Archive | April, 2014

Raiders take fifth at C-USA Championship

Raiders take fifth at C-USA Championship

Posted on 29 April 2014 by Allen

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The Middle Tennessee men’s golf team finished fifth at the 2014 Conference USA Championship after the final round of play Tuesday at the par-70, 6,861-yard Oak Tree Country Club course as all five Blue Raiders finished in the top-25.

Middle Tennessee shot 294 in the third round Tuesday to tally 869 (293-282-294) through 54 holes for fifth-place on the 14-team leaderboard. Rice took home top honors with a score of 861 (293-282-286), while No. 18 UAB claimed second with 862 (290-283-289). Tulsa earned third-place honors at 866 (288-281-297), while Charlotte was fourth, totaling 868 (291-281-296).

“We put up a great fight this week in conditions we rarely see,” said MT head coach Whit Turnbow. “We had all five players in the top-25, which is outstanding. I am very proud of this team.”

Redshirt-junior Brett Patterson led the Blue Raiders on the day, carding 71 for one-over par. He finished tied for 15th in the 69-player field with a total score of 219 (78-70-71).

Senior Jordan Jennings and redshirt-junior Andrew Cho were next on the team, each turning in a 74 in the final round of play for Middle Tennessee. Cho finished the three-day event tied for 15th with a score of 219 (73-72-74), while Jennings was a stroke back at 220 (78-68-74) and tied for 22nd.

MT senior Lucas Armstrong shot a 75 in the final round Tuesday. Through 54 holes, he tallied 219 (72-72-75) to also finish tied for 15th, alongside junior Payne Denman. Denman posted a 77 in the third round for a total score of 219 (70-72-77).

“They have been working and battling since August to put themselves in position to play in the NCAA Tournament,” Turnbow said. “I truly believe our body of work throughout the year is good enough to get the call. We have three wins over top-25 teams, including Texas. These guys get it done on and off the course. They have a perfect 1,000 APR, numerous All-American scholars and have a team GPA over 3.0. They are tremendous representatives of our university and our community. They have been a pleasure to coach.”

The Blue Raiders will await word on an at-large bid to an NCAA Regional as the NCAA golf selection announcement will come during the Golf Channel’s Morning Drive show Monday, May 5.

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Stewart named Skyhawks associate head coach

Stewart named Skyhawks associate head coach

Posted on 29 April 2014 by Allen


Skyhawk head coach Heath Schroyer announced this morning that Anthony Stewart has joined the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball program as the associate head coach.

Stewart, 43, has spent the last two seasons at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. The Bobcats went 49-22 in Stewart’s tenure, which included a pair of postseason appearances.

This past season, Stewart helped Ohio to a 25-12 record and a quarterfinals appearance in the Postseason Tournament (CIT). That followed a 2012-13 season where the Bobcats tallied a 24-10 record, earned a share of their first Mid-American Conference regular season championship since 1993-94 and earned a spot in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT).

Stewart also has spent time at Southern Illinois (2011-12), Wyoming (2007-11), Long Beach State (2004-06) and Columbus State Community College (2001-04). His four years at Wyoming were as an assistant under Schroyer.

Stewart was directly responsible for recruiting Desmar Jackson (2009-10 Freshman All-American) at Wyoming, Aaron Nixon (No. 1 junior college player in the country, 2006-07 Big West Conference Player of the Year) at Long Beach State and three All-Americans at Columbus State.

A native of Akron, Ohio, Stewart played collegiately and graduated from the University of Mount Union (Ohio) in 1993.

“I have worked with Anthony before and I have known him for over 15 years now and I think he is absolutely one of the best in the business,” Schroyer said. “He is a tireless recruiter and he develops great relationships with young men. He is a great motivator and a mentor and is someone I can fully trust. He will be involved in every facet of the program.”

Stewart joins fellow assistant coaches Jermaine Johnson and Thomas Gray on Schroyer’s staff at UT Martin.

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Sounds Slammed By Z’s, 9-4

Sounds Slammed By Z’s, 9-4

Posted on 29 April 2014 by Allen


The Nashville Sounds allowed a season-high nine runs in Tuesday morning’s contest against the New Orleans Zephyrs, falling by a final score of 9-4 on Education Day at Greer Stadium.

