It’s official: Dan Beebe tenders resignation

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Oklahoma, your wish has been granted.

Following up on reports that began earlier this week and have since risen to a resounding crescendo, Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News is reporting that Dan Beebe (not pictured) has tendered his resignation as the Big 12’s commissioner, effective immediately.  Subsequent to Carlton’s report, the Big 12 officially confirmed that they had reached a mutual agreement with Beebe and he will abdicate the commissioner’s post immediately.

“The Big 12 Board of Directors has reached a mutual agreement with Commissioner Dan Beebe that he will leave his position effective today,” Big 12 board chairman Brady Deaton said in a statement. “We sincerely thank Dan who has always demonstrated a total commitment to what is in the best interest of the Big 12 Conference. His energy, devotion and skill in negotiating on our behalf have been tremendous assets that have benefited our member institutions, our student-athletes, our athletic programs and all our fans.”

Former Big 8 commissioner Chuck Neinas has been named the interim commissioner, confirmed by Oklahoma president David Borne following a Big 12 board of directors meeting.

“I have been honored to serve the Big 12 Conference for the past eight and one-half years, including the last four-plus as its commissioner,” Beebe said in his statement. “I thank all those with whom I have worked over the years. I am especially grateful for the outstanding staff at the conference office who have dedicated so much for the sake of the Big 12. I care deeply for these fine institutions and the citizens they represent. It is satisfying to know the Big 12 Conference will survive, and I congratulate the members for taking strong action to ensure a bright future as a premier intercollegiate athletics conference. As I have stated many times, it is in the best interest of intercollegiate athletics and higher education to maintain the regional connection that is so important for the student-athletes, their parents and the fans. I put all my effort into doing what was best for the Big 12. With great fondness, I wish the Big 12 Conference a long and prosperous future.”

On Tuesday, as rumors were still swirling that the Sooners would make a move to the Pac-12, reports began to surface that OU would consider remaining in the Big 12 if several conditions were met, including the removal of Beebe as commissioner.  OU, as well as others in the Big 12, viewed Beebe as merely a puppet whose strings were pulled by Texas and Texas alone.

While Beebe was widely applauded for keeping the Big 12 together last year, he was nothing more than a handcuffed onlooker as it was UT’s Longhorn Network that, for the first time, put the kibosh on a mass migration of Big 12 schools to the then-Pac-10.  To Beebe’s credit, he was able to land a lucrative new television deal for the wobbly, splintered conference, although again that may have had more to do with the market for live televised sports than any negotiating magic on Beebe’s part.

Also on Beebe’s watch, which began in 2007, three schools have left the Big 12 — Nebraska and Colorado this year, Texas A&M in 2012 (probably)

It’s unclear which direction the Big 12 will go for a permanent replacement for Beebe.

SEC leads NFL Draft for 11th straight year as Alabama and Michigan set school records

Brandon Wade/AP Images for NFLPA
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The 2017 NFL Draft has come and gone, and once again it is the SEC claiming another NFL Draft national championship. A grand total of 53 players from the SEC were drafted by NFL teams. It is the 11th straight year the SEC has had the most players drafted by NFL teams.

The ACC ended the draft with 42 players drafted, followed by the Pac-12 (36) and Big Ten (35). The Big 12 ended the draft with just 14 players drafted.

Helping to contribute to the SEC’s NFL Draft total was Alabama setting a school record with 10 players drafted.

Alabama’s nine players drafted in the first 80 picks was also a new Alabama record.

Michigan ended up having more players drafted than any other Big Ten team, slipping past Ohio State by the time the draft closed up shop this year. For the Wolverines, 11 players ended up being drafted. The previous school record for draft picks was 10, set in 1972 and tied in 1974. Head coach Jim Harbaugh will get plenty of the praise for developing that many players getting a chance to be drafted, but Brady Hoke should be recognized for recruiting those players as well (and blamed for not developing the talent he brought in).

 

Air Force changes rules for football players with NFL aspirations

AP Photo/The Colorado Springs Gazette, Michael Ciaglo
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One of the top players from Air Force was ineligible to be drafted by the NFL this weekend, and it had nothing to do with NFL rules. It also had nothing to do with NFL teams backing away from a particular player due to off-field concerns. Instead, a policy at Air Force is what is to blame for wide receiver Jalen Robinette not moving on to the NFL at this time.

The U.S. Air Force will not approve requests from academy graduates to defer their two years of active duty in order to be allowed to play professional football. Just a year ago, the Department of Defense changed the policy to allow for the possibility, which made it possible for Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds to be allowed to play. Reynolds later joined the Baltimore Ravens. Reynolds had received a recommendation to be allowed to play by the U.S. Naval Academy.

“The Air Force notified academy leaders [Thursday] that the service would not approve requests to waiver active duty military commitments for cadet athletes,” a statement from Air Force read. “Cadets will be required to serve two years active duty prior to entering Ready Reserve, which would allow their participation in professional sports. The Air Force places tremendous value on our cadet athletes and their contributions to the nation as we continue to build leaders of character, engage in combat operations overseas and continue to ensure our highest military readiness at home.”

Because of the policy change and confirmation, Robinette was not able to be drafted. He may still have been a long shot to be drafted by an NFL Team, but the policy also means he is unable to be signed as an undrafted free agent as well.

Rawleigh Williams carted off at Arkansas scrimmage

AP Photo/Chris Brashers
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Any time a player that has previously undergone neck surgery goes down on the field and needs to be carted off is quite the scary moment. On Saturday, the Arkansas football program had that exact scare when Rawleigh Williams went down on the field in pain and ended up having to be carted off the practice field during the Arkansas scrimmage.

Williams was placed on a stretcher and taken out of the facility on a cart to receive medical attention. His legs and arms were moving on the ground, a slight sigh of relief given the hit and his injury history. In 2015, Williams was carted off and had to undergo surgery on his neck. Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema said the injury concern on Saturday was apparently not related to the previous neck injury, which was expected to have a full recovery.

It is an unfortunate ending to the spring for Williams, because all indications seemed to be he was certainly improving running the football. Bielema said earlier in the week Williams was running with more patience, which is always a key for a running back.

Arkansas moved its final scrimmage of the spring indoors due to bad weather rolling through the area.

Justin Herbert shines in first Oregon spring game under Willie Taggart

Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images
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A glimpse of a brand new era of Oregon football took center stage in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday as the spring football season drew to a close. Willie Taggart showed fans a little bit of what to expect from Oregon in the fall as the program looks to bounce back from a down season under the coach who has shown a knack for improving programs. As is usually the case in a spring game, Oregon’s quarterback situation was under a microscope, and sophomore Justin Herbert took advantage of the opportunity.

Herbert completed 16 of 26 passes for 327 yards and established a connection with wide receiver Darren Carrington. The two connected for three touchdowns in the game. Sophomore Travis Jonson and early enrollee Braxton Burmeister also saw playing time in the game, but Carrington was confident in saying this is Herbert’s job to lose.

”Our chemistry has definitely improved this spring, and it’ll improve more by the time fall comes, but Herbert, I mean, that’s the guy right now to beat,” Carrington said after the spring game.

As for the team as a whole, Taggert knows there is much still to address as a new system and style are implemented and the roster adjusts physically to the demands of the new coach.

‘We’re still building. We’re nowhere where we need to be as a football team yet. We have some good players. We don’t have a lot of depth that we need to have, that’s going to be a work in progress,” Taggart said. ”The thing for us as coaches is just to make our guys better than they were before. If I guy wasn’t good enough we want to make him look better than he was before. If I guy was good we want to make him great.”

Og course, it wouldn’t be an Oregon spring game without having that typical Oregon uniform flair. Even with a new head coach and with the talk suggesting the Ducks will go for a more traditional approach to uniforms in the fall, the spring game was used for some sizzle on the unis.

Oregon’s spring game crowd of 36,821 assured the Ducks of having the highest spring game attendance among Pac-12 school for a third consecutive year.