Les Miles

Arkansas goes whole Hog, makes mega-offer to… Les Miles?

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We did our best to stay away from this, but then respected New Orleans Times-Picayune writer Jim Kleinpeter had to go and throw some significant mainstream oomph behind the speculation.

Earlier Tuesday evening, SportsByBrooks.com reported that Arkansas has lobbed a bombshell of an offer at LSU head coach Les Miles: five years, $27.5 million to become the Razorbacks’ next head football coach.  While most scoffed in the general direction of SBB’s report (guilty as charged), Kleinpeter followed it up a couple of hours later with a post that began “Miles has an offer from Arkansas for the head football coaching job.”

In that post, Kleinpeter went on to write that a source close to LSU confirmed that UA “made a serious offer” to Miles’ and/or his people and that “(LSU athletic director) Joe (Alleva) is meeting with (Miles’) agent and the discussion is ongoing.”

Yeah, wow.

The reports indicating an offer from Arkansas to Miles can be viewed through at least a couple of prisms.  One, Miles, through his agent, is leveraging LSU for a better deal by way of the media.  In 2012, according to USA Today figures figures, Miles stands to make just under $3.9 million.  Alabama’s Nick Saban, on the other hand, will make  $5.476 million; coincidentally or not, the Arkansas number being bandied about would pay Miles an average of $5.5 million annually.

Secondly, the offer is very real and Miles has/is giving it serious consideration.  The fact that Kleinpeter reports Miles’ agent is meeting with LSU’s AD lends credence to that facet of the speculation.  Or, thirdly, it’s a combination of the two, with Arkansas going whole Hog on Miles and the Miles’ camp merely using it as leverage for yet another new & improved contract.

In January of 2011, Miles confirmed that he would be meeting with officials from his alma mater Michigan to discuss the vacancy created by Rich Rodriguez‘s firing.  A day later, LSU confirmed Miles would be staying in Baton Rouge.  A day after that, it was announced Miles had agreed to a contract extension that, while it didn’t include an increase in salary, included “enhanced opportunities” for additional compensation as well as well as a firing-without-cause clause that jumped from just over $11 million to just under $19 million.

Miles has yet to address the latest round of speculation connecting him to another job, and LSU would only tap dance around the talk surrounding their head coach.

“We’ve seen the tweet by Sports by Brooks [sic] and we’re not going to comment on rumors or bits of information,” LSU SID Michael Bonnette told the paper. “It has been brought to Les’ attention and he didn’t have anything to say.”

As far as whether or not Miles would actually seriously entertain, let alone actually accept, an offer from Arkansas, we’ll allow a member of the collegiate coaching community who knows Miles very well answer that question with another question.

“If [Miles] didn’t take the job [at Michigan] when it was right there in his lap, why would he take a step down to another job in his own conference?”

Pac-12 to tamper down on select #Pac12AfterDark kickoffs

TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 07:  Pac-12 Commissioner, Larry Scott stands in front of the Stanford Cardinal as they celebrate the Pac 12 Championship after defeating the Arizona State Sun Devils 38-14 at Sun Devil Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Tempe, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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When you allow television networks to pay you $3 billion to broadcast football games and happen to be located on the West Coast, you’re going to pay for it in the form of late kickoffs. ESPN and Fox want eyeballs on their networks as long as possible on fall Saturdays, and they’re not putting SEC games on at 10 p.m. Eastern time.

So, naturally, the Pac-12 drew those time slots.

And they absolutely hated it.

Remember, this is a conference that only recently joined the 21st century. For decades, the conference was happy with its 10 teams, its football games played on Saturday afternoons and its basketball schedule diced into a handy Thursday-Saturday format. Larry Scott was hired in 2009 to modernize the league while increasing the bottom line, and part of that required late kickoffs.

But on Tuesday the conference announced it has worked with its television partners to reduce the number of late kickoffs. ESPN and Fox won’t change their late slots, but the conference has received clearance to play Pac-12 Network games in previously exclusive windows of 2 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. local time. The change is expected to reduce the late night kickoffs by “up to” four games.

“The Pac-12 has some of the most loyal fans in college athletics and we appreciate our television partners working with us on this important issue for fans,” Oregon AD Rob Mullens said in a statement. “The increased exposure and revenue from our contracts with ESPN and FOX Sports have been instrumental to our success, but we continue to work hard to minimize as much as possible the negative impact late start times have on our fans who travel great distances to see our teams in person.”

Additionally, the conference announced it has instituted a field storming fine structure of $25,000 for a first offense, $50,000 for a second offense and $100,000 for a third offense. The SEC has a similar structure on its books.

