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Louisville announces phased return of college football players to campus, beginning May 27

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Louisville has just provided the college football world a much-needed first.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that schools can begin bringing some student-athletes, including football players, back to campus for voluntary workouts starting June 1.  A day later, Louisville announced that, beginning May 27, the university will launch a phased return of football players to the campus.  Men’s and women’s basketball players will start returning on that date as well.

Louisville won’t, though, allow football players to return en masse.

From the school’s release:

Under the first phase, a limited group of student-athletes totaling about 30 in football, plus 15 in men’s and women’s basketball, would arrive on campus on May 27, with education on protocols to be employed prior to their arrival. The group would begin testing and physical examinations on June 3 and be ready to participate in voluntary physical training, not directed by coaching staffs, on June 8. Three UofL facilities — the Schnellenberger Football Complex, Trager Center, and Planet Fitness Kueber Center — would be open with limited occupancy during the first phase.

If all proceeds well with Phase 1 and dependent upon NCAA rules, in the next phase an additional 30 football and 60 Olympic sport student-athletes would arrive on campus on June 10. The group would experience similar preparations before engaging in voluntary physical activity by June 22 within their respective venues.

In the third phase of the plan, the remaining football student-athletes would be back to campus on July 6, preparing to begin voluntary physical activity on July 18.

If all goes well in the first three phases, the fourth phase would consist of Louisville football players returning “to activities with full practices, scrimmages and competitions as allowed by NCAA or ACC guidelines.”

Exactly who will be a part of the initial group of 30 players and how they will be selected wasn’t divulged.  The UofL also emphasized that all of the workouts are voluntary and not required participation.

“We have worked very closely with our campus leadership, medical professionals and coaching staffs to prepare a comprehensive plan for a safe return to campus for our student-athletes to participate in voluntary activities,” athletic director Vince Tyra said in a statement. “The multi-phased plan avails a limited number of student-athletes to return at various dates and get back to routines they are accustomed to at this time of year.”

MAC schools stand to lose millions because of Big Ten going to conference only schedule

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No conference will feel the financial pinch of one of the Power Five’s domino-tipping decisions more than MAC football.

Thursday afternoon, the Big Ten confirmed reports that it will be going with a conference-only football schedule for the 2020 season.  That means, of course, that the 14 members of the league will forego playing a combined 42 non-conference games.  Nine of those 42 were to come against other Power Five programs.  Those schools are more well-positioned financially to take any hit.

Then there’s MAC football.

All told, 11 games were scheduled to be played between members of the Mid-American Conference and the Big Ten.  Ball State (Indiana, Michigan), Bowling Green (Illinois, Ohio State), Central Michigan (Nebraska, Northwestern) and Northern Illinois (Iowa, Maryland) each had two games on this season’s docket against Big Ten teams.

According to USA Today, MAC schools stand to lose a combined $10.5 million from those canceled football games.  Bowling Green and Central Michigan will take $2.2 million and $2.15 million hits, respectively.  Kent State would’ve been paid $1.5 million for its game against Penn State.

At this point, it’s unclear if the MAC schools will have any legal recourse to recoup the money.  Rest assured, though, all of those impacted by the Big Ten’s decision are looking into that angle as we speak.

“Every member of the NCAA is attempting to navigate these very difficult times in college athletics,” Bowling Green athletic director Bob Moosbrugger said in a statement. “While we are certainly disappointed that our student-athletes will not have the opportunity to compete in non-conference games against Big Ten opponents, we understand that difficult decisions need to be made.

“The decision by the Big Ten is the tip of the iceberg. Ten FBS conferences have signed a college football playoff agreement with an expectation that we will work together for the good of college football. If we are to solve these challenges and be truly dedicated to protecting the health and safety of our student-athletes, we need to do a better job of working together.”

It should also be noted that BYU will be directly impacted by the Big Ten’s move as well.  The football independent has two paycheck games scheduled against B1G opponents this season, at Michigan State and at Minnesota.  At this point, it’s unclear how much BYU stands to lose.

ACC expected to finalize decision on fall sports in late July

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Whether the ACC will follow the Big Ten’s lead when it comes to football matters will be determined at a later date.

