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Manchin: WVU move was 'done deal'

| Friday, Oct. 28, 2011

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Thursday said West Virginia's move to the Big 12 was a "done deal" before plans were put on hold.

Manchin, appearing on MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown," said conference officials had hotel reservations in Morgantown, W.Va., in advance of a planned news conference Wednesday. He said the school and conference "even spoke specifically about finances."

The news conference, however, never took place.

Manchin, citing a New York Times story, insinuated that Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) played a role in persuading Big 12 officials to consider fellow Big East member Louisville instead of West Virginia.

The Times reported McConnell, a Louisville graduate, used his ties with Oklahoma president and former senator David Boren to get the Big 12 to reconsider its decision.

"I don't fault any senator, any politician for rooting for their school and making sure the facts are heard," Manchin said. "... I'm very hopeful that the Big 12 is still doing their due diligence, doing the final paperwork to finalize the deal that they made. If that doesn't happen, then that's when I said I would ask for a Senate investigation to find out what degree of politics was played."

The appearance that Manchin, McConnell and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) made a late push into the Big 12 expansion process this week isn't accurate; they've been involved for "weeks," according to a CBSSports.com report.

Also, the report indicates that the two powerbrokers in the Big 12 -- Oklahoma and Texas -- are split on which school the conference should add. Oklahoma wants Louisville; Texas wants West Virginia.

In other realignment news, Big East honchos paid a visit to Boise State yesterday, giving the university's president an informational pitch on the conference and its plans to add more teams.

Last night, Houston's board of regents voted unanimously to give chancellor and president Renu Khator authority to negotiate a contract to move the Cougars into a more lucrative league, likely the Big East.

Penn State favored

The Penn State women's basketball team was selected as the Big Ten favorite, and the Nittany Lions' Alex Bentley and Ohio State's Samantha Prahalis shared preseason Player of the Year honors in votes by the coaches and media.

On the men's side, Ohio State was chosen as the top team, and the Buckeyes' Jared Sullinger was the preseason Player of the Year.

UConn penalized?

Changes in NCAA rules adopted yesterday would keep the Connecticut men's basketball team from participating in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

Under the rules adopted by the NCAA's Division I Board of Directors, a school can't participate in the event unless it has a two-year average score of 930 or a four-year average of 900 on the NCAA's annual Academic Progress Rate, which measures the academic performance of student athletes.

Connecticut's men's basketball scored 826 for the 2009-10 school year.

A&M coach has Parkinson's

Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy announced that he has Parkinson's disease.

Kennedy took a leave of absence earlier this month to undergo testing after experiencing neck and shoulder pain for several months that led to an inability to sleep regularly. The tests revealed that Kennedy was in the early stages of Parkinson's disease.

Associate head coach Glynn Cyprien took over when Kennedy took his leave and will continue to be in charge of the team.

Beasley alleges benefits

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley is accusing his former agent and an AAU coach of conspiring to forge a relationship with him from the age of 14 and giving his mother improper cash benefits while he starred at Kansas State, violating NCAA rules and federal regulations governing sports agents.

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