The Big East has found its new commissioner, signifying at the same time that the conference has a clear — or, at least much better — understanding of what’s truly important to its survival:
First reported by Mark Blaudschun, the Big East announced Tuesday afternoon that it has hired CBS Sports Vice President Mike Aresco as its new commissioner. Aresco will begin assuming duties in early September.
“The search to identify the new Commissioner of The BIG EAST Conference was truly an international search,” said Greg Williams, University of Cincinnati President and Chair of the Commissioner Search Committee in a statement. “We had many outstanding candidates, but we are fortunate to have Mike Aresco as our new Commissioner. His breadth of experience and depth of knowledge in intercollegiate athletics will continue to move the BIG EAST forward on a successful path. The BIG EAST has enjoyed a great history. Mike Aresco will help assure the conference of a vibrant future.”
It’s the right hire at the right time. Aresco’s first order of business will be to oversee the conference’s new TV deal discussion, which begins on Sept. 1 with a 60-day exclusive negotiating window with ESPN. Handling those negotiations will be Chris Bevilacqua of Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures. Bevilacqua led negotiations for the Pac-12 TV deal inked last year, as well as the Pac-12 Networks set to launch this week.
The next couple of months should mark the beginning of some stability for a conference in desperate need of some. The Big East lost four football members last year to the ACC (Pitt, Syracuse) and Big 12 (TCU, West Virginia), and struggled with new membership (re: Boise State) because of a lack of a longterm TV deal; the conference reportedly turned down a TV deal that would have paid all-sports members roughly $14 million annually.
The Big East’s former commissioner, John Marinatto, has since “retired.”
Whether the Big East can still get something in that ballpark remains to be seen, but at least the conference is hiring someone who understands the value of television as it relates to the overall health of the conference.
It’s now officially official.
Just a day after Brandon McIlwain indicated on social media that he would be transferring to Cal, the Golden Bears acknowledged in a release that the quarterback “has signed a financial aid agreement and will join the school’s football program.” Additionally, the football team confirmed that the two-sport student-athlete is expected to play baseball for the university as well.
In late February, McIlwain announced that he would be transferring from South Carolina. The true sophomore will not play for the football Bears in the upcoming season, but will have three years of eligibility at his disposal after that.
“We’re excited that Brandon has decided to enroll at Cal and become a member of both our football and baseball programs,” a statement from head coach Justin Wilcox began. “We’re looking forward to his contributions and having him join the competition in our quarterback room.”
“I am excited to develop under the incredible coaching staff at Cal,” McIlwain said in his statement. “The Golden Bears have a great quarterback history. In addition, I am equally excited about returning to the Bay Area and taking advantage of the university’s amazing education.”
As a true freshman last season, McIlwain started three of the 12 games in which he played. In that time, he completed 62-of-118 passes for 600 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception, while he added 127 yards and another two scores on the ground.
The emergence of fellow freshman Jake Bentley midway through the season, however, left McIlwain with no clear football path to a starting job.
The Title IX investigation into an alleged sexual assault involving playing members of the Michigan State football team has ended, the Associated Press and other media outlets are reporting.
In early February, three unidentified football players as well as a football staffer were suspended amidst allegations that a sexual assault took place on January 16 at an on-campus apartment complex. As a result of the allegations, a Title IX investigation into the alleged incident commenced in early February and lasted a little over three months.
That investigation was headed by Rebecca Veidlinger, an independent Title IX consultant and Ann Arbor attorney who previously worked in MSU’s Title IX office. Because of federal privacy laws, the university will not release the findings of Veidlinger’s probe.
As for the next step in the process? Mlive.com explains.
Speaking generally about Title IX investigations, [university spokesperson Jason] Cody said there are two possible outcomes at the conclusion of an investigation. If no university policy violation is found, then the matter would be closed. If a policy violation was found, the case would then be sent to the school’s student conduct system.
The student conduct system could then levy any sanction ranging from a warning or probation to suspension or expulsion.
The alleged sexual assault has spawned three separate investigations, including the recently-completed Title IX probe. A criminal investigation conducted by campus police led to requests for four arrest warrants to be issued, although the Ingham County Prosecutor’s office has thus far declined to act. Additionally, the university has hired an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation into the football program and its handling of the allegations.
Thus far, the names of the players allegedly involved in the assault have not been released. The suspended staffer was subsequently identified as Curtis Blackwell, whose title with the football program is director of college advancement and performance. Blackwell, who is not accused of participating in the alleged sexual assault but rather a non-sexual crime after the fact, has received a pair of one-month contract extensions since his suspension was levied.
Virginia Tech officially bolstered its receiving corps Monday, although they won’t see an offensive dividend this season.
A little over a month ago, Ball State’s Damon Hazelton took to Twitter to reveal that he would be transferring to Tech. In a press release, the Hokies announced that the wide receiver began summer classes yesterday and will continue his collegiate playing career with the football team.
That continuation won’t happen on the field in 2017, though, as NCAA transfer rules will force Hazelton to sit out this season. He will then have three years to use three seasons of eligibility beginning in 2018.
The 6-2, 207-pound receiver will, however, be permitted to practice with the team while he sits out his transfer year.
Hazelton was a two-star member of Ball State’s 2016 recruiting class. As a true freshman last season, Hazelton was second on the Cardinals with 51 receptions for 505 yards, while his four receiving touchdowns were tops on the team.
The “Days Without An Arrest” ticker had just gotten to halfway to double digits… and then Rodney Allen came along.
According to WSAZ-TV in Huntington, the Marshall cornerback was arrested on multiple charges over the weekend, including driving under the influence. Additionally, he is facing one count each of crashes involving damage to vehicle and not having a driver’s license.
From the television station’s report:
According to the criminal complaint, Allen was stopped early Sunday morning in the 1400 block of 4 1/2 alley. Allen was driving a vehicle attempting to leaving the scene of an accident that caused property damage.
According to the criminal complaint, Allen showed indications of being impaired at the scene. He then blew a .167 BAC into an intoxometer at HPD headquarters.
Allen only had an ID card out of Texas and not a driver’s license.
“We are aware of the situation and will handle it internally and appropriately,” a statement to the station from the university’s athletic department read.
Allen started 11 of 12 games for the Thundering Herd last season. His four forced fumbled tied for 10th nationally and his 14 passes defensed were tops in Conference USA, while his two interceptions tied for the team lead.