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October 23, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Thursday, October 23rd

Two More Jump: In what’s becoming a weekly occurrence, two teams have jumped from the Sun Belt Conference to the recently-beleaguered WAC. New Mexico State and Utah State have announced that they will leave the Sun Belt in time for the 2005-06 season. Utah State is a member of the Big West in all sports but football, but was planning on being a full Sun Belt member by that time. The two schools partially replace the recently departed SMU, Tulsa and Rice, who announced that they were joining Conference USA late last week. The Sun Belt shouldn’t really be affected that much in basketball, as they would remain a ten team conference, but their future as a football conference is now in question, as they will only have seven members after Troy State joins the conference after next season. The WAC may not be done, but will wait for the Big East dominoes to fall, expected for early November. The WAC is also rumored to be looking at North Texas and Idaho as potential expansion targets.

Bengal Out: Another midnight madness mishap has the Idaho State without sophomore guard David Schroeder. Schroeder, who had won the slam dunk contest in the midnight madness event at Reed Gym early Saturday morning, was injured in the Bengal scrimmage later in the event, landing awkwardly while grabbing a rebound, and tearing the ACL in his right knee. Schroeder averaged almost 11 points per game last season in his first campaign, but will now miss the entire 2003-04 season.

Scholarships?: Colgate University has bucked the Patriot League trend and announced that it will offer a limited set of athletic scholarships. The policy will go into effect next fall, and will provide for 31 scholarships for men’s and women’s basketball, ice hockey, lacrosse, swimming and diving, and soccer. The Patriot League, which just four years ago agreed to allow athletic scholarships, prohibit scholarships for football. The decision to offer scholarships was reached after a year-long study, and will be re-addressed after four years.

New Gamecock: South Carolina has announced that recruit Renaldo Balkman has finally been accepted into the school, and will begin practicing immediately with Dave Odom’s squad. Balkman’s status had been in question since last May with the school, and it looked as though he would not be cleared by the NCAA initial eligibility clearinghouse. But an approval yesterday from the NCAA will get Balkman on the court to help the Gamecock’s depth, as they’re without center Rolando Howell, who is suspended for the first 12 games of the season.

Former Razorback Arrested: Reggie Garrett, a former star under Nolan Richardson for the Arkansas Razorbacks was arrested yesterday on burglary charges, being held on a $150,000 bond. Garrett, who was arrested by Rankin County (Mississippi) officers, was also presented by Jackson Police with a warrant for assault. The Rankin County Sheriff’s office told the Associated Press that Garrett has been arrested 11 times in the past seven years, including DUI and assault.

Izzo vs. NBA: The disturbing trend of college basketball players getting bad advice and jumping to the NBA, only to go undrafted, won’t be happening on Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo’s watch. Izzo, who agreed to help players such as his sophomore forward Paul Davis if they will make an NBA squad, also told the Associated Press that he would have a “fist fight at midcourt” to make sure that the player didn’t make a mistake. Izzo last April watched freshman Erazem Lorbek receive advice to enter the NBA draft, and now is toiling in the lower European leagues after not getting drafted. In 2002, sophomore guard Marcus Taylor opted to enter the draft, and was selected late in the second round, and was waived in camp. Taylor is now bouncing around the minor leagues.

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