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Oregon WR Demetri Burch will enter NCAA transfer portal

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Throw another player into the NCAA’s transfer portal. This time it is Oregon wide receiver Demetri Burch, who announced his intent to transfer with a message on his Twitter account on Wednesday.

“I want to thank the University of Oregon for accepting me into their university and allowing me to be a part of their family,” Burch said, via Twitter. “At this time I want to announce that I will be transferring.”

Although Burch said upfront he is transferring, it is important to remember a player can always pull their name out of the transfer portal at any time to stay at their current location. Burch’s statement suggests he will not be returning to Oregon, however. Where Burch is heading next will be determined and announced at a later time.

Burch was a three-star recruit in Oregon’s Class of 2017 under former head coach (and current Florida State head coach) Willie Taggart. Burch appeared in six games for the Ducks last fall after redshirting in 2017. He did not record any stats in his six appearances last season.

Burch will have to sit out the 2019 season due to NCAA transfer rules (barring any possible waiver approval). He will have two more years of eligibility after sitting out the 2019 season.

Report: American signs $1 billion TV deal with ESPN

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The American has signed a new TV deal with ESPN that will represent a massive raise for the conference, according to a report Tuesday from Sports Business Journal.

The new deal will pay the conference a sum of $1 billion over the next 12 years, a split of $83.3 million per year, or around $7 million per year per school. That’s pennies compared to the $50 million-plus doled out by the Big Ten, but it’s a windfall compared to the league’s current contract that pays less than $2 million per year per school.

The contract will run from the 2020 football season through 2031, according to the report.

It’s good news for the conference insofar that rates are still going up in light of the cord-cutting shift affecting the entire TV business, but it does come with some caveats.

First, AAC fans must now pony up for ESPN+ subscriptions if they’d like to see many of their school’s games. Marquee games will remain on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, but the rest will go to the paid, online streaming service — which, obviously, ESPN hopes will help recoup much of the money they’re giving the AAC in the first place. More games should make TV airwaves moving forward, depending on how you define TV airwaves.

The other bit of mixed-bag news is that, according to the report, ESPN did not require a Grant of Rights agreement to fork over the $1 billion contract. That’s good if you’re a UCF or a Connecticut; it allows you to hang on to your free agent status should the Big 12 or ever come calling. But it’s bad if you’re a Tulsa or an East Carolina fan, because it means your conference’s most valuable members — thus, your ticket to continued $1 billion deals — are (still) only in the AAC until they get a better offer and not one moment longer.

NCAA grants immediate eligibility to Miami QB Tate Martell

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The NCAA has granted immediate eligibility to transfer quarterback Tate Martell, Miami announced on Tuesday.

“We are pleased with this ruling and appreciate the NCAA recognizing that this waiver met the criteria under the membership established guidelines,” Miami AD Blake James said in a statement. “We would like to thank the NCAA, as well as Ohio State University, for their assistance and support throughout the waiver process. We look forward to seeing Tate compete for the Hurricanes this season.”

Miami head coach Manny Diaz offered his own restrained comment as well.

Martell transferred after Justin Fields executed his own transfer from Georgia to Ohio State. Fields used a documented case of a then-Georgia baseball player using the N-word to refer to him during a September football game as evidence why he should be eligible for a waiver, which has since been granted.

Martell had no such incident, but he was granted a waiver anyway, leading many (yours truly included) to argue his case would bring along full-fledged free agency in major college football.

The NCAA has since announced it will take a look at the loosened waiver guidelines, which were only approved last April. So it appears Martell may use the loophole, then get it closed behind him.

But those are matters for another day. For now, Martell is officially a Miami Hurricane for the 2019 season. The redshirt sophomore will join a quarterback derby pitting him against returning starter N’Kosi Perry and redshirt freshman Jarren Williams for the open job.

Texas Tech coach Matt Wells suspends four players as spring practice starts back up

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There’s a new sheriff in Lubbock and the message is quickly spreading at Texas Tech.

New Red Raiders head coach Matt Wells confirmed reports that the program has suspended four players as spring practice returns to the program after a recent break:

Of those four, DeMarcus Fields is probably the biggest name as he started every game at cornerback for the team last season and was an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection. Joe Wallace is also a returning starter while Da’Leon Ward has been in the doghouse before with the previous coaching staff after missing 2017 and taking a redshirt prior to returning in 2018. Fulcher is the only one of the four who has not seen the field for Tech.

Wells did leave open the possibility that the quartet could return to the team at any time but it’s pretty clear they have work to do in order to get back in good graces with the new staff.

The Red Raiders have a rather unique schedule for spring practice so at least there’s still time for any or all the players to do just that before Tech holds their spring game on April 13th.

Patriots’ Bill Belichick looks like Alabama’s newest analyst at Crimson Tide Pro Day

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The relationship between New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Alabama head coach Nick Saban has been well documented dating back to the pair’s time together with the Cleveland Browns. The two old pals were reunited again on Tuesday in Tuscaloosa for the Crimson Tide’s annual Pro Day, a regular stop on the NFL draft circuit and the subject of intense interest for many given the number of potential first round picks on hand.

Maybe the most impressive feat of the day though? It might just be Saban getting his friend to lose the infamous hoodie to dress up in Alabama gear. If you ask us, Belichick looks an awful lot like the next defensive control analyst for the team based on this shot from the SEC Network: 

Let’s face it, that image is probably going to be quickly sent out by other Alabama staffers to recruits far and wide. Still, it’s nice to know that the Super Bowl champ would look right at home with the Crimson Tide if this whole Patriots gig doesn’t work out in the not to distant future…