Big 12 title game set for Dec. 19 with tickets going on sale

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

IRVING, Texas — The Big 12 plans to play its football championship game Dec. 19 after previously listing that Saturday and the preceding one as tentative dates.

The conference’s first public acknowledgment of a set date came Monday when it announced that a limited number of tickets will go on sale to the public Friday for the game at AT&T Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.

While the Big 12 didn’t provide a specific number for public sales, the Cowboys have averaged 25,750 fans for its five home games so far at the 80,000-seat stadium, with a high of 31,700 against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 8.

About 10,000 tickets will be held back for allocation to the schools who play in the game. Both competing teams will get about 5,000 tickets, including 500 for students.

When Oklahoma State’s game at Baylor was rescheduled from Oct. 17 to Dec. 12, the league said then it was still possible for the Big 12 championship game to be played that date. That is the only conference game in the Big 12 that has been changed so far because of COVID-19 issues, though that date is available if needed if any other games have to be rescheduled.

The SEC and ACC, the other Power Five conferences allowing fans at games this season, are also scheduled to play their championship games Dec. 19. The Big Ten championship game is also scheduled Dec. 19, a day after the Pac-12 title game.

For the SEC game in Atlanta, the league said because of reduced capacity, all available tickets would be provided to the two teams competing for sale to students, players’ families and a very limited number of their season ticketholders.

Capacity for the ACC game in Charlotte, North Carolina, will also be limited, though the league hasn’t made any announcement about ticket sales.

The Big 12 championship game last December between Oklahoma and Baylor had an attendance of 65,191. That was a year after the league’s title game record of 83,144 fans for the Sooners and Texas.

Vick, Fitzgerald and Suggs among stars on College Football Hall of Fame ballot for 1st time

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Michael Vick, Larry Fitzgerald and Terrell Suggs are among the college football stars who will be considered for induction to the Hall of Fame for the first time this year.

The National Football Foundation released Monday a list of 78 players and nine coaches from major college football who are on the Hall of Fame ballot. There also are 101 players and 32 coaches from lower divisions of college football up for consideration.

Vick, who led Virginia Tech to the BCS championship game against Florida State as a redshirt freshman in 1999, is among the most notable players appearing on the ballot in his first year of eligibility.

Vick finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1999. He played one season of college football before being drafted No. 1 overall by the Atlanta Falcons in 2001. Vick’s professional career was interrupted when he served 21 months in prison for his involvement in dog fighting.

Fitzgerald was the Heisman runner-up in 2003 to Oklahoma quarterback Jason White. He scored 34 touchdowns in just two seasons at Pitt.

Suggs led the nation in sacks with 24 in 2002 for Arizona State.

The 2024 Hall of Fame class will be chosen by the National Football Foundation’s Honors Court and announced in January. Induction into the Atlanta-based hall is the following December.

Alabama freshman DB Mitchell says he wasn’t sure he’d get to play again after arrest

Mickey Welsh / Advertiser / USA TODAY NETWORK
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama defensive back Tony Mitchell said he feared his football career was over after his arrest on a drug charge.

The Crimson Tide freshman said in a video posted Sunday on social media that he knew “something much bigger could have happened.”

A judge in Holmes County, Florida, sentenced Mitchell to three years of probation with a fine and community service on May 24 after Mitchell pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis.

“I didn’t know if I’d be able to play football again, but I continued to work out and stay close with the Lord and those who love me unconditionally,” Mitchell said. “During those times, it helped me to keep my mind off it. But when I was by myself looking at social media, what everybody had to say about it, it just felt like it happened again.

“I didn’t sleep at night.”

He was suspended from the Alabama team following the arrest, but Mitchell’s father, Tony Sr., posted on Facebook last week that the defensive back had been reinstated. An Alabama spokesman declined to comment on Mitchell’s status.

Tony Mitchell Sr. shared his son’s video on Facebook, saying it was filmed during a talk to youth.

“I was doing things I knew I shouldn’t to try to fit in,” the younger Mitchell said, “but not everybody’s your friend.”

Mitchell, who is from Alabaster, Alabama, was a four-star prospect and the 15th-rated safety in the 247Composite rankings.

He had been charged in March with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell after a traffic stop when authorities said he drove over 141 mph (227 kph) while trying to evade deputies in the Florida Panhandle. A deputy had spotted Mitchell’s black Dodge Challenger traveling 78 mph (125 kph) in a 55 mph (88 kph) zone on a rural highway north of Bonifay.

He also received 100 hours of community service and paid a fine of $1,560.

Mitchell and a passenger were both charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, according to a Holmes County Sheriff’s Office arrest report. The other man also was charged with carrying a concealed gun without a permit.