Moving Day

Mizzou board grants Deaton autonomy in deciding conference future

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Inevitable and imminent indeed.  Probably.

Following a path blazed by Texas A&M in September, and after what some perceived as the institution dragging its feet on a decision, Missouri is on the verge of joining their conference brethren in leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.

A couple of month’s worth of speculation continued to trudge toward a conclusion Friday as Mizzou’s Board of Curators gave president Brady Deaton sole power to determine the school’s future conference affiliation, which is academia code for “send an application to the SEC”.  The latest announcement comes after two days of curator meetings and one back-door exit.

The decision was unanimous among the board members to empower Deaton to make a unilateral decision — pending legal approval by the school’s attorneys — on whether to move to another conference or remain in the Big 12.  In other words, if Deaton decides to move to another conference, which is expected, he would not have to go back to the board for approval.  This move comes exactly 17 days after the curators gave their president limited power to look into moving into another conference.

In addition to the board giving Deaton autonomy on deciding the school’s future conference, the curators passed another resolution that involved keeping an MU sports presence in Kansas City, specifically future football games — i.e. continuing the Kansas rivalry — as well as hosting an invitational basketball tournament.  It’s believed boosters of the school are concerned about those issues if Mizzou were to leave the Big 12, particularly as it involves the Big 12’s hoops tourney.

Once Deaton officially decides on the school’s conference course he will chart, the next two step for Mizzou would be to inform the Big 12 of its decision to withdraw from the conference and officially apply for membership to another conference, which, barring an unexpected development, will be the SEC.  It’s highly unlikely Mizzou would have taken this latest step, or any of the other steps they’ve taken since last month for that matter, unless they had received back-channel assurances from the SEC that they have enough votes for membership approval.  SEC bylaws state that nine of the current 12 members — the Aggies will not have a vote as they won’t officially become a member until July 1, 2012 — must vote in the affirmative for a new school to officially enter the conference.

Perhaps the biggest unknown is when exactly Mizzou would join the SEC, if that’s indeed the culmination of this process.  Schedule-wise, the SEC would like nothing more than to add Mizzou for the 2012 season, giving the conference 14 members and a balanced slate of football games.  During the press conference this afternoon, Deaton indicated that any actions he takes would result in Mizzou playing in that conference in 2012.

Another unknown?  The division in which the Tigers would reside.  Some assume that would be the West — with Auburn moving to the East — although at least one current member favors sending Mizzou to the East.

As for the Big 12, it’s operating under the assumption that Mizzou will be in the conference in 2012 regardless of their future SEC intentions and that the league will have 10 members next year.  Irrespective of Mizzou’s timeline for a departure — again, we’re operating under the assumption that there will be a departure — the Big 12 will look to add a replacement for MU.  Or, as the case may be, replacements if the conference decides to get back to 12 members.

It appears that a school from the Big East would be the Big 12’s top target for a new 10th member, with some reports suggesting West Virginia is that school while most others point to Louisville as the likely candidate.

Georgia raises ticket prices following Kirby Smart hire

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 28: A general view of the Sanford Stadium before the game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the LSU Tigers on September 28, 2013 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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Running a college athletics department is only getting more expensive, so attending a college football game will only get more expensive. Or, at least attending a Georgia game will.

Bulldogs president Jere Morehead and athletics director Greg McGarity revealed Thursday per-seat donations would rise an average of 17 percent for priority season ticket holders beginning in the 2017 season.

“It’s in anticipation of things that are ahead,” McGarity told the Athens Banner-Herald.

Cost-of-attendance scholarships bumped that line item up $766,000, and other costs across the department added an additional $5.3 million to the budget. All this while Georgia is building a new indoor facility and replacing Mark Richt and his staff while hiring Kirby Smart and his new staff.

“Those projects are going to be expensive,” Morehead said. “The cost of operating our athletic program each year continues to rise particularly as you look at the enhancements that are being provided to our student-athletes and to the support that we’re providing our student-athletes.”

The bump in prices will raise an extra $2.5 million for Georgia, and represents the first time Bulldogs fans have been asked to ante up since 2005.

