A good morning and a great day to the fellow golf-heads out there crazy enough to wake up early and follow the British Open’s opening day. May your coffee be strong, your caffeine high last long, and may we all watch with pleasure as Rickie Fowler clinches his first major win from across the pond.
• Ice Man taking on bigger leadership role
• Why Big 12’s stance on Horns Down deserves thumbs down
• OSU’s offseason motivation, in shirt form
• Les Miles with Hollywood treatment at new ESPN+
• Gold medal-winning point guard Isaac Likekele (has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?) is already putting to use his valuable Team USA experience back in the states. As one of the players on the U19 team that won the World Cup, he’s already positioning himself for a bigger role at OSU as a sophomore.
“His presence, it means a ton to us,” said Mike Boynton. “You can tell his energy is infectious, and he will be a great leader for us.” [NewsOK]
• Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman argues the Big 12’s stance on Horns Down is a thumbs up. Respectfully, *fart noise*.
I guess the Big 12 could go extreme with Horns Down — ban it outright or allow it regardless — but neither seems viable. Allow it, and officials have their hands tied if someone uses it in a taunting manner. Ban it, and officials have to spend time looking for something easily undetected and ultimately unimportant.
A nuanced stance is the right one for the Big 12. [NewsOK]
I get the point of arguing this side of it. Really. But when talking about the Big 12’s officials, the words nuance and open to interpretation makes me about as confident as Hugh Freeze when he sees the NCAA on caller ID. Any type of judgement calls related to gestures or intent are bound to be misjudged. My horns are down at this stance, and so are both my thumbs.
• OSU could have just printed out some “H8ERS R OUR MOTIV8ERS” shirts to fuel them this offseason, but instead they did one better by printing shirts with the names of every team that beat them during their 7-6 year.
“It gave you something to work for every day,” center Johnny Wilson said. “You go to your locker, you get your stuff out and there’s those names. Every single day.” [Dallas News]
(I approve. Please send a size large to [HEAVILY REDACTED, BROKEN ARROW, OKLAHOMA]. Thanks in advance.)
• Date and time for Fan Appreciation Day, 2019, has been set. Marketh thine calendars (and maybe see you there).
— Oklahoma State Athletics (@OSUAthletics) July 17, 2019
• I apologize for being a total child with this #FaceApp stuff, but the amount of laughter I had when it spit out Spencer and Dru like this was healthy for my soul. (Also, who is your vote on this question? I’m riding the SS Ship.)
• It seems the CP3 era in OKC could last longer than expected! As ESPN cap guru Bobby Marks pointed out, the reason for a non-robust market for him is pretty simple: it’s mid-July, ~40% of players under contract cannot be traded at this time, and most teams have already filled up most of their cap space.
Here is the formula for why:
*40% of players under contract cannot be traded
* There are no teams with significant cap space (ATL has the most @ $7M)
* Biggest trade exception is GSW ($17.2M) who is hard capped- next is DAL @ $11.8M https://t.co/H6FExQmTAf
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 17, 2019
• Auburn — and by extension, Bruce Pearl — seem to be bracing for a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA related to the college basketball scandal. Auburn had an assistant implicated in the case, and while he got off nearly unscathed by avoiding prison time, Auburn’s program (and again, by extension, Pearl) might not be so fortunate. The case is of particular interest in Stillwater, as OSU is in a similar position; Lamont Evans was one of the assistants implicated in the scandal, and OSU could be in a similar boat as Auburn (and NC State).
Related to the college basketball scandal, CBS Sports]last week detailing multiple Level I and Level II violations, the most severe and the second-most severe in the eyes of the NCAA. In its case, the NCAA alleges a former Adidas executive paid former star recruit-turned-NC State-signee Dennis Smith Jr. $40,000. Former coach Mark Gottfried and his former assistant, Orlando Early, are also named in the case, which alleges Smith was provided $46,700 in total impermissible benefits. [
• /ducks the comments section. So uh … this Baker Mayfield piece was interesting, as was his strategy to get his now-wife’s attention. Millennials!
The quarterback and his fiancée, who is from Nebraska, were introduced in 2017 by a mutual friend. At the time, Wilkinson was living in Los Angeles. She says she was wary of dating a “punk football player” and ignored Mayfield’s advances for months: He repeatedly followed and unfollowed her on Instagram, trying to attract her attention. Finally, in late December, they exchanged messages. He begged her to meet him before the Rose Bowl, his final college football game. She reluctantly agreed to grab lunch. [ESPN]
• I am enraged at The Ringer’s placement of “Let it Go” on the ranking of the best Disney songs. Enraged!
• So grass-eating Les Miles is going to be a star, huh?
And Tuesday saw an even more interesting announcement of an 18-part behind-the-scenes series on Les Miles and Kansas that will premiere on the ESPN+ Big 12 Now service next month, with a trailer that includes footage of Miles and Kansas athletic director Jeff Long talking before Miles officially took the job. [Awful Announcing]
The trailer looks pretty awesome, actually. (Les saying he doesn’t need a fake-bleep whistle to some poor GA hooked me instantly). This is like “Hard Knocks” for CFB, but like, way less interesting. Count me in!
• People are dying (literally) for Instagram likes at an obscure sight-seeing spot in Arizona.
• Emoni Bates is only 15 years old, but he’s seen by many already as the best basketball prospect since LeBron James. But will he even garner interest from high-major college programs? Why murky NBA plans to lower the age limit (and potentially abolish the one-and-done rule for good) have thus far limited his college prospects.