Florida president blames fellow SEC bigwigs for oversigning

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Last year, the SEC made headlines when the conference adopted a rule stipulating that schools would be limited to 28 signed letters of intent between National Signing Day and May 1 — affectionately referred to as the “Houston Nutt Rule“, referring to the Right Reverend’s 2009 class of 37.

The NCAA adopted the rule this year.

But that hasn’t stopped SEC schools from continuing to oversign their recruiting classes. In 2010, Auburn and LSU oversigned their classes by 4 LOI’s and 1 LOI, respectively. We haven’t even hit National Signing Day 2011 yet and already South Carolina has more verbal commits than the 28-LOI cap.

To meet the 85 scholarship limit with 25 new athletes enrolled in the fall, programs can still grayshirt an incoming player, send an them to the JUCO ranks, or revoke the scholarship of a current player (by definition, scholarships are “one-year contracts” renewed based on merit).

And Florida president Bernie Machen says it has to stop.

“There are still universities that will oversign and it’s going to end up with a student-athlete being left out,” Machen told the USA Today. “I think we either have to get the universities to be more serious about it, or the league and the NCAA are going to have to pass more stringent punishments for those who do oversign.

“Every (SEC) president sat at the table when we had that discussion. For some reason, some of them are not stepping up and stopping it.”

First of all, I wouldn’t bet Terrelle Pryor‘s 2008 gold pants that the SEC is going to govern themselves on this one because nowhere in college football is competition as fierce as it is in the SEC. Secondly, all 12 members had a chance to follow the rule last year and two of them didn’t with no punishment.

That leaves the NCAA (gulp).

According to the NCAA’s website, their core purpose is to “govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.”

At this point, we know those are just meaningless words. Machen wants action. Or, at least, a level playing field. Whether he gets it remains to be seen.

“Imagine what would happen if in the general student body admission process, the same thing happened,” exclaims Machen. “The public wouldn’t stand for it, and I don’t believe, if we put enough sunshine on this, the public will allow this to happen, in intercollegiate athletics.”

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

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Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

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Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

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It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

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The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.