to continue our mission of bringing teams together to find a cure for cancer." Orlando City Stadium located in the heart downtown Orlando is home to the Orlando City Soccer Club of Major League Soccer (MLS) and Orlando Pride of the National Womenıs Soccer League (NWSL). The state-of-the-art venue is within walking distance of the historic Church Street Entertainment District. "We are very excited to welcome the Cure Bowl to Orlando City Stadium as the first non-soccer sporting event to be hosted in our beautiful venue," Orlando City SC Chief Revenue Officer Chris Gallagher said. "Through flagship events like the Cure Bowl, the Orlando Sports Foundation works tirelessly to raise funds for cancer research, and we are happy to do what we can to support such a meaningful initiative. We can't wait to see a new kind of football on our pitch this December."  In its first four years, the Cure Bowl has been used as a platform to raise $3.6 million for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). The Orlando community has benefited from the funds generated at the game with local BCRF researcher Dr. Annette Khaled at the UCF College of Medicine receiving over $1.1 million of the funds distributed. "The move allows us to add a gameday block party which will start at Church Street and conclude with a March 2 Cure to Orlando City Stadium," Gooch added. "These events will help drive revenue to Downtown Orlando business owners, while enhancing the experience of Cure Bowl attendees on gameday." "This is an exciting announcement for the Cure Bowl. The Cure Bowl is a first-class bowl game and Orlando City Stadium is a first-class stadium," said Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Keith Gill. "This is a great fit and the Sun Belt is proud to be a part of it." The March 2 Cure will be a free, pre-game event featuring music, entertainment and activities for all to enjoy.  The event will culminate with an organized walk from the Church Street Entertainment District to the game at Orlando City Stadium. Each team playing in the Cure Bowl will have their band participate in the march alongside fans, cancer survivors and supporters decked out in pink gear. The Orlando Sports Foundation will host an open house on May 8 from 5-7 p.m. at Orlando City Stadium to celebrate our new home. This community event will allow Orlando Sports Foundation members, fans and the general public to tour the facility, pose for photos and view seat options for the Cure Bowl on Saturday, December 21. The Cure Bowl features a matchup between teams from the American Athletic Conference and Sun Belt Conference. There is also a secondary tie-in with independent Liberty University. The annual postseason college bowl game was played the previous four seasons at Camping World Stadium.
May 1, 2019

Trump hosts winning Baylor women's basketball team

President Donald Trump on Monday hosted the Baylor University women's basketball team in the Oval Office - the team's third visit to the White House as national champions. The Lady Bears, who beat Notre Dame 82-81 earlier this month, were served fast food from Wendy's, McDonald's and Burger King in the State Dining Room - the same spread that other sports teams were served during their visits to the Trump White House. The Lady Bears are the first women's basketball team to visit the Trump White House; the 2017 and 2018 women's college basketball champions did not. Coach Kim Mulkey and her team also met at the White House with President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama after their two previous national championships. The team finished this past season 37-1. "It was a thrilling victory that people will be talking about for many, many more years to come," Trump said. "You've left an enduring mark on college basketball history," he added. The team gave Trump a signed basketball, a national championship hat and a Baylor basketball jersey emblazoned with No. 1. "It may not be the right size," Mulkey said. First lady "Melania may look better in it." Trump said he loved it. "You know, I love those short sleeves. Such beautiful arms. Great definition," Trump said as he stroked his upper arm. The coach then quipped: "Like I said, Melania may look better in it."
April 29, 2019