A complete breakdown of conference realignment for 2013-2014

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You know all that talk about conference realignment and schools joining new conferences and new conferences appearing out of thin air?

Remember how the Big 12 almost died and the original Big East did die before spawning a pair of shiny new conferences?

Well, quite a bit of that takes effect today, July 1st, 2013.

Since I do this for a living and I can barely keep track of who is changing to what league and when, I’ve decided to put together a breakdown to help those of you that are getting just as confused as I am.

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BIG EAST: The Big East that we were all raised on was put out of its misery as the clock struck midnight on Monday morning, and while Syracuse, Pitt and Notre Dame are all headed out the door — with Louisville close on their heels — college hoopheads still have some exciting basketball to look forward to. The new Big East (can we just call it the Big East now, no ‘new’?) will be comprised of the Catholic 7 — Marquette, Georgetown, Villanova, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Providence and DePaul — and will add Butler and Xavier from the Atlantic 10 and Creighton from the Missouri Valley.

ACC: Despite plenty of rumors to the contrary, the ACC will not actually be losing anyone this offseason. They will, however, be adding Syracuse, Pitt and Notre Dame this season. Louisville joins the ranks for the 2014-2015 season, when Maryland heads to the Big Ten.

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE: The AAC will be a hodge-podge of castoffs and programs that no one seems to want. UConn, Cincinnati and South Florida all join from the Big East. Memphis, Central Florida, Houston and SMU arrive from Conference USA. Temple joins from the Atlantic 10. Louisville and Rutgers have a one year layover in the AAC before moving on to the ACC and the Big Ten, respectively, for the 2014-2015 season. To replace them, the AAC will ring in East Carolina, Tulsa and Tulane in 2014.

ATLANTIC 10: The A-10 will undergo some radical changes, especially at the top of the league. Temple is off to the AAC, Butler and Xavier are Big East-bound, Charlotte is headed to Conference USA, and George Mason is joining the conference from the CAA. The A-10 will also be adding Davidson for the 2014-2015 season.

CONFERENCE USA: There’s too much going on here, so we’ll jump to bullet points:

  • Teams remaining: UAB, Marshall, Rice, Southern Miss, UTEP
  • Teams joining: Charlotte (A-10), Old Dominion (CAA), Louisiana Tech, UT-San Antonio (WAC), Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Middle Tennessee, North Texas (Sun Belt)
  • Leaving in ’13-’14: Memphis, Houston, SMU, UCF
  • Leaving in ’14-’15: Tulsa, East Carolina, Tulane

Got all that?

MOUNTAIN WEST: The MWC looked like it was going to get raided. TCU had already gotten scooped up by the Big 12 via the Big East, and Boise State and San Diego State both looked like their football programs were going to force their hoops programs out of the conference. But the Big East imploded, so both the Broncos and the Aztecs remain. Plus, the MWC added Utah State — who has a great basketball program — and San Jose State from the WAC.

WAC: After Idaho leaves for the Big Sky in 2014-2015, the only two WAC programs left will be New Mexico State and Seattle, and Seattle joined the conference in 2012. They will be filling out a hoops roster, however: Utah Valley, UT-Pan American, Chicago State (Great West), UMKC (Summit), Cal St-Bakersfield (Independents), and Grand Canyon (Division II) all join the league.

SUN BELT: Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Middle Tennessee, and North Texas are all headed to Conference USA, but they will be replaced by Georgia State, UT-Arlington and Texas State.

CAA: After losing VCU, the CAA will lose George Mason (A-10), Old Dominion (CUSA) and Georgia State (Sun Belt) this offseason. They do bring in the College of Charleston, however.

HORIZON: The Horizon League loses Loyola-Chicago to the MVC, but replaces them with Oakland from the Summit League.

SUMMIT: The Summit League loses Oakland and UMKC (who is headed to the WAC), but they did bring in a good Denver program from the WAC.

MISSOURI VALLEY: The MVC takes a hit with Creighton leaving for the Big East, but they get replaced by Loyola-Chicago, bringing in the league’s first major metropolitan area.

WCC: The WCC adds Pacific as their 10th member. Pacific comes from the Big West, who tried to replace them with San Diego State.

MAAC: The MAAC will lose Loyola (MD) to the Patriot League, but they somehow managed to hang on to Iona and Siena, arguably the two most desired programs in the league, while adding Quinnipiac and Monmouth from the NEC.

PATRIOT: The Patriot League was one of the big winners in realignment, adding both Boston U. (from the America East) and Loyola (MD) (from the MAAC).

AMERICA EAST: They lose BU to the Patriot, but add UMass-Lowell from the Division II ranks.

SOCON: The only change this season will be that the SoCon is losing the College of Charleston to the CAA, but next year Davidson will be headed out the door and on to the Atlantic 10.

