Former 5-star QB Barnett transfers to USF after 'Bama, ASU

Former Alabama and Arizona State quarterback Blake Barnett, once a five-star recruit, has transferred to South Florida, where he'll be immediately eligible to play with two seasons remaining. USF announced the addition of Barnett on Friday. He is expected to compete for a starting job as the Bulls try to replace three-year starter Quinton Flowers, who set numerous school records at USF and signed a free-agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. Barnett was the most highly rated quarterback to recruit to sign with Nick Saban at Alabama when he joined the Crimson Tide in 2015. He was in the mix to play as a freshman, but health issues set him back and he ended up sitting out as a redshirt as Alabama won a national championship. Barnett started the 2016 season-opener for the Crimson Tide, but quickly relinquished the job to Jalen Hurts. Soon after he left Alabama during the season and enrolled in junior college for the rest of the year, which put him in position to transfer and play in 2017 instead of sitting out the whole season as required by NCAA rules. He was initially supposed to miss the first four games of 2017, but the NCAA granted him a waiver and he was eligible to play the whole season for the Sun Devils. But he was unable to beat out Manny Wilkins, who started for much of the 2016 season for Arizona State, and served as a backup for Arizona State in 2017. He graduated this spring, making him eligible to transfer again and not sit out. In seven games at Alabama and Arizona State, Barnett has completed 14 of 24 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. Having played only two seasons, he still has two years of eligibility left. At USF, Barnett will compete with junior Brett Kean and sophomore Chris Oladokun to start this season. Neither of the incumbents has started a college game and they played sparingly behind Flowers the last two seasons.
May 18, 2018

ACC seeks to expand NCAA tourney by 4 teams, change rules

The Atlantic Coast Conference wants to expand the NCAA Tournament and change several college basketball rules. Commissioner John Swofford said Thursday the league will propose legislation to expand the NCAA Tournament from 68 to 72 teams. That would create a second set of First Four games in the western half of the country to go with the tournament-opening ones in Dayton, Ohio. The league also supports moving back the 3-point line, widening the lane and having the shot clock reset to 20 seconds after offensive rebounds. Swofford spoke to reporters at the conclusion of the league's spring meetings. He also said the league's TV channel is on track for its August 2019 launch, though the league didn't settle on future ACC Tournament sites beyond locations already determined through 2020.
May 17, 2018

Former SEC Commissioner Mike Slive dies at 77

With bold vision, keen intellect and a gentle manner, Mike Slive guided the Southeastern Conference to unprecedented success and prosperity in 13 years as commissioner. He pushed for a college football playoff years before others embraced it and was a steadying force during a time of enormous growth and volatility throughout college athletics. Slive died Wednesday at the age of 77 in Birmingham, Alabama, where he lived with his wife, Liz, three years after retiring to battle prostate cancer. The Southeastern Conference did not provide the cause of death. "It's shocking," SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, who replaced Slive, told the AP. "So many people cared for Mike, worked with Mike, knew Mike that I think it's shocking to everyone. And that's because of the impact he made on individuals and on conferences and on people across this country. He left a legacy certainly in this league of success and stability and growth that will always be remembered." Slive replaced Roy Kramer as SEC commissioner in 2002, coming from Conference USA to help clean up an SEC that was beset by NCAA compliance issues. Soon after the SEC became the most powerful conference in college football, winning seven straight national championships and landing television contracts with the ESPN and CBS worth billions. "Commissioner Slive was truly one of the great leaders college athletics has ever seen and an even better person," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "He was a wonderful friend to me and someone who I respected tremendously. Mike changed the landscape of the Southeastern Conference and helped build our league into what you see today." The SEC's success was not limited to football under Slive. Overall, the conference won 81 national championships in 17 sports during his tenure. "Mike was a giant in our industry and as remarkable as he was professionally, he was an even better person," ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby called Slive "a true visionary." Slive played a pivotal role in the creation of the College Football Playoff. He first formally proposed the idea of a four-team playoff for college football in 2008, but it was shot down by most of the other conference commissioners. "I think there were many who were not all the way supportive, some wanted larger and some not at all," Bowlsby told AP. "Mike's position was known and not everybody agreed with it. But he was statesman." Finally, after two SEC teams, LSU and Alabama, played in the BCS national championship game after the 2011 season, the rest of college football's power brokers came around and constructed the current postseason system. "He was a very good communicator, built relationships inside his conference and outside his conference," Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany told AP. "He was also a friend. We were competitors, too, but we were always able to talk through it. Disagree and come back to the table. I respected his flexibility and human qualities. But he was a force because of how smart he was." During tumultuous conference realignment across the nation, the SEC expanded from 12 to 14 schools with the additions of Missouri and Texas A&M in 2012 under Slive. He was the catalyst behind the creation of the SEC Network, which launched in 2014. Slive also played a major part in ushering in a new governance model for the NCAA in which the SEC and the other four most powerful and wealthy conferences were given autonomy to create and pass legislation. "Not just an innovator, but a creative person who had the insight to kind of peer around the corner a little bit and know what opportunities might come next," Sankey said. Slive was born in Utica, New York, the son of a butcher. He became an attorney and founded a law firm that assisted schools with NCAA issues for before starting a long career in college sports. He was the founding commissioner of both the Great Midwest Conference and C-USA. "Mike Slive is one of the best people I have ever met," said Charles Bloom, a former associate commissioner at the SEC who is now an administrator at South Carolina. "His impact on me was tremendous. He was a father-type figure, someone I could talk to about life issues and then we would work together on SEC office matters. He was a great leader, mentor and friend." After surviving cancer, Slive founded the Mike Slive Foundation for Prostate Cancer Research. Slive is survived by Liz, his wife of 49 years; daughter Anna; son-in-law Judd Harwood; and granddaughter Abigail.
May 16, 2018

