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Pac-12 reportedly turned down offer from ESPN to distribute Pac-12 Network

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Given a chance to let ESPN take care of the distribution of the Pac-12 Network alongside the ESPN family of networks that includes the SEC Network and will soon include the ACC Network, the Pac-12 opted to pass. According to a report from Sports Business Daily reporters John Ourand and Michael Smith, ESPN approached the Pac-12 about working out a deal that would extend the media rights package deal between ESPN and the Pac-12 for the better part of the next two decades, but the Pac-12 rejected the offer in hopes of securing a more rewarding media rights deal in the next round of rights negotiations.

The Pac-12 has constantly struggled with getting the Pac-12 Network in as many homes as they likely hoped when the network launched in 2012. Unlike other conference-branded networks, the Pac-12 has retained total ownership of the network, which seemed like a good idea at one point in time. But considering the massive windfall of cash that schools from the Big Ten and SEC get with their conference-branded networks as partnerships with FOX Sports (Big Ten Network) and ESPN (SEC Network) while the Pac-12 continues to have issues getting some carriers to get on board with the Pac-12 Network, perhaps total ownership and decision-making with regard to operating and distribution should be on the table for discussion for the Pac-12.

The Pac-12’s current media rights agreement with ESPN and FOX will expire in 2024, and a consultant has already been hired to help out with the negotiations to come. What exactly the media landscape will look like at that point remains difficult to predict. As more and more consumers are choosing to cut the cord, the oversaturation of streaming platforms leaves plenty of possibilities for what the future holds, including a brand new announcement from Apple today about their future Apple TV plans. The Pac-12  holding off and taking their shot in the next few years appears to be a gamble, but it may work out in their favor anyway. Even though the Pac-12 backed away from secure financial and distribution stability that would surely come with the helping hands of ESPN, the media rights numbers continue to increase every year.

The Pac-12 is still going to make out a pretty rewarding deal, but it will be compared against what the schools in other conferences receive from their various media rights deals. Some within the Pac-12 have grumbled about the payout the Pac-12 Network has yielded thus far, so this is a pretty interesting decision by the conference to not take the ESPN money now and run. This is the same conference that is hoping to get investors to shell out some cash to be a part of the conference as well.

The biggest question may be whether or not Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott will be around to see the new media rights deal be settled.

Ole Miss transfer Breon Dixon confirms mutual parting with Nebraska

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Maybe the third time will be a charm for Breon Dixon?

First reported by Rivals.com, Dixon “will not be with the [Nebraska] program going forward.” Citing a source with knowledge of the situation, the Omaha World-Herald subsequently confirmed the initial report, writing that the linebacker “is off the team.”

Neither media outlet provided specifics as to the reason or reasons behind the apparent parting of ways.

Thus far, the football program has not yet addressed the reports, although the player did as he stated in a Twitter post that indicated a mutual parting of ways.

Dixon began his collegiate playing career at Ole Miss, but transferred to Nebraska in January of 2018 in the aftermath of NCAA sanctions levied on the SEC school.  Because of those sanctions, Dixon was granted immediate eligibility with the Cornhuskers.

After playing in four games this past season, Dixon, a four-star 2017 signee, was able to take advantage of the new redshirt rule that preserved a year of eligibility.

Georgia transfer Luke Ford denied waiver for immediate eligibility at Illinois by NCAA, will appeal

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If nothing else, the NCAA’s inconsistency is ridiculously and maddeningly consistent.

The dawning of a new morning yesterday brought word that Coastal Carolina transfer Brock Hoffman‘s appeal for immediate eligibility at Virginia Tech was denied because, one, Blacksburg is five miles outside of the NCAA-mandate 100-mile radius from the lineman’s home and, two, his mom’s health is improving two years removed from brain surgery that left her with myriad ongoing issues.  Fast-forward a few hours the same day and Luke Ford, a transfer from Georgia, took to Twitter to announce that his appeal for immediate eligibility at Illinois has been shot down by the NCAA as well.

The main reason for Ford, a native of Carterville, Ill., transferring to the Fighting Illini was so that the tight end could be closer to his ailing grandfather; a portion of the NCAA’s denial indicated that a grandparent is not part of the nuclear family as mandated by The Association’s bylaws.  Additionally, Ford’s home is nearly twice the distance allowed by the same governing body’s rules.

Ford will informally appeal the NCAA’s initial denial of a waiver before, if necessary, moving on to what would be a formal and final appeal.

“We’re all disappointed Luke Ford’s waiver request for immediate eligibility was denied,” a statement from the university began. “There is an appeal process that we intend to help Luke explore.”

The NCAA should be applauded for becoming much less restrictive when it comes to transfers and granting waivers of late to players whose sole motivation for a move was a better shot at immediate playing time (hello, Tate Martell and Justin Fields, for example); they can, though, do much, much, much better, especially as it pertains to cases such as Ford and Hoffman that involve nothing more than simple human decency.

Clemson confirms RB Tavien Feaster enters transfer database

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Clemson has, more than likely, seen its depth in a talented backfield take a hit.

With rumors swirling earlier in the day, Clemson confirmed Wednesday evening that Tavien Feaster has entered the NCAA transfer database and is looking to leave the Tigers.  The running back will graduate from the university in August and intends to “continue his college career somewhere else,” Dabo Swinney said in a portion of a statement released by the football program.

Feaster could always pull his name from the portal and remain with the Tigers, although that doesn’t seem likely at this point.

“We appreciate Tavien for everything he brought to Clemson University and our program and we wish him nothing but the best moving forward,” the head coach said in closing out his statement.

Feaster will apparently finish the Clemson portion of his playing career with 1,330 career rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on 222 carries, as well as 183 receiving yards and one touchdown on 23 receptions.  The Spartanburg, SC, native started 11 of the 41 games in which he appeared for the Tigers.

As a grad transfer, Feaster would be eligible to play immediately at another FBS school.  The upcoming season will be the back’s final year of eligibility.

Nick Saban back at work 48 hours after hip surgery, already putting walker and cane through ‘The Process’

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There’s no stopping Nick Saban. Certainly not a new hip.

The Alabama head coach, as some around the program no doubt expected, is not taking it easy at all after undergoing right hip replacement surgery on Monday. In fact, not 48 hours later he’s back in business at his office in Tuscaloosa.

Saban is supposed to spend the next 6-8 weeks recovering from the surgery but the 67-year-old does not appear to be sticking by that timetable for getting back to full strength.

“I had one day on the walker… Now I’m on the cane. I’ll probably throw that (SOB) away tomorrow,” Saban told TideSports.com. “I think in two weeks, I will be 100 percent.

“They won’t let me play golf for six weeks for some reason, but I am going to try and get that reduced.”

Ahh yes, even Saban’s rehab is getting put through the rigors of his famous ‘Process.’