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  • More than 73,000 fans attending Alabama’s spring game tells you all you need to know about the state of Alabama athletics. It is thriving, and now the school is set to sign one of the nation’s “most lucrative multimedia rights deals.”

    How does $150 million sound?

    Sports Business Daily is reporting that the university will sign a deal with Learfield Sports “worth at least $150 million to $160 million over 10 years.” The agreement will extend the relationship between Alabama and Learfield through June 30, 2024.

    Alabama has been with Learfield since 1998, but “took advantage of an opt-out” in its previous contract in order to renegotiate. The newly agreed to financial terms ($15-16 million per year) “double Alabama’s guarantee previously.”

    Alabama now joins Notre Dame and Texas in the top three schools in multimedia rights revenue. The Crimson Tide’s success on the football field in recent years – three national titles in five years -- gave the school the grounds to renegotiate.

    “A lot of

    Read More »from Report: Alabama is set to sign $150 million multimedia rights deal
  • USC coach Steve Sarkisian is changing course on his decision to give No. 55 to an offensive lineman.

    In March, Sarkisian announced that freshman offensive lineman Toa Lobendahn would wear No. 55 this spring, bucking nearly 25 years of tradition where the number had been reserved for linebackers.

    “It’s a little bit of miscommunication there, and I probably dropped the ball so we’ll fix it,” Sarkisian said. “It’s a great number and a historical number, and I’ve got a lot of respect for the guys who have worn it.”

    That tradition started with star linebacker Junior Seau, who wore the number in 1988 and 1989 and was a first-team All-American selection after posting 19 sacks in 1989. Since then, other star linebackers such as Willie McGinest, Chris Claiborne and Keith Rivers have worn the number, making it a coveted jersey to earn.

    “USC is all about tradition, and to put that number on means something,” McGinest said during the spring game. “We’ve got to have some meetings and conversations

    Read More »from Steve Sarkisian said he made a mistake giving No. 55 to an offensive lineman
  • Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin hasn't fought in awhile, but never said he was retiring, just yet. Now, it looks like the UFC star is close to signing with Asian MMA promotion ONEFC, as an executive.

    According to UFC president Dana White, that possibility hasn't strained relations with Franklin. In fact, being a vice-president at ONEFC wouldn't even preclude Franklin fighting again in the UFC.

    "You know, we have a good relationship with Rich. Rich got offered a really good opportunity to go work with those guys and I'm happy for him," White said at the UFC on Fox 11 post-event press conference.

    "Hey listen, how can be upset with a guy for trying to better his life or taking a great opportunity somewhere? You can't. It's the sneaky guys that lie to your face and all that stuff."

    Should Franklin want to fight again, he's still under contract with the UFC and White seemed to suggest that they'd be happy giving him another bout. "He's still under contract to fight, if he

    Read More »from Rich Franklin could fight in UFC and work for ONEFC
  • This past weekend saw a lot of great story lines and we are here to give you the good and the bad of it. Here are our winners and losers from the past week in golf.

    Winners

    Matt Kuchar — The past four weeks have been an interesting stretch for Kuchar, who continued to get in the hunt over the weekend at each event but couldn't close on Sunday and was searching for his first win in 2014. This time, on Sunday at the RBC Heritage, it was Kuchar who was forced to chase the leaders, and his Sunday 64 was highlighted by this incredible bunker shot he holed on the 18th hole for the birdie and the eventual one-shot victory. 

    Michelle Wie — It might have been a disappointing conclusion two weeks ago for Wie at the opening major of the LPGA season, but it didn't take her long to bounce back and show just how incredible she is playing this season. Wie's final round 67 was good enough for a third LPGA win over the weekend in Hawaii, showing that all the work she has put in her game is really

    Read More »from Winners and losers from RBC Heritage week
  • Bo Jackson can relate to the balancing act Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has been doing this spring with football and baseball.

    Jackson was a two-sport star at Auburn before he played baseball and football professionally and said Saturday that Winston should "follow his heart" when it comes to both sports.

    "If he thinks he can do it, then so be it – on the college level," Jackson told AL.com on Saturday at the Auburn spring game. "But trying to take it to the next level, it's going to be a little difficult because the talent pool on both sides. Plus he's going to make his living with his arm and I think if I was Jameis I would follow my heart because I did the same thing."

    Winston is the closer for FSU's baseball team and he's from the same hometown, Bessemer, Al., as Jackson.

