Hopefully, this will be the last time we write about Jon Gruden in connection to a college job this season. Or ever, quite frankly.
As you have no doubt heard by now, multiple media outlets reported Friday morning that Jon Gruden was no longer interested in pursuing the Tennessee job. While one paper in the state claimed late last night that a very lucrative offer was on the table for the ESPN NFL analyst, subsequent reports stated that no offer had been made, formal or otherwise.
All the while, Bob LaMonte, agent-to-the-coaching-stars whose client list includes Gruden, had remained silent as the speculation grew to a near-fever pitch in and around Knoxville the past few weeks. That silence evaporated in an illuminating conversation with the Knoxville News Sentinel‘s Evan Woodbery.
In that talk, LaMonte labeled the speculation surrounding his client when it came to the Vols opening as “just a fantasy world.” LaMonte also claimed that this morning was the first time he had spoken to UT athletic director Dave Hart… ever.
“He just said there had been a lot of rumors and he just wanted to clear the air,” LaMonte said in relating his conversation with the man charged with finding a replacement for Derek Dooley. “I said, ‘Thank you for the call. I appreciate it.’ He said thank you and that was it. …
“I don’t know Dave Hart. I’d never met him or talked to him.”
Before anyone mentions boosters or others loosely connected to UT, LaMonte added that this morning “was the only time I talked to anyone from Tennessee.” You can determine the size of the grain salt with which to take that claim.
As for Gruden’s future? “Jon has made it clear he’s committed to ESPN,” the agent said.
Until the NFL version of the coaching carousel begins to spin, of course.
Running a college athletics department is only getting more expensive, so attending a college football game will only get more expensive. Or, at least attending a Georgia game will.
Bulldogs president Jere Morehead and athletics director Greg McGarity revealed Thursday per-seat donations would rise an average of 17 percent for priority season ticket holders beginning in the 2017 season.
“It’s in anticipation of things that are ahead,” McGarity told the Athens Banner-Herald.
Cost-of-attendance scholarships bumped that line item up $766,000, and other costs across the department added an additional $5.3 million to the budget. All this while Georgia is building a new indoor facility and replacing Mark Richt and his staff while hiring Kirby Smart and his new staff.
“Those projects are going to be expensive,” Morehead said. “The cost of operating our athletic program each year continues to rise particularly as you look at the enhancements that are being provided to our student-athletes and to the support that we’re providing our student-athletes.”
The bump in prices will raise an extra $2.5 million for Georgia, and represents the first time Bulldogs fans have been asked to ante up since 2005.
“We wanted to be respectable in the increase to not price people out of a certain area but we did feel like we needed to make an adjustment,” said McGarity. “We want to continue to encourage people to come to games. We’ve got our work cut out to make sure (that happens).”
The Fighting Frites are heading to the Horseshoe.
Ohio State and Tulane announced a one-time game to be played in Columbus on Sept. 22, 2018.
“Tulane enhances and completes a non-conference schedule in 2018 that already includes Power 5 conference teams TCU and Oregon State,” Ohio State deputy AD Martin Jarmond said in a statement. “The Green Wave is part of a fine American Athletic Conference, which produced a New Year’s Day 6 bowl winner last year [Houston over Florida State in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl], so its first trip to Ohio Stadium should be exciting for our students and fans.”
The two teams have never met previously. Tulane last faced a Big Ten team on Sept. 27, 2014, a 31-6 loss at Rutgers. Ohio State last faced an American Athletic Conference program in the 2014 opener, a 34-17 Buckeyes win over Navy in Annapolis, Md.
“We are excited for the opportunity to play Ohio State, one of the premier programs in the country,” Tulane executive associate athletics director Brandon Macneill said in a statement. “Our coaching staff and players, along with our fans are eager to play against the very best and this should be a great game. There will be a significant number of Tulanians from around the country joining us at the Horseshoe.”
Adding Tulane completes Ohio State’s 2018 non-conference schedule; the Buckeyes host Oregon State on Sept. 1 and visit TCU on Sept. 15. Tulane still lacks two games for 2018 but is slated to visit Georgia Tech on Sept. 8.
The University of Georgia paid Ludacris $65,000 to perform a concert at Georgia’s spring football game, and now the athletics director is apologizing for catering to every demand made by the artist.
In a meeting with the Georgia athletic board of directors, athletics director Greg McGarity offered an apology for giving in to a lengthy list of demands from Ludacris, which included condoms and alcohol.
“I do want to take this opportunity to apologize to our board for mistakes we made with certain aspects of the details of an entertainment agreement,” McGarity said, according to The Athens Banner-Herald. “Few things in my professional life have bothered me more than this situation. There are no reruns in life so we need to turn the page, learn from our mistakes and do everything we can to make sure errors of this nature do not reoccur.”
Georgia set a school attendance record for its spring game with an estimated total of 93,000 fans coming out for the first spring game under new head coach Kirby Smart. Of course, more than a few of those fans were encouraged to come out to see Ludacris perform, so it all worked out well for Georgia even if some people were not happy with the goods supplied to him during his stay.
“Some more than others as far as different age groups,” McGarrity said of the people expressing their displeasure with Georgia’s hospitality. “It was all over the map. I think there were a lot of things that came into play.”
Auburn running back Roc Thomas is possibly looking to join one of the top programs from the FCS ranks. Reports today surfaced suggesting Thomas is looking to transfer to Jacksonville State, although another report says he has yet to ask Auburn for a request to transfer.
During a radio interview, Jay G. Tate of AuburnSports.com said Thomas is likely on his way to Jacksonville State…
As that message was spreading around the college football landscape, largely under the ominous storm cloud from Waco, Texas, SEC Country updated their report by saying Thomas has not yet made a request to transfer from Auburn. That may have been accurate, but may not suggest a transfer to Jacksonville State is off the table. It could just be a matter of semantics, where Thomas is set to join the Jacksonville State program but still must go through the formalities of transferring from Auburn.
Thomas does have two years of eligibility remaining.