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

6 Comments

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.

Title IX probe finds football players violated Michigan State policy

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The next step in an ongoing controversy in East Lansing has been taken, and it could, eventually, prove costly for some members of the football program.

This week, Michigan State confirmed that the Title IX investigation into allegations that three unnamed Spartan football players had sexually assaulted a woman in January had come to a conclusion. Citing privacy laws, however, the university will not be releasing the findings of the probe.

The school has subsequently confirmed, though, that the investigation found that the three players had committed unspecified violations of school policy. With that finding, the case will now go through the university’s student conduct system.

That body could levy sanctions on the players that range from a warning to probation to suspension or even expulsion from the university.

The alleged sexual assault has spawned three separate investigations, including the recently-completed Title IX probe.  A criminal investigation conducted by campus police led to requests for four arrest warrants to be issued, although the Ingham County Prosecutor’s office has thus far declined to act.  Additionally, the university has hired an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation into the football program and its handling of the allegations.

Thus far, the names of the players allegedly involved in the assault have not been released, although all three have been indefinitely suspended since early February.  The suspended staffer was subsequently identified as Curtis Blackwell, whose title with the football program is director of college advancement and performance.  Blackwell, who is not accused of participating in the alleged sexual assault but rather a non-sexual crime after the fact, has received a pair of one-month contract extensions since his suspension was levied.

Ex-Oregon QB Terry Wilson to take JUCO route

Getty Images
1 Comment

As Terry Wilson looks to restart his football playing career, he’ll do so at a much lower rung on the collegiate ladder than which he started.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday, Wilson announced that he will play for Garden City Community College, a junior college in Kansas, in 2017.  GCCC was the top team at the JUCO level in 2016, going undefeated last season.

The move comes a month or so after the quarterback decided to transfer from Oregon.

A three-star member of the Ducks’ 2016 recruiting class, Wilson was rated as the No. 9 dual-threat quarterback in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Oklahoma.  He had originally committed to Nebraska before signing with UO.

After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Wilson began spring practice this year as the No. 2 quarterback.  However, he quickly tumbled to at least third on the depth chart, which triggered the decision to transfer.

New Mexico AD Paul Krebs in hot water for Scotland golf trip

Getty Images
Leave a comment

New Mexico AD Paul Krebs (right) had it all figured out. He wanted to go to Scotland to play golf (who doesn’t) but he didn’t want to pay for it (who does?). So he came up with a solution: he’d turn it into a UNM fundraising trip and make the school pay for it.

The school sold 23 packages to travel across the pond for a getaway of luxurious accommodations and bucket-list golf, but put the bills of himself, two UNM executives and a handful of local businessmen on the school’s dime. Lots of dimes, in fact. The trip cost the Lobos nearly $65,000.

“The trip was a working trip and it was designed to immerse us with these donors. It was an intensive experience and I understand why people may question it,” Krebs told KRQE-TV earlier this month.

Despite his attempt at justification, it appeared Krebs knew from the start the trip was an ethical no-no. The $65,000 bill was classified as a basketball tournament on UNM’s accounting paperwork, and Krebs failed to disclose the nature of the June 2015 trip to acting president Chaouki Abdallah until last week.

“VP Krebs came to me and told me that he wanted to tell me something that he had forgotten or did not tell me before,” Abdallah told KRQE. “I was not happy.”

It is not clear why the UNM Foundation or the Lobo Club,  non-profits that handles the school’s and the athletics department’s fundraising efforts, respectively, did not cover the cost of the trip, especially since Lobo Club executive director Kole McKamey was one of the UNM officials who was on the trip. Putting the bill on the university’s ledger also appears to be a violation of the state’s anti-donation laws. The $24,000 cost to take the Albuquerque businessmen has since been refunded by an anonymous donor.

“(Krebs) told me about it in no uncertain terms,” Abdallah told said. “He didn’t try to sugarcoat it. He said I made a mistake. I didn’t tell you about it before. Here’s what happened. I’m going to try to fix it.”

 

Miami Beach Bowl officially moves to Frisco, Texas

Getty Images
3 Comments

The Miami Beach Bowl was an unnecessary bowl game played in a metro area already populated by bowl games — but at least it was in Miami. Bowl games may have lost their luster over the past decade-plus, but it’s hard to complain about being sent to South Beach in December for a football game.

The Miami Beach Bowl is no more, and it’s now been reincarnated as another unnecessary bowl game to be played in a metro area even more populated by bowl games — and it won’t be anywhere near as interesting as Miami.

Meet the Frisco Bowl, the newest ESPN-created postseason college football game to be played in the scenic locale of Frisco, Texas.

The north Dallas suburb will host the game at Toyota Stadium, a 20,500-seat outdoor venue that’s home to MLS club FC Dallas as well as the FCS National Championship every January. The Frisco Bowl will also compete for sponsorship dollars and public attention with the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, the Heart of Dallas Bowl in Dallas and the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth.

“We are pleased to be able to host this game in one of the most vibrant football markets in the country,” said ESPN vice president of events Clint Overby. “The infrastructure and facilities that exist in Frisco are outstanding and will be an excellent venue for the teams, players, administrators and fans traveling into the marketplace. We look forward to working with civic organizations and businesses in the area to create an annual event that embraces the spirit of the community.”

The first annual Frisco Bowl will pit an American Athletic Conference team against a to-be-determined conference at 8 p.m. ET on Dec. 20.