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Sports Notes: UofL athletics may be betting that some recruits will want to see the money


Louisville's athletics department announced that its cost of attendance scholarship was among the most generous in the nation (UofL Athletics Photo)

Louisville’s athletics department announced that its cost of attendance scholarship was among the most generous in the nation (UofL Athletics Photo)

 

Most schools from the so-called “Power Five” conferences downplayed the impact that new cost of attendance scholarships would have on recruiting, particularly in football.
 

The prevailing argument seemed to be that a player who wanted to play for Nick Saban at Alabama or Steve Spurrier at South Carolina or Urban Meyer at Ohio State wouldn’t change his mind over a few hundred extra dollars of spending money.
 

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That’s why a recent news release from the University of Louisville caught my eye.
 

It trumpeted the fact that UofL “leads the way on cost of attendance, financial literacy.” Louisville’s cost of attendance gap for the coming school was was determined by the Financial Aid Office as $5,364, a figure projected to be one of the highest in Division I, the school said.
 

UofL’s Financial Aid Office determines the COA gap annually as part of a broader calculation to determine financial aid eligibility for all students, including student-athletes.
 

According to the release, UofL student-athletes on athletic scholarship participating in “head count” sports, those that offer full-athletic scholarships per scholarship student-athlete, will receive the full COA gap. UofL’s head count sports are men’s and women’s basketball, football, women’s tennis and women’s volleyball.
 

UofL’s equivalency sports, which have a pre-determined number of full athletic scholarships to divide among an entire roster, will receive additional funding in their respective scholarship budgets also based on the new, full cost of attendance figure. NCAA Student Assistance Funds are also available to help support student athletes.
 

“This was a landmark change to Division I financial aid rules and, most importantly, a change that will enhance the support we provide our student-athletes,” said athletics director Tom Jurich.
 

For comparison’s sake, Kentucky scholarship athletes will receive an additional $2,284 this year while he total at Georgia is slightly more, $3,221. If you go to Tennessee, its financial aid office has set the cost of attendance at $5,666. Eastern Kentucky scholarship athletes will receive as much as an extra $4,600.
 

Hedging their bets and seeking every advantage possible, the Louisville athletics department apparently believes the extra money will provide incentive for at least some of their recruits to choose to wear the Red and Black.
 

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Former Kentucky All-American and multiple Player of the Year A.J. Reed has been recognized for his breakout minor league season. He was named the California League’s MVP and Rookie of the Year for hitting .346 with 23 home runs and 81 runs batted in for Class A Lancaster, a Houston Astros farm team. He put those numbers up in 82 games before earning a promotion to Double-A Corpus Christi in mid July.
 

Reed is also locked in a battle with Adam Duvall, currently a Cincinnati Reds farmhand playing for the Louisville Bats, to see who will lead the minor leagues in home runs this year. Heading into Monday’s play, both had 30.
 

The minor league home run champ earns the Joe Bauman Home Run Award, which results in the winner getting $200 per dinger.
 

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Northern Kentucky University recently unveiled a new design for John L. Griffin Court in BB&T Arena which includes a Norse ship watermarked in a golden hue, with the NKU Norse wordmark in the middle of the ship’s sail at center court. NKU’s official website and Twitter handle are also prominently displayed, part of the school’s rebranding effort as it moves into the Horizon League this year.
 

“We wanted a new, fresh look for the court to showcase the Norse brand,” said NKU athletics director Ken Bothof. “The Norse ship rising through the sea is meant to serve as a metaphor for the uprising of Northern Kentucky athletics.”
 

BB&T Arena serves as the home for both NKU men’s and women’s basketball teams. The arena also entertains several local high school tournaments and will host both the 2016 and 2017 Kentucky High School Athletic Association Girls Sweet 16, marking the first high school state championship at BB&T Arena.
 

(NKU Athletics Photo)

(NKU Athletics Photo / Click for larger image)

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Chuck Weaver, a right-handed pitcher for the Frontier League Florence Freedom, has joined the Miami Marlins organization. Weaver, 24, becomes the first Freedom player to have his contract purchased by a MLB organization this season and the 31st in the history of the franchise.
 

“We are very excited for Chuck,” Freedom manager Dennis Pelfrey said. “He has worked very hard with pitching coach Chad Rhoades on the mental toughness side of his game. This was really no surprise to us as we knew it would happen, it was just a matter of time.”
 

A 2014 Frontier League Mid-Season All-Star, Weaver finished his 2015 season with the Freedom with a 6-4 record and an ERA of 3.22 in 18 appearances, 16 starts. Weaver dominated down the stretch this year, giving up two or fewer runs in his last four starts in a row.
 

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One final baseball-related note, former University of the Cumberlands hurler Mike Fiers pitched a no-hitter for the Houston Astros Friday, blanking the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0. It was the second no-hitter in the Major Leagues in just over a week. There have been five no-nos overall this season.
 

Fiers struck out 10 batters and walked three, finishing the game on a high note by retiring the last 21 hitters in a row. He needed 134 pitches to get the first complete game of his five-year career.
 

Fiers came to the Astros at the July 31 trading deadline in a deal that also brought outfielder Carlos Gomez from Milwaukee for a package of young prospects. Houston swept a three-game series with the Dodgers and leads the American League’s West Division by four games over Texas heading into this week’s games.
 

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A couple of briefs from Eastern Kentucky University, which I am pretty sure are unrelated:
 

1. EKU will introduce its new Touchdown Terrace with beer sales at select home football games this season, joining other state schools, including the University of Louisville, in offering alcohol sales at sporting events. Beer will be sold at EKU’s three Saturday home games on a trial basis in select areas. If the Touchdown Terrace pilot program proves successful, the university will consider the addition of wine sales in the future. Planned enhancements to Roy Kidd Stadium will include the serving of beer and wine in club and suite space.
 

2. Following a practice session last week, EKU head coach Dean Hood was made a Kentucky Colonel. Garry Gupton, Executive Director of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, was on hand to present Hood with a certificate from Gov. Steve Beshear recognizing Hood. So the head coach of the Colonels really is a Colonel.
 


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