For the second time in the last three seasons, the WKU football team will face Central Michigan in a bowl game. The Toppers learned Sunday afternoon they’ll be playing in the Bahamas Bowl on Christmas Eve day. Central Michigan beat WKU 24-21 in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in 2012.
WKU head coach Jeff Brohm says the matchup of 7-5 teams should make for a competitive game.
“This is a great challenge for us, this is a team that beat us in the bowl game a couple years ago, so I know our players that’ve been here are looking forward to showing how far we’ve come since then,” said Brohm. “But it will definitely be a challenge for us. But we’re happy to be play another game. To play it in a setting like this against a good, solid football team is going to be fun for our guys.”
Game time is 11 a.m. CST on December 24th. Because of finals week, the team will wait until Thursday to begin full preparations for the game.
Athletic Director Todd Stewart says WKU didn’t officially know it was in the Bahamas Bowl until Sunday afternoon. But he says the process of making sure everyone on the team had a passport began several weeks ago.
“The conference told us we were one of the teams that was in line to possibly be in the Bahamas Bowl. And you really can’t wait until 10 days out or two weeks out to do all that. So we started a lot of that, and that process is well along,” said Stewart.
WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart speaks about the move to Conference USA.
After 32 years as a member of the Sun Belt Conference, WKU has now officially become a member of the newly re-aligned, 14 member Conference USA. It's a move Athletic Director Todd Stewart has been working toward for several years, but even he admits it's a high-risk, high-reward situation.
Stewart spoke with Joe Corcoran about leaving the comforts of the Sun Belt for the new challenges ahead.
The men’s tennis program at WKU has become a victim of university budget cuts. Director of Athletics Todd Stewart announced late Tuesday the intercollegiate men’s tennis program is being eliminated for the 2014-2015 academic year. With the loss of men’s tennis, WKU is left with 18 sponsored sports as it begins its first year competing in Conference USA.
"This is certainly a disappointment," Stewart said. "Unfortunately, the cumulative effect of three consecutive years of cuts to the overall athletics budget forces us to make difficult decisions. We have actually increased both our ticket and sponsorship revenue in each of the last two years along with private donor support, but cuts to the athletics budget have lessened the impact of our growth.”
Student athletes in the men’s tennis program will have the chance to transfer to another school to keep playing tennis without having to sit out a year. Scholarship athletes who want to stay at WKU will have their scholarships honored through their senior year.
With the largest collegiate athletic conferences pushing to allow extra financial benefits for players, smaller schools like WKU are wondering how such changes would impact their bottom lines.
The issue of increasing compensation for college athletes is being discussed this week at an NCAA summit in San Diego. A group of high-profile conferences wants the ability to grant stipends that would pay for costs not covered by athletic scholarships.
NCAA President Mark Emmert recently said he believes such a stipend plan will soon become a reality.
WKU athletic director Todd Stewart says nothing is set in stone yet about how such stipends would be used.
WKU athletic director Todd Stewart comments Thursday about Bobby Petrino's departure
Despite reports that WKU could be close to naming a new football coach, the school's athletic director is refusing to address such speculation.
In a phone conference with reporters Thursday afternoon, WKU's Todd Stewart said he wanted to focus on former coach Bobby Petrino, who was introduced as the new coach at the University of Louisville Thursday morning.
Stewart was asked if he tried to keep Petrino from leaving WKU after only one season.
"Certainly the Louisville job, with where their program is, with what they've achieved in recent years, and with them heading into the ACC--that's a big-time job. I don't think there's anything that we could have done here that we weren't already doing that would have persuaded him to turn that down and stay here," Stewart said.
Multiple media outlets have reported that Stewart has met with WKU offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm about the Hilltopper head coaching job.
WKU President Gary Ransdell told the Courier-Journal he considered Brohm the leading candidate for the job and planned to interview the former U of L quarterback Thursday.
WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart has issued a statement regarding football coach Bobby Petrino's decision to leave the school for the University of Louisville head coaching position.
Petrino was officially introduced Thursday morning as the new Cardinals head coach, his second stint at U of L. Petrino led the Cardinals from 2003-2006 and gained a reputation as one of the nation's most creative offensive innovators.
Here is the statement released Thursday by WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart:
Kevin's interview with WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart
WKU’s athletic director is predicting there will be changes coming to the organization that governs collegiate athletics. But Todd Stewart doesn’t think the country’s most powerful conferences will break away from the NCAA and form their own organization, as some have suggested.
Stewart will attend a summit in January called by NCAA President Mark Emmert in response to pressure by big-revenue generating schools who want more say in how the NCAA is run. Some large schools want to increase compensation for collegiate athletes beyond what is currently allowed—something opposed by many smaller schools who say they couldn’t afford it.
Stewart came to the WKU Public Radio studio Wednesday to discuss the upcoming NCAA football summit, the future of college football, and his approach to putting together future WKU football schedules.
WKU Public Radio: WKU has been invited along with all the other Division I football schools to attend a Jan. 16-17 summit in San Diego that coincides with the NCAA’s annual convention. From what you understand so far, what’s going to be discussed?
Todd Stewart: A lot of things are being discussed right now, and I think what President Emmert wanted to do was get everybody in the room and hopefully come out with some form of solidarity. Because you have what people refer to as the “power five” conferences—the SEC, ACC, the Big 10, the PAC 12, and the Big 12—and there are some reforms they would really want to see.
The WKU football team is hoping to continue the momentum established last weekend when they host Southern Mississippi Saturday night. The Hilltoppers are 2-1 following their win at Kentucky, and a big crowd is expected to watch the first-ever meeting between WKU and the Golden Eagles from Conference USA.