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Report: Big 12 media partners had concerns over BYU; UL, WVU perk up


The Big 12’s decision to invite TCU as the league’s 10th member late last week came very suddenly after reports surfaced that the conference would look to expand in earnest. The move to acquire the Horned Frogs from the Big East was rumored to be a favorable one by many in the Big 12, but it left a question mark as to why TCU, which does not expand the conference’s geographical footprint or bring in any new TV sets, would be chosen over BYU. The Utah school was long considered to be the favorite for the Big 12 if/when the conference needed to replace Texas A&M, which will now join the SEC in 2012.

Last month, Chip Brown of reported that TCU”s stock was rising in the Big 12, and BYU’s was falling. Now, we may know why.

The Salt Lake Tribune writes that they have confirmed that the Big 12’s media partners — ABC/ESPN and FOX — were, at the very least, concerned over adding BYU, citing the school’s no-play-on-Sunday policy. An Oct. 7 report by the Tulsa World stated negotiations between BYU and the Big 12 were becoming complicated.

From the Tribune:

“The Tribune has learned that the television partners had concerns with BYU’s no-play-on-Sunday policy and how it might impact television plans as they related to televising non-football sports on Sundays — particularly the Big 12 conference basketball tournament championship game. That game has not been played on Sunday since 2008, but the television partners wanted to retain the Sunday option.

“Additionally, BYU — which left the Mountain West Conference for more national television exposure as a football independent — apparently wanted assurances from the Big 12 that it would appear on national television a minimum, unspecified, number of times per season. The Cougars also were said to want permission to show their football games not picked up by Big 12 television partners on their own television network, BYUtv, which is available in more than 60 million homes nationwide.”

So, for the immediate future, it doesn’t appear that BYU will be on the Big 12’s expansion radar — if the Big 12 decides to expand beyond 10 teams, of course. Interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas has stated that the Big 12 plans to proceed as a 10-team league — Missouri included — for 2012.

If the Big 12 does expand, though, the absence of BYU means a greater focus could be placed on Louisville and West Virginia out of the Big East. Just a short while ago, reports surfaced that the Big East has extended invitations to Boise State, Air Force, Navy and UCF; Houston, SMU and Temple are also in the mix. Additionally, the Big East is looking to raise its exit fees to somewhere in the $15 million range.

Report: Duke Williams injured Auburn teammate with punch in ‘bar rampage’

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 29:  D'haquille Williams #1 of the Auburn Tigers misses a touchdown catch in the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the Iron Bowl at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 29, 2014 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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D’haquille Williams may have some additional explaining to do to NFL personnel if another report is accurate.

Monday night, Auburn announced that the star wide receiver had been dismissed from Gus Malzahn‘s football program.  A day later, reports surfaced that Williams’ dismissal came after he went on a weekend “bar rampage” following one of his friends getting the heave-ho from a local drinking establishment over a dress-code issue. It was alleged that Williams had punched a pair of security guards, a bartender’s assistant and an unnamed patron of the bar.

The unnamed, however, now has a name.

According to the ABC affiliate in Montgomery, Ala., and a citing a source close to the AU program, Tigers center Xavier Dampeer‘s jaw was on the receiving end of one of Williams’ alleged punches. The website wrote that “Dampeer has been treated and released from East Alabama Medical Center, according to a worker at the hospital.”

Malzahn was asked Tuesday if any other Tiger players were involved in the incident. “I’m not going to get into any details,” the coach said according to

No charges have been filed in connection to the incident.

“We cannot file charges until the injured person(s) comes forward,” Auburn police chief Paul Register told the television station. “Unless an officer personally sees a fight, no arrests can be made.”

Illini’s leading rusher, Josh Ferguson, officially ruled out vs. Iowa

Josh Ferguson, Jordan Italiano
Associated Press
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If Illinois is going to improve upon its solid 4-1 start to the 2015 season, it’ll have to do so without a significant cog in its offensive machinery.

On the official injury report release Thursday night, the Illini confirmed that Josh Ferguson has been ruled out of Saturday’s game against No. 22 Iowa.  The decision is not exactly a surprise as Ferguson has been doubtful in the run-up to the road game against the Hawkeyes.

Ferguson sustained an injury to his right shoulder in the first quarter of last Saturday’s last-second win over Nebraska, and has been unable to practice at all this week.

Ferguson’s 381 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns and 5.4 yards per carry are all tops on the team.  He’s added 12 receptions for 28 yards and another touchdown coming out of the backfield.

With Ferguson sidelined, the bulk of the running-game load is expected to shift to Ke’Shawn Vaughn.  Through five games, Vaughn is second on the Illini with 325 yards and a pair of touchdowns.