Thursday, February 22, 2018
Colleges

USF AD Mark Harlan writes to boosters regarding Big 12 bid

TAMPA — With the idea of Big 12 expansion seemingly gaining more traction, USF athletic director Mark Harlan indicated to boosters Friday that the school is being "proactive" regarding the Bulls' future.

In a seven-paragraph letter sent to Bulls Club members and season-ticket holders, Harlan acknowledged national reports of "possible conference expansion and other potential realignments." He then noted a number of USF athletic accomplishments before trying to reassure supporters of the Bulls, who are in the American Athletic Conference, thirsting for Power Five status.

"Like many of our peers, we are also an aspirational institution and closely monitor any opportunities that would benefit USF athletics in the long term," Harlan wrote. "Rest assured, we have been proactive in exploring any and all opportunities that would support this program's singular focus on sustained excellence."

Harlan's letter comes in the wake of reports indicating presidents from Cincinnati and Memphis have made extensive efforts to promote their respective universities to Big 12 administrators. USF's efforts to curry favor with the Big 12 are believed to have been done more covertly to this point.

During spring meetings with his athletic directors and football coaches this week in Phoenix, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said a research firm hired by his league indicated that expanding from 10 to 12 teams and staging a conference title game would slightly increase the conference's chances of reaching the College Football Playoff.

"Excellence is and always will be our No. 1 priority," Harlan said.

"We must win on the field and on the courts of all of our sports; we must attract higher attendance at our games; we must increase donor engagement; we must continue to enhance the fan experience; we must position our facilities for success; we must continue to rally community support for all our program.

"These responsibilities start with USF leadership and staff, but they are made possible by our spirited students, coaches, and Bulls fans."

Ex-Syracuse player indicted: A former Syracuse football player was indicted on first-degree assault charges in connection with the stabbings of two former teammates. Naesean Howard, 20, also faces charges of second-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Howard is accused of attacking defensive backs Chauncey Scissum and Corey Winfield at a barbecue last month on campus. Police say Scissum was critically injured with wounds to his neck, chest, left shoulder and lip. Winfield was stabbed in the lower back, chest, abdomen and left wrist. Both are recovering.

More football: Oklahoma said kick returner and running back Alex Ross will graduate, then transfer.

Softball: Saint Leo was eliminated from the Division II South Region with a 1-0 loss to host North Alabama. The Lions (39-8) had stayed alive in the double-elimination tournament earlier in the day by defeating Tuskegee 5-0 as Stephanie Adkins (18-4) threw a three-hitter.

Baseball: Logan Shore extended his school record by winning his 14th straight decision as visiting Florida (39-7, 16-6 SEC), ranked first by Baseball America, beat Tennessee 7-2. … USF (21-24, 6-10 American Athletic Conference) lost 9-4 at No. 20 Tulane; Coco Montes had two RBIs for the Bulls. … Ben DeLuzio's two-run triple sparked a six-run eighth inning as No. 5 Florida State (30-13) beat visiting Bowling Green 6-1. … Visiting Tampa (37-7, 16-3 Sunshine State Conference) won 14-5 over Eckerd (16-24, 4-15).

Women's golf: Florida, Florida State and Miami were in position to reach the NCAA tournament after two rounds at regionals. The top six teams in each region advance. UF shot 1-under 287 and was third at 580 after two rounds at the Baton Rouge (La.) Regional. FSU, with Matilda Castren (71) tied for the individual lead at 1-over 145, was second at 20-over 596 in Shoal Creek (Ala.) after shooting 297. At 2 over total, UM (288—578) was sixth in Bryan, Texas, four strokes ahead of TCU for the final spot. The final round in all regions is today; the NCAA finals are May 20-25 in Eugene, Ore.

Basketball: Illinois coach John Groce said forward Leron Black rejoined the team but will sit out the first six games next season after pleading guilty to misdemeanor aggravated assault. … Auburn guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen is ending his career because of shoulder injuries and center Trayvon Reed also won't return, coach Bruce Pearl said. … Oklahoma suspended Akolda Manyang indefinitely after he was charged with assaulting a former football player.

Obituary: Former ACC football officiating coordinator Doug Rhoads died after a short battle with pancreatic cancer, according to ACC spokesman Mike Finn, who said he heard from Rhoads' family. He was 71.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Comments
Louisville must vacate 2013 basketball title, NCAA denies appeal

Louisville must vacate 2013 basketball title, NCAA denies appeal

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville must vacate its 2013 men’s basketball title following an NCAA appeals panel’s decision to uphold sanctions against the men’s program in the sex scandal case. The Cardinals will have to vacate 123 victories including the c...
Published: 02/20/18
Center Molly Franson’s value to UT is easily quantifiable

Center Molly Franson’s value to UT is easily quantifiable

TAMPA — Coaches often point to "intangibles" — the subtle positive qualities that usually don’t show up in the boxscore — when praising their key players.But University of Tampa women’s basketball coach Tom Jessee has a different definition when desc...
Published: 02/13/18
FSU holds off rally in hard-fought win over Louisville

FSU holds off rally in hard-fought win over Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Terance Mann couldn’t mope over two missed free throws that could have sealed Florida State’s victory. There was still work to do on the other end to make sure Louisville didn’t take advantage. The junior guard quickly redeemed hims...
Updated one month ago
No. 23 Florida clobbered at home by Alabama

No. 23 Florida clobbered at home by Alabama

GAINESVILLE — Mike White hung his head.Florida’s coach scuffed his shoes against the hardwood, screamed into his hands and watched as his team let Saturday’s game slip away.With Alabama on a seven-point run 11 minutes into the second half, the Gators...
Updated one month ago

USF Bulls fall to Memphis

TAMPA — From its two-point home loss against UCF to its victory at Tulane, USF recently had provided its fan base encouragement in spurts. Similarly, its interior defense against Memphis on Wednesday night also came and went.With 6-foot-3 Tigers guar...
Updated one month ago
Florida’s shooting goes cold in road loss to Georgia

Florida’s shooting goes cold in road loss to Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. — The repeated misses were bad for No. 23 Florida. The failure to rebound them made the offensive struggles even more painful. Yante Maten scored 20 and Georgia recovered after blowing a halftime lead to beat the Gators 72-60 on Tuesday n...
Updated one month ago

Florida State beats Miami in OT despite 17 Hurricanes 3-pointers

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton and Miami’s Jim Larranaga both have at least 33 years of college basketball coaching experience under their belts.Both might have experienced a first during their matchup Saturday.FSU and Miami needed a ...
Updated one month ago
Chris Chiozza scores 20 as No. 20 Florida routs Baylor

Chris Chiozza scores 20 as No. 20 Florida routs Baylor

GAINESVILLE — Florida point guard Chris Chiozza was feeling it, so he went with the flow.A pass-first point guard by nature, Chiozza decided to stay aggressive as a scorer and see what happened.The Gators were glad he did.Chiozza finished the 20th-ra...
Updated one month ago
Pro Bowl to honor UCF for undefeated season

Pro Bowl to honor UCF for undefeated season

ORLANDO — The NFL plans to recognize UCF’s 13-0 season during today’s Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium.Players have been invited to walk out on the field for a celebration after the first quarter."When we thought about UCF and the amazing season the...
Updated one month ago
Michigan State athletic director retires in wake of scathing ESPN report

Michigan State athletic director retires in wake of scathing ESPN report

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis announced his retirement Friday, the day an explosive ESPN story detailing a number of allegations of sexual assault and violent attacks on women occurred with Spartan athletes.Hollis...
Updated one month ago