Tate: George paces AD field, but situation complex

If you know the next UI athletic director, you are more informed than the rest of us.

My take has always been: The quest is running on parallel tracks, one leading to Colorado AD Rick George and the other involving everyone else, mostly those with Illini backgrounds like Josh Whitman, Larry Lubin and Tom Michael.

Weekend planner: Plenty to see on campus

John Groce’s Illini are in Minneapolis on Saturday night for a must-win game at Minnesota (7:30 p.m.) and Matt Bollant’s team hosts Penn State on Saturday (2 p.m.) at State Farm Center. But they aren’t the only Illini sports in action this weekend. Here are three more to check out:

Men’s tennis

Illini, Nike agree to extension

All 21 Illinois athletic teams will still see the Nike swoosh on their uniforms, apparel, gear, shoes and specificed equipment and accessories for the next decade.

Illinois extended its partnership with the Beaverton, Ore., company on Tuesday through the 2025-26 school year.

UI roundup: Wrestlers knock of Michigan State

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Isaiah Martinez extended his win streak to 61 consecutive matches, Steven Rodrigues earned his team-best ninth major decision and No. 11 Illinois wrestling handled Michigan State 32-10 on Sunday.

UI roundup: Football grabs tight end commit

Illinois football added the 19th recruit in its 2016 class on Saturday.

Zarrian Holcombe, a 6-4, 215-pound tight end out of Humble (Texas) Summer Creek High School, orally committed to the Illini.

Tate: UI lucky to have AD search leader

Is silence an indication the UI is fumbling another ball? Is the search for an athletic director languishing? Isn’t it time we heard something?

No, no and no. In fact, the quest for a successor to Mike Thomas is in good hands ... the strong hands of former Cal-Davis fullback and long-time UI faculty rep Matt Wheeler.

UI roundup: Wells soars to new heights

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois’ Jonathan Wells won the high jump, leaping 7 feet, 1 inch on Saturday in the Border Battle, as the Illini track and field team topped Missouri but lost to Iowa.

“Jonathan Wells was a big highlight. He had a big day, his high jump was electric, and I’m really happy with what he did,” UI coach Mike Turk said.

Football greats miss out on Hall

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Shut out. Again.

The three Illinois candidates for the 2016 College Football Hall of Fame were not selected when the class was announced Friday.

Defensive tackle Moe Gardner, linebacker Dana Howard and defensive end Simeon Rice were all finalists for the honor.

Illinois hasn’t had a player elected since wide receiver David Williams in 2005.

AD search: Rick George's stance hasn't changed

As Illinois searches for an athletic director ahead of the Jan. 21 trustees meeting, Rick George provided a reminder that he’s not in the mix.

One more glance: Top 2015 stories

What moments, games, athletes and possibly even more scandal will capture our attention in 2016? Before any can come to fruition, The News-Gazette sports staff looks back at the top 10 stories from the year that was: