Tate: Balance and dollars don't mix

If they say it’s not about the money, explain these numbers:

—$11 billion: The 14-year NCAA tournament TV deal with CBS and Turner Broadcasting.

— $470 million: ESPN’s per-year contract for the new four-team NCAA football playoff.

The freshman belongs, dude

RANTOUL — Go to the highlight tape.

Watch the one-handed catch Mike Dudek pulled in during a high school game last September against Naperville Central.

It leaves one shaking his or her head in wonder. The true freshman wide receiver hasn’t done anything to diminish his stature with the second week of fall training camp nearing a close at Illinois.

Camp Rantoul notes: Defense impressing coaches, players

RANTOUL — Walking off the Memorial Stadium turf last week, Alex Hill praised the Illinois defense.

Unprompted, no less.

“I tell you what, man, our defense has been getting after us and showing us some things,” the Illinois offensive lineman said. “They’re making us better, and we love it. They’ve really improved over this summer and offseason.”

Kroner's football tour '14: Arcola

ARCOLA — Last year, Zach Zehr was the new coach at Arcola High School, implementing a new system.

This year, the preseason is going much smoother for the Purple Riders.

With 18 of 22 starters returning between the offensive and defensive platoons, the experience is helping the team hit the ground running.

Kroner's football tour '14: Mahomet-Seymour

MAHOMET — The net gains within the Mahomet-Seymour football program are represented by more than strength gained in the weight room.

They are also seen in the number of participants. Despite losing a 17-member senior class last year, the Bulldogs have nearly 20 more squad members than they did in 2013.

Part of that is due to a 38-member freshman class.

Illini volleyball receives preseason recognition

CHAMPAIGN — The Illinois volleyball team finished the 2013 season strong, winning seven of its final 10 matches to earn an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament. The Illini stayed strong with two tournament wins to make the Sweet 16 for the fifth time in six seasons.

They’ll start the 2014 season in a similarly strong place.

Sports Talk 8-14-14

Sports Talk 8-14-14: Play now!

Brian Moline and Marcus Jackson talk with Derek Piper from Big Stage Hoops, and they listen to Illini golf's head coach Mike Small and to new assistant coach Zach Barlow.


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Small hires familiar name as assistant

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois men’s golf coach Mike Small didn’t spend much time without an assistant.

League load heavy for soccer team

CHAMPAIGN — The Illinois soccer team could play just its Big Ten schedule and still probably rank among the nation’s top teams in terms of its overall strength.

The Big Ten will play a 13-match conference slate this season with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers. That could change in 2015, but for this fall at least, a true Big Ten champion will be crowned.

Kroner's football tour '14: St. Thomas More

CHAMPAIGN — The quarterback position at St. Thomas More appears set for the future.

For the present, there’s still some uncertainty.

Veteran coach Dan Hennessey is evaluating two sophomores during the preseason, including last year’s junior varsity quarterback, D.J. Lee. Clavin Davis, who played special teams last year on the varsity squad, is the other top candidate.

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