Down 1-0 in the third inning, Sounds starting pitcher Ariel Pena (0-2) had difficulty locating pitches, with three walks and two wild pitches in the frame alone. The free bases ended up hurting Nashville when New Orleans catcher Kyle Skipworth drove a wind-aided grand slam over the centerfield wall.

The grand slam is the first surrendered by Nashville this season and the first since Engle Beltre hit one for Round Rock on August 19, 2013.

The Zephyrs added to their lead with three runs in the fourth inning. Pena offered a lead-off walk and committed a throwing error to put runners on the corners for Jake Marisnick, who hit a single to centerfield to make it 6-0. Pena walked the following batter, loading the bases and ending his day in the fourth.

Reliever Dustin Molleken stepped in to issue a bases-loaded walk to his first batter, Josh Rodriguez. The Zephyrs plated their third run of the frame with a sacrifice fly.

Pena took the loss, his second, allowing eight runs, six earned, on four hits and six walks over three innings of work. Molleken pitched three innings to finish with one unearned run on his line.

Newcomer Jeremy Jeffress made his Sounds debut a good one, collecting 1 2/3 scoreless innings for Nashville. He threw five strikeouts and two of the team’s season-high 11 walks.

Left fielder Eugenio Velez entered the game with the league’s top average of .403 and put the Sounds on the board in the fourth inning with his RBI-single to shallow center. The hit scored Caleb Gindl, who doubled for Nashville’s first hit.

Gindl, who batted .333 (11-for-33) on the team’s recent road trip, finished the day 2-for-4 with two doubles. He and Hector Gomez scored the Sounds’ final two runs on Hunter Morris’ double in the eighth inning.

The win marks New Orleans’ sixth consecutive. Starting pitcher Jay Rogers (1-1) was awarded his first win, limiting Nashville to one run over six innings.

The Sounds will play a doubleheader against the Zephyrs Wednesday, beginning at 4:05 p.m. Nashville’s RHP Mike Fiers (4-0, 1.01) will pitch in the first game opposite LHP Brian Flynn (2-1, 4.13) while RHP Alfredo Figaro (0-0, 4.50) will start the nightcap. Jeff Hem has the call, which will begin as an internet-only broadcast before 102.5 The Game joins in progress at 6 p.m.

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Roper named TSWA Player of the Week

Roper named TSWA Player of the Week

Posted on 29 April 2014 by Allen


Junior Jessica Roper was slated as the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Player of the Week on Tuesday after leading the Cumberland softball squad to a 5-1 week to close out the regular season.

The Bellflower, Calif., native batted .471 in six games during the week, collecting eight hits on 17 at-bats. Roper knocked in six runs, scored five times, had a pair of doubles and a home run.

Roper was 1-for-3 with a double in a 3-2 victory over St. Catharine College and followed that performance with three runs scored and a pair of RBIs in game two, a 13-3 Cumberland win.

On Friday, Roper began a stretch of four straight games behind the plate in two days. She collected a hit and an RBI in a 12-8 win over Shawnee State. The junior erupted on Saturday versus the University of Rio Grande, combining to go 5-for-5 in a doubleheader, with two RBIs, two runs scored, a double and a homer.

For the season Roper leads the Bulldogs with a .451 batting average as well as 19 walks and has posted 11 doubles, five homers and 44 RBIs with 39 runs scored in 52 contests.

CU opens play in the Mid-South Conference Championships on Thursday versus No. 4-seeded Rio Grande. Cumberland will act as the No. 5 seed in the three-day, double-elimination tournament which concludes on Saturday. CU and URG square off in the opening round at 9:30 a.m. CT.

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Western Kentucky University Discontinues Men’s Tennis Program Due to Budget Cuts

Western Kentucky University Discontinues Men’s Tennis Program Due to Budget Cuts

Posted on 29 April 2014 by Allen


Western Kentucky University Director of Athletics Todd Stewart announced Tuesday the elimination of men’s tennis as a varsity intercollegiate sport at the school, effective in the upcoming 2014-15 academic year.

“This is certainly a disappointment,” Stewart said. “Unfortunately, the cumulative effect of three consecutive years of cuts to the overall athletics budget forces us to make difficult decisions. We have actually increased both our ticket and sponsorship revenue in each of the last two years along with private donor support, but cuts to the athletics budget have lessened the impact of our growth. I would like to thank all of our current and former men’s tennis coaches, student-athletes and their families for their service to our program, and I share their disappointment with this course of action.

