I am Calipari, Destroyer of Rivalries. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Not the Same as the Old Boss: It's official; the Big 12 has a new man set to take over the helm as Stanford AD Bob Bowlsby will be replacing interim commissioner Chuck Neinas. Bowlsby, who will officially take over the job on June 15, had no earth-shaking comments at his introductory presser this morning, but came across well and brings with him a wealth of experience in college athletics. He was a key part of Larry Scott's machinations to turn the Pac-12 into a money-generating machine, and was pretty deeply involved in all realignment issues affecting the Pac-12 (including those which didn't happen).
Of course, the most important thing he didn't say today was anything about his own preferences for future expansion possibilities, merely stating that the discussion was definitely on the table and in the forefront of things he needs to address once on the job. Stay tuned.
The Ohio River is Now Just a River: John Calipari really just didn't want to play Indiana, most suspect. So the emergence of a slapfight over the terms of extending their non-conference series, one revolving around where to actually play the games, was a pretty decent cover for goading Indiana into just ending the 43-year-old series altogether. Yes, Calipari faithful will point to the fact that it was actually Indiana that pulled the plug, but that just leads to good arguments. On the other hand, another rivalry that could have died due to conference realignment will survive: Belmont, leaving the Atlantic Sun for the Ohio Valley, will continue to play bitter rivals Lipscomb twice a year, home-and-home. And if you're sitting there saying, "Belmont? Lipscomb? Who?" then shame on you. These two schools, separated by a mere two miles on the same street, have been going at it for decades, even during the two years after Belmont moved from NAIA to Division I before Lipscomb followed suit.No New News, But News Nonetheless: The May 2012 realignment hootenanny has now officially extended to nine teams moving conferences as Conference USA (Charlotte, FIU, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, and UTSA) and the Mountain West (San Jose State and Utah State) officially announced their new members today. Not mentioned: Old Dominion, who apparently felt rushed and hasn't had time to perform due diligence. Revealed in the run-up, however, is that both Delaware and James Madison had also been approached by C-USA, officially putting those two schools on the upgrade possibility list now and forever more. With ODU's case of cold feet, Middle Tennessee State has moved onto C-USA's radar, although both ODU and C-USA are still interested in one another. C-USA, however, needs to solidify their final addition sooner rather than later, so the two parties aren't likely to dance much longer.
This now officially leaves the WAC with only two football-playing schools, and if the Sun Belt doesn't jump on New Mexico State in the short term Pre-Snap Read's Paul Myerberg has only one piece of advice for the Aggies: Win the WAC.
Tightening the Belt: There will be new NCAA freshman eligibility requirements for incoming freshmen in 2016, and Mitch Sherman wants you to get familiar now with the term "academic redshirt". In addition to a jump in the mininum GPA to 2.3, high school athletes will be required to complete their high school careers in four years. A whopping 40% of incoming freshmen football players last fall would not have qualified, so get ready for some painful adjustments.
Diablerie: Clemson's Sammy Watkins has been arrested for doing something college students do. Tulane wanted a new stadium, but the city of New Orleans has nonsensically decided to make it more difficult. The Friday Night Lights feature film following on from the TV series is on, and it looks as though Coach Taylor's going to get fired for not sticking a kid in an electrical closet. OU and Texas are set to keep the Red River Rivalry at the Cotton Bowl through 2020. Finally, a great piece by SBNation's Jonathan Tjarks on the AAU culture and its impact on modern basketball.