Cincinnati Bearcats

JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 24: Coach Rick Minter of the Philadelphia Eagles stands on the field before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 24, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Eagles won 31-24. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Philadelphia Eagles/Getty Images)
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Former Cincinnati head coach Rick Minter lands at Georgia State as D-line coach

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Rick Minter served as Cincinnati’s head coach from 1994-03, leading the Bearcats to into Division I-A (now known as FBS) and into bowl games in four of their seven eligible years. After three straight seven-win seasons, he was let go for a 5-7 campaign in 2003.

Minter has remained in the game, coordinating defenses at South Carolina, Notre Dame, Marshall and Kentucky and coaching linebackers for Indiana State and, until this winter, the Philadelphia Eagles until he was washed out in the Chip Kelly tide.

On Friday, Minter resurfaced as Georgia State’s defensive line coach, where he will work under his son, Jesse, who is the Panthers’ defensive coordinator.

Georgia State finished 68th nationally in yards per carry allowed, 106th in sacks and 71st in tackles for loss last season, as the Panthers reached their first bowl game in program history.

Additionally, Georgia State has hired former Tulane offensive line coach Josh McDonell as a senior offensive analyst. McDonell has previously coached at Washington State, Stanford, Notre Dame and Purdue.

“We are thrilled to be able to add Rick Minter and John McDonell to our staff,” Georgia State head coach Trent Miles said in a statement. “Not only are they experienced coaches with tremendous track records, but they are outstanding people who will be role models for our young men.

 “These additions will help us take another step forward as we try to compete for a Sun Belt championship.

 

Mike Gillhamer officially hired as Cincinnati’s secondary coach

Tommy Tuberville
Associated Press
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Nearly a month after the first reports of a hiring surfaced, Tommy Tuberville has officially filled a hole in his Cincinnati coaching staff.

In a press release, UC confirmed that Tuberville has added Mike Gillhamer as the Bearcats’ new secondary coach.  Gillhamer replaces Steve Clinkscales, who left earlier this month for the same job at Kentucky.

The past four seasons, Gillhamer was the secondary coach for the Indianapolis Colts.

“Mike brings a lot to our staff with his extensive experience at the college and pro levels,” a statement from Tuberville began. “His beliefs about coaching and teaching fundamentals and technique are right in line with my own. He will be a great addition to our coaching staff and we are excited he’s on board with the Bearcats.”

Gillhamer’s last job at the collegiate level came at Illinois in 2011.  He was also the defensive coordinator at Louisville in 2003 and the secondary coach at Oregon in 2001-02.

 

AAC commissioner Mike Aresco wants Big 12 expansion drama to settle down soon

American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco, addresses the media during an NCAA football media day in Newport, R.I., Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)
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The Big East was once the home to six schools currently making a home in the ACC and one each in the Big Ten and Big 12. Realignment changes rattled the Big East a few years back, causing a split of the basketball schools that took the Big East brand with them and leaving the leftover programs to rebrand under the American Athletic Conference. With the Big 12 having internal discussions about the possibility of expanding back to a 12-member line-up, the AAC is watching with caution and waiting for the Big 12 to make a final decision, for better or worse of the AAC. Commissioner Mike Aresco hopes the expansion situation comes to a close soon enough, but he is not wasting time preparing for the possibility of once again seeing one or more member of his conference leave for another.

“I think if we lose a school would we add one? In all likelihood we probably would,”Aresco explained, according to The Orlando Sentinel. “You don’t want to be 11 in football, but on the other hand you could do it. If we lost two, which would probably be the worst-case scenario … we could stay at 10. With the new legislation, we could easily stay at 10, play a championship game, have 5 team divisions and have an eight-game [conference] schedule. We could do that if we wanted to.”

The NCAA recently allowed for conferences to play a conference championship game despite not having the usually required 12 members. The AAC started playing a conference championship game last season after the addition of Navy brought the conference to 12 football-playing members. The new NCAA legislation regarding conference championship games allows a conference to hold a title game with fewer than 12 teams, which was figured to benefit the Big 12. The Big 12, however, has not made a decision on whether or not it will play a conference title game.

