Texas State Bobcats

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 26:  Demun Mercer #10 of the Texas State Bobcats is tackled by Adrian McDonald #16 of the Houston Cougars as Elandon Roberts #44 pursues on September 26, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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Texas State dismisses three WRs, including two likely starters, for ‘breaking core values’

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It appears Charlie Strong has a very loyal compatriot in his core corps.

This past Tuesday, Texas State announced that three wide receivers — Justin Gamble (pictured), Demun Mercer and Brice Gunter — had been dismissed from head coach Everett Withers‘ Bobcats football program. In his statement, Withers said the receivers had failed to adhere to his team’s “core values.”

Upon his hiring in January, Withers revealed his Strong-like core values: honesty, treating women with respect, no drugs, no stealing and no weapons. While not getting into specifics, the trio broke at least one of those values and all are now officially ex-Bobcats after initially being suspended last month.

“It is always unfortunate to have young people not meet the standards you set for a team with a new culture,” Withers said. “It is our mission at Texas State football to compete for championships with young people who want success in life for the next 40 to 50 years. We wish Demun, Justin and Brice the best as they move on in their next situations. We will continue to trust the path for this Texas State football team. There will be no further discussion of this issue.”

Last season, Mercer was fifth on the Bobcats with 19 receptions for 235 yards. His two receiving touchdowns were tied for third on the team.

Gamble had one reception for four yards in 2015, and, along with Mercer, would’ve headed into the 2016 season as a starter for the Bobcats.

Given this development, the following is the stark reality for the Bobcats at the position, from the San Marcos Daily Record: “none of the 11 wideouts on this year’s roster have caught a pass during a Division I football game.”

WATCH: Sun Belt hails arrival of championship game with hype video

STATESBORO, GA - NOVEMBER 29:  Head coach Willie Fritz for the Georgia Southern Eagles hoists the Sun Belt Conference trophy after his team defeated the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks on November 29, 2014 at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro, Georgia. Georgia Southern won 22-16.  (Photo by Todd Bennett/Getty Images)
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Summer is the time for blockbusters, so it makes sense the Sun Belt marked yesterday’s blockbuster announcement with a movie trailer-styled hype video.

Beginning in 2018, the Sun Belt will become the 10th and final FBS conference to hold a championship game, once Idaho and New Mexico State have seen the door shut behind them and Coastal Carolina takes their place.

“It’s exciting to know that we’ll join the other nine FBS conferences in holding a championship game,” commissioner Karl Benson said. “The first weekend of December has truly become ‘championship weekend’ in college football. To be able to participate in such a great event is something that coaches, student-athletes and fans will all embrace.”

While details are still being iron out, splitting into two-five team divisions with an eight-game schedule and a championship game at a campus site is the leader in the clubhouse at the moment.

“I think in the early stages, the route that we will take will be on one of our campuses — (not) to predict or speculate five years or seven years into it — but right now, we can expect that it will be on one of those campuses,” Benson said.

Sun Belt announces creation of title game; last league to do so

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Welcome to the postseason party, Sun Belt.

Earlier this month, the Big 12 announced that it had voted unanimously to reinstate the conference’s title game following the 2017 regular season.  A couple of days later, and following up on multiple reports, the Sun Belt has decided to create its own league championship game, only theirs will wait to kick off until after the 2018 regular season.

The league made the announcement at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

“This is a historic moment that represents yet another step forward for the Sun Belt Conference,” said commissioner Karl Benson. “The membership of the Sun Belt has been engaged in a significant number of advancements for the betterment of the league – to an extent this is the culmination of those efforts. …

“Sun Belt football student-athletes will make everlasting memories playing in the championship game during the upcoming years. This championship will be a first-class experience –- and we look forward to it being a launching-pad for a team to reach the College Football Playoff’s ‘New Year’s Six’ bowl games.”

Prior to today’s announcement, the SBC was the only FBS league that either didn’t already contest a league title game or have one in the works.

Like the Big 12, the SBC benefitted from the deregulation of championship games earlier this year, with the nine FBS conferences, by a 7-2 margin, voting to permit leagues with fewer than the mandated 12 members to hold title games.

The SBC is currently an 11-team conference, but will lose Idaho and New Mexico State following the 2017 season.  However, Coastal Carolina will become a full-fledged FBS member for the 2018 season — they’re joining the conference in football on a provisional basis in 2017 — bringing the league back up to the minimum of 10 members.

The conference has not yet decided whether it will split into two, five-team divisions.  Also to be worked out: whether the title game will be played at a neutral site or at the home stadium of the team that finished with the best record.

UCLA AD Dan Guerrero explains why he voted for satellite camp ban

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 13:  UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero speaks at a press conference introducing Jim Mora as head UCLA football coach at the J.D. Morgan Center at UCLA on December 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Who ordered the code red? UCLA AD Dan Guerrero ordered the code red. But why did he order the code red? That’s another question entirely.

