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2020 presidential candidate advocates NCAA paying players

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The stick to sports crowd is going to have to take today off.

Hot on the heals of the NCAA making a few waves by instituting new rules concerning agents and prospects in another revenue sport, a 2020 presidential candidate has wandered into the fray by criticizing the folks in Indianapolis regarding a much bigger subject that strikes fear into the hearts of every seasoned administrator: paying the players.

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang released a new plan on Wednesday calling for just that, particularly calling out payments for Division I football players:

“The NCAA should accept the reality that certain of its sports have become entertainment properties and the athletes should be compensated accordingly. This is particularly true for Division I Men’s Football and Men’s Basketball,” Yang wrote on his website. “We should create a new type of college athlete—“Performer athlete”—who is entitled to market-based compensation. This would not affect the status of any other student-athletes nor the tax-exempt status of the university. However, each university with a “Performer athlete” would be required to start an affiliated taxable for-profit entity through which both corporate sponsorships and Performer athlete salaries would flow.

“Paying athletes in certain sports would lead to more resources going to the players who are both the main attraction and putting their bodies on the line each game.”

Yang also calls for the opening up of NCAA rules related to athletes using their names/images/likeness. Something along those lines is already being explored — both in court and through a new committee — but as with most things regarding presidential politics, the hope is that this gets fast-tracked after November 2020.

Such a position probably isn’t too surprising to hear from a long-shot candidate for the top job in the country (and one who has an economics background to boot) but it will be interesting to see if Yang’s stance spreads to other candidates in the crowded field for the Democratic nomination. We’ve already seen current politicians in Washington start to become more vocal about the NCAA’s policies and it sounds like this is going to be a trend that continues to spread over the coming months.

Who knows if it will lead to any sort of impact on football players in the future but it’s pretty clear that the drum beat for paying players won’t be slowing anytime soon.

Braden White named prestigious 12th Man at Texas A&M

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The 12th Man is a big, big deal at Texas A&M. In fact, it’s pretty much the brand of not just the football program, but the entire athletics department. Case in point, A&M’s athletics department website is 12thman.com.

For the uninitiated, in 1922 the Aggies found themselves short of players in a football game against Center College, the No. 1 team in the country at the time, after multiple players sustained injuries over the course of the game. Down to just 11 players, A&M student E. King Gill volunteered to suit up and stand on the sidelines in case the team needed him. Gill now has a statue outside of Kyle Field, and A&M’s student section is collectively referred to as the 12th Man.

As such, it’s a tremendous honor for an active Aggie player to be awarded the No. 12 and, after fullback Cullen Gillaspia donned the jersey for a record-tying 39 games, it’s time to hand it off to a new player.

On Tuesday, Jimbo Fisher awarded the No. 12 jersey to Braden White, a walk-on linebacker from Florence, Ala.

“I’m honored just to be able to represent this great university and everything about it,” White said. “It’s a true blessing.”

White is a redshirt junior who has checked all the boxes of a player who checks all the 12th Man boxes. He was named Defensive Scout Team MVP during his redshirt year of 2016 and was honored as the Top Conditioned Athlete at the Aggies’ 2018 team banquet. He has appeared in 18 career games, recording 16 career tackles playing primarily as a special teams contributor.

White will wear No. 12 for the first time next when Texas A&M — ranked, ironically, No. 12 in the preseason AP poll — hosts Texas State next Thursday night (8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network).

UConn begins building out independent schedules with BC home-and-home

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Until they tell us otherwise, Connecticut is going to try to make it as an FBS independent. This upcoming season will be the Huskies’ final one as a member of the American Athletic Conference, as the Huskies’ Olympic sports will return to the Big East and the football team will go it alone.

This will require lots (and lots and lots) of scheduling work, and quickly. As of now, the Huskies have four games on the schedule for a season that begins 12 months from now.

While it does nothing to help the 2020 slate, UConn began chipping away at the mountain in front of it on Wednesday by announcing a home-and-home with Boston College. The first game will be Oct. 29, 2022 in Storrs, with the return game going down Oct. 28, 2023 in Chestnut Hill.

The two programs have met 14 times previously; BC leads the series 12-0-2. The Eagles took the most recent meeting 39-16 in 2017.

Additionally, BC announced a 2023-28 home-and-home with Army and a Sept. 9, 2023 home game with Holy Cross.

Safety graduate transfers from Penn State to Pitt

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Penn State safety Johnny Petrishen has left State College for Pittsburgh, where he is now a Panther.

Petrishen announced the transfer on Tuesday evening, and Pitt confirmed his addition on Wednesday morning.

Petrishen has two years of eligibility remaining thanks — if you want to use that term — to two medical redshirts.

A Lower Burrell, Pa., native, Petrishen appeared in 17 career games as a Nittany Lion, including all 13 last season. Primarily a special teams player, he posted eight career tackles and one TFL in State College.

NC State transfer Tim Kidd-Glass tweets move to Liberty

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Hugh Freeze may be dealing with what was a significant health issue, but he’s still working his first-year roster at Liberty.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday evening, Tim Kidd-Glass announced that he “would like to thank God for allowing me to have another opportunity to further my football career… at Liberty University.” The announcement comes a couple of weeks after the safety triggered a move from North Carolina State by entering his name into the NCAA transfer database.

As a graduate transfer, Kidd-Glass will be eligible to play for the Flames in 2019.

The past three seasons, the Virginia native played in 33 games for the Wolfpack.  He started nine of those contests, all of which came during the 2017 season.