Just as the Big East officially added Tulane and East Carolina as futures members Tuesday afternoon, it appears another is looking to jump ship.
Maryland announced a little over a week ago that it would be departing the ACC for the Big Ten in 2014, a move that may or may not come with a $50 million exit fee. The early speculation was that UConn was a near-lock to replace the Terps if the ACC added just one more team to get back to 14 future members, with Louisville holding an outside shot as well.
Both of those schools are Big East members, as is Cincinnati, which according to ESPN.com “is making a strong push to gain admittance to the ACC with a campaign about why the school is a more viable option than fellow Big East members Connecticut and Louisville.”
UC’s approach in its pitch to the ACC is reportedly multi-pronged, including the success of the football/basketball programs over the last several years; the Cincinnati television market — No. 35 in 2011-12 according to Nielsen, putting it below Hartford (30th) and above Louisville (48th); “the fertile Ohio football recruiting ground,” which is currently and will continue to be lorded over by Ohio State and Urban Meyer when it comes to prime football recruits; and the university as a research institution.
The source told the the website’s Andy Katz that “Cincinnati officials are cautiously optimistic that the Bearcats are in step with both Louisville and UConn if the ACC were to choose just one school to replace Maryland.”
The ACC has no timeline, at least publicly, on when it will replace Maryland.
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.
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 Gridiron.com, 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.