Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Illinois coach Tim Beckman, Purdue’s Darrell Hazell will feel the heat ]]> Lead story image

Try finding a college football coach who doesn’t like his team heading into training camp. One doesn’t exist. It’s the players, such as Illinois offensive lineman Simon Cvijanovic, who sometimes are the most brutally honest. Cvijanovic understands why a dark cloud looms over Tim Beckman’s third season at  Illinois. ‘‘Yeah, it’s fair,’’ Cvijanovic said at Big Ten media days Tuesday. ‘‘We’re losers right now.’’ At the end of the 2014 Big Ten season, the coaching carousel could spin so fast that commissioner Jim Delany might develop vertigo. Purdue’s Darrell Hazell and  Indiana’s Kevin Wilson join Beckman on the list of … ]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 22:10:38 -0500 <![CDATA[ Iowa has a rock star in granite RB Mark Weisman ]]> Lead story image

Can there be a better conference for running backs in 2014 than the Big Ten? Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah and Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford are straight-up stars. David Cobb is Minnesota’s best back in nearly a decade. Tevin Coleman, a home run hitter who attended Oak Forest, is on the verge of a major breakout at Indiana. Northwestern’s Venric Mark and Illinois’ Josh Ferguson are pretty terrific, too. And did we mention the nice Jewish boy from Buffalo Grove who’s tougher to bring down than any of them? If you’re an Iowa fan, what you love about Mark … ]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 13:46:12 -0500 <![CDATA[ NCAA to pay for concussion screening; time for personal relief ]]> Lead story image

RICK TELANDER: The NCAA has agreed to pay for concussion screening, medical monitoring and concussion awareness programs for college athletes. Now it’s time for the wounded former college safety to get some personal relief. ]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 21:05:25 -0500 <![CDATA[ NCAA settles concussion suit ]]> Lead story image

The NCAA agreed Tuesday to settle a class-action head-injury lawsuit by creating a $70 million fund to diagnose thousands of current and former college athletes to determine if they suffered brain trauma playing football, hockey, soccer and other contact sports. College sports’ governing body also agreed to implement a single return-to-play policy spelling out how all teams must treat players who received head blows, according to a filing in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Critics have accused the NCAA of giving too much discretion to individual schools about when athletes can go back into games, putting them at risk. Unlike … ]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 22:13:27 -0500 <![CDATA[ Pat Fitzgerald, Tim Beckman fighting different battles ]]> Lead story image

It’s hardly news that Northwestern, coming off a gut punch of a 5-7 season, is looking up at a collection of presumed contenders in the Big Ten in 2014. You’ve got Wisconsin, always good to go. And Nebraska, whose prospects for a championship run never fail to entice the imagination. Iowa, too, is widely expected to make some noise. And that’s just in the Big Ten’s West Division. In the first season post-realignment, the East — think Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Penn State — appears to hold most of the cards. Northwestern? It is what it is after a … ]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 21:31:17 -0500 <![CDATA[ Big Ten commish Jim Delany talking about same old ‘change’ ]]> Lead story image

We’ve seen this Jim Delany before. Not that it gets old seeing the same Big Ten commissioner give the final address of Day 1 of Big Ten Media days. It’s just that Monday’s anthem sounded all too familiar. Delany, among the most powerful men in intercollegiate athletics, seemed to be crowing about the same issues Monday he did a year ago. He’s long time proponent of increasing. Heard that last year. He talked about the NCAA governance model, lawsuits and NCAA enforcement issues. Nothing new there either. We can give the commish somewhat of a break. He was prompted by … ]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 22:03:10 -0500 <![CDATA[ 10 takes from Big Ten football media day ]]>

Ten takes on Day 1 of Big Ten football media days, when the league’s coaches did a whole lot of gabbing: 1. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer knows star quarterback Braxton Miller has a history of being dinged up. But man, can that cat run. Will Meyer dare open up his offense to the legs of Heisman Trophy candidate Miller in 2014? “I think we’re going to try to not think,” Meyer said. Translation: Heck yes. 2. Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio has to love where he sits with the Rose Bowl champion Spartans. He also knows the galaxy still sees Ohio … ]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 23:11:35 -0500 <![CDATA[ Big Ten East is a beast with Ohio State, Michigan State ]]> Lead story image

If the strengths of college football teams “ebb and flow,” as Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany put it, then the current is heading hard east. So hard, in fact, that anyone looking to pencil in a conference champion doesn’t need to look on the left side of the Big Ten map. Trying to figure out a way a West Division team could hoist the Stagg Championship Trophy in December is as futile as swimming upstream. “It’s one of the toughest divisions in college football,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said of the newly aligned East Division. “You just have to … ]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 21:31:17 -0500 <![CDATA[ Book reveals college football hasn’t changed in more than century ]]> Lead story image

