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Seven hoops schools officially breaking away from Big East

Big East Logo

And, just as officially, the remaining football members trudge off into the great unknown.

Following up on reports from earlier in the week, seven members of the Big East with non-FBS football programs — DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova — announced Saturday that they have voted unanimously to withdraw from the conference.  The when is still to be determined, although it could happen as early as next season if an increased exit fee is negotiated.

While acknowledging the contributions the basketball schools made over the years, Big East commissioner Mike Aresco maintained a confident tone in his statement that the conference will be able to move forward.  Whether it’s a false confidence remains to be seen.

“The 13 members of the Conference are confident and united regarding our collective future,” the statement from the commissioner read. “We have a strong Conference with respected national universities, and are working together to forge the future.  We have a variety of options, and are looking forward with great partnership, collegiality and optimism.”

With the departures, the Big East will be left with 10 members in 2013; 12 in 2014; and 13 in 2015.

All-sports-wise in 2013, the Big East will consist of current members Cincinnati, Temple, UConn and USF along with incoming members Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF.  Tulane will join as an all-sports member in 2014.  Boise State and San Diego State are slated to join as football-only members in 2013, followed by East Carolina in 2014 and Navy in 2015.

Whether the Big East remains a viable football conference beyond 2013 will likely be directly tied to television revenue.  The conference is currently in the midst of negotiations with various networks on a new TV deal, with the hope heading in of a deal that would pay $100 million annually or more.  Even prior to the seven basketball schools leaving, however, that projection had dropped to between $50-$80 million a year depending on the report.  One report figured the hoops members departing would decrease the value of a new TV deal by 15-20 percent.

Thus, each school could be looking at (very roughly) a low end of $3 million annually to around $6-7 million.

Would those numbers, or anywhere in between, be enough to keep Boise State and San Diego State from fleeing back to the Mountain West?  Seeing as they’re only earning around $1.6 million, it would still likely be worth their while even on the low end.

There’s also the very real possibility that the likes of Cincinnati and UConn, which both made a push to replace Maryland in the ACC before the spot went to current Big East member Louisville, could continue to push for future membership in that conference or even the Big Ten.

Regardless, the future of the conference remains extremely tenuous and immensely fragile — no matter how much public confidence the commissioner displays.

UPDATED 3:51 p.m. ET: UConn released a statement from president from Susan Herbst in the wake of the members’ departure.

“The tragedy that took place in Newtown on Friday should be the focus of the thoughts of the people in Connecticut and all Husky fans this weekend.

“The University of Connecticut believes that the BIG EAST Conference will continue to be a strong and exciting conference that is comprised of highly-regarded national universities.

“We ask our fans to steer all passion and concern to Newtown, and we will honor those lost when we gather together as a university community for events this upcoming week.”

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Virginia Tech comes from ahead to lose

Georgia Tech v Virginia Tech

It was just two weeks ago Virginia Tech was being praised for their effort against Ohio State in Columbus. Really, it was that recently the Hokies were ranked in the top 25 and looking like a strong contender in the ACC, or at least the Coastal Division. Two weeks later the Hokies have lost two straight games on their home field. Last week it was East Carolina holding on for a victory. This week it was the Hokies coughing up a fourth-quarter lead and going down in division play as Georgia Tech snuck out of Blacksburg with a 27-24 victory.

Virginia Tech lost the lead twice in the fourth quarter. Georgia Tech took its first lead since the opening score when Paul Davis returned an interception of Michael Brewer 41 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The extra point gave Georgia Tech a 17-16 lead, but it lasted just a few minutes. On the ensuing possession, it was Brewer who got a lucky bounce on a fumbled football. Brewer had the loose ball find its way to him and he was able to run for a 21-yard touchdown with the defense mostly out of the picture. A two-point conversion gave the home team a 24-17 lead midway through the quarter.

