The Big Roundup - June 4, 2010

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"You've known me for very long, I am not hanging back," 
Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said.
"I'm not waiting to see what other people are going to do.
I'm going to know what our options are, so that's not going to change.
My hope is that the Big 12 survives and you and I retire knowing it's a
great conference. It's been very viable, and if it stays in place, it
will continue to be very viable."

Don't forget to vote. Three Longhorns were among the 30 semifinalists named for the 2010 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award.  Fans will also be able to vote on the 2010 GSA. Vote online here.

Fox Sports has a Q&A with Cole green.

Texas is looking for its seventh national title.  What goes through your mind prior to the Austin Regional knowing that the College World Series is at stake?

 Green: As far as what goes through my mind, our coach; Coach Garrido talks a lot about how this is the beginning of a new season.  There are only 64 teams that are playing right now, but since day one, he has always looked at it as: this is our second season of the year and this is the beginning of a new season.  And even smaller than that, this regional tournament is a season, super regionals is another one and Omaha is another one within itself.  I think if we can look at it like that, in those terms and not one big picture, we’ll be more successful because if we had to take that big bite of regionals, super regionals and Omaha, I don’t think there’s anyone who can go out there and just dominate.  If we just look at it as: we play one tournament, and if we win it, we go to the next one, or even smaller than that, just single games, then we give ourselves the opportunity to be successful on a bigger scale and then go to Omaha and win another National Championship.

 

Chance Ruffin is a finalist for the Stopper of the Year award.

Texas’ Chance Ruffin has been selected as one of the five finalists for the the sixth annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, the NCBWA announced Wednesday.

Ruffin, a Golden Spikes semifinalist, leads the nation with a 0.77 ERA. The Austin, Texas-native has notched a league-leading 13 saves with a 6-1 record in 34 appearances. He has given up just five earned runs on 36 hits, while striking out 89 in 58.1 innings.

The award will be given to the top relief pitcher in Division I college baseball.

Here's a rundown of the NCAA tournament landscape.

It has been a year.

It's been a year since the game that felt like it lasted a year ended.

For 7 hours and 3 minutes on May 30 - and May 31 - last year, Texas and Boston College battled at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

For some, it was the highlight of a lifetime. For others, it was a defining moment.

For everybody, it was a piece of history.

"If you offered me anything in the world, I don't think I would trade it for the experience of playing in that game. It was that meaningful," said former Texas pitcher Austin Wood, who threw 169 pitches in 13 innings of relief that night, including 121/3 innings without giving up a hit.

Boise head coach Chris Petersen was not impressed with the Horns' plays.

Longhorns coaches talked gadget plays with a cadre of Broncos assistants for much of their day in Austin. (Petersen skipped the trip.) The popularityBoise State has brought to hook-and-ladders and Statue of Liberty plays makes coaches from other schools curious . "If you study us, we don't do that many of them," he says. "People are just hyper sensitive to them. If we run one, it's, 'Ah, there they go again.' "

Barking Carnival talks Texas hoops.

As some have pointed out on this site, we’re in sports limbo at this time of the year. The Astros suck the chrome off a trailer hitch, Longhorn baseball hasn’t quite entered the second season, and thanks to Mack Brown, recruiting is a non-event in June. Couple some idle time with a TNT sports movie marathon that included Hoosiers and Bull Durham, and I got to thinking about how the Longhorn Basketball team could overcome the nightmarish 2009 season.

It all starts in the offseason, and it wouldn’t hurt if a Crash Davis psychological type was in the collective ears of this schizophrenic squad. Coaching staff included.

So here’s a Bull Durham style primer on what this team needs to do this summer to rebound from last year’s debacle and get ready for 2010.

Football! Game times for four games have been announced.

 

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The Commish's message to the Big 12 members.

Please don't leave us.

Like the song says, breaking up is hard to do. Whether the Big 12 schools are committed to staying together is an open question in the eyes of commissioner Dan Beebe.

"There's a lot of interest by a lot of the athletic directors to try to get to the same goal I have -- some sort of conclusion on the commitment of all institutions," Beebe said Wednesday during the league's spring meetings. "I just don't know if that's possible or not. The presidents and the board are the ones who have to answer that."

True? Not true? Who knows? From Barking Carnival:

Hope Chip is right, as dedfischer said,

I can’t imagine how much blow would be consumed on the weekend of a Tech @ ASU game. I wish that was an option for me in college versus Ames, IA.

If only Bill Byrne doesn’t fuck this up.

WTH???? Have you wasted everyone's time with all the whining and complaining?

Asked if he expected the Big 12 to stay intact, Osborne said: "I think there is a very good chance it will. We like the Big 12. ...

And a little more from Tom.

"We're not mad at anybody. We're not upset with anything."

Someone asked Osborne to elaborate on a recent comment that the Big 12 was shifting south toward Texas.

"I made that comment one time but probably shouldn't have said it," Osborne said. "When the conference office moved to Dallas, now you do see a push to have the playoff (championship) game in Dallas for three years. Those are not things that are major problems for Nebraska."

There seems to be one goal at the Big 12 meetings this week.

"The importance of these meetings can’t be overstated," Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said. "This is a critical point in the time of the Big 12 and there needs to be some honest discussion about what must happen to solidify the members’ standing in the conference."

To Beebe, the discussion boils down to one simple question: Who is with us?

"The Big 12 and Big East were acting like they were under siege," 
said one college administrator. "You could sense it."

Is the conference looking for new members?

Beebe admitted to targeting possible new members. Member schools are thinking about contingencies, too.

Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds repeated his preference for the Big 12 as a first option while also being prepared for any possibility. While Texas didn't start the expansion talk, Dodds noted, the Longhorns were closely monitoring the Big Ten as well as the Southeastern Conference.

The Sooners are happy.

Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione addressed the media late on Thursday afternoon, insisting that any talks from today's meetings centered completely around the Big 12 and matters related to the conference. He maintained that Oklahoma was happy with its current situation in the Big 12, but elected not to say that everyone within the conference was as happy as the Sooners.

"Everyone expressed their thoughts," Castiglione said.

Colorado plans to stay.

So does CU athletic director Mike Bohn, who was noncommittal to any realignment question except his commitment to the Big 12.

"The best thing for Colorado is to be in the Big 12 Conference," Bohn said. "Colorado has been committed to the Big 12 Conference all along. Colorado was instrumental in helping form the Big 12 Conference."

Missouri is still feeling the love this week, but the Missouri Chancellor isn't talking.

While saying the talks were "productive" but not offering specifics, he did say that despite all the concern over Big Ten expansion and the possibility of MU as a willing target he didn’t sense any animosity from his peers.

Listening to expansion talk is not disloyal.

ADs are mercenaries.

"Remember what the job of an athletic director is," Byrne said. "We're all very mercenary. We're all out there to protect our own institutions, so everybody has their own interests in mind. From A&M's perspective, the best interest I think we can have is to keep the Big 12 Conference together."

He later added: "Everybody is concerned about protecting their own turf. All of us are. It would be imprudent of us not to look at all the types of contingencies that are out there … I believe most of the other guys have done that, I know we have."

The revenue issue is not resolved.

Though it's not an issue that will ultimately push schools to leave, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe slammed the door shut on any chance of the Big 12 restructuring it's conference revenue structure in order to keep schools like Nebraska and Missouri from leaving.

"Revenue distribution's been very well vetted within the conference and the board has determined that our method of distribution, which was appropriate when the conference was formed, based upon what was needed to form the conference, is one that will continue," Beebe said. "One athletics director that's been on the side of wanting more equal distribution said, 'It's not necessarily discriminatory. I've come around to a different view. If my program is elevated, which it has been recently, and I get more appearances, I get more money."

The OU student newspaper wants to join to the SEC.

I’m grasping at nothing and so is the Big 12. Moving us from Texas divisionally would be a disaster and as big of a rivalry as it produces, neither side of the Red River is going to be willing to give up the tradition of Dallas in October.

That only gives us one real option that I think we will have to take if it is offered, and it leads us to a quite lucrative landing spot and potentially a major step for OU; the SEC.

 

Football!

The conference announces tv broadcasts for 28 games.

Shhhh...be careful not to upset the Cornhuskers. The North is improving, but the South still prevails.

For a decade now, the most-anticipated Big 12 football game of every season is Oklahoma-Texas. Nothing else comes close.

But in 2010, something else might come close.

On Oct. 16, Texas plays at Nebraska in a rematch of the 2009 conference championship game, and it's a showdown fans have buzzed about since last December.

And it's high time. Frankly, the North Division has let down the Big 12. In the 2000s, only Colorado in '01 and Kansas State in '03 have won Big 12 football titles. Nebraska, which should rank with OU and Texas as the league's flagship schools, hasn't won the conference since 1999.

Oklahoma freshman wide receiver Kenny Stills is someone to watch.

Jayhawk coach Turner Gill is changing the Kansas mindset.

Turner Gill's positive energy campaign in his first season with the Kansas football team remains in full swing.

At the end of spring practice, Gill and his assistants held individual meetings with the players to assess progress and to further the relationship-building that is central to his coaching philosophy.

"The players are excited and said they enjoyed the environment,'' Gill said by phone from Lawrence, Kan. "They said they had fun.''

Fun?

Iowa State will have two nationally televised games next season.

NewsOK's Barry Tramel ranks the Big 12 non-conference schedules.

