Bob Bowlsby

Big 12’s grant of rights still not signed


One of these days, the Big 12 will finalize its $2.6 billion TV agreement with ESPN and FOX, and sign the 13-year grant of rights which syncs up with the life of the extended contract.

That day just isn’t today, though it appeared the once-beleaguered conference had already done the latter portion according to new Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. In an interview with Mitch Vingle of the Charleston Gazette, Bowlsby (pictured) said the grant of rights “has been signed.”

Gazette-Mail – We’ve heard reports about the 13-year, $2.6 billion television deal with ESPN and Fox. When will the official announcement be made?

Bowlsby – Generally speaking, we’ve already come to terms. [The announcement] will be made in the coming weeks or months.

Gazette-Mail – Please clear up the issue concerning schools granting media rights to the league. Schools agreed to grant the rights for a minimum of six years, but then word came that was extended to 13 years. Has that agreement been signed?

Bowlsby – It has been extended to 13 years and it has been signed.

Obviously, such an announcement would quash all questions surrounding conference security as any team wishing to leave before 2026 would have to surrender its media rights, estimated to be around $20 million annually.

That is, of course, if the grant of rights was actually signed. A league spokesman later clarified that, “The grant of rights has not been executed. What [Bowlsby] told the reporter is, it will be executed upon completion of current television negotiations.”

Not sure how “it has been signed” means “it will be executed upon completion”, but hey, you say tomato…

Besides, signing the grant of rights was a condition of agreeing to the new TV deal, which as mentioned above, is close to being completed with only minor details reportedly to be ironed out. Once they are, ink will finally touch paper documenting what has been agreed upon in principle for some time.

And the Big 12 will be much better off when it happens.

Starting LB C.J. Johnson reveals surgery on social media, Ole Miss confirms

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Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.

With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future.  The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.

Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.  The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.

At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas.  The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.

Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels.  He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.