It’s official: Stanford’s Bowlsby named new Big 12 commish

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Following up on reports that first began to surface late Wednesday night, the Big 12 officially announced Thursday that Bob Bowlsby has been named as the conference’s new commissioner.

An introductory press conference will be held Friday at 11 a.m. ET, with Bowlsby officially assuming the position June 15.

“The institutions of the Big 12 wanted a Commissioner that could take us to the next era as a conference with the addition of TCU and WVU, and we unanimously agreed Bob is that leader,” Big 12 Conference Board of Directors Chairman and Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis said in a statement. “The search committee looked for a candidate that has a vision for the next generation of college athletics, and his credentials and ideas exceeded this.

“He understands enhancing athletic competition among conference schools, the challenge of balancing academics and athletics for our student-athletes, and working with our broadcast and bowl partners

Bowlsby, who took over as the Cardinal’s AD in 2006 after spending the previous 15 years in the the same job at Iowa, will replace Chuck Neinas, who was brought in on an interim basis after the firing/resignation of Dan Beebe last September.  He will become the fourth commissioner in the Big 12’s 16-year history.

“I am proud to have been selected to lead the Big 12 Conference as its Commissioner,” Bowlsby stated. “The member institutions represent the best in competitive intercollegiate athletics and they occupy a prominent place in the history of sports in America. I am excited to work with a very talented and committed group of Presidents and Chancellors to advance the Conference on the national sports landscape.

“Additionally, the directors of athletics, senior woman’s administrators, faculty athletics representatives, coaches and conference office staff are among the very best in the country. The future is exceedingly bright and I look forward to engaging with my colleagues to achieve great things in the years ahead.

During Bowlsby’s time at the school, Stanford teams won 10 NCAA championships and the athletic department claimed seven Directors’ Cup trophies, which are awarded to the top overall athletic program in the country.

A search for Bowlsby’s replacement will be directed by Stanford Provost and Acting President John Etchemendy.

“We’re grateful to Bob Bowlsby for his leadership of Stanford Athletics over the past six years,” Etchemendy said. “Bob has been an extraordinary advocate for our student athletes and has enhanced Stanford’s programs both athletically and academically. Bob has a deep knowledge about collegiate athletics and a commitment to integrity in all that he does. He has laid a tremendous foundation from which Stanford can continue to build.

“We’re sorry to see him go, but this is a tremendous opportunity for him, and we wish him and the Big 12 all the best.”

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

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Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

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Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

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It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

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The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.