The NCAA released its annual attendance leaders last week, and there were no surprises. Leading the way was Louisiana State, which led the nation in average (7,590) and total (311,187) attendance for the 13th straight year. For the third consecutive year, the Tigers were followed in average attendance by Arkansas (6,968), Mississippi State (6,008) and Texas (5,976). Florida State (4,918) rounded out the top five.
In addition to boasting the top three teams in the rankings, the Southeastern Conference placed six teams in the top 10, with South Carolina climbing from 10th to sixth, Mississippi staying put at No. 7, and Alabama jumping two spots to No. 9. The SEC landed 10 teams in the top 25, and all 12 SEC teams ranked in the top 44. [...] Continue Reading »
The Andrew Oliver saga took another turn Friday evening, as the NCAA filed a cross-claim against Oklahoma State. Last week, an Ohio court required Oliver to include Oklahoma State in his suit, but Oliver’s amended suit is seeking only an injunction against Oklahoma State that would restore his eligiblity; he is seeking injunctive relief and monetary damages from the NCAA.
The NCAA’s cross-claim against OSU argues that because Oliver was suspended by Oklahoma State and not by NCAA, the school has an obligation to contribute toward any monetary damages awarded to Oliver against the NCAA "to the extent that OSU’s actions have caused those monetary damages."
Oliver’s lawyer, Richard Johnson, wrote a letter to Judge Tygh M. Tone stating that the NCAA’s cross-claim is a frivolous attempt to delay the Jan. 5 trial date. Citing NCAA Bylaw 31.7.3, Johnson wrote that the NCAA "has no authority" to bring such a suit against one of its member schools, and that the NCAA "is required to defend, indemnify, and insure" member schools in these situations. [...] Continue Reading »
What’s next, Hank Steinbrenner and Larry Lucchino holding hands and signing "Kumbaya"? Hey, if Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State and UC Irvine can work together, anything’s possible.
The three bitter Big West Conference rivals are putting aside their differences to host the BIG 3 of the WEST Showcase from Jan. 17-19. Players will spend one full day at each team’s stadium, and at least one member of each coaching staff will be at each site each day, guaranteeing plenty of exposure for aspiring Big West players. It’s a unique one-stop shopping approach to camps that will lessen the financial burden on players who travel from other parts of the West–a significant consideration in these hard economic times. [...] Continue Reading »
USA Baseball announced the coaches who will be joining head coach Rick Jones’ staff with the collegiate national team next summer. Jones will be joined by Wright State coach Rob Cooper, Elon coach Mike Kennedy, and Louisville coach Dan McDonnell.
Cooper has prior experience with Team USA–he served as an assistant on Mike Weathers’ staff in 2007. Cooper and Kennedy both have history with Jones, as Cooper was Tulane’s hitting coach in 1997-98, while Kennedy was a catcher for Jones’ Elon team in 1988-89. Kennedy will serve as Team USA’s pitching coach.
This is a stellar coaching staff that should have no problem working as a cohesive unit. All three have taken their programs to new heights: McDonnell has led Louisville to regionals in his first two years and to its first College World Series appearance in his first season; Cooper guided Wright State to its second regional appearance in school history in 2006; and Kennedy is the winningest coach in Elon history, and he has taken the Phoenix to three regionals since 2002.
An Ohio court denied on Friday the NCAA’s motion to dismiss Andrew Oliver’s lawsuit against it, but ordered Oliver to include Oklahoma State as a co-defendant, according to public court documents. Barring a settlement (which seems increasingly unlikely after Monday’s unsuccessful mediation session before a retired federal judge), the case will go to trial on Jan. 5.
The previous week, Oliver was suspended for a year by the NCAA, and it’s hard to imagine him settling unless the NCAA reduces the punishment to something more in line with the six-game punishment Jeremy Sowers received in 2002 for a very similar violation. But the NCAA is digging in its heels, refusing to consider Oklahoma State’s appeal of the one-year punishment, according a source with knowledge of the situation. It seems unlikely that the NCAA would benefit from this case going to trial, where its jarringly arbitrary and uneven application of its draconian and widely ignored "no agent" rule would be subject to public and legal scrutiny. But after enduring six months of legal wrangling for violating a rule that is trampled upon by nearly every legitimate baseball draft prospect, Oliver might not be willing to settle with the NCAA at all, regardless of any reduced punishment.
Oliver’s attorney, Richard Johnson, could not comment per the court-issued gag order. We’ll continue to monitor this situation closely and provide updates as they become available.
A rising junior, Oliver is 13-3, 3.23 in two seasons for the Cowboys and projects as a first-round pick if he emerges from his NCAA ordeal as the same pitcher he in 2008, when he struck out 96 in 98 innings.
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