Georgia Tech looked cooked on a 4th and 15 situation but pulled together a big first down play out of a timeout that seemed costly at the time. After completing the first down the Yellow Jackets again took to the air as Justin Thomas connected with DeAndre Smelter for a 31-yard touchdown with 2:03 to play. After converted a 4th and 15, why not go for broke, right? It paid off, and from there Georgia Tech’s defense waited for another mistake to pounce on. They got it on Virginia Tech’s next drive. Brewer made a poor decision on a pass and was picked off by D.J. White on the first play of the drive. The turnover gave Georgia Tech a free possession at the Virginia Tech 40-yard line. Using their time management to perfection, Georgia Tech methodically moved into field goal position for Harrison Butker. Butker sent a routine 24-yard field goal through the uprights as time expired, giving Georgia Tech the win and a spot in first place in the ACC Coastal Division.

Virginia Tech will play their third straight home game next weekend. Western Michigan will make the trip to represent the MAC, and Virginia Tech will return to ACC play with another key ACC Coastal Division battle the following week against North Carolina. The road trip to Chapel Hill kicks off a crucial three-game stretch for Virginia Tech in division play with games at North Carolina, at Pittsburgh and then at home against Miami. That could easily give Virginia Tech a chance to rebound and grab a firm hold of the division, which is something no team in this division has really been able to do in recent seasons. Georgia Tech is just getting started with their key division stretch. After taking next week off, Georgia Tech will host Miami and Duke before visiting North Carolina and Pittsburgh.

Georgia Tech is just getting started with their key division stretch. After taking next week off, Georgia Tech will host Miami and Duke before visiting North Carolina and Pittsburgh.

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QB change helps Iowa rally for road win at Pitt

Mark Weisman

Iowa’s (3-1) offense needed a spark in the second half. Perhaps a quarterback change was just what the Hawkeyes needed to avoid a second straight loss. C.J. Beathard replaced Jake Rudock in the second half in Pittsburgh and was effective and accurate as Iowa battled back form a double-digit halftime deficit to hand Pittsburgh (3-1, 1-0 ACC) its first loss of the season. Iowa held on for a 24-20 victory on ACC soil, getting a good afternoon started for the Big Ten.

Beathard breathed new life into the Iowa offense in the second half, but the Hawkeyes also managed to get an advantage on the ground at the line of scrimmage as well to muscle their way downfield at times. Mark Weisman carried the offense on the ground with 89 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Iowa did well spreading the ball around as well with 10 different players catching a pass and no player catching more than two passes.

Does this mean Iowa now has a quarterback controversy? That will be something to keep an eye on. It sure felt like this may have been a permanent change for Iowa, which will be aided by the fact Iowa escaped with a win. Had Iowa lost this game, Jake Rudock‘s job may not have been pulled just yet. And, in fairness, Kirk Ferentz may give Rudock another chance again next time out, perhaps with a shorter leash.

Pittsburgh running back James Conner led all players with 155 rushing yards, but when it came time to make a stop it was Iowa’s defense that forced the Panthers from counting on Conner and take to the air. James Conner led all players with 155 rushing yards, but when it came time to make a stop it was Iowa’s defense that forced the Panthers from counting on Conner and take to the air.

Next week will mark the opening of conference play for Iowa. The Hawkeyes will remain on the road to take on Purdue in another early kickoff. Pittsburgh will play one more non-conference game, again at home. The Panthers will welcome Akron, with the Zips making their second trip to Pennsylvania this season. Akron previously played on the road at Penn State in week two. Pittsburgh will return to ACC play the following week at Virginia.

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Maryland gets the big plays to go their way in first half at Syracuse

C.J. Brown

After losing at home on a last-second field goal to West Virginia last week, Maryland is looking to rebound on the road against a brief, one-time conference foe. Up in the dome in Syracuse, Maryland holds a halftime lead on the Orange, 31-13.

Maryland has been finding success through the air in the first half. C.J. Brown has completed seven of 12 passes for 211 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Brandon Ross had the big offensive play of the half with a 90-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter. Marcus Leak has added 81 yards on three catches as well for the Terps. It was an 88-yard interception returned for a touchdown by Maryland’s William Likely  toward the end of the first half that gave Maryland quite the cushion and turned the momentum of the game heading to the break 180 degrees in favor of the road team.

Syracuse has shown plenty of ability to take control of this game, but has to avoid mistakes in the second half. The Orange have outgained Maryland 362-276 in total offensive yards. Big plays have just been the story of the game for Maryland and have gone against Syracuse.

