D-Day at hand for A&M, SEC?

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It’s been rumored since last week that Tuesday/Wednesday could be the day Texas A&M and the SEC finally and officially consummate their months-long flirtation.

Tuesday came and went without an announcement.  Wednesday, however, appears to be a different story.

The first step after announcing in late August that it was “in the best interest of Texas A&M to make application to join another athletic conference” was to apply for membership into the SEC.  That’s already happened.  The next big step for A&M was a full vote of the SEC’s presidents/chancellors; that reportedly happened at some point Tuesday evening in Atlanta, with some outlets calling it a unanimous vote in favor of A&M’s inclusion while another had the tally at 10-2 in favor; yet another had the vote at 11-0 in favor, with Vanderbilt, long believed to be an opponent of further expansion, abstaining.

Suffice to say, the SEC has neither confirmed nor denied that a vote was taken on the A&M membership issue, let alone that they have approved.

The Big 12 is planning a public response for today to A&M’s imminent departure, CFT has confirmed.

Public pronouncements, or lack thereof, notwithstanding, the SEC has indeed formally approved A&M as the 13 member — nine “yea” votes from the 12 current school members was needed — although that thumbs-up may have come with a proviso.  Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com wrote Tuesday night that A&M’s membership has been approved pending “each individual member of the Big 12 waiv[ing] its right to litigation against the SEC.”

That could at least put a temporary fly in the realignment ointment as Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News posted on Twitter very early this morning that Baylor, which yesterday launched a “Don’t Mess With Texas Football” campaign, “is still suggesting “tortious interference” claim as a possibility against both the SEC and Mike Slive personally.”  The fear on Baylor’s end is that, if A&M bolts from the Big 12 to the SEC, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech would do the same for the Pac-12, leaving BU with a conference in utter shambles and on the brink of extinction.

Despite BU’s scrambling and last-ditch Hail Mary to save the conference, all signs point to an official announcement from A&M sooner rather than later, likely as early as today.  MR.SEC.com among others reported that a press conference has been tentatively scheduled for College Station, with a significant chunk of the Zone Club at Kyle Field blocked off for the ceremonies.  The San Antonio Express-News also reports that the Zone Club has also been reserved for Thursday, presumably on the off-chance that last-minute legal wrangling delays the inevitable.

With the Aggies’ bags packed and the car warming up in the driveway, it appears the SEC’s attention will now turn to a 14th member to even out its conference roll.  Indications are conference commissioner Mike Slive has been authorized to commence discussions with West Virginia and Missouri — another current Big 12 member — as that 14th team.  Speculation connecting those two schools to the SEC have been bubbling just below the surface for weeks, although the Big Ten may have something to say in regards to Mizzou if a significant shift in the conference landscape is in the offing.

And what of the Big 12?  By all appearances, Oklahoma will have the fate of that conference in its hands.  If A&M leaves… if Missouri does the same… the Sooners, and by extension their in-state brethren Oklahoma State, may have no choice but to pull the trigger on a move west, a move they’ve heavily intimated is a real possibility in recent days.  If all of that were to come to fruition, Texas and Texas Tech would seem very likely to do the state’s patented two-step out the Big 12’s door and hitch a ride with the Oklahoma schools to the Pac-12.

Of course, A&M is the first domino.  Until that one tips, everything else remains very much fluid.  By all accounts, however, there could be a whole helluva lot of tipping going on, perhaps as early as today.

UPDATED 8:34 a.m. ET: Hold off on blowing up the party balloons.  Jimmy Burch of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has posted a couple of notes on his Twitter account that the legal wrangling spoke of earlier — mainly on the part of Baylor — has at least temporarily tapped the brakes on A&M’s announcement they will be moving to the SEC.

Source: A&M announcement on SEC bid on hold because of litigation threats from Baylor. SEC bid contingent on B12 schools not suing.

Big 12/A&M had indicated mutual waivers of legal action in prior correspondence. But BU now considering suit against SEC, Mike Slive.

Incidentally, Ken Starr — yes, that Ken Starr — is Baylor’s president.  Feel free to insert your own jokes at your leisure.

Two Vanderbilt players shot in incident involving stolen phone

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While that’s a serious-sounding headline, it could’ve been a lot worse for a pair of Vanderbilt football players.

According to WSMV-TV, O’montae “Tae” Daley and Frank Coppet were shot outside of a Nashville Target store Monday night.  The former, a true freshman defensive back, was shot in the leg while the latter, a redshirt freshman defensive back, was shot in the arm.  Both of the injuries are considered non-critical.

The shooting occurred after a third Commodore football player, wide receiver Donaven Tennyson (pictured), had his phone stolen in an earlier incident and, along with the other two, concocted what was described by police as “an ill-conceived plan to recover a stolen cellphone.”

From the television station’s report:

Police said the incident leading up to the shooting happened on Monday when… Tennyson met up with someone to try to sell his cellphone. Tennyson’s cellphone was stolen during the meeting in the parking lot of the Chili’s on West End.

