Sports Outside the Beltway

TCU to join Big East Conference

Does anyone consider east to include places almost on Mountain Standard Time? From ESPN-

TCU has accepted a bid for full membership to become the 17th member of the Big East Conference, effective July 1, 2012.

“Having BCS automatic-qualifying status was a priority for our football program and a great reward for the success we’ve had the last decade,” TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said in a statement.

The conference change allows TCU to play in an automatic BCS-qualifying league beginning in the 2012-13 school year.

“Access got easier, not the road,” said Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson, whose third-ranked Frogs (12-0) wrapped up their second consecutive undefeated regular season and Mountain West title with a 66-17 win at New Mexico on Saturday.

The Mountain West does not have an automatic bid to the BCS and is going through some changes of its own. BYU and Utah are leaving the conference just as Boise State enters.

Del Conte said losing BYU and Utah was a “significant blow” to the Mountain West.

It isn’t all that long ago that TCU was a member of the Southwest Conference and most of the school’s games were played in Texas. If I had to guess, the Big East will be more expensive travel expense wise for the Horned Frogs but strategically it is a wise move. The Mountain West is a dying conference.


No end in sight- Comcast/Versus dispute still unresolved

A game between two top 15 schools is scheduled to be broadcast on Versus this Saturday. From KRQE-

Saturday’s game between the New Mexico Lobos and the BYU Cougars may be the biggest game of the season and an estimated 1/3 of Albuquerque TV viewers will not be able to see it.

The No. 10/12 ranked Lobos are heading for a huge showdown Saturday in Provo, Utah against No. 13/11 BYU.

The regular season conference championship will most likely be on the line.

But, because the game will air on the Versus network, DirectTV subscribers will not be able to see it.

A money dispute between Versus and DirectTV has kept Versus off DirectTV.

On their network, DirectTV claims the parent company of Versus, Comcast, is asking too much money to carry the network on DirectTV. As a result, DirectTV does not carry Versus.

The Mountain West Conference’s tournament championship is scheduled to be broadcast on Versus next month.

I sympathize with Mountain West sports fans. This dumb dispute has dragged on far too long and NHL fans are about to get screwed even more than they have already been up to now. The playoffs are less than two months away and some of those games are carried exclusively by Versus.

The NHL’s decision to sit on its hands is mind boggling to me. The league doesn’t have a big United States fan base. Marginal fans are going to find something else to watch and perhaps permanently. Is Commissioner Gary Bettman too dumb to realize that or does he simply not care?


Utah Utes Marshall Henderson suspended for hitting BYU player

Things get pretty heated between Beehive State rivals. From AP-

Utah freshman Marshall Henderson has been suspended one game for hitting a BYU player in a game last week.

Utes coach Jim Boylen said Monday that Henderson will sit out Wednesday against Colorado State.

Henderson was ejected with 34 seconds left in BYU’s 82-69 win over Utah on Saturday in Provo for a flagrant foul on Jackson Emery.

Emery was following Henderson along the baseline after the initial play and had some words for the Utah player, who hit Emery in the face with a backhand.

Under NCAA regulations, fighting warrants an automatic suspension. Is one game sufficient enough a penalty? I would have gone for two myself.

Here’s the incident on video. Note that the person who posted it to Youtube thinks Emery exaggerated the impact of the punch he received.


Bobby Hauck named UNLV Football Coach

Hauck, who coached the University of Montana Grizzlies from 2003-2009, replaces Mike Sanford who was fired last November 16th.

Incoming UNLV coach Bobby Hauck says he’s excited about generating enthusiasm for football and building a winning program, but he doesn’t know how long it will take for his team to reach his goals.

Hauck said Wednesday as he was introduced by the university that enthusiasm for his team will come if it’s worth watching.

The Board of Regents was set to approve Hauck’s contract in an afternoon meeting.

UNLV President Neal Smatresk says the three-year contract will pay Hauck $350,000 annually, with some pay deferred and incentives for winning, bowl games and helping student-athletes graduate.

Anyone familar with the history of football at UNLV knows Hauck faces a difficult task in making the Rebels competitive. No UNLV football coach has ended his tenure at the school with a winning record in over 30 years.


UNLV fires Football coach Mike Sanford

In spite of a horrific record, he got a contract extension just a year ago. From AP-

UNLV has fired football coach Mike Sanford after five losing seasons, a 15-43 record and no bowl appearances.

Sanford’s firing comes after a 45-17 loss to Air Force on Saturday made the Rebels ineligible for a bowl game.

In a joint statement, university president Neal Smatresk and interim athletic director Jerry Koloskie said Sanford will coach the final game of the season at home against San Diego State on the Nov. 28.

“We agree this action is needed at this time,” Smatresk said.

Sanford, 54, will be paid a $225,000 buyout, under terms of a three-year contract extension the coach signed last year.

Yet another case of a University paying for someone not to work. When can I get a job like this?

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U of New Mexico soccer player Elizabeth Lambert suspended indefinitely

This for her actions in a recent Mountain West Conference semifinals versus BYU. From AP-

New Mexico women’s soccer defender Elizabeth Lambert has been suspended indefinitely after engaging in rough play — including hauling an opposing player to the ground by her pony tail — in the Lobos’ 1-0 loss to BYU in the Mountain West Conference semifinals.

Lambert is prohibited from taking part in practices, games and conditioning, coach Kit Vela announced Friday.

“Liz is a quality student-athlete, but in this instance her actions clearly crossed the line of fair play and good sportsmanship,” Vela said.