“The elimination of sport programs has become a nationwide trend in recent years, and many schools are facing similar challenges. Our decision to eliminate men’s tennis also enables us to avoid cuts to any other sport program. We will go into the 2014-15 year with 18 sponsored sports, which ties for the most in Conference USA. WKU Athletics has an overall 70 percent graduation rate, and nine of our sport programs have won a conference championship over the last two years. We also have an excellent opportunity to win the 2013-14 Vic Bubas Cup, given annually to the Sun Belt Conference’s all-sports champion, for the first time since 2008. Our goals will not change, and we remain committed to making a national impact in the years ahead on the field of play and in the classroom.”

Current WKU men’s tennis student-athletes will be allowed to transfer to another institution to continue their playing careers without having to sit out of competition for a year, as is usual transfer protocol. Should they choose to remain a student at WKU they will have their scholarship honored at its current level through their senior year provided they remain in good academic standing.

WKU began playing tennis in 1936 and was coached by E.B. Stansbury in the late 1930s. Ted Hornback led the Hilltoppers to success in the Ohio Valley Conference in the 1950s and 1960s, but WKU has finished last or second-to-last in the Sun Belt Conference standings in 15-straight seasons. WKU has just one conference finish higher than fifth in 29 seasons since 1985, which was a fourth-place result in 1995.

In December 2013, Temple University announced it was cutting seven of its 24 varsity Division I sport programs, and Robert Morris University also eliminated seven of its 23 varsity Division I teams. Rutgers University cut six sports in 2007 and the University of Maryland eliminated seven in 2012. Both of those athletic departments will compete in the Big Ten Conference beginning in 2014-15.

In addition, the University of Cincinnati, Stanford University, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Washington and the University of California-Berkley have also eliminated at least one program from its athletic department in recent years.

Beginning in 2014-15, WKU will compete in Conference USA after 32 years as a member of the Sun Belt Conference. WKU will have 18 varsity sports upon its entry into Conference USA, which is tied for the most among all 14 league members.

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#8 Lady Vols Surge Past #9 UK, 9-2

#8 Lady Vols Surge Past #9 UK, 9-2

Posted on 28 April 2014 by Allen


No. 8 Tennessee scored five in the fifth and Ellen Renfroe struck out eight over seven strong innings as the Lady Vols took a 9-2 comeback win over No. 9 Kentucky on Sunday to take the season series.

Tennessee (39-9, 14-7 SEC) scored one in the second inning, five in the fifth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh. Kentucky (40-11, 13-8 SEC) scored both of its runs in the first inning.

With eight strikeouts in the complete-game win, Renfroe (25-5) now has 207 on the season. She is just the second Lady Vol to throw 200 strikeouts in each of her four seasons. The only other UT pitcher to accomplish the feat was legend Monica Abbott (2004-07).

Melissa Davin hit a solo home run, her 12th on the season, and a sac fly to drive in a pair of runs. Megan Geer was 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs. Taylor Koenig hit a two-RBI single. Madison Shipman was 2-for-4 with one RBI and one walk.

Kelsey Nunley (20-6) took the loss after allowing seven earned runs over seven innings.

Sunday’s attendance was 1,685. The weekend total attendance was 4,664 – a Kentucky record for a three-game series.

Kentucky took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Emily Gaines hit a one-out, two-RBI double to center field.

In the second inning, Davin smashed a solo homer on the first pitch she saw from Kelsey Nunley, sending a shot over the wall in right field to pull UT to within 2-1. Tennessee loaded the bases after Koenig was hit by a pitch, Lexi Overstreet rocked a hit down the left field line and Alley Perkins reached on an error at first. Nunley induced a fielder’s choice with a 6-2 out at home and an infield pop up to leave three Lady Vols stranded.

Tennessee exploded with five runs in the sixth inning to take a 6-2 lead. With one out, Haley Tobler knocked a single to left center. Megan Geer drove Tobler in with an RBI triple down the right field line, tying the game at 2-2. With two outs, Annie Aldrete and Davin drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Koenig knocked a two-out, two-RBI single to right field to give UT a 4-2 lead. Cheyanne Tarango reached on a throwing error by the third baseman, scoring Davin on the play. Overstreet followed with an RBI single to center field, plating Koenig for UT’s sixth run of the game.

