Not dead yet: BYU, WAC still in negotiations

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Despite reports that BYU is doing a heavy lean toward remaining a member of the Mountain West Conference, the WAC still hasn’t given up all hope of pulling the Cougars into their conference in all sports but football.

Speaking to the Salt Lake Tribune, commissioner Karl Benson said talks with BYU are far from as dead as they’ve been portrayed and that negotiations are ongoing that would, in the end, allow the school to make a go of it as a football independent while offering a landing spot for its non-football sports.

“Both sides are still working on a deal that will be beneficial to the WAC and to BYU,” Benson told the paper.

Apparently, part of those talks includes beefing up what would currently be a six-school conference after, at the latest, the 2011-2012 school year, a number that would not satisfy the NCAA’s requirements for a football or basketball conference.  The WAC has reportedly approached Conference USA members Houston, SMU and UTEP about the possibility of jumping leagues.

BYU has also been engaged in talks with ESPN regarding a potential football deal with the network, but the ESPN executive quoted in this article speaks in the past tense when it comes to football independence for the school.

“I think they could have slipped right into our mechanism to fill schedules and word would have spread pretty quickly that they had availability,” senior vice president of college sports programming Burke Magnus told the Birmingham News. “They have a history of having pretty good teams coming to play in Provo. Texas just did a home-and-home with them. They had Notre Dame there over the years. I presume they’ll continue to play Utah. I think it would have been an interesting proposition to have sort of the mountain version of Notre Dame.”

One thing seems to be certain in this whole convoluted situation: there will be an answer, one way or the other, by Sept. 1 as that’s the deadline for BYU to notify the MWC of their conference intentions.

Miami fires offensive coordinator Josh Gattis after 1 season

josh gattis fired
Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Miami fired offensive coordinator Josh Gattis on Friday, ending the former Broyles Award winner’s time with the Hurricanes after only one season.

The school announced the move in a one-sentence press release, with no other detail: “Josh Gattis has been relieved of his duties as offensive coordinator, Miami head football coach Mario Cristobal announced Friday,” read the release, sent from a university spokesman.

The Hurricanes went 5-7 in Gattis’ lone season. He was brought in by Miami only a few weeks after winning the 2021 Broyles Award – given to the nation’s top assistant coach – while serving as Michigan’s offensive coordinator and helping the Wolverines reach the College Football Playoff.

But Miami’s offense, for a number of reasons, failed to meet expectations in 2022. Part of that was injuries; starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke battled a shoulder injury, and the Hurricanes turned to Jake Garcia – who has since transferred – and Jacurri Brown for much of the season.

Miami scored 100 points in its first two games last fall, overpowering Bethune-Cookman and Southern Miss. The Hurricanes averaged only 18.3 points the rest of the way, and finished the year 5-0 in games where the defense allowed no more than 14 points – but 0-7 when opponents scored more than 14.

Miami was 86th nationally in total offense last season, averaging 367.1 yards per game, and 97th in scoring offense.

Gattis played at Wake Forest and worked at North Carolina, Western Michigan, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Alabama and Michigan before coming to Miami.

Audit: LSU discovered $1M overpayment to Kelly in 2022

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU accidentally overpaid Tigers football coach Brian Kelly by $1 million during the first year of a 10-year, $100 million contract, but discovered the error and has moved to correct it, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office said Wednesday.

Kelly was overpaid $1,001,368 in supplemental payments in 2022 because duplicate payments made both to Kelly’s LLC and to the coach directly.

The double payments began in May and continued until LSU officials detected the errors in November.

“LSU management and the head football coach have enacted an adjusted payment schedule so the amount of overpayment will be recouped by the conclusion of fiscal year 2023,” the Legislative Auditor’s report stated.

Kelly, who previously coached at Notre Dame for 12 seasons, was hired by LSU after the 2021 season, when the Tigers went 6-7 for its first losing season since 1999.

LSU exceeded expectations in Kelly’s first season in Baton Rouge, winning the SEC West Division and finishing 10-4 after a 63-7 victory over Purdue in the Citrus Bowl.