SOUTHLAND: The Southland scooped up a bunch of the low-major leftovers from realignment, adding Houston Baptist from the Great West, New Orleans from the Independents and Division I newcomers Abilene Christian and Incarnate Word.

Here’s a full list of the schools changing leagues this year:

  • Abilene Christian: Division II to the Southland
  • Boston U.: America East to the Patriot League
  • Butler: Atlantic 10 to the Big East
  • Cal St-Bakersfield: Independent to the WAC
  • Central Florida: Conference USA to the AAC
  • Charleston: SoCon to the CAA
  • Charlotte: Atlantic 10 to Conference USA
  • Chicago State: Great West to the WAC
  • Cincinnati: Big East to the AAC
  • UConn: Big East to the AAC
  • Creighton: Missouri Valley to the Big East
  • Denver: WAC to the Summit
  • FAU: Sun Belt to Conference USA
  • FIU: Sun Belt to Conference USA
  • George Mason: CAA to the Atlantic 10
  • Georgia State: CAA to the Sun Belt
  • Grand Canyon: Division II to the WAC
  • Houston: Conference USA to the AAC
  • Houston Baptist: Great West to the Southland
  • Incarnate Word: Division II to the Southland
  • Louisiana Tech: WAC to Conference USA
  • Loyola-Chicago: Horizon to the MVC
  • Loyola (MD): MAAC to the Patriot
  • UMass-Lowell: Division II to the America East
  • Memphis: Conference USA to the AAC
  • MTSU: Sun Belt to Conference USA
  • UMKC: Summit to the WAC
  • Monmouth: NEC to the MAAC
  • NJIT: Great West to Independent
  • New Orleans: Independent to the Southland
  • North Texas: Sun Belt to Conference USA
  • Notre Dame: Big East to the ACC
  • Oakland: Summit to the Horizon
  • Old Dominion: CAA to Conference USA
  • Pacific: Big West to the WCC
  • Pitt: Big East to the ACC
  • Quinnipiac: NEC to the MAAC
  • San Jose State: WAC to the MWC
  • SMU: Conference USA to the AAC
  • South Florida: Big East to the AAC
  • Syracuse: Big East to the ACC
  • Temple: Atlantic 10 to the AAC
  • UT-Arlington: WAC to the Sun Belt
  • UT-Pan American: Great West to the WAC
  • UT-San Antonio: WAC to Conference USA
  • Texas State: WAC to the Sun Belt
  • Utah State: WAC to the MWC
  • Utah Valley: Great West to the WAC
  • Xavier: Atlantic 10 to the Big East

Top 2018 recruit R.J. Barrett names final five schools

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A top player in 2018 is down to five schools.

R.J. Barrett, a 6-foot-6 guard out of Monteverde Academy in Florida, announced Wednesday he’ll consider Arizona, Duke, Michigan, Oregon and Kentucky as his college destination.

Barrett is among those in the mix for the top spot in his class now with Marvin Bagley III reclassifying to 2017 this week and committing to Duke. He starred in Canada’s run to a gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Championships this summer, dropping 38 points on Team USA in a shocking semifinals win for the Canadians, who went on to defeat Italy in the finals. He averaged 21.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.6 rebounds per game during the event.

The schools to make the cut for certainly are of little surprise. They’re among the biggest brands in basketball and have been among the recruiting elites for years.

Barrett was originally part of the 2019 class, but decided to reclassify earlier this summer.”Really, it’s been a thought of mine for the last year,” Barrett wrote for USA TODAY, “but I wanted to wait and see how the season would go and how school would go and when everything went well it became more and more real so I made the decision to go ahead and do it.

“I’m right on track to graduate in 2018 and academically everything is great.”

 

Big Ten reveals conference schedule with early-December games

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We knew it was coming, but seeing it in black-and-white is still plenty jarring.
The Big Ten is going to play conference games in early December.

The league announced its full conference schedule Wednesday, unveiling 14 first-week-of-December games ahead of nearly a month-long hiatus before Big Ten play picks up again in January.

It’s a move that was forced after the Big Ten decided it needed to expand its east coast presence after its expansion to Rutgers and Maryland, and will be playing its conference tournament on the eastern seaboard for the second-consecutive year, this time at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

The problem with MSG is that the Big East hosts its annual conference tournament there, meaning the B1G will have to play its tournament a week early, March 1-4. That means a week less of January, February and March for the conference to play its 18 league games. Thus the early December start. NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster broke down the situation in even more detail – and bite – last spring here.

Every team in the league will play both a home and a road game during that league’s first week, a soft opening if you will. Whether teams like the change or not will likely come down to circumstance  – what players they have injured or suspended, what players their opponents have injured or suspended and any other host of issues, but it’s hard to believe with all things being equal, Big Ten coaches will like this move. They’re playing extremely meaningful league games less than three weeks into the season with other conferences getting nearly 2 months of preparation before facing their toughest slate of games.