“The Pac-12 Council carefully considered this policy and its impact on our fans who loyally support our teams,” Cal AD Mike Williams said. “This enhanced policy underscores the importance our universities place on the safety and welfare of our student-athletes, officials and fans, and will allow us to educate staffs and fans on procedures going forward.”

Finally, Pac-12 Network will start broadcasting eSports contests between member schools. Clear your schedule now.

Washington promotes Jennifer Cohen to athletics director

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When Scott Woodward left his post as Washington’s athletics director for the same job at Texas A&M in January, the Huskies promoted Jennifer Cohen to be the program’s interim AD.

Washington spent the next four months searching far and wide for Woodward’s replacement, and ended up finding her already sitting in Woodward’s old chair.

“I am very pleased to announce Jen’s appointment,” Washington president Ana Mari Cauce said in a statement. “She has all the skills and energy to provide exceptional leadership for Husky athletics. Her years of experience leading its fundraising program, along with her direct involvement overseeing football, provide a strong foundation for assuming overall leadership for the department.  This is the right time for her, and I look forward to a very exciting time for our students, coaches and fans of Husky athletics.”   

The Tacoma native joined the Huskies’ athletics department in 1998 as an assistant director of development and eventually rose to handle all of UW’s fundraising efforts. Before becoming interim AD, Cohen also oversaw the Huskies’ football and baseball programs.

“I am humbled, honored, and extremely thankful for this opportunity,” said Cohen. “The University of Washington has been part of my life for nearly two decades, and I believe our department is poised to accomplish great things. Together, we will work to positively impact our student-athletes, inspire a championship culture, and build and unite our community. I believe there is no better place to achieve these things than at Washington, and I can’t wait to get started.”

From a football standpoint, Cohen inherits a program on more stable footing than it’s been in a decade and a half — and considering the turmoil the Rose Bowl-bound 2001 Huskies experienced off the field, one may have to go back to the national championship days under Don James in the early 1990’s to find a rosier time for Huskies football. Chris Petersen is entrenched as head coach and has Washington positioned to be the nation’s top sleeper heading into this fall, and Husky Stadium recently underwent $50 million in renovations that Cohen herself fundraised.

Cohen also arrives to the position with Petersen’s enthusiastic approval.

DB Davon Jacobs decides to transfer from Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, NJ - NOVEMBER 01: Davon Jacobs #29 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights tackles Jordan Fredrick #9 of the Wisconsin Badgers in the second quarter at High Point Solutions Stadium on November 1, 2014 in Piscataway, New Jersey.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
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Another day, another player who’s decided to move on from his college football starting point.

Citing a person familiar with the situation, nj.com is reporting that senior defensive back Davon Jacobs has decided to transfer out of first-year head coach Chris Ash’s football program.  The fact that Jacobs had fallen behind on the safety depth chart this spring.

Jacobs is entering his fifth-year season, but he has yet to graduate.  So, if he wants to finish his career at the FBS level, he’d need to graduate this summer.  If not, he could drop down to the FCS level and be eligible to play immediately in 2016.

Last season, Jacobs started the first three games before being sidelined with a concussion.  He came back to start one more game before being reinjured and missing the remainder of the season.

After redshirting as a true freshman in 2012, Jacobs played in 25 games the next two seasons.  Included in that was a pair of starts, one each in 2013 and 2014.

Baylor issues statement in wake of president’s reported ouster

WACO, TX - DECEMBER 06:  Baylor University President and Chancellor Ken Starr runs onto the field with the Baylor Line before their game against the  Kansas State Wildcats on December 6, 2014  at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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It appears the reports of the demise of Baylor’s president are, at least for now, premature.

Tuesday morning the college football world awoke to the news that BU was expected to remove Ken Starr as the university’s president before the end of the month, if not sooner.  The latter seemed to come to fruition as, a short time after HornsDigest.com released that report, the recruiting website updated to state that the school’s Board of Regents had indeed fired Starr.

Starr, in his sixth year as president, had been mentioned in a damning Outside the Lines report earlier this month as having been aware of at least one instance of assault involving a Bears football player and did nothing.

A short time after the Scout.com report surfaced this morning, Baylor released a statement in which Starr is not mentioned specifically, but the timeline for a public response to an independent report on the university’s handling of sexual assault allegations involving football players was detailed.

The Baylor Board of Regents continues its work to review the findings of the Pepper Hamilton investigation and we anticipate further communication will come after the Board completes its deliberations.  We will not respond to rumors, speculation or reports based on unnamed sources, but when official news is available, the university will provide it.  We expect an announcement by June 3.