C-USA announces divisional setup

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Yesterday, Conference USA officially announced the additions of FAU and Middle Tennessee State for the 2013 season.

Wednesday, the conference announced its divisional look for the 2013 season as well.

In a release, and as expected, C-USA announced that it would split its 14 football-playing members into two divisions.  As they have in the past, those two divisions will be called the East and West (again, looking at you, Big Ten).

The East will consist of East Carolina, FAU, FIU, Marshall, MTSU, Southern Miss and UAB, while the West will be made up of Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, Tulane, Tulsa, UTEP and UT-San Antonio.

ECU and Tulane will leave for the Big East in 2014, replaced by Old Dominion and UNC-Charlotte.  It had previously been thought that both of those schools would become football-playing members in 2015; however, in today’s release, Conference USA announced that Old Dominion “would be eligible for an East Division title and the opportunity to compete in the 2014 C-USA Championship.”  They will not be eligible for a bowl game until 2015, though.

Charlotte will join in football in 2015, although their division was not clarified.

In addition to the divisional setup, the conference also released each member’s home and away football opponents for the 2013 season.  The eight-game conference slate will consist of six games within the division and two cross-division games.  After the jump, if you so desire, you can view the home and away opponents for each 2013 member of Conference USA.

EAST CAROLINA 
HOME – FAU, Southern Miss, Tulsa, UAB
AWAY – at FIU, at Marshall, at Middle Tennessee, at Tulane

FAU 
HOME – FIU, Marshal,l Middle Tennessee, Tulane
AWAY – at East Carolina, at Rice, at Southern Miss, at UAB

FIU 
HOME – East Carolina, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, UAB
AWAY – at FAU, at Middle Tennessee, at Southern Miss, at UTEP

LOUISIANA TECH 
HOME – North Texas, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa
AWAY – at FIU, at Rice, at UTEP, at UTSA

MARSHALL 
HOME – East Carolina, Southern Miss, UAB, UTSA
AWAY – at FAU, at FIU, at Middle Tennessee, at Tulsa

MIDDLE TENNESSEE 
HOME – East Carolina, FIU, Marshall, UTEP
AWAY – at FAU, at North Texas, at Southern Miss, at UAB

NORTH TEXAS 
HOME – Middle Tennessee, Rice, UTEP, UTSA
AWAY – at Louisiana Tech, at Southern Miss, at Tulane, at Tulsa

RICE 
HOME – FAU, Louisiana Tech, Tulane, UTEP
AWAY – at North Texas, at Tulsa, at UAB, at UTSA

SOUTHERN MISS 
HOME – FAU, FIU, Middle Tennessee, North Texas
AWAY – at East Carolina, at Louisiana Tech, at Marshall, at UAB

TULANE 
HOME – East Carolina, North Texas, Tulsa, UTEP
AWAY – at FAU, at Louisiana Tech, at Rice, at UTSA

TULSA 
HOME – Marshall, North Texas, Rice, UTSA
AWAY – at East Carolina, at Louisiana Tech, at Tulane, at UTEP

UAB 
HOME – FAU, Middle Tennessee, Rice, Southern Miss
AWAY – at East Carolina, at FIU, at Marshall, at UTSA

UTEP 
HOME – FIU, Louisiana Tech, Tulsa, UTSA
AWAY – at Middle Tennessee, at North Texas, at Rice, at Tulane

UTSA 
HOME – Louisiana Tech, Rice, Tulane, UAB
AWAY – at Marshall, at North Texas, at Tulsa, at UTEP

Miami makes addition of ex-Miami TE Jovani Haskins official

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One down, one to go.

Over the weekend, both former Miami tight end Jovani Haskins (HERE) and ex-Alabama wide receiver T.J. Simmons (HERE) indicated on social media that they would be transferring and continuing their collegiate playing careers at West Virginia.  Monday, WVU confirmed that the former has signed his grant-in-aid for the 2017-18 academic year.

Haskins will have to sit out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.  Beginning with the 2018 season, he’ll have three years of eligibility remaining.

A three-star member of the Hurricanes’ 2016 recruiting class, the 6-4, 245-pound Haskins was rated as the No. 18 tight end in the country and the No. 10 player at any position in the state of New Jersey.  He took a redshirt as a true freshman.

Earlier this month, Haskins opted to transfer from The U in order to “get a fresh start somewhere else.”

Haskins is the third Power Five player to officially transfer to the Mountaineers this offseason, joining former Syracuse defensive back Corey Winfield (HERE) and ex-Miami quarterback Jack Allison (HERE).

Texas JUCO reported landing spot for former four-star Auburn DT

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A little over a month after leaving The Plains, Antwuan Jackson has reportedly settled on a new college football home.

Citing multiple sources familiar with the situation, 247Sports.com is reporting that Jackson has signed with Blinn Community College in Texas.  The defensive tackle will play for the JUCO this season, with his eyes set on a return to the FBS level, perhaps as early as December.

On his Twitter account earlier Monday, Jackson hinted at an unspecified development regarding his football future.

In mid-May, Jackson announced his decision to transfer from Auburn. AU blocked him from transferring to a handful of schools he had requested, including Ohio State. It’s believed the Buckeyes have emerged as the favorites to land the lineman when he jumps back to the FBS level.

