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Big Ten could reshuffle after expansion, PSU says

Big Ten could reshuffle after expansion, PSU says

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) The Big Ten might put more emphasis on geography when shuffling divisions after eastern schools Maryland and Rutgers join the Midwest-centric league by 2014.

Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner said officials within the league have had several discussions over the phone about potential divisional alignments.

``I have a feeling it will be more geography-based,'' Joyner said. ``There seems to be a lot of sentiment for that.''

It would be especially helpful, Joyner said, to ease travel issues and funding for travel, especially for Olympic sports.

Joyner made the comments in a videotaped interview with an athletics assistant communications director posted Tuesday on the department's website.

Athletic directors have already met a couple times to discuss topics related to the additions of Maryland and Rutgers, and will probably meet four or five more times before finalizing recommendations to the Council of Presidents/Chancellors for review in June, Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman said.

The current 12-team Big Ten split into two divisions for football after Nebraska joined the league in 2011.

The Legends Division is comprised of Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern. The Leaders Division is made up of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin.

Commissioner Jim Delany had said in announcing the divisions in 2010 that the conference sought to keep competitive balance and promote new rivalries while keeping traditions and existing rivalries in mind.

Penn State last week removed ``acting'' from Joyner's athletic director and reaffirmed that Joyner would serve in that capacity until Rodney Erickson's term as president expires next year. The school has started searching for Erickson's successor, and the athletic director job would be open to a national search under the new president. Joyner would be able to re-apply.

He took the job about a couple weeks after his predecessor, Tim Curley, was placed on leave in November 2011 in the fallout from former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's arrest on child sex abuse charges.

Joyner on Tuesday likened his initial months on the job to being in a ``war zone'' after managing crisis after crisis.

``Now we're still very busy. We have a lot of things we need to do as we move forward with programs and plans,'' Joyner said. ``We're more now on maintenance and moving forward and rebuilding on where things were before.''

Penn State had a successful fall season, especially considering how the school was hit with landmark sanctions by the NCAA for the Sandusky scandal. Most notably, the football team under first-year coach Bill O'Brien had a better-than-expected 8-4 record, and the school has also had success in women's soccer, women's volleyball, women's basketball and wrestling, among other sports.

NCAA data has also shown that the school continues to have high rates in graduating athletes.

``The results speak for themselves,'' Joyner said. ``These students and these coaches have done remarkably well'' considering the turmoil of the past 15 months.

The sanctions included a $60 million fine. The first of five $12 million installments was paid last month. But Joyner reiterated that Penn State had no plans to cut sports. Athletics may have to rely more on donations to help pay for facilities and upgrades, he said.

``We're going to be all right,'' Joyner said. ``It's going to be tough.''

Curley and two other former administrators are awaiting trial on charges related to the Sandusky scandal including endangering the welfare of children and obstruction. All three men have maintained their innocence.

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:

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Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

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Associated Press

Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 26, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Contract makes Alex Smith a Redskins for at least three seasons

This post was originally published on March 19. 

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details. 

Until now. 

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. 

Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer). 

But there I another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million. 

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith but since we have no details we’ll set those aside for now. 

The cap hits on the contract are as follows: 

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022. 

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler