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Sorry UMass: Sun Belt opts against expansion… for now


It was reported earlier this month that UMass, which will be leaving the MAC following the 2015 season, had been in discussions with the Sun Belt about moving its football program to the conference.

A week later, it appears that option is, at least for the foreseeable future, off the table.

Following his league’s spring meetings that ended Wednesday, commissioner Karl Benson released a statement explaining that membership had tabled the idea of expanding “at this time.”  In that statement, Benson also used wording that doesn’t sound good for the Minutemen’s future in the conference.

“While we may explore adding a 12th all-sports member [to] the Sun Belt Conference, at this time we are moving the conference forward with our membership as is,” the statement began. “Come July 1 the membership will be stable for the first time in over two years with no incoming or departing members,” he said. “The makeup of that 11 all-sports conference will give us more than just stability – it will give us strength and opportunity.”

The phrase “adding a 12th all-sports member” doesn’t bode well for UMass as the athletic department is looking for a league home for its football program, not every other sport as well.  Whether the university’s stance would change come 2015 is unclear.

In addition to UMass, it’s believed the SBC had considered current FCS members Liberty and James Madison. Liberty has been making noise for a couple of years about leaping to the FBS level, while James Madison announced last month that its football program wouldn’t be making the move after discussions with the SBC had taken place.

Dismissed by ‘Cuse, Ashton Broyld lands at West Georgia

Ashton Broyld, Steele Divitto
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A little over two months after getting the boot from Syracuse, Ashton Broyld has found himself a new college football home.

Multiple outlets have picked up on the fact that Broyld is now playing for Div. II West Georgia.  Broyld left the Orange listed as a running back, but is playing wide receiver according to the team’s official roster.

There was already a familiar face in the locker room upon Broyld’s arrival as Wayne Williams is playing defensive tackle for the Wolves.  Williams announced in late June that he had decided to transfer out of Scott Shafer‘s ‘Cuse program.

I checked in on them,” Shafer said of his two former players Thursday. “I’m happy to see those guys are still playing football.”

In 2013, Broyld led the team in both receptions (52) and receiving yards (452). Broyld was the Orange’s leading receiver through the first three games last season before a lower-leg injury caused him to miss eight of the last nine games.

In late July, Broyld was dismissed for violating unspecified team rules.

Vols ‘very confident there was no inappropriate conduct’ between Butch Jones, player

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers watches the action during a game against the Chattanooga Mocs at Neyland Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”

Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.

At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August.  The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.

“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”

Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.