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).
Somehow it seems appropriate that a team nicknamed the “Mean Green” is involved in a story centered around weed.
The latest college football player to run afoul of the law is Calvin Minor, the North Texas linebacker who, the Denton Chronicle is reporting, was arrested Tuesday night and charged with possession of less than two ounces of marijuana. Minor’s legal issues were triggered by a traffic stop stemming from the player running a stop sign.
The arresting officer smelled marijuana in the vehicle upon approaching it, and Minor acknowledged that there was some illegal herb inside.
“I am aware of the arrest of one of our football players, Calvin Minor, earlier today,” first-year head coach Seth Littrell said in a statement. “I have not had the opportunity to talk with Calvin yet and I’m still in the process of collecting information. I take these matters very seriously and will handle the situation appropriately when all the details become available.”
The past two seasons, Minor has started five games for the Mean Green, including two last seasons. In nine games last season, Minor was credited with 22 tackles, including two for loss, and a sack.
Over the weekend, it was reported that Memphis and would resume their geographical rivalry with Arkansas State with a four-game series beginning in 2020. Monday, the AAC school not only confirmed that news, but also the addition of a couple of more home-and-homes.
According to the school’s release, the UofM will play host to South Alabama on Sept. 22, 2018, with the Jaguars returning the hosting favors on Sept. 14, 2019. The 2018 game will mark the first-ever between the two football programs.
Additionally, the UofM will square off with North Texas in another home-and-home, the first in Memphis in 2022 and the second in Denton the following season. While the two teams have met 19 times previously, they’ve played just once since 1980 (2003). The Tigers own a decided 16-3 edge in the miniseries.
One final future scheduling note for Memphis: the school also announced that it will open the 2018 season against FCS Mercer. The release notes that “[t]he addition of the Mercer contest gives Memphis seven home games (three non-conference and four American Athletic Conference games) in each of the next three seasons (2016, 2017 and 2018).”
North Texas quarterback DaMarcus Smith is no longer a part of the program. Head coach Seth Littrel confirmed on Thursday the leading passer for the Mean Green last fall has move don from the program. No reason for his departure was given for his departure from the program.
Smith was the leading passer for North Texas last year after taking over the offense. Appearing in 10 games, Smith completed 46.7 percent of his passes for 1,010 yards and eight touchdowns with five interceptions. A junior, Smith was expected to be the top quarterback in the spring and favored to have the starting job heading into fall. With Smith no longer in the picture, North Texas will return just one player who has attempted a pass and open the spring with three quarterbacks currently on the roster.
“We have some ideas of what we want to do at quarterback,” Littrell said, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle. “The first thing we will do is evaluate what we have in that room. The second thing is we will recruit quarterbacks each and every year.”
With the 2016 season getting closer and closer on the horizon, North Texas has been hit with a rather significant blow to its defensive line.
A UNT spokesperson confirmed to Brett Vito of the Denton Record-Chronicle that defensive tackle Sir Calvin Wallace and linebacker Darrien McNair will not return to the Mean Green football program for the 2016 season. No reason was given for the twin departures.
Vito writes that “Wallace graduated from UNT and decided not to return for his final year of eligibility, while McNair left the school to return home to Florida.”
The loss of Wallace is easily the biggest of the two.
The Tyler, Tex., native started 11 games in 2015 after playing in 12 games the previous season. As noted by Vito, UNT’s other starting tackle, Austin Orr, was lost to graduation.
As for McNair, he played in one game as a true freshman after coming to Denton as a three-star member of UNT’s class last year.