Texas Tech Red Raiders

LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 14: Nigel Bethel #1 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders breaks up a pass intended for Deante Burton #6 of the Kansas State Wildcats during the game on November 14, 2015 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech won the game 59-44. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
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Ex-Texas Tech CB Nigel Bethel to join Maty Mauk at Eastern Kentucky

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Following a troubled career at Missouri, Maty Mauk hopes to jumpstart his flailing career at the FCS level. A month later, another Power Five player is hoping for a similar revival at the same program.

On his personal Twitter account, Nigel Bethel announced that he will be continuing his collegiate playing career at Eastern Kentucky. Bethel, also a standout tract athlete, had decided last month to transfer out of the Texas Tech football program.

Because EKU plays at the FCS level, Bethel will be eligible to play immediately in 2016.

A four-star member of Tech’s 2014 recruiting class, Bethel’s time in Lubbock was most notable for an off-field incident that had nothing to do with football.

In June prior to the start of his true freshman season, the defensive back was dismissed by Tech after he was involved in a physical altercation during a pickup basketball game.  Specifically, he punched a women’s basketball star, Amber Battle, in the face, an incident that was caught on tape.
Shortly after Battle admitted to initiating the physical confrontation, it was announced that Bethel had been reinstated but would be suspended for the first three games of the 2014 season.

Bethel started seven games in 2014, then followed that up with five starts last season.

Suspension of Devin Lauderdale has ended, Texas Tech WR announces

LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 12: Devin Lauderdale #6 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders stretches for the goal line against the UTEP Miners on September 12, 2015 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech won the game 69-20. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
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In December of last year, Texas Tech announced that Devin Lauderdale had been indefinitely suspended for failing to uphold Tech athletic department student-athlete expectations. Six months later, it appears the wide receiver has climbed out of the department’s doghouse.

At the time of the suspension, the school stated that Lauderdale “will have the opportunity to return next season.” Based on a tweet from Lauderdale, he took advantage of that opportunity.

It should be noted the school has yet to announce or confirm that Lauderdale, who didn’t participate in spring practices because of the suspension, has been reinstated.

In 2015, Lauderdale ended the regular season second on the Red Raiders with 43 receptions for 639 yards, while his four receiving touchdowns are third. The last two games of the regular season prior to the suspension that cost him a bowl game, Lauderdale caught 14 passes — including a season-high 10 in a win over Kansas State — for 178 yards.

Third dismissed Texas Tech player charged with felony burglary

LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 12: The Texas Tech Red Raiders mascot Fearless Champion leads the team onto the field prior to the game against the UTEP Miners September 12, 2015 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech won the game 69-20. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
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And that just about puts a wrap on this particular story.

Back in early May, three Texas Tech football players — sophomore offensive lineman Robert Castaneda, redshirt freshman offensive lineman Trace Ellison and sophomore linebacker Dakota Allen — were dismissed from the football program “due to a failure to uphold student-athlete expectations.”  Last weekend, Castaneda was arrested in connection to a January home burglary; a few days later, so was Ellison.

This weekend, it’s Allen who’s under arrest as the Associated Press is reporting that he has been charged with burglary of a habitation, a second-degree felony.  That’s the same charge both Castaneda and Ellison are facing.

It’s alleged that Ellison, Castaneda and Allen broke into a home when the residents were away and stole a gun safe containing seven firearms, two digital cameras and a 40-inch television.  It’s believed that Castaneda concocted the robbery plan as it was thought the residents were drug dealers; the original plan included stealing money and drugs, but neither was found so they hauled the gun safe away in Ellison’s pickup truck.

Castaneda’s attempt to sell one of the stolen firearms led to the trio’s demise as he ultimately identified his accomplices to the police — by their jersey numbers.  That May 3 interview with law enforcement came two days prior to the trio’s dismissal.

The loss of the most recently arrested one was the most noteworthy of the three.

Last season, Allen was the Red Raiders’ second-leading tackler with 87.  With Micah Awe (126 tackles) departed, Allen would’ve been Tech’s leading returning tackler.

Allen, who had six tackles for loss and two interceptions for good measure, started five of the 12 games in which he played in 2015.

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.

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.