Earlier this month South Alabama announced the school’s first two Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS or formerly Division-I) opponents. In the 2011 season, the Jags will play North Carolina State and Kent State on back to back weekends on September 17 and 24. Both games will be away games as part of a 2-for-1 series with both schools.
The 2011 schedule will have six other Division-I schools, four of which will be visiting Mobile. Lamar and UC Davis will complete their home-and-home contracts with Lamar visiting on September 10 and UC Davis visiting on October 1. Tennessee-Martin will visit on October 15 and Cal Poly will be the final game of the season on November 19.
Head coach Joey Jones had the following to say about how the future schedules affect South Alabama. “We feel like this is a great step forward for where we want to go. Obviously, playing all of these Division I schools on the schedule in our third year will present a challenge. In the grand scheme of things, it’s about where we are going and preparing for a schedule that will feature pretty much all FBS opponents the following year.”
He continued, “Each year we want to step up the level of competition on our schedule – our kids and staff want to be challenged. Certainly we will have some bumps along the way playing teams at this level, but it’s where we want to be and where this program is headed.”
As for the 2010 schedule, the Jags will have seven home games and the Athletic Department announced that all six of the Saturday home games will have 4pm kickoffs. While the lone Thursday night game will be the season finale against Arkansas-Monticello on November 11 with a 6pm kickoff.
The Jags will have their first road games ever this season and travel packages are available for those games. On September 25 the Jags travel to Dothan for their first ever away game when they play Edward Waters in the Wiregrass Football Classic. A game ticket and tailgating will cost $35 while a $78 package which includes travel to and from the game is also available.
The away game against Lamar on October 16 has a three day package including round-trip transportation from the USA Campus is available. It features two nights at the MCM Elegante Hotel and Convention Center with a reception and several other goodies for $75 up to $475 depending on the costs of the ticket, number of paying travelers and amount of people in the hotel room.
A three day trip has also been put together for the UC Davis game on October 23. It includes a two night stay in the Embassy Suites Riverfront Promenade and more. The cost is $260-$375 not including air fare.
It was announced a couple weeks ago that the South Alabama basketball program will be punished for not meeting the NCAA mandatory minimum academic progress. But USA was not the only school to get punished.
The Jags will lose two scholarships which reduces them from 13 scholarships to 11 scholarships. Additionally, it’s weekly practice time will be cut from 20 hours per week to 16 hours per week.
The NCAA mandatory minimum score is 925 on the Academic Progress Rate while the men’s basketball program only managed an 888 score, the men’s tennis team scored a 896. Both were sanctioned. Athletic Director Joel Erdmann said that the penalty is what is referred to as “phase-two historical penalty.”
UAB was the other program in the state that faced similar problems as USA. All 21 programs at Alabama scored above minimum, while the football team scored a 957 which is well above the Division-I average of 944. The Alabama men’s basketball team raised its score 44 points to 966, which was the only sport that has failed to reach the minimum in the last three years.
The men’s basketball program at Auburn was on shaky ground with a 916, but did not face penalties because no ineligible players left the program during the last year. The Jags, if you remember, had two players leave the program due to ineligibility. LaShun Watson and Raymond Sim were both ineligible for the second half of the basketball season due to academics.
The formula for calculating this can be complex. Programs with an APR under 925, generally, cannot replace scholarships held by a student-athlete who left the program while academically ineligible in the prior academic year. Then the NCAA can add to the penalties for chronically under performing programs. Such as what USA faced, limits on practice time, but they can also include a ban on postseason play.
The sanctions faced by the UAB basketball program, which scored below 900 for three consecutive years, but the NCAA agreed to waive the ban after UAB presented an improvement plan. Their plan included stringent admissions standards and closer supervision by the administration.
Of the ten teams the NCAA said were subject to postseason bans, only Portland State men’s basketball team will be barred from postseason play. UAB football and Jacksonville State men’s basketball received full or conditional waivers.
It was confirmed on Wednesday that Coach Steve Kittrell will retire after the 2011 season, the last year of his contract with South Alabama. Coach Kittrell said that he and his wife Carol have been discussing retirement the last four years or so. He decided that he was “tired of going back to his motel room alone after a 3-2 loss.”
