NORMAN — The Sooners are bound to be the big-ticket item at Big 12 Media Days in Arlington this week, but the storylines involving the rest of the league bring some intrigue, too.
Two programs fired their head coaches in the offseason. One program is facing significant misconduct allegations. Since Big 12 Media Days was canceled last year due to the coronavirus, the stage is set in Arlington for the biggest questions surrounding each program to be asked.
As representatives from each team head to Arlington, here’s a few of the biggest storylines leading into Big 12 Media Days.
- Big 12, NCAA
- prepare for season
- with new NIL policy:
- Last month, the NCAA’s board of directors suspended its rules prohibiting incoming and current student athletes from selling the rights to their names, images and likenesses.
The decision allows athletes to profit off their individual brands, and many players are already taking advantage. One example is Sooners quarterback Spencer Rattler, who announced a partnership with Cameo, an online service that allows users to pay public figures to create personalized videos, after the NCAA made its decision. Rattler also announced a partnership with Steinberg Sports for NIL representation.
Most of the players and coaches at Big 12 Media Days will likely be asked about the impact, if any, the board of directors’ decision could have on this season.
- Can Iowa State
- dethrone Oklahoma
- for the Big 12 crown?
- It’s clear the Sooners’ biggest threat to their continuing dominance over the league currently resides in Aimes.
The Cyclones finished second in the media’s Big 12 preseason rankings, and for good reason. They return 19 of 22 starters from last season’s squad that finished as the Big 12 runner-up and Fiesta Bowl champions, including senior quarterback Brock Purdy, who was named First-Team All Big 12.
But the Cyclones’ preseason hype revolves around the return of junior running back Breece Hall.
Hall, who will be one of the cyclones’ player representatives in Arlington, had a historic season in 2020. He was named the Big-12 Offensive player of the year, leading the nation with 1,572 rushing yards and recording 21 rushing touchdowns. He also finished sixth in the Heisman voting.
The Cyclones’ late rally fell just short in their 27-21 loss to the Sooners in the Big 12 title game last season. But coach Matt Campbell and his players will likely field questions in Arlington on how they can avenge last season’s loss and surpass the Sooners as the leaders of the Big 12.
- Texas hits the reset button:
- The Tom Herman era is over.
Was it a failure? It depends on who you ask.
But one thing is clear — new coach Steve Sarkisian has a lot of work to do.
The former Alabama offensive coordinator marks the third Texas coach since Charlie Strong’s hire in 2014, and the Longhorns’ brass likely feels pressure to legitimately compete for a Big 12 title sooner rather than later.
The Longhorns may not have patience if the team gets out to a slow start this season. Expect Sarkisian to be asked a lot of questions about his expectations for this year’s squad, and if he’s feeling pressure to immediately yield good results for a program that has failed to consistently compete at a high level in recent years.
- Kansas hit with
- misconduct allegations:
- Les Miles’ tenure as head coach at Kansas was disappointing before he was fired in March, and it’s beginning to look even worse in the wake of recent misconduct allegations.
In a story published by the Kansas City Star on Sunday, former Jayhawks player Caperton Humphrey detailed harassment he received from a few players on the team. Humphrey told the Kansas City Star that he reported these incidents to the university but no action was ever taken to stop it.
Humphrey joined the team as a walk-on in 2017 before receiving a scholarship to play.
Humphrey told the outlet that the harassment included the players threatening him, his father and his 15-year-old brother in 2019. When Miles was made aware of the allegations, he allegedly told the players to work it out during practice.
Humphrey said the school offered to pay his tuition and his monthly stipend of $1,289 if he took his classes from home in West Virginia and agreed to keep quiet about the alleged harassment.
“Les Miles and (Kansas Athletic Director) Jeff Long swept this under the rug and tried to buy our silence,” Humphrey’s father, Jamie, told the Kansas City Star. “This is how they operated while representing Kansas.”
Expect new coach Lance Leipold to field questions on how the allegations are being handled by the team and the university.