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ECU slaps receiving yards leader with two-game suspension

Cam Worthy, Kyshoen Jarrett

Just a couple of hours prior to a big in-state showdown, East Carolina’s receiving corps has taken a significant hit.

In a press release, ECU announced that Cam Worthy has been suspended for the next two games.  The reason given? A school student code of conduct violation, which stemmed from, the release stated, a late-summer verbal disagreement between Worthy and another male student on campus.

The punitive measure means Worthy will miss today’s game against North Carolina as well as the Oct. 4 game against SMU, which serves as ECU’s AAC opener. He’ll be eligible to return for the Oct. 11 game against USF

“Since I arrived at ECU we have always had a strong disciplinary response to any actions by our players,” head coach Ruffin McNeill said in a statement. “Cam is an outstanding young man with an exemplary record as a student and representative of our football program. His family has been involved and fully supportive throughout this process as has our entire football family.”

Worthy currently leads the Pirates with 302 receiving yards. His 11 receptions are good for third.

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Georgia Tech’s late TD sets up tense second half in Blacksburg

Brewer

Looking to rebound after a loss at home last week against East Carolina, Virginia Tech is looking to open its ACC portion of the schedule on a good note.  So far, so good for the Hokies. Virginia Tech leads Georgia Tech 16-10 at the half in Blacksburg.

Georgia Tech opened the scoring in this one with a 43-yard field goal by Harrison Butker in the first quarter, but Virginia Tech looked to take control from there. The Hokies scored back-to-back field goals with Joey Slye doing the honors and Marshawn Williams capped a 10-play drive with a six-yard touchdown run in the second quarter for a 13-3 lead. It all looked good for Virginia Tech going to halftime with a double-digit lead, but Georgia Tech strung together a seven-play drive over 70 yards capped by a touchdown run by Justin Thomas. Instead of going to the half up 13-3, Virginia Tech instead holds a six-point edge following a last second field goal by Slye.

Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer has been picked off once but has completed 16 of 22 passes for 188 yards as well. The running game has not found much room to work with against Georgia Tech’s defense, so it may be up to Brewer keeping things moving in the second half in order to hold off Georgia Tech.

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James Conner already with 100-yard afternoon as Pitt leads Iowa

James Conner

If you were looking for a match-up of a pair of sleeper picks in their respective conferences, you might have found it in western Pennsylvania this afternoon. Iowa was widely considered a trendy pick in the Big Ten heading into the season, but the Hawkeyes are coming off a loss at home last week against in-state rival Iowa State. This afternoon they take on a Pittsburgh team that has played well early on and has every bit a chance to win an up-for-grabs ACC Coastal Division. This game may not be generating much buzz, but it has been somewhat entertaining in the first half, with Pittsburgh holding the halftime advantage, 17-7.

Iowa and Pittsburgh have similar offensive philosophies, for the most part. Iowa is typically pretty good running the football, when healthy, but it is Pittsburgh that is excelling on the ground this afternoon. James Connor already has a 100-yard afternoon with 100 yards and a touchdown. Connor is averaging 5.9 yards per carry so far against the Hawkeyes and he is getting an extra push to move the piles at times as well.James Connor already has a 100-yard afternoon with 100 yards and a touchdown. Connor is averaging 5.9 yards per carry so far against the Hawkeyes and he is getting an extra push to move the piles at times as well.

Iowa turned the football over early on with a rather humorous interception when Damon Powell failed to keep his hands on a deep pass. the ball nearly slipped through his hands before his attempt to recover actually redirected the football straight into the hands of Pittsburgh defensive back Lafayette Pitts.

Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock came back later to try a pass down field, with much more success, but he has not been as locked in and accurate as his Pittsburgh counterpart, Chad Voytik. Voytik is not racking up the passing yards but he is finding receivers with consistency (12-of-14, 130 yards) and letting the running game take care of the rest. If Iowa cannot force Voytik to make some uncomfortable throws or slow down the running game, they could be heading home with a loss.

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Jameis Winston suspension hasn’t changed playoff picture yet

Jameis Winston

With Jameis Winston going from a half-game suspension to a full game suspension, the ramifications appear to be pretty significant for Florida State. The Seminoles still have plenty of talent across the roster and remain a double-digit favorite at home tonight against Clemson, but if you choose to let your imagination run wild then you can see how the impact of this suspension could be pretty wide-spread. But don’t waste your time. It is not exactly that complicated.

