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A new six-year contract with CBS ensures that the Sun Bowl, formerly sponsored by John Hancock, will be played this year. Sun Bowl Association President Joyce Feinberg: "I don't know if we'll get a sponsor yet this year, but we have a much more salable event now. But the game will go on this year, and this buys us some time to continue our search for a sponsor" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/30). CBS' Len DeLuca: "The deal isn't contingent on them getting a title sponsor" (Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY, 8/30). ALLIANCE TRIES TO ENSURE TOP MATCH-UP: The bowl alliance, successor to the bowl coalition, takes over this season and "promises a more likely matching of the nation's top two teams" in Div. I-A to determine a national champion, according to William Wallace of the N.Y. TIMES. Each participating team will receive $8.5M, which comes from a pool of $50.4M assembled by the alliance from three major bowls -- Fiesta, Orange and Sugar; their sponsors, and ABC and CBS. The games will be played on different nights and will no longer "compete with one another" for TV audiences. The Sugar Bowl will be played New Year's Eve, the Orange on January 1, and the Fiesta on January 2 (N.Y. TIMES, 8/27). JUST WONDERING: The cover shot of the September issue of the College Football Asociation's SIDELINES magazine is of a display at the new College Football Hall of Fame which includes two players high-fiving each other. Would the statues be within the bounds of the the NCAA's new rules on excessive end zone celebrations? (THE DAILY).
In a three-part series, the CHICAGO TRIBUNE's Andrew Gottesman analyzed the "problematic relationship between professional sports agents and college athletes." In Part I, Gottesman notes the harassment experienced by Illinois LB Simeon Rice, who reports having agents offer him everything from $100 in a sack to a $46,000 truck. Illinois coach Lou Tepper adds that agents do not limit their recruiting to players like Rice, projected as a high NFL draft pick. Tepper said he caught an agent talking to a third-string senior last year (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/27). In Part II, Gottesman reports on the deluge of agents competing for a limited number of pro athletes. The high number of agents -- estimated by some at 3,000 -- competing with a limited number of players is "the crux of a major problem in college sports." Gottesman notes that most agents are not making huge amounts of money, as ten -- Tom Condon, Brad Blank, Ralph Cindrich, Frank Bauer, Jim Steiner, Marvin Demoff, Drew Rosenhaus, Tony Agnone, Jordon Woy and Leigh Steinberg -- represent just under 25% of NFL players (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/28). The final part examined the difficulty of enforcing NCAA statutes and local laws prohibiting agents from giving college players money or goods. Although 24 states have laws on the books regulating agents activities, only one agent has ever been imprisoned. Gottesman notes that many universities are setting up advisory panels to help athletes stay within the rules (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/29).
Seven Board of Regents members and Chancellor Charles Reed, the people who oversee Florida's nine public universities, "unanimously" said yesterday they would approve the University of South Florida's request for an intercollegiate football program when the proposal comes to a vote September 15, according to Cummins & Kaspriske of the TAMPA TRIBUNE. As of Monday, corporations and community members had already pledged over $5M to the program, including about $500,000 from the more than 2,000 season- ticket pledges already sold (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 8/30).