Kevin Ollie

Report: UConn Athletic Director denies Catholic 7 rumors

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The defection of the Catholic 7 and Louisville’s recent acceptance to the ACC, have left teams like UConn and Cincinnati left in a Big East Conference that looks more and more like Conference USA.

Both Cincinnati and UConn are looking for new homes and Friday, following a meeting among Big East administrators in Dallas, rumors began to surface that the two remaining Big East schools could join the Catholic 7 in all sports, but football, and take the gridiron as part of the Mountain West Conference.

Mark Blaudschun reported that Friday evening:

According to sources at Connecticut, some UConn officials were considering a plan which would keep the Huskies with the Catholic 7–Marquette, DePaul, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Villanova and Providence, as well as Cincinnati.

He went on to suggest that UConn could play football for the MWC, C-USA, or even the MAC.

However, that report is quickly being disputed by the UConn Athletic Director, Warde Manuel, according to the Hartford Courant.

“We’ve never had a conversation,” Manuel told Paul Doyle and Desmond Conner on Friday evening. “Our intent is to work with the remaining members of the Big East and the current members coming in. That’s been our intent all along. We have not had a conversation with any other group, any other conference, period. I have not had any conversations.”

According to the report from the Courant, Mike Aresco, the Big East commissioner held the meeting to discussing expansion and a television rights package among other things.

Doyle and Conner also reported that current Big East schools Cincinnati and South Florida were in attendance, as well as future members Central Florida, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, Navy, San Diego State, Temple and Tulane.

The remains of the Big East continue to have an unclear future.

Terrence is also the lead writer at and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?