JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: Jan. 18, 2015

(Courtesy: ABC News)

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Larry Lacewell. …

BIRTH OF AUTONOMY: The first step has been taken for the Power Five conferences to obtain autonomy from the NCAA.

A meeting of 80 voting members from the SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 was held this weekend at the NCAA Convention. Its goal is to produce a plan of autonomy designed to grant member institutions an era of self-governing for the five conferences.

The NCAA Board of Directors signed off on these conferences to move ahead in creating autonomy. They are considering eight proposals and one resolution aimed at ensuring a more positive change for student-athletes.

In addition to school representatives, there will be 15 college student-athletes involved in participation and voting on these proposals. The chairman of the group is Wake Forest President Nathan Hatch.

Included in the SEC student-athletes are Tennessee’s women’s basketball player Diamond DeShields, Mississippi State football player Jay Hughes and Florida baseball player Josh Tobias.

Former LSU administrator and current SEC Associate Commissioner Herb Vincent will represent the SEC.

BUCKING THE ODDS: Just about everyone had Ohio State quarterback Carnell Jones jumping to the NFL. After all, the 22-year-old once said that he came to Ohio State to play football, not to play class.

His maturation rang out loud and clear when he held a press conference at Ohio State to announce he was staying put for now.

“My education is going to take me 10 times further than my athletic ability,’’ he said.

CAL FOR PREZ: Is Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari considering a run for president in the future?

It appears he is qualified at spending a lot of someone else’s money. Calipari took his team to the Bahamas to participate in a tournament before the season. According to The Post Game website, the tab came to $800,000,

Included was a luxury suite for Calipari that went for more than $1,500 a night. But as Calipari claimed, he also used the suite for a meeting room at times.

They spent $24,000 on a pre-tournament reception for the participating teams. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Kentucky also paid for lodging and food for national teams from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the French national team.

“I needed professional level teams,’’ Calipari told the Courier-Journal. “I needed men. I needed experienced, physical guys that knew how to play.’’

Maybe he’ll invite the Heat and Celtics next year.

POUR IT ON: Talk about winning basketball teams. How about a California girls’ high school basketball coach, Michael Anderson?

Anderson got suspended two games for his team beating an opponent, 161-2. It was 104-1 at halftime, but showing his heart was in the right place, Coach Anderson called off his full court trap defense that he used during the first half.

Now that’s sportsmanship at its finest. What a sweetheart.

SNEDS TOUR: The Tennessee Golf Foundation announced that on the 20th anniversary of its annual Junior Tour, it will be sponsored by former Vanderbilt All-American and current PGA Tour golfer Brandt Snedeker and his wife, Mandy.

The Brandt and Mandy Snedeker Foundation will sponsor the Sneds Tour starting the first of next month.

Brandt credits the state’s junior golf program for the Tennessee PGA giving him a boost when he attended its summer junior camp at Fall Creek Falls.

“Mandy and I could not be more thrilled about the Sneds Tour. This is where it all began for me and now to be able to keep golf affordable and accessible for our kids at home really excites me,’’ Brandt said in a Tennessee Junior Golf release.

“By having Brandt and Mandy support our Tour and give back to the Tennessee Golf Foundation, it gives us the ability to create programming where our juniors can see first hand what hard work and dedication can get you in the game of golf,’’ said TGF Board Chairman Jim Seabury.

Snedeker will play his first PGA Tour tournament of the season Jan. 29 at the Waste Management Open in Phoenix. He does not have an exemption for this year’s Masters and will have to earn his way in.

LOCAL GOLF: Locally, Nashville Golf & Athletic Club in Williamson County will host this year’s Western Women’s Amateur in June.

This spring, Vanderbilt’s Legends Club will host the 2016 NCAA Regional tournament. It is one of six sites across the country to host a regional. The local tournament will be May 16-18.

The six sites will produce the field for the annual NCAA Tournament.

Also, former Vanderbilt golfer Jon Curran competed in the Sony Open last week, missing the cut by two shots. He played in five fall events, finishing as high as eighth in the Open in Napa, Calif.

He earned his 2015 PGA Tour card last season by finishing 12th in money on the Tour. He had seven top 25 finishes and three top 10s. He won the Brasil Open with minus-25. It was the fifth lowest score in Tour history.

RPI RANKINGS: Here are some NCAA RPI rankings of interest. Kentucky is No. 1, Arkansas 14, Tennessee 71, Vanderbilt 75 and Florida 79.

Vanderbilt has had six different players be their leading scorers. Damian Jones led with eight games.

Tennessee’s Josh Richardson has led the Vols in scoring in 11 games. As Richardson goes, so go the Vols.

Against Arkansas, Vanderbilt freshman guard Riley LaChance hit a 3-pointer late in the game that had to be 10 feet, maybe more, behind the line. The freshman has range and has no fear about launching it.

In his first 16 games, LaChance he has hit 41.3 percent from behind the line. That ranks third in the SEC.

Attendance has to be down at Vanderbilt home games. It was sparse at the Georgia game. Through the first 11 home games, the Commodores drew an average of 8,513 fans a game.

In the first nine home games at Thompson-Boling Arena, Tennessee averaged 13,940.

COUNTING HIS COINS: Denver QB Peyton Manning may have not made up his mind whether to return next season, but his name is still golden at the cash registers. The Broncos star is No. 1 in player sales list, beating out Seahawks QB Russell Wilson in online and retail sales during the Sept. 1-Nov. 30 reports.

Five of the top 10 players on the list are quarterbacks. Rookie Johnny Manziel was No. 14, but his star will rapidly fade if he is not the starter next season. Not surprising no Titans players broke the top 50.

Peyton was No. 1 in Fatheads, bobbleheads and Nike game jerseys. No telling how many Papa Johns pizzas he has sold. If he decides to hang it up before next season, Peyton could get rich delivering Papa Johns in his Buick.

FAN TO THE END: No one loved the Pittsburgh Steelers more than the late Eleanor Gallagher.

She died at 81, four days after legendary Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau resigned.

“Eleanor was a devoted Steelers fan, and the family firmly believes that the recent departure of Dick Lebeau and the Steelers poor performance this season might have inadvertently contributed to her demise,’’ her obit read.

Which caused one Titans fan to wax eloquently: “If a football team’s poor performance can kill people, then the Titans may have just found the solution to overpopulation.’’

IN MEMORIAM: In remembrance of the late, great wordsmith, Atlanta Journal’s sports columnist, Furman Bisher.


He ended many of his columns with the single word. If you don’t know the meaning, look it up. It will be Furman’s parting gift to you.


Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at









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