KU chancellor chimes in on Big 12 woes as A&M-to-SEC approaches


The final verdict from SEC presidents and chancellors over adding Texas A&M as the conference’s 13th member is expected to be reached sometime either today or tomorrow, meaning H-Hour for what could — could — be the beginning of conference realignment apocalypse v 2.0 is likely ticking toward zero.

While a departure by the Aggies would be a devastating blow to the Big 12 — they’re not getting any stronger without A&M and Nebraska — the final blow would most certainly be a move by Oklahoma — and, by association, Oklahoma State — to, say, the Pac-12.

With Dan Beebe‘s conference very much on life support, Kansas’ chancellor, Bernadette Gray-Little, released a statement today revealing the concerns of all those who chant “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk.”

It’s obviously disappointing that it has come to this point*,” Gray-Little said. “Keeping the Big 12 strong and competitive remains our top preference, but no matter what happens we’re going to continue to work in the best interests of the University of Kansas. That’s our number one priority and it’s what we’ve been focused on throughout the process as we’ve looked at all our options when it comes to conference realignment.”

(*note: not trying to poke fun here, but the Longhorn Network banner advertisement at the top of KU’s Rivals page was pure gold)

In one man’s opinion, Kansas’ biggest options are either the Mountain West or the Big East if the Big 12 does break apart, but just about everything outside of A&M actually going to the SEC is all speculation at this point. A&M would not have sent a notice of withdrawal to the Big 12 if they weren’t beyond confident of an SEC invite. A vote by SEC officials likely means the Aggies have sent their request for membership, which, again, should be approved barring a sudden change.

One thing is certain, though: in the coming weeks and months, I would disregard most statements about “loyalty” and “commitment”; when the you-know-what hits the fan, everybody will be looking out for themselves and themselves only.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website Gridiron.com, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.

Tulsa loses second-leading receiver to season-ending injury

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 14:   Wide receiver Keevan Lucas #2 of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane just misses a pass against the Oklahoma Sooners September 14, 2013 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. The Sooners defeated the Golden Hurricane 51-20.  (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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One of the most productive pass-catching duos in the country has been cut in half.

Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery confirmed Tuesday that Keevan Lucas sustained a torn patellar tendon  in the third quarter of Saturday’s loss to Houston.  As a result, the wide receiver will miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

“He’s such an emotional leader for us and such a great kid,” the first-year coach said. “We’ll have to make a few adjustments offensively and move some people around and try to make sure we’ve got guys in the right spot but also guys who will step up and be ready to play.”

Lucas is currently second on the team with 26 receptions and 409 receiving yards, behind Keyarris Garrett‘s 33 and 539. His five receiving touchdowns, though, are tops on the team.

Montgomery expects Lucas to be healthy enough to participate in spring practice next year.