10. Texas: At Rice, Wyoming, UCLA, Florida Atlantic. Mediocre, but a better brand of mediocrity than UT’s 2009 schedule. The UCLA series is solid. Kudos to Texas for getting back in the game.

Thanks for the nice comments, Barry.

Fox Sports talks football with KSU coach Bill Snyder.

You built several great teams during your unprecedented run at Kansas State: 1998, 1999, 2002. Which would you say was the best you ever coached?

You know, I’ve been asked that question many times, and I really have never decided. I’ve thought about it, but I don’t have a particular favorite of all those groups. I think there are so many of them that offer so many positive things. Some of them overcame tragic things. So many things took place. I’m awfully proud of all of them, and I honestly don’t favor one over the other, or feel that one was substantially better than another.

Mike Sherman talks about the Aggies' defense. (Part 2 of the interview here.)

Do you feel confident that you have the personnel to successfully run the 3-4 front this season? It can sometimes take a few seasons for teams to make that transition.

 

Actually, when I first came on board, I was planning on going in that direction. We lost our defensive coordinator to the Dallas Cowboys right before spring ball, so I hired the best guy I could, and that was Joe Kines. Joe is a 4-3 guy and had tremendous experience with it. But with Joe’s retirement, I wanted to go back and structure our defense to the 3-4. I just feel like it matches up with the other teams we play a lot better. It also creates some issues for quarterbacks in relationship to pressure, who’s coming and who’s not, and also your ability to drop some people into coverage.

 

I don’t think we’re 100-percent geared toward it yet, but I do think that our personnel is more favorable this way [the 3-4 scheme] than the other way. We need to continue to recruit at the linebacker position, because we’re adding another linebacker and taking away a defensive lineman. I think we’re as well suited for that as we would be for anything.

Corn Nation is watching the odds for that rematch next December.

What everyone has been waiting for...I Am The 12th Man previews the 2010 football season.

A&M
I have said all along that I think this is a 9 win team.

tu
The defense should be stout again, but the offense will not score as much...I think tu will go 9-3 with a bowl win to improve to 10-3.

Kansas football has a new web site.

 

The rest

Big 12 Sports has the baseball regional tourney breakdown.

Shuffling deck hairs chairs on the Titanic. Bob has a very comfortable seat, but Kansas AD Lew Perkins may need to buy a new chair soon.

Corn Nation figured out Dan Beebe's plan.

Sooner Corey Wilson's problems just continue.

 

Jayhawkgate

That's more like a black hole. Kansas did not track their NCAA tournament tickets.

Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins said there was a blind spot in his department’s oversight of men’s basketball and football tickets. If nothing else, the discovery of a blind spot indicated that KU had at least been on the lookout for regular-season discrepancies.

But what about NCAA Tournament tickets — some of the most highly coveted seats around? The results of KU’s independent review, released in a report on Wednesday, did not include a systematic analysis of what had happened to tournament tickets allocated to KU from 2005 to 2010.

Speaking of Lew Perkins...The Jayhawk AD may have violated a state ethics law.

University of Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins' possession of exercise equipment may have violated state ethics laws, a review of statutes shows.

The owner of a local medical outfitter on Sunday told The Topeka Capital-Journal he helped install about $15,000 worth of equipment in Perkins' basement to help facilitate the athletic director's physical therapy. The owner said he expected nothing in return for it and expected to retrieve the equipment when Perkins finished with it.

Perkins had the equipment in his basement for about four years before it became the pawn in an alleged blackmail scheme.

Lew Perkins actually paid for the exercise equipment.

Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins in April mailed a $5,000 personal check to former Medical Outfitters co-owner Mark Glass as a back rental payment for $15,000 worth of exercise equipment he originally borrowed from Glass’ company in 2005 at no cost to Perkins, Glass told The Star on Wednesday night.

Glass said Perkins called him in April after Glass had been interviewed by Lawrence police regarding their investigation into the alleged blackmail of Perkins by former KU director of sports medicine William Dent, which centered on the loaned equipment. Glass said he told Perkins that he was not entitled to any money because Medical Outfitters went bankrupt in 2007 and the equipment therefore was no longer his. Still, Glass said Perkins was adamant about sending him the check and that Perkins decided the amount.

When all else fails, form a committee. So now the review starts.

From London, University of Kansas chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little on Wednesday jumped into the controversy surrounding Lew Perkins, saying a complete review of allegations against the athletic director will be complete within 10 days.

KU announced a team of university staff members will review allegations by William Dent, former KU director of sports medicine, that Perkins accepted between $15,000 and $35,000 worth of personal exercise equipment in exchange for men's basketball tickets. Dent was contacted Wednesday by Mary Lee Hummert, KU vice provost for faculty support.

