It’s official: Memphis is the newest member of the Big East

20 Comments

Following up on reports yesterday that Memphis would be the newest all-sport member of the Big East, the long-time possibility of the marriage has indeed come to fruition.

The Big East announced in a release today that the Tigers will be a full member of the conference beginning in 2013. A press conference with the two sides is scheduled shortly.

“Over the past decade, the University of Memphis has demonstrated an unwavering commitment of competing at the highest level in college sports,” said Big East commissioner John Marinatto.  “The University has positioned itself for long-term success by upgrading facilities and investing wisely in various areas of the athletic department including coaching and administration.  We are confident that the addition of this outstanding athletics program located in a top 50 media market and in the heart of the nation’s largest conference footprint will further propel the BIG EAST and the University of Memphis to even greater levels of success in the future.”

“This is a historical day for the University of Memphis,” said UM president Dr. Shirley C. Raines. “On behalf of the faculty, staff, alumni, fans, students and especially, our student-athletes, we are thrilled to accept the invitation from the BIG EAST Conference to become a member in all sports in 2013. We are grateful to President Judy Genshaft and the entire BIG EAST Conference Board for their unanimous vote for the University of Memphis and Tiger athletics.

“We are pleased to be renewing some old rivalries that our fans enjoyed in years past, and we look forward to competing against other formidable opponents from the BIG EAST.”

The move, as the Big East puts it, brings in the 12th football member; the conference did not acknowledge Pitt, Syracuse or West Virginia in the release, all of which are leaving the Big East for the ACC and Big 12, respectively.

As CBS Sports‘ Brett McMurphy reported yesterday, a 2012 departure by WVU could spark an earlier exit by Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC, perhaps in 2013, and just as the Big East adds a slew of all-sport and football-only members. In 2015, Big East football plans to look as such: Boise State, UCF, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Navy, Rutgers, San Diego State, SMU and USF. Only then will the conference stage a championship game.

So, yes. The Big East is essentially Conference USA. With some Mountain West and Big East/Independent sprinkled in.

Speaking of which, McMurphy also reports today that C-USA has reached out to former Big East and current MAC member Temple about possible membership. According to the report, “Temple thought it would receive the Big East’s invitation and was stunned the Big East invited Memphis.”

Whether or not the Owls would fly away from their home is uncertain. As we noted last year, C-USA and the Mountain West, both getting their best teams plucked as part of conference realignment, decided to look into a football-only alliance, the results of which have yet to be announced. The benefits, we were told from C-USA commissionerBritton Banowsky and MWC commissionerCraig Thompson, would be stability and exposure.

That sounds a lot like what the Big East is promising with its new membership. Come to think of it, the similarities are striking: conferences desperate for enough inventory to stay afloat in the changing college football landscape.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

Seth Collins leaving Oregon State a second time

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Seth Collins‘ winding journey in Corvallis has taken yet another twist.

After asking for it, Collins has been granted a release from his Oregon State scholarship, the school has confirmed. The junior wide receiver has already parted ways with the team, and no specific reason for the departure has been given.

This marks the second time that Collins has left the Beavers football program.  In January of 2016, Collins, amidst speculation that he would be moved from quarterback to wide receiver, made the decision to transfer; three months later, he returned to OSU — as a receiver.

Last season, Collins was second on the team in catches (36) and yards (418).  After three games this season, Collins was ruled out indefinitely because of what was described by the team as a health-related issue; he didn’t play again for the Beavers in 2017.  In the three games in which he played this season, he caught 12 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown.

That illness was unrelated to the unspecified health event last season that left him hospitalized and caused him to miss not only the last two games of 2016 but spring practice this year as well.

If Collins moves on to another FBS school, it’s believed he’ll have to sit out the 2018 season.  That would leave him with one season of eligibility that he can use in 2019.

It was thought that, when Collins left the first time, he was headed to Northern Illinois, so that’s certainly something to keep an eye on moving forward.

Minnesota assistant Ed Warinner tweets he’s ‘never been contacted’ about Kent State job

Getty Images
Leave a comment

You just have to love the vagaries of the annual coaching rumor mill.

The offensive line coach and running-game coordinator at Minnesota, Ed Warinner has been mentioned as a potential replacement for Paul Haynes as the head coach at Kent State.  In fact, just yesterday, the former Ohio State and Notre Dame assistant had been labeled as a “strong candidate” for the opening.

Thursday night, however, FootballScoop.com tweeted that Warinner is no longer a candidate.

Less than 20 minutes after that tweet, Warinner took to his personal Twitter to confirm he is not only not a candidate for the job but claimed that he has “never been contacted by anyone involved with the school.” Left unsaid is whether those representing or associated with him had been in contact with the university.

Kansas defensive coordinator Clint Bowen (HERE) and Syracuse offensive coordinator Sean Lewis (HERE) are the latest names du jour connected to the opening at the MAC school.

Kent State’s one of two jobs at the FBS level that remain open, although the other, Louisiana, could be closed in short order.

Report: Louisiana offers head coach job to Arizona State OC Billy Napier

Getty Images
1 Comment

So much for that plan.

The odd marriage of Arizona State and long-time but not-in-a-long-time NFL coach Herm Edwards was made even odder by the fact that Edwards was retaining Todd Graham‘s entire offensive coaching staff.  Less than two weeks into his tenure, however, there could be a glitch in the plans to help ease Edwards’s return to coaching as 247Sports.com is reporting that Louisiana (the school formerly known as Louisiana-Lafayette) has offered its head-coaching job to Billy Napier.

The 38-year-old Napier had just completed his first season as ASU’s offensive coordinator.  He was also given the title of associate head coach upon Edwards’ hiring.

Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry was also one of the potential candidates for the Louisiana job who interviewed for the opening.

Whoever gets the job with the Ragin’ Cajuns will be replacing Mark Hudspeth, fired earlier this month after seven years with the program.

Arkansas assistant Vernon Hargreaves added to Mizzou’s staff

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Vernon Hargreaves wasn’t retained by the new coaching staff in Fayetteville, but he’ll end up remaining in the SEC anyway.

Missouri confirmed Thursday that Hargreaves has been hired by Barry Odom and added to the second-year head coach’s staff.  The veteran assistant will serve as Odom’s inside linebackers coach.

“I’ve known Vernon for a number of years and have always respected the way his position plays the game,” said Odom in a statement distributed by the school. “He will be a great teacher and mentor for our student-athletes. His experience will be so valuable for our program; I’m excited about Vernon and his family joining our Mizzou family.”

Hargreaves spent the past three seasons as the linebackers coach at Arkansas.  Most notably, he served in the same capacity at Miami from 1998-2005.

Hargreaves also spent time on staffs at Houston (2013-14), South Florida (2010-12), East Carolina (2007-09), Florida International (2006) and UConn (1985-97).  He was also the special teams coordinator at USF and ECU in addition to being a position coach.