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08.26.05: ECU's Moore sole Carolinas player on Butkus list ... New BCS voters panel already in for shakeup
08.25.05: Mayo's destination has well-worn path to ECU ... NCAA adds extra year to Gamecocks' probation
08.24.05: Transgression nets suspension for ECU's Flournoy ... Cincinnati will enter Big East without Huggins ... VPI poised to pony up to keep Beamer, staff
08.23.05: West Virginia announces halt to ECU ticket sales ... Polling company unveils official BCS voters list
08.22.05: Mountain West angling for clearer path to BCS
08.21.05: Associated Press preseason college football poll
08.20.05: Groh signs $1.7 million per year deal with UVa
08.19.05: Mountain West tidying up postseason deals
08.18.05: Talk 1070 touts Pirates, Panthers, new shows ... Fort Worth Bowl embraces Mountain West, TCU... NYC schools reap windfall from NCAA-NIT deal
08.17.05: Tulsa inks football coach to long-term pact ... NCAA, NIT apparently come to terms in lawsuit
08.16.05: Carnesecca takes stand in NCAA-NIT legal clash
08.15.05: Mascot decree has some schools on war path
08.14.05: New sheriff brings law and order to Gatorville
08.13.05: List: 2005 College Football Hall of Fame class
08.12.05: South Bend at odds with Hall of Fame over $$$
08.11.05: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium among 'shrines' on pigskin 'tour'
08.10.05: 'Cock-n-Fire' offense may stay in holster awhile

News Nuggets, 08.27.05
 —  —  —  —  —

Previous Day Nuggets...             Next Day Nuggets...

Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Huggins ouster speeds up Cincy AD's departure

CINCINNATI — Andy Kennedy was hired as interim head coach at Cincinnati on Friday, two days after Bob Huggins was forced out as the Bearcats' basketball coach.

Kennedy had been Huggins' top assistant and served as recruiting coordinator the past four years. Before that, he spent five years as an assistant at UAB, where he is the school's No. 2 career scorer.

The 37-year-old Kennedy said he is grateful for the opportunity, and he has Huggins' blessing.

``This has been a very difficult time for men's basketball at the University of Cincinnati,'' Kennedy said. ``I have been given the charge to move this program forward, to put the focus back on our student-athletes.''

Outgoing athletic director Bob Goin will step down on Jan. 1 so his successor can evaluate the program before searching for a permanent replacement for Huggins, spokesman Tom Hathaway said. Goin had been expected to wait until June 30 to retire as athletic director.

Goin will take another job with the university for the final six months of his contract, Hathaway said.

Huggins quit Wednesday, a day after the school said he would be fired if he didn't resign. He agreed to a $3 million buyout for the rest of his contract.

Richard Katz, Huggins' lawyer, said Thursday he and the university's lawyer probably won't complete details of the buyout until next week.

The sides are discussing when Huggins will leave and how much he will get. The school is willing to let him stay as an adviser for three months, easing the transition to an interim coach.

Huggins led Cincinnati to No. 1 rankings, a Final Four and 14 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances during his 16 seasons at Cincinnati. The Bearcats also had numerous player arrests and violations during his stay, drawing NCAA probation.

Kennedy said he had mixed emotions about taking over for Huggins.

``We're all dealing with this as best we can,'' Kennedy said. ``We're not going to lie down, I assure you, tomorrow. We are not going to forfeit this season. We're going to do what we came here to do, and that's push forward.''

Kennedy said he knew when he accepted the job that he could have a brief tenure.

``I'm the interim head coach,'' he said. ``That means today, and I guess the rest is up to debate.''

NCAA issues 'heads up' on new spearing rule

NEW YORK — The NCAA has a warning for college football players: See what you hit or expect to get flagged.

The NCAA changed its spearing rule in the offseason to remove any reference to intent. The old rule penalized players who intentionally led with their helmets, forcing officials to judge whether a dangerous, high-speed hit was deliberate. Not anymore.

Georgia athletic trainer Ron Courson, who headed a task force that studied the rule and initiated the change, said he hopes that more penalties will lead to a safer game.

``If we're in a game where we have five holding penalties, I know it's going to be addressed on Monday,'' Courson said. ``If we have five of these penalties, it's going to get addressed.''

Courson felt compelled to do something about the spearing rule after he was an eyewitness to one of the scariest hits of the 2004 season.

``Football is a violent game even if played appropriately, but if you do something inappropriate it can change your life,'' he said.

Georgia's Reggie Brown made a catch over the middle against Auburn and before he could turn up field, Junior Rosegreen flattened the receiver with a helmet-to-helmet hit that sent chills through Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Courson attended to Brown as the player lay motionless on the field.

Brown was lucky: He only ended up with a concussion. Rosegreen was even luckier. The way he led with his head left him vulnerable to a spine injury.

The hit got Courson thinking about how rarely he's seen spearing called in college football. The problem, he found, was in the wording of the rule.

``The rule said 'He must intentionally use his helmet to spear,' and we felt like it's hard to find an official to realize whether or not the players intentionally used it or whether he was just making a hit,'' Southeastern Conference coordinator of officials Bobby Gaston said. ``So that will be a rule and a point of emphasis, not only in our conference, but nationally.''

The NCAA is providing each school with posters showing what an illegal hit looks like. Courson also put together a video with examples of dangerous hits along with a presentation for athletic trainers to show their players and coaches.

Florida safety Jarvis Herring said the ``See What You Hit'' sign is in the Gators' locker room.

``The way we practice, we're taught to keep our head up anyway, so it's not a big change,'' he said. ``But we're aware of the new rules. We just don't know how it's going play out in games. Hopefully, it doesn't change much.''

Spearing generally brings to mind a tackler lowering his head and planting his helmet into another player's body.

While it may seem that the player on the receiving end of such hits is most vulnerable, the player delivering the blow is in far greater danger, Courson said.

``Our team doctors came and talked to our team about spearing and said how the intent of the rule is really to protect the guy who is spearing,'' Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said.

The difference between a safe hit and a potentially fatal one is mere inches.

``When you bend that head forward your spine becomes perfectly straight and it can't absorb shock,'' Courson said. ``My head stops and my body is still going. It's called axial loading.''

Two of the most tragic and well-known examples of what can happen when a tackler drops his head are the cases of Chucky Mullins and Curtis Williams. Mullins was a defensive back for Mississippi who was left paralyzed after a hit he delivered in a game against Vanderbilt in 1989. He died 18 months later.

Williams was playing defensive back for Washington when he was paralyzed trying to make a tackle against Stanford in 2000. Like Mullins, Williams died 18 months later.

``Unless you've been around somebody that's had one of those serious neck injuries, you just don't know how devastating it can be,'' Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said.

Last season, a helmet-to-helmet hit left Tennessee Tech receiver Drew Hixon with a serious head injury. Hixon is returning to school, but not the football team, this fall.

``This isn't an epidemic, but we do see a couple a year where you say, 'That was a dangerous hit,''' NCAA associated director Ty Halpin said.

Courson hopes the media will be more discerning about what hits they glorify on television. Rosegreen's hit on Brown was all over the highlight shows.

``If the media doesn't realize what's an illegal hit, kids are going to see it and say 'I want to be on the highlights,' and the media is teaching bad habits,'' he said.

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 2005 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Page Updated: 02/23/2007 12:27 PM


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