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News Nuggets, 07.26.03

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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Hamrick name resurfaces in connection with UNLV


07.25.03: Repercussions from 'ancient' Big East blunder still sting... .. Heir to Ragone still subject to change... .. Blue Demons devise creative ticket sales push... .. C-USA teams set for ESPN Plus appearances... .. More...
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...

According to a report in Friday's Las Vegas Review-Journal, East Carolina athletic director Mike Hamrick is one of two candidates from Conference USA schools who are among the finalists to succeed John Robinson as A.D. at UNLV.

The paper, citing sources independent of UNLV, reported that Hamrick and and fellow C-USA athletic director Doug Woolard of Saint Louis are on a list five candidates to step into the position vacated by Robinson, who remains the Rebels head football coach.

According to the report, athletic directors Wayne Hogan of Montana, Mike Bohn of Idaho and Mike O'Brien of Toledo are the other finalists.

A Las Vegas Sun columnist also weighed in on the school's hiring process. Ron Kantowski commented on what he labeled as rumors regarding the identities of the UNLV search committee's selections, alluding to the schools which presently employ the unconfirmed candidates in unflattering terms but not identifying the names of the individuals. The column referred to East Carolina, Saint Louis, Montana, Idaho and "Toleda" (sic).

Hamrick, who told the Las Vegas Sun earlier this month he was unaware of the job opening and was not a candidate, was unavailable Friday night to confirm or deny the Las Vegas Review-Journal's story.

Gamecocks end Turman exile

COLUMBIA, SC — South Carolina running back Daccus Turman has been reinstated to the team with a few weeks to spare before the Gamecocks open their 2003 football season. Permission for the promising sophomore to return to the squad had been delayed for more than two weeks since a criminal domestic violence charge against him was dismissed.

Athletic department spokesman Kerry Tharp talked with South Carolina offensive coordinator Skip Holtz on Thursday and was told Turman's suspension had been lifted. The delay from the time Turman's charges were dismissed on July 9 to now, Tharp said, was because of the coaches' summer vacation schedule.

Head coach Lou Holtz talked with Turman, Tharp said. Skip Holtz (Lou Holtz' son) said any discipline for Turman would be handled within the team.

"Skip said they visited with all parties concerned" to make sure the coaches knew what happened in Turman's situation, Tharp said.

Turman's status for the fall looked in jeopardy when he was charged last month after a fight with his then-girlfriend, Ingrid Williams, at the apartment they shared. Williams at first told university police that Turman punched her. However, the next day, she retracted her statement. Magistrate C.L. Hudnell dismissed the charge at Turman's July 9 hearing and charged Williams with filing a false police report.

The Gamecocks' first game will be against visiting Louisiana-Lafayette on August 30. Turman played in all 12 games as a freshman last year, rushing for 179 yards and two touchdowns.

Liberty Bowl partner's football tickets moving briskly

Earlier this week, defending Mountain West Conference champion Colorado State was within 30 season tickets of surpassing last year's total of about 10,000 and appeared on target to challenge the school record of 12,000. The MWC is Conference USA's postseason partner in the Liberty Bowl, which pits the champions of the two leagues against each other. The Rams lost to Texas Christian in last season's Memphis matchup but prevailed over Louisville in the 2000 Liberty Bowl.

Sun Belt football league feeling its oats

NEW ORLEANS — When the Sun Belt decided to add football a few years back there were many who doubted the wisdom of the move. When the conference started up a bowl game for its champion there was plenty of head-shaking. If the league hasn't enjoyed the last laugh yet, though, it is getting pretty close, commissioner Wright Waters said Wednesday.

"We've seen the gap between us and other conferences shrink," Waters said. "We're getting better and we can prove it." Waters pointed to the North Texas 24-19 victory over Conference USA co-champion Cincinnati in December's New Orleans Bowl as an indication of how the league had improved. Was that game an indication of an emerging trend? After all, while C-USA's members are collectively holding their breaths awaiting the next moves in the conference realignment wars, the Sun Belt sees itself as stronger than ever.

Adding football has brought more attention to the conference and that has spilled over into other sports, Waters said. It has also given the league more clout. The Sun Belt now has more influence in the NCAA, including a place at the the board of directors table. "The views of our schools and our conference are enhanced by having that seat on the board of directors," Waters said.

The school now has nine football schools, which is as large as it plans on getting, Waters said. The growth was needed according to Arkansas State coach Steve Roberts. "With the addition of Utah State and the addition of Troy State in 2004, I think we've progressed as much as any conference in the country," Roberts said.

The growth has also stretched the Sun Belt from the deep south, across the southwest and into the northwest, which Waters acknowledges is not an ideal geographical conference. "We're not alone," Waters said. "There are a lot of schools in a lot of conferences that are giving money to airlines that should be going into scholarships and salaries." Waters would like to see conferences work together to regionalize members. "It would be great not only for the money it would save, but for the rivalries it would build," he said.

The Sun Belt schools would all like to see attendance increase. The worst attendance is at Louisiana-Monroe, where the school is trying everything from pleading with alumni to sending players and coaches out into the community to boost ticket sales. North Texas, the 2001 and 2002 league champion and New Orleans Bowl representative, had empty seats at home last season. Arkansas State will play in Little Rock again this year to help boost attendance and generate publicity in a state dominated by the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Idaho has an even bigger challenge in selling tickets. The Vandals are far from any population hub, and have suffered through seasons of 5-6, 1-10 and 2-10. To boost its fan base Idaho will play Washington State in Seattle this year. It's a big jump for both schools. Washington State, located in Pullman, is just 10-15 miles away from Idaho's campus. The teams usually play in Pullman, alternating as the home team, but the move to the Seahawks new stadium is seen as an opportunity by the Vandals. Idaho has many alumni in Washington, Vandals coach Tom Cable said, and the game will provide an opportunity for them to attend.

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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