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News Nuggets, 12.11.04
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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Job security for SMU coach comes with lofty mandate


12.10.04: Gamecocks' ol' man "Pops" still in the limelight ... Lou Groza Award winners ... Ray Guy Award winners ... More...
12.09.04: East Carolina releases 2005 baseball schedule ... BCA urges athletes, coaches to shun Gamecocks ... More...
12.08.04: All-Conference USA and C-USA All-Freshman teams ... Petrino waves off suitors to stay at Louisville ... More...
12.07.04: Syracuse chancellor decides to stick with Pasqualoni ... Zook selected to rejuvenate struggling Illini ... More...
12.06.04: C-USA standings, scoreboard, bowl lineup & TV ... BCS rankings, bowl pairings ''' AP football poll ... More...
12.05.04: FLwed BCS produces another messy title picture ... College football weekend: stars & storylines ... More...
12.04.04: Hectic December for Southern Miss kicks off today ... Crimson Tide basketball rolls into Charlotte ... More...
12.03.04: AP: Holtz gets the nod as coach at East Carolina ... Ross rediscovers purpose at West Point ... More...
12.02.04: Florida going to Peach Bowl with or without Zook ... Willingham refuses to throw darts at Notre Dame ... More...
12.01.04: Peach Bowl hopes Zook coaches one more game ... Juggernauts Louisville, Boise State to collide ... Bowl wrap: Eagles land in Tire Bowl vs. Heels ... More...

DALLAS — Some high expectations accompanied Southern Methodist's decision this week to grant football coach Phil Bennett a contractual vote of confidence.

After awarding Bennett a two-year extension of his pact that will keep him at the university through the 2008, school officials proclaimed that high achievements are expected of the team when it moves into Conference USA.

The Mustangs are departing the Western Athletic Conference for C-USA in the 2005 season.

``I am convinced that Phil Bennett is the man who will lead us to Conference USA titles and bowl games in the years to come,'' SMU athletic director Jim Copeland said in announcing the contract extension earlier this week.

Bennett, winless in 2003, is 6-29 in three seasons at SMU, including 3-8 last season. He had two years remaining on his current deal.

SMU had a 15-game losing streak, the second-longest in the nation, before beating San Jose State in its conference opener. The Mustangs won two of their last three games.

``I have said from the beginning that we will win championships at SMU and that I'm in this for the long haul,'' Bennett said.

Panel pushing to tie bowl bids to grad rates

MIAMI — The Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics renewed its recommendation that eligibility for bowl games be reserved for teams that graduate at least 50 percent of their players.

The commission cited statistics released this week showing 27 of this season's 56 bowl teams failed to graduate at least 50 percent of their players within six years of their initial enrollment. Thus, nearly half of the bowl teams would not have been eligible for the games under the commission's recommendation.

``It is critical that the criteria for this system, which will be determined early next year, be tough enough to improve graduation rates or eliminate participation of underperforming schools,'' Knight Commission Chairman William C. Friday, president emeritus of the University of North Carolina, said in a statement Thursday.

A June 2001 report by the commission said tying postseason participation to graduation rates would help restore academic integrity in intercollegiate athletics.

This week's statistics were in a study by the Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sports at the University of Central Florida. The study used NCAA statistics taken from four freshman classes, beginning in 1994-95 and ending in 1997-98.

The commission pointed out that only three of the eight teams in the Bowl Championship Series graduated more than 50 percent of their players over the most recent four-year period — Michigan, Virginia Tech, and Southern California.

The commission meets again Feb. 7 in Miami and will hear from Walter Harrison, president of the University of Hartford and chair of the NCAA Committee on Academic Performance.

News Nuggets are compiled periodically based on material supplied by staff members; data published by ECU, Conference USA and its member schools; and reports from Associated Press and other sources. Copyright 2004 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Page Updated: 02/23/2007 12:06 PM


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