Operating a Division I athletics program can be tough but few face the inherent hurdles of running a department quite like the two FBS schools in the state of New Mexico. For years the Aggies of New Mexico State have had one of the smallest budgets in the country and their rivals at New Mexico are not immune to the same challenges either. Case in point came this week as the Lobos moved to cut four sports on Thursday by a unanimous vote from the UNM Board of Regents.
While football was not on the chopping block for the school (it’s a required sport to remain in the Mountain West), the program itself is not immune to penny-pinching the department is facing in the near term. According to the Albuquerque Journal, this includes no longer staying at a hotel the nights before home games, a reduction in the recruiting budget for trips and a potential reduction in the number of meals the school provides to players.
“We are talking about football internally,” athletic director Eddie Nuñez said. “Football, as well as every other sport, is going to be held to the same accountability when it comes to managing their budgets.”
According to recent records, the football team spent a reported $8.3 million during the most recent fiscal year and failed to turn a profit. The Lobos will soon be reducing the total number of players on the team from 116 to 113 (there will remain 85 scholarships available) for both budgetary and Title IX reasons as well. While it was certainly not intended, the program did see some additional cost savings earlier this year when they suspended head coach Bob Davie without pay for 30 days.
Still, times are tough in the state and nobody knows that better than the athletic departments who are facing a money-crunch and trying to do what they can to dig themselves out of it.
Last September, Kasim Hill‘s season came to a premature end thanks to a torn ACL in his right knee. During Saturday’s loss to Indiana, Hill suffered what appeared to be a significant injury to his other knee.
In fact, in an Instagram post Monday, the Maryland starting quarterback intimated that it was yet another torn ACL as he alluded to “attacking the process all over again.”
Tuesday, acting head coach Matt Canada confirmed that Hill had indeed suffered another torn ACL. Obviously, the sophomore’s season has come to an end.
Hill had started all 10 games under center for the Terrapins this season. He completed under 50 percent of his 170 passes for nine touchdowns and four interceptions. His passing efficiency rating of 115.7 is 10th in the Big Ten and 100th nationally.
Sophomore Tyrrell Pigrome is expected to take over for Hill as the Terps’ starting quarterback.
With its reputation battered earlier this year because of the Zach Smith imbroglio, Ohio State has come out swinging at a new report that surfaced Tuesday morning involving the former wide receivers coach.
In a story posted by college football reporter Brett McMurphy to WatchStadium.com, the father of former OSU wide receiver Trevon Grimes claimed that Smith called his son a “bitch ass [N-word]” during practice in late September of last year. In the report, McMurphy intimated that head coach Urban Meyer attempted to cover-up the incident by flying down to Grimes’ home in Florida in October of 2017 and promising the player OSU would allow him to transfer anywhere if he didn’t go public with the allegations; conversely, OSU officials claimed that the trip was made solely to support the player and his mother, who was going through a serious health issue at the time.
Appearing on Tuesday’s Big Ten coaches’ teleconference hours after the report surfaced, Meyer described himself as “irate” when he first learned of the allegations made in the report. The head coach called the report “the most preposterous thing” he’s witnessed during his time as a college football coach.
Additionally, Meyer stated that legal action is an option he and the university are considering.
Current and former Buckeyes football players spent Tuesday morning lashing out at the report, claiming there is no racism in the OSU program. In very strong statements, both OSU president Michael Drake and athletic director Gene Smith vehemently defended Meyer, with the former calling the allegations of racism “outrageous and false” and the latter labeling the accusations “unequivocally false.”
Given the opportunity to refute a report regarding the future of his football program, Colorado athletic director Rick George instead poured gasoline on the situation with his choice of words.
Overnight, a report surfaced that CU would part ways with head football coach Mike MacIntyre at season’s end. In response to the report, George stated that no decision on the football program’s has been made.
We do comment on speculation or unsubstantiated rumors with anonymous sources. Let me just say I have made no decisions regarding the future of our football program.
Based on a new deal agreed to in January of last year and approved five months later, CU would owe MacIntyre a buyout in excess of $10 million if he’s fired without cause.
In five-plus seasons with the Buffaloes, MacIntyre has posted a 30-43 record overall and 14-38 in Pac-12 play. Coming off a 5-7 season in 2017, the Buffs won their first five games of the season and climbed to 19th in the Associated Press Top 25. However, they’ve dropped five straight since then, with three of the five losses coming by 10 or more points.
Colorado will play its home finale this weekend against Pac-12 South leader Utah before closing out the regular season at Cal a week later. The Buffaloes need to win at least one of those games to reach bowl eligibility.
Another bowl game. Yippie???
Tuesday afternoon, the MAC and Conference USA announced the creation of the Myrtle Beach Bowl, which will first be played following the 2020 regular season. The postseason game will be owned and operated by ESPN and will be played at 21,000-seat Brooks Stadium, home of the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.
There will be three conference tie-ins to the bowl game: the two already mentioned as well as the Sun Belt. Each league will play in the Myrtle Beach Bowl four times over the six years of the current contract.
“Myrtle Beach will be a great addition to the Mid-American Conference bowl line-up, and a destination we have been actively pursuing to develop a bowl game,” said MAC commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher in a statement. “A family-friendly destination with outstanding facilities for competition, entertainment, and lodging, Myrtle Beach is very accessible by ground or air transportation from throughout our geographic footprint. I have no doubt our student-athletes, staff, and fans will have a unique and exceptional experience at the Grand Strand. The Mid-American Conference is appreciative of the efforts of ESPN Events and the Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau in bringing this exciting new bowl game to fruition.”
At the moment, it’s unclear if this new bowl will replace an existing bowl or if it’ll simply be added to a lineup that currently consists of 782 postseason games.