    "People tried to tell me 'Well, he shouldn't do this,' and it wouldn't be right for me to say what he should do or shouldn't do," Jackson said. "I think he should follow his heart. He should experience

    Read More »from Bo Jackson says Jameis Winston should 'follow his heart' about football and baseball
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    Now that we know the truth, that all six of Ryan Braun's home runs this season have come at either PNC Park or Citizens Bank Park, will Major League Baseball put the state of Pennsylvania on the banned subtance list? It must be something in the air, or the water, or the pirogi, or the Tastykakes, because once Braun steps into the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, he becomes the majors' deadliest hitter.

    Perhaps lost among the bat flipping and and yelling and brawling between the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday was Braun taking Bucs closer Jason Grilli deep for the second time in two games, giving him three homers against the Pirates this season, all at PNC. Combine them with the three homers Braun had at Philadelphia on April 8 and you've got his entire home run output for the season, six. Add two more 6's, and you have the Devil's area code.

    Away from the comforts of the Keystone State, Braun is 8 for 40 with nine strikeouts. One

    Read More »from All six of Ryan Braun's home runs this season have come in Pennsylvania
  • Anton Belov signed a four year contract in the KHL with SKA St. Petersburg. To some it was an unexpected move. For others, Belov could never fulfill the promise that the one-time best KHL defenseman would become a good player for the Edmonton Oilers.

    Belov joined the Russian national team in Novogorsk, near Moscow, to get ready for the IIHF World Championships that will take place in Minsk, Belarus beginning May 9.  He was asked about his departure from the NHL by Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov, who shared the conversation with us.

    Why did this move happen? You secured a spot on Edmonton’s roster, played a lot there, and then you decided to come back.

    “There is no one reason that made it an abrupt change. It all was building up during the season, especially more so after the Olympics. And the hire of coach Bykov (by SKA) was also an influence. The other point is that I could have re-signed with Edmonton, but I didn’t want to stay with that coach [Dallas Eakins]…”

    You were offered a

    Read More »from Anton Belov on leaving Oilers for KHL: 'I didn’t want to stay with that coach'
  • This is the best college football dance video of the offseason.

    After starting most of his team's early-morning spring practices with dance-offs between the players, the coaching staff at Emporia State, a Division II school about 90 minutes southwest of Kansas City, Mo., wanted to up the ante and turn the tables on themselves. So the coaches decided to copy the uber-popular "Evolution of Dance" video on YouTube and perform in front of the team after the final practice.

    The results are hilarious, and believe it or not, the staff didn't put much practice time into the skit at all.

    "If you would have taken our practice time and compared it – of course during the season whether or not that would depend on a win or a loss – we would have lost the game because we didn’t practice at all," ESU coach Garin Higgins told Yahoo Sports. "Everyone just kind of did their part."

    After talking about doing the video for a few days, the Emporia State coaches all sat down and viewed the video and doled

    Read More »from Emporia State's coaches mimicked the 'Evolution of Dance' (Video)
  •  

    Leading up to the NFL draft on May 8-10, Shutdown Corner will examine some of the most interesting prospects in the class, breaking down their strengths and weaknesses.

    Kelvin Benjamin
    Wide receiver
    Florida State
    6-foot-5, 240 pounds
    2013 stats: 54 receptions, 1,011 receiving yards, 15 touchdowns
    40-yard dash: 4.61 seconds (official time at combine)

    The good: Benjamin followed up and intriguing but inconsistent redshirt freshman season with an explosive 2013 effort, scoring 14 of touchdowns in the Seminoles' final 10 games (and 10 touchdowns in his final six games) scoring in all but one of those final 10. And he finished off FSU's title run with the signature play of the college season, a 2-yard touchdown catch from Jamies Winston with 13 seconds remaining to beat Auburn for the national title.

    Benjamin's size, catching radius and ability to high-point the ball all are consistent with the rash of big-bodied, big-play receivers who populate the NFL's leading statistics each season. It

    Read More »from NFL Draft Under The Microscope: Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin
  • The NFL draft is 17 days away, which means more than two weeks of pre-draft speculation. There will be another two weeks of inaccurate mock drafts/guessing games by NFL observers. Teams will “leak out” information to reporters as a smoke screen to disguise their real intentions.

    Unfortunately, most of us will consume every morsel of the pre-draft speculation.

    Houston Chronicle reporter John McClain recently reported the Texans were interested in selecting South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with their No.1 overall pick. Now Peter King of Monday Morning Quarterback reports the Texans are more interested in Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack than Clowney.

    Houston, at No. 1, isn’t set on Jadeveon Clowney. In fact, one FORS (Friend of Rick Smith) told me the Texans general manager likes Khalil Mack over Clowney, and we still don’t know which quarterback Houston would choose if it chooses one first overall. I still think the Texans would go with a more sure thing with the first

    Read More »from Texans reportedly more interested in Khalil Mack than Jadeveon Clowney

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