Kentucky tried to answer in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases with two outs. Renfroe got out of the jam by striking out Emily Gaines.

UT added another run in the sixth to push its lead to 7-2. With the bases loaded and two outs, Davin hit a sacrifice fly to right field, plating Tobler from third base.

The Lady Vols plated two more runs in the top of the seventh. Geer knocked a one-out RBI single up the middle to score Perkins. Shipman hit a two-out bloop RBI single over the pitcher’s head to bring home Tobler for UT’s ninth run.

Tennessee will conclude its regular-season schedule at home next weekend with a three game series against Ole Miss from May 2-4. UT will celebrate Senior Day on Saturday, May 3.

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Blue Raiders fall to Old Dominion, 4-3

Blue Raiders fall to Old Dominion, 4-3

Posted on 28 April 2014 by Allen

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The Middle Tennessee baseball team allowed three runs in the top of a seventh and final inning that included an hour and 26 minute rain delay, as the Blue Raiders’ bid at a weekend sweep was dampened by Old Dominion in a rain-shortened, 4-3 defeat at Reese Smith, Jr. Field Sunday afternoon. In the loss, the Blue Raiders fall to 22-22 and 11-10 in Conference USA play, while the Monarchs improve to 26-18 and 13-11 in C-USA.

Old Dominion took a 1-0 lead in the third on a passed ball before the Blue Raiders answered with the game’s next three runs. Middle Tennessee tied the game in the fourth on a balk before junior Michael Adkins ripped a first-pitch double down the line in left for a 2-1 lead.

In the fifth, junior Dustin Delgado hit a ball over the third base bag that stayed just fair for a double, bringing home senior Jake Ellison from first for a 3-1 lead.

The first two would reach for ODU in the seventh before a groundout advanced the runners. Junior Kooper Kessler would enter for junior Johnathan Frebis as a driving rainstorm came through, stopping the game after a walk loaded the bases.

After the rain delay of nearly and hour and a half, ODU would get a two-run single and a walk for a 4-3 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.

Junior Austin Bryant worked a 10-pitch at-bat to open the bottom of the seventh that ended in a single to left field to put the tying run on, but Monarch closer Brad Gero would strike out the next three batters for his ninth save of the year.

Conner Overton (2-1) picked up the win in relief for Old Dominion, while Kessler (2-2) was saddled with the loss. Both Frebis and Monarch starter Victor Diaz received no-decisions for their part in the contest. Frebis tied a career-high with seven strikeouts.

The Blue Raiders return to action with a midweek contest in Knoxville against Tennessee, slated for a 5 p.m. CT first pitch on Tuesday.

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Hot Bats Give No. 20 South Alabama 9-5 Win over WKU Softball

Hot Bats Give No. 20 South Alabama 9-5 Win over WKU Softball

Posted on 28 April 2014 by Allen

WKU Softball

No. 20 South Alabama (37-10, 14-5) had the hot bats early, as the Western Kentucky University softball team (31-20-1, 10-8) fell 9-5 in the series finale at the WKU Softball Complex on Sunday.

Hits and runs came late for WKU, as the Lady Toppers finished with nine hits. Senior Amanda Thomas had three hits in her four trips to the plate, finishing with a pair of RBI. Senior Kelsie Mattox and sophomore Brooke Holloway posted two hits each while Holloway notched two runs.

All three WKU pitchers saw 2.1 innings in the circle, dishing out 16 total hits to the Jaguars while the visitors also capitalized on three errors by WKU. Senior Emily Rousseau (16-14) started the game, allowing eight hits with four earned runs and one strikeout. Freshman Hannah Miniard and junior Janna Scheff combined for the other eight hits with Miniard giving up two earned runs.

South Alabama’s Hannah Campbell (16-4) earned the win, as she had four earned runs and four strikeouts in the complete-game outing.

The Jaguars built a 6-0 lead after 3.5 innings of action, using 10 hits and one WKU error to build an early advantage. WKU added its first run to the scoreboard in the bottom fourth after an error by USA third baseman Emily Messer kept junior Shawna Sadler on base and allowed Mattox to score.

After a RBI double by Stephanie Pilkington in the fifth allowed South Alabama the run back, Holloway hit her team-high sixth home run of the season to set the score at 7-2 after five.

