Illinois Fighting Illini

CHAMPAIGN, IL - NOVEMBER 16: Carlos Hyde #34 of the Ohio State Buckeyes drags tacklers Houston Bates #55 and Teko Powell #93 of the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on November 16, 2013 in Champaign, Illinois. Ohio State defeated Illinois 60-35.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Looking for ‘more stable program,’ Teko Powell to transfer from Illinois

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Citing significant coaching turnover during his time in Champaign, Teko Powell has decided to start over on another campus elsewhere.

In a conversation with the Champaign News-Gazette, the defensive lineman (pictured, No. 93) confirmed that he has decided to transfer from Lovie Smith‘s Illinois football program. According to Powell, upheaval on the coaching front triggered his decision to move on from the Illini.

“I had four different head coaches that either recruited me or coached me,” Powell told the News-Gazette. “I’m looking for a more stable program with the last two years of eligibility that I’ll have.”

Powell, as a grad transfer, will be permitted to begin using that remaining eligibility immediately if another FBS program is his landing spot. Per Powell, he’s already received interest from, among others, Kentucky and Miami (Fla.).

After appearing in seven games as a true freshman, Powell played in 10 games as a sophomore in 2013, starting six of those contests. He started the first three games of the following season before he was sidelined with a season-ending foot injury. Thanks to another foot injury sustained during summer camp, he also missed the entire 2015 season.

Those injuries led to Powell being granted fifth and sixth seasons from the NCAA.

Big Ten reportedly set to cash in again

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 30: Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and Big Ten Network president Mark Silverman pose with the Big Ten mascots and Natioanls mascot Screech before the game between the Washington Nationals and the Colorado Rockies at Nationals Park on June 30, 2014 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
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The other Big Ten sports broadcast rights shoe is reportedly ready to drop, and it is full of cash for the oldest major conference.

Sports Business Daily reported Monday morning ESPN has agreed to pay $190 million per year for six years to continue broadcasting Big Ten football and basketball games.

Of course that figure gets more impressive when we recall it is for only roughly half of the conference’s games. The other half already went to Fox Sports for a reported $240 million per year, and CBS is expected to retain some basketball games for $10 million per year.

Then of course there are still the rights owned by the Big Ten Network.

How does it all add up?

SBJ offers some perspective:

The $2.64 billion deals with Fox, ESPN and CBS average $440 million per year and nearly triple the amount ESPN and CBS had been paying for the same programming. ESPN signed a 10-year deal worth $100 million annually in 2006 — a payout that increased to $150 million this year due to the addition of Nebraska, Maryland and Rutgers to the conference. CBS paid an average of around $6 million for its current basketball-only deal.

Also of note: Fox managed to secure the first choice of which weeks it will get first choice of games, meaning the network could pluck away the storied Ohio State-Michigan game that traditionally takes place in late November as the season finale.

That game has been fixture on ESPN/ABC for decades.

Previously, ESPN generally had first pick of games with the Big Ten Network taking what was left.

Illini’s ‘Chunky’ Clements charged with misdemeanor battery

IOWA CITY, IA - OCTOBER 10: Running back Derrick Mitchell Jr. #32 of the Iowa Hawkeyes is tackled by defensive lineman Chunky Clements #11 of the Illinois Fighting Illini as he rushed for yards in the second half of play at Kinnick Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Iowa City, Iowa. Iowa defeated Illinois 29-20. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images).
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Yep, let’s reset that “Days Without An Arrest” ticker, shall we?  And, for the first time ever, a resetting is triggered by someone who willingly goes by the name of “Chunky.”

On March 4 of this year, the Associated Press is reporting, Illinois defensive lineman Jarrod “Chunky” Clements allegedly punched a man in the face at an on-campus party.  What led to the alleged altercation is unclear.

Clements was subsequently charged in late April with misdemeanor battery, and pleaded not guilty to the charge a little over a week ago.  Since then, Clements was placed in a program for first-time offenders and, provided Clements satisfies the terms of an agreement, the charge will ultimately be wiped from his record.

From the AP:

Clements, a senior defensive lineman, was placed in a program that allows those accused of lower-level crimes to perform community service and have charges reduced or dropped, Champaign County lead prosecutor Troy Lozar said.

Clements was given 20 hours of community service.

The school has confirmed that the lineman will not be suspended as a result of the incident. In response to the development, first-year Illini head coach Lovie Smith released the following statement.

“I am disappointed in Jarrod’s actions. He has already begun working toward fulfilling the community service hours that were assigned to him by the court,” said Smith. “We will reinforce to Jarrod the expectations we have of him as a student-athlete.”

Clements, a senior, is a projected starter along the Illini’s defensive line this season.

57 centers named to Rimington Award spring watch list

AJ McCarron, Ryan Kelly
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You know how I know we’re getting closer to the start of a new season?  The first watch list of the offseason has arrived.

