The Florida and Miami athletic departments continue discussing the possibility of renewing the in-state rivalry.
Two weeks ago, it was reported both athletic directors were “receptive” to schedule one another in football, although, the games would have to be played at neutral sites.
On Saturday afternoon, multiple outlets reported that the Gators and Hurricanes were in talks for a home-and-home series on the hardwood. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald was the first to report the potential series while Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post confirmed the likelihood of this deal being completed.
A UM source said a home-and-home series between the Hurricanes and Gators is “in the works,” but has not been finalized.
However, asked to put a percentage on the chances of a UM-UF series happening, the UM source said “100.”
According to Porter’s sources, the first game would be played in Gainesville this season, followed by a rematch scheduled next season in Coral Gables.
The Gators made another deep run into the NCAA tournament this March, getting past the Elite 8 after three tries for Billy Donovan’s fourth Final Four appearance. The Hurricanes stumbled toward the bottom half of the conference standings after winning the ACC regular season and tournament titles in 2012-2013.
Florida will lose SEC Player of the Year Scottie Wilbekin, Patric Young and Casey Prather, but should still be a top 15 team. Miami is poised for a bounce-back season as its back court will be bolstered by the additions of transfers Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan.
The last time these two teams met in basketball was during the second round of 2009 NIT. Florida won 74-60. The Gators and Hurricanes most recent regular season contest was in Dec. 2005 with Florida earning a 77-67 victory.
With an 11-member setup the Sun Belt Conference has played a 20-game conference schedule the last couple of years, which may be seen as a positive when it comes to determining the regular season champion (home-and-home between every team). But for a conference that spans from North Carolina (Appalachian State) to Texas (UT-Arlington, Texas State) travel was far from easy in that setup.
And with Coastal Carolina joining next season, it was clear that the league needed to do something with its scheduling.
Thursday the Sun Belt members approved an 18-game conference schedule, which will begin with the 2016-17 season when the league consists of 12 members. Included in the agreement is the assignment of travel partners (similar to setups in the Pac-12 and Ivy League), and teams playing no more than three consecutive conference games on the road.
Schools will also be guaranteed at least five weekend home games during conference play, and there will be no more weekends in which teams play conference games both home and away (thus cutting down on travel). Obviously with the addition of Coastal Carolina the Sun Belt needed to make some changes in their scheduling, and this week the conference made the moves they needed to make.
Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.
Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.
“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”
While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.