A pair of runs came in for the Jags in the next frame after a fielding error by Thomas allowed the first run before a single to center by Messer added the other for a 9-2 ballgame.

WKU had its best inning of the game in the seventh after a single by junior Jacqueline McGill opened the frame followed by a bunt single from senior Tiffany Gooch. Holloway added a hit to load the bases before a junior Preslie Cruce groundout brought in pinch runner Amber Williams. Thomas then doubled to right center field to score the final two runs and end the late rally.

The series completed the last home Sun Belt Conference series in program history and a grueling week for the Lady Toppers, as WKU faced teams in the top 25 or receiving votes, falling in five tough games.

The team looks to end a six-game skid with its final home game against Evansville on Tuesday, April 29 at 5 p.m. CT before heading to Georgia State for the final SBC and regular-season games with a meeting against the Panthers at 5 p.m. CT on Friday, May 2.

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Nelson Strong Again, Offense Lights Up RedHawks In 8-5 Series Finale Win

Nelson Strong Again, Offense Lights Up RedHawks In 8-5 Series Finale Win

Posted on 28 April 2014 by Allen


Jimmy Nelson worked his fifth straight quality start and Nashville batters slugged three homers for the second straight game to propel the Sounds to an 8-5 victory over the Oklahoma City RedHawks in the finale of a four-game series on Sunday afternoon at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

With the victory, the Sounds wrapped up their first winning multiple-series road trip since August 2011, closing the swing with a 5-3 mark. Nashville (12-11) now possesses a winning record for the first time since the third day of the season.

Nelson (3-1) worked his fifth consecutive quality start to open the year and picked up his third victory by holding the RedHawks to two runs on six hits while striking out six batters in his seven innings of action.

The Sounds scored a season-best eight runs by cranking out a season-high 14 hits on the afternoon, including a 4-for-4 effort by third baseman Taylor Green. Every member of the Nashville lineup either rapped a knock or drove in a run in the contest.

Oklahoma City opened the contest by taking a 1-0 first-inning lead against Nelson as Robbie Grossman led off with a single and later scored on a groundout.

Jeremy Hermida (3-for-4) powered the Sounds into the lead in the fourth when he slugged a two-out, two-run homer to left off RedHawks starter Bobby Doran, the outfielder’s second big fly of the year. Robinzon Diaz followed with a double and scored the third run of the frame for Nashville on a single by Green to make it a 3-1 contest. All three runs in the inning were unearned following a two-out throwing error by shortstop Ronald Torreyes.

The Sounds plated more two-out runs in the fifth when Caleb Gindl and Hunter Morris put together Nashville’s first pair of back-to-back homers this season, both off Doran. The roundtrippers were Gindl’s second and Morris’ fourth of the year.

After Oklahoma City got a run back in the sixth when Gregorio Petit doubled and scored on a Domingo Santana single, Nashville extended its lead to 7-2 in the top of the seventh with a pair of runs off David Martinez.

With the bases loaded, Sean Halton lifted a sacrifice fly to right to bring home Irving Falu, who extended the Sounds’ longest hit streak of the year to nine games with a single earlier in the frame. Gindl, who had doubled, scored a second run on the play as the result of a throwing error by first baseman Jon Singleton.

After Nashville added its season-high 8th run in on a Falu sacrifice fly, Oklahoma City took immediate advantage of Nelson’s departure in the bottom of the eighth by touching Kyle Heckathorn for three runs to pull within striking distance at 8-5. Torreyes led off with his first homer of the year, a solo shot to left, before the ‘Hawks later added two more runs on back-to-back two-out RBI doubles off the bats of Max Stassi and Enrique Hernandez.

Donovan Hand retired the RedHawks in order in the ninth to close out the victory and picked up his fourth save of the year, matching Rob Wooten for the team lead.

The Sounds return to Music City tomorrow to begin an eight-game homestand with a 7:05 p.m. opener of a four-game series against New Orleans (AAA-Marlins). Right-hander Hiram Burgos (1-3, 6.50) will make the start for the Sounds to face Zephyrs right-hander Jay Rogers (0-1, 5.51).

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MTSU drops contest to No. 15 Tulsa, 9-4

MTSU drops contest to No. 15 Tulsa, 9-4

Posted on 28 April 2014 by Allen


Laura Dukes led Middle Tennessee (8-42, 2-18 C-USA) with three RBI in a 9-4 loss to No. 15 Tulsa (45-5, 18-2 C-USA), concluding the last Conference USA road series of 2014 at the Collins Family Softball Complex Sunday.

