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WAC growls at Fresno St., Nevada

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Associated Press
August 20, 2010
— Fresno State and Nevada should not expect any parting gifts from the other members of the Western Athletic Conference when the Bulldogs and Wolf Pack leave for the Mountain West.

WAC commissioner Karl Benson said on Thursday the departing schools will have to pay $5 million to his league and wait until 2012 to move after accepting the MWC’s invitation and dismantling an agreement the WAC was on the verge of completing with BYU.


The Cougars were in line to rejoin the WAC in all sports other than football, in which BYU would have become an independent.


Benson called Fresno State and Nevada’s decision “selfish.”


“In a 12-hour period, the WAC went from having a secure and prosperous future to once again not knowing what the future will hold,” Benson said in a conference call.


The WAC had already lost Boise State to the MWC earlier this summer, then on Wednesday both Fresno State and Nevada received and accepted invitations to join the Mountain West—less than a week after WAC members formed a buyout pact intended to keep what was left of the league intact.


Although Nevada did not actually sign the buyout agreement and loyalty pledge, Benson said WAC lawyers believe the Wolf Pack are still subject to the terms of the deal and will seek the money, due 60 days from Wednesday.


“I recommended (the buyout) to the board. I wish at this time I had made it $20 million,” Benson said.


In the meantime, the WAC is looking for members once again.


Forcier gets ‘stripes’ back


Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez says Tate Forcier has earned the right to have wings on his helmet.


Rodriguez says the quarterback practiced with the famed decals on Thursday because he was consistent for a few days in a row.


Forcier started all 12 games last season. His job is in jeopardy because he’s being pushed by fellow sophomore Denard Robinson and highly touted freshman Devin Gardner.


Rodriguez says Forcier has responded to being challenged.


Parseghian gives pep talk


Ara Parseghian knows a thing or two about winning football games at Notre Dame and the 87-year-old former Fighting Irish coach delivered a message to the current team Thursday.


As players gathered around in a huddle just after warmups, current coach Brian Kelly introduced the white-haired Parseghian, who then gave about a five-minute talk to the players, many of whom had never met him or heard him speak.


“It was really cool to be on the field and have him come out and really take control of the huddle,” Kelly said


“This was not walking out a guy that doesn’t have an aura about him. He walked out there, took over the huddle right away and talked about toughness—mental toughness and physical toughness—and what it takes to win. It was just a great message.”


Parseghian was 95-17-4 in 11 seasons starting in 1964 and led the Irish to national titles in 1966 and 1973.


“It was just kind of neat to hear it from someone who was so successful here. It was just kinda of awesome,” place-kicker Nick Tausch said.


“It was really inspirational. Actually I had never seen him or met him in person. It was a great experience,” said linebacker Anthony McDonald, who was sidelined by a hyperexteded knee and entered the practice facility using a cane.


Kelly, who had talked previously with Parseghian after taking the Notre Dame job, said he didn’t go into great detail introducing the famous coach.


“I didn’t preface it by talking about him other than here’s somebody who’s talking to you who’s won two national championships at Notre Dame,” Kelly said. “I don’t think you can have a better message than this one.”



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