Football

Next SEC target reported to be Missouri

With dozens of schools and almost every college conference affected by realignment, rumors, reports and speculation have emerged almost daily.

The Southeastern Conference on Tuesday responded to a report by the Kansas City Star, citing an unidentified booster, that Missouri was on deck to join the conference if the Big 12 fell apart.

"The SEC has not extended an invitation to any school beyond Texas A&M since it extended invitations to Arkansas and South Carolina," SEC associate commissioner Charles Bloom said.

The Missouri Board of Curators has set a public meeting for Thursday morning followed by an executive session.

The school said in a release that the executive session would deal with, among other things, lease, contract, personnel and confidential or privileged communications with university counsel.

As the Big East tries to figure out a survival strategy, the Pac-12 is nearing a decision on whether it wants to stretch farther east.

Big East football school officials were to meet Tuesday night in New York City to discuss the league's future, and a Pac-12 official expects conference presidents in that league to decide by the end of the week if they want to expand again.

The future of the Big East could be tied to the future of the Big 12.

Although Syracuse and Pittsburgh know they're headed to the Atlantic Coast Conference, Texas and Oklahoma both are trying to decide whether to leave the Big 12 for the Pac-12, taking Oklahoma State and Texas Tech with them.

Five Big 12 schools — Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri — might be left if others defect.

Officials from those five schools have been in contact with the remaining Big East members about the possibility of merging to create one conference.

But the Big East might be facing more defections.

UConn President Susan Herbst said no formal application has been filed with any conference, and the school has not ruled out staying in a reconstituted Big East.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford has said his league is comfortable with 14 members, which it will have when Pitt and Syracuse join, but it is not "philosophically" opposed to expanding to 16.

Adding UConn and possibly Rutgers, located in New Jersey, would allow the ACC to further extend its reach into the Northeast and New York City television market.

Sugar Bowl admits to illegal contributions

The Sugar Bowl acknowledged it made several campaign donations to then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana in the mid-2000s — in violation of federal tax law — and a group has filed a complaint about the matter with the IRS.

Sugar Bowl spokesman John Sudsbury said Tuesday that bowl representatives mistakenly bought tickets for fund-raising dinners for the Democratic governor in 2004 and 2006, totaling $3,000. He said the bowl found records of the donations, which were first documented by HBO's Real Sports, part of a segment on the "bowl game money trail" set to air Tuesday night.

But Louisiana campaign records reviewed by The Associated Press list Sugar Bowl donations to Blanco in 2004, 2005 and 2006, totaling $5,000. The bowl said that its auditors have concluded the report of the 2005 donation is inaccurate.

Playoff PAC, which wants college football to switch to a playoff system to determine the national championship, said it had filed a complaint with the IRS late Monday.

NCAA cites violations by South Carolina

The NCAA outlined three potentially major violations in its letter of allegations sent to South Carolina on Monday. The NCAA says South Carolina athletes received $55,000 in impermissible benefits for staying at a hotel for a reduced rate and for dealings with officials of a Delaware-based mentoring group.

"I hope we're not in serious trouble. I don't think we're going to be," football coach Steve Spurrier said. "You work these things out and do what they say."

Gator pleads no contest

Florida safety Matt Elam has settled a misdemeanor alcohol possession charge. The sophomore pleaded no contest to possession of alcohol by a minor Monday. He agreed to pay $291 in court fees, do 12 hours of community service and pay a one-time fee of $40 for six months of supervised probation.

Texas QB out for season

Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who lost his starting job after the second game, will miss the rest of the season for the No. 19 Longhorns after having surgery Tuesday on his right throwing shoulder. Gilbert was hurt in the first game against Rice but the injury was not disclosed.

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