Dukes led the efforts for the Blue Raiders, finishing 1-for-2 with two walks and a home run. Dukes’ walk in the fourth inning broke the Middle Tennessee single-season walks mark, which was previously set by Muriel Ledbetter in 2006. McKena Miller, LaRi Mitchell and Samantha Nieves each tallied a hit in the defeat, while Miller notched her 10th RBI of the season.

The Blue Raiders opened the contest with a Mitchell walk, one of six for Middle Tennessee on the day. Two batters later, Mitchell ended up on third with two outs. Dukes tagged her fifth home run of the season and 16th of her career over the right field fence for the two-run lead.

Tulsa responded by plating five runs against starting MT pitcher Shelby Stinnett (3-15). The Golden Hurricane tagged five hits in the inning, which included three doubles. TU added two runs in the third inning and two runs in the fifth to put the Blue Raiders at the 9-2 deficit and on the brink of its second shortened contest in the series.

Neither side scored in the sixth and Middle Tennessee found its offensive rhythm against Tulsa relief pitcher Bailey Erwin. Down to three outs, MT loaded the bases after a Kayla Toney walk. Dukes then earned her second free pass of the day, which scored MT’s first run of the inning. Miller proceeded to hit into a fielder’s choice but all MT runners were called safe, scoring the final run of the game. A pop up in the next at bat ended the rally attempt for the Blue Raiders.

Stinnett earned the loss after pitching three innings and allowing seven earned runs. Caitlin McClure pitched in relief, holding TU to two runs on four hits with one strikeout. Freshman Austyn Whaley extended her reached-base streak to 18 games after receiving a walk in the fourth inning.

Middle Tennessee continues competition May 1 with a doubleheader at Belmont with a 3:30 p.m. slated first pitch.

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Vols keep Bama, Vandy keeps Ole Miss as SEC updates football schedule

Vols keep Bama, Vandy keeps Ole Miss as SEC updates football schedule

Posted on 28 April 2014 by Allen


There will be no 9 game SEC schedule for the foreseeable future. The conference announced today that it will keep the league schedule at 8 games and will have permanent cross division rivals and rotate the other division game each year.

Here is the press release from the SEC.

The Southeastern Conference on Sunday announced the format for future football scheduling that is a continuation of the existing format and adds a strength-of-schedule component that requires all schools to play an ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12 opponent on an annual basis. The announcement comes after a vote of the league’s institutions.

Each SEC team will continue to play eight conference football games per season, to include six games against division opponents and two games against non-division opponents. One of the non-division opponents will be a permanent annual opponent and the other non-division opponent will rotate each year.

In addition, at least one opponent from the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12 must be scheduled by each SEC school on an annual basis beginning in 2016, with assistance from the conference office.

“This has been a thoughtful and deliberative process that has resulted in maintaining the current format and adds a provision that will bolster our collective annual non-conference schedule,” said Commissioner Mike Slive. “Critical to maintaining this format is the non-conference opponent factor which gives us the added strength-of-schedule we were seeking while allowing continued scheduling flexibility for institutional preferences, and acknowledges that many of our institutions already play these opponents.

“The concept of strength-of-schedule is based on an entire 12-game schedule, a combination of both conference games together with non-conference games. Given the strength of our conference schedule supplemented by at least one major non-conference game, our teams will boast of a strong resume’ of opponents each and every year.”

The announcement is the culmination of a process that began in the spring of 2013 when the SEC presidents and chancellors committed to a review of football scheduling to be completed in time for the preparation of the 2016 football schedule with the objective of establishing a format in the best long term interests of the conference. Approval of the format came at a special joint meeting of the presidents and chancellors of each SEC institution and each conference athletic director held Sunday afternoon in Atlanta.


“The existing strength of the SEC was certainly a significant factor in the decision to play eight games,” Slive said. “In fact, just last year, five of our schools comprised the top five toughest schedules in the nation according to the NCAA and nine ranked in the top 20.

“A number of our schools play annual ACC opponents, and recent history shows our schools are already playing a significant number of strong non-conference opponents across the country on a home and home basis or in neutral site games.

