Oklahoma Sooners

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 11:  Alex Ross #28 of the Oklahoma Sooners runs the kickoff return for a touchdown against the Texas Longhorns at Cotton Bowl on October 11, 2014 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Mizzou officially announces Alex Ross as graduate transfer

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One of the most explosive players in the country has officially joined an offense that could use some TNT.

As has been reported previously, Oklahoma running back/kickoff returner Alex Ross has now officially enrolled at Missouri.

Ross showed promised as a sophomore in 2014, ranking second on the Sooners with 88 carries for 595 yards (6.76 yards a pop) with four touchdowns while averaging 31.2 yards per kickoff returns and two touchdowns.

Ross’s usage dropped in 2015 with the emergence of Joe Mixon and Baker Mayfield as ball carriers. His carries dropped to just 32 on the season for 172 yards and one touchdown, and as such his kickoff average fell 10 yards per attempt with no touchdowns.

Missouri struggled mightily to run the ball last season; sophomore Ish Witter led the team with 126 carries for 518 yards and one touchdown. The Tigers’ next leading returning rusher is senior Chase Abbington, who racked up all of six carries for 39 yards last season.

As a team, Missouri finished 120th nationally in rushing and dead last in kickoff returns in 2015.

Ross will join the Tigers’ roster as a graduate transfer and will play immediately this fall.

Bob Stoops’ contract extended; Sooners assistants get raises

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 02:  Head coach Bob Stoops celebrates after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide 45-31 in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 2, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Remember a few years ago when it seemed like Bob Stoops was always the subject of a rumor he might be leaving Oklahoma?

It might be time to put those to bed after the school not only gave him a modest raise but re-upped his assistants as well.

The Tulsa World reports a contract extension and raise were part of a slew of updates approved by the Oklahoma Board of Regents during a meeting Tuesday.

Coach Bob Stoops’ salary will increase $25,000 on Jan. 1, 2017 and Jan. 1, 2019, the regents announced Tuesday. He made $5.4 million in guaranteed pay in 2015 and will be paid $5.55 million in 2016. His contract, which previously ran through 2020, was extended to 2021.

Perhaps more importantly, the regents gave more money to wunderkind offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, whose first season as offensive coordinator in Norman was a smashing success, and Mike Stoops, the Sooners’ defensive coordinator and Bob’s brother.

Both are set to make $900,000 this season.

Riley, who made $500,000 during his first year with the Sooners, received a raise to $850,000 annually. An annual $50,000 stay bonus, paid in 2016 and 2017, was also implemented in Riley’s contract.

Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops received a $50,000 raise to his $850,000 annual salary.

These days big money for head coaches hardly makes headlines anymore, but escalating assistant salaries have become a big part of the never-ending college football arms race.

The World also reports assistants Bill Bedenbaugh, Jay Boulware, Kerry Cooks, Cale Bundy, Tim Kish and Dennis Simmons all got extensions and raises of varying lengths.

Big 12 announces return of title game, 20-percent increase in revenue payouts

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For those members of the Big 12 who are fans of title games and money, Friday was a very good day.

In the biggest news of the afternoon, commissioner Bob Bowlsby revealed that the conference has approved a measure that will allow for the implementation — or re-implementation, as the case may be — of a league championship game in football.  The return of the Big 12 title game will come at the end of the 2017 regular season, although details, such as location, are still up in the air.

In perhaps the most surprising news coming out of this particular development, the vote to reinstate the title game was unanimous.

The first-ever Big 12 title game in football coincided with the league’s first season in 1996.  It was played every year through the 2010 season, when conference expansion — the league lost Colorado and Nebraska prior to the 2011 season — and NCAA rules forced the Big 12 to abandon the game.  In January of this year, the Big 12 won approval to stage a championship game without 12 members as previously required by the NCAA.

The Big 12 will continue on with its round-robin schedule — every team playing the other nine schools every season — as required by the new rule.  On twist, however, is that, per Bowlsby, the Big 12 will likely split into two, five-team divisions; how those divisions will be split is to be determined.

And now we come to the money portion of the program, as it relates to this topic specifically and revenue in general.

That financial windfall is on top of the $30.4 million in revenue distribution each member institution received for the previous year, Bowlsby announced Friday. That’s up 20 percent from a year ago, and third among Power Five conferences behind only the SEC and Big 10.  It also doesn’t include third-tier media rights (Texas makes $15 million from that category, Oklahoma $6 million).

There won’t, however, be an additional revenue stream for conference membership as a whole as Bowlsby also confirmed that the conference has scrapped its plans for a league-wide television network. “Not the time for us to consider [a network],” the commissioner stated, with Oklahoma president David Boren saying the idea is effectively dead..

One final note: the conference’s board has authorized the Big 12 staff to work with consultants on “conference composition” — i.e. expansion.  Earlier this month, Bowlsby stated that he hoped the expansion issue would be resolved, one way or the other, before the end of summer.

It still appears unlikely that the Big 12 will add two additional members — Texas is believed to be staunchly against expansion — but it’s a situation that will bear monitoring throughout the next couple of months.

UAB stays in-house for new line coach, adds USF transfer, former OU Sooners signee to roster

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The UAB football program may not be returning to the playing field until 2017, but that doesn’t mean the Blazers aren’t making news.

While not officially official, al.com has reported that Bill Clark has promoted Trey Clark (no relation to the head coach) to offensive line coach.  The past two seasons, Clark served as the line coach at Jacksonville State before moving on to UAB as the head strength & conditioning coach.

Clark will replace Mike Bennefield, who stepped down in mid-May to spend more time with his family.

In addition to the coaching news, Bill Clark also made a couple of additions to his Blazers roster — linebacker Nick Holman and offensive lineman Natrell Curtis.

In late April, Holman announced that he would be transferring from USF and continuing his collegiate playing career elsewhere.  Exiting the spring, Holman was listed as a backup weakside linebacker, which likely played a role in his decision.

Holman came to USF as a three-star member of the Bulls’ 2014 recruiting class, rated as the No. 31 player at any position in the state of Alabama. After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Holman played in 11 games in 2015.

At UAB, Holman will have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.

Curtis had spent the past two seasons at an Arizona junior college.  Originally a member of Oklahoma’s 2014 recruiting class, Curtis was a three-star recruit who was named an Army All-American.  He never made it to the Sooners, however, as he went the JUCO route before the start of summer camp.

Beginning next year, Curtis will have three years to play two seasons.

On Big 12 revote, Baker Mayfield gets another year of eligibility

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 5:  Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrates a touchdown against the Akron Zips September 5, 2015 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated Akron 41-3.(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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Say this for the Big 12: they very quickly recognized as asinine decision and, to their credit, reversed course.

In a 5-5 vote Wednesday, the Big 12 shot down a rule proposed by Oklahoma that would’ve permitted walk-ons to transfer within the conference without restrictions.  The proposed rule, which failed due to the lack of a clear majority vote as well as disdain for both common sense and fairness, had been dubbed the “Baker Mayfield rule” in honor of the the OU quarterback who transferred from Texas Tech as a walk-on.

Earlier today it was reported that the Big 12 was going to reconsider that rule; in its reconsideration, the conference reversed course and, by a 7-3 vote, approved the measure.

The new measure will allow a walk-on at one Big 12 school to transfer within the conference and not face restrictions if his first school does not offer him a scholarship.  If that school does offer a scholarship, the walk-on can still transfer within the conference but must sit out a season.

As an added bonus for both Mayfield and the Sooners, the rule will retroactively apply to the quarterback, which means, if he so chooses, he would have another season of eligibility to use during the 2017 season.  Mayfield was not offered a scholarship upon leaving Tech, thus his grandfathering in under this new edict.

Mayfield took note of the reversal on Twitter, and seemingly indicated he’ll use that extra year.