Initial reports yesterday stated that the Western Athletic Conference would vote today to expand its football and basketball membership in an effort to stay afloat after the losses of Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii to the Mountain West Conference.
That turned out to be only half true.
The conference did extend a formal invitation to Seattle University for a basketball-only membership (the school does not field a football team), but decided to not expand its football membership. The WAC was reportedly considering Lamar, Sam Houston State, Montana, Montana State, Sacramento State and Cal Poly — all Football Championship Subdivision members.
During a conference call, WAC commissioner Karl Benson said there were a number of roadblocks preventing several potential football members from making the jump from the FCS to the FBS.
“We hope in the next year that the timing will be better,” Benson said. “Hopefully a year from now there may be football playing schools ready to make a move to the WAC.
“It will be important this year for the five remaining WAC schools to show some success,” Benson added. “It will be important for one of those five teams to contend for a WAC championship, to go to a bowl game, to carry the WAC umbrella into the postseason. I’ve been asked many times what the future holds and I think I’ve been consistent in saying there isn’t any reason one of those schools or perhaps a Texas State or UT-San Antonio can’t be the next Boise State.”
UTSA and Texas State will join the WAC in 2012, bringing the total football membership to a measly seven schools.
A lot of stars need align for expansion to work, so there’s really no need to rush this decision. At the same time, trying to manage six non-conference games beginning after this season for an indefinite amount of time will be a chore for WAC members and a potentially expensive one at that; I doubt USC or Oregon will be down for a home-and-home with Idaho or New Mexico State.
The state of Arkansas has passed a law that allows concealed-carry handguns on publicly-owned property, which would include college sporting events.
Since it was realized immediately upon the bill’s announcement what a terrible, horrendous idea allowing lubed-up sports fans to bring handguns with them to the game would be, the law was quickly amended to exclude college sporting events.
But on Tuesday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement arguing for Razorbacks events to be exempted from the law.
To date, Arkansas AD Jeff Long and head football coach Bret Bielema have yet to comment on the law, and Sankey’s statement today is likely coordinated with that — pushing the buck upwards while not crossing those in the Natural State that may be in favor of the bill.
After a pit stop in another sport, Razohnn Gross‘ athletic career in Piscataway has come full circle.
Shortly before the start of the 2015 season, Rutgers announced that five football players, arrested a couple of days earlier in connection to an assault, had been dismissed from the program. Nine months later, Gross returned to RU athletics, albeit as a wrestler.
Another nine months later? Nj.com is reporting that Gross has rejoined the Scarlet Knights football program. The fullback is currently taking part in spring practice with the team.
The arrests of Gross and the others early last September was the result of what had been an ongoing investigation by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and the New Brunswick Police Department. The investigation initially kicked off in the spring following a reported home invasion in New Brunswick. Per reports, three men wearing masks forced their way into the home and left with an undisclosed amount of cash and marijuana as five students were held at gunpoint.
That was followed by the five football players allegedly attacking a group of individuals that left one of them, a student, with a broken jaw. That attack, reportedly (ahem) unprovoked, was directly connected to the incident mentioned above.
It was reported at the time of Gross joining the wrestling team that he was “accepted into a pretrial intervention probationary program last month” and, if he “stays out of trouble for the necessary time, his record will be cleared.” Gross has stayed out of trouble since; in fact, RU’s wrestling coach, Scott Goodale, has been effusive in his praise for how he has taken advantage of the second chance.
It’s been a rough last few days, to say the least, for Hassan Childs.
Over the weekend, the South Florida defensive back was hospitalized in stable condition after being shot Saturday night. Sunday, Childs was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated assault and one count of misdemeanor marijuana possession in connection to a road rage incident the night he was shot. Childs allegedly pointed a gun at least twice at a man, Jovanni Jimenez, and his family and was ultimately shot three times by Jimenez. Jimenez hasn’t been charged as he’s claimed self-defense.
To add insult to literal injury, the senior safety has now been dismissed from his football team by first-year Bulls head coach Charlie Strong.
“When you look at this university and how great an institution it is, and the football program, it is a privilege to represent this program,” Strong said according to the Tampa Bay Times. “And there are standards and there are values that we uphold, and our players understand it is an obligation and it is a responsibility to represent it the right way.”
Childs played in a total of 26 games during his time with the Bulls. Eight of those appearances came during the 2016 season. He was credited with 16 tackles during what turned out to be his last season with the program, setting career-highs with five tackles in games against East Carolina and Navy.
In 2013, his first year with the program, he led the team with three interceptions. Those were the only picks of his career.
Some negative injury news comes with a bit of a silver lining for one of the highest-rated members of Ohio State’s 2017 recruiting class.
Urban Meyer confirmed Tuesday that true freshman linebacker Baron Browning will miss the remainder of spring practice because of an injury. The early enrollee underwent surgery Tuesday morning to repair an unspecified issue in his shoulder. The Buckeyes head coach declined to reveal the details surrounding the issue that led to the medical procedure, although one report indicated it’s a torn labrum.
The good news for OSU is that Browning should be able to return to football activities at some pint in June. Barring a setback, he’s expected to be a full participant in summer camp at the start of August.
A five-star member of the Buckeyes’ 2017 recruiting class, Browning was rated as the No. 1 outside linebacker in the country; the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Texas; and the No. 11 player on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. Only two signees in an OSU class that ranked second nationally were rated higher than Browning (.9936) — cornerback Jeffrey Okudah (.9954) and defensive end Chase Young (.9953).
Browning is expected to contribute immediately as a true freshman this season.