Video footage of the game shows Lambert, a junior, committing a series of excessively rough plays, including kicking, tackles, a forearm shiver to the back — in response to an elbow to the ribs — and yanking BYU forward Kassidy Shumway to the ground by her hair.

Lambert was assessed a yellow card during the 76th minute, apparently for tripping.

Lambert apologized for her actions.

Here’s a video of what happened. Warning the audio isn’t too good.

Her actions may have been provoked but are still uncalled for. I do think Lambert could have a future in another sport. How good is she at ice skating? Watch out Mountain West women’s hockey players.


New Mexico Coach Mike Locksley reprimanded for fight with assistant

The altercation took place on September 20th. From AP-

New Mexico Lobos head coach Mike Locksley has been reprimanded for a fight involving an assistant coach, who told police Locksley struck him and split his lip.

Athletic director Paul Krebs said at a news conference Monday that Locksley was issued “a verbal reprimand” with a follow-up letter placed in his personnel file after the Sept. 20 altercation.

According to a police report, receivers coach J.B. Gerald said the fight occurred during a “heated” coaches meeting.

Locksley became angry, grabbed Gerald by the collar and punched him as other coaches tried to intervene.

Krebs downplayed the incident, saying it’s not unusual in college football for coaches to have “heated discussions.” He also expressed steadfast support for Locksley, whom he hired after last season.

No charges were filed. I do think Locksley could be in a great of trouble at this moment. He is being been accused of sexual harassment and the Lobos aren’t having much success on the field(0-4 in 2009). It wouldn’t at all surprise me if Locksley’s tenure in Albuquerque is a very short one.


Versus-DirecTV dispute will affect Mountain West Conference Football viewers

As of midnight September 1st, the satellite provider stopped carrying the sports channel. From the Salt Lake City Tribune-

Unless an agreement is reached in the near future, BYU and Utah football fans who are DirecTV subscribers will not be able to watch their teams play several games on the Versus television network this fall.

TCU, Wyoming, Air Force and San Diego State fans are out of luck as well.

The sports channel Versus has broadcast rights to televise the Sept. 19 Florida State-BYU game, the Oct. 24 TCU-BYU game, the Oct. 24 Air Force-Utah game and the Nov. 21 San Diego State-Utah game. It also has the Wyoming-Texas game on Sept. 12 and a few others involving Mountain West Conference teams.

Versus, which is owned by cable giant Comcast Corp., was dropped by satellite broadcaster DirecTV on Tuesday after the two sides failed to strike a deal to keep the channel as part of DirecTV’s lineup.

A notice on the DirecTV channel previously occupied by Versus says, “Comcast, which owns Versus, has forced us to take down the channel because we will not submit to their unfair and outrageous demands.”

Once known as the Outdoor Life Network (OLN), Versus is known now for its Tour de France and National Hockey League coverage. It also has rights to selected MWC, Big 12 and Pac-10 football games.

Both sides are giving differing reasons for the dispute. Mountain West football fans who subscribe to Directv have reason to be anxious. Their games were to start being aired next week on Versus.

Normally I could care less about Versus, but my television viewing can be affected if the two sides don’t come to an agreement quickly. The NHL is also aired on Versus, and the Florida Panthers(my favorite hockey team) open the 2009-10 season by playing the Chicago Blackhawks in Helsinki. Only Versus is televising the game. Out of the 82 games the Florida Panthers played in 2008-09, I doubt I missed watching five of those that were shown on television.

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Utah basketball coach suspends player for intentional foul

It stemmed from an incident in a game played last Saturday. From AP-

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has suspended guard Luka Drca for two games for an intentional foul committed in a loss to No. 4 Oklahoma.

Drca tripped Blake Griffin as the Sooners were on a fast break with a 14-point lead early in the second half of Saturday’s game. Oklahoma’s Willie Warren was called for a technical for jawing with Drca, who was whistled for an intentional foul.

Utah coach Jim Boylen said in a release Monday that he was suspending Drca for two games.

Boylen says he wasn’t required to suspend Drca, but felt the trip was unacceptable behavior. The junior from Serbia will sit out Saturday’s home game against Weber State and the Utes’ road game against Utah State next Monday.

Drca suspends every bit of the suspension. That kind of behavior he portrayed on Saturday doesn’t belong on a basketball court.


San Diego State fires football Coach Chuck Long

The former NFL QB didn’t make it through four season in his Aztecs job. From ESPN-

The Aztecs athletic department has scheduled a news conference for 4 p.m. ET Sunday, regarding an announcement about its football program, according to the school’s Web site.

Long had been assured of his position in public statements by athletic director Jeff Schemmel. But San Diego State is 2-10 and 1-7 in the Mountain West after snapping a seven-game losing streak with a 42-21 defeat of UNLV on Saturday.

Long, a former Iowa quarterback, was hired by the Aztecs in 2005 after spending four seasons as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma. San Diego State was Long’s first head coaching job.

While at Iowa, Long was runner-up to Bo Jackson for the 1985 Heisman Trophy in the closest vote in history. He guided the Hawkeyes to the Big Ten title and the Rose Bowl that season.

He was Oklahoma’s passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach when the Sooners won the national championship in 2000 and was offensive coordinator when Jason White won the 2003 Heisman and when Adrian Peterson and White finished 2-3 in 2004.

Long got his coaching start at Iowa in 1995 after playing eight seasons in the NFL, with the St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

I remember Long’s NFL playing days. He had the time at SDSU to put together his own team through recruiting and apparently he failed. Some excellent assistant coaches aren’t meant for the head man’s job. Ask Miami Dolphin fans if they believe in that statement after Cam Cameron coached the team


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