Suspended – “Alex Gray, 20, of Suwanee, Ga., was charged Dec. 5 after an assault on a 21-year-old woman earlier that day that required medical attention, according to police reports. According to the investigation report, Gray was accused of “assaulting his girlfriend with closed fist.” Gray, who redshirted last year as a freshman, started all 12 games of the 2013 season at free safety and finished second on the team with 73 tackles. His biography on the ASU football website characterizes him as “a sure tackler and one of the team’s hardest hitters.”"
Uninterested – “(Sun Belt commissioner Karl) Benson writes: The Sun Belt Conference Presidents and Chancellors authorized me two weeks ago to use Sun Belt funds at my discretion to entice both bowls to take a Sun Belt team. As a result, the Sun Belt made very significant financial offers to both bowls that clearly exceeded anything the Sun Belt has done in previous years.” Weird – “So the Sun Belt goes 6-1 this year vs MAC and CUSA. 2 Sun Belt teams go to a bowl and 11 CUSA/MAC teams go to a bowl. Can you explain please.” Then again … ouch.
Early games – Colts (Lynch) at Bengals (which drafted Lynch), Raiders (Hunter) at Jets, and Lions (Martin) at Eagles. Late games – Rams (Quick) at Cardinals and Seahawks at 49ers (Kilgore). Sunday Night Football has that team undefeated since it cut AE at Saints (Cadet). Three of these teams remain in hunt for playoffs – Saints, Lions and 49ers.
WHOA SNOW. Check out the Detroit game.
It’s the marquee matchup of the non-conference home schedule – UNC Charlotte at App State.
The game will be broadcast live at 2 by WCCB in Charlotte, which has been running a commercial all week for it. (Who’s the home team again?) A lot of promotions are planned to try to attract a big crowd. But weather may be an issue.
The 49ers are 6-2. They had a five-game win streak killed in OT by Davidson Wednesday. Among their wins are Kansas State and ranked Michigan (No. 22). Ten players average double figures.
App State is 2-5. As of Thursday, it was one of 22 D1 teams without a D1 win. Its RPI is 265. UNCC is 81.
The programs have a great history. Their past five games were decided by less than seven points. The last two in Boone – 2002 and 2008 – went to overtime.
Give ‘em hell.
A bunch of football recruits were on campus today. They were greeted in the field house with the App State football closet. It includes seven(!) helmets and assorted jerseys and gloves.
Among the helmet designs – the block A with the state of NC behind it, and the Old School Yosef as black on white, black on yellow* and yellow* on black.
* in theory gold
The team that surpassed App State in SoCon championships takes on a team seeking to match App State’s run of D1 titles. Who ya got? – “With temperatures forecasted for a high of minus-4 degrees, there’s no doubt Furman and North Dakota State will be glad to be indoors at 3:30 p.m. The venue routinely exceeds 100 decibels, which is the equivalent of a chainsaw or jackhammer.” Wow – “70 degree difference flying from South Carolina to North Dakota.” Speaking of which, in other games, one team’s fan fears going where App State has already tread.
HALFTIME. Furman 7, North Dakota State 10. Wow. Meanwhile, so much for cold reception.
BOOM. Barely seven minutes into third, suddenly 24-7 North Dakota State.
Considering – “Eastern Kentucky University could be an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision member as soon as 2016. Benson and athletic director Mark Sandy have said that the Mid-American and Sun Belt conferences would be the best fits for the Colonels, who are charter members of the Ohio Valley Conference.”
As they begin their final SoCon seasons, App State and Georgia Southern are a combined 4-10 so far.
And only one of those wins came against a D1.
The Mountaineers will put their hunt for a D1 win in limbo tonight as they welcome DII North Greenville into Jones Arena. Tipoff at 7.
This is the second of four non-D1 teams App State will host this season. Coincidentally, Georgia Southern is mimicking them tonight, playing Brewton Parker. It’s the Eagles third non-D1.
And like its contest against Lees-Mcrae, Appalachian will be playing a pseudo-game with North Greenville. The Crusaders are counting it as an exhibition.
It’s been a rough season so far. Tonight’s one last chance to tinker before a big rivalry game Sunday – UNC Charlotte in Boone.
A new report is online today. It will be noticed.
An online, interactive database comparing spending on athletics vs. spending on academics in public Division I institutions is being released Wednesday by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, as concern grows over the imbalance of the two core activities at many universities.
The report looks at spending from 2005 to 2011. In App State’s case, it starts with Histor3 and ends with the big FBS announcement.
We haven’t had much time to really dig into the numbers, but the App State snapshot is pretty self-explanatory.
