Derek Dooley

Dallas Cowboys make Derek Dooley hire official

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And now it’s officially official.

Nine days after multiple media outlets reported that Derek Dooley was set to be hired by the Dallas Cowboys, the NFL club confirmed as much Monday evening by announcing Dooley as the newest member of Jason Garrett‘s coaching staff.  As expected, Dooley will handle the Cowboys’ wide receivers.

The NFL club confirmed that Dooley interviewed with Garrett two weeks ago in Mobile, Ala., during the run-up to the Senior Bowl.

Garrett and Dooley served on Nick Saban‘s Miami Dolphins coaching staff from 2005-06.  That was Dooley’s first and only job at the NFL level.

The son of Georgia coaching legend Vince DooleyDooley was fired in mid-November after three seasons as Tennessee’s head coach.  Taking over in the wake of the final years of the Phillip Fulmer era and Lane Kiffin‘s one-year carpetbag misadventure, Dooley finished his three seasons with the Vols at 15-21 overall and an abysmal 4-19 in SEC play.  He had previously been the head coach at Louisiana Tech.

Dooley had been set to serve as a recruiting analyst for ESPNU’s National Signing Day coverage Wednesday, although its unclear if this move would preclude him from taking part in one his favorite days of the year.

Auburn assistant Dameyune Craig changes his stripes to join LSU staff

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 06:  Assistant coach Dameyune Craig of the Auburn Tigers on the field before the Tigers take on the Florida State Seminoles in the 2014 Vizio BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl on January 6, 2014 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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Auburn stole from LSU this winter when it plucked defensive coordinator Kevin Steele away from Baton Rouge to serve as Will Muschamp‘s replacement. Now LSU has struck back.

LSU announced Sunday it had hired Auburn co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig as its new wide receivers coach.

“Dameyune is a quarterback by nature so he’s going to be a tremendous asset to us in all phases of the passing game,” LSU head coach Les Miles said in a statement. “He coached a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida State and developed some outstanding receivers at Auburn.

“He comes to us with great coaching credentials as well as being a proven recruiter. We look forward to the contributions that he’s going to bring to our football program.”

Craig, a Mobile, Ala., native and former Auburn quarterback, is not long on experience as a major-college assistant, only joining a Power 5 school in 2010 at Florida State, but has garnered a reputation as a strong recruiter. He was named the ACC’s Recruiter of the Year in 2012.

Recruiting laymen may recall Craig’s name from the 2014 BCS National Championship, when Florida State receivers accused him of stealing the Seminoles’ signals. Craig was Florida State’s quarterbacks coach from 2010-12.

“They had a couple of our signals a couple times and were getting to them. That happens, people do it, and that’s our fault,” Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said following FSU’s title-game win. “You’ve got to change them, constantly rotate them, being able to get them in different ways. That’s part of the game. I don’t have a problem with that.”

“I want to thank the Auburn family for all of their love and support over the years,” Craig said. “My decision to make this career move is in no way a reflection of Auburn or the Auburn family. It is strictly a professional decision. It’s about growing as a coach and, hopefully, one day becoming a head coach.

Craig spent the 2004 season at LSU as a graduate assistant, then followed Nick Saban and his staff to the Miami Dolphins in 2005. From there he spent two seasons as the quarterbacks coach at Tuskegee and another two years coaching wide receivers at South Alabama before joining Fisher’s staff in Tallahassee.

For Auburn, the loss of Craig continues an offseason in which the Tigers have been victims of the SEC’s insular nature. Muschamp left for the head coaching job at South Carolina and took defensive assistants Travaris Robinson and Lance Thompson with him. Craig is the eighth Auburn assistant to leave the program (by his choice or the program’s) since the end of the 2014 season, including five voluntarily after the ’15 campaign.

Many believe Auburn will likely hire former Auburn wideout and current Arizona State running backs coach Kodi Burns back to the Plains to replace him.

“I want to thank Dameyune for his contributions during the last three years and wish him and his family nothing but the best,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said in a statement of his own. “We will work quickly to search for his replacement.”

USC AD Pat Haden released from hospital following undisclosed procedure

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 03: 
USC Athletic Director Pat Haden speaks at a press conference introducing Steve Sarkisian as the new USC  head football coach at the John McKay Center at the University of Southern California on December 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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USC athletics director Pat Haden was released from a Los Angeles hospital Saturday following an undisclosed procedure.

Haden shared the news on his Twitter account.

Haden was hospitalized Wednesday after falling while walking back to Heritage Hall after an on-campus meeting. He was taken away from the first hospital to a second on Wednesday evening, where he underwent an undisclosed procedure according to the Los Angeles Times.

Haden took over as USC’s athletics director in 2010 and has remained in the news for the wrong reasons since, from the airport firing of Lane Kiffin to the Steve Sarkisian saga, including confronting an official during a game against Stanford in 2014, for which he was fined by the Pac-12. He had another episode requiring medical attention on the sideline at Notre Dame this October, and resigned from the College Football Playoff selection committee two weeks later.

The former Trojan quarterback announced last week he will step down as USC’s athletics director this summer.

