University of Missouri

August 8, 2014

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel talks about autonomy, future of college football scheduling

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel reacted to the NCAA vote that created autonomy for college football’s five most powerful conferences. He applauded the decision, but said he doesn’t favor a schedule that only includes games against programs from those leagues.

Autonomy was inevitable, according to Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, so it’s no surprise that he welcomed news Thursday that a new governing structure was coming to the NCAA.

“The trend was such that, one way or another, something was going to happen,” Pinkel said. “It’s my understanding that, if the vote didn’t go that way, then a new league would have been developed. Everybody understood the direction that it had to go, and I think it’s the right thing for college football.”

Broadcasting revenues and other sources of income for athletic departments are smashing records, and the tidal wave of cash only will increase with the College Football Playoff and other revenue streams, including a projected windfall from the launch of the SEC Network next week.

Pinkel wants major college programs to have greater flexibility to meet the needs of the student-athletes whose sweat helps generates millions of dollars of income.

“That’s the most important thing is what can we do for the student-athlete, so we’ll see what happens, what direction we go with that,” Pinkel said. “What you do is, in those leagues, you have all the people who financially can do more … (but) it was very difficult to try to help to do more for the student-athlete with restrictions that we had. To me, that’s what this thing is all about.”

Still, Pinkel, who played at Kent State and coached at Toledo, doesn’t want to see football programs at schools outside the five power conferences — the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC — completely cut out.

For instance, he isn’t in favor of moving to a schedule that only includes games against teams from the upper-crust conferences.

“Our conference is tough enough,” Pinkel said. “You talk about the increase in injuries on players. You’re worried about playing fast on the field, but if you start playing BCS schools — those five conferences — every single game? That’s a factor. It’s tough enough as it is. It’s competitive enough, and I also think it works in terms of financially for all those institutions, like when I was at Toledo and we played Penn State or Purdue or whoever we played.”

Injury report

Backup free safety Cortland Browning was limited in practice Friday with a shoulder sprain.

Browning, strong safety Braylon Webb (shoulder) and right tackle Connor McGovern (pectoral strain) are questionable for Tuesday’s scrimmage, the first of preseason training camp.

Webb and McGovern previously indicated they expect to be healthy before the season opener Aug. 30 versus South Dakota State.

Running back Morgan Steward, a sophomore from Staley, also injured his hip during practice, while freshman cornerback Raymond Wingo was excused from practice to tend to a family matter.

Dancing fools

Missouri’s quarterbacks and specialists lined up for a pulsating group jig to Sugar Hill Gang’s “Apache (Jump On It)” before Friday’s practice.

It was generally well-received, but senior left tackle Mitch Morse promised greater things to come from the offensive line.

“They did the best they possibly could,” Morse said, “but when the offensive line goes, it’s going to change people. People are going to be moved, teary-eyed.”

Morse wouldn’t divulge any secrets.

“We’re going to keep it fundamentally sound,” Morse said. “We know our bodies as offensive linemen, our parameters, our limits. People get hurt when they push their limits, but we’re going to go for it.”

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to Follow him on Twitter @todpalmer.

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