From 2006 through games scheduled in 2015, SEC teams will have played 132 games against schools from the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12. More than half of the SEC schools have played two or more teams from those conferences in a single season at least once during that period and several schools have done it in multiple seasons.

The decision to maintain an eight-game conference schedule allows for a number of other advantages:

A balanced league schedule for all teams – equal home and away conference games (four home and four away); a nine-game schedule would have resulted in some teams with five home games and others with four on an annual basis

Accommodates varying institutional non-conference scheduling philosophies

Allows for marquee neutral site games – the popularity of neutral site games has grown in recent years, as evidenced by large crowds and significant TV ratings for those games that feature major intersectional opponents


“Tradition matters in the SEC, and there is no denying that tradition was a significant factor in this decision because it protects several long-standing cross-division conference rivalries,” said Slive. “It has been a hallmark of the SEC over our history to be able to make continued progress while also maintaining traditions important to our institutions.”

The decision to maintain a permanent non-division opponent also presents other advantages:

Creates annual cross-division rivalries that otherwise would not be annual games

Provides each team with a traditional opponent for the final weekend of the season

The permanent non-division opponents are as listed below:

Alabama (west) vs. Tennessee (east)
Arkansas (west) vs. Missouri (east)
Auburn (west) vs. Georgia (east)
LSU (west) vs. Florida (east)
Ole Miss (west) vs. Vanderbilt (east)
Mississippi State (west) vs. Kentucky (east)
Texas A&M (west) vs. South Carolina (east)

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Chance Warmack wants AJ McCarron in Tennessee

Posted on 28 April 2014 by Allen


Is AJ McCarron headed to Tennessee? His former Crimson Tide teammate Chance Warmack sure hopes so. Warmack appeared on the NFL Network over the weekend and gushed about the possibility of the Titans drafting his old QB at Alabama.

“I hope we get him. I don’t know in what round we get him, but I definitely want him in Tennessee. He’s a winner, man. He’s a great guy to be around to help the locker room. He’s not a selfish quarterback. He’s going to make the right plays for the team. If he doesn’t start when he gets drafted by the Tennessee Titans, he’ll definitely help.”

McCarron is thought to be a second or third round pick. The Titans will pick 11th in the first round and 10th in the second round. Tennessee has no third round pick after trading it to move up to get Justin Hunter last year.

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VCU steals Cason from Commodores

VCU steals Cason from Commodores

Posted on 24 April 2014 by Allen

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VCU men’s basketball Head Coach Shaka Smart announced the addition of Assistant Coach David Cason to his staff on Wednesday. Cason has been an assistant at Vanderbilt University for the past three seasons.

Cason replaces Mike Rhoades, who became the head coach at Rice University earlier this month. It is the fourth straight year a VCU assistant has been handed the reins to their own program (Mike Jones – Radford, Jamion Christian – Mt. St. Mary’s, Will Wade – Chattanooga).

“We’re extremely excited about the addition of David and his family to our program. He possesses a terrific basketball background, both as a player and as a coach,” Smart said. “David will be a tremendous asset to our coaching staff and student-athletes.”

During Cason’s three seasons at Vanderbilt, the Commodores won 56 games. He was on the sideline for the 2012 SEC Championship, the first won by VU in nearly 20 years. That squad went on to earn a five seed in the NCAA Tournament and reached the third round after beating Harvard. Cason also played a role in the tutelage of current NBA players and former Commodores, Jeffrey Taylor (Charlotte Bobcats) and John Jenkins (Atlanta Hawks).

“I’m really excited the opportunity to join the VCU basketball program. What Coach Smart, his staff and the players have done over the past five years is nothing short of remarkable,” Cason said. “I’m looking forward to rejoining a longtime friend in Jeremy Ballard and continuing to build my relationships with the rest of the coaching staff and the players. My family and I can’t wait to be a part of the VCU and Richmond communities.”

Prior to his time at VU, Cason spent six seasons at the University of Tulsa under Head Coach Doug Wojcik and alongside current VCU assistant Jeremy Ballard. He spent his final three seasons at Tulsa as associate head coach. In his six years at Tulsa, the Golden Hurricane posted a 123-78 record and advanced to the Conference USA Championship Game twice, won the inaugural post-season College Basketball Invitational (CBI) Championship in 2008 and made appearances in the 2009 and 2010 NIT post-season tournaments. During his tenure, the Hurricane posted four straight 20-win seasons (2007-10) and won 25 games in 2008 and 2009.

