You know the bug that’s crawled up Texas A&M’s hind parts over the Longhorn Network’s desire to televise high school football games? Well, its managed to find its way to Oklahoma’s nether regions as well.
In the wake of the Big 12’s decision to put at least a temporary halt to the Texas-branded network’s plans while the situation’s being studied by the conference as well as the NCAA, OU president David Boren plans to introduce an initiative in the near future that would bar both institution- and conference-affiliated networks from televising high school games as it would result in an “unfair” recruiting advantage.
“I’m going to be, at the proper time, suggesting we adopt a conference rule against either the conference network or any university network broadcasting high school games,” Boren told the Daily Oklahoman. “It’s unfair recruiting, and it’s trying to push all those people into purchasing network memberships and so on.
“It’s just not the right thing to do.”
Such a move by Boren would have a direct impact on his school as OU is still in the process of studying the feasibility of creating their own network.
It’s also interesting that Boren mentioned the conference network as part of his soon-to-be-proposed ban. While there’s been talk that some of the other schools in the Big 12 could form its own network, this could be perceived as a shot across the bow of the Big Ten and Pac-12; the word on the street is that the two conferences have an interest in providing high school content on their networks and are very interested in what the NCAA’s decision will be on the matter, which is expected to come in August.
The concern, especially in College Station, over the Longhorn Network’s plans to televise high school games, as well as a conference game being televised on the network in 2011, was sufficient enough that the A&M/OU-to-SEC rumors surfaced yet again this week. The biggest red flag, and what prompted the national furor, was a June radio interview with a high-ranking ESPN executive in which the official mentioned televising games involving UT recruits, even going so far as to mention the potential signees by name.
Those remarks are being looked into as a potential NCAA violation.
What has long been rumored became fact Friday, as Wisconsin announced a 10-year agreement with Under Armour.
“I am absolutely thrilled about our new partnership with Under Armour,” AD Barry Alvarez said in a statement. “Kevin Plank and his team have established a brand that fits perfectly with the Wisconsin athletics story and culture. Our primary focus at Wisconsin is, of course, our student-athletes, and Under Armour’s passion and commitment to high quality and innovation will benefit our student-athletes for years to come. Our entire department is looking forward to a long and mutually productive relationship with the Under Armour team.”
The new deal will pay the Badgers a total of $7 million in cash and product in 2015-16 and is valued at $96 million over the life of the contract, good for second in the Big Ten, trailing only Nike’s new contract with Michigan.
Hidden within the contract are two nuggets that UA offered to sway the Badgers away from Adidas, from the Portland Business Journal:
Wisconsin will get as much as $500,000 from Under Armour to “rebrand” athletic facilities. It’ll get $150,000 to build out an Under Armour retail space in a campus gift shop called Bucky’s Locker Room. It also gets two summer internships for students at Under Armour’s Baltimore headquarters.
“The University of Wisconsin is an institution built on the highest values of academic excellence, and we are extremely proud to be teaming up with one of the most vibrant, distinctive and successful athletic programs in the country to help elevate the performance of all Badgers with innovative footwear and apparel,” added Plank.
Wisconsin’s departure continues to weaken the stronghold Adidas had built in the Midwest after losing Michigan to Nike and Notre Dame to Under Armour in recent years (the company still owns apparel rights for Indiana and Nebraska). The Badgers are now the 41st Division I athletics department and 17th FBS program to join UA.
In the minds of some in the media and even more in the fan base, Ohio State in general and Cardale Jones specifically have been underwhelming through the first five games of the 2015 season.
Jones, in particular, has been a rather large target of much of the angst. Coming off a Cinderella-like three-game postseason run that helped OSU to a national championship, the perception is that Jones has been underwhelming and underperforming; even head coach Urban Meyer appeared to be leaning in that direction as he considered making the switch to J.T. Barrett prior to the Western Michigan win before reaffirming his commitment to the redshirt junior.
Is that perception valid? Statistically, he’s not that far off from where he was in the 2014 postseason, at least in a couple of categories.
He’s completing 61.3 percent of his passes this season compared to 59.4 percent in the games against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon. It was 9.9 yards per attempt in that three-game stretch last season, 8.2 in five games this season. When it comes to scoring and turning the ball over, however, that’s another matter entirely.
He threw a touchdown pass every 15 pass attempts in the 2014 postseason; this season, it’s one every 21 attempts. Even more glaring, he’s currently throwing an interception every 21 attempts as well. During the run that made him a household name, it was one pick every 37.5 throws.
So, fewer touchdowns plus more turnovers equals validation of the angst, right? Not so fast, at least as far as the college arm of Pro Football Focus goes.