South Carolina plans statue of hoops star A'ja Wilson

Basketball star A'ja Wilson is getting a statue at South Carolina. University President Harris Pastides closed graduation ceremonies Saturday by announcing the school plans to build a statue of the national player of the year. Wilson helped South Carolina win the 2017 NCAA title and left as the school's all-time scoring leader. Wilson received a loud ovation when she walked across the stage for her diploma. She was the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft and will play for the Las Vegas Aces this summer. Wilson was the Southeastern Conference player of the year the past three seasons, a three-time All-American and swept all national awards this past season. The project must be approved by the school's board of trustees.
May 13, 2018

NCAA rule limits football teams to 20 people on headsets

The NCAA approved a rule limiting the number people who can communicate through headsets during a game to 20 per team, including 15 coaches. The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved the proposal from the football oversight committee on Friday. The head coach, assistants and graduate assistants are allowed to be on headsets during a game, along with four players and one other staffer who is a non-coaching role such as charting plays. The Division I Football Oversight Committee spearheaded the rules change, which is intended to clarify and limit the maximum number of headsets while still allowing adequate coaching and student-athlete teaching opportunities. Headsets used for game operations, security, or medical do not count among the 20 for a team.
May 13, 2018

NCAA rules 5 former Ole Miss players immediately eligible

The NCAA ruled five former Mississippi players will be allowed to play this season after transferring, granting waivers under a recently revised rule that was used to make quarterback Shea Patterson immediate eligibility at Michigan. UCF receiver Tre Nixon, Houston safety Deontay Anderson, Georgia Tech offensive lineman Jack DeFoor, UAB linebacker Jarrion Street and Nebraska linebacker Breon Dixon will all be eligible to play this season instead of sitting out to satisfy NCAA requirements. Attorney Tom Mars, who was advising all the Ole Miss players except Dixon, said Thursday night the waivers all went through the same process as Patterson's. The NCAA tweaked its waiver process last month to allow players who were in good standing at their previous school to be immediately eligible at their new school if the original school does not oppose the transfer. Originally, Patterson had filed an application for a waiver based on being misled during the recruiting process by Ole Miss coaches and staffers about a then-ongoing NCAA investigation. The investigation led to Ole Miss football being hit with NCAA sanctions that included a postseason ban for the upcoming season. As part of the sanctions, players entering their fourth seasons at Ole Miss were allowed to transfer without sitting out in 2018. Patterson and the other players granted waivers did not qualify, but decided to ask the NCAA for an exception. The modification of the waiver process by the NCAA last month allowed for the schools to work with Mississippi and come to a less contentious resolution. All the players had been allowed to participate in spring practice with their new schools. Dixon, whose eligibility was announced by Nebraska, was a freshman last season at Ole Miss and has three seasons of eligibility left. The other players were all from the 2016 signing class. The status of one more Ole Miss transfer remains unresolved. Receiver Van Jefferson, a 2015 signee, is at Florida, where transferring within the Southeastern Conference - usually prohibited - adds another issue to be resolved.
May 10, 2018

Trump honors Army's football team

President Donald Trump is honoring Army's football team at the White House and predicting the service branches of the military could have a new addition: the space force. Trump saluted the Black Knights with the annual Commander-in-Chief's Trophy on Tuesday, recounting their victory over Navy on a snowy day in Philadelphia. He received a white Army jersey. It's the first Commander-in-Chief Trophy for West Point since 1996. The president says the Trump administration is "seriously thinking" about creating a space force, part of his efforts to build up the nation's military. New Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a West Point graduate, attended the Rose Garden ceremony. Trump joked that Pompeo was "a man who has gotten more publicity than me lately."
May 1, 2018

