Pittsburgh and Syracuse are already gone to the ACC. UConn is reportedly trying to be gone to the same conference. Rutgers also appears to be interested in anything other than its current conference for future affiliation.
Now, the Big East could be faced with yet another significant defection. Maybe.
Colin Dunlap, former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer and current radio host on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, sent out a series of tweets Sunday evening suggesting that West Virginia’s interest in a move to the SEC is escalating. Specifically, Dunlap, citing a university source, writes that “WVU sent paperwork to [the] SEC today.” Subsequent to that tweet, Dunlap wrote, in part, “It is very simple. WVU has an interest in SEC. The SEC has an interest in WVU. WVU sent paperwork to SEC.”
The fact that West Virginia maintains an interest in the SEC is not exactly new news; speculation connecting that university to that conference has been around for weeks. The fact that the school has reportedly sent paperwork — presumably an application for membership — suggests the situation is further along than many had known. It’s highly unlikely WVU would take the step to “send paperwork”, if that’s indeed the case, unless they were given at least backchannel assurances they would be welcomed into the SEC.
Suffice to say, the school has remained tight-lipped regarding their future conference affiliation.
“There is no question that the landscape of college athletics is once again changing,” WVU athletic director Oliver Luck said in a statement released a few hours after the Pittsburgh-Syracuse news became official. “West Virginia University has great tradition as the state’s flagship land-grant institution, and we will continue working to do what’s best for our University and its athletic teams. No matter how the college athletic landscape changes, there is no doubt WVU is and will remain a national player.”
Note that there’s not a single mention of the Big East in Luck’s statement.
While it’s far from a done deal, the potential WVU-to-the-SEC situation bears watching over the next few days, especially if all hell breaks loose on the other side of the country and prompts other conferences to respond in kind.
As the 2017 offseason kicks into high gear, so have the annual and ever-present off-field issues.
According to multiple media outlets, TCU running back Kyle Hicks was arrested over the weekend on a misdemeanor charge of public intoxication. The 22-year-old Hicks and two former Horned Frog football players, Bryson Henderson and George Baltimore, were charged after police responded to reports of a fight at a Whataburger near campus very early Saturday morning.
No further details of what led to the police being called have been released.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes that “[t]he TCU athletics department said in a statement Monday night that officials are aware of the incident and looking into it.”
As a junior this past season, Hicks led TCU with 1,042 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. He also led the team in receptions with 47, becoming the first Horned Frog player to lead the team in both rushing and receiving since Basil Mitchell in 1996.
Hicks is expected to again be the focal point of TCU’s offense in 2017.
Not surprisingly, P.J. Fleck will have a familiar offensive face on which to lean as his oars hit the Power Five waters for the first time.
Coming off a couple of weeks worth of reports, Minnesota officially confirmed Monday that Fleck has named Kirk Ciarrocca as his new offensive coordinator. Ciarrocca had spent the past four seasons in the same position at Western Michigan, coinciding with Fleck’s tenure at the MAC school.
The school’s release stated that Ciarrocca “was instrumental in the development of Super Bowl winning quarterback Joe Flacco during his six seasons (2002-07) at the University of Delaware,” which presumably gave him a front-row seat in the “is he or isn’t he elite” argument.
With Fleck and the Gophers, and like his boss, Ciarrocca will be embarking on his first job with a Power Five program.
After leaving a Power Five program, Frank Iheanacho has decided that a lower rung on the college football ladder is more his speed at this point in time.
Stephen F. Austin announced Monday that Iheanacho has been added to the football program’s roster and will continue his playing career with the Lumberjacks. Iheanacho had opted to transfer from Texas A&M shortly after the end of the 2016 season.
As SFA plays at the FCS level, the wide receiver will be eligible to play immediately in 2017.
“We’re excited to be able to add Frank to the Lumberjack family and get him going with our football program,” Lumberjacks head coach Clint Conque said in a statement. “Frank obviously brings some big game experience, playing in an SEC program and competing against some of the nation’s best teams. He brings height and speed and will add some key depth at the wide receiver position.”
Iheanacho was a four-star 2014 signee, rated as the No. 13 receiver in the country and the No. 13 player at any position in the state of Texas. Only four players in the Aggies’ class that year, including potential No. 1 NFL overall draft pick Myles Garrett, Speedy Noil and Kyle Allen, were rated higher than Iheanacho.
In 18 games the past two seasons, Iheanacho caught eight passes for 71 yards.
Craig Bohl has an opening on his Wyoming coaching staff, although the reason for the attrition is certainly understandable.
Monday, Indiana State officially announced that Curt Mallory has been hired as the Sycamores head football coach. As ISU plays at the FCS level, Mallory will be eligible to coach immediately in 2017.
“We want to congratulate Curt and his wife Lori as they open a new chapter in their lives and in Curt’s coaching career as he becomes the head coach at Indiana State,” said the Cowboys head coach in a statement. “Curt’s efforts in his two years at Wyoming were greatly appreciated and had a significant impact on our program as we benefitted both from his coaching and his recruiting abilities.
“Curt is a well-experienced coach, who has a great understanding of players from the Midwest. He’ll be a great fit at Indiana State, and he will make them competitive in the Missouri Valley Conference.”
Mallory, the son of former Indiana head coach Bill Mallory, spent the past two seasons as the Cowboys’ defensive pass-game coordinator and secondary coach. A former Michigan linebacker, Mallory came to Laramie after spending four seasons in Ann Arbor as the Wolverines’ secondary coach.