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How Texas A&M used a little-known NCAA rule to keep a first round pick on campus

Take heart, SEC defensive coordinators. When Texas A&M offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi spends his Saturday driving your defensive line into the dirt, he'll have done so thanks to a $50,000 payment from the Aggies' athletics department - with the NCAA's blessing.

Fox Sports had an interesting story in which the Aggies brass utilized the NCAA's Student Assistance Fund to front the money necessary to secure loss-of-value insurance for the Aggies' senior left tackle. After receiving a first-round grade, Ogbuehi considered turning pro until head coach Kevin Sumlin, offensive line coach B.J. Anderson, associate AD for football Justin Moore and DFO Gary Reynolds presented the Ogbuehi family with their plan to use the Student Assistance Fund to obtain Ogbuehi's loss-of-value insurance, which the family could not have afforded on its own, Cedric says, and thus allow him to return to school.

Many insurance companies offer policies such as these and then collect the money after a player signs his first professional contract. The article does not delve into the specifics of Ogbuehi's policy, but it appears the Aggies went a different route. The Student Assistance Fund is a little-known corner of the NCAA rulebook that allows universities to cover things ranging from loss-of-value insurance to suits for official functions like conference media days. The money fluctuates from year to year, and Fox says A&M exhausted much of its fund to obtain the policy.

"I don't think many schools know about it," Moore said. "It's a game-changer."

Read the full story here.

Three and out: Five feet of awesomeness, but what if Bret Bielema did?, and mixed adult beverages

Doug: But how great would it be if he did?

Scott: We're having a party at our house this weekend for 12 couples. My wife wants me to make these for everyone. Planning to try them out tonight; but if anyone has another recommendation please send it over via Twitter to @FootballScoop.

Whiskey Lemonade Recipe from FoodieCrush.com

whiskeylemonade

Zach: She's five-feet tall and weighs 100 pounds, officially, but she's got enough badassness for a person three times her size.  

DirecTV may soon offer NFL Sunday Ticket to non-DirecTV subscribers

If you have DirecTV in your home, it's likely because of NFL Sunday Ticket. If you've been to a sports bar, its plethora of televisions are assuredly connected DirecTV - even though DirecTV does not offer Longhorn Network, Pac-12 Networks and has not reached an agreement with SEC Network - and that's because DirecTV has Sunday Ticket. AT&T has announced plans to purchase DirecTV, if and only if DirecTV retains the rights to Sunday Ticket.

The four-year contract between the NFL and DirecTV, which nets the league $1 billion a year, expires this season. The future of DirecTV rides on retaining that contract.

That's how important NFL Sunday Ticket is to DirecTV.

With that in mind, it's impossible to take this advertisement (uncovered by Apple Insider) as coincidence.

nflsundayticket

For the first time, the satellite behemoth will offer its prized jewel to non-subscribers.

To be clear, in order to receive Sunday Ticket directly on to your television, you'll still need to subscribe to DirecTV. But the company is now offering packages that can deliver Sunday Ticket to every conceivable streaming device besides your television. That means phones, computers, tablets, and game consoles. (No word yet on whether it will be available on streaming devices such as Apple TV and Roku.) 

There are a number of tiered subscriptions that put Sunday Ticket on different devices.

SundayTicketpackages

There are a number of ramifications here. First, DirecTV's primary competition for the next Sunday Ticket package is said to be the new money of the television industry located in Silicon Valley - Apple and Google. This would be a point in DirecTV's favor in the next round of negotations - "We can put the NFL everywhere they can, and on TV, too." Second, it could be seen as a win for DirecTV's competitors. It's likely ATT U-Verse subscribers would gain Sunday Ticket access already, assuming the merger goes through, but this gives DISH Network, Verizon, Time Warner, Comcast and all the smaller cable providers that Big Cable hasn't gobbled up yet incentive to keep its customers. Alternately, it could be seen a loss for the cable/satellite industry altogether. The number of cord cutters is growing. The ability to (now legally) get every NFL game without a cable subscription should only boost their numbers. Finally, if DirecTV can offer a "TV everywhere (except your TV)" package for non-subscribers, what's stopping ESPN for doing the same with SEC Network and Longhorn Network? Or the Pac-12 for its band of networks that I and most of you have never seen? (For instance, I've long wondered why I can't just pay HBO for the ability to watch Game of Thrones on my iPad and Apple TV, instead of funneling that money through a cable provider. I may soon wonder the same thing with SEC Network if ESPN and my provider don't strike a deal in the next month.)

It's too soon to know the possible ramifications - if any - that jailbreaking Sunday Ticket may have. But it will be fascinating to find out. 

 

767 colleges and universities will play college football in 2014

The National Football Foundation released its annual report Wednesday on the growth of college football across America. Not television ratings, or fan attendance, but literal growth. More than a handful of schools are adding football programs year after year. Seven new programs will embark in 2014, following the 12 that launched last year, the five that launched in 2012, the eight in 2011, the six in 2010, and so on. Nine more programs are set to begin over the next two years.

"No other sport contributes more to the vibrancy of a college campus than football, and the trend of adding programs continues full force,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “University and college presidents clearly see the value of having programs on their campuses, and we applaud them for understanding the role football can play in the educational experience of all their students."

The largest growth sectors have been the smallest divisions. Forty-five of the new football schools - 75 percent - have jumped into either NCAA Divisions II and III or NAIA. This is because, of course, the competition is lowest there, and it also speaks to the reason why these schools are adding football in the first place, namely to increase male enrollment and to build a bridge of attachment to their alumni and the public. Basically, they need a reason to bring people back to campus, and nothing does that better than staging a football game six Saturdays in the fall.

"We’re in the second largest city in Georgia and we don’t have college football here on a weekly basis," Paine College athletics director Tim Duncan, whose Augusta-based school joins the Division II Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference this fall, said. "Football is important in the South. It’s almost a religion here. I think it’s important in a state like Georgia that’s football crazy to have that option for our students and alumni. The response has already been tremendous. Last year we had three home club games that drew extremely well, and we only expect to see more fans as we start to play the big name schools in our conference."

New Schools by Division

"We’re going to hit 50 years in 2017, which for most academic institutions is fairly young," said West Florida athletics director Dave Scott. "Football will help increase people’s awareness and marketing of the university. You have kids that choose institutions because of traditions, and when you’re a young institution you’re trying to establish those traditions and establish that connection to your community."

With less than 500 schools sponsoring football a quarter-century ago, and nearly 800 schools offering the sport today, football is a sport whose appeal is growing, as Hatchell likes to say, coast to coast and border to border.

New Football Schools in 2014

- Arizona Christian University - Phoenix, Ariz. - NAIA (Independent)
- The College of Idaho - Caldwell, Idaho - NAIA (Frontier Conference)
- George Fox University - Newberg, Ore. - NCAA Division III (Northwest Conference)
- Limestone College - Gaffney, S.C. - NCAA Division III (Independent)
- Missouri Baptist University - St. Louis, Mo. - NAIA (Independent)
- Paine College - Augusta, Ga. - NCAA Division II (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference)
- Southeastern University - Lakeland, Fla. - NAIA (The Sun Conference)

 

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