Let’s let this play out in a completely hypothetical situation. Clemson edges Florida State tonight and the Tigers are now in control of the ACC Atlantic Division. Clemson obviously has a leg up in the hunt for an ACC Championship Game appearance and the Tigers host North Carolina, North Carolina State and Louisville in the next three games. That gives Clemson a nice advantage, but it is far too early to suggest Clemson is a lock to win all three. Regardless, Clemson would have the head-to-head tiebreaker in their favor over Florida State.

If Florida State ends the season 11-1 and does not get a chance to compete for the ACC title, that could potentially be a concern when it comes time for the College Football Playoff selection committee to choose which four teams get in the playoff. How much will the committee weigh a conference championship? How will they view Florida State at 11-1, with Winston back on the field (supposing he is on the field, of course)? Keep in mind, Clemson even as an ACC champion may not be a lock either after losing to Georgia in week one. If Clemson loses to South Carolina, then you have a two-loss team as ACC champion.

This could be welcome news to a school like Michigan State and whoever comes out of the Big 12 (Oklahoma or Baylor, most likely). If you believe the SEC champion and Pac-12 champion are guaranteed to be in, the fight for the other two spots will be tense. Florida State has seemed like a lock for one of the spots, but now a loss could jeopardize that idea. I’m not so sure Florida State gets left out if they go 11-1 though. But if Clemson goes 12-1 with the ACC title, that outlook changes in a hurry.

Here’s another thing to keep in mind though. It’s not even October yet. It may just be best to stop speculating who is in and who is not for now. Just allow the games to play out and let the selection committee do its job. Until we see how the committee actually works, it is pointless to suggest what they are thinking at this time.

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Can Bowling Green score another B1G victory?

The MAC enters this weekend with a 3-5 head-to-head record against their big brother conference form the same region, the Big Ten. With three more games on the schedule today, the MAC has a chance to take a winning record or split against the Big Ten this regular season. It is still unlikely with two of the match-ups pairing Eastern Michigan against defending Big Ten champion Michigan State in East Lansing and UMass visiting Penn State. The Spartans are not taking EMU for granted, and Wisconsin should not be taking Bowling Green for granted either. The Badgers host the Falcons in the early portion of the day, and they may face the stiffest test out of the three Big Ten-MAC pairings this afternoon.

In today’s posting from Tom Oates for the Wisconsin State Journal, Oates points out just how good of a test this is for Wisconsin. Wisconsin has made a transition from the big, stalwart style of play that has been symbolic of Wisconsin and Big Ten football for years and moved to a smaller, lighter brand of football under head coach Gary Andersen. This has been exposed by a team like LSU but should be fit for combating a team like Bowling Green. The Falcons are known to open things up on the offensive side of the football the way that is becoming more and more common around the country. Andersen has seen this style of play and is aware of the increasing popularity of the up-tempo and wide-open offensive movement. That is what makes Saturday afternoon’s game in Madison so intriguing.

“In my opinion, in today’s day and age of football, the way it’s changed, you have to be able to get into a package where you can get three corners on the field or four corners on the field, or even have a safety come down and play linebacker,” Andersen said this week.

Bowling Green is the defending MAC champion and still a strong candidate to come out of the MAC East despite losing starting quarterback Matt Johnson for the year due to injury. Last week James Knapke passed for 395 yards and three touchdowns in a home win against another Big Ten team, Indiana. Wisconsin will be a different beats altogether for Bowling Green, but the Falcons should feel confident in their abilities against the Badgers.

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Dantonio and Spartans not taking EMU for granted

Mark Dantonio

Michigan State takes on Eastern Michigan this afternoon in a game the Spartans should win easily. The defending Big Ten champions are now on a mission to win the rest of their regular season games and hopefully end the year with a second straight victory in the Big Ten Championship Game. Do that and the Spartans are a viable candidate for one of the four College Football Playoff invitations at the end of the season. With so much football to be played, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is not focusing on style points against Eastern Michigan this afternoon.

“We are going to play to win, and after that is accomplished, in any game, we’re going to try to get our younger players playing and develop experience and depth on this football team,’’ Dantonio said, per MLive.com. “And that’s how we play it here.”

