Local college hoops 2016-17 preview: Eastern Illinois


Local college hoops 2016-17 preview: Eastern Illinois

2015-16 results: Things didn't go as planned for the Panthers last season as they finished 13-17 overall and 9-7 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Eastern Illinois finished above .500 in league play but was very inconsistent, at one point going on a five-game winning streak and following that by dropping three straight. 

Players to watch: It's looking like four starters will return for Eastern Illinois, led by senior Demetrius McReynolds. The guard averaged 12.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Junior guard Cornell Johnson is a 3-point threat and averaged double-figures while sophomores Casey Teson and Patrick Muldoon also earned minutes last season.

Key storylines: Seeing if Eastern Illinois can be a bit better during the non-conference portion of the schedule could be an interesting indicator of where they stand before OVC play begins. The Panthers finished third in the West Division last season and want to be a factor in the conference tournament.

Newcomers to track: Junior college transfer Montell "Silk" Goodwin is coming off of a great season at Mineral Area Community College. He averaged 12.9 points and shot 38 percent from 3-point range. Goodwin gives the Panthers another scorer and floor spacer.

Season outlook: With returning experience and an intriguing newcomer at guard, the Panthers are hoping for an even better OVC season in which they can win games in the conference tournament. Belmont, Murray State and Tennessee State are the Panthers' main competition in the league heading into the season.

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


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.

Dave Leitao suspended 3 games, DePaul put on 3-year probation


Dave Leitao suspended 3 games, DePaul put on 3-year probation

The DePaul men's basketball team has been placed on three-year probation and head coach Dave Leitao has been suspended three games for the 2019-20 season, the NCAA announced on Tuesday.

The program was found guilty of "failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance while Leitao did not "prevent violations from occurring in his program."

A Division I Committee on Infractions panel concluded that a "former DePaul associate head coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he knowingly directed the former assistant director of basketball operations to provide impermissible recruiting benefits to a recruit."

The NCAA found that three coaches knew about the situation but failed to report the infractions. DePaul will vacate all wins earned while the ineligible player competed and suffer recruiting restrictions. They were also fined $5,000 plus 1% of the men's basketball program budget.

In 2019, DePaul had their first winning season since 2007 by going 19-17.