UTEP Miners

HUNTINGTON, WV - DECEMBER 06: Rakeem Cato #12 of the Marshall Thundering Herd and head coach Doc Holliday celebrate defeating the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 26-23 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium after the Conference USA championship game on December 6, 2014 in Huntington, West Virginia.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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As revenues rise in Power 5, C-USA sees revenue in freefall

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The Power 5 conferences have never been richer. That doesn’t mean business is easy for everyone in college sports, though.

According to a report from Harry Minium of the Virginian-Pilot, Conference USA is in line to receive $2.8 million — total — from its 2016-17 television contracts. Keep in mind Texas will earn more than $40 million on its own next year, with the entirety of the Big Ten and SEC soon to follow.

Conference USA received $9.95 million in fees from CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports this year and another $6.15 million in exit fees from schools leaving for the American Athletic Conference, but each of those revenue streams is set to dry by the fall.

Due to incredibly unfortunate timing, C-USA had to return to the negotiating table at a time sports networks are in between the bubble of the cable explosion and whatever comes next in the digital world. The result is C-USA returns to ESPN and its fire hose of much-needed exposure, but at a substantially reduced rate. The league will also be found on CBS Sports Network, beIN Sports and the American Sports Network.

“Right now, the television market is horrible,” C-USA commissioner Judy McLeod said. “The pool of money that’s there is going to the big guys.”

According to Minium, C-USA’s $200,000 per school media rights distribution ranks ninth in FBS, trailing each of the Power 5 schools along with the AAC ($2 million per), the Mountain West ($1.7 million) and the MAC ($670,000) but ahead of the Sun Belt ($100,000).

UTEP confirms addition of ex-Fresno State QB Zack Greenlee

Zack Greenlee
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In January, Fresno State announced that Zack Greenlee had decided to transfer out of the Bulldogs program.  Three months later, the quarterback revealed via Twitter that he would be transferring to UTEP.

Two months later, that move has been confirmed.

In a press release, UTEP announced that Greenlee has indeed been added to the Miners’ football roster.  As a graduate transfer, Greenlee is eligible to play immediately in 2016.

As an added bonus for both the player and team, Greenlee has a year of eligibility he can use in 2017.

Greenlee started last season as Fresno State’s  starter, but wound up losing the job shortly after serving a suspension. All told, Greenlee started five games in 2015 after entering the year with one career start.

In the games in which he did play, Greenlee completed just under 47 percent of his 156 passes for 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.  Six of those touchdowns came in a 42-14 win over Hawaii, while five of his six interceptions came in the last three games of the year.

Greenlee was a three-star member of the Bulldogs’ 2013 recruiting class.

UTEP the landing spot for ex-Fresno State QB Zach Greenlee

Zack Greenlee
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Nearly three months after leaving a Mountain West school, Zack Greenlee has landed at one in Conference USA.

On his Twitter account late Saturday night, Greenlee announced that he has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at UTEP.  Greenlee joins the Miners as a graduate transfer, which means he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2016.

As an added bonus for UTEP?  Greenlee will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Greenlee started last season as Fresno State’s  starter, but wound up losing the job shortly after serving a suspension. All told, Greenlee started five games in 2015 after entering the year with one career start.

In the games in which he did play, Greenlee completed just under 47 percent of his 156 passes for 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.  Six of those touchdowns came in a 42-14 win over Hawaii, while five of his six interceptions came in the last three games of the year.

Greenlee was a three-star member of the Bulldogs’ 2013 recruiting class.

UTEP addresses DWI arrest of star RB Aaron Jones

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - SEPTEMBER 5:  Aaron Jones #29 of the UTEP Miners runs the ball against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on September 5, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Razorbacks defeated the Miners 48-13.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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One of the best and most productive running backs you’ve probably never heard of has become the latest to set the “Days Without An Arrest Ticker” back to double zeroes.

According to court records obtained by the El Paso Times, UTEP running back Aaron Jones was arrested Feb. 10 on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. The arrest came after a traffic stop initiated by an El Paso County sheriff’s deputy off the university’s campus.

KVIA-TV reports that Jones was pulled over by the deputy after the latter witnessed the former swerving from lane to lane.

Shortly after the arrest went public, head coach Sean Kugler released the following statement:

We are waiting for the process to fully develop and once I have all the facts, I will evaluate the situation. There are consequences to poor decisions and Aaron (Jones) will be held to the same standard as every other student-athlete in our program.

Jones, who went to high school in El Paso, led the Miners in rushing in 2014 (1,321 yards) and 2013 (811). He sustained a season-ending ankle injury two games into the 2015 season; at the time of the injury, his 209 yards rushing were far and away the Miners’ leading rusher (Autrey Golsen, 19 yards at the time).  Despite missing the last 10 games of the season, he finished third on the team in rushing behind Jeremiah Laufasa‘s 381 yards and LaQuintus Dowell‘s 276.

Even as he’s missed a total of 14 games because of injury, including four games at the end of his true freshman season in 2013, Jones is currently eighth on the school’s all-time rushing list.

UTEP adds veteran assistant Tom Mason as DC

EAST HARTFORD, CT - DECEMBER 06: Interim head coach Tom Mason of the SMU Mustangs looks on in the second half against the Connecticut Huskies during the game at Rentschler Field on December 6, 2014 in East Hartford, Connecticut.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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In a press release Thursday announcing Brent Pease as the new offensive coordinator, UTEP also announced Ken Flajole as defensive coordinator.  However, the school sent out a “corrected” release a short time later that excluded Flajole.

Three days later, Flajole’s “replacement” has been found.

In another release, Sean Kugler revealed that veteran college assistant Tom Mason will coordinate the defensive side of the ball.  Mason brings a wealth of experience to Kugler’s staff, having served as a coach in one capacity or another for almost 40 years.

“Tom is an outstanding coach, who comes highly recommended and brings a lot of experience to UTEP, “ said head coach Sean Kugler. “He has 38 years of experience in coaching many of those as a defensive coordinator. …

“We feel his defensive scheme fits our personnel and I am looking forward to him working with our players.”

Mason spent 2015 as the coordinator and defensive line coach at Hawaii. Prior to that, Mason was SMU’s defensive coordinator for seven seasons. After June Jones resigned two games into the 2014 season, Mason spent the rest of the year as the Mustangs’ interim head coach.

Other collegiate stops during Mason’s four-decade career that included Fresno State, Nevada, Northern Iowa, Boise State, Portland State, and Eastern Washington.

As for Flajole? After he accepted Kugler’s offer, he received another offer for a position with the Philadelphia Eagles and accepted it.