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Chuck Landon: Traditional relations with OU changing

Jul. 06, 2013 @ 12:04 AM

Pardon me for asking, but. ...

Is anybody hearing that Ohio University is dropping the basketball series with Marshall?

The rumors are true.

"They just said their schedule wouldn't allow us to play this coming year," said Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick.

So, what gives? Why would a nearby rival drop a school it has played 100 times since 1954?

According to sources, the Bobcats offered the lame excuse that they ran out of room for another road game.

I call hogwash on that.

The crux of the matter is Ohio owed Marshall a game in Huntington after beating the Herd, 94-57, in Athens, Ohio, last season. But, now, the Bobcats are bailing on that obligation.

It sounds suspiciously like Ohio is blaming its non-conference schedule for not getting an at-large bid to the 2012 NCAA Tournament. And, of course, the Bobcats see Marshall and its 13-19 record as one of the culprits.

That leads to the real question in this controversy. Namely, is this a one-year hiatus or is the Marshall-Ohio basketball series over?

It could be kaput because Marshall's athletic officials definitely aren't happy with Ohio's stance. Nor should they be. This is a long-term rivalry with 100 meetings in basketball and 56 in football.

That's what makes Ohio's decision so unacceptable. I mean, these two schools aren't just casual rivals. But they soon could be.

I believe Marshall should tell Ohio that if the Bobcats aren't going to play the Herd in basketball, then MU is going to drop Ohio in football.

Don't let the door hit you in your stubby tail, Bobcats.

Sure, there are three games still remaining in the Marshall-Ohio football series, including a contest at Ohio at 8 p.m. on Sept. 14. Then, there are games at Marshall in 2014 and at Ohio in 2015.

But after that?

Unless Ohio revives the basketball series in 2014-15, Marshall needs to end this relationship.

What happened in the criminal case against Marshall's Angelo Jean-Louis?

The highly regarded wide receiver, who was arguably the No. 1 recruit in Marshall's 2013 football recruiting class, was arrested in early April. Jean-Louis was charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor for theft of a cell phone, credit card and fraudulent use of the credit card.

But, now, apparently the case has been resolved with Jean-Louis' punishment reduced to community service, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

The Miami, Fla., native will be sitting out the upcoming football season as an academic non-qualifier.

Is Southern Miss turning into a "One Flew Over the Eagles' Nest" situation?

It seems that way.

New Southern Miss president Rodney Bennett recently chose not to renew the contract of athletic director Jeff Hammond. Why? Mostly, because Bennett appears upset that Southern Miss is still a member of Conference USA.

Golden Eagles' officials seem to believe the school should be competing in the Big 12 or, at least, the American Athletic Conference.

Talk about delusions of grandeur.

Southern Miss is located in only the 90th-ranked television market and all decent-sized airports are at least an hour away. Despite those pertinent problems, Hammond wasn't renewed after only one year on the job.

That means Southern Miss is looking for its third athletic director in 17 months. And it's clear what the new AD's mission will be.

Good luck with that, Cuckoos, oops, I mean, Eagles.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2827 or clandon@herald- dispatch.com.

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