“We aren’t anywhere with it,” Federal League Commissioner Joe Eaton said. “We talked about it a little bit … but basically we’re going to start the process in August.”
The league will reconvene its strategic planning committee to explore its options. The league has three options:
• Do nothing and remain a seven-team league. That means in football, there would be four nonleague games.
• Add a school, likely Massillon, to go back to eight teams.
• Or really expand to at least a dozen teams and have two divisions.
The last option is unlikely unless the league partners with a like-size league in the area. The NBC is made up of smaller schools, but there could be a big-school and a small-school division with, perhaps, a crossover game.
Eaton acknowledged that all three options are on the table, and a plan will be made in August to move forward.
EGNER, HENNIGER GONE
It didn’t take long for the Jackson High School boys basketball team to turn the page. It seemed like the Polar Bears state championship season just ended and already players are moving on with their lives.
Returning players were in Columbus this weekend for a two-day summer tournament. It was this tournament last year when Jackson started aiming to return for a state title.
Josh Egner has enrolled in summer classes at the University of Akron. He will play basketball for the Zips, and could play early. Mark Henniger, the second half of the twin towers for the Bears, enrolled at Kent State last weekend where he is working out and taking classes.
Nathan Kanam, who also went to the state final four in tennis, finished third in Jackson’s graduating class of nearly 450. He is headed to Ohio State on an academic scholarship.
OHIO STATE’S CLASS
Ohio State’s 2011 recruiting class is filling up quickly. The Buckeyes landed Massillon wide receiver Devin Smith this week, and he is the 15th player to verbally commit before playing a down in his senior season. McKinley defensive end Steve Miller was one of the first players to give Jim Tressel his word he was coming to Columbus. Here are the other verbal commitments to date:
QB Braxton Miller, Huber Heights Wayne; WR Evan Spencer, Vernon Hills, Ill.; TE Jeff Heuerman, Naples, Fla.; OL Brian Bobek, Palatine, Ill.; OL Tommy Brown, Akron Firestone; OL Chris Carter, Cleveland JFK; OL Antonio Underwood, Shaker Heights; DE Chase Farris, Elyria; DE Kenny Hayes, Toledo Whitmer; DT Michael Bennett, Centerville; DT Joel Hale, Greenwood, Ind.; CB DerJuan Gambrell, Toledo Rogers; and S Jeremy Cash, Plantation, Fla.
Smith said he and Miller do not know one another yet. That is a little unusual that two players from the same county going to Ohio State aren’t buddies, at least text-messaging pals. But Smith said not to read much into it.
“I don’t know him very well right now, but I think we could become good friends,” Smith said. “Right now, we’re both focusing on our teams, and our teams only. When we play them that week, we’ll hate each other. After that, we can become good friends and be teammates for the next coming years.”
One of the big reasons Smith chose Ohio State — aside from being a lifelong Buckeye fan — over Notre Dame, Cincinnati, West Virginia and Michigan State is Braxton Miller. The Huber Heights Wayne quarterback is thought to be the heir-apparent to Terrelle Pryor, or at least the next great OSU quarterback. Smith and Miller exchanged phone numbers at OSU’s senior advance camp last weekend.
“Before I committed, there wasn’t much of a stress factor,” Smith said. “Now that I’ve got it out of the way, I can focus on my team. They don’t have to worry where I’m going.”
Smith said he doesn’t have any inside information on Pryor’s future at Ohio State. He did meet and speak with Pryor, though. Pryor would be a senior during Smith’s freshman year, or he could move on to the NFL after this season. I’d say the odds are in favor of Pryor returning to OSU, unless he shows significant improvement all season at quarterback.
“I’m hoping he comes back,” Smith said. “That would be nice for him to be there my first year. If he chooses to go to the league (NFL), that’s a choice he has to make. Then we’ve got Braxton Miller, who’s pretty good, too.”
USC AD IS LOSING IT
USC Athletics Director Mike Garrett, the former Trojan who won the school’s first Heisman Trophy, has opened his mouth and inserted foot often enough in a week the school ought to part ways with him.
Have you caught any of Garrett’s act in the wake of the NCAA sanctions that hit Southern California’s only professional football team?
“As I read the decision by the NCAA … I read between the lines and there was nothing but a lot of envy,” Garrett said. “They wish they all were Trojans.”
This came during a speech to USC boosters. Some of them were irate enough to want to hear that rah-rah talk. Then Garrett went too far.
“Today I got a purpose for really wanting to dominate for another 10 years.
“With the penalty we got today, I know we’re bigger than life.”
Then I read Sports Illustrated this week, which was much easier and shorter than reading the 67-page NCAA report released in relation to the rules violations. On page 53 of the report the NCAA underscore USC’s lack of institutional control.
“The director of athletics (Garrett) went to the men’s basketball office … looking for a response to a report that (Rodney Guillory) was a professional sports agent and involved with (player O.J. Mayo). When advised by (coach Tim Floyd) that (Guillory) had on numerous occasions denied he was an agent or a runner, (Garrett) responded, ‘That’s all I need to know,’ and left the office. No further followup was done.”
That is, to a “T,” lack of institutional control.
Now, do you still think the NCAA penalties — loss of 30 football scholarships over three years, postseason ban for two years and many others — were too severe? They not only fit the crime, they fit the school’s level of arrogance.
McNAIR FRONT AND CENTER
Todd McNair, who was the Browns running backs coach under Butch Davis, is right in the middle of the USC mess as it relates to Reggie Bush. The NCAA believes McNair had knowledge of more than $300,000 in money and gifts an agent gave to Bush, yet McNair did nothing. As a result, McNair is prohibited from recruiting for a year.
Kyle Kempt, the quarterback from Oregon who has enrolled at Washington High School for next season, is the brother of Cody Kempt, who is the starting quarterback at Montana State. Before that, though, Cody Kempt was a scholarship QB at Oregon.
After an injury, he found himself buried on the depth chart. Then the Ducks added a junior college transfer by the name of Jeremiah Masoli, which prompted Kempt to transfer to Montana State with the blessing of then Athletics Director Mike Bellotti.
Masoli has been kicked off the team after another run-in with the law.
Meanwhile, Kyle Kempt is expected to be in Massillon next month to start workouts with the Tigers.
SPEAKING OF THE TIGERS
With no shortage of quarterbacks to replace Robert Partridge — Brody Tonn, Anthony McCormick and Kempt — and two Division I-bound wide receivers in Devin Smith and Justin Olack, Massillon’s passing attack should be off the charts this season. Head coach Jason Hall has said he is experimenting with other ways to get the ball in the hands of Olack and Smith. Olack is a former quarterback, too.
NOT WASTING TIME
New GlenOak girls basketball coach Krista Ross isn’t wasting any time getting her program running at GlenOak High School. Ross, a Hoover graduate, moved back to Ohio from Florida just two weeks ago and already she had a youth camp running this week. Girls in grades 3-8 can attend the camp Monday through Thursday at GlenOak for $50, which includes a T-shirt and a backpack.