TCU Horned Frogs

WACO, TX - NOVEMBER 19:  The Baylor Bears take the field before a game against the Kansas State Wildcats at McLane Stadium on November 19, 2016 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Big 12 to withhold 25 percent of Baylor’s revenue ‘pending third-party verification of changes’

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Baylor’s conference is laying down what could prove to be a very significant financial hammer on the university.  Or a means to change. One of the two.

The Big 12 announced Wednesday that it withhold 25 percent of future revenue payments to BU, only releasing the monies “pending the outcome of third-party verification review of required changes to Baylor’s athletics procedures and to institutional governance of its intercollegiate athletics programs, among other matters.” According to the conference’s release, its board of directors voted unanimously on the measure.

Baylor itself didn’t have a vote in the matter.

“The Board is unified in establishing a process to verify that proper institutional controls are in place and sustainable,” said Oklahoma president and Big 12 board chairman David Boren in a statement. “Effective immediately, the Conference is withholding 25 percent of Baylor’s share of any future revenue distribution until the proper execution of controls is independently verified. By taking these actions the Board desires to ensure that the changes that were promised are actually made and that systems are in place to avoid future problems. The proportional withholding of revenue distribution payments will be in effect until the Board has determined that Baylor is in compliance with Conference bylaws and regulations as well as all components of Title IX.”

The action is in direct response to the sexual assault scandal that enveloped the school last year and resulted in the head football coach, athletic director and president losing their jobs.

On its surface, the measure could cost the university’s athletic department upwards of $8 million annually if the revenue that’s being held doesn’t ultimately find its way to the school. The reality, though, is this is appears to merely be a way for the conference to push one of its members toward enacting changes that are wholly necessary.

In that vein, the university’s acting president, David E. Garland, released a statement shortly after the Big 12’s announcement, highlighting the actions the school has taken in the wake of the scandal.

Upon learning the scope and scale of the troubling incidents that occurred within our campus community through an independent investigation, Baylor University took unprecedented corrective actions that led to leadership changes within the University administration and athletic department and 105 recommendations to strengthen the safety and security of our students. No other university in the country has responded as aggressively and decisively as Baylor regarding incidents of sexual assaults on its campus.

“Under the University’s new leadership, Baylor has demonstrated a firm commitment to athletics compliance and integrity, increased awareness and prevention of sexual assault, implementation of Title IX best practices and providing comprehensive support services for any student in need of them. Baylor already had planned to hire an outside auditor to audit the implementation of our enhanced practices, and we welcome the Big 12 Conference’s request of an independent review. While the withholding of conference distributions is an unexpected financial event, we do not deem these actions to materially impact the overall financial position of the University. We pledge our full cooperation, and we will work with the Big 12 Conference to conduct the audit as expeditiously as possible.

“This third-party review at the request of the Big 12 Conference will provide an opportunity for us to demonstrate our progress to date and our ongoing commitment in establishing Baylor as a leading institution in athletics compliance and governance and for preventing and addressing sexual assaults on college campuses.

TCU confirms pair of additions to Gary Patterson’s football staff, including Sonny Dykes

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 29:  A general view of play between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 29, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Gary Patterson has officially filled one hole in his TCU coaching staff as well as bringing in an experienced offensive mind to his football program.

In a press release, TCU announced that Chris Thomsen has been added as the Horned Frogs’ offensive line coach.  Thomsen, a former TCU football and baseball player, had spent the past four seasons as the line coach at Arizona State.  He also held the title of assistant head coach.

Thomsen will replace Jarrett Anderson, who coached the line the last three seasons.  Anderson will remain on staff as inside wide receivers coach.

Additionally, the addition of Sonny Dykes as an offensive analyst/consultant was confirmed as well.

Dykes had spent the past seven seasons as a head coach — four at Cal (2013-16) and three at Louisiana Tech (2010-12).  After being fired by the former school, he was considered a candidate for the offensive coordinator position at Arizona State.  Family issues, however, made TCU a better fit at the moment.

