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January 25, 2014

Norman Ary: Little guys might be in trouble

Oh boy, watch out. You’re getting ready to witness a huge power grab in sports, according to news coming out of the NCAA annual convention.

The rich in college sports are about to become fabulously wealthy and wield even a bigger stick. It looks as if finally, finally the big power conferences are going to get their way within the NCAA without having to break away and form their own governing body.

It now seems when, not if, the Big Five revenue-producing leagues — the ACC, Big Ten, Big XII, Pac-12 and SEC — will be allowed to form their own voting bloc. Everyone else will keep on keeping on.

In other words, the big guys will take even more money in; the mid-level and smaller schools will stay needy.

If it happens quickly, as many believe, the first order of business would be a vote on paying players. Second would be to dictate absolutely the bowl scenario. Just use your imagination with the big conferences cut loose from the NCAA restrictions that they’ve been following since time began.

Don’t misunderstand. The SEC or Pac-12 can’t go off and start signing anyone they want regardless of exam scores or grades, but the regulations of how to recruit, when to recruit, etc., may change somewhat.

Now, on the other hand, is this really a good thing? And what happens to the Boise States and Central Floridas and the BYUs of the world?

This will be the biggest thing to happen to college sports since the insane idea of conference realignment tore apart the college sports fabric. I wonder if it’ll be for the better?

LET HIM TALK: And just a word on the Seattle Seahawks versus San Fran-cisco 49ers NFC title game and the aftermath.

Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman had some uncomplimentary things to say about San Francisco receiver Michael Crabtree and has taken a lot of heat for it. You’d think he had pulled a gun on him or something.

I say hooray! We need more guys who show passion and have something to say — either good or bad. Leave the guy alone, or either don’t shove a microphone in his face seconds after the game.

HERE & THERE: University of South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier said this after he was given a $700,000 raise to $4 million per year: “I’m embarrassed by how much I make. I don’t need to make anymore.” .. When James Franklin left Vanderbilt to take the head coaching job at Penn State, he took out a full page ad in the Nashville newspapers thanking his supporters and fans. Penn State paid for the ad. ... Coaching turnover has become an epidemic. Since November 2012, 49 of 126 Division I schools have had a head coaching change; there have been 70 in the past three seasons.

STATS & STUFF: Where have all the college defenses gone. Last year, only 12 of 126 teams held their opponents to fewer than 20 points per outing! ... Among the top 10 college football teams with the most returning starters are four Deep South schools: Auburn, Georgia Alabama and Florida State. ... I don’t know, but this doesn’t seem right. Florida State is making national championship rings for boosters and fans to buy. Of course some of the boosters may have already paid handsomely for the title. ... Here’s one of the major problems with college football today. There are 98 underclassmen who’ve already decided to leave before their senior year. That broke last year’s record of 73. ... Alabama backup quarterback Luke Del Rio has transferred to Oregon State. Not to be outdone, Florida State backup quarterback Jacob Coker is transferring to Alabama. ... Spurrier has taken the mystery out of spring football by declaring that Dylan Thompson will be the starting quarterback for the Gamecocks next year, period.

TENNIS ANYONE?: Where are the American tennis players hiding? When the Australian Open, the first of the Grand Slam events of this year began, there were 12 U.S. males and 12 American females in the draw. Entering the second week, there were zero.

SO LONG, FAREWELL: And finally, if you care, former Braves third baseman Chipper Jones is moving out of Georgia after 22 years, back to his Texas roots.

Jones owns a 10,000 acre farm and hunting ranch and plans on taking over the day-to-day operations from his parents.

Norman Arey is an award-winning journalist whose column appears in The Daily Citizen on Thursday and Saturday. You can write to him at normanarey@att.net.

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