Our utter fascination with college football is hardly new. Since its beginning, we have been so obsessed that we’ve overlooked rampant commercialism, the trampling of academic standards and deplorable violence. It was as true in the 1890s as it is today. Just ask Big Ten Network studio host Dave Revsine, the author of The Opening Kickoff, a fascinating and eye-opening history of the early days of college football. From an account of the 1893 Yale-Princeton game, which drew a Super Bowl-like crowd of 50,000 in New York City, to the storied career of Pat O’Dea, the Australian wanderer who became … ]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 02:30:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Penn State close to naming AD ]]>

Penn State is on the verge of naming a new athletic director. One name that has surfaced in the search is Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips. But if Phillips is going anywhere, that was news to multiple Northwestern sources on Friday. Penn State’s outgoing athletic director, Dave Joyner, begins his retirement on Aug. 1. Penn State sent out a press release Friday saying it would hold a press conference to announce a “personnel decision in intercollegiate athletics.” Phillips could not be reached for comment. The move would obviously be a step up for Phillips who has been able to gain … ]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:54:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Charlie Weis has two goals: Lose weight, regain rep ]]> Lead story image

DALLAS — Charlie Weis is saving his own life again. A 58-year-old man whose weight-related physical trials are well-known, Weis’ latest battle against his diet-and-exercise demons has been raging for nearly six months. The controversial former Notre Dame coach, now preparing for his third season at the helm of the Kansas Jayhawks, admitted to wife Maura in February that he was “scared to death” by how he was feeling. Then and there, he pledged to her that he would lose 100 pounds. “I was breaking some scales in February,” he said from his podium at Big 12 media days. “They … ]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:59:33 -0500 <![CDATA[ Shawn Afryl, ex-Illini football player, died working out with team ]]> Lead story image

Former University of Illinois player Shawn Afryl, 22, died Monday evening during a workout with teammates at Winona State University in Minnesota. Afryl, a Skokie native and graduate of Niles West, died at the Winona State football stadium, according to a release from the school. An offensive lineman, Afryl played in only one game at Illinois but earned his degree in 2013. He transferred to Winona State with plans of using his final season of eligibility there. “All of us in the Fighting Illini football family are greatly saddened by Shawn’s passing,” said Illini coach Tim Beckman. “He was a … ]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 18:05:29 -0500 <![CDATA[ NIU still unsure who will replace QB Jordan Lynch ]]> Lead story image

The biggest question heading into the season for Northern Illinois is so obvious that coach Rod Carey didn’t even wait to be asked Monday at the Huskies’ media day in Chicago. “Let’s get the quarterback thing out on the table right now,” Carey said in his opening remarks. “I still don’t know.” Call it the Jordan Lynch effect. After a yearlong Heisman Trophy campaign that landed Lynch in third place in voting, it was a given that the second-year coach would face questions about how he would replace the most prolific offensive player in school history. But history will be … ]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 21:31:49 -0500 <![CDATA[ NCAA president Mark Emmert makes $1.7M to players’ 0 ]]> Lead story image

RICK TELANDER: Well, what new things do we know about the NCAA today? That it is a monster with so many probes, fingers and tails that it barely can control itself. ]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:30:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Frank Kaminsky back for more fun at Wisconsin ]]> Lead story image

MADISON, Wis. — Three months later, there’s a part of Wisconsin 7-footer Frank Kaminsky that still burns over the Badgers’ ­74-73 loss to Kentucky in the Final Four. “I still believe we were the better team in that game,” Kaminsky said. “It just didn’t turn out in our favor. It’s frustrating, but we know we can do better.” For a lot of Final Four teams, there’s nowhere to go but down. Up in Wisconsin, next season can’t get here soon enough. There’s zero question whom the favorites to win the Big Ten title will be. There’s little chance more than … ]]> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 22:47:59 -0500 <![CDATA[ New College Football Playoff championship trophy unveiled ]]> Lead story image

IRVING, Texas — A rising gold football-shaped trophy will be the prize for the national champion in the new College Football Playoff. College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock unveiled the more than 2-foot-high trophy Monday. Made from 24-karat gold, bronze and stainless steel, the bottom of the trophy is shaped like a football and rises to form an actual-sized ball at the top. There are four laces, reflective of the four teams that will make it to the playoffs. When addressing the cost of the trophy, Hancock called it a “priceless one-of-a-kind piece of art.” The trophy, which weighs … ]]> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 15:48:00 -0500