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  • North Dakota State picked to win Missouri Valley football crown Jul 29, 2014 2:16 PM
    Three-time defending national champion North Dakota State is picked to win the Missouri Valley Football Conference title. The poll of league coaches, media and sports information directors released Tuesday shows the Bison with 24 out of 39 first-place votes and 370 points.

     
  • Playoffs could create chances for Big Ten teams Jul 29, 2014 2:15 PM
    The old BCS system is out. A four-team playoff to determine a national champion is being implemented this season, and that could open some more opportunities for the Big Ten and the other four power conferences. “Hopefully, this will give everyone an equal opportunity to play for a national championship, which everyone wants,” Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook said Tuesday as the Big Ten wrapped up its two-day media event.

     
  • Fitzgerald: Union push unified Northwestern Jul 28, 2014 2:13 PM
    No matter how this season unfolds, Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald insisted there is no more unified team than his Wildcats. For that, he credits the players’ push to unionize. Fitzgerald said he’s “proud of the maturity” his players displayed as the story unfolded.

     
  • U of I gives basketball coach a raise Jul 24, 2014 4:51 PM
    University of Illinois trustees have boosted the size of the budget for the State Farm Center renovation and given basketball coach John Groce a raise and contract extension. Groce’s annual pay was increased by $100,000 a year to $1.7 million. The coach’s contract was extended by a year through 2018-19.

     
  • Illini add former Maryland assistant Brattan Jul 17, 2014 5:26 PM
    Illinois has hired former Maryland offensive line coach Tom Brattan to fill the same role for the Illini. Brattan replaces A.J. Ricker who left earlier this month to coach the offensive line at Missouri.

     
  • Receiver Mahone no longer enrolled at Notre Dame Jul 8, 2014 7:00 PM
    Receiver Will Mahone has no chance of returning to Notre Dame while facing felony charges of assault on a police officer, intimidation of a public servant and vandalism, his attorney said Tuesday. Attorney James Gentile said he hopes to get the felony charges against Mahone reduced to misdemeanors before a July 23 preliminary hearing.

     
  • NIU, Illini, NU land players on Hornung Watch List Jul 7, 2014 11:30 AM
    College football players from Northern Illinois University, Illinois and Northwestern were named to the 2014 Paul Hornung Award Watch List by the Louisville Sports Commission on Monday.

     
  • Harrington giving back to the game of basketball Jul 4, 2014 9:04 PM
    A decade after Sean Harrington hit the final shot of his Illinois career, he is standing in a hometown gym with a basketbaall in his hands. At 33 years old, the former star for Elgin High School and the Fighting Illini is still not ready to let go. He plans to give back to the game he loves by launching The Players Camp with college basketball players as coaches.

     
  • Globetrotters like Streamwood star’s powerful game Jun 28, 2014 4:41 PM
    Streamwood High School basketball Marcus Lewis has an offer to try out for the Harlem Globetrotters this fall, and the College Slam Dunk champ from Eastern Kentucky is considering it as he weighs his other options in the game.

     
  • Young players key to Vanderbilt’s baseball title Jun 27, 2014 1:01 AM
    Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin figured last year was his baseball program’s best chance to win its first national championship. It was the 2014 team, though, that got the job done, starting four sophomores and two freshmen in the everyday lineup and relying on a young pitching staff. “There was never a crack in our strong foundation,” Corbin said Thursday. “This group grew together. They were consumed with one another the last month and a half. We started off the SEC 7-8 and having played three series at home. We were about to go through the gauntlet and I remember telling my coaches and my wife that I was concerned. The next thing you know, we finish the SEC 11-4, we started winning some close games and our pitching really started to grow.” The Commodores finished 51-21 after beating Virginia in a three-game College World Series finals. They won the school’s first national championship in a men’s sport and joined LSU (six), South Carolina (two) and Georgia (one) as Southeastern Conference teams to win baseball titles. The contributions seemed to come from everyone. Left fielder Bryan Reynolds was a freshman All-American after leading the team with a .338 batting average and 54 RBIs. Second baseman Dansby Swanson, limited to 11 games as a freshman because of injuries, batted .333 and was named the CWS Most Outstanding Player. Third baseman Tyler Campbell, a sophomore who came to Omaha with 15 at-bats in 14 games, was the feel-good story of the CWS. He made the all-tournament team after taking over for Xavier Turner, who was ruled ineligible last Friday for violating NCAA rules. Junior center fielder John Norwood, a backup his first two years in the program, hit his third homer of the season, and Vanderbilt’s first since May 16, to break an eighth-inning tie in Wednesday’s 3-2, title-clinching win. Sophomores Carson Fulmer and Walker Buehler and freshmen Hayden Stone and John Kilichowski turned in clutch pitching performances along with junior Adam Ravenelle. “I looked back last year, my first day here, and I knew that I got into something very, very special,” Fulmer said. “Words can’t describe this experience. It’s something that we’ve always dreamed of doing as a team, and we finally accomplished it.” Last year’s team featured the core of the 2011 squad that was Vanderbilt’s first to make the CWS, including SEC player of the year Tony Kemp and Tyler Beede, who won a school-record 14 games. The 2013 Commodores were ranked No. 2 in the nation in the preseason and won their first 13 games. They won an SEC-record 26 conference games and earned the No. 2 national seed for the NCAA tournament. They survived an elimination game in regionals but were swept by Louisville in super regionals. “Last year,” Corbin said, “we were perfect for a long period of time and then at the end of the year we faltered.” The 2014 Commodores never lost more than two games in a row — a streak that started two years ago. For Corbin, the championship came in his 12th year as head coach. He had been Jack Leggett’s right-hand man at Clemson from 1994-2002 and didn’t know for sure what he was getting into when he took over a program that hadn’t finished above .500 in the SEC since 1980. “I can remember the first game we played: East Tennessee State, and it was raining, 40 degrees, no one up in the stands,” Corbin said. “My wife got there and she said, ‘I thought the game started at 4 o’clock.’ I said it does. She said there’s no one here. I said that’s right, there’s no one here. She goes, ‘You want to go back to Clemson?’ She was joking, but it was just different.” Three of Corbin’s recruiting classes since 2005 have been rated best in the nation, and nine of his players have been drafted in the first round, with Beede the latest. “Certainly had visions of this someday,” Corbin said, “but they were so far distant at certain times.”

