It’s official: West Virginia to join the Big 12 in 2012

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Finally, our long national nightmare is over.

After much talk and numerous legal maneuvers on both sides, both West Virginia and the Big East announced in separate press releases that a settlement agreement has been reached in the civil litigation, clearing the way for WVU to move to the Big 12 in 2012.  In its statement, the Big East wrote that its “Board of Directors has voted to terminate West Virginia University’s membership in the Conference, effective June 30, 2012.”

The move comes three and a half months after WVU officially confirmed Oct. 28 it was leaving the Big East for the Big 12.

“Our membership in the Big 12 offers WVU significant advantages,” said WVU athletic director Oliver Luck in a statement. “The Big 12 is a strong and vibrant conference academically and athletically. We look forward to the potential academic and athletic partnerships and financial opportunities that membership in the Big 12 offers.”

While the Big East would only confirm that “the payment of an exit fee well in excess of that required by the Bylaws” was part of the settlement, the conference shift will prove exact a heavy financial toll on WVU and its new conference.

As previously reported, the early move to the Big 12 will cost a total of $20 million, with WVU covering half of that figure and the Big 12 covering the other half.  WVU will reportedly repay its new conference $5 million of that $10 million, with that repayment consisting of a portion of the school’s broadcast revenues being withheld annually over a period of time.

“We are in great company in the Big 12, joining a group of world-class research universities – many of them large public land-grant flagship institutions like WVU,” WVU president Jim Clements said in his statement.  “These schools have quality academics, research, athletic programs, winning traditions and loyal, passionate fans.”

“Our partnership with the Big 12 is an investment in WVU’s future. We’re looking forward to the tremendous opportunities it presents – all across our university.”

West Virginia was one of three schools to announce last year it was leaving the Big East in the future, and there was a development regarding those other two institutions as well this morning.

According to Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com, Pittsburgh and Syracuse will attempt to negotiate deals that would permit the two schools to leave the Big East for the ACC in 2013.  Big East bylaws technically prevent the two schools from leaving until 2014, but WVU has shown that waiting period is negotiable.

The two schools are hopeful that they can each pay an exit fee that’s half of what it took WVU to leave early.

Report: Ole Miss receives Committee on Infractions’ response to school appeal

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There’s been so much back-and-forth between Ole Miss, Michigan and former quarterback Shea Patterson that you’d be forgiven thinking that the Rebels’ actual NCAA case itself was all over as far as the school was concerned. That certainly isn’t accurate of course and one of the final steps for the program to learn their fate could be set for release in the next few hours or days.

Per Jackson Clarion-Ledger Ole Miss beat writer Antonio Morales, Ole Miss has received a response on their appeal from the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions and will soon publish a response after lawyers have had a chance to work through it.

The Rebels had appealed to have their 2018 postseason ban overturned and restrictions on official visits lifted, among other things. The school does have 14 days to respond to the decision but appeals in general are rarely successful and the extra bit of arguing tends to be nothing but extra billable hours for lawyers working on the case.

Depending on the outcome, that should just about wrap things up in Oxford after the school was found to have lacked institutional control in the football program after numerous violations under former head coach Hugh Freeze. Ole Miss remains involved in the waiver appeal of former players like Patterson but this could very well be a closing of the books on a rather turbulent few years of back-and-forth with the NCAA.

Oklahoma State adding gigantic new video board to Boone Pickens Stadium

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While most folks are resigned to getting a new flat screen during the holidays or right around the Super Bowl, Oklahoma State is making their purchase this summer and upgrading the Cowboys’ viewing experience significantly at Boone Pickens Stadium as a result.

In a statement released on Friday afternoon, the school confirmed that the team’s already remodeled home is getting an upgraded Jumbotron that is the eighth-biggest video board at a college football stadium in the country. In addition to packing in the pixels in a full-high definition display, the new board is set to measure in at 56 feet tall by 110 feet wide and will be mounted just above the east end zone on the outside of the OSU Athletics Center that abuts the field.

“This board not only modernizes the game day experience in Boone Pickens Stadium, but it also brings Oklahoma State to the forefront in this area,” said Athletic Director Mike Holder. “We have taken input from fans and I believe that adding a premium board like this is a game-changer for all of us who attend.

Installation will begin in July and should be finalized by well ahead of fall camp with a target of August 1st for completion. Veteran manufacturer Daktronics will build the board while a local Oklahoma City firm will design the supports. The program notes that this screen will be especially bright compared to other installations by several factors in order to account for the glare of the sun hitting the board.

The entire setup will check in at just a tad bit smaller than rival Texas ‘Godzillatron’ at Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium but will otherwise be one of the largest in the Big 12. Given how quickly the Cowboys tend to put up points in Mike Gundy’s offense, chances are it will get a nice workout when games start to roll around this fall in Stillwater as well.

Florida’s Cece Jefferson expected back for start of camp

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There’s a sizable sliver of a silver lining involving the health of Florida’s most productive defensive lineman.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Cece Jefferson would be sidelined for four months after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder earlier this week; such a timeline would’ve had the lineman out until the middle of August, after summer camp had started. Thursday, however, brought word that Jefferson is instead expected to be recovered in time for the start of camp in early August.

It should be noted that, as of yet, the football program has not publicly addressed Jefferson’s status moving forward.

Jefferson was a consensus five-star prospect, rated as the No. 2 strongside defensive end in the Class of 2015; the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Florida; and the No. 7 player overall on 247Sports.com’s composite board.

This past season, Jefferson led the Gators with 13.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. After considering early entry into the 2018 NFL draft, the 6-1, 242-pound lineman opted to return to Gainesville for one more season.

Urban Meyer, Jim Harbaugh, others pay tribute to Earle Bruce

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Not surprisingly, the memorials are pouring in for the passing of a College Football Hall of Famer.

Friday morning, the four daughters released a statement through Ohio State announcing that their father, former Buckeyes head coach Earle Bruce, had passed away at the age of 87.  Shortly thereafter, OSU released a statement from its current head football coach on the man who had battled Alzheimer’s for years.

“I’ve made it clear many times that, other than my father, Coach Bruce was the most influential man in my life,” Urban Meyer said. “Every significant decision I’ve made growing up in this profession was with him involved in it. His wife [Jean] and he were the role models for Shelley and me. They did everything with class. He was not afraid to show how much he loved his family and cared for his family.”

Others expressing their condolences included Jim Harbaugh of rival Michigan as well as Iowa State, where Bruce was the head coach from 1973-78 before taking over in Columbus in 1979, and the Cyclones’ current coach for good measure.