“We wanted to be respectable in the increase to not price people out of a certain area but we did feel like we needed to make an adjustment,” said McGarity. “We want to continue to encourage people to come to games. We’ve got our work cut out to make sure (that happens).”

Ohio State to host Tulane in 2018

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 6:  The Ohio State Buckeyes kickoff to the Virginia Tech Hokies at Ohio Stadium on September 6, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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The Fighting Frites are heading to the Horseshoe.

Ohio State and Tulane announced a one-time game to be played in Columbus on Sept. 22, 2018.

“Tulane enhances and completes a non-conference schedule in 2018 that already includes Power 5 conference teams TCU and Oregon State,” Ohio State deputy AD Martin Jarmond said in a statement. “The Green Wave is part of a fine American Athletic Conference, which produced a New Year’s Day 6 bowl winner last year [Houston over Florida State in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl], so its first trip to Ohio Stadium should be exciting for our students and fans.”

The two teams have never met previously. Tulane last faced a Big Ten team on Sept. 27, 2014, a 31-6 loss at Rutgers. Ohio State last faced an American Athletic Conference program in the 2014 opener, a 34-17 Buckeyes win over Navy in Annapolis, Md.

We are excited for the opportunity to play Ohio State, one of the premier programs in the country,” Tulane executive associate athletics director Brandon Macneill said in a statement.  “Our coaching staff and players, along with our fans are eager to play against the very best and this should be a great game.  There will be a significant number of Tulanians from around the country joining us at the Horseshoe.”

Adding Tulane completes Ohio State’s 2018 non-conference schedule; the Buckeyes host Oregon State on Sept. 1 and visit TCU on Sept. 15. Tulane still lacks two games for 2018 but is slated to visit Georgia Tech on Sept. 8.

Georgia AD apologizes for giving Ludacris everything he demanded for spring game concert

Greg McGarity
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The University of Georgia paid Ludacris $65,000 to perform a concert at Georgia’s spring football game, and now the athletics director is apologizing for catering to every demand made by the artist.

In a meeting with the Georgia athletic board of directors, athletics director Greg McGarity offered an apology for giving in to a lengthy list of demands from Ludacris, which included condoms and alcohol.

“I do want to take this opportunity to apologize to our board for mistakes we made with certain aspects of the details of an entertainment agreement,” McGarity said, according to The Athens Banner-Herald. “Few things in my professional life have bothered me more than this situation. There are no reruns in life so we need to turn the page, learn from our mistakes and do everything we can to make sure errors of this nature do not reoccur.”

Georgia set a school attendance record for its spring game with an estimated total of 93,000 fans coming out for the first spring game under new head coach Kirby Smart. Of course, more than a few of those fans were encouraged to come out to see Ludacris perform, so it all worked out well for Georgia even if some people were not happy with the goods supplied to him during his stay.

“Some more than others as far as different age groups,” McGarrity said of the people expressing their displeasure with Georgia’s hospitality. “It was all over the map. I think there were a lot of things that came into play.”

Auburn RB Roc Thomas apparently heading to Jacksonville State

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 6: Running back Roc Thomas #9 of the Auburn Tigers runs the ball in for a touchdown as offensive linesman Jordan Diamond #76 of the Auburn Tigers blocks safety Forrest Hightower #12 of the San Jose State Spartans on September 6, 2014 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. Auburn defeated San Jose State 59-13.  (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
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Auburn running back Roc Thomas is possibly looking to join one of the top programs from the FCS ranks. Reports today surfaced suggesting Thomas is looking to transfer to Jacksonville State, although another report says he has yet to ask Auburn for a request to transfer.

During a radio interview, Jay G. Tate of AuburnSports.com said Thomas is likely on his way to Jacksonville State…

As that message was spreading around the college football landscape, largely under the ominous storm cloud from Waco, Texas, SEC Country updated their report by saying Thomas has not yet made a request to transfer from Auburn. That may have been accurate, but may not suggest a transfer to Jacksonville State is off the table. It could just be a matter of semantics, where Thomas is set to join the Jacksonville State program but still must go through the formalities of transferring from Auburn.

Thomas does have two years of eligibility remaining.