Steve Patterson, Tod Leiweke

Texas AD says non-power conferences want to take rules back to 1950


The dividing line between the haves and have-nots in college football, and collegiate athletics in general, continues to widen. Concern over the possible vote for autonomy has been a major talking point this offseason, and the viewpoints for and against the extra power for the power conferences have been sparking debate left and right. Now Texas Athletics Director Steve Patterson has gotten involved, suggesting those opposing autonomy are trying to revert to a past generation of NCAA governance.

“It’s a part of the everyday business right now,” Patterson said in an interview with Sports Business Journal. “There’s five conferences that want to do the best they can for their student athletes and provide them with the best outcomes. There’s a bunch of other schools that are fairly atavistic in their viewpoints and want to take the rules back to 1950. That’s not going to happen.”

Boise State president Bob Kustra previously took aim at the power conferences, suggesting the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC are being selfish and putting academics second for the benefit of athletics. That notion has been disputed by those from the power conferences, of course. Patterson says Texas and other schools are in a position to be able to do more for student-athletes, and every school should be able to respect the differences each school has.

“There’s nothing wrong with having different kinds of programs at different schools,” Patterson said. “We’re in a different position. We ought to be able to respect our differences.”

Patterson even went so far as to suggest the five power conferences should be able to operate under a separate set of guidelines or powers or threaten to leave and start a new organization. That is a concept that has been mentioned before, with the whole Division IV idea.

“They need to let the more well-resourced conferences operate, or these five conferences need to leave. It’s that simple,” Patterson said, referring to the non-power conferences. “We’ve waited far too long and we’ve been far too accommodating. … I think there’s a harder and harder resolve as each day goes by for the institutions in higher-profile conferences to take the necessary moves.”

The line has been drawn. Choose your side.

Helmet sticker to Dr. Saturday.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian
1 Comment

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.