The American Athletic Conference has made it clear that they have no intention to replace UConn. That is at least for now, according to Commissioner Mike Aresco speaking Tuesday morning at the “AAC Football Kickoff.”
Arisco told the assembled conference and national media that with the Huskies leaving after this athletic year to return to the Big East, the American will not actively seek to replace them. Instead, they will attempt to play with 11 teams moving forward starting with the 2020 football season:
Mike Aresco alludes to "recent events," says the AAC is "comfortable" with 11 members in football and 12 in basketball. No plans to replace UConn.
— Alex Putterman (@AlexPutterman) July 16, 2019
The complication in not replacing UConn is that it leaves the American with an odd number of teams (11). Further, it jeopardizes their Conference football championship game that they’ve played for each of the last four seasons. UCF has won the last two of them.
The American sees a financial windfall from the top seeded school hosting the title game and it’s also part of ESPN’s new 12 year billion dollar television deal that they announced earlier this year with the conference. It’s still not completely clear what the financial ramifications of not having a 12th member or having the title game to televise will be.
Unless the American can somehow obtain a waiver from the NCAA, they will have to either have to meet the 12 Football member requirement or have an even number of members that are playing a round robin format similar to what the 1o teams in the Big XII, currently.
The mathematical reality is that unless the American were to go to an unrealistic 10-game conference schedule, they cannot have an evenly rotated round-robin form. The conference currently plays eight league games a year.
It is believed that UAB in Birmingham, Alabama, would be the lowest logical choice to add as a 12th all sports member to the AAC, because of their regional proximity to other members like Tulane, Memphis, East Carolina, USF and UCF.
And, all of those schools have previously been in an Athletic Conference with UAB, as well.
Antonio Brown agent Rosenhaus- “not sure we’ve exhausted all options”
The ongoing off-field mess involving new Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown, his outdated helmet and his refusal currently to participate in their training camp, has ties to South Florida.
That’s where Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus resides and he gave an update Sunday night on the situation from Browns point of view to WSVN TV. Rosenhaus is a weekly guest on their Sunday night “Sports Xtra” show during the football season and obviously Brown and his helmet issues are one of the top off the old topics in the NFL right now:
Antonio Brown's agent — @RosenhausSports — provides an update on where AB stands with the Raiders after GM Mike Mayock's comments today about Brown being "all in or all out." pic.twitter.com/VWOBfzPvwH
— 7 Sports Xtra (@7SportsXtra) August 19, 2019
“I’m not sure that we agree that we’ve exhausted all the options, as Mike Mayock said. But there’s no doubt it’s still an ongoing process. We are trying to work with the team and the league and the union to come up with a solution. We haven’t figured it out yet,” Rosenhaus told the show.
He continued, “To say that AB is upset about the decision to not let him wear his helmet is accurate, but we’re still processing it and figuring it out. I wouldn’t make too much about him not being there today, as much as we’re still trying to come up with a solution that works for everyone.”
Brown is balking at having to switch to a new modernized helmet from the Schutt Air Advantage model helmet that he has been wearing throughout his nine-year NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The NFL contends that that helmet is outdated, too old and not safe. And, they denied Brown’s request to continue to use the helmet, when he filed a grievance with the league last week.
The only exception is: that if Brown can find a newer model of the helmet( less than 10 years old) and the NFL says that it will test it and potentially certify him to play with it. As of yet, Brown has not found a model that is within the guidelines and passes the test. So, Brown is back refusing to participate in workouts with his new team, the Raiders.
He is shown in the photo above, participating in pregame warmup last Thursday night with the Raiders in Arizona, while wearing the outlawed helmet. Brown did not play in the exhibition game.
On Sunday, Mayock, the Raiders new GM, who along with head coach Jon Gruden engineered the offseason trade for Brown from Pittsburgh to Oakland, publicly repeated frustration that Brown is refusing to come in practice with his team, that’s now in the fourth week of training camp.
“You all know that A.B. is not here today. So here’s the bottom line. He’s pretty upset about the helmet issue,” Mayock said. “We have supported that. We appreciate that. But at this point, we’ve pretty much exhausted all avenues of relief. So from our perspective, it’s time for him to be all in or all out. So we’re hoping he’s back soon.”
Brown is from Miami Gardens and is a former star at Norland High School in Miami. He later went on to great success at Central Michigan and was picked in the sixth round by the Steelers in 2010. Brown is a seven time Pro Bowler and a four time first team All Pro and is regarded as one of the two or three best receivers in all of the NFL.
Almost all of the NFL players have switched over to the compliant newer football helmets and the league even created a special Sports Science Department that specifically to tests helmets and studies impact/head trauma.
Brown is part of a small group of players that have been “grandfathered in” during previous seasons to allow them wear the older helmets. That group includes, Patriots QB Tom Brady and Saints QB Drew Brees. However, the helmets have had to continue to undergo testing, and the league has now decided if they’re more than 10 years old they cannot be used in games.
That’s the issue with Brown.
The league wants the players to use a more modernized and safer helmet and Brown will not agree to do that for, now. However, he went through the mandated arbitration system and lost his appeal last week.
A Monday morning update from Napa California is that Brown is back at Raiders training camp and was in their team meeting.
Update: Antonio Brown was at the facility this morning and in attendance at the team meeting. The walk-through practice was canceled. But Brown is back for now. https://t.co/6gb5zFJKmO
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 19, 2019
However, it’s unclear if he intends to practice with a different helmet, etc.
NFL announced Wednesday Pro Bowl back in Orlando
The NFL is obviously happy with Orlando as its location for its postseason Pro Bowl All-Star Game, and they demonstrated that again on Wednesday morning.
That’s when the league announced that for the fourth consecutive year the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl will be played at Camping World Stadium the weekend before the Super Bowl:
— NFL (@NFL) August 7, 2019
For the last three years, the All-Star game has called Orlando it’s home, and there’s no doubt that football fans in Central Florida (and all over the country) have enjoyed coming to Central Florida to be part of the festivities that week.
However, the game itself has come under increasing criticism, and rightfully so, as the players involved seem less and less interested in it actually being a football game.
In fact, we went so far as to say that the NFL should stop playing the game, as it has devolved into a mockery of what a “football game” should look like. Here’s part of what we wrote last January:
At the risk of being criticized for being reactionary or even like Clint Eastwood and “Get off my lawn,” no one can defend any longer what we’re seeing, as anything that resembles a football game.
No you can’t defend something that used to be at least an aggressive and fun All-Star Game featuring the NFL’s best players, but that has devolved into a farce.
A farce where no one wants to block, much less tackle anyone.
This was on full display from the beginning of the game on the dreary damp Sunday in Orlando. This as, handoffs would go to running backs, who would run into the massive bodies at the line where players were not blocking the players in front of them. And, the referees would eventually just blow the whistle with everyone standing around.
Quarterbacks would throw the ball down the field to receivers, who were running 3/4 speed against defensive backs who were running a 3/4 speed and both might, or might not, try to make the catch or play on the ball.
Yes, there was an occasional moment, where are you saw flashes with a significant throw or runner would break free, but make no mistake: what the Pro Bowl has become, gradually over the last few years, and now on full display Sunday, is not football.
It’s not even close.
Nonetheless, the Pro Bowl will continue and be televised again this season by ESPN on Sunday afternoon January 26th. The Super Bowl will be played the following week in Miami at Hard Rock Stadium.