Joel Erdmann, South Alabama Athletic Director and a former assistant to coach Kittrell in the mid 90’s, said that the coaching search is ‘wide open’. They also hope to have Kittrell’s successor named and to serve as his assistant coach and coach-in-waiting for the 2011 season. This is being done as an effort to maintain recruiting continuity in the highly competitive college baseball realm.
Erdmann will spearhead the search and as he said, “It’s a marquee job int he sport of college baseball, there’s going to be some heads turned, and there are heads turned. We’re going to have different types of coaches from various backgrounds that are going to take a run at this thing.” Also speaking about having the coach-in-waiting, he said “We need to have the ability to get into homes soon and clarify the situation and say, ‘Next year, your son will be playing for me.”
Coach Kittrell salary of $125,000 will likely be comprable to what the new coach’s salary would be. Additionally the new coach will be required to have a college degree which will eliminate some candidates.
Some former South Alabama major league players Mike Mordecai and Turner Ward have been mentioned as potential replacement candidates. However neither have a degree from South Alabama.
Tony David has been mentioned as well and he is a former USA players who is the associate head coach at Samford. Scot Sealy was stressed by Kittrell should be considered. Kittrell also mentioned that other former players should be considered as well.
Tomorrow at 2pm it is expected that South Alabama Baseball coach Steve Kittrell will announce his retirement. He has one year remaining on his contract and it is expected to be his last.
Coach Kittrell will turn 62 in November and will be entering his 28th year with the program. His record stands at 1,022-611-1 at USA and 1,055-630-1 overall. He has 18 NCAA tournament appearances and 10 Sun Belt Championships to show for his time at South Alabama.
Coach Kittrell has seen over 100 former players sign professional contracts and 17 have made it to the major leagues.
Let the speculation begin. Who is on Dr. Erdmann’s list? Will they try to make a splash with a former player/major leaguer? Will they try to pluck a coach from another program? Is there someone on the coaching staff to promote to head coach?
Tommy Hicks wrote a nice piece about Anthony Mostella’s funeral and Coach Joey Jones in the Mobile Press-Register today.
He wrote about how Coach Jones, a very good public speaker who has done so countless times over the years, found it much more difficult speaking at the funeral for a player tragically killed in a motorcycle accident.
Mostella played for Coach Jones at Birmingham-Southern and eventually for him at South Alabama too. The article touches on how Mostella contacted Coach Jones and convinced him to accept him as a transfer.
As a way of remembering Mostella’s importance in South Alabama’s first season of football, Coach Jones announced how his presence will continue to be a reminder each year. Mostella’s #5 jersey will not be retired or put on display. It will be awarded to a Senior who earns the honor of wearing the #5 jersey.
A fitting honor for an outstanding gentleman.
Read the article here.
South Alabama Athletic Ticket Office announced on Monday that they have started taking ticket orders for two of the Jaguars’ three road games this season.
The games currently on sale are Edward Waters that will be played in Dothan, Alabama on September 25th and UC-Davis on October 23rd.
Tickets can be ordered at (251)461-1USA. Also the ticket office will be sending an away game order form through the mail to all season ticket holders with a return deadline of July 30th.
Due to limited number of tickets available for each road game, Jaguar Athletic Fund points will determine the priority used to fill order and seating locations for these games.
Anthony Mostella: May 10, 1988 – June 13, 2010.
The South Alabama Jaguar family lost a member today. 22 year old Anthony Mostella died in a one-vehicle accident in St. Clair County according to a report from Alabama State troopers.
The accident occurred about three miles south of Ashville. No other details were available and the accident remains under investigation.
Friends and family have been bombarding his facebook page with notes to him and his family. A shining light that was extinguished too early. Rest in peace Mo, your #5 will not be forgotten.
Following up on last night’s terrible news that Anthony Mostella passed away in an accident, some specifics were released later last night. It seems that it was a motorcycle crash around 3:40pm about three miles south of Ashville.
At Birmingham Southern he was a second-team All-Southern Collegiant Athletic Conference pick at running back in 2007. He rushed for 222 yards with two touchdowns on 57 rushes while catching 30 passes for another 297 yards and a touchdown. He was also named to the Sun Belt Conference Academic Honor Roll at the end of the Spring semester in 2009.
In high school at Oneonta, Mostella set a school record with 38 touchdowns while rushing for 2,055 yards. During his four years, Oneonta had a mark of 52-3.
