Ex-Texas governor: A&M doesn’t ‘have to act childlike and run off somewhere’

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While Texas A&M’s new chancellor is publicly all-in for a move by his new school from the Big 12 to the SEC, Oklahoma State mega-booster T. Boone Pickens said earlier in the week that it would be a big mistake for the Aggies to move out of their current conference digs.

A former Texas governor has subsequently one-upped Pickens’ mistake rhetoric while also adding a political twist to the situation.

Labeling a potential move to the SEC a “permanent mistake”, Baylor grad Mark White called on current governor and 2012 presidential candidate Rick Perry — an A&M grad and college football rumor purveyor, incidentally — and the state legislature to enter into what he described as “cool reflection”.  And apparently, in Texas politics, part of the process of reflecting during a cooling-off period involves threatening to cut state funding from the school if it were to leave.

“What I would urge the governor to do is ask A&M to sit down with their counterparts in Texas and work out their differences,” White told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “They don’t have to act childlike and run off somewhere… A&M has a responsibility to taxpayers in this state. If you can show me where the state of Texas wins on this deal, I’d like to see it. I thought we’d put this to bed for 10 or 15 years [last summer].”

Thought they had put Big 12 stability to bed for a decade or more?  Really?  While White’s naïveté is cute and precocious and all, the Big 12 was kept together last year by nothing more than Elmer’s glue, masking tape and Texas failing to secure the rights from the Pac-10 to create their own television network.

Oddly enough, it’s that same network that, at least publicly, is driving A&M toward the SEC.

After Colorado and Nebraska fled for the Pac-10-now-12 and Big Ten, respectively, and Texas and three other schools openly flirted with bolting to join what would’ve become the Pac-16, the 10 remaining schools in the Big 12 pledged their decade-long love to the conference.  The only problem with that?  It was a nonbinding agreement; no documents or contracts were signed to express that loyalty.

Commissioner Dan Beebe said last year, shortly before naming the Easter Bunny as his deputy commissioner, that “trust between presidents and chancellors in this league is high enough to continue on” without a signed contract.

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To further buttress his argument that A&M should stay in the Big 12, White cited a study by the Perryman Group — whose president received his bachelor’s degree from Baylor and PhD from Rice — which found that A&M’s departure without the conference finding a replacement school would, the Star-Telegram writes, create a loss of 3,050 jobs and $217.2 million in output (gross product) annually in Texas.

Now, I’m no economist, put wouldn’t all of those high school football players buying tickets to fly to SEC schools on recruiting trips somewhat mitigate those dire financial numbers, and actual increase jobs in the airline/travel industry?  And that’s without even mentioning SEC coaches coming to Texas and staying for lengthy periods of time plowing the state’s fertile recruiting grounds, which would no doubt bolster the hotel industry.

Additionally, using numbers that don’t include another school to replace A&M in the conference appears to be nothing more than an attempt to stir up taxpayers.  The Big 12 membership has been very open about the fact that, if A&M leaves, they will aggressively pursue another school to fill that void.

And, since White and the Perryman Group and others are so concerned about the damage to the State of Texas’ bottom line a departure would create, we’ll just go ahead and assume they’ll aggressively push for the inclusion of Houston, SMU or Rice as the Big 12’s 10th member.  Certainly adding another Texas school into the Big 12 mix would help mitigate the loss of jobs and “gross product” created by A&M’s departure, wouldn’t it?

Ex-Western Michigan WR reportedly holding up payouts in $208 million lawsuit with NCAA

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It’s been well over a year since the NCAA reached a settlement in a class-action lawsuit over grant-in-aid/cost of attendance and yet the $208 million the organization is still just sitting in a bank account waiting to be doled out. While you might first think that this is the result of the usual dragging of their feet from those in Indianapolis, it turns out that is not the case at all.

USA Today is reporting that it’s actually former Western Michigan wide receiver Darrin Duncan who is the one holding things up. He withdrew from the class-action case but his attorney, Caroline Tucker, “attempted to obtain $200,000 from the plaintiffs’ lawyers in exchange for dropping the objection.” The lawyers on the plaintiffs’ side have naturally responded in force, asking either of the two to post a five-figure bond to cover their own legal fees resulting from this delay. The judge in the case, Claudia Wilken, knocked that down to $5,000 last Friday by calling Tucker/Duncan’s objection to the case “meritless and thus his appeal is unlikely to succeed.”

