Updated: Report says talks over between BYU, Big East

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We briefly mentioned in our post last week about the potential for future SEC expansion that BYU could be very, very close to joining the Big East — perhaps as soon as early this week.

Well, it’s early this week, and there’s nothing yet. Then again, realignment tends to move at a completely arbitrary pace rather than the pace at which it’s being reported. But some of the same issues that prevented BYU from joining the Big 12 could be slowing things down between the school and the Big East.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that, while a deal between BYU and the Big East isn’t dead, the school’s TV deal with ESPN is one of a few “stumbling blocks” that is preventing a deal from being finalized. From the Tribune:

Apparently, BYU wants to retain its home television rights through its eight-year arrangement with ESPN that allows the broadcast sports giant to televise all but one BYU home football game per season with an estimated payout of between $1 million and $2 million per game. The deal with ESPN allows BYU’s own network, BYUtv, to broadcast the one game not picked up by ESPN and also allows the Cougars to show replays of all their ESPN broadcasts — home or away — on BYUtv.

The Big East does not want to hand over those rights to BYU, primarily because it wants the option of using them when it negotiates a new television contract next year and believes it could affect the value of that contract.

The article also cites BYU’s apparent concern about whether or not the Big East would be able to retain its BCS automatic qualifying status beyond 2013. The BCS could, however, vote to remove AQ status beyond that date when the cartel BCS meets again to discuss membership.

But getting back to BYU’s TV deal, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that it’s holding up negotiations. The eight-year deal with ESPN and BYUtv has already proven to be a insurmountable hurdle for Big 12 membership; likewise, the Longhorn Network has kept Texas out of the Pac-12. That isn’t meant to compare the LHN to BYUtv — they’re not quite the same thing in terms of programming — but the institution-associated networks have nevertheless caused negotiation headaches on more than one occasion.

All of that could lead to the Big East choosing another member over BYU, the Tribune reports: San Diego State.

Not joking, folks; I wish I was.

But, with the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, don’t expect any news on realignment until next week regardless of whomever it might involve.

UPDATED 7:41 p.m. ET: A source has told the Associated Press that talks have officially ended between the Big East and BYU, and that the Cougars will not be joining the conference. The source said that talks broke down after BYU said they  wanted to retain the rights to its home football games.

Additionally, a source with knowledge of the situation has told CBS that “the Big East has moved on” from BYU, with another adding that San Diego State was now in the Big East picture.

Because, you know SDSU is totally an eastern school. Good grief, conference realignment sucks.

Suspended Michigan State staffer receives another contract extension

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Michigan State has added another one-month extension to the contract of suspended football staffer Curtis Blackwell as the school continues to investigate several sexual assaults involving the Spartans.

A schools spokesman confirmed the extension to the Detroit Free Press on Friday.

The move comes on the heels of a previous one-month contract extension for Blackwell that came at the end of March. His official title is that of the team’s director of college advancement and performance and he was hired by head coach Mark Dantonio back in 2013 after running a number of major recruiting camps in the region.

Blackwell was originally suspended back in February as the school and police began multiple investigations related to sexual assaults. According to reports, one Michigan State staff member had an arrest warrant issued for obstructing an investigation but he was never publicly identified by the school.

Probes into the matter, including a Title IX investigation, remain ongoing in East Lansing. The football team recently wrapped up practice missing over a dozen players in the spring game so it appears this wide-ranging scandal that has embroiled the Spartans is not going to be over anytime soon.

Ex-USC coach finally lands court date with NCAA over Reggie Bush case

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After years and years of meandering through the court system, former USC running backs coach Todd McNair finally has his day in court with the NCAA.

ESPN is reporting that the two parties will meet in Los Angeles County Superior Court on April 18, 2018. The trial will finally get underway next year after nearly a decade of appeals on both sides.

McNair was the Trojans’ running backs coach during the glory days under Pete Carroll and responsible for coaching or recruiting many of the team’s top players. He was one of the few links to the program that the NCAA cited when determining that former star Reggie Bush received extra benefits, later leading to brutal sanctions back in 2010. McNair was given a one-year show-cause as a result of the Committee on Infractions findings and never coached again after the school let his contract expire shortly thereafter.

That wasn’t the end of the story however, as McNair later filed a defamation lawsuit against the NCAA in which he accused the association of violating protocol and showing bias against himself and the program in order to level unprecedented sanctions. Documents in the case have continued to seep out that have given credence to McNair’s case and the NCAA’s lawyers have fought bitterly at every turn in order to prevent the trial from actually getting underway.

Those efforts were unsuccessful however and it appears an already nasty legal battle is still not over. It remains to be seen if the trial will even happen, as a settlement could eventually take place between now and next April. If it does indeed go in front of a jury though, it just might be one of the most fascinating insights into one of the biggest NCAA scandals of the past few decades.

Biletnikoff Award semifinalist Jonathan Giles announces transfer from Texas Tech

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Thursday may have been a high point for the Texas Tech football program upon learning that former quarterback Patrick Mahomes was taken in the top 10 of the 2017 NFL Draft.

On Friday afternoon though, the Red Raiders dipped right back down as star wide receiver Jonathan Giles took to Twitter to announce that he was leaving the program and transferring out of Lubbock.

Giles was a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist a season ago after catching 69 passes for 1,158 yards and 13 touchdowns. Those numbers led the team in each category despite trailing off a bit down the stretch as Tech missed out on a bowl game.

Playing time could have been a big factor in the decision to leave the program as both Cameron Batson and Keke Coutee emerged as the top receiving targets and Giles was relegated to second-team status coming out of spring practice.

Tech’s Air Raid system and NFL quarterbacks had a lot to do with Giles’ big numbers but it’s fairly rare to see such highly touted and productive wideouts hit the transfer markets. While the decision probably isn’t what some Red Raiders fans wanted to hear on Friday, the receiver probably won’t be lacking for options when it comes to his next stop.

Pitt dismisses senior defensive tackle for disciplinary reasons

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Bad news in college football is typically reserved for Friday and it appears the Pitt Panthers just got a taste of some.

Per Pittsburgh Tribune-Review beat writer Jerry DiPaola, head coach Pat Narduzzi has dismissed starting defensive tackle Jeremiah Taleni for disciplinary reasons.

Taleni emerged as a starter down the stretch for the Panthers and will be a big loss up front for the team as they already have to replace the stellar production from the soon-to-be-drafted Ejuan Price.

No further comments were given when the school confirmed the news so it might be a while before we find out what led to Taleni’s dismissal and whether he plays college football at all next season.