Could the NCAA’s Division I setup be in line for a change?

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The current structure of the NCAA is an interesting one, with their being three divisions (I, II and III) with separate championship systems. Obviously at the Division I level schools can give out more scholarships than Division II schools, and Division III schools don’t offer athletic scholarships.

But within Division I there’s quite the division between the “haves” and the “have-nots” with college football being the big reason why.

The revenue brought in by that sport had a major impact on conference realignment, and when the dust settled there were essentially five “major” conferences, with those leagues (the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) receiving that designation due to the fact that many of the sport’s most powerful programs reside in one of those five conferences.

That separation has also led to increased questioning of the current setup of the NCAA, and how that impacts the way in which schools are governed.

While the five conferences that reel in the most money would like to do things such as meeting the full cost of attendance for its scholarship athletes, getting that legislation through has been difficult due to smaller schools being concerned about their ability to afford such an expense. That led to the occasional idea that the five most powerful conferences could consider splitting off from the other Division I leagues, with the question being whether that would occur under the NCAA umbrella or if they would take their money and leave.

At the NCAA meetings in San Diego that was one of the topics discussed, and according to Yahoo! Sports we could be approaching the day when those five league are allowed to govern themselves while remaining part of the NCAA structure.

“It makes sense for the five big revenue conferences to have their own voice,” [NCAA President Mark] Emmert told Yahoo Sports Friday. “A year ago that would have been a very difficult conversation. Now [member schools] are saying, ‘Yeah, that makes sense.’ … People have just become more comfortable with the ideas and concepts of it.’ “

The process still will take time. Wake Forest president Nathan Hatch, the chair of the Division I Board of Directors, said there will be more focused discussion on the NCAA’s new governing structure in April, and individual conferences will then have a chance to discuss those findings at their spring meetings. Then the proposals can be put to a formal vote.

“We hope to have it wrapped up and approved by summer,” Hatch said.

According to the story 58% of the administrators in attendance were in favor of the five most powerful conferences having the ability to govern themselves, hence the thinking that this could be the way collegiate athletics is headed. But would this prohibit other leagues, like the American Athletic Conference or Mountain West for example, from taking up the same initiative(s) to better compensate student-athletes?

That’s just one of the questions administrators will need to address between now and the summer, with how much of a voice athletic directors should have in the governing of collegiate athletics moving forward being another. But just as the case was with conference realignment “the times they are a-changin’,” and athletic departments will have little choice but to adapt.

Chimezie Metu cleared to play by USC

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USC has cleared junior forward Chimezie Metu as he’ll be allowed to play on Saturday against Utah, the school announced.

The 6-foot-11 Metu is the leading scorer and rebounder for the Trojans this season as he was one of the players named in the Friday reports that linked him to NBA agent Andy Miller and Christian Dawkins.

The Trojans are the latest school to allow their player to play after the reports as they follow schools like Duke and Kentucky, as they also did the same with allowing Wendell Carter Jr. and Kevin Knox Jr. to play.

It’s also noted in the release that USC is reviewing Bennie Boatwright’s eligibility as well even though he’s out for the season with a knee injury.

On Friday, Yahoo Sports reported a wide-scale payment operation from Miller and Dawkins in order to recruit players for Miller’s agency. The records allege that Bennie Boatwright Sr. received about $2,000. The records also allege that Metu or his advisor, Johnnie Parker, also got $2,000.

Although the allegations look serious, Dawkins has also proven to be untrustworthy in many instances and it’s hard to tell what might be real and what might be a cover for another expense. It’s hard to prove a lot of these things presented in a business expenses spreadsheet. USC is backing Metu by saying he never received anything that would harm his eligibility as they try to make a final push at Arizona before the postseason.

Bubble Banter: There will be some NCAA tournament bids determined today

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As we will do every day throughout the rest of the season, here is a look at how college basketball’s bubble teams fared on Saturday.