The first for that honor this year is the Rimington Award, which on Tuesday released its spring watch list that is 57 players strong.  The Rimington Award, named in honor of former Nebraska standout Dave Rimington, is presented annually to the top center in the nation and is determined by the consensus All-American center pick from three existing All-America teams — Walter Camp. Sporting News and FWAA.

None of the finalists for the 2015 award, won by Alabama’s Ryan Kelly, are included on this year’s initial watch list as all three have since moved on with expired eligibility.

The ACC and SEC pace all conferences with eight watch listers apiece, followed by the AAC and Big 12 with seven each.  The Big Ten placed six, while the Pac-12’s three was the least of all of the Power Five programs.

All 10 of the FBS leagues, plus one independent (Notre Dame), are represented on the spring watch list, the full roster of which appears below.

Deyshawn Bond, Cincinnati, senior
Ryan Crozier, UConn, redshirt sophomore
Will Noble, Houston, sophomore
Drew Kyser, Memphis, sophomore
Evan Brown, SMU, junior
Brendan McGowan, Temple, redshirt senior
Chandler Miller, Tulsa, sophomore

Jay Guillermo, Clemson, senior
Alec Eberle, Florida State, redshirt sophomore
Freddie Burden, Georgia Tech, redshirt senior
Nicholas Linder, Miami, junior
Lucas Crowley, North Carolina, senior
Alex Officer, Pittsburgh, redshirt junior
Jason Emerich, Syracuse, redshirt senior
Jackson Matteo, Virginia, senior

Joe Spencer, Illinois, senior
Sean Welsh, Iowa, junior
Brendan Moore, Maryland, sophomore
Mason Cole, Michigan, junior
Dylan Utter, Nebraska, senior
Michael Dieter, Wisconsin, sophomore

BIG 12
Kyle Fuller, Baylor, senior
Dalton Risner, Kansas State, sophomore
Jonathan Alvarez, Oklahoma, junior
Brad Lundblade, Oklahoma State, junior
Austin Schlottman, TCU, junior
Tony Morales, Texas Tech, senior
Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia, redshirt senior

Michael Montero, FIU, senior
Dillon DeBoer, FAU, redshirt senior
Daniel Stephens, Middle Tennessee State, senior
Nick Clarke, Old Dominion, sophomore
Cameron Tom, Southern Miss, senior
Max Halpin, Western Kentucky, redshirt senior

Tim McAuliffe, Bowling Green redshirt junior
James O’Hagan, Buffalo, sophomore

Jake Bennett, Colorado State, junior
Asotui Eli, Hawaii, redshirt sophomore
Nathan Goltry, Nevada, senior
Arthur Flores, San Diego State, senior
Austin Stephens, Utah State, senior

Toa, Lobendahn, USC, junior
Coleman Shelton, Washington, junior
Riley Sorenson, Washington State, senior

Frank Ragnow, Arkansas, junior
Brandon Kublanow, Georgia, senior
Jon Toth, Kentucky, senior
Ethan Pocic, LSU, senior
Jamaal Clayborn, Mississippi State, senior
Robert Conyers, Ole Miss, senior
Alan Knott, South Carolina, redshirt junior
Coleman Thomas, Tennessee, junior

Devin Mondie, Arkansas State, senior
Andy Kwon, Georgia Southern, senior
Gabe Mobley, Georgia State, sophomore
Steve Matlock, Idaho, senior

Sam Mustipher, Notre Dame, junior

Big Ten will be on steady diet of Illini for ’16 Homecoming dates

EVANSTON, IL - NOVEMBER 29: Mason Monheim #43 of the Illinois Fighting Illini and Ralph Cooper #42  celebrate Monheim's interception touchdown against the Northwestern Wildcats during the second half on November 29, 2014 at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois.  The Illinois Fighting Illini defeated the Northwestern Wildcats 47-33.  (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
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The Big Ten announced its list of 2016 Homecoming dates for 2016, and the new coaching staff at Illinois will have plenty of motivation when summer conditioning starts in a few weeks.

Illinois will serve as the proverbial Homecoming meal for four of its five Big Ten road games this fall: Nebraska on Oct. 1, Rutgers on Oct. 15, Michigan on Oct. 22 and Wisconsin on Nov. 12. Wisconsin moved its Homecoming to two weeks after the rest of the conference to pass over Nebraska for the Illini.

No other Big Ten team will serve as a Homecoming opponent more than twice this season.

The full slate:

Oct. 1
Northwestern at Iowa
Rutgers at Ohio State
Purdue at Maryland
Illinois at Nebraska

Oct. 8
Maryland at Penn State

Oct. 15
Iowa at Purdue
Illinois at Rutgers
Nebraska at Indiana
Northwestern at Michigan State

Oct. 22
Rutgers at Minnesota
Indiana at Northwestern
Illinois at Michigan

Oct. 29
Minnesota at Illinois

Nov. 12
Illinois at Wisconsin

Illinois is looking to improve under new head coach Lovie Smith after finishing 5-7 overall and 2-6 in the Big Ten last fall.