     
  • Big Ten head paints dire picture of paying players Jun 20, 2014 5:13 PM
    The head of the Big Ten painted a dire picture Friday of what college sports would look like if players were paid. He said his conference likely would cease to exist and the Rose Bowl probably would not be played.

     
  • NCAA president: Pay could destroy college sports Jun 19, 2014 6:21 PM
    NCAA President Mark Emmert stuck to his contention that amateurism is the core of college athletics, saying any effort to pay players would destroy a framework that has been in place for more than a century and cause many schools to either abandon sports or refuse to play other schools that do pay. Emmert said college athletes themselves wouldn’t want to play against other athletes who were getting paid

     
  • Big Ten basketball leads nation in attendance Jun 18, 2014 1:04 PM
    The Big Ten leads the nation in men's basketball attendance for the 38th consecutive season, and three conference teams finished in the Top 10 nationally.

     
  • Indiana QB to transfer Jun 11, 2014 5:42 PM
    Quarterback Tre Roberson appeared to be Indiana’s quarterback of the future after becoming the first true freshman to start for the Hoosiers. But in 2012, the sophomore broke his lower left leg, and he wound up splitting the quarterback duties with Nate Sudfeld most of last season.

     
  • Kelly: Summer workouts will help players get ahead Jun 10, 2014 7:28 PM
    Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly hopes new NCAA rules allowing coaches to work with players over the summer will help players get ahead for the fall, especially freshmen. “We’re installing our offense and defense again,” Kelly said Tuesday evening.

     
  • Ten North Central athletes make All-America May 27, 2014 10:30 PM
    The local schools were well-represented in both the men’s and women’s Division III Track and Field National Championships. Wheaton, Elmhurst and North Central all went home with newly named All-Americans.

     
  • Plaza pitches Whitewater to national title May 27, 2014 11:32 PM
    Scott Plaza has taken his history of baseball success close to home and extended it to the national level. The one-time Harper College and Prospect High School standout helped pitch Wisconsin-Whitewater to an NCAA Division III national championship on Tuesday. Whitewater (43-7) topped Emory University 7-0 in Appleton, Wis., in the title game as Plaza went the distance. It was the first shutout in the title game since 2002. Plaza struck out nine and shut down the what had been an exceptionally strong offensive team, and was named the tournament’s most outstanding player.

     
  • Buffalo Grove’s Ghim eager to follow Spieth’s lead at Texas May 26, 2014 8:14 PM
    If Buffalo Grove High School senior Doug Ghim wants to know what the future holds, he may have to look no further than the career of current PGA Tour star Jordan Spieth. Like Ghim, a standout golfer who is currently ranked No. 5 in the nation by the American Junior Golf Association, Spieth excelled in the AJGA before moving on to play at the University of Texas.

     
  • Wheaton’s Thomas Jaeschke a rising star in volleyball May 26, 2014 7:47 PM
    Loyola University volleyball player Thomas Jaeschke recently discovered how fast things can move after winning a national championship. “Last Saturday, the phone rang,” Jaeschke said. “John Speraw, the coach of the national team called. He says ‘How fast can you get out here?’ “I said a few days. Then he says ‘how about tomorrow?’”

     
  • Harper’s Becker named N4C baseball player of the year May 21, 2014 9:33 PM
    Their season may be over, but the postseason accolades are rolling in for the Harper College baseball program. Six players earned all-league honors in the North Central Community College Conference. Third baseman Kurt Becker (Palatine) led the way with a first-team selection along with N4C player of the year honors after hitting .605 for the Hawks.

     
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