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Houston can reportedly get out of Big East deal without penalty, depending on new TV contract

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The University of Houston has a way to get out of its contract to move to the Big East without penalty if certain revenue figures are not met, Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com is reporting.

Houston is supposed to be part of the Big East’s new wave of members beginning next year in 2013-14, but Maryland’s move to the Big Ten and the impending move of Rutgers to the same conference has created instability and speculation.

This comes at a critical time for the conference because the Big East is out in the open market, searching for a television rights deal after the expiration of its contract with ESPN.

The conference even brought in former CBS executive Mike Aresco, a longtime TV man, as its commissioner to be the face of the negotiations. But, this new round of realignment throws a wrench in established plans.

“There’s not a TV executive in America that’s going to offer them [Big East] a TV contract until they can confirm and guarantee who is going to be their in their league,” one BCS source tells Dodd.

The movement of Maryland creates a vacuum in the ACC, possibly to be filled by Connecticut or Louisville, two of the major players remaining in the Big East. Were either of those two to leave, contract negotiations could change dramatically.

According to Dodd, the stipulations of the contract dictate that “if we [Houston] don’t get X percentage of what you [Big East] think the TV contract is worth [we can leave].”

He goes on to write the following:

The source also said prospective new Big East members were told by former commissioner John Marinatto that a new contract would be worth $10 million-$20 million more [per year per school] than what the Big East is currently getting. League schools are currently earning approximately $4 million per year. Conference USA schools currently earn half that number per year.

Industry sources have said for months the new Big East would be lucky to get between $70 million-$100 million per year for the new alignment. That translates to $5.7 million-$7.1 million per year, per school.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Stanford loses key veteran guard to stress fracture

Marcus Allen
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Stanford guard Marcus Allen will be out indefinitely after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot, the school announced on Monday evening.

“We want to make sure Marcus is fully healthy before returning to the court,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said in a statement. “Marcus played at a high level during our summer exhibition competition in Italy, where he was one of our leading scorers. We will certainly miss him as we continue to prepare for the season, but we are fortunate that this happened now and he will be back before he knows it.”

The loss of Allen is a potentially brutal blow in an already-thin back court. The 6-foot-3 Allen started 23 games as a sophomore last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 boards. But he averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 boards as the Cardinal made a run to the NIT championship and looked poised to be able to replace the departed Chasson Randle’s production this year.

What’s worse is that without Allen, Stanford does not return a single player in their back court that averaged more than 11.5 minutes. Sophomore Robert Cartwright looks poised to step into the starting point guard role, but neither Dorian Pickens nor Christian Sanders looked like they were ready for that kind of role in the Pac-12 last season. Dawkins does return Malcolm Allen, Marcus’ twin brother, who sat out last season with a broken wrist.

The good news is that Stanford’s front court is strong enough to carry the Cardinal until Marcus is healthy. Rosco Allen, Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey will be able to hold their own against any front line in the Pac-12, while Grant Verhoeven and freshman Josh Sharma will provide adequate depth.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.