After a memorable Final Four run that captured the nation's attention, Loyola returns to the court with its 2018-19 regular season debut on NBC Sports Chicago.
The Ramblers open the new campaign with a home game at Gentile Arena against UMKC in a game that tips off at 8 p.m. Tuesday night's opener will also be special as Loyola raises the Final Four banner to commemorate last season.
Loyola is coming off of a 32-6 season that saw them win the Missouri Valley Conference by four games before taking the country by storm with a memorable run in March. The Ramblers lost some key pieces from last season -- including wing Donte Ingram and guard Ben Richardson. But much of the team's core is back for another potential run.
Reigning MVC Conference Player of the Year Clayton Custer is back at point guard for Loyola and the senior is flanked by returning double-figure scorers like senior guard Marques Townes and sophomore center Cameron Krutwig. Loyola is also expecting some role players from last season to make a leap, as expectations are high for sophomore Lucas Williamson entering the season.
The Ramblers hope to extend a 15-game nonconference home winning streak by knocking off UMKC for a second consecutive season. The Kangaroos hosted Loyola last season, as the Ramblers rallied after trailing by halftime to win, 66-56. Coming off of a 10-22 season, the Kangaroos are led by junior guard Xavier Bishop -- a former standout at Springfield Lanphier standout.
Before Loyola takes the floor against UMKC, NBC Sports Chicago will also air Illinois State's season-opening game as the Redbirds will host Florida Gulf Coast at 6 p.m. Both in-state programs will have more games on NBC Sports Chicago throughout the 2018-19 season, as both Missouri Valley Conference programs as expected to compete for the league title.
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.
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.