Emails detail Cincinnati’s effort to join Big 12

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 12:  A cheerleader of the Cincinnati Bearcats waves a flag during the game against the Toledo Rockets at Paul Brown Stadium on September 12, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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It’s no secret that if there was an obvious choice for expansion, the Big 12 would have expanded by now. But, in spite of that, Cincinnati is working to convince the 10 member schools — or, perhaps, the remaining five or six it needs to win over — that it is the obvious candidate.

The Cincinnati Enquirer on Sunday published emails detailing Cincinnati’s ground-roots, back-room campaign to join the Big 12, far led  by UC president Santa Ono with some strategic help along the way. The emails show Ono and UC have an ally in Oklahoma president David Boren, who wrote after meeting Ono at a Washington, D.C., function nearly a year ago today, “You are truly an outstanding leader and knowing that you are at the helm in Cincinnati makes me even more inclined to support your cause.” Boren is joined by West Virginia president Gordon Gee, a known hawk on expansion, and Baylor president Ken Starr on the Big 12’s expansion committee.

Ono also met privately with former Kansas State president Jon Wefald, who provided the UC president with bad information. “The only way I see to get Cincinnati into the Big 12 is this: that UC and the 2nd school would have to volunteer to take the financial haircut yourselves. Why? Because the three major networks will never add enough monies to allow the next two schools to have the same revenues as the 10 to (sic) now,” he wrote. “The emphasis of UC right now should be this: Get into the Big 12 and worry about equal revenues later. So get in now and tell the other 10 universities that you and the second school will take the haircut.”

This is incorrect, which turns out to be a bullet point in Cincinnati’s favor.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby confirmed last summer the league’s contracts with ESPN and FOX would expand with the conference’s membership.

Jason Kirk of SB Nation did a back-of-the-envelope estimation that concluded adding two schools would cost the remaining 10 schools between $1.5 and $2 million annually in College Football Playoff, NCAA and bowl payouts, but that’s before adding in the likelihoods of additional bowl and NCAA payouts that come with an expanded roster, plus the fact that the Big 12 would now have a conference championship game to sell to TV networks. In short, Cincinnati and another school likely wouldn’t cost the Big 12 much of a “haircut” at all.

In addition to his trip to Manhattan, Ono also visited with then-Texas president Bill Powers in Austin on company dime, but minutes from a UC Foundation board meeting indicate Ono “personally visited every Big 12 president regarding the merits of the University of Cincinnati and its academic and athletic programs,” indicating Bearcats boosters may have funded much of Ono’s campaign.

Cincinnati also enlisted help of executives with UC ties from Cincinnati-based Kroger and Macy’s while also soliciting Pacey Economics to compare the Bearcats with current Big 12 schools:

In a splashy brochure dated November 2014, UC shows how it compares to the Big 12 schools in 10 categories – including annual giving, National Merit Scholars, total research expenditures, enrollment and endowment assets. Cincinnati would rank in the conference’s top 5 in each category listed, except the U.S. News & World Report rankings, which would put UC seventh.

Pacey’s research, completed in late 2014, looked at athletic budgets, football and basketball success, academics and TV market size. UC’s annual athletics budget ($27.7 million in 2015) would be the lowest in the Big 12, but Pacey pointed out that would be expected to increase in a conference where the athletic department could make more money.

The Big 12 won’t meet to discuss expansion again until May, but Ono told the Enquirer he believes his jet-setting and hand-shaking will pay off. “I am indeed optimistic that through these efforts the University of Cincinnati is positioned exceptionally well to continue to compete at the highest level,” Ono told the paper in a statement.

In January, the Big 12 won the right through an NCAA vote to hold a title game without expanding, but expansion remains a target for some in the league because it would help the conference’s cause to launch a coveted TV network. Big 12 presidents and athletics directors met at league offices in Las Colinas, Texas, in February to discuss the matters without voting on issues at hand, though Bowlsby indicated afterward the schools continue to inch ever-closer to a resolution, calling the talks “high-level discussions.”

Baylor to add counselors following criticism of handling sex assault cases

WACO, TX - AUGUST 31:  A general view of play between the Southern Methodist Mustangs and the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium on August 31, 2014 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Baylor announced late Friday plans to add counselors and add additional training for faculty and staff in an effort to improve the school’s response to sexual assault incidents.

The school has come under criticism of late after reports from the Texas Monthly and ESPN’s Outside the Lines detailed Baylor’s response to sexual assaults committed by Bears football players Sam Ukwuachu and Tevin Elliott, respectively. Ukwuachu was sentenced in August to 180 days in jail and 10 years of probation for raping a Baylor women’s soccer in 2013, while Elliott is currently serving a 20 year prison sentence after a conviction on two counts of sexual assault. ESPN’s report alleged that Baylor failed to act to three students’ complaints of assault by Elliott, while Texas Monthly wrote that the unnamed women’s soccer player eventually transferred after having her scholarship reduced.

“We know we can and must do a better job to confront interpersonal violence in our campus community,” Baylor president Ken Starr said in the statement.

The devil, as always, is in the details in these cases, and the statement did not specify how many counselors it would add or what type of and how much training its employees would receive.

Still, one of the leaders behind an online pledge that acquired more than 1,700 signatures approved the move.

“I think it showed that the Baylor leadership heard the concerns of the Baylor family, and that they recognized the need for immediate change,” said Colby College assistant professor and Baylor alum Laura Seay, via the Dallas Morning News. “They need to ensure follow-through that these things do happen and they happen as quickly as possible.”