Cason also served as an assistant at TCU for two seasons, where he helped the Horned Frogs reach the postseason (NIT) in 2004-05.

From 2001-03, Cason served as the director of basketball operations at North Carolina. During that time, the Tar Heels reached the NCAA second round in 2001 while finishing with a 26-7 record. UNC advanced to the NIT in 2003. Prior to his time at North Carolina, he spent one season at Notre Dame and helped the Fighting Irish post a 22-15 record and earn a berth in the NIT Championship Game.

As a player, he spent two seasons (1991-93) at the College of Southern Idaho before finishing his collegiate career at Illinois State. He led the Missouri Valley Conference in assists both seasons and also guided his team to a 20-13 record and an NIT appearance as a senior. In his senior season, Cason was named the Team MVP and the Redbirds’ Athlete of the Year, and also established the school’s single-game assists record with 16. He is still the Redbirds’ all-time leader in career assists per game with 6.0.

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Ivy Brown Named USA Today’s Kentucky Player of the Year

Ivy Brown Named USA Today’s Kentucky Player of the Year

Posted on 24 April 2014 by Allen


Lady Topper Basketball signee Ivy Brown has been named the American Family Insurance USA Today Player of the Year from the state of Kentucky and a First Team All-State selection by USA Today, it was announced recently.

Brown starred at Hodgenville’s LaRue County High School. Brown averaged 24.4 points per game and 12.6 rebounds per game for the Lady Hawks as a senior. Brown owns the LaRue County career mark for career points, rebounds and steals.

She led LaRue County to a 24-7 record in 2013-14, including wins in 10 of the final 11 games of the season and an appearance in the Fifth Region Championship Game. Among the most notable moments of her final prep season was a Jan. 27, 2014 win over the top-ranked team in the state of Kentucky on the road, Elizabethtown, scoring 27 points, grabbing 19 rebounds and dishing out nine assists in the win.

It is no surprise that one of Kentucky’s finest will continue her playing career at WKU.

Some of WKU’s best teams have had a strong presence of Kentuckians. The 2014-15 team is expected to include at least five players from the Bluegrass State, including All-America candidate Chastity Gooch, a native of nearby Franklin. Homegrown talent has always enjoyed great success on the Hill. Four of top 10 scorers in program history were Kentucky Miss Basketball winners while eight of the top 10 scorers in program history are natives of the Bluegrass State. 24 of the 35 players that have scored 1,000 points or more in program history are natives of Kentucky.

Brown averaged 22.9 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and 3.5 assists per outing as a junior, ranking her among the top 10 scorers and top 15 rebounders in the state. She also shot over 50 percent from the field and hit 43 three-point field goals as she was named a First Team All-State performer by the Louisville Courier-Journal and Lexington Herald-Leader. Following the season, she was also named to the Kentucky Junior All-Star team.

As a sophomore, Brown led the Lady Hawks to a 17-11 record, averaging 19.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. She was named an Honorable Mention All-State selection by the Associated Press following the season. As a freshman, she helped the Lady Hawks reach the semifinals of the regional tournament and finish the season 27-4, winning the 2010 KME Classic at Trigg County over the holiday break.

Brown also excelled on the volleyball court, leading LaRue County to a 24-10 record in 2013 and an appearance in the semifinals of the regional tournament.

Earlier this week, Brown was named a First Team All-State selection by the Louisville Courier-Journal while fellow incoming freshman Shalika Smith of Glasgow was named a Second Team All-State selection by the Louisville Courier-Journal. The duo also earned the same honors from the Lexington Herald-Leader earlier this month while Brown was named the Lexington outlets’ statewide Player of the Year as well.

Brown and Smith are joined by Jaiveonna Norris (Chicago Heights, Ill.) and Tashia Brown (Lake Park, Ga.) in Lady Topper Basketball’s 2014 signing class.

Individuals interested in obtaining tickets for the 2014-15 women’s basketball season can CLICK HERE to complete a request form. Orders will be filled in the order they are received. The complete 2014-15 schedule and pricing for tickets will be announced at a later date. Individuals can call the WKU Ticket Office at 1-800-5-BIG-RED to learn more about season ticket opportunities, visit or visit the ticket office in E.A. Diddle Arena.

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