As we all know, conference expansion never sleeps. Over the weekend more rumors were born, and more possibilities were opened with both Boise St. and Florida St. being the topic of conversation. There's still a lot to be seen, and we'll discuss a bit of that in this edition of The Dig, along with some UTEP track and field.
AROUND MINER NATION
UTEP Men Take 2nd at C-USA Indoor Championships/Women Take 9th
The UTEP men's team took 2nd place at the 2012 Conference USA championships, finishing 38.5 points behind the winner, Houston. Head coach Mika Laakonsen was a bit unhappy with the finish, saying "I feel disappointed that we got second place at the conference meet today...Before the meet started, I thought we had a good chance to beat Houston."
While the Miners didn't capture that C-USA title, there was certainly still plenty to be proud of. The Miner's Anthony Ritoch claimed the title of Freshman of the Year for C-USA after his performances in the 3000m steeplechase, and the 5000m run. Junior sprinter Anthony Wright also competed well, taking home gold in the 100m, and silver in the 200m, and the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.
The UTEP women finished 9th in the championships, but also had some solid performers. Janice Jackson took 2nd in the 100m hurdles with a time of 13.27 second, which also happened to be 24th nationally. Laura Macauley took bronze in the javelin throw, and freshman Taylor Gunn took silver in the discuss throw.
Congratulations to all Miner athletes who competed this weekend. For a complete list of how all Miner athletes performed, click the link to see the UTEP athletics writeup.
Former Miner Kris Adams Released by Vikings
Former UTEP standout WR Kris Adams has been released by the Minnesota Vikings in order to open up a roster spot for G Tyler Holmes. Adams signed with the Vikings in December 2011, and spent time with the Chicago Bears and the St. Louis Rams before that. The timing of the move allows for Adams to find a spot on another roster somewhere in the league, which most believe he will.
UTEP Waits on Decision From Pair of Basketball Prospects
With the late signing period winding down, the UTEP basketball team awaits word from a pair of recruits that took visits to the campus just last weekend. 6'5 G/F BillyDee Williams, and 7'0 C Matt Willms were both in El Paso last week, and seem to have the Miners in their final two. The Miners only have one available scholarship for 2012, so it's not likely that they land both of them, but it would almost surprise me if they didn't snag one.
Williams is rumored to be down to Wyoming and UTEP, while Willms is apparently down to Missouri and UTEP. Williams announced on his twitter that he has his mind made up, but hasn't revealed where he will play. The late signing period ends on Wednesday.
AROUND THE COUNTRY
Conference Expansion Takes Center Stage...Once Again
It never seems to fail. Conference expansion talks always seem to make their way to the front of the class. Or twitter, however you want to say it. This time, the talks focus on both Boise St. and Florida St. Now, we already talked a bit about Boise St. last week, so we'll focus these talks on the Seminoles.
Recently, the ACC struck a new deal with ESPN/ABC that would reportedly give member schools roughly $17 million per year, through the 2026-27 athletic year. For most, there would be no reason to complain. For Florida State, that isn't exactly the case.
Somewhere in the fine print of that new agreement, it was arranged that ESPN would own 3rd tier rights in football, but the ACC would hold on to those same right in basketball. The problem? Schools like UNC and Duke stand to benefit just a little more from those 3rd tier basketball rights, than a school like FSU does.
For years, there have been talks of "favoritism" towards the North Carolina schools, and this here seems to be all proof Florida State needs. In an interview with Warchant.com, FSU board of trustees chairman didn't hold back, blasting the ACC for the new TV deal. For whatever reason, that article has since been deleted.
In it, the chairman stated that the BOT would "absolutely" be interested in hearing what the Big 12 would have to offer, and they would have to do what was in FSU's best interest. For the record, the current agreement the Big 12 has, will give each member school roughly $20 million per year, but Florida State would also have to pay between $20-$25 million just to leave the ACC.
Today, the FSU President released a memo stating the pros and cons of membership in both the ACC and Big 12, but subsequently stated that "The faculty are adamantly opposed to joining a league that is academically weaker.", and "We can't afford to have conference affiliation governed by emotion."
A move from Florida State will undoubtedly throw another wrench in the system, so we'll just have to wait and see how it plays out. But, at this point, no move seems imminent.