According to the Ann Arbor News, Michigan has added UMass and Bowling Green to their 2010 schedule, leaving the school with just the season opener remaining to be filled.Michigan will play the two schools on back-to-back weekends next season.”We appreciate the efforts made by both UMass and Bowling Green to accept one-year contracts to play at the Big House,” athletic director Bill Martin said in a written statement.”The scheduling landscape is becoming more difficult and we discussed the open dates with a number of institutions and want to thank them for their time and effort during this process.”Martin added that the school hopes “to have an announcement in the near future” on who will fill the remaining schedule opening.
The SEC will gather in Destin, Florida this week for the annual spring meetings. This will be the first time the conference has come together since the adoption of an early signing period in college football, which is something that has not been well-received by some in the SEC. Among the dissenters in the early signing period conversation has been SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, who says he is still no fan of the new recruiting calendar.
“I still don’t think that’s best,” Sankey said in an interview with the Associated Press last week.
“I think the early signing date has an impact on high school football,” Sankey said. “I think moving the recruiting calendar has an impact on high school football. I think we all have to be concerned about football and its strength and health at every level. Whether it’s a minority voice or a singular voice, I think those are important issues to consider.”
The stance by some around the SEC against the idea of the early signing period is notably different compared to just a few years ago. At the spring meetings in 2014, the SEC football coaches voted unanimously in favor of an early signing period starting on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Former SEC commissioner Mike Slive, however, expressed his preference to keep the only signing day in February.
As far as the voice coming from the commissioner’s office in the SEC is concerned, the narrative has not changed following the changing of the guard.
Among a handful of items on the agenda for this week’s SEC spring meetings will be a review and discussion about the league’s graduate transfer rules. Specifically, the SEC is expected to address the current restrictions on accepting players as graduate transfers if a previous graduate transfer fails to meet that school’s academic requirements.
“This will be the first meaningful conversation that we’ve had since the proliferation of graduate transfers has happened nationally,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said to the Associated Press. ”I expect our membership to have a pretty meaningful conversation about the right perspective on graduate transfers entering the SEC from outside and then the topic of inter-conference transfers.”
Sankey has promised the topic of graduate transfer rules will be reviewed at the SEC spring meetings, and it will be a bit overdue. Better later than never, right?
Like the early signing period, this is a topic the SEC has found themselves standing in the minority crowd. The SEC has had a complicated relationship to graduate transfers since the NCAA opened the door for graduate transfers in 2006. The conference banned all graduate transfers in 2011 after Ole Miss had added former Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli as a graduate transfer. The Masoli transfer was one scrutinized by the NCAA and critics before officially being cleared following an appeal. In 2014, the ban was lifted, but with provisions in place to ensure SEC schools were not adding graduate transfers with no intention of pursuing a graduate degree.
One person who may be watching this development this week with great interest is likely former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire. Zaire is suspected to be down to deciding whether to transfer to Florida or Texas, and he has already pushed back his decision seemingly to wait and see if the Gators will be an actual option. For that to happen, the SEC will have to amend its graduate transfer policy or allow Florida an exemption.
Florida is unable to add a graduate transfer like Zaire because two previous graduate transfers (former Georgia Tech linebacker Anthony Harrell and former Fordham offensive lineman Mason Halter) failed to meet the academic requirements after transferring to Florida. That put Florida on a three-year ban from adding any graduate transfers through 2018.
But if the SEC is the one lagging behind the competition when it comes to its graduate transfer policies, why would the college football world be watching? That’s easy. If the sEC amends its graduate transfer policies, then makes the conference that already typically dominates in talent acquisition through recruiting has a chance to become even stronger and more desirable. Graduate transfers who may be blocked from enrolling at an SEC school and have been forced to evaluate other options in the Big 12 or Big Ten and so on, could have a chance to transfer to the SEC. For example, Florida could add Zaire to their roster, which leaves Texas hoping Tom Herman really works his QB magic in Austin.
There is a ripple effect that could potentially play out, even in a conference that is in need of catching up in this particular issue. That’s how important the decisions made in the SEC could be for the entire sport.
We’re knee-deep — or higher — into the college football offseason, so of course we have a Twitter beef to bide our time until real football begins again.
Brandon Jacobs was a running back who played his college football at FCS Southern Illinois and went on to spend nine mostly productive years at the NFL level, including one season with the San Francisco 49ers. That one season in the Bay Area wasn’t remembered fondly by Jacobs, though, who used a radio interview this past week to (again) absolutely rip into his head football coach at the time — current Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh.
“I had a lot of respect for Jim when I was there, before I got to know him,” a transcription from mlive.com began.
“Let’s be real. They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. … That guy knew nothing, man.”
Not being one to shy away from such a damning public evisceration, Harbaugh got Twitter Biblical in addressing his former player’s public admonition…
Biblical advice for @gatorboyrb Let all bitterness & wrath & anger & clamor & slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) May 27, 2017
… with his former player responding by threatening to expose Harbaugh in such a manner that it will end in his dismissal…
Love the support but stop the super bowl talk. I will expose him, Michigan will fire him when I am done.
— Brandon Jacobs (@gatorboyrb) May 27, 2017
The fact that Jacobs isn’t exactly a fan of Harbaugh doesn’t come as a huge surprise, with the player referring to his former coach as a “bitch” multiple times, as well as a loser, during a radio interview more than three years ago.
“He is a bitch, and that’s why he’s never won anything,” Jacobs said. “It is what it is. I’ve got two rings. Harbaugh, though, he’s a bitch. So it doesn’t matter.”
In exactly 97 days, Michigan will open the 2017 college football season against Florida. Whether the Wolverines open the season with Harbaugh at the helm will apparently depend on how much exposing from five years ago Jacobs plans on doing. Or Jacobs’ lingering and ongoing bitterness won’t make a spit bit of difference. One of the two.
It’s a bad time for the Big 12. The conference isn’t signing blue chip prospects at the rate of its peers, isn’t producing draft picks at the rate of its peers and isn’t reaching and winning big games at the rate of its peers.
But the Big 12 is still getting paid at the rate of its peers.
The league’s contracts with ESPN and FOX combined with its 10-team set up have allowed the Big 12 to keep pace with the SEC and Big Ten and remain ahead of the ACC and Pac-12 in financial distribution. The Dallas Morning News‘s Big 12 writer Chuck Carlton tweeted on Friday the league’s per-school distribution will again grow 10 percent to more than $33 million in 2017-18.
However, since the Big 12 does not have its own television network, its conference distributions do not include third-tier rights, which its schools keep and sell on their own — like the Longhorn Network. So schools like Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are likely getting paid equal or above their SEC and Big Ten peers.
Now if only they could start recruiting and winning like them, too.