In the wake of a 10-5 vote to ban all off-campus camps earlier this month, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott told reporters Wednesday the Bruins’ AD “did not vote the way he was supposed to.” In an email obtained by Sports Illustrated‘s Andy Staples, Guerrero explained to his colleagues why.

In short, Guerrero’s vote came at the end of the line, when it appeared Proposal 2015-59, authored by the ACC, to ban coaches from working camps off their own campuses, was going to pass no matter how he voted. In his mind, voting for that ban made more sense for the Pac-12 than allowing Proposal 2015-60, a rule forwarded by the SEC that would ban coaches from working more than 50 miles off their own campuses because the Pac-12 already had a similar rule on its books. If Proposal 2015-60 passed, Guerrero reasoned, Pac-12 schools would be at a disadvantage relative to other conferences, whereas 2015-59 put everyone on the same (albeit non-sensical) playing field.

Why Guerrero couldn’t have voted for Proposal 2015-60 and then urged the Pac-12 to change its rule is another question altogether.

Dear Pac-12 colleagues,

Recognizing the inquiries made to the Pac-12 Conference office about the decision rendered at NCAA Division 1 Council meeting this past week to pass Proposal 2015–59, ending  “satellite camps”, I thought it best convey my rationale for voting to support this piece of legislation. Prior to these meetings, I had extensive conversations with Pac-12 representatives in regard to the Conference’s position on a number of legislative proposals—the “satellite camp” proposals included. With an 0–11–1 vote cast by the Pac-12 Council, a vote to oppose proposals 2015–59 (sponsored by the ACC) and 2015–60, (sponsored by the SEC) was the charge with the ultimate goal to refer the legislation to the Football Oversight Committee (FOC). 

Going into the meetings, it was the feeling of many members of the D1 Council that these proposals would be tabled at the request of the FOC, thereby rendering both of these proposals moot, and keeping the current rule relative to “satellite camps” unchanged. In fact this was the preferred outcome by our Conference as indicated in the preparatory materials I received prior to the meeting. 

When this did not happen, it was conveyed on the Council floor that the FOC was supportive of 2015–59 and/or 2015–60. Based on the subsequent discussion it appeared as though passage was imminent. Therefore, I made the call to support 2015–59, which was the preference of the two options.

Proposal 2015–59 was clearly preferable from a Pac-12 perspective because it is aligned with current Pac-12 legislation SPR 6–6(a) that limits institutional camps to the campus.  If 2015–60 had passed, other conferences would have had a more lenient camp rule than the Pac-12 . As such, avoiding that outcome became my top priority.

When my read of the situation was that 2015–59 was going to pass, regardless of a Pac-12 vote against, I voted in favor of this proposition as it was the more consistent of the two with current Pac-12 legislation.

Hopefully this sheds some light on the process.

Thanks,

Dan Guerrero
Director of Athletics, UCLA

Guerrero wasn’t alone in voting against his league’s wishes. Texas State AD Larry Teis voted for the ban, though a majority of Sun Belt schools wanted to keep satellite camps intact.

Had those two voted in their conference’s best interests, a 10-5 vote for the ban would have swung to a 9-6 vote against (as a Power 5 school, the Pac-12’s vote counted double).

As fate would have it, UCLA chancellor Gene Block sits on the Division I Board of Directors, which will meet next week and is widely expected to revisit the D1 Council’s vote, if not walk it back altogether. It’s a safe assumption Block will walk into that meeting with a mind to take an extinguisher to the tire fire his athletics director started.

Willie Fritz completes first Tulane coaching staff

during the first half against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Sanford Stadium on November 21, 2015 in Athens, Georgia.
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With Willie Fritz set to embark on his first spring practice at Tulane, the first-year head coach has officially put the finishing touches on his first FBS coaching staff.

Sunday, Tulane announced in a press release that four on-field coaches have been hired by Fritz — Slade Nagle, Jamaal Fobbs, Jeff Conway and Chris Hampton. Nagle will coach tight ends, Fobbs will be the running backs coach, Conway will oversee the wide receivers and Hampton will coach defensive backs.

Three of the four assistants come to the Green Wave from the FCS level. The fourth, Conway, was the co-offensive coordinator/running backs coach/tight ends coach at Texas State for the last four years. Fritz and Conway also have a rather extensive connection that stretches back over three decades.

From the school’s release:

Fritz and Conway have a storied history together that dates back to 1984 when both were in their first stints at Sam Houston State. Since then, the two have worked together at Blinn Junior College, Central Missouri, a second time at Sam Houston State and will reunite at Tulane for the fifth time over the last 31 years.

Fritz was the head coach at Georgia Southern the last two seasons, guiding the Eagles to a 17-7 mark in 2014-15. Those were that program’s first two seasons at the FBS level.