Big 12 records worst signing day in conference history

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 25:  The Big XII logo on a pylon at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 25, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Okay, it’s hard to prove the premise of the article precisely correct considering recruiting information wasn’t readily available (and archived) when the league founded in the mid 1990’s. But, still, it’s hard to imagine the Big 12 having a worse Signing Day than this. Or any major conference, for that matter.

The conference signed only four of the nation’s top 100 players as ranked by the 247Sports Composite rankings — No. 76-ranked guard Jack Anderson (Texas Tech), No. 79-ranked defensive back Justin Broiles (Oklahoma), No. 91-ranked wide receiver Jalen Reagor (TCU) and No. 97-ranked defensive back Robert Barnes (Oklahoma).

By comparison, Alabama signed five of the nation’s top 26 players and Ohio State inked five of the top 24.

The bloodletting started in Texas, the “home” recruiting area to over half the league and the main talent base for the conference. Anderson was the only Texan among 247‘s top dozen players, and only six of the state’s top 20 players elected to stay in the Big 12.

On the team front, Oklahoma pulled its weight, ranking No. 8 in the national ranking. But the next Big 12 team was Texas, all the way down at No. 26. TCU followed at No. 30, with Oklahoma State at No. 38 and Baylor at No. 39.

There are a number of factors for this, of course. Texas has been down for seven years running and just endured a coaching change. Baylor had a bomb go off in its football facility, essentially. But TCU and Oklahoma State are recruiting about as well as one could expect given their respective limitations, and that’s become a theme for this conference in the post-realignment area. The Big 12 is limited not only in total number, but in the number of marquee programs.

It’s also limited in the areas in which it can reliably pull players from. The Lone Star State is open for business now to suitors far and wide, obviously. Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa and West Virginia offer next to nothing in terms of recruiting. Beyond that, Big 12 teams have to convince California players to leave the coast or kids from the Deep South to bypass the SEC.

That process isn’t going well, obviously, at least among the top-rated players. And until that changes, the chicken-egg scenario of the only conference to miss the College Football Playoff two times in three years will also be the only conference to place one team in the recruiting top 25.

LSU holds off ‘Bama, others to keep four-star safety Todd Harris home

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Ed Orgeron can breathe a bit easier.

Heading into National Signing Day, most recruiting experts saw Todd Harris as a mortal lock to opt to remain in his home state and sign with LSU.  In fact, 247Sports.com had him as 100 percent locked in for the Bayou Bengals.

There was some concern, though, that Harris could look elsewhere, Alabama in particular.  In a televised announcement, however, the four-star safety confirmed that he will be signing with “LSU University.”  Harris had also considered TCU and Arizona State along with LSU and ‘Bama.

Rivals.com‘s No. 5 player at any position in the state of Louisiana, Harris’ signing continues what could prove to be a very good day for the Tigers.

TCU’s leading rusher arrested for public intoxication

MEMPHIS, TN - DECEMBER 30: Running back Kyle Hicks #21 of the TCU Horned Frogs looks to maneuver by linebacker Roquan Smith #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on December 30, 2016 in Memphis, Tennessee. The Georgia Bulldogs defeated the TCU Horned Frogs 31-23. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
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As the 2017 offseason kicks into high gear, so have the annual and ever-present off-field issues.

According to multiple media outlets, TCU running back Kyle Hicks was arrested over the weekend on a misdemeanor charge of public intoxication.  The 22-year-old Hicks and two former Horned Frog football players, Bryson Henderson and George Baltimore, were charged after police responded to reports of a fight at a Whataburger near campus very early Saturday morning.

No further details of what led to the police being called have been released.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes that “[t]he TCU athletics department said in a statement Monday night that officials are aware of the incident and looking into it.”

As a junior this past season, Hicks led TCU with 1,042 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns.  He also led the team in receptions with 47, becoming the first Horned Frog player to lead the team in both rushing and receiving since Basil Mitchell in 1996.

Hicks is expected to again be the focal point of TCU’s offense in 2017.