The B1G, though, will have more favorable and interesting games – even if they’re programmed against college football championship games (including their own) – that week than any other conference can boast, which likely means some nice TV ratings. Given why this change is being made, that’s probably the priority anyway.

South Carolina adds Maine grad-transfer Myers

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South Carolina is adding some immediate help in its follow-up season to a Final Four run.

Wesley Myers, a graduate transfer from Maine, is joining the Gamecocks’ program, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Rothstein.

The 6-foot-2 guard gives Frank Martin’s team an instant infusion of scoring as they look to replace SEC player of the year Sindarius Thornwell and PJ Dozier. Myers 16.9 points per game last year on 43.7 percent shooting, including a 34.3 percent mark from 3-point range.

He’s the second grad-transfer Martin has picked up this offseason, joining Florida Atlantic’s Frank Booker. The pair should help ease the transition from last year’s success to a much less experienced team that returns just a pair of starters.

Myers, though, doesn’t arrive in Columbia without some notable history.

Last year, after transferring to Maine from Niagara, was suspended after an altercation with a teammate, according to reports. He and teammate Marko Pirovic argued over locker room music, and the alleged ensuing altercation left Pirovic with a broken jaw, according to reports. Three other Maine players were suspended after telling a team athletic trainer that Pirovic had injured himself in a fall in the shower. Pirovic declined to press charges.

Virginia head coach Tony Bennett: ‘We believe in diversity and unity to its fullest extent’

Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP
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Virginia’s Tony Bennett finally spoke out on last weekend’s clash between white supremacists protesting the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee and counter-protesters that resulted in the deaths of a 32-year old woman named Heather Heyer and two police officers involved in a helicopter crash:

Bennett does not exactly take a hard-line stance — the message is more about healing within the community and how much he loves his current hometown than it is about condemning what happened — but he does say “we believe in diversity and unity to its fullest extent.”

Kyle Guy, a sophomore on the Virginia roster, had this to say on Sunday:

UNC academic case finally reaches NCAA infractions hearing

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — It has taken more than two years for North Carolina to appear before an NCAA infractions committee panel since initially being charged with five top-level violations amid its long-running academic scandal.

The two-day hearing begins Wednesday in Nashville, Tennessee. The panel will ultimately determine whether the school faces penalties that could include fines, probation or vacated wins and championships, making this a major step toward resolution in an oft-delayed case filled with starts, stops and twice-rewritten charges.

“The hearing stage, no matter what size of a case, it’s a big deal to any university,” said Michael L. Buckner, a Florida-based attorney who has worked on infractions cases. “I’ve been a part of what you’d consider small cases, I’ve been a part of one of the largest cases. And trust me: The client feels the same anxiousness and apprehension no matter what size of a case it is.

“But I can definitely imagine with North Carolina, this is definitely a momentous occasion.”

The charges include lack of institutional control in a case tied to irregular courses in the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) department. The case is an offshoot of a 2010 football probe, with the NCAA reopening an investigation in summer 2014, filing charges in May 2015, revising them in April 2016 and then again in December.

The panel, which would typically issue a ruling weeks to months later, is chaired by Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey and includes former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

UNC’s representatives were seen arriving for the closed-door hearing at a Nashville hotel Wednesday morning. The contingent included athletic director Bubba Cunningham, men’s basketball coach Roy Williams, football coach Larry Fedora and women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell. Jan Boxill and Deborah Crowder, two former UNC employees charged individually in the case, were also seen with their attorneys.

None of the coaches are charged with a violation. But football and men’s basketball are referenced in a broad-based improper benefits charge tied to athlete access to the irregular courses, while women’s basketball is tied to a charge focused on a former professor and academic counselor providing improper assistance on assignments.

Fedora wasn’t working at UNC during the time in question.

“There’s nothing that I can add to what happened before I ever got here,” Fedora said last week. “But I’m there for support. I think me being there is important — not only for the NCAA but the university — that it shows compliance is important to me and our program.”

The focus is independent study-style courses misidentified as lecture classes that didn’t meet and required a research paper or two for typically high grades. In a 2014 investigation, former U.S. Justice Department official Keorneth Wainstein estimated more than 3,100 students were affected between 1993 and 2011, with athletes making up roughly half the enrollments.

The NCAA has said UNC used those courses to help keep athletes eligible.

UNC has challenged the NCAA’s jurisdiction, saying its accreditation agency — which sanctioned the school with a year of probation — was the proper authority. In a May filing , the school stated it “fundamentally believes that the matters at issue here were of an academic nature” and don’t involve NCAA bylaws.

The NCAA enforcement staff countered in a July filing: “The issues at the heart of this case are clearly the NCAA’s business.”

UNC has argued non-athletes had access to the courses and athletes didn’t receive special treatment. It has also challenged Wainstein’s estimate of athlete enrollments, saying Wainstein counted athletes who were no longer team members and putting the figure at less than 30 percent.

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