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Conference TV money to fund Gators academics

FORGET ABOUT IT: Matt Grothe, getting sacked against Pitt, says USF has gotten past that loss and is moving forward.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

FORGET ABOUT IT: Matt Grothe, getting sacked against Pitt, says USF has gotten past that loss and is moving forward.

GAINESVILLE — With growing economic problems plaguing colleges and universities nationwide, the SEC will use revenue from its new, multimillion dollar television contracts to help fund its academic programs, Florida president Dr. Bernie Machen said Tuesday.

The league's new deal with ESPN begins in 2009, and is worth more than $2-billion over 15 years. A new 15-year deal with CBS is reportedly worth about $55-million. Machen and the other 11 presidents of SEC schools met in Atlanta on Monday and came away with a unified agenda to fund academics with some of the television revenue.

"That money is going to be used in part — depending on the institution — to support the academic mission of the university," Machen said. "It's a huge amount of money, and it's a long enough period of time that the athletic programs can budget. We know what the funding is and that source is going to be over a 15-year period."

Machen spoke on Tuesday following the announcement of a new fundraising effort, led by basketball coach Billy Donovan and football coach Urban Meyer, to help raise $50-million for UF's Florida Opportunity Scholars Program, which is aimed at first-generation students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds who have the grades, but not the money, to attend Florida. Donovan and Meyer are co-chairing the fundraising drive.

UF-GEORGIA TIME SET: The Nov. 1 Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville will kick off at 3:30 (Ch. 10).

USF: Looking ahead

TAMPA — Junior QB Matt Grothe said the Bulls are moving forward and not dwelling on their first loss, 26-21 to Pittsburgh on Oct. 2.

"I think we put it in the past," Grothe said. "It's over. We know we control our own destiny."

Last season, USF lost three games in a row to fall from No. 2 in the country to unranked and tied for last in the Big East.

The Bulls lead the Big East with 36.4 points per game. Coach Jim Leavitt said they need to be more consistent on offense, but "overall I've been pretty happy with the way we've played."

FSU: Ready to pass

TALLAHASSEE — After rushing for more than 250 yards in each of its past two games, Florida State's offense expects that the going might be a little tougher Thursday night at N.C. State.

Though the Wolfpack rushing defense ranks last in the ACC, the Seminoles are preparing to see a steady dose of eight defenders near the line of scrimmage.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they load the box and then try to stop (the run)," sophomore QB Christian Ponder said. "I can't predict what they're doing. But if that happens, we'll be ready to throw that ball. That's something we'll probably have to rely on this game."

That prospect brought a smile to the face of senior WR Greg Carr, who leads the Seminoles with 14 receptions for 199 yards and two touchdowns.

"We feel like when we get opportunities in man coverage, it's hard (for the defense)," Carr said. "You may stop one guy here and one guy there, but it's hard to stop all of us."

Injury report: Junior S Jamie Robinson has worn a protective boot on his ankle during practice this week, but FSU's official injury report listed him as "probable" for Thursday.

UM: James is back

CORAL GABLES — Miami running back Javarris James is expected to play Saturday against Duke after missing four games with a high left ankle sprain.

James had 84 total yards and two touchdowns in the opening win against Charleston Southern. He was hurt early in the next week's game at Florida.

"All indications are he should be full-go," coach Randy Shannon said.

James practiced with tape over the outside of his cleat Tuesday, helping to protect from rolling the ankle again.

The ankle is a bit sore at times, but "nothing I can't push through," James said.

The Hurricanes will also get offensive linemen Reggie Youngblood and Chris Barney back from leg injuries.

UCF: No suspensions

ORLANDO — Senior playmaker Joe Burnett and sophomore DB Darin Baldwin, caught by ESPNU cameras making obscene gestures toward Miami fans during the third quarter of a loss at Dolphin Stadium on Saturday, won't be suspended.

Burnett did a two-handed, middle-finger salute, while Baldwin's two-handed middle finger salute was slightly more disguised because he also was forming the Hurricanes' trademark "U" symbol with his hands.

UCF reprimanded Burnett and Baldwin, and both apologized. They face undisclosed disciplinary action, but will not be suspended for the next game, at Tulsa on Oct. 26.

INJURY UPDATE: TE Corey Rabazinski is out for the season with an injury sustained against Miami. … QB Michael Greco is having flare-ups from a knee injury he sustained at Boston College on Sept. 20, and his status for Tulsa is unclear.

Times correspondents Joe Rienzi and Ira Schoffel contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires and the Orlando Sentinel.

>>FAST FACTS

Up next

FSU: at N.C. State, 7:30 Thursday, ESPN

USF: vs. Syracuse, noon Saturday, Ch. 28

UF: vs. Kentucky, 12:30 Oct. 25, Ch. 38

Miami: at Duke, 3:30 Saturday

Conference TV money to fund Gators academics 10/14/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 20, 2008 2:09pm]
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