Sooners to extend Stoops’ contract through 2020

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For whatever segment of Sooner Nation that has an issue with Bob Stoops‘ being its head coach, you’re going to be thoroughly disappointed with the following news.

In a release sent out Thursday, Oklahoma president David Boren announced that the contract of the Sooners head coach will be extended through the 2020 season. The extension is pending the OU Board of Regents taking formal action, which will likely come at a September meeting.

Stoops’ current contract, agreed to in 2011, is scheduled to run through the 2018 season.

“I appreciate the University’s commitment to our program and me,” Stoops said in a statement. “Most coaches dream of working in the kind of situation that exists at Oklahoma, especially with leaders like President Boren and [athletic director] Joe Castiglione. We’re proud of what we have accomplished to this point and look forward to achieving a lot more.”

What Stoops and the Sooners have accomplished in his 14 seasons in Norman is 149 wins; eight Big 12 championships, including five of the last seven; eight BCS/Bowl Alliance/Bowl Coalition bids; four title game appearances; and one national championship in 2000. With nine wins this season, Stoops would eclipse Barry Switzer as the all-time winningest head coach in OU’s storied history.

OU also noted in its release that Stoops is the only active coach with a winning percentage higher than 80 percent with 14 uninterrupted seasons on the FBS level.

Additionally, Stoops, previously known as “Big Game Bob” but who has come under fire recently for his lack of living up to that moniker, reached 100 coaching victories faster than any NCAA Division I coach in the modern era.

“Anytime I look at Bob Stoops on our sideline surrounded by our student-athletes and coaches, I’m reminded of the truly exceptional coach he has become,” said Castiglione. “Whether it’s his inspirational leadership, his passion for the game or consistently putting his team in the best position to be successful, his character and steely resolve continue to make him the right person to lead us to success in the future.

“Coach Stoops has become one of college football’s iconic figures yet he is a selfless man who remains focused on winning championships adding to our program’s great legacy. Against that backdrop he has also quietly embraced the role of serving others and encourages similar values amongst his players and staff. I am proud to have worked with him continuously for 15 years and excited we can extend our relationship with him. We will continue to build on the incredibly strong foundation and tradition which exists at the University of Oklahoma and pursue the many great things we want to accomplish in the coming years.”

Any financial adjustments involved in the new deal were not released, and likely won’t be until the September board meeting. In 2012, Stoops was paid $4.55 million, and was the third-highest paid head coach behind Alabama’s Nick Saban ($5.5 million) and Texas’ Mack Brown ($5.3 million).

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

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Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

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Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

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It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

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The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.