TAMPA — Many of the details of the Big East's big split should be announced today, and as the league's basketball-only members leave with the Big East name, there should be some consolation for USF: a big paycheck as one of three football members still sticking around.
Former Boston Globe writer Mark Blaudschun reported Tuesday that the payouts for USF, Cincinnati and Connecticut should be nearly $30 million each from the league's reserve fund of exit fees, NCAA "units" and incoming entrance fees.
If that figure is correct, it will more than insulate USF from a dropoff in annual TV revenues in its new, still-unnamed conference. The payout should allow the Bulls to continue operating with the same budget during the next TV deal, without significant cuts to staff or sports programs.
WELCOME HOME: New football coach Willie Taggart got a warm homecoming Monday night as about 250 fans, family and friends gathered at the Bradenton Area Convention Center, about 2 miles from his parents' home in Palmetto.
Taggart was greeted by former teammates and coaches and his fourth-grade teacher, and was joined at dinner by another proud son of Palmetto: former Bulls S Mistral Raymond, who made an amazing rise from walk-on to scholarship player to starter to captain at USF and is now with the NFL's Minnesota Vikings.
Taggart's message to his hometown: He's motivated to put Palmetto on the map, and he seeks support as the Bulls look to strengthen their fanbase in Sarasota and Manatee counties.
IN THEIR HANDS: USF's women's basketball team came through with a clutch road win at Georgetown on Monday night, taking a 43-11 lead with 12 minutes left in the game. The Bulls' 63-35 win helps their NCAA Tournament resume, and they should lock up a berth if they beat Rutgers on Saturday afternoon in the Big East tournament.
A win there would give the Bulls 10 against Big East opponents and 21 overall, so it shouldn't matter how they fare against top seed Notre Dame on Sunday if they get that far.
UNSUNG: Best thing about USF baseball rallying for six runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Toledo on Sunday? The surprise stars responsible for clutch hits, including four with two outs. Freshman Levi Borders had one RBI in 28 at-bats before he drove in two runs in the ninth; Chris Norton had one hit all of last season, and he came through in the clutch, as did redshirt freshman walk-on Nik Alfonso. CF James Ramsay had the biggest hit, a three-run walkoff triple after a full count.
THIS AND THAT: USF's football seniors from 2012, including QB B.J. Daniels and three NFL scouting combine participants (DT Cory Grissom, LB Sam Barrington, CB Kayvon Webster), get another chance to show something for scouts at today's USF pro day on campus. … USF volleyball, which started spring drills last week, has picked up a midyear transfer from Winthrop in middle blocker Jennica Mullins. The Northside Christian graduate led her team in kills and led her conference in blocks, and should become a key starter in her two years with the Bulls.