NIU extends Rod Carey’s contract through mid-2019

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Northern Illinois flirted with a second straight BCS bowl game appearance in 2013, and although the Huskies stumbled late and missed out on the big money bowls the future looks bright with head coach Rod Carey in charge. On Friday NIU announced a contract extension for Carey that will have him lined up to lead the program through June 30, 2019.

Carey will also receive a bump in pay in 2014. According to a database of coaching salaries in 2013 compiled by USA Today, Carey was paid a total of $376,000 last season. According to a statement by the school, Carey will be among the top half of the highest paid coaches in the MAC. Going off of last season’s coaching salary numbers, that would mean Carey will be paid between $400,000 and $513,000 in 2014.

“This new agreement is something we’ve been working on for several months and we’re excited to be able to announce the extension for Rod [Carey] at this time,” NIU Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Sean T. Frazier said. “We are looking forward to seeing him on the NIU sidelines for years to come and to the continued success of our football program.”

As a first year head coach, Carey was the fourth lowest paid head coach in the MAC. Under Carey, Northern Illinois completed a 12-0 regular season but lost their final two games of the season with a loss to Bowling Green in the MAC Championship Game and to Utah State in the Poinsettia Bowl. Carey also served as interim head coach for the 2013 Orange Bowl at the end of the 2012 season after Dave Doeren left to accept a job offer at North Carolina State.

“I am really happy and excited about where NIU football is and where it’s going,” he said. “I feel very lucky to be a part of it. It takes a community and it’s more about the players and my staff than it is about me. Sean [Frazier]’s leadership along with President Baker is unbelievable. I feel lucky to be working with them and couldn’t think of better partners in this journey that NIU football is taking.”

Carey will now have some work cut out for him in 2014 as the Huskies embark on the post-Jordan Lynch era. Northern Illinois has always seemed to succeed around the play of one key offensive player, so now Carey must find the next name to work around. As far as the MAC goes, the Huskies should be able to remain one of the top threats in the conference in 2014 and beyond. Carey must continue to keep the program chugging forward and building off the momentum of the past two years. Perhaps the program hit their ceiling, but Carey has to avoid hitting the floor. That is not likely to be the case any time too soon.

Fans can legally pack concealed heat at Georgia football tailgates

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Guns and SEC football are back in the news yet again this offseason.  And this one has the ACC riding shotgun as well.

In late March, the state of Arkansas legislature passed a law (House Bill 1249) that would allow concealed-carry handguns on publicly-owned property, which would’ve include college sporting events.  A day later, and after realizing, amidst considerable controversy, the potential for alcohol-fueled fans attending an SEC football game armed, the state’s senate voted to amend the law to exclude college sporting events.

Fast-forward to this month, and the state of Georgia legislature has passed a law (House Bill 280) that would allow the carrying of concealed handguns on college campuses, with exceptions that include on-campus stadiums, arenas, gymnasiums and the like hosting intercollegiate sporting events.  That bill is scheduled to become law in the state July 1.

In clarifying the language of the law, the university confirmed in an extensive press release Wednesday that individuals with valid weapons licenses will be permitted to conceal-carry outside of college football stadiums.  In other words, licensed individuals would be permitted to carry concealed weapons outside of Sanford Stadium as well as Bobby Dodd Stadium as part of the game-day tailgating experience.

Only handguns are allowed under this law, and only when concealed.  Long guns, obviously, are not permitted under any circumstance.

“I understand that many of you have strong feelings about this bill,” UGA Chancellor Steve Wrigley began his letter to the university community. “Yet, whether you opposed or supported the legislation, it will soon be state law, and I respectfully ask everyone to exercise patience, understanding and respect as we implement it.

“We all share the same goal of ensuring a safe campus environment. We should work together to implement the law as written and thoughtfully address any complications that may arise.”

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement amidst the Arkansas gun-law controversy that may or may not have had an impact on that state’s legislature tweaking of the bill. It bears watching whether the commish follows a similar public tack when it comes to this piece of legislation.

The Georgia Bulldogs will open their 2017 season at home against Appalachian State Sept. 2, while Georgia Tech’s home opener is Sept. 9 against Jacksonville State.

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.