Michigan State’s only loss this season came on the road at Oregon. The Pac-12 favorites battled back from a second-half deficit to stun the Spartans in Eugene, and Oregon has moved up the rankings as a result. There is plenty of time for Michigan State to do the same, which is a benefit of losing early in the season as opposed to later in the year. Dantonio knows no game can be taken for granted though, even against Eastern Michigan.

“In 2012, we were down 7-6 at the half (to Eastern Michigan), and I think we were 30-point favorites,’’ Dantonio said. “Our guys need to come ready to play.”

Michigan State hosts Eastern Michigan at noon eastern today.

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Jameis Winston suspended for entire Clemson game

Jameis Winston AP

If Florida State fans are looking for a whole-game look at what post-Jameis Winston life will be like, you’re going to get a sneak peek in Week 4.

In an unexpected and “WOW!!!” development, FSU announced very late Friday night that its Heisman-winning starting quarterback has been suspended for the Clemson game Saturday.  As in, the entire game, not just the first two quarters.

Earlier this week, it had been announced that Winston would be suspended for the first half of the Seminoles’ ACC opener against the Tigers.  That suspension stemmed from Winston’s very vocal and public performance of a vulgar and obscene Internet meme.

The statement announcing the full-game suspension, attributed to interim president Dr. Garnett Stokes and athletic director Stan Wilcox, appears below.  It should also be noted that head coach Jimbo Fisher was not mentioned in the official release announcing the full-game suspension.

Based upon the results of our continuing investigation of Tuesday’s incident involving Jameis Winston, we have decided to not play him for the entire game against Clemson.

FSU has been criticized nationally for its original half-game suspension.  That criticism stemmed from a couple of camps: the first being an overreaction to a kid-being-a-kid moment, the second a university and football program that’s bent over backwards and turned a blind eye to a very talented player over and over and over again.

It’ll be up to the NFL to decide which is which and what is what.

With Winston sitting, the current future belongs to the enigma that is Sean McGuire — in his first career start and with ticket-less parents — to guide the Seminoles as they look to not only extend its nation’s best winning streak to 19 straight but also continue positioning FSU for the first-ever College Football Playoff.

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Top 5 recruit suffers apparent leg injury

Josh Sweat

Defensive end Josh Sweat (Chesapeake, VA/Oscar Smith) is one of those rare talents at the high school level who has his choice of colleges across the country.

Unfortunately, Sweat’s football career will be put on hold after he suffered a leg injury Friday night.

The severity of Sweat’s injury has yet to be determined, but he appeared to be in good spirits as he was taken off the field.

Sweat is a 6-5, 236-pound defensive end ranked as the fifth best prospect in the nation, according to Rivals.com. Sweat holds offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Penn State, South Carolina, Texas A&M, USC and many others.

Virginia Tech, Florida State, Georgia and Ohio State are considered the early favorites for his services. The Hokies would love to keep the talented edge-rusher in state, but the injury will prevent Sweat from visiting Blacksburg this weekend.

The defensive end also has visits scheduled with Georgia, Florida State and Oregon depending on the status of his injury.

(Photo courtesy of Rivals.com)

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Georgia attempting to schedule ‘iconic’ programs

Uga VI

As college football enters a new era that culminates each season with the College Football Playoffs, programs are attempting to beef up their schedules as much as possible to become attractive options to the selection committee.

The committee made itself very clear in how it will evaluate which four teams will be included.

“Strength of schedule, head-to-head competition and championships won must be specifically applied as tie-breakers between teams that look similar,” a document released by the College Football Playoff stated.

Georgia Bulldogs athletic director Greg McGarity took notice of the proclamation. With the Notre Dame Fighting Irish already on the schedule during the 2017 and 2019 seasons, McGarity isn’t finished adding “iconic” programs to the Bulldogs’ schedules.

“I feel like over the next seven years just be expecting some more games of this magnitude,” McGarity told the UGA athletic board, according to the Athens Banner-Herald‘s Marc Weiszer. “Nothing’s in writing. …It’s all verbal at this time. Expect some good things to happen over the next seven or eight years from a scheduling standpoint.”

Georgia currently has two openings during the 2016 and 2019 campaigns, The 2017 season has one spot yet to be filled. And 2018 is relatively wide open with three games yet to be filled.

