JSU notes: Gamecocks, Green working on possible new deal
by Al Muskewitz
amuskewitz@annistonstar.com
May 04, 2013 | 3898 views |  0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
JACKSONVILLE -- Jacksonville State officials have given basketball coach James Green “something to look at” in regards to a contract extension, but it might be a while before anything is finalized.

Neither side is divulging details on what’s been offered, although the deal is believed to be a new contract as opposed to an extension of the deal Green signed three years ago.

His contract calls for the opportunity for an extension after the completion of the second year, but there was no movement a year ago.

Green’s teams have won 32 games the last two seasons. This past season the Gamecocks went 17-11, despite numerous sanctions related to the program’s Academic Progress Rate, as determined by the NCAA. The penalties included a postseason ban for a team that enjoyed the program’s winningest season in 10 years.

JSU athletics director Warren Koegel said he wouldn’t comment on the contract until a deal is signed. Green said he isn’t worried about it.

“Where we are is part of the process, and the process at this point is still a process,” the sixth-year Gamecocks coach said. “We’re not at the beginning. We’re not at the end. We’re in the process.

“The things I’m more concerned about are where we are academically, our schedule and figuring out how we can grow the program.”

APR ISSUES: The newest Academic Progress Rate report will be released later this summer, perhaps as early as this month. JSU officials have been reluctant to discuss specifics even though they’ve had the data for months, especially as it relates to the men’s basketball program, but everyone from the president to the head coach seem confident about a positive result.

The Star has calculated the basketball team will be well above the benchmark and finally get out from under the sanctions linked to a poor single-year APR score that has dogged them the last four years.

“We feel good about the direction we’re moving in all areas,” Koegel said. “We feel good about what our student-athletes are doing and we’ll continue to do everything we can to help them within the rules. I believe when the report comes out it will be a good report.”

Despite the sanctions of delayed and limited practice, reduced games and a postseason ban, the Gamecocks went 17-11 and were .500 in conference play for the second year in a row. They were the third-winningest team among the nine under the postseason ban ‹ Connecticut (20-10), Towson (18-13), JSU, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (16-14), Toledo (15-13), UNC-Wilmington (10-20),

California-Riverside (6-25), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (6-23) and Mississippi Valley (5-23).

The fact that most of the players eligible to return stuck by the program was a huge factor. That reduced the learning curve.

“They’re great kids and they worked hard,” Koegel said. “It’s a shame the seniors, especially, for all of them, they didn’t get a chance with the kind of team they had last year to play in the postseason. They were good enough to scare people. It was fun to watch them play.”

GETTING JACK BACK: JSU linebacker Clarence Jackson appears to have one more hurdle to clear before becoming eligible to suit up for the Gamecocks in the fall.

The Ole Miss transfer returned to campus in January after getting kicked out of school for an academic issue last year.

He is eligible according to NCAA, JSU and Ohio Valley Conference rules, Koegel said, but the NCAA still has sign off on the process. Jackson participated in new coach Bill Clark’s first spring practice and played in the spring game.

“It’s an on-going process,” Koegel said. “He’s eligible. He did a good job in class, and you can tell he’s very serious about school. We’re waiting on the NCAA to get on this latest thing to see where they stand.

“We’re doing everything we can to help get this process ...Š get him eligible if the NCAA goes that way. At this point we don’t have the final say from them.”

SEC FALLOUT: The Southeastern Conference once again is contemplating a nine-game league football schedule. The fallout could impact JSU ‹ again.

The Gamecocks are scheduled to play LSU in 2015. They were greatly impacted this year when the expanded super conference released its 2013 schedule and trampled all over JSU’s game with Auburn.

The Gamecocks did receive the $500,000 buyout for losing the Auburn game, but they spent the next several months scrambling to fill the gap. And that was in a 12-game season for FCS teams such as JSU.

The Gamecocks do have a signed contract with LSU, so they would get that half-million if the game was not played, but one can imagine how difficult it will be for the Gamecocks to replace it in a traditional 11-game FCS year, considering recent history.

Koegel said he has received assurances from LSU ‹ as recently as this week ‹the Tigers have every intention of playing the game.

“I’ve talked to them about three or four times in the last month, and we’re looking at what’s the best option,” he said. “Right now, they’re going to play us. We’re just trying to figure out whether they have to move to the date or what.

“They want to play us. The only way that wouldn’t happen is if at the last minute they just said no and we’d be in the same boat as we were with Auburn.”

OPENING KICK: Unless it gets moved for ESPN, Clark’s first game as JSU’s football coach at Alabama State will be a 5 p.m. kickoff. That decision, Koegel said, is “in a holding pattern,” likely not to be made until the network picks the major games on its slate.

Sports Writer Al Muskewitz: 256-235-3577. On Twitter @almusky_star.
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