SEC Network on pace for solid debut

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If there were any fears from SEC fans about not being able to get the SEC Network, which hits airwaves next month, many of those nightmare scenarios are starting to calm down. Today ESPN and Cox Communications announced the two sides have reached an agreement to bring the SEC Network to Cox subscribers.

“The addition of Cox is another very important step in the development of the SEC Network, bringing millions more viewers nationwide to the network when it launches on August 14,” said SEC commissioner Mike Slive in a released statement. “As one of the largest cable television distributors in the U.S., including five states in the SEC footprint, this agreement with Cox has a significant impact on exposure for the SEC.”

It certainly is. As it stands now, the SEC Network is scheduled to go live with access to an estimated 26 million customers.

It is important to make note the Big Ten Network’s launch faced a different TV environment and had to break down some walls to be able to help sell the idea that a conference-specific network was desirable and worth adding. Since then the Pac-12 has launched the Pac-12 Network, media rights deals have skyrocketed and now the ACC is contemplating the possibility of launching its own network. The customer base expected to have access to the SEC Network when it launches in mid-August is a testament to the popularity and demand for conference-specific programming from region to region.

The SEC Network is currently scheduled to be available to customers of Dish Network, Google Fiber, AT&T U-Verse and assorted smaller carriage providers throughout the region (Comcast is not a done deal yet, but expected to be finalized before launch; Verizon FIOS should not be far behind either). The SEC Network still has to get by the DirecTV hurdle, but there is still time to sort out that one.

USF the landing spot for Michigan transfer Eddie McDoom

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 04 Minnesota at Michigan
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Nearly two weeks after leaving the Midwest, Eddie McDoom is heading south.

Over the weekend, it was reported that McDoom intends to transfer into Charlie Strong‘s South Florida football program. USF, which opens the 2018 season Sept. 1 against FCS Elon, subsequently confirmed McDoom’s addition to the roster, including his official addition to the online roster.

McDoom will be forced to sit out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA bylaws. The wide receiver will then have two years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2019 season.

Earlier this month, it was reported that McDoom was no longer a part of the Michigan football program.

McDoom, a three-star 2016 signee, finished the Wolverines portion of his playing career with 16 receptions for 140 yards. The Florida native also ran the ball 24 times for another 203 yards.

Lingering effects of devastating 2016 knee injury forces Michigan’s Grant Newsome to retire

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As the player himself stated, not all stories have a happy ending.

Michigan offensive lineman Grant Newsome sustained a serious knee injury in early October of 2016 and spent 38 days in the hospital, including more than a week in intensive care, as doctors fought to save his leg. Newsome missed the entire 2017 season as he recovered from the devastating injury, and then was sidelined for spring practice this year as he still awaited medical clearance to resume playing football.

Optimistic of a return in early May, Newsome instead announced Monday that he will be forced to retire from the sport. Newsome’s injuries included a dislocated knee, fractured tibia, three torn knee ligaments as well as significant and extensive nerve damage in the area, and the latter issue is what in very large part foiled Newsome’s comeback attempts.

“Despite the near-miraculous healing in the knee, the totality of the injury was too much,” Newsome wrote in his Twitter missive, “as some recent secondary injuries coupled with the fragile nature of a vascular graph have made the risk of playing football again one that is too great for me to accept. …

“One day I will be able to play catch with my kids, to chase after them as they learn to ride a bicycle, to stand on my own two feet and applaud them at their graduation.”

Newsome plans to remain with the Wolverines as a student coach, working with U-M’s tight ends. He will also enroll in graduate school and work toward earning his Master’s degree.

Prior to the injury, Newsome, a four-star 2015 signee, started the first five games of the 2016 season at left tackle after starting one game as a freshman in 2015.

Former four-star Florida State lineman moves on from football

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With the start of the 2018 season less than two weeks away, Florida State will have one fewer option in the trenches than expected.

Corey Martinez took to his personal Twitter account Monday to announce that he has decided “to move on from football and do what’s best for myself and my family.” The lineman also provided some details as to what his post-football future will hold.

“As I continue my life journey,” the fifth-year senior wrote, “I look forward to stepping foot into the construction industry so that I can work my way into becoming a project manager and apply for my General Contractors license in the near future.”

On 247Sports.com‘s composite board, Martinez was rated as four-star 2014 signee. That same board had the Tampa product as the No. 14 offensive guard in the country and the No. 33 player at any position in the state of Florida.

Martinez played in 11 games the past three seasons after redshirting as a true freshman. He started three games during his time with the Seminoles, with all three of those starts coming during the 2016 season.

Florida State AD Stan Wilcox takes over Oliver’s Luck’s old NCAA job

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 11 Boston College at Florida State
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As had been rumored, Florida State is in search of a new athletics boss.

The NCAA announced Monday that Stan Wilcox has accepted the position of executive vice president of regulatory affairs. Wilcox has been the athletic director at Florida State since August of 2013, and FSU will now be forced to launch a national search for a replacement.

Wilcox will replace Oliver Luck, the former West Virginia athletic director who left the NCAA in June of this year to take on the job of XFL commissioner.

“Stan is a highly-respected, visionary leader in intercollegiate athletics, and I’m excited to have him join our senior leadership team at the national office,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement. “Stan’s nearly three decades of experience working in athletics administration at Notre Dame, Duke and Florida State, among others, have clearly demonstrated his commitment to providing student-athletes with the opportunity to excel in both academics and athletics while being successful in life.”

“I want to thank Stan for everything he has done at FSU. We’re excited for him, and we all wish him the best in his new position,” said FSU president John Thrasher in his statement. “Our success on the playing fields under his leadership has been exceptional, with national championships in football, soccer, and softball over that time. We finished ninth in the 2017-18 Learfield Director’s Cup last year, and our student-athletes reached a cumulative 3.0 GPA this past year.”

Below is Wilcox’s full statement on his departure from Tallahassee:

I am honored and humbled to join Mark Emmert’s leadership team at the NCAA.

I am so grateful for the opportunities and experiences that have led me to this point. The Big East Conference, Notre Dame University, Duke University and most recently Florida State University have provided a depth and breadth of experiences on which I will rely heavily moving forward.

I am excited to return to the NCAA, where my intercollegiate athletics career began.

Lastly, I would like to express my gratitude to former Florida State University Presidents Eric Barron and Garnett Stokes, and current President John Thrasher. The success we have enjoyed in Tallahassee would not have been possible without their trust, guidance and support, and without the fine efforts of our student-athletes, coaches and athletics support staff.

My wife Ramona and I are excited to start this new chapter in my career and in our lives together.