At this point, Duncan/Tucker can either put up the money and risk losing it to continue their objection or drop things and let the payments — which could go as high as $6,000 per athlete — begin. While this is naturally focused on money, there’s a bit more to what the former Broncos receiver is going through:

All of this is occurring against the backdrop of Duncan dealing with personal hardship.

Now 28, he has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to his mother and a GoFundMe page established on his behalf about a year ago. He has received death threats because of his objection to the settlement, his mother, Arleen Pollard, said in an interview with USA TODAY Sports.

It does appear as though a solution to this long-running saga is in the cards somewhat soon but until then, the wait continues before the checks can start hitting the mail.

Pitt reportedly poaches Mississippi State staffer to be new director of recruiting

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Could we have the start of a budding rivalry between Pitt and Mississippi State? No, but the two programs did see one poach a staffer from the other.

A source told FootballScoop that Mississippi State assistant director of football operations Reed Case has taken the director of recruiting position at Pitt. Both positions are off-the-field roles but as anybody who has worked in a football office will tell you, each is crucial to the day-to-day success of a program.

Per the folks over at FootballScoop, this is one of the first big jobs that Case has had at an ACC program in the Northeast but he’s got a diverse background from stops at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and East Carolina among others.

The move by Pat Narduzzi fills the vacancy left behind by long-time staffer Mark Diethorn, who previously served as the Panthers’ director of recruiting for six years before heading to a new job at his alma mater of Virginia Tech last week.

Recruit who reportedly didn’t have offer still commits to Virginia, Hoos pick up actual pledge from Danish recruit instead

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Ahh ‘crootin.

The lifeblood of every college football program, recruiting can sometimes give us some awkward moments and it appears we have another courtesy of Virginia. Let us first bring up this tweet from Philadelphia (Pa.) Imhotep Class of 2019 wide receiver Anthony Gordon, who seemingly committed to the Cavaliers last Thursday.

Great for the kid, right? Well, there’s just one problem, 247Sports says that Gordon is not actually a commitment for the program for a rather big reason:

There was an issue though, the 6-foot-1, 175-pound wide receiver never had the scholarship offer from UVA he reported in March. According to multiple sources, Virginia had not been in contact since March and no call was made to the Virginia staff before the post on social media.

So… yeah. This immediately brings Kevin Hart (no, not that one) to mind after the former offensive lineman staged a ceremony to commit to Cal even though the Golden Bears never recruited him nearly a decade ago. It does seem like there is at least some contact between Virginia and Gordon in this case though, as that report makes clear, it has been a while since the two have talked.

All is not lost for Cavs fans though, as the program did add a commitment from Emil Bo Andersen at their summer camp. Why would we mention this? Well, Anderson is not only a 6-foot-5, 280-pount defensive tackle that comes at a position of need, but he’s actually Danish and is apparently ticketed to a full-ride across the pond thanks to what he showcased at the UVA camp. Very cool and not the first ACC player to come from overseas either should his pledge hold up.

It’s never dull in the ‘crootin world.

Syracuse QB Rex Culpepper on beating cancer: It felt like beating Clemson

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There’s been a lot of cool moments across college football this past spring but one of the best came in one of the most unlikely of places: Syracuse. At the Orange’s spring game in mid-April, backup quarterback Rex Culpepper suited up in between chemotherapy treatments and managed to throw a (tear-jerking) touchdown pass in the final drive of the afternoon.

Fast forward a few months and Culpepper, after undergoing over 100 hours of treatment, was declared cancer-free in early June. Fully healthy and finally cleared to return to regular football activities, the signal-caller recently went through an offseason workout with his teammates and later spoke to the media about everything that has happened throughout the process.

And how did he describe beating cancer? Well, naturally he brought an a very special on-the-field victory from last season.

“The closest thing I can say is it felt like beating Clemson,” Culpepper said, according to Syracuse.com. “You just feel so incredibly ecstatic that nothing in your life could ever go wrong.”

We’re pretty confident that even Tigers fans won’t mind hearing that given what the quarterback has been through and what a joyful moment that it was for the program back in October.

Next up for Culpepper and the team? Fall camp later this year as he competes with senior Eric Dungey in one of the more impressive quarterback rooms in the ACC for a variety of reasons.