NC State outlines steps taken in federal hoops investigation

North Carolina State has released a timeline of steps the university has taken to cooperate with investigators since the federal probe into college basketball became public last fall. The university had essentially responded to inquiries before becoming further entangled in the investigation in recent weeks. Chancellor Randy Woodson was more proactive Tuesday, releasing a statement outlining actions N.C. State has taken. In January, the school received a grand jury subpoena seeking records involving former one-and-done guard Dennis Smith Jr. Last week, a rewritten federal indictment alleged a former Adidas representative arranged $40,000 for the parent of an athlete who committed to the school. It also alleged an unnamed Wolfpack coach was involved in delivering the money. University officials want their "community" to know they aren't just idle bystanders. Woodson says the school is "fully cooperating" both with U.S. attorneys and the NCAA. "Given the details released by the Southern District of New York last week, and the information previously made public, we feel we can now provide our community more specifics about N.C. State's involvement without jeopardizing the investigation," Woodson said in the statement. Last week's rewritten indictment didn't specifically name the player involved, and no one tied to the school is facing criminal charges. But the grand jury subpoena sought records such as communication involving Smith's representatives - including his father - and members of the Wolfpack's former coaching staff, as well as records tied to former head coach Mark Gottfried and assistant Orlando Early. Woodson's Tuesday statement and accompanying timeline both name Smith. That included noting that Smith indicated he had no knowledge or involvement in NCAA violations in response to routine written questions from the university in December 2015 and August 2016. After learning of the September indictments that led to charges against 10 people - though none at N.C. State - the school said last week it had contacted former coaches and that all had denied knowledge or involvement in any activities related to the allegations. In Tuesday's timeline, the school stated the list of coaches questioned included Gottfried, Early, and former assistants Butch Pierre and Heath Schroyer. Gottfried lost his job after the Wolfpack missed a second straight NCAA Tournament in spring 2017 and has since been hired at Cal State Northridge. The timeline also noted that compliance staffers in October interviewed an agent who had contacted the school to say he believed Smith's enrollment at N.C. State was due to "influence by Adidas through his father." The agent said he had no direct knowledge of the payments or other details, and Woodson said the school forwarded that information to an area FBI agent "in case it was germane to the federal investigation." The school also said it found no relevant information in email reviews following a Yahoo Sports report in February revealed bank records and other expense reports listing improper payments from agents to at least two dozen players or their relatives, including loans of thousands of dollars to Smith - who recently completed his rookie year with the NBA's Dallas Mavericks. Tuesday's timeline stated the school "continues to locate, review, redact and produce records" to comply with the federal subpoena, while Woodson said the school has "acted proactively, ethically and responsibly." Woodson and athletics director Debbie Yow said the release was an effort to be transparent. "We've worked consistently to establish a culture of compliance and accountability within N.C. State athletics," Yow said in a statement. "When that culture is threatened, we will always act with integrity."
April 18, 2018

NCAA approves rule aimed at decreasing kickoff returns

A fair catch on a kickoff received inside the 25-yard line will result in a touchback next season after a proposed rule change was approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel.

The NCAA announced Friday the adoption of several rule changes , including changes aimed at moving games along.

The most notable involved kickoffs, which both college and professional football rule-makers acknowledge produce an inordinate number of injuries. In the hopes of creating fewer returns and more touchbacks, kickoffs were moved from the 30-yard line to the 35 in 2012 and the starting position after a touchback was moved up from the 20 to the 25.

Since then a popular strategy has developed where teams instruct kickers to kickoff high and often toward the sideline, short of the end zone, in an effort to pin the returner inside the 25. Now those kicks can be fair caught and instead of the ball being placed at the spot of the catch, it will be placed at the 25.

Other changes approved include a package of rules regarding blocking below the waist.

Regarding pace of play the panel approved two proposals:
- After a touchdown, the play clock will be set at 40 seconds to expedite the extra point or 2-point conversion attempt.
- Following a kickoff, the play clock will be set to 40 seconds to restart play more quickly.
April 13, 2018

NC State's Keatts undergoes knee surgery to repair tendon

North Carolina State coach Kevin Keatts is recovering from knee surgery. Athletics spokesman Fred Demarest said Keatts needed the procedure Thursday to repair a torn right patellar tendon suffered Wednesday. Demarest said the surgery was successful and Keatts was resting at home. Keatts didn't immediately return a text message from The Associated Press on Thursday evening. Keatts completed his first season with the Wolfpack last month, leading N.C. State (21-12) back to the NCAA Tournament after a two-season absence to go with 11 Atlantic Coast Conference wins in the regular season
April 12, 2018

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