Maybe it is time for Lew Perkins to go.

 

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Expansion & Realignment

Wonder what they will talk about...The SEC meetings are coming up.

Do you think expansion will come up? It’s not on the agenda but it will be the 800-pound gorilla in the room.

SEC coaches like things just the way they are.

"This is just one man’s opinion, but I kind of like the way things are," Florida’s Urban Meyer said. "The SEC has elevated itself to one of the top conferences, if not the top conference, in the last five years. I know nothing about expansion. I’m kind of curious what you guys are hearing about it.

"I can’t imagine making it a little stronger, a little tougher to win a few games. I don’t see it happening."

They are talking the Big Ten language in San Francisco.

Pac-10 Conference executives will hold their annual meetings in San Francisco this weekend with a packed agenda that includes reports on television ratings, marketing initiatives, the NCAA's concussion-management plans and — yes — expansion.

Should the conference add two teams ... or six? Or should it maintain the current structure, in place since the late 1970s, of five natural rivalries?

While a vote on expansion is unlikely this weekend, expansion will dominate the meetings.

The PAC 10 will figure a few things out at their upcoming meeting.

The Pac-10 is already a Super Conference, one that doesn't need to expand to get more attention or to make more money.

When the high-powered minds come together in San Francisco this week it's almost certain they will absorb two things: (1) expansion to Utah and Colorado can't improve their financial lot; (2) the most significant predictor of future financial success isn't expansion but rather the ACC's recent deal with ESPN.

Two weeks ago, the ACC and ESPN agreed to a $155 million-a-year deal that more than doubles its old arrangement of $67 million annually.

The ACC more than doubled its media value without expanding. That's what appeals to the Pac-10.

Why do sports writers use bad dating analogies when talking about conference expansion?

It's the script of nearly every romantic comedy: Guy pursues girl. Girl resists because he's a bad boy/player/comes from the wrong side of the tracks. Guy eventually makes a romantic gesture so grand that the girl can't help but see that love's been sitting under her nose the whole time.

Man is that a cheesy way to open a column about football. But that's exactly what's been happening during the now six-year flirtation between Boise State and the Mountain West.

 

Other Stuff

Does ESPN impact recruiting rankings?

You hear a lot of talk of bias in the media when it comes to college football. Everyone thinks the press has it out for their team or conference. I personally think that there is a tremendous amount of favoritism and benefit of the doubt accorded to the SEC. Of course the only people who deny this are the SEC honks.

One area where we don’t hear much about bias is in recruiting rankings. But it looks to me like the recruiting services are beginning to go the way of the rest of the college football media in pumping up players from the South–in particular, Florida–at the expense of other regions. The result is that, naturally, teams from the South will get most of these players and they will then dominate the recruiting rankings.

The NCAA does not give favorable treatment to elite programs.

The NCAA is a hugely flawed governing body; it would take from now until next year's Final Four to discuss all its shortcomings. But overt kowtowing to elite athletic schools is not among its problems.

Examine the NCAA's track record and you'll see that selective enforcement is every bit as real as the Loch Ness Monster or Heidi Montag's chest. It's mythology. Or, in the words of former NCAA Committee on Infractions member Tom Yeager, "it's baloney."

It would be very easy for something like the Kansas ticket scandal to happen, but involving players.

The PAC 10 plays the best non-conference football schedule.

So, which conference overall plays the best non-conference schedules? I would rank them this way.

1. Pac-10: ; 2. ACC; 3. Mountain West; 4. Big East; 5. Big 12; 6. SEC; 7. Big Ten.

Barking Carnival looks at college baseball parks.

The idea that the park in which a game is played affects baseball statistics, both individual and team, has been accepted for years. There is plenty of literature available on park effects at the major league level, but to my knowledge only Boyd Nation has tackled the idea at the college level. His methodology, which he describes here, is a theoretically sound system.

What I wanted to do, though, was use all games played in a park instead of only those between home-and-home team pairs. The team pair concept ignores a good percentage of games in a park and also compares teams from different seasons to each other without accounting for their differences.

Ending summer recruiting won't get rid of the sleeze in basketball.

Truth is, illegal benefits run downhill in this sport, and there will always be somebody there to catch them. If it's not an AAU coach, it will be a high school coach. If it's not a high school coach, it will be a mom. Or a dad. Or a brother. Or a cousin. Shoe companies make millions by connecting with the right prospects, so they'll do whatever they can to connect with the right prospects. College coaches make millions by signing the right prospects, so they'll do whatever they can to sign the right prospects. Agents make millions by manufacturing relationships with the right prospects, so they'll do whatever they can to manufacture relationships with the right prospects.

Eliminating the summer recruiting period won't fix any of those issues.

 

Happy Friday...

Hook Em. Beat the hell out of Rider.

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