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Texas A&M Aggies:

*Aggies freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, 19 is still facing charges after being involved in a fight.

Manziel was arrested by College Station police in the Northgate bar district on charges of fighting, failure to identify himself and carrying two fake licenses.

Manziel, a Parade All-American at Kerrville Tivy High, competed with sophomore Jameill Showers during spring drills for the starting job. Showers, who was Ryan Tannehill’s primary backup last season, appeared to lead the battle in spring practice, but head coach Kevin Sumlin and offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury declined to name him the starter.

Coach Sumlin was made aware of the situation and is still gathering all of the facts. “We’re gathering all the facts and will handle the situation once we have all of the information.”

*Texas A&M women’s basketball head coach Gary Blair announced the team’s 2012-2013 non-conference schedule last week.

The schedule features seven straight home games and nine overall. This includes the first home matchup in program history against seven-time national champion Connecticut and A&M’s first-ever Thanksgiving tournament.

The 14-game non-conference schedule kicks off with three top-20 programs and four straight NCAA Championship contenders from a year ago. The Lady Aggies will open its season on November 9th at Louisville, which finished ranked No. 16 at the end of the year.

The Aggies open their seven-game home stretch on Nov. 14th with NCAA Sweet 16 participant Penn State. The much-anticipated UConn contest follows on Nov. 18th and two days later, on Nov. 20th A&M hosts Big South Conference champion Liberty.

On Nov. 23 and 25th, the Aggies host their first Thanksgiving tournament, the A&M Classic, welcoming Marquette, Marshall and Southern to Reed Arena. The home stand wraps up with Louisiana Tech on Dec. 4th and TCU on Dec. 8th.

In just its second road game of the season, Texas A&M travels to USC on Dec. 15 and stays out west for the Duel in the Desert in Las Vegas Dec. 19-21. The Aggies play three games in a tournament that features Notre Dame, Kansas State, Old Dominion, UNLV and a sixth team yet to be determined. The Aggies close out the month of December against Prairie View A&M on Dec. 28th and ring in the New Year with Rice on January 1st.

*The Texas A&M women’s basketball team will get a jump start on the 2012-13 season as they prepare for its upcoming Italy Tour.

The Lady Aggie and head coach Gary Blair are allowed 10 practices in advance of the tour, which will take place August 16-26th and will route the team through Rome, Florence, Pisa, Venice and Milan on a four-game schedule.

The tour will not only be a good bonding experience, but will give Blair and his staff a great look at their team. It will also give them the opportunity to integrate the Aggies six incoming freshmen, Chelsea Jennings (Fort Worth, Texas), Jordan Jones (DeSoto, Texas), Curtyce Knox (Humble, Texas), Peyton Little (Abilene, Texas), Courtney Walker (Edmond, Oklahoma), and Courtney Williams (Houston, Texas), into A&M’s system prior to the start of preseason workouts in October.

Southland Conference News:

*The Southland Conference will add two