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News Nuggets, 07.25.03

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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Repercussions from 'ancient' Big East blunder still sting


07.24.03: Tranghese disputes Swofford apology claim... .. Banowsky articulates league's posture... .. Billikens maintain monopoly on brains... .. Books fell promising Bulls basketball player... .. More...
07.23.03: Coaches declare Frogs superior... .. Tranghese repents, Swofford doesn't... .. Bulls break out new logos... .. UNC-Chapel Hill offers gridiron school for women... .. More...
07.22.03: Greenville startup hops aboard sports radio waves... .. Houston player's career extended... .. Rattlers promoted to I-A... .. Murder charge lodged against Dotson... .. Marquette legend joins Crean staff... .. More...
07.21.03: ACC raid draws attention of Congress... .. West taps into Clemson connections for assistant coach... .. Arena football player dies on bench... .. More...
07.20.03: Meet, mingle and eat with the Pirates... .. Date dampens demand for WVU-VPI ducats... .. Non-BCS CEO's sign up in big numbers for Cowen summit... .. Monetary affairs discourage in-state rivalry... ..  49ers lose one, keep one... .. More...
07.19.03: C-USA formally shifts into football mode... .. Get up close and personal with J.T... .. Key U of L football players banished... .. Gators get head start in rejecting ACC... .. Physician admits torching dead player's medical data... .. LSU football coach survives aquatic knockout plunge... ..  More...
07.18.03:  East Carolina names new ticket operations boss... .. Dollar draws NCAA wrath... .. Athletes' rights crusader gains steam... .. Banished football program seeks new life... .. Blood clot stymies Buckeye lineman again...  More...

Did a Big East Conference slight over two decades ago make it more likely that the league would ultimately face its current fight for survival? CBS senior writer Dennis Dodd reported this week that Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese says the league's presidents in 1982 turned down by one vote Penn State's petition — supported by Nittany Lions football coach Joe Paterno — to become a member.

At the time, Dave Gavitt was the Big East commissioner and the basketball-driven conference did not sponsor football. PSU, which was a powerful gridiron independent, was apparently interested in finding a home for its other sports. The Big East CEO's voted 6-3 in Penn State's favor, a single vote shy of the requirement for bringing in a new member. The school would eventually join the Big Ten for all sports in 1990.

According to the SportsLine report, Tranghese, then an associate commissioner of the league, laments the mistake and poignantly points out the profound impact on the way history would have unfolded had one more vote supported Penn State. "I said, 'We will rue the day we made this decision,'" Tranghese told Dodd. "It has come back to haunt us, no ifs ands or butts about it. That's the biggest mistake. ... If we had taken Penn State, the whole face of college football would have been changed."

Syracuse and Boston College were among the Big East's seven charter members when the league began operations in 1979 and would remain prominent I-A football independents until the sport was added in 1991. Ironically, 1976 national football champion Pittsburgh — Penn State's in-state rival — began competing in the conference in all other sports in 1982, the same year the Nittany Lions were denied.

As the Big East, staggered by the loss of its present-day football guerillas — Miami and Virginia Tech — to the Atlantic Coast Conference ponders its next moves, will its basketball-centric members once again sway the outcome?

Heir to Ragone still subject to change

When opponents go up against the Louisville offense this fall, one of the things they will notice is a different quarterback under center for the first time since the 2000 season. Dave Ragone, the winningest quarterback in school history, has moved to the National Football League.

The question of who will fill the position was clarified somewhat this past spring. Junior Stefan LeFors emerged with the inside track but redshirt freshman Justin Rascati also stayed in contention with a competitive performance.

LeFors, who has had a taste of game experience, owns a capable arm and is a playmaker who can get out of trouble and make things happen with his feet. Rascati is a strong-armed and accurate pocket passer with a bulging prep resume. The 2001 Class 3A-5A player of the year in the state of Florida, Rascati passed for more than 5,000 career yards and 40 touchdowns for one of Florida's top high school programs.

Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino, brother of U of L head coach Bobby Petrino, will continue to evaluate the two players when they resume their competition for the starting role once the Cardinals begin preseason drills.

Blue Demons devises creative ticket sales push

DePaul has begun taking orders for 2003-04 basketball season tickets and the university is counting on innovative tactics to make the sales campaign a success. Fans will have a variety of options to choose from in selecting the ticket plan to suit their needs, including the possibility of hearing a personal sales pitch from a Blue Demon. A telemarketing campaign with various members of the team will begin next week.

For the first time, DePaul will also offer a flexible ticket option. The “Blue Demon Pick Six Plan” will allow fans to design a unique season ticket package that satisfies their requirements by selecting any six games on the 2003-04 schedule.

Full season ticket holders will be entitled to several special benefits, including: The opportunity to purchase tickets on a 2 for 1 basis to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Sweet 16 in 2005, which DePaul will be hosting at the Allstate Arena; An invitation for the inaugural Blue/White game which will take place on November 1 at the DePaul Athletic Center; and, a prime seat location between the baskets in the lower level at Allstate Arena for the entire 2003-04 campaign.

DePaul is coming off a 16-13 season in 2002-03 that saw the Blue Demons reach postseason play for the first time in three seasons. The 2003-04 schedule will be released in the upcoming weeks.

C-USA teams set for ESPN Plus appearances

ESPN Plus will telecast a pair of games from West Point's Michie Stadium in September. Army's game with Rutgers on Sept. 13 and the Black Knight's Conference USA clash against Tulane on Sept. 20 will both kick off at 3:30 p.m. on the ESPN premium channel. ESPN Plus has also added the November 15 Southern Miss-Tulane game at Hattiesburg to its college football programming lineup.

News Nuggets are compiled periodically from staff, ECU, Conference USA and its member schools, and from Associated Press and other reports. Copyright 2003 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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