Tennyson told police he noticed his stolen phone was listed online, which is when he reportedly made a fake profile and arranged a meeting with the seller at Target.

The 19-year-old brought two friends with him, 18-year-olds O’montae Daley and Frank Coppet. The trio brought a pellet pistol with them.

Coppet reportedly got out of their car with the pellet gun, which is when two people in a gray Buick sedan opened fire.

In addition to getting shot, one of the victim’s had his car stolen by the alleged shooters for good measure.  Police are still searching for the alleged assailants, and haven’t yet released a description.

The school has yet to publicly comment on the shooting.

Last season as a true freshman, Tennyson played in eight games for the Commodores, while Coppet took a redshirt his first season with the program.  Daley was a three-star member of Vandy’s 2017 recruiting class coming out of high school in Georgia.  He signed early and participated in spring practice this year.

Committee launched to formulate plans for college football’s 150th birthday

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On Nov. 6, 1869, Princeton and Rutgers squared off in the first-ever college football game.  Nearly 148 years later, the powers-that-be in the sport are in the beginning stages of commemorating the momentous event.

The National Football Foundation announced in a press release that “[a] group of college football leaders announced plans today to launch a nationwide celebration to commemorate the game’s 150th anniversary.” The group will be headed by Kevin Weiberg, longtime college athletics administrator and former Big 12 Conference commissioner.

There are a baker’s dozen other individuals who will be involved in planning the festivities as part of the committee, including the two current athletic directors of the teams involved in the sport’s first game.

  • Todd Berry, executive director, American Football Coaches Association
  • Ari Fleischer, president, Ari Fleischer Communications
  • Bill Hancock, executive director, College Football Playoff
  • Steve Hatchell, president & chief executive officer, National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
  • Pat Hobbs, director of athletics, Rutgers University
  • Chris Howard, president, Robert Morris University
  • Mike Kern, associate commissioner, Missouri Valley Football Conference/FCS Managing Director
  • Oliver Luck, executive vice president of regulatory affairs and strategic partnerships, NCAA
  • Mollie Marcoux Samaan, athletics director, Princeton University
  • Larry Scott, commissioner, Pac-12 Conference
  • Jon Steinbrecher, commissioner, Mid-American Conference
  • Bob Vecchione, executive director, National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics
  • Wright Waters, executive director, Football Bowl Association

“This is a very exciting moment for fans of college football,” Weiberg said in a statement. “Across the country, college football is a deeply ingrained part of life for millions and millions of people. While it’s too soon to know our exact plans, we want to put something together that is big and special, something fans can be proud of. We will work closely with leaders from all divisions of college football to build a national celebration for fans to enjoy.

“No one could have imagined that since the first football game was played on November 6, 1869 that college football would grow to become one of America’s greatest traditions, beloved by tens of millions of fans every year,” said Scott. “At all divisions of play, college football is special and we intend to launch a nationwide celebration to mark the anniversary.”

Ex-Alabama WR T. Simmons officially a WVU Mountaineer, too

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In the post below this, we noted that Jovani Haskins is officially a member of the West Virginia football program.  T.J. Simmons can say the same as well.

After Simmons announced it via social media over this past weekend, WVU has confirmed that the wide receiver has signed a grant-in-aid for the 2017-18 academic year and will continue his collegiate playing career with the Mountaineers.  That continuation won’t happen immediately as, after sitting out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws, Simmons will have three years of eligibility remaining with the Mountaineers.

Simmons had decided last week to transfer out of the Alabama football program.

A three-star member of the Crimson Tide’s 2016 recruiting class, Simmons was rated as the No. 58 receiver in the country and the No. 9 player at any position in the state of Alabama.

As a true freshman, Simmons played in 12 games, mainly on special teams.  In this year’s annual spring game, the 6-2, 201-pound receiver caught six passes for 82 yards and a touchdown for the Crimson Tide.

WVU makes addition of ex-Miami TE Jovani Haskins official

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One down, one to go.

Over the weekend, both former Miami tight end Jovani Haskins (HERE) and ex-Alabama wide receiver T.J. Simmons (HERE) indicated on social media that they would be transferring and continuing their collegiate playing careers at West Virginia.  Monday, WVU confirmed that the former has signed his grant-in-aid for the 2017-18 academic year.

Haskins will have to sit out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.  Beginning with the 2018 season, he’ll have three years of eligibility remaining.

A three-star member of the Hurricanes’ 2016 recruiting class, the 6-4, 245-pound Haskins was rated as the No. 18 tight end in the country and the No. 10 player at any position in the state of New Jersey.  He took a redshirt as a true freshman.

Earlier this month, Haskins opted to transfer from The U in order to “get a fresh start somewhere else.”

Haskins is the third Power Five player to officially transfer to the Mountaineers this offseason, joining former Syracuse defensive back Corey Winfield (HERE) and ex-Miami quarterback Jack Allison (HERE).