Mike Slive (again) lobs ‘Div. IV’ bomb amid autonomy debate

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As conferences and their respective commissioners continue to debate and attempt to wrap their heads around autonomy for the Power Five conferences, one of the most powerful men in the sport of college football has once again warned what could/would happen if that initiative fails.

Speaking at the end of the SEC’s spring meetings Friday, commissioner Mike Slive was asked what would happen if autonomy for his conference, along with the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12, didn’t pass muster and stalled in committee this August.  In response, Slive sang a very familiar refrain.

“I think if it doesn’t pass, I think the next move is to go to a Division IV,” Slive said. “It’s not something that we want to do.

“From day one, we said want to stay in Division 1, with the access to championships and a revenue distribution that won’t change. But within that structure, we want the ability to have autonomy in areas that has the nexus to the well-being of student-athletes.”

While Slive did allow that he’s “optimistic we’re not going to the Division IV” model, this is far from the first time a man of power has dropped the “D-IV” hammer in a public forum.

In December, Slive himself mentioned a potential split from the other FBS schools — and perhaps from the NCAA entirely — if the Power Five leagues couldn’t get a meaningful structural change to the current model. The “D-IV” talk stretches to last October and even further back.

In the same month Slive implored those with the power to make significant changes to the current system, his counterpart in the Big Ten, Jim Delany, got off a “Division IV” blast as well.

Division IV concepts are out there,” Delany said in what amounted to a very thinly-veiled threat. “There was a lot of chum in the water about the sustainability of the NCAA.”

In order to reach Slive and Delany’s goal of autonomy, 66 percent of the 65 members of the Power Five conferences (43 schools) AND four of the five conferences have to vote in the affirmative.  During his speech today, Slive stated that he would like to see that threshold lowered to 60 percent (39 schools) and three of the five leagues; that appears unlikely to happen.

The next step in the process is a little more than two months down the road.

Based on the recommendation from the NCAA steering committee, the Board of Directors could vote this August on forwarding the autonomy initiative for a vote of the full membership next January.  Deeply intertwined with autonomy, however, are issues such as the O’Bannon lawsuit and Northwestern’s attempts to unionize that could forever change the face of college football.

Sadly it appears that, as it was with expansion, this upcoming season is going to be more about what’s going on off the field than on it… and in the first year of the College Football Playoff no less.

Miami’s home winning streak is officially over after Orange Bowl loss

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The Miami Hurricanes opened the new year with a loss in the Orange Bowl in their home stadium, but the Hurricanes marked the bowl game down in their records as a neutral site game. Not so fast, says the NCAA. That loss to the Badgers will go down as a home loss for the Hurricanes.

Because the NCAA officially records the Orange Bowl as a home game for Miami any time the Hurricanes happen to play in the bowl game hosted in their home stadium, the wins and losses are reflected on Miami’s home record. This is true for any team playing a bowl game in their home stadium, including any time UCLA appears in the Rose Bowl or San Diego State in the Holiday Bowl or Poinsettia Bowl.

Prior to losing to Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl this past season, Miami was riding nine-game winning streak in Hard Rock Stadium dating back to November 5, 2016. Miami will get a chance to hit the reset button on their home winning streak on September 8 with a home game against Savannah State.

Report: LSU to add former RB Kevin Faulk to staff if SEC gives the green light

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Former LSU running back Kevin Faulk could be set to return to the Tigers program in a new role if the SEC will allow it. According to a report from The Advocate, Faulk is being lined up to join the LSU football support staff, but his addition must be thoroughly vetted first.

Because Faulk is a high school coach, LSU and the SEC must be certain he has no direct ties to any LSU football players on the roster. This is to ensure the staff change complies with a new NCAA rule prohibiting schools from hiring high school coaches for a two-year period when any player from that associated high school enrolls at the university. As long as there are no players on LSU’s roster with any ties to Faulk’s high school coaching within the past two years, the staff change should become official.

Having Faulk associated with the program would be good to see considering how much Faulk meant to LSU during his college career. Faulk rushed for a school-record 4,557 yards and 46 rushing touchdowns. Both are records that stand today despite some extremely talented running backs over the years. Since Faulk’s final season at LSU in 1998, Leonard Fournette has come the closest to Faulk’s career rushing total with 3,830 yards in three years. Fournette is also the closest to Faulk since Faulk played to the school record for career rushing touchdowns, with 40.

Supposing the staff addition does go through, Faulk will not be involved with any off-campus recruiting efforts or on-field coaching assignments, but he will assist with player development.

Florida bill seeks to allow UCF national championship license plates

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You’re not truly a fan of a team that has won a national championship until you can brandish the honor on the license plate to your car. In Florida, that may become a reality soon enough for UCF fans as the ongoing claim to a national championship continues to sweep through the state.

A new bill in the state of Florida introduced to the state legislature would allow for the creation and printing of Florida license plates in UCF colors and a UCF logo with the words “National Champions” inscribed across the bottom.

There is a lot of legal wording in the house bill, as one should expect, but the bill essentially boils down to be able to purchase a UCF national championship license plate. You can find those details on page seven of the 23-page bill.

UCF has already staked a claim at being the national champion for the 2017 college football season after completing the nation’s only undefeated season and beating an Auburn team that defeated both College Football Playoff national championship game participants, Georgia and Alabama. The Knights have since been honored with a championship parade in Disney World.

Illinois QB Jeff George Jr. moving on as graduate transfer

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Illinois quarterback Jeff George Jr., the son of former NFL quarterback Jeff George, has announced he will look for an opportunity to play football elsewhere in 2018. In a statement shared on his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon, George said he will leave Illinois with a degree in hand, allowing him to pursue a transfer possibility as a graduate transfer.

Thank you to Coach [Lovie Smith] and the entire staff for helping me develop over the past couple years,” George said in his statement on Twitter. “With that being said, after discussions with Coach Smith as well as my family, it would be in my best interest to pursue my athletic career with 2 years of eligibility left at a school that will best utilize the abilities I have to offer.”

George played in seven games for the Illini in 2017 with 1,273 passing yards and seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The only other quarterbacks on the roster to attempt a pass last season were junior Chayce Crouch (who played quarterback in seven games and had 443 passing yards with one touchdown and four interceptions Cam Thomas, a redshirt freshman in 2017. Illinois also has two other freshmen on the roster — Charlie Reinkemeyer and Connor Kelly –  that should make for an interesting quarterback situation this spring.

As a graduate transfer, George will be eligible to play in the fall at any FBS program that welcomes him to their program.