Eddie Jordan, Robert Barchi

American Athletic Conference, Rutgers announce settlement

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When Rutgers made the decision in 2012 to accept an invitation to join the Big Ten, two questions that needed answering were when the school would make the move and how much it would cost them. Some programs involved in conference realignment have simply waited after making their decision, choosing to negotiate their exit fee, but a few others have gone with the lawsuit method.

Rutgers did just that in December 2012, suing the Big East over its exit fee and the 27-month waiting period required of members in the Big East’s bylaws.

On Wednesday the American Athletic Conference announced that it has come to an agreement with Rutgers in regards to the terms of the separation, with the school having to pay an $11.5 million exit fee. With the conference having already received $5 million, Rutgers will pay the remaining $6.5 million over a four-year period with the first payment to be made on September 1, 2014.

The American originally sought to receive a $15 million exit fee from Rutgers, so the school does save $3.5 million with this agreement. And given how much Rutgers expects to make in the Big Ten, they’ll make up for that loss (and then some) down the line.

“This settlement will allow us to continue along the path to self-sufficiency for our athletic programs,’’ [Rutgers president Robert] Barchi said. “One-time restructuring costs like this settlement and the costs associated with canceling a previous marketing contract are more than offset by anticipated revenues from the Big Ten and from our new marketing partner IMG College. The increased ongoing revenue resulting from these one-time investments will provide the financial support necessary for the athletic department to move toward financial stability.’’

Rutgers was going to be a member of the Big Ten on July 1, 2014. The only question was just how much it would cost the school, and Wednesday’s announcement provided the answer. For the Big Ten there’s just one question left: how much will Maryland have to pay the ACC?

The ACC wants the $52.2 million exit fee that its members agreed to in 2012, with Maryland and Florida State being the lone schools to object to the increase. Obviously Maryland doesn’t want to pay that much, leading to dueling lawsuits in Maryland (filed by the school) and North Carolina (filed by the ACC).

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?