From 2005-2011, at App State:
- Academic spending per FTE student increased 21% to $11,925
- Athletic spending per athlete increased 90% to $33,451
- Institutional funding for athletics per athlete increased 80% to $19,235
- Annual debt service on athletic facilities increased 414%, to $3.52 million
FCS medians in that time span:
- Academic spending per FTE student increased 24% to $11,945
- Athletic spending per athlete increased 47% to $36,055
- Institutional funding for athletics per athlete increased 51% to $25,814
- Annual debt service on athletic facilities increased 1,188%, to $200,427
The App State variance isn’t too surprising. Back around 2005, when App State announced its athletics facility enhancement campaign, the chancellor made a point to repeatedly say it was “atheltics’ time.” The project included not just new softball and soccer fields, but the who knows how many millions expansion of Kidd Brewer Stadium, both in seating and luxuries. The great majority of it was(?)/is being(?) paid with student fees, as are some athletic scholarships.
According to the report, App State athletic spending per athlete rose from $17,750 in 2005 to $33,451. Other FCS schools will similar high growth included Alabama A&M (96%), Austin Peay State (100%), Georgia State* (116%), James Madison (109%), NC A&T (94%), Arkansas at Pine Bluff (155%), and North Dakota State (88%).
For comparison’s sake, here’s fellow future Sun Belter Georgia Southern:
- Academic spending up 28% to $10,250
- Athletic spending per athletes up 31% to $32,220
- Institutional funding for athletics per athlete up 36% to $23,494
- Annual debt service on athletic facilities increased 2,033%, to $331,904
Note – “Comparisons between institutions are possible, but some institutions interpret the NCAA financial reporting rules slightly differently despite efforts by the NCAA staff working with the National Association of College and University Business Officers to standardize the definitions and reporting.”
BTW. The reported $3.52M in annual debt service on App State’s athletic facilities reminded us of a question never answered.
ACTUALLY. Digging deeper, in 2011 App State reported total outstanding debt on athletic facilities to be $49.4 million, an oh so slight decrease from the peak $50.6 million in 2010.
* Georgia State was in process of adding football, which it did in 2010.
Bowl season is slowing taking shape, with teams being slotted into the 70 spots available among the 35 postseason games.
There are 125 FBS teams from which to choose, meaning roughly 56% of all big boys get a postseason game on their schedule.
Great odds … unless you play in the Sun Belt.
App State’s future neighborhood currently has two contractually obligated bowl spots for its two top teams – the GoDaddy and New Orleans bowls. Those slots have been filled. That leaves at least three bowl eligible Sun Belters hoping somebody somewhere wants to see them play.
Good luck with that.
However, there is a big difference between bowl eligible and a bowl-game invitation.
Last season five Sun Belt teams were bowl eligible but only Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette and WKU went to bowl games. One of the teams left out was Middle Tennessee, which finished 8-4 overall and 6-2 in league play before moving to Conference USA.
WKU is the hottest team in the Sun Belt with a four-game winning streak. Following WKU’s last-second 34-31 victory over Arkansas State on Saturday, Petrino was asked if he expected to see the Hilltoppers in a bowl game.
“I would hope so because our players deserve it,” he said.
The commish is on it.
In addition to that we are very, very active in talking to additional bowls for the bowl-eligible teams in the Sun Belt. Once again, the second year in a row five bowl-eligible teams for the Sun Belt. We’re actively pursuing open spots.
“For those of you that follow the bowl landscape and the number of at-large teams versus the number of open spots, there are potentially 13 bowl eligible teams that will be in the at-large field, headed up by Notre Dame along with 12 other at-large teams including at least four from the Sun Belt, if not five should South Alabama win on Saturday.
“We are going to be surrounded by competition for the open slots.
Sidenote, with one game left on the league schedule, only two programs in the eight-team league are below .500 – South Alabama (5-6) and Georgia State (0-12). And South Alabama has a chance to even its record if it beats LA-Lafayette Saturday.
Regarding the big change announced Wednesday, Deadspin has an opinion.
At gunpoint, I’d say the guy on the left was a sea captain, or maybe the Gorton’s Fisherman. With Appalachian State moving up to the FBS next season, they needed something a little more evocative of “mountaineer.” So they’re switching to the guy on the right, presumably after an intense design competition featuring many magic markers and cocktail napkins.
The Yoseformation is now attracting chatter on other sports sites, and on the twitters.
One highlight of the NFL day, a NFC West rematch between the Rams (Quick) and 49ers (Kilgore). San Fran won round 1, 35-11, in St Louis. Kilgore’s crew is 7-4, and would have a wild card spot if the playoffs started today. With five games to play, other squads with Mountaineers looking to lock in postseason sports are the Saints, Lions and Colts. Games today, Jaguars (McCray) at Browns and Titans at Colts (Lynch). Monday Night Football is Saints (Cadet) at Seahawks.