It's Not Plagiarism If You Link To It is BHGP's regular news roundup. Send all tips to any of the email addresses at the bottom of the page. Seriously: any and all tips are appreciated, although not all tips will necessarily get used in INP.
Good to be the king. The Chicago Tribune spills the dirt on the secret origin of Nebraska's move to the Big Ten and reveals that it -- and the creation of the Big Ten Network -- might not have happened at all if ESPN hadn't lowballed Delany in his efforts to re-negotiate a significant increase in the media rights fees back in 2004.
"The shortest [negotiating session] I ever had," Delany told the Tribune. "He lowballed us and said: 'Take it or leave it. If you don't take our offer, you are rolling the dice.' I said: 'Consider them rolled.' "
Delany went off and created the Big Ten Network (which quickly became far more successful than anyone had dreamed it could be) and got a hike in the Big Ten's media rights fees in 2006, which I believe is what insiders call "flawless victory." I can't decide what my favorite part of the story is, though: that Delany sent former ESPN exec Mark Shapiro (the guy who lowballed him in '04) an eff-you bottle of champagne or that the bottle of champagne he sent was re-gifted. The lesson, though, is clear: do not roll dice with Jim Delany, because he will gut you like a fish when he wins with his loaded dice -- and then he'll piss on your corpse.
Also, I had no idea until reading that article that Shapiro was an Iowa alum. On behalf of my fair institution of higher learning, I'd like to formally apologize for our role in inflicting Cold Pizza, Stephen A. Smith, and ESPN Hollywood on the world. Although, to be fair, his dickishness in those '04 negotiating sessions is what led the Big Ten to create the cash cow that is BTN, enabling the league to remain one of the richest and most powerful forces in college sports. So, really, Iowa saved the day. (Kinda.) Feel free to thank us in the comments.
Caring is creepy does the time warp. Iowa picked up another commitment to the football team this week, but there's something a little different about this one: Connecticut defensive line recruit Dean Tsopanides is a 2011 recruit, meaning he'll be on campus this fall. Tsopanides is a prototypical Iowa recruit (especially for the defensive line) in many ways: undersized (6'2", 240 lbs.), under the radar (no other offers, unranked by Rivals and Scout), and a talented prep wrestler (state champion at 215 lbs.).
Prior to getting an Iowa offer, Tsopanides was headed to Milford Academy in hopes of improving enough to garner some better offers next year. Iowa has some history with Milford -- Shonn Greene spent a year there prior to heading to Iowa in 2005 and former Iowa quarterback Jason Manson is on staff there -- which probably played a part in Iowa finding out about him. After seeing him at a Milford combine, the Iowa coaches brought him to campus, where it was apparently love at first sight, according to an article in The Register Citizen:
"It was overwhelming," Tsopanides said. "Any Big 10 stadium is pretty special, but this was one of the best I’ve seen in my life."
A day later, Tsopanides committed to the Hawkeyes and signed on for a full scholarship.
"It’s an honor," Tsopanides softly exclaimed. "Simply put, one word; it’s an honor."
And he said that when the stadium was empty; wait until he sees it packed full of 70,000 screaming fans this fall.
Tsopanides had a tremendously productive senior season (86 tackles, 13 sacks) and picked up all-state honors, so there's certainly talent there. Given his size, he's a virtual lock to redshirt next year and spend a few years bulking up. Feel free to file his name away for future reference; it's unlikely that he'll make an immediate impact, but he's as likely as any of Iowa's other unheralded recruits to be the latest "diamond in the rough" success story.
Caring is creepy gets shanghaied. Unfortunately, not all of the news on the recruiting front is quite so rosy. Highly touted 197 lb. wrestler Cayle Byers, expected to transfer from George Mason to Iowa, is not coming to Iowa in 2011. To make matters worse, he's headed to Oklahoma State, one of Iowa's biggest rivals -- and strongest challengers for the 2012 national title. So... what happened? Good question.
"I can confirm we had recruited him," Brands said Thursday. "If he’s enrolled at Oklahoma State, that confirms the rumor mill I heard. That’s all I will say."
But something knocked Byers’ journey to Iowa off course during the past four months, and school officials wouldn’t divulge why Thursday.
"He will not be part of our program next year," Iowa associate athletics director Fred Mims said in a statement relayed by Iowa associate sports information director Steve Roe after athletics director Gary Barta directed questions to Mims.
Roe said Barta and Mims would not comment further on the matter at this time.
Byers didn't have a spotless record: he left George Mason because of a legal incident there (he was charged with public intoxication and assault on law enforcement), but it's unclear what effect that had on his recruitment. It would be absurdly hypocritical for Iowa administrators to deny him admission based on that incident after allowing Montell Marion to return to the wrestling team last year and signing off on the basketball team's recruitment of Anthony Hubbard, he of the four-year jail term for armed robbery, just a few months ago.
Regardless of why Byers' transfer fell through, his absence leaves a gaping hole in Iowa's lineup and strengthens a key rival, likely turning them into potential national title contenders. The only listed 197er Iowa had on their roster last year other than Luke Lofthouse (and, sadly, the Stormin' Mormon has exhausted his eligibility) was Brodie Ambrose, but Ambrose didn't compete in any events last year, which is not an encouraging sign. The more likely option is Iowa fielding a bulked-up 184-lb. guy, which could include Tomas Lira (13-7 last year), Vinnie Wagner (17-3), or even Grant Gambrall (which could serve the dual purpose of freeing up a spot in the roster for stud 2010 recruit Mike Evans). Still, no matter who Iowa is able to put on the mat is almost certainly going to be a significant downgrade from Byers, who was 17-1 before getting suspended last year and should enter 2011-2012 as a serious threat to win a national title. The road to regaining the national title (or even the Big Ten title) just got a whole lot harder.
Magical limbo. Does it seems like it's been too long since we had news of Iowa City doing something to make tailgating less fun? Never fear, they're back at it, with a new ordinance that could make it impossible for the famed Magic Bus to operate. The Magic Bus operators are seeking an exception to the ordinance; good luck with that. Even if they are able to pull a rabbit out of their hat and survive this fall, it's hard to believe there won't be some new pothole in the road for them next year. Tailgating in Iowa City has been getting steadily defanged for the last decade; there's not much reason to expect that to change anytime soon.
STRAIGHT LEFT JABZ
* Per Hlas, Iowa has the easiest conference schedule in the West division, while Nebraska has the hardest schedule.
* Blog-buddy Kegs 'n' Eggs has some thoughts on the newly-released NCAA Football '12 demo, as well as roster videos for various conferences (including the Big Ten).
* The guys aren't the only ones playing in quasi-organized hoops this summer -- the ladies are too and evidently incoming top recruit Samantha Logic is turning a few heads.
* And I really should have mentioned this a few days ago, but if you haven't seen CM Punk's show-ending promo from RAW the other night, you missed out on something pretty damn awesome.