Thursday, June 10, 2010.
The Big 12 wanted an answer by Friday, and it’s going to get one. Nebraska is reportedly going to move to the Big Ten. That means there’s no real reason for Texas to stick around. Whether the Longhorns go to the Big Ten or Pac-10 or even the SEC, it leaves the Big 12 teetering. And with that comes the growing seed of doubt for Boise State. Is this good news for the Broncos, or bad news? Right now it looks bad if this opens the floodgates, but if some of the Big 12 refugees put up major resistance to joining the Mountain West, it could be good. The Mountain West might still need the Broncos. Right now they’re a low priority, though.
In this unfolding scenario, it doesn’t matter to Boise State whether Notre Dame goes to the Big Ten or not. It does matter how many BCS conferences are left—and how big they are. If there are four leagues of 16 teams apiece, the Broncos are probably sunk. If there are five super-conferences of 16 schools each, all might be well. But BCS schools will push hard for the former as opposed to the latter. As BSU president Bob Kustra said yesterday on Idaho SportsTalk, “I worry that we could wind up with four or five power conferences that—intentionally or unintentionally—freeze out even more than the BCS does today, the Boise States and the Utahs of the world.”
Dr. Kustra was asked for his insight on whether there could be some movement on the Mountain West front in the near future. “I don’t have a clue, and I don’t think anybody has a clue,” said Kustra. He reiterated that it was all but a done deal a week ago today—and that he was feeling as good as anybody about it. Then the Pac-10 rumors started filtering out, and the Mountain West presidents understandably got cold feet. And now, nobody knows if there’ll be a place at the table for Boise State.
The NCAA’s Academic Progress Rates, the APRs, have been in the forefront the past few years because of the effect they can have on the talent a team can put on the field. Teams that don’t measure up. That’s not a problem at Boise State, which led the WAC’s APR in six different sports, including football. If former men’s basketball coach Greg Graham is remembered for one thing, it may be his stellar leadership in academics. The Broncos were in the top 10 percent of all Division I programs in the country this year and led the WAC in the final four seasons of Graham’s tenure.
Idaho performed well overall in the APRs, but there was one glaring exception. The Vandal football program was socked with a six-scholarship penalty by the NCAA, the most severe of any in the FBS. The last time this happened, an eight-scholarship docking in 2008, the problem was traced back to the transition from coaches Nick Holt to Dennis Erickson to Robb Akey, as Akey booted 17 players off the team for disciplinary and academic transgressions upon his arrival in 2007. This new penalty is the result of six players who left the program during the 2008-09 school year and were already academically ineligible.
It’s all over at Oregon for Jeremiah Masoli. The guy has gone from the cover of Sports Illustrated last August to the Duck Hall of Shame. Masoli didn’t figure it out after pleading guilty to burglary three months ago for stealing laptops. Monday night he was arrested by Springfield police for marijuana possession, driving without a license, and a driving infraction. That was it for coach Chip Kelly, who had already suspended Masoli for the 2010 season. Masoli’s Heisman Trophy hopes last season were undone on Opening Night, when he threw for only 121 yards with an interception in Oregon’s 19-8 loss to Boise State on the blue turf.
Former Boise State quarterback Taylor Tharp is headed to Salt Lake City for a tryout with the Utah Blaze, an Arena Football League team in desperate need of a quarterback for this weekend’s game against Chicago. Tharp appears to be healed from a serious shoulder injury he suffered during the Boise Burn’s regular season finale last July. In Utah, if he makes the club and plays, Tharp would be facing a Rush defense that will feature former Burn standouts Mark Weivoda and Nygel Rogers. The Blaze. meanwhile, have ex-Burn kicker Ben Scott and fullback Damian Walker, as well as backup quarterback Mark Thorson, who played the second half for Utah last week and started the Burn’s playoff games last summer.
The appearance of Julia Ruth Stevens, Babe Ruth’s 93 year-old daughter, should be rather momentous Saturday night as the Babe is inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame. This is a different kind of honor for the most iconic figure in baseball history, who will be remembered for his influence on integrating baseball, changing the face of America’s involvement in World War II, and raising the spirit and hopes of children and young people throughout his career. Bill Jenkinson, famed baseball historian and author of “The Year Babe Ruth Hit 104 Home Runs,” will introduce Stevens at the Steuckle Sky Center, and Babe’s great-grandson, Brent Stevens, will accompany her.
Boise State’s Zacharias Arnos, the No. 8 seed in the triple jump, finished 11th last night at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene. Arnos just missed the final round. The Broncos’ Kurt Felix begins his two days of competition in the decathlon today, with BSU’s Pontus Thomee throwing the javelin tonight. Thomee has high aspirations, as he is seeded second.
This Day In Sports…June 10, 1984:
During the height of the Larry Bird-Magic Johnson rivalry, the Boston Celtics wrap up the NBA championship with a 111-102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 7 of the Finals. Bird was the MVP of the series, but it was the Celtics’ Cedric Maxwell who came up big in the seventh game, scoring 24 points. Magic and the Lakers would win the NBA Finals over the Celts the following year.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 1350 KTIK/The Ticket. He’s also handled color commentary on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football the last five seasons.)