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Updated: Louisville behind WVU-to-Big 12 snag?


What started as a hiccup for West Virginia’s seemingly inevitable invite to the Big 12 has now turned to reports that the Mountaineers have been blocked (so to speak) for Big 12 entry by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

What we know is that West Virginia MetroNews, citing multiple sources, reports the Big 12 contacted West Virginia yesterday and the two sides agreed to an informal verbal “invite and acceptance”, and that a press conference with the two sides was set for today (Wednesday) to announce that agreement. This had also been reported by Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports.

In the reports of Dominion Post reporter Drew Rubenstein and MetroNews, WVU felt the deal was indeed “done”.

But late last night, as has already been reported, WVU sent out a press release stating there would be no press conference for Wednesday. “Contrary to media reports, there is no press conference scheduled for Wednesday concerning WVU’s athletic conference affiliation.  There are no further comments at that time,” the statement said.

From MetroNews’ original story (before updates):

As of late yesterday afternoon, WVU had received a verbal invitation to the Big 12 and had accepted. Plans were in the works for a news conference Wednesday to make the announcement.

But sources say the process hit a “bump in the road” last night.  WVU was apparently notified by the Big 12 that it needed “more information” from WVU and that there would be a vote by the Big 12 Board, perhaps on Monday.

Pete Thamel of the New York Times reports that Louisville made a late, 11th hour surge to get back into the discussion as the 10th member of the Big 12.

Two people with direct knowledge of the situation said that lobbying by the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, including to David Boren, the president of the University of Oklahoma and a former senator, helped slow West Virginia’s admittance to the Big 12.

McConnell is a 1964 graduate of the University of Louisville.

Where the speculation begins is if there was political pressure employed by McConnell to Boren, and potentially, other members of the Big 12 to re-evaluate Louisville as a potential candidate to replace Missouri if they leave for the SEC as they are expected to do.

When that announcement will come is still unknown.

Additionally, West Virginia senator Jay Rockefeller has released the following statement:

“The Big 12 picked WVU on the strength of its program — period. Now the media reports that political games may upend that. That’s just flat wrong. I am doing and will do whatever it takes to get us back to the merits.”

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (previously Gov.) has also called a 6 p.m. press conference to discuss conference realignment issues.

Political pressure, if indeed the driving force behind this latest round of conference shifting, is nothing new; frankly, it doesn’t matter if it’s from McConnell, Rockefeller, Manchin or all of the above. It is, however, a prime example of how far away college football has deviated from logic and rational thinking.

Pair of Boilermakers arrested on weed, alcohol charges

SAFED, ISRAEL - MARCH 07: (ISRAEL OUT) A worker touches plants at a cannabis greenhouse at the growing facility of the Tikun Olam company on March 7, 2011 near the northern city of Safed, Israel. In conjunction with Israel's Health Ministry, Tikon Olam are currently distributing cannabis for medicinal purposes to over 1800 people in Israel. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
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For the second time in less than a month, two members of the Purdue football program have found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

This time around it’s a pair of freshmen, linebacker Wyatt Cook and defensive end Chazmyn Turner, who are in a bit of a predicament, with the Indianapolis Star reporting that both players were arrested over the weekend. Cook was charged with minor consumption of alcohol while Turner was charged with possession of marijuana.

No details of what led to the arrests and charges were made public. The program is aware of the incident, but have not stated what if any punishment either could be facing.

Cook was a three-star member of this year’s recruiting class, Turner a two-star. Neither has played in a game this season.

In the middle of last month, two freshmen cornerbacks, Evyn Cooper and David Rose, were arrested and charged in connection to stolen bicycles. Those two were members of this year’s recruiting class as well.

Report: Texas likely to keep Hooking ‘Em with Nike, not Under Armour

Jerrod Heard

It is no secret that Under Armour is making a nice serious push in acquiring university apparel deals, but the Texas Longhorns is not one it will be likely to whisk away from The Swoosh. According to one report from the Austin American-Statesman, University of Texas officials broke off a meeting with Under Armour and are now expected to stay with Nike moving forward.

The University of Texas has been a partner with Nike since 2000. The contract between the two gives Nike an exclusive window in which it can match or improve on any offers made to the school from rival companies such as Under Armour or Adidas. It is unknown if Under Armour made a formal offer to Texas or how much such an offer could have been valued. What is pretty much commonly known is the Texas brand is still a nice asset in the athletics apparel business, even if the Longhorns are struggling on the football field. Having Texas wear your gear is still a quality investment, which makes Texas a highly sought-after commodity.

Per the American-Statesman report, Texas is expected to sign what would be the biggest deal currently going in collegiate athletics. Considering the handsome deal recently signed between Nike and Michigan, that would mean Texas would be looking forward to more than $169 million from Nike. Michigan signed a 15-year contract valued at $169 million, which will bring an end to its current relationship with Adidas in 2016. As part of the deal, Michigan will become the first football program to wear the Jordan brand logo on its football uniforms. Could Texas be the next? For now that is just something to ponder.

Nike recently lost partners at Arizona State and Miami. Last year Notre Dame began a new partnership with Under Armour, signing a $90 million contract.