The Dig: Weekender Edition

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 14: Malcolm Moore #44 of the UTEP Miners passes the ball from the floor in front of Cedrick Lang #31 of the Miners and Carlos Lopez #11 of the UNLV Rebels during their game at the Thomas & Mack Center December 14, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

It was a busy week in college athletics, and Miner Nation was no exception. Over the last few days we wrapped up our 2012 basketball recruiting class, and saw Conference USA make a sixth addition for 2013. But, that wasn't the end of it. There's still plenty to talk about, and we'll get right to it in this edition of The Dig.

AROUND MINER NATION

UTEP Softball Players Earn All-Region Honors

Thursday, the National Fastpictch Coaches' Association (NFCA) released their All Midwest Region honorees, and two UTEP softball players were selected to the bunch. Seniors Camilla Carerra and Chelsea troupe were both given the honor, marking the third time each has received it.

Carerra batted .453 on the season, while smashing 32 home runs, and knocking 66 RBIs. Her 32 home runs led the nation, and her batting average was good for 7th. The C/UT player has already been tabbed first team All-Conferene USA, and she was named the C-USA Player of the Year as well.

Troupe, also a C/UT player, had a fantastic season of her own; batting .426, while bombing 19 home runs, and driving in 44 RBIs. She has already been named to the Conference USA All Academic Team. Congratulations to both Camilla Carerra and Chelsea Troupe, and the entire UTEP softball program.

Mike Price Selects Tight Ends Coach

UTEP football coach Mike Price has named Chad Raymond as the person to take over the recently vacated tight ends coaching position. Raymond spent time under Price from 2008-2010 as a program coordinator, and was most recently working with the O-Line at Tarleton State.

Coach Price had this to say about the hire, per UTEP Athletics:

"Chad was the obvious choice," Price said. "Having been a member of my staff, he knows the system and the players and knows how to analyze the offense having been up in the booth. It made sense to hire him and we are lucky to have him on our staff."

According the writeup at UTEP Athletics, Raymond's primary recruiting areas include New Mexico, multiple areas in Texas, and Northern California. Overall this seems like a great hire, and it'll be interesting to see what the coach can do with such a versatile and capable group of tight ends in 2012.

UTEP Golfer Martin Simonsen in Contention at NCAA Regionals

UTEP golfer Martin Simonsen, the Conference USA Freshman of the Year, is currently participating in the NCAA regionals at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club in Norman, Ok. Simonsen is competing in the regionals as an individual, and currently sits one off the pace after shooting an even par 72 in the opening round.

The competition features both the top teams in the region, as well as the top individuals. Overall, Simonsen sits in 20th place, but he is in 2nd position as far as individual competitors go. Nevada's Kevin Lucas is the leader of that group, after firing a one under 71 on Thursday.

The top team and individual will move on to the NCAA Championships at the Riveria Country Club in Pacific Palisades, CA. Tomorrow is round 2 of 3 for the golfers, and Simonsen will be teeing off 9:10 a.m MT. For any golf fans who care to, make sure to follow me on Twitter for updates throughout the round.

AROUND CONFERENCE USA

Conference Makes Old Dominion 6th Addition For 2013

In case you've been living under a rock, or just didn't happen to catch the news yesterday, Old Dominion University officially announced that they would be joining Conference USA in 2013, making them the sixth addition in the latest round of conference expansion.

ODU joins Charlotte, Florida International, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, and UTSA as the newest members of the conference. Old Dominion and Charlotte wont join the league in football until 2015, but will be members in other sports effective July 1, 2013. All others will join as full members on the same date.

Here are a couple of quotes from the university president and athletic director that I took from the ODU presser yesterday. They aren't exact quotes, as I was trying to keep up and post them to Twitter, but you'll get the point:

"Today's move for ODU is a game changer...it was widely endorsed by our head coaches...a significant driving force was the ability to reclassify our football program...we have already received more than $3M in private support for a conference move...and Old Dominion is honored to be joining Conference USA."

The move for Old Dominion will cost the school $250,000 to exit the Colonial Athletic Conference, and another $2 million to enter Conference USA. Because of conference bylaws, they also won't be able to participate in any CAA championships for the next year. Considering the school won't completely join the conference until 2015, they will go through a "3-5 year stepup period" in becoming full revenue sharing partners of C-USA. Overall, ODU is a great add for Conference USA.

AROUND THE COUNTRY

Conference Expansion Looms

Honestly, I could probably talk about this for hours, but I just won't do that to you. Here's what's going on in as short a way as I can put it. First off, it seems that Boise State and San Diego State will be heading to the Big East. As we've discussed, the Big 12 is also considering adding a couple of teams. Florida State, among many other have been rumored as possible adds for the conference. Some believe a move may been happening sooner than we think, possibly in the next month.

On a non football note, both VCU and Butler are now members of the A-10, probably making that conference the best non power 6 basketball conference around. We could go and on and on, but we'll just stop there. If anyone wants to read more, check out The State of Conference Realignment Address published yesterday.

Everyone enjoy your weekend, and to end on a not so conference realignment note, check out this hilarious video from ESPN's Sports Nation.

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