Jackson was a four-star member of AU’s 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 7 defensive tackle in the country; the No. 5 player at any position in the state of Georgia; and the No. 49 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  Only three players in the Tigers’ class that year were rated higher.

As a true freshman last season, Jackson took a redshirt.

Nova, Auburn’s live eagle mascot, grounded for 2017 season

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Auburn will be forced to go to a backup when it comes to its famed pregame mascot flights.

The university announced Monday that’s live eagle mascot, War Eagle VII, has ben grounded for the entire 2017 season.  The university stated that its College of Veterinary Medicine faculty diagnosed the 18-year-old golden eagle with cardiomyopathy, a chronic disease of the heart.

The diagnosis was made following what was described as a routine checkup.

Below are the comments of the veterinarians in charge of the care of an eagle who has been a part of gamedays on The Plains since 2004.

Nova has been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, indicated by an enlarged left ventricle, decreased systolic function and supraventricular premature complexes (arrhythmia),” said Dr. Seth Oster, an avian veterinarian at the raptor center and the college’s Wilford and Kate Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital.

“These areas of constriction can increase the systolic pressure of the heart so that Nova’s heart has to pump harder to move blood around his body,” said Oster. “This type of problem could have multiple causes, the most common of which in birds is atherosclerosis.”

“Vessels that are constricted, like those that are seen in Nova’s scan, can have dangerous complications when put under increased stress from exercise,” said Dr. Seung-Woo Jung, an assistant professor of cardiology in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine. “This includes aneurysm or clot formation that could lead to vascular rupture, stroke, aortic thromboembolism or heart attack.

The release added that due to “the risk of severe medical complications, veterinary medical staff decided that Nova should not be placed in situations that cause his heart to work harder than usual, including flying in the stadium before each game.”

With War Eagle VII sidelined, pregame duties will fall to Spirit.

Spirit is the only bald eagle that has ever flown in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Her first game flight was in 2002, and she is recognizable by her bright white head and tail feathers. In 1995, Spirit was discovered as an injured fledgling in Florida. She came to Auburn in 1998 and joined the educational collection at the Southeastern Raptor Center. Her damaged beak makes her non-releasable.

Report: Baylor set to release information on sexual assault reports

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Apparently, transparency is no longer such a four-letter word in Waco.  Somewhat.

Citing a brief filed in court Friday by attorneys representing Baylor, the Waco Tribune is reporting that “[g]eneral information behind every alleged sexual assault reported to Baylor University since 2003 will soon be released by the school.” The university is currently in the process of putting together spreadsheets that will shed light on the incidents over the last decade and a half.

Per the Tribune, below are the parameters of the information that will be included in the spreadsheets.

  • Date of alleged assault
  • Date alleged assault was reported to Baylor employee
  • Whether alleged victim was Baylor student
  • Gender of alleged victim
  • Gender of alleged assailant
  • Whether Baylor knew the identity of alleged victim
  • Whether Baylor knew the identity of alleged assailant
  • Whether alleged victim asked Baylor to keep the alleged assailant’s identity confidential
  • Location of alleged assault
  • How Baylor learned of alleged assault
  • Specific offices or type of Baylor personnel who were made aware of alleged assault
  • Disposition of complaint

Information that appears will be noticeably absent?  Whether or not the assailants were Bears football players at the time..

In mid-May of this year, BU was served notice that it is being sued by a former BU volleyball player, only identified as “Jane Doe,” who claims that she was gang-raped by as many as eight then-Bears football players in 2012.  That was at least the seventh Federal Title IX lawsuit filed in connection to the sexual assault scandal that rocked the university and cost several high-profile officials their jobs, including head football coach Art Briles, nearly a year ago.

That latest filing came a little over two months after the Texas Rangers confirmed that it had commenced a preliminary investigation centered on how the university, the football program and campus police handled allegations of sexual assault made against student-athletes, most notably members of the football team.  The confirmation of that probe came a little over a month after details in one of the handful of federal lawsuits the university is facing emerged, with that suit alleging 31 Bears football players had committed 52 acts of rape over a period of four years beginning in 2011; in late March, BU sought to have that suit dismissed.

Outside of the federal lawsuits and Department of Education Title IX investigation, two former Bears football players have been convicted of sexual assault that were committed while they were members of the football team.  Several other players were accused of committing either sexual assault or violence — or both — while playing for Briles.

None of Briles’ assistants were dismissed along with the head coach as a result of the scandal even as an independent review into the football program’s handling of sexual assault accusations showed that “members of the Baylor coaching staff chose not to report incidents of sexual violence involving football players, [instead] meeting directly with those filing complaints of sexual abuse and handling their own investigations outside of university policy to discredit the complainants, thus denying them the right to a fair investigation by the university.”

In early February of this year, the Big 12 announced that it will withhold 25 percent of future revenue payments to BU, only releasing the monies “pending the outcome of third-party verification review of required changes to Baylor’s athletics procedures and to institutional governance of its intercollegiate athletics programs, among other matters.”

In the same brief filed late last week, the university again confirmed that it is the subject of “an ongoing, pending investigation” by the NCAA.