All signs continue to point to USF bringing in former Florida receiver Chris Dunkley in the fall.
Dunkley's coach at Pahokee High said Wednesday that USF is just waiting to receive his formal transcript from Gainesville, potentially the final hurdle to Dunkley signing scholarship papers with USF.
"Honestly, I believe it's going to happen with USF," said coach Blaze Thompson, noting that he continues to get calls from other programs interested in the former five-star recruit, who redshirted in his only season at UF.
Thompson said Cincinnati, West Virginia and Marshall were among the callers, and that Dunkley's grades were good enough to meet the NCAA requirements to transfer and accept a scholarship elsewhere.
USF is also in the mix for another Florida transfer, Bradenton Manatee running back Mike Blakely, who enrolled in Gainesville in January only to find the head coach, offensive coordinator and running backs coach had all changed from the staff he signed with. USF has received a release to speak with Blakely.
* * *
Fiesta fined $1 million but stays in BCS
At the cost of a $1 million fine, the Fiesta Bowl will keep its place in the Bowl Championship Series.
The BCS presidential oversight committee imposed the penalty in the wake of a scandal at the Arizona-based game that included apparently illegal campaign contributions from staff and lavish spending by the former CEO on parties and at a strip club.
Under the ruling, the Fiesta Bowl can remain part of the system for deciding college football's national champion, though in addition to the fine it also must meet certain BCS demands such as strengthening the Fiesta Bowl's board and imposing greater supervision over bowl executives.
"The message is they had cleaned house and addressed their problems, but our group doesn't believe they went far enough," said Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS. He added that the $1 million fine was meant to reflect the "serious nature of the matter."
The money will be donated to charities serving Arizona youth.
There shouldn't be trouble coming up with the cash. In a filing with the IRS this year, the Fiesta Bowl listed more than $15 million in net assets.
Still, an NCAA panel will decide whether to continue licensing the bowl. The panel recently delayed the decision, saying it needed to gather more information.
FSU, MIAMI GET PRIME TIME ON SAME DAY: Florida State and Miami will host prime-time games on Sept. 17 against traditional national powers.
The Seminoles host Oklahoma, and the Hurricanes host Ohio State. Both games will be at 7:30 or 8 and broadcast on either ABC or ESPN.
In other FSU news, its opener Sept. 3 against visiting Louisiana-Monroe will start at 3:30 and the Sept. 10 home game against Charleston Southern at 6.
OHIO STATE INVESTIGATION: The Buckeyes compliance office will investigate the purchases of four dozen or more vehicles by athletes and their families from two Columbus dealerships, the Columbus Dispatch reported. The newspaper had reported that title documents showed former linebacker Thaddeus Gibson had purchased a 2007 Chrysler 300 for $0. Gibson refuted the report, claiming he had been making payments, and now Bureau of Motor Vehicle records back Gibson, showing he paid $13,700.
NEWTON STATUE: Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said he has no reservations about erecting a statue for former quarterback Cam Newton while an NCAA investigation continues, and he expressed confidence that Auburn will ultimately be cleared of any wrongdoing.
The NCAA cleared the Heisman winner and top NFL draft pick to play in the SEC and national title games - when Auburn briefly declared him ineligible - after finding that Newton's father had solicited money from Mississippi State during recruiting. Jacobs pointed to comments from NCAA president Mark Emmert, who said "there was no evidence that money had changed hands and there was no evidence that Auburn University had anything to do with it."
* * *
TUBBY HAD CANCER SURGERY: Minnesota coach Tubby Smith, 59, says he's "feeling great" and free of prostate cancer after dealing with the disease for the past year. Smith, who had not previously revealed his condition, said he had surgery April 21 to remove the cancer and says he "can't wait" for next season.
TRAYLOR DIES: Former Michigan standout and NBA player Robert "Tractor" Traylor died in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He was 34. Police said he was found dead Wednesday on the bedroom floor of his apartment. Police and Traylor's team, the Bayamon Cowboys, said he had been missing for a few days and apparently died from a heart attack. The 6-foot-8, 300-pound Traylor was injured and had not been playing, the team said.
TEXAS: Coach Rick Barnes, entering this 14th season, received a $200,000 raise that boosts his pay to $2.4 million annually.
* * *
SOFTBALL: USF freshman pitcher Sara Nevins, a former Pinellas Park High standout, was named to the All-Big East first team. She led the Bulls with 15 wins, a 1.75 ERA and 187 strikeouts. ... Florida senior outfielder Kelsey Bruder was named SEC player of the year and the Gators' Tim Walton was named co-coach of the year. Joining Bruder on the All-SEC first team were senior infielder Megan Bush and sophomore utility player Brittany Schutte.
TENNIS: USF's Irene Rehberger was named the women's co-player of the year in the Big East, and fellow senior Lucas Jovita earned the honor on the men's side. Joining Rehberger on the women's All-Big East team were USF junior Janette Bejlkova and sophomore Ecaterina Vasenina. Joining Jovita on the men's side were USF junior Wael Kilani and freshman Federico Sabogal.
Information from Times wires contributed to this report.