South Alabama’s Head Football Coach Joey Jones actually coached Anthony Mostella at Birmingham Southern as well as South Alabama and gave the following quote on usajaguars.com.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Anthony’s family right now. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with Anthony at two schools, he was the epitome of a true student-athlete and a tremendous role model to his peers. His character and leadership skills will always be an example for everyone in our program to follow.”
Some interesting things have popped up lately about conference expansion/realignment. There have been speculation about the Big10 (actually 11 teams) grabbing at least one more team to make the NCAA required 12 teams in order to have a conference championship game.
The Big10 (actually 11) first inclination was to offer to Notre Dame who already has some well established rivalry games within the conference. They are in the right place in the region and, well, it just plain makes sense. However, Notre Dame holds onto this notion that they are special and that their name means something in College Football. Unfortunately, it only does to Notre Dame alums, elderly college football fans and Lou Holtz. If you face the facts like Kirk Herbstreit said on College Gameday late last year, Notre Dame has been irrelevant for about 20 years. The best thing for the Irish to do is to join the Big 10 (actually 11) while they looking for a 12th team.
Other Big10 (actually 11) candidates would be getting Connecticut as well as luring Syracuse and Rutgers to the fold. This would bring in the New York market and money. But UConn isn’t part of the AAU. Plus they aren’t that good anyway.
Next on the list would be Missouri. Pulling them from the Big 12 might prove to be a tough proposition but Mizzou fits in much better than UConn, Rutgers or Syracuse. The bottom of the short list has Pitt. They are rivals to Penn State and the Big 10 (actually 11) is already in Pennsylvania. Nebraska is another Big 12 school that could be lured to the Big 10 (actually 11) and would fit in like Missouri.
The Big 12 has given both schools, Nebraska and Missouri, a deadline of Friday at 5pm to tell them what they are going to do. If they don’t meet the deadline, then another very interesting twist could unfold.
The Pac-10 is also looking to expand their ranks. If Mizzou and Nebraska fail to meet the deadline then six Big 12 schools could possibly bolt the conference for the Pac-10. Those teams would include Texas and Oklahoma. The Big 10 (actually 11) has not formally extended any invitations to anyone but continues toward trying to land a major program. Texas is in play for every league exploring expansion.
Mike Slive, commissioner of the SEC Conference is currently sitting atop the mountain right now. The SEC is the superconference that everyone wants to be like. The Big 10 (actually 11) wants to join them on that mountain as another superconference. Slive is ready to react if the Big 10 (actually 11) expands to 14 or even 16 teams.
Some people have said that the SEC would be ready to extend an invitation to Texas and Texas A&M. Other possible schools could be Florida State, Clemson or Virginia Tech. Tech was actually being courted when the SEC was looking to expand last time but they added Arkansas instead. Some Georgia Tech fans might try to pull for their school but they don’t really fit the SEC model.
So all of this talk about Big 12, Pac-10, Big 10 (actually 11) and SEC but what does it mean for South Alabama? Could USA be the dark horse and sneak into the SEC? Doubtful at this time. But with this talk of superconferences what about a merger between Conference USA and the Sun Belt?
Looking at football schools, this would bring together South Alabama, Western Kentucky, Arkansas State, Louisiana Lafayette, Florida International, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas, Louisiana Monroe, Troy and Florida Atlantic together with Alabama-Birmingham, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, Tulane, Houston, Central Florida, Marshall, Rice, SMU, UTEP and Tulsa for a very large conference.
Do they need all of those schools? Not really. Who to pick for a 16 team conference? South Alabama, UAB, Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana Monroe, Southern Mississippi, Troy, North Texas, Houston, UTEP, Tulsa, Memphis, Central Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Middle Tennessee State, (Marshall, Rice or SMU). But what would be better would be if this new megaconference (not quite a superconference) could lure someone like East Carolina, Georgia Tech or Clemson to the conference.
But how all this will shake out is anyone’s guess at this point. The ball is in the Big 10’s (actually 11) court with Notre Dame. If they can convince them to join, it’s mostly all over from there. The PAC-10 will still probably look to expand but trying to convince six Big 12 schools to join them would be infinitely more difficult if Missouri and Nebraska do not have to face a choice of joining the Big 10 (I won’t mention the 11 this time) or staying put.