Bobby Petrino and the Hilltoppers are moving on up.
Following up on reports from this weekend, Conference USA has announced that Western Kentucky will become the league’s 14th member beginning in 2014.
“We welcome Western Kentucky to Conference USA,” commissioner Britton Banowsky said in a release. “The tradition of the University and its athletics success is truly remarkable. The men’s basketball program has made seven NCAA appearances since 2000, the women’s basketball program has advanced to three NCAA Final Fours and football went to a bowl game last season in just its fourth year in the FBS.”
WKU will replace Tulsa, which is reportedly on its way to the soon-to-be-renamed Big East. The Hilltoppers also follow Sun Belt members FAU, FIU, North Texas and Middle Tennessee to C-USA. Other members of C-USA will ultimately include former WAC schools Louisiana Tech and UT-San Antonio; new members Old Dominion and Charlotte; and current members Marshall, Rice, Southern Mississippi, UAB and Texas-El Paso.
“Today’s announcement that Western Kentucky University has accepted an invitation to join Conference USA is not a surprise given the communication that I have had with university officials and the rampant speculation over the past several months,” Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson said in an official release. “I remain confident that we have numerous options and that there are universities that have a strong desire to be members of the Sun Belt Conference.”
While not official, reports have indicated the Sun Belt will look to Liberty or James Madison as a replacement for WKU.
Let this post serve as your annual reminder that Notre Dame, UCLA and UCLA remain the only FBS programs who have never played a game against or scheduled a game with a team from the FCS/Div. 1-AA.
In that vein, Stanford announced Wednesday that it has scheduled a 2018 game against UC Davis. That game will, of course, be played at the Cardinal’s football home, Stanford Stadium, on Sept. 15 of that year.
The two football programs have met three times previously, the last coming in 2014. The Cardinal holds a 2-1 advantage in the miniseries, with the lone loss coming back in 2005
In addition to the game against the FCS program, Stanford also has 2018 non-conference games scheduled with San Diego State, at home, and Notre Dame, in South Bend. Their Pac-12 schedule that season consists of home games against Oregon State, USC, Utah, and Washington State as well as road trips to Arizona State, California, Oregon, UCLA, and Washington.
Other future non-conference games, with the annual rivalry game versus Notre Dame a given, include Boston College, BYU, Kansas State, Northwestern, TCU and Vanderbilt.
Even as Tyler Campbell seemed determined to transfer from the Army football program, head coach Jeff Monken had held out hope that the starting slotback would reverse course and return to the service academy. In the end, that hope proved futile.
According to Sal Interdonato of HudsonValley.com, Campbell has followed through with his departure plans and has transferred to Elon. As the Phoenix play at the FCS level, Campbell will be eligible to play immediately in 2017.
A third-year junior, Campbell will have two seasons of eligibility at his disposal.
Last season, Campbell started 11 of the 13 games in which he played. He ran for 326 yards on 34 carries — his 9.6 yards per carry was tops on the Black Knights — while adding another 71 yards on a pair of receptions. He saved his best for last, rushing for a career-high 88 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown, in the Heart of Dallas Bowl win over North Texas.
While in the offensive backfield at Army, he’ll play in the defensive backfield at Elon as he’s currently listed as a cornerback for the Phoenix.
The next step in an ongoing controversy in East Lansing has been taken, and it could, eventually, prove costly for some members of the football program.
This week, Michigan State confirmed that the Title IX investigation into allegations that three unnamed Spartan football players had sexually assaulted a woman in January had come to a conclusion. Citing privacy laws, however, the university will not be releasing the findings of the probe.
The school has subsequently confirmed, though, that the investigation found that the three players had committed unspecified violations of school policy. With that finding, the case will now go through the university’s student conduct system.
That body could levy sanctions on the players that range from a warning to probation to suspension or even expulsion from the university.
The alleged sexual assault has spawned three separate investigations, including the recently-completed Title IX probe. A criminal investigation conducted by campus police led to requests for four arrest warrants to be issued, although the Ingham County Prosecutor’s office has thus far declined to act. Additionally, the university has hired an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation into the football program and its handling of the allegations.
Thus far, the names of the players allegedly involved in the assault have not been released, although all three have been indefinitely suspended since early February. The suspended staffer was subsequently identified as Curtis Blackwell, whose title with the football program is director of college advancement and performance. Blackwell, who is not accused of participating in the alleged sexual assault but rather a non-sexual crime after the fact, has received a pair of one-month contract extensions since his suspension was levied.
As Terry Wilson looks to restart his football playing career, he’ll do so at a much lower rung on the collegiate ladder than which he started.
On his personal Twitter account Tuesday, Wilson announced that he will play for Garden City Community College, a junior college in Kansas, in 2017. GCCC was the top team at the JUCO level in 2016, going undefeated last season.
The move comes a month or so after the quarterback decided to transfer from Oregon.
A three-star member of the Ducks’ 2016 recruiting class, Wilson was rated as the No. 9 dual-threat quarterback in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Oklahoma. He had originally committed to Nebraska before signing with UO.
After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Wilson began spring practice this year as the No. 2 quarterback. However, he quickly tumbled to at least third on the depth chart, which triggered the decision to transfer.