The Bulldogs aren’t expected to schedule some traditional rivals like the Clemson Tigers. McGarity is looking to build a national brand.

“It would be great for us to move into other areas,” McGarity told Weiszer. “I think that’s kind of what we’re looking at, to go to some places where when you say Georgia’s playing at this site, you say, ‘Wow. I can’t wait for that to happen.’”

Some of the programs that immediately come to mind are the USC Trojans, Oregon Ducks, Oklahoma Sooners, Ohio State Buckeyes, Michigan Wolverines and Texas Longhorns. None of those have been attached to a game against Georgia, but they seem to fit the type of program McGarity would like to schedule.

The athletic director has certainly changed his approach as the program moves forward with the new system in place.

“I think it changes somewhat because of the strength of schedule model that we think is in place,” McGarity said. “We don’t know what that is, but I do think the excitement that the Notre Dame game has generated has just been phenomenal.”

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NCAA wants Ed O’Bannon appeal resolved by next summer

NCAA Men's Final Four - Practice Getty Images

The NCAA needs to have its appeal of the Ed O’Bannon case heard before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals within the year.

Correction: The NCAA believes it’s “critical” to have its appeal resolved within the year, according to CBSSports.com’s Jon Solomon.

“The NCAA contends that if this appeal is not resolved by that date, then absent a stay the NCAA and its members will, in the NCAA’s words, be forced to make fundamental changes to the administration of collegiate athletics and to their relationship with student-athletes,” the joint filing stated. “Plaintiffs disagree vigorously that the injunction will present a disruption but are nevertheless amenable to a briefing and argument schedule that would permit both to be completed by April or May 2015.”

Whether you side with or against the NCAA in its attempt to retain its amateurism, it is important for the appeal to be heard and resolved by August. Schools will then know how to adjust their approach to running their profitable sports such as football and basketball, which both take place in the fall.

“The NCAA requested that oral arguments be set for a date in April or May 2015,” Solomon reported.

As of now, the NCAA has to prepare for the changes U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken enacted when she ruled in favor of the players represented in the O’Bannon case.

“The judge’s decision strikes down NCAA rules restricting their compensation and permits reasonable but significant sharing with athletes — both for the costs of education and to establish trust funds — from the billions in revenues that schools earn from their football and basketball players,” attorney who represented the plaintiffs, Bill Isaacson, said in a statement directly after ruling was made.

The NCAA“will not be permitted to set this cap below the cost of attendance, as the term is defined in its current bylaws.” It also prevents the NCAA from making rules to limit schools from“offering to deposit a limited share of licensing revenue in trust for their FBS football and Division I basketball recruits, payable when they leave school or their eligibility expires.”

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Georgia initiates study for new indoor facility, raises ticket prices

Georgia v Clemson Getty Images

In the wake of the Ed O’Bannon court ruling, it’s more obvious than ever that college football (and the NCAA in general) is a business. A school’s ability to raise funds for new facilities is an integral part of the game’s arms races for recruits and maintaining a high profile.

The University of Georgia is the latest program to investigate the possibility of adding a new indoor practice facility, according to the Athens Banner-Herald‘s Marc Weiszer.

How will the school fund the product if it’s approved? Fundraising and donations will certainly be a big part of the process. The school also plans to raise ticket prices next season.

The “World’s Largest Cocktail Party” will be a little more expensive to attend as well.

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FAA grounds Michigan’s game-ball drone delivery plans

station radio control

Michigan wanted to deliver this weekend’s game ball against Utah to Michigan Stadium by drone. The Federal Aviation Administration said “Nope.”

As reported by Bloomberg, the University of Michigan had plans to use a drone aircraft. The plan was even discussed with local aviation regulators, but once the FAA caught wind of the idea the organization was quick to make sure the plan did not take flight.

“The FAA promotes voluntary compliance by educating UAS operators about how they can operate safely under current regulations and laws,” the FAA said to Bloomberg. The FAA has only allowed permits for limited drone operations to date, so the possibility of having something like this approved in the future is certainly a realistic possibility.

Now the only air delivery Michigan fans will focus on on Saturday against Utah will be that off the arm of quarterback Devin Gardner.

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