Big 12 review into Baylor reform to pick up in June

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In February, the Big 12’s Board of Directors took an odd step to withhold 25 percent of the Bears’ conference revenue pending a satisfactory review of the school’s procedures following the sexual assault scandal that pushed out Art BrilesIan McCaw and Ken Starr.

“By taking these actions the Board desires to ensure that the changes that were promised are actually made and that systems are in place to avoid future problems,” Big 12 board chairman and Oklahoma president David Boren said at the time. “The proportional withholding of revenue distribution payments will be in effect until the Board has determined that Baylor is in compliance with Conference bylaws and regulations as well as all components of Title IX.”

Three months have passed since then, so where does that review stand?

According to Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby‘s comments at the league’s meetings in Phoenix this week, not much has been done. But there’s a reason for that.

Baylor has, of course, hired a new AD in Mack Rhoades and a new football coach in Matt Rhule, and the third key leadership post has been hired but is not yet in place. School president Linda Livingstone starts June 1. And with that in mind, the Big 12 will begin to expect answers from Baylor after Livingstone has started her new job.

Here’s what the Dallas Morning News‘ Chuck Carlton had to say from Phoenix:

The independent review is continuing into Baylor’s reforms following a sexual-assault scandal involving the football program, Bowlsby said. The Big 12 board of directors voted in February to withhold 25 percent of Baylor’s conference revenue pending its completion. Bowlsby said Baylor is working to get the most complete information to the conference, and that the hiring of new school president Linda Livingstone, who starts June 1, also played factor.  “We want to let her get in the chair,” Bowlsby said. “Bringing in [athletic director] Mack Rhoades was a big step. Doing the governance review at the board level is a big step. Getting a president is a huge step. In deference to all of that, I think we probably won’t get started in any sort of substantive way until after June 1.”

Though the conference is talking tough with Baylor, it will be a major shock if the end result is anything but a thumbs up from the conference office.

Air Force football sanctioned for recruiting violations

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AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — The Air Force football program received two years of probation from the NCAA and had its squad size reduced by 10 for four years as part of its sanctions for recruiting violations.

The penalties were announced Thursday after Air Force and four individuals reached an agreement with NCAA enforcement staff on recruiting violations. A fifth individual in the case has contested their role and will be heard by the committee on infractions.

The sanctions also include a fine and a reduction of 46 total official visits for the football program in the 2022-23 and `23-24 academic years. In addition, there’s a prohibition on unofficial visits in football from Sept. 1 through Oct. 12, 2022, and a reduced number of evaluation days this fall.

Air Force has around 115 players on its varsity roster, plus a JV team that all count as NCAA athletes and its roster size.

“The (committee) appreciates the parties’ efforts in working collaboratively together to reach agreement on the violations, levels, classifications, and significant and meaningful penalties,” Gary Miller, the chief hearing officer for the panel and president at Akron, said in a statement. “The panel also recognizes that Air Force has gone above and beyond in its overall approach to this case.”

In a joint statement, Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark and director of athletics Nathan Pine said: “The U.S. Air Force Academy is pleased that our case has progressed to the point of the NCAA accepting our negotiated resolution. We will continue working with the NCAA on this ongoing self-reported case from the COVID dead period, as it’s our responsibility to ensure integrity of the institution, athletics department, cadet-athletes and staff.”

The Falcons are off to a 3-1 start and host Navy on Saturday to begin the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy competition. The trophy is presented to the service academy with the best record in the round-robin format.

Florida shakes up secondary after dismal game at Tennessee

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Billy Napier is shaking up his secondary after the Gators allowed 349 yards passing – including 247 of those on eight plays – in a loss at Tennessee.

Safety Trey Dean, a fifth-year senior who has started 32 games and played in 54, is out with what Florida is calling a “lower leg injury.” But no one would be surprised if Napier was quietly benching Dean after he made two mental errors against the Volunteers that resulted in 70- and 45-yard gains and set up touchdowns.

Freshman Kamari Wilson will replace Dean and make his first college start Sunday against Eastern Washington.

Cornerback Jaydon Hill will join Wilson in the starting lineup. Hill, a third-year sophomore, will make his first start since 2020. He missed the 2021 season with a torn knee ligament. He impressed Napier and his new staff in the spring but sat out preseason camp with another knee injury.

Hill will replace sophomore Avery Helm, who also struggled against the Vols.

“You talk about what he’s been through from an injury perspective,” Napier said following practice Wednesday. “Jaydon was one of the better players that we had on our team in spring practice. I was very impressed . It’s no surprise to me. He showed pretty quickly here that he’s very capable. I’m excited to watch him play.”

Georgia transfer Jalen Kimber, a former five-star recruit, is now listed as a third-team cornerback. Kimber played just 11 snaps in Knoxville a week after he returned an interception for a touchdown in a 31-28 win against South Florida.

“I like to say we try to eliminate the bad football,” Napier said. “Talking about mental errors, misalignments, poor communication, bad fundamentals and techniques, bad decision-making within the play. … We have a laundry list of things that we need to eliminate each week.

“Last week’s game, I thought we were really close, but there’s 12 or 15 plays in the game where Florida is beating Florida. We’ve got a smart group here. I think they’re very aware of what the issues are, and I think they’re working hard to address those issues.”