NCAA Talk

Illinois State in-state recruiting class recap

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USA TODAY

Illinois State in-state recruiting class recap

EDGY's Illinois State Redbirds Grade: B

Illinois State once again was able to build a strong overall recruiting class. Head coach Brock Spack has been able to turn around the Redbirds program in his tenure at ISU by being able to out-recruit his conference rivals. ISU needed to reload upfront on the offensive line after graduating its entire starting unit from a season ago. The Redbirds inked seven hogs, including the best name in college football in Kobe Buffalomeat, then also filled needs at wide receiver along with adding more depth to several spots with the Class of 2017. Illinois State also remained focused on in-state talent, as seven of its 23-player recruiting class call Illinois home.

Headliner Of The In-State Class?

Batavia offensive tackle Evan Day ( 6-foot-6, 290 pounds) might still be a few pounds shy of the listed 290 pounds for now, but I fully expect that to change. Day has tremendous length and reach and is an athletic kid who moves well. Once Day fully fills out his oversized frame he has a chance to become one of a handful of in-state names who will be expected to step in and fill some immediate holes on the ISU offensive line. I would not be stunned to see a few in-state freshmen offensive linemen get serious looks this August at cracking the starting lineup.

The One Who Got Away?

Illinois State was in the hunt for Naperville North three-star tight end Mitch Lewis (6-foot-6, 220 pounds) up until the last week of the recruiting period. Lewis, who is very close to his family, also has a special needs younger brother at home. Lewis gave staying closer to home and playing for the Redbirds serious consideration. Lewis didn't rule out the ISU Redbirds until after his last official visit to Miami of Ohio, which he signed with last Wednesday.

Final Thoughts on the Illinois State Redbirds Recruiting Efforts:

Illinois State is simply the "hot" in-state FCS level school to be a part of these days. Besides the overall improvement of the football program under Spack, the improved facilities, terrific location and just the whole Bloomington-Normal area has been a huge boost to ISU and it's recruiting efforts.

Issues? The skyrocketing cost has become a negative in recruiting circles for all FCS level schools in Illinois. Several neighboring states continue to drag students over in huge numbers across state lines by enticing Illinois residents with discounted tuition and other incentives. Fortunately for Illinois State, they have been less impacted by these issues, but for how long? Some Missouri Valley Conference rival out of state schools pay nearly $10,000 less a year than in-state kids pay for schools such as Illinois State. At the FCS level, where most recruits receive a portion of a "full" scholarship, the overall economic picture  begin to become a bigger factor.

Illinois State football and its recruiting efforts remain on the right path. While the football program still fights for center stage in the Illinois State sports landscape, the gap has narrowed towards the football program. The Class of 2017 again is another strong overall effort by ISU coaches and the Redbirds remain headed on course towards bigger and better things.

Illinois men's basketball cracks AP poll for first time in more than five years

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USA TODAY

Illinois men's basketball cracks AP poll for first time in more than five years

Illinois basketball has not made the NCAA Tournament since 2013 and has endured losing records in three of the last four seasons. However, things are looking up for the Fighting Illini.

Three straight Big Ten wins have the Illini 4-2 in the league, good for second place and the No. 24 spot in the latest AP poll. It’s the first time the Illini have been ranked since Dec. 2014.


Coach Brad Underwood went 26-39 in his first two seasons in charge, but things have turned around this season. A win against Michigan on Dec. 11 gave the Illini a marquee win, but losses to Missouri and Michigan State followed soon after. The current three-game winning streak has featured a blowout win against Purdue, a one-point win at Wisconsin and a three-point win against a surprisingly good Rutgers team.

Illinois’ RPI is currently 42 so they’re far from a lock to get in the tournament, but the Illini are in good shape as of now. The last season the Illini were ranked, they had to settle for an NIT bid.

Chicago native and Morgan Park High School product Ayo Dosunmu leads the team with 15.5 points per game.

NCAA is taking steps to allow student-athletes to make money off their likeness

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USA TODAY

NCAA is taking steps to allow student-athletes to make money off their likeness

Bulls rookie guard Coby White has talent, an infectious smile and an afro that makes him stand out on the court. It’s a fair bet he could have made some money off his likeness while he played at North Carolina if the rules allowed it.

The NCAA is taking steps towards allowing its athletes to do so, but there’s still a long way to go in the process. The organization’s Board of Governors unanimously voted to start the process. That vote moves things to the NCAA’s three divisions “to consider updates to relevant bylaws and policies,” as it was worded in the NCAA's press release.

“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Michael V. Drake, the chair of the board and president of Ohio State. “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”

The board asked each division (Division I, Division II, Division III) to make any new rules immediately and no later than January 2021.

It’s important to note that none of the changes are final, or even imminent. It’s still relevant that the NCAA is going through the process at all, after being so strongly in favor of amateurism across the board for its student-athletes.

The potential changes would not allow for compensation based on performance or participation in a sport. Of course, the natural grey area is that higher performing athletes will be more marketable so they would be compensated on performance indirectly.

This comes after California passed legislation to allow college athletes to receive endorsement/sponsorship money and other states are pursuing similar.

This is still far from being official or finalized, but it will continue to be a major story in college sports over the next couple years.