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June 6, 2010

Notebook: Mike Jackson, Shawn Conway and more

Michigan wide receiver commitment Shawn Conway (6-3, Birmingham Seaholm) could be facing a battle in the future - for his senior year. The Oakland Press reports that Conway may not be eligible next season due to circumstances beyond his control.

Family difficulties resulted in Seaholm head coach Chris Fahr gaining legal custody of Conway in May … and since Fahr lives in the Clarkston school district, Conway might be forced to enroll at Clarkston High, be subject to transfer rules and miss the fall sports season.

The same report suggests the Birmingham School Board and the district superintendent can sign a waiver that bypasses the rule and that would allow Conway to remain in coach Fahr's legal custody, live in Clarkston with the Fahr family and still attend Seaholm. However, there is apparently a group opposed due to some "minor improprieties" in which Conway took part off the field.

The questions here … how significant are these minor improprieties, and to what lengths would people in the community go to keep Conway from participating at Seaholm? Chances are we find out the answers at some point, given how freely information flows in this day and age.

For the entire article, click here: Oakland Press.

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Things continue to heat up with conference expansion talk. Last week, the Texas Rivals.com site Orangebloods.com broke the news that the Pac-10 would soon officially ask a number of Big 12 schools to join the conference. Texas sources informed TheWolverine.com that the Longhorns, one of the biggest prizes in the conference restructuring wars, would prefer to remain in the Big 12 but were "sitting back and watching with all options on the table."

According to the Austin American-Statesman, the Big 12 isn't going to sit back and let its schools be poached without at least trying to keep the conference together. Nebraska and Missouri - two schools right in the middle of the Big Ten expansion rumors -- have been given an ultimatum by the Big 12 and told they have until this Friday to decide if they want to remain in the conference or entertain the possibility of joining the Big Ten, two highly placed officials of two Big 12 schools told the Statesman.

Conference presidents reportedly issued the ultimatum.

If either school misses the deadline (which reportedly could be extended to June 15), six Big 12 schools -- including Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech -- will be inclined to join the Pac-10, according to the report. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado "are the other three schools that could bolt."

"There is an invitation," one Big 12 administrator confirmed. "When it comes, it'll come fast."

Another Pac-10 athletic director added there was no plan in place and plenty that still had to happen before any deal was finalized.

According to the Houston Chronicle>Associated Press, the Big Ten did not take formal action during a meeting Sunday about conference expansion, though the conference may move up its expansion timetable (initially set at 12 to 18 months) due to the Pac-10's recent moves.

The AP reported that the 11 school presidents and chancellors along with Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick met for about 4 hours Sunday, with the majority of time spent on expansion dialogue. Highly publicized e-mails between Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney seem to confirm what just about everyone knows by now … Texas is willing to listen if the Big Ten is interested - and yes, the Big Ten is interested.

"I did speak with Bill Powers at Texas, who would welcome a call to say they have a 'Tech' problem," Gee wrote in an e-mail that was among several obtained by the Columbus Dispatch through a public-records request for documents and correspondence related to Big Ten expansion proposals. 


The Big 12 is trying desperately to keep its conference together, the Big 10 and Pac-10 are hoping to poach some of its best teams and Notre Dame - in bed with Texas (or at least sharing information before the deed), according to sources - is watching closely, aware that its days of independence could be numbered.

Certainly expect the Big Ten to expand, as Delaney insisted it likely would several months ago. The final product is anybody's guess at this point, but a conference with both Notre Dame and Texas has to be Delaney's goal.

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Assistant basketball coach Mike Jackson to Purdue - didn't see that one coming, and neither did many, but it's reality. Several sources confirmed that Jackson would indeed make the move, though the real reasons may never be made public.

Head coach John Beilein brought Jackson back after the coach had been dismissed with the rest of Tommy Amaker's staff, and Jackson seemed happy in Ann Arbor, especially alongside friend and new addition Bacari Alexander (hired from Western Michigan several weeks ago). Losing him means the new assistant - whoever that may be - will have to spend time getting to know recruits Jackson has built relationships with over the last several months (more, in some cases).

In short, the Wolverines might be forced to play catch-up on some kids in two pivotal recruiting classes ('11 and '12). One thing to note, however … in speaking with dozens of kids and coaches for our recent basketball recruiting issue, the vast majority hold Beilein in high esteem and said the head coach would ultimately be the guy they'd be playing for, anyway.

That's the approach '11 commitment Carlton Brundidge of Southfield, Mich. is taking right now, which is good news for Michigan fans.

On the hoops recruiting front, Fishers (Ind.) Hamilton Southestern teammates Gary Harris and Jacobby Bledsoe both visited Michigan and Michigan State this weekend and enjoyed their trips. Harris picked up an MSU offer (some in his camp have ties to the Spartans, too), and will officially receive his Michigan offer on June 15.

As mentioned in a recent Inside the Fort article, though Harris is publicly announcing he's taking his time and open to all schools, several analysts feel this is going to be a Michigan State - Xavier battle. One close to the situation believes the Musketeers have the leg up at this point, and that Harris -- and many of the top '12 prospects in the state of Indiana - will decide by the end of summer.


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