Thursday afternoon, the Big Ten confirmed reports that it will be going with a conference-only football schedule for the 2020 season.  All other fall sports are impacted in the same way.  In the immediate aftermath of that monumental development, it was thought that both the ACC and Pac-12 would make a similar decision, and make it in short order.  In fact, there are rumblings that the latter’s announcement could come as early as Friday evening.

When it comes to the ACC, though, a decision on football and other sports isn’t in the offing until later this month.

Below is a statement from the conference’s commissioner, John Swofford.

The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and administrators remains the ACC’s top priority.  As we continue to work on the best possible path forward for the return to competition, we will do so in a way that appropriately coincides with our universities’ academic missions.  Over the last few months, our conference has prepared for numerous scenarios related to the fall athletics season.  The league membership and our medical advisory group will make every effort to be as prepared as possible during these unprecedented times, and we anticipate a decision by our Board of Directors in late July.

It’s believed that both the Big 12 and SEC will follow a similar timeline for a decision as the ACC’s.

Big Ten tops SEC, all other Power Fives in revenues for 2019 fiscal year

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It wasn’t a banner day for the Big Ten Thursday, but at least the conference can rest in the comfort of its bloated bank account. For now.

In June of last year, it was reported that Michigan was projecting a total distribution of nearly $56 million from the Big Ten.  A little over a year later, Steve Berkowitz of USA Today reports that the 12 long-standing members of the league received $55.6 million for the 2019 fiscal year.  As newer members, Maryland and Rutgers receive less, “but both schools also received loans from the conference against future revenue shares,” Berkowitz wrote.

All told, the revenue for the Big Ten was $781.5 million.  Next closest was the SEC at $720.6 million, followed by the Pac-12 ($530.4 million), ACC ($455.4 million) and Big 12 ($439 million).

Below are the per-school payouts for each Power Five conference, again according to Berkowitz:

  • Big Ten — $55.6 million (except Maryland, Rutgers)
  • SEC — $45.3 million (except for Ole Miss because of its bowl ban)
  • Big 12 — $38.2-$42 million
  • Pac-12 — $32.2 million
  • ACC — $27.6-$34 million

Berkowitz also noted that Notre Dame, which is a football independent but ACC member in other sports, received $6.8 million.  Additionally, when it comes to the Pac-12’s figure, it “does not take into account the equity value of the Pac-12 Networks, the conference’s fully self-owned television and video content provider whose expenses help result in the conference passing less money to its member schools than the other conferences.”

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, though, all of these numbers are expected to look dramatically different at this time next year.

Howard one of seven finalists for highest-rated recruit in the Class of 2021

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Here’s something you don’t see every recruiting cycle: Howard and a five-star prospect in the same story.  Yet, here we are.

This week, touted 2021 defensive end Korey Foreman revealed the seven schools that are finalists for his talent.  And one of the seven?  FCS Howard, a Historically Black College and University, according to the video reveal put out by the five-star recruit.

The other six are Power Fives you normally see in line for such a prospect, including Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Oregon and USC.

“I am a young black man that is happy and proud of my race. The Black Lives Matter movement is and forever will be powerful and definitely never forgotten,” Foreman wrote on Twitter. “These are the schools I will now be focusing on the most. Set the standard and… be different.”

The schools Howard is competing with for the services of the five-star are all currently inside the Top 20 on the 247Sports.com composite.  Alabama, in particular, has been on a recruiting roll of late.

Foreman is no ordinary five-star, either.  The Corona, Calif., high schooler is the No. 1 rated recruit in the country for next year’s class.  All-time, according to 247Sports, the 6-4, 265-pound strongside defensive end is the No. 12 prospect.  Ever.

Foreman, though, isn’t the only five-star making news around this particular HBCU.  From NBCSWashington:

The news comes just a week after the Howard basketball program landed five-star Makur Maker, who chose the Bison over Division I schools UCLA, Kentucky and Memphis. Maker was the highest-ranked recruit Howard basketball has landed in its history. Mikey Williams, a top-five basketball recruit in the 2023 class, has already hinted about potentially playing at an HBCU as well.