It’s worth reminding you here that the way winning are labeled have changed this season. Instead of looking at all top 50 wins equally, the selection committee will be using criteria that breaks wins down into four quadrants, using the RPI:

  • Quadrant 1: Home vs. 1-30, Neutral vs. 1-50, Road vs. 1-75
  • Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75, Neutral vs. 51-100, Road vs. 76-135
  • Quadrant 3: Home vs. 76-160, Neutral vs. 101-200, Road vs. 136-240
  • Quadrant 4: Home vs. 161 plus, Neutral vs. 201 plus, Road vs. 240 plus

The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here.

YET TO PLAY

MARQUETTE
PROVIDENCE
SETON HALL
BAYLOR
TCU
LOUISVILLE
VIRGINIA TECH
SMU
MIAMI
LSU
TEXAS
USC
UTAH
MISSISSIPPI STATE
TEXAS A&M
WASHINGTON
ALABAMA
KANSAS STATE
OKLAHOMA
MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE
ST. BONAVENTURE
FLORIDA

Marvin Bagley III returning to Duke lineup against Syracuse after knee injury

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Duke star freshman Marvin Bagley III will be available for the Blue Devils on Saturday when they play Syracuse in an ACC home game.

Bagley missed the past four games due to a knee strain that he suffered in the Feb. 8 game against North Carolina. During Bagley’s absence, the Blue Devils went 4-0 as their defense looked very good and senior Grayson Allen became an aggressive scorer.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of changes Duke makes with Bagley’s return. Watching Bagley’s health and seeing how many minutes he plays will be another subplot to watch against the Orange.

Kentucky responds to recent reports from FBI investigation

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Kentucky has officially responded to recent reports that some of its players, notably freshman Kevin Knox, could be involved in the fallout from NBA agent Andy Miller and Christian Dawkins’ FBI investigation.

Knox is one of the players mentioned in a Yahoo Sports report on Friday that included documents for how Miller and Dawkins recruited players to the agency. In the report that Dawkins sent to Miller, it is noted that Knox or a family member of Knox allegedly had a meal with Dawkins.

Kevin Knox Sr. said he didn’t know Miller or Dawkins in a report on Friday. Kentucky also seems to be backing Knox entering Saturday’s SEC clash with Missouri. The Wildcats haven’t found anything wrong while reviewing the matter internally as it looks like Knox will play.

Kentucky seems to be following Duke’s path with Wendell Carter Jr.

Both are still allowed to play, despite being listed in the report, because there are a lot of factors still at play here. It should be noted that the evidence against all of these players in the Dawkins case looks bad.  It’s also hard to prove whether an actual encounter occurred. Dawkins doesn’t have the greatest history of being honest as CBT’s Rob Dauster noted.

Dawkins could have been misleading about some of these encounters with his boss to make himself look good. It’s also difficult to tell who truly paid for the meal, as it is conceivable that some of these players or their families paid for themselves.

Regardless of the nuances of this case, Knox looks like he will continue to play for a recently resurgent Kentucky team that has won two straight games. It’ll be interesting to see if this case hovers over Knox and Kentucky or if they can continue to power through and play well.

Memphis guard Jeremiah Martin out for the season with broken left foot

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The University of Memphis announced on Friday that junior point guard Jeremiah Martin will miss the rest of the season with a broken left foot.

The leading scorer in the AAC this season, the 6-foot-3 Martin injured his foot in the first half of the Tigers’ win over Houston on Thursday night. Martin did not return to the game as he left the arena in a protective boot. Martin is expected to have surgery to repair the foot on Tuesday as he’s expected to miss four-to-six weeks with the injury.

While the Tigers will be significantly worse without its best offensive player, Memphis did come back to beat the Cougars without Martin on Thursday night, as they’ll still be a tough out in the American. Martin was putting up 18.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game as he was in the midst of a breakout junior campaign.

If Martin returns to school for his senior season, he’ll be under heavy consideration as one of the top 100 players in college basketball next season.