“We have 12 good schools that are nationally known and if we lose one or two we’ll figure it out,” Aresco said. “It’s not going to be an Earth-shattering thing. It’s not going to be anything like it was three years ago.”

Aresco was referring to the loss of Louisville to the ACC and Rutgers to the Big Ten. Pittsburgh and Syracuse had already joined the ACC and West Virginia was competing in the Big 12. Since then, multiple AAC schools have been mentioned in various expansion rumors and discussions as possibilities, some more realistic than others. Cincinnati, Connecticut, Memphis, UCF, USF and Houston have all been mentioned at one point or another as potential targets for the Big 12. Once the Big 12 makes its decision final, at least Aresco and the entire AAC will be able to move on with some clearer vision of what comes next.

“I would like to see it settle down,” Aresco said. “There has been instability because of this whole Big 12 thing for the last few years. It’s not good for the schools. It’s not good for the fan bases. It puts pressure on our administrators and our coaches because they have to get asked this question.”

Expand or not to expand? ‘Come this summer,’ Big 12 to decide

Matt Ritchey
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For those hoping for a piece of the Power Five financial pie, you should get an answer, one way or the other, in the next few months.

Earlier this month, the Cincinnati Enquirer obtained emails detailing Cincinnati’s back-room campaign for inclusion in the Big 12, with those missives showing the university seemingly has an ally in their cause in Oklahoma president David Boren.  In an interview with Jake Trotter of The Oklahoman Tuesday, Boren, the driving force behind the league’s potential move to expand, confirmed that the expansion issue for his conference should be coming to a head at some point before the end of summer.

“We’re in a fact-finding mode, we’re in a data-gathering mode,” Boren, who previously admitted he was very frustrated the league let Louisville get away, told Trotter. “In other words, what will it mean to the stability of the conference? What will it mean financially to the conference?

“We’ve sort of said to ourselves, come this summer, we’re going to have to finally make a decision about what we do. We cannot indefinitely postpone decisions. That’s what I had gotten frustrated about. I thought we were spinning our wheels.

There are other issues tied to any expansion of the Big 12 from its current 10 schools to 12, most notably folding Texas’ Longhorn Network and the other university’s third-tier media properties into a league-wide network similar to the ones that serve as personal ATMs for the Big Ten and SEC. On that front, it’s intimated there’s some willingness in Austin to bend.

For now, the prime directive is convincing the holdouts that expansion is necessary and convincing Texas to give up The Longhorn Network for the greater good of a Big 12 Network.

“What’s good about it, I would say, no one’s slammed the door shut on any possibilities,” Boren said. “We’re doing what we should do. We’re being prudent, we’re being diligent. We’re reviewing all the data.”

As for potential expansion candidates, the data shows there are a handful of possibilities — or the usual suspects as some would label them. In addition to Cincinnati, Boise State, BYU, UConn, UCF and USF have been mentioned to varying degrees as fits for an expanded Big 12. Houston would seemingly be an ideal candidate as well, although there would likely be pushback from the state of Texas contingent in the league.

A geographic partner for one of the new members of the league, West Virginia, would seem to be at or near the top of any potential expansion to-do list. It’s also rumored that the league would want to expand further to the west and toward the Pac-12’s territory.

Myriad factors will not only go into deciding whether or not to expand, but just who to add if expansion is agreed upon.

“I think people are being very sincere about trying to look at the figures and the facts,” Boren said. “Not be emotional about it or ‘I want this school’ or ‘I want that.’

“Well, what are their academics? What’s their research base? How well do they fit our academic profile? How well do they fit our fan base profile? How many dollars in their market do they bring to the table? We’re looking at all that. In terms of the network and those dollars, we’re looking with our TV consultants to tell us.”

At some point before the 2016 season kicks off — officials will meet again in May after failing to reach a consensus at meetings earlier this month — the conference will answer those questions and decide to expand or not to expand. Here’s to guessing it’ll be the former, and BYU and Cincinnati will be very pleased with the direction the conference takes.

Emails detail Cincinnati’s effort to join Big 12

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 12:  A cheerleader of the Cincinnati Bearcats waves a flag during the game against the Toledo Rockets at Paul Brown Stadium on September 12, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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It’s no secret that if there was an obvious choice for expansion, the Big 12 would have expanded by now. But, in spite of that, Cincinnati is working to convince the 10 member schools — or, perhaps, the remaining five or six it needs to win over — that it is the obvious candidate.

The Cincinnati Enquirer on Sunday published emails detailing Cincinnati’s ground-roots, back-room campaign to join the Big 12, far led  by UC president Santa Ono with some strategic help along the way. The emails show Ono and UC have an ally in Oklahoma president David Boren, who wrote after meeting Ono at a Washington, D.C., function nearly a year ago today, “You are truly an outstanding leader and knowing that you are at the helm in Cincinnati makes me even more inclined to support your cause.” Boren is joined by West Virginia president Gordon Gee, a known hawk on expansion, and Baylor president Ken Starr on the Big 12’s expansion committee.

Ono also met privately with former Kansas State president Jon Wefald, who provided the UC president with bad information. “The only way I see to get Cincinnati into the Big 12 is this: that UC and the 2nd school would have to volunteer to take the financial haircut yourselves. Why? Because the three major networks will never add enough monies to allow the next two schools to have the same revenues as the 10 to (sic) now,” he wrote. “The emphasis of UC right now should be this: Get into the Big 12 and worry about equal revenues later. So get in now and tell the other 10 universities that you and the second school will take the haircut.”

This is incorrect, which turns out to be a bullet point in Cincinnati’s favor.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby confirmed last summer the league’s contracts with ESPN and FOX would expand with the conference’s membership.

Jason Kirk of SB Nation did a back-of-the-envelope estimation that concluded adding two schools would cost the remaining 10 schools between $1.5 and $2 million annually in College Football Playoff, NCAA and bowl payouts, but that’s before adding in the likelihoods of additional bowl and NCAA payouts that come with an expanded roster, plus the fact that the Big 12 would now have a conference championship game to sell to TV networks. In short, Cincinnati and another school likely wouldn’t cost the Big 12 much of a “haircut” at all.

In addition to his trip to Manhattan, Ono also visited with then-Texas president Bill Powers in Austin on company dime, but minutes from a UC Foundation board meeting indicate Ono “personally visited every Big 12 president regarding the merits of the University of Cincinnati and its academic and athletic programs,” indicating Bearcats boosters may have funded much of Ono’s campaign.

Cincinnati also enlisted help of executives with UC ties from Cincinnati-based Kroger and Macy’s while also soliciting Pacey Economics to compare the Bearcats with current Big 12 schools:

In a splashy brochure dated November 2014, UC shows how it compares to the Big 12 schools in 10 categories – including annual giving, National Merit Scholars, total research expenditures, enrollment and endowment assets. Cincinnati would rank in the conference’s top 5 in each category listed, except the U.S. News & World Report rankings, which would put UC seventh.

Pacey’s research, completed in late 2014, looked at athletic budgets, football and basketball success, academics and TV market size. UC’s annual athletics budget ($27.7 million in 2015) would be the lowest in the Big 12, but Pacey pointed out that would be expected to increase in a conference where the athletic department could make more money.

The Big 12 won’t meet to discuss expansion again until May, but Ono told the Enquirer he believes his jet-setting and hand-shaking will pay off. “I am indeed optimistic that through these efforts the University of Cincinnati is positioned exceptionally well to continue to compete at the highest level,” Ono told the paper in a statement.

In January, the Big 12 won the right through an NCAA vote to hold a title game without expanding, but expansion remains a target for some in the league because it would help the conference’s cause to launch a coveted TV network. Big 12 presidents and athletics directors met at league offices in Las Colinas, Texas, in February to discuss the matters without voting on issues at hand, though Bowlsby indicated afterward the schools continue to inch ever-closer to a resolution, calling the talks “high-level discussions.”