Kansas City mayor latest to implore Mizzou to stay in Big 12

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Kansas City really wants Missouri to stay in the Big 12.

Earlier this month, the Kansas City Sports Commission and Visitor’s Bureau created an ad in the Kansas City Star asking Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton to consider the history of the Tigers and the Big 12 when making a considering options related to conference affiliation.

“[Missouri], as you know, has Midwestern roots more than a century old,” the ad read. “We cannot imagine the University of Missouri’s athletics tilting away from this region and the athletic history to which they have contributed so mightily.”

Although no official timetable has been given as to when Missouri will make a decision in regards to their conference home, rumors have swirled once again that a decision one way or the other could come some time late next week.

That’s just enough time for another member of the greater Kansas City governmental office, mayor Sylvester James, to further push the point that Missouri’s home belongs in the Big 12. In an open letter to Deaton, James asks that the school consider the economic impact of staying in the Big 12, namely the Border War game with Kansas in Arrowhead Stadium and the Big 12 basketball tournament. It’s believed that if Mizzou does move on to the SEC, that the annual rivalry with KU will become dormant.

Dear Chancellor Deaton:

Considering recent events and conversations about NCAA conference realignment, I would like to highlight the importance of the University of Missouri to the Kansas City region. I am certain you are weighing many factors as you make this decision, but I urge you to put the Kansas City region at the forefront.

Our community has enjoyed a rich sports history over the years — and the University of Missouri athletics program has played a big part in that. Missouri athletics are important to our city, state, and region. Fan support of your institution’s participation in the Big 12 Basketball Championships and the annual Border Showdown at Arrowhead Stadium are proof of that.

The University of Missouri fan base is abundant in the Kansas City area. More than 20,000 MU alumni call this area home, and the local chapter of the Mizzou Alumni Association has the third-largest membership in the nation.

Keeping Big 12 competition in or near Kansas City makes sense — for you, your fans and the state of Missouri. The Big 12 Basketball Championships at Sprint Center and Municipal Auditorium are prime examples. The Championship is an important economic engine for our region, generating more than $14 million a year, and scheduled to remain in this state through 2014. It is imperative for that money should remain in the Show-Me State.

We strongly encourage you to weigh this decision with care. Kansas City gains a lot from its affiliation with the University of Missouri. Conversely, we also stand to lose a lot should that change. We believe this region collectively values University of Missouri athletics — has, does and will — to a degree that won’t be replicated elsewhere. And that staying here, in the Big 12 Conference, within your home region and among your fans and rivals is the right decision to honor your history, fulfill your present, and secure your future.

Western Kentucky hoops star to give Hilltoppers football a try

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Coming off a season in which he was the best player on Western Kentucky’s men’s basketball team, Justin Johnson is going to try his hand at another sport.

According to the Bowling Green Daily News, Johnson will practice with the Hilltoppers football team for the remainder of spring practice. The 6-7 forward will, not surprisingly, spend his time at tight end.

At the end of practices this spring, a WKU official told CFT, both sides will determine what if any future Johnson has in the sport.

Johnson admitted in one interview earlier this basketball season that he grew up wanting to play linebacker for Ohio State, and he did play two years of football at his Kentucky high school. Despite the fact that both Kentucky and Louisville had interest in him as a tight end, he ended up signing with WKU’s hoops team in 2014.

That decision has worked out well for both parties as Johnson has led the team in scoring and rebounding each of the past two seasons. He led Conference USA in the latter category as well as double-doubles, and was named second-team all-conference after his junior season.

Victim of alleged WKU football attack plans to file charges

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A former Western Kentucky fraternity member says he was attacked by a group of Hilltoppers football players and plans to file charges.

Jerald Armfield, an alum of WKU’s Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, told WBKO-TV he was caught in an ongoing feud between the fraternity and the football team:

“I went to the house in the best interest of the fraternity and Western as a whole to prevent any type of violence from occurring. We got up there and realized they were all hiding behind garbage cans, trees, and buildings.”

“I never in my wildest dreams thought they would attack me in the manner that they did. They all started surrounding me. One of them threw a rock at me. It was within a few seconds that one of them punched me in the face.”

“I fell down. I was kicked several times. The whole time they were beating me, I was begging them to stop, telling them I wasn’t here the night before, I had nothing to to do with it, like please stop, please stop, and they didn’t.”

Armfield said between nine and 10 people ultimately attacked him; it isn’t known for sure how many of that group are on the football team, though the program’s involvement in the incident is being investigated.

“We are aware of the allegations involving a few members of our football team,” the program said in the statement when word of the altercation broke three weeks ago. “We are cooperating fully with the authorities. However, at this time, we have not received a police report and cannot provide further comment.”

While the status of the investigation is currently unknown, Armfield told WBKO he would like it to end with multiple charges. “I made it very clear that night when the police arrived on the scene that I wanted charges pressed,” he said. “As far as I know a detective from Bowling Green Police Department has it. As it stands right now, I still want charges pressed. They need to be held accountable for what they did not only as citizens but as students at Western.”

Baylor moves to dismiss lawsuit claiming 52 rapes over 3-year period

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Baylor has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit claiming 31 football players committed 52 rapes over a 3-year period from 2011-14. The school is citing the expiration of the statute of limitations and that the allegations do not meet the level of “deliberate indifference,” according to the Waco Tribune-Herald.

The suit was initially filed in late January who anonymously claimed she was raped by then-Bears football players Tre'Von Armstead and Shaymichael Chatman in 2013. Armstead and Chatman have both been indicted for that incident. Armstead was arrested earlier this month in Las Vegas in charges of resisting arrest in addition to the 2013 case.

Baylor also challenged the suit’s claim of a widespread culture of sexual violence, including claims the Baylor Bruins hostess program was encouraged to sleep with recruits in order to entice them to Baylor.

“Baylor does not agree with or concede the accuracy of plaintiff’s 146-paragraph complaint and its immaterial and inflammatory assertions,” the motion states.

Former offensive coordinator Kendal Briles told a recruit, according to the suit, “Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they love football players.”

 

Mark Dantonio breaks silence to reveal additional player suspensions

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Mark Dantonio broke his silence Tuesday to talk about all the things he couldn’t talk about.

Speaking publicly for the first time since National Signing Day, Dantonio said more players have been suspended in addition to the three players and one staff member already suspended in connection with an ongoing sexual assault investigation. There are actually three investigations ongoing — a criminal probe, a Title IX investigation and an outside evaluation of the football program.

How many additional  players were suspended in conjunction with the investigations? Dantonio couldn’t say.

When were they suspended? Dantonio couldn’t say.

When were the original three players suspended? Dantonio couldn’t say.

How, one may wonder, has Michigan State managed to keep the suspended players’ identities secret despite spring practice now being a full month old? Easy: the Spartans have essentially shielded a black cloak around the entire program. The media hasn’t been allowed to watch practice. No depth charts or rosters have been released. No photos or videos have been produced. The content on @MSU_Football has vaguely referred to the ongoing spring practices by referencing the April 1 spring game, but all other tweets have centered around Michigan State’s involvement in the NFL Draft or the basketball Spartans’ NCAA Tournament berth. The program didn’t even comment on two players’ announced transfers throughout the offseason.

Dantonio even deemed it “trivial” to discuss Michigan State’s quarterback derby. The one piece of actual Spartans football news Dantonio revealed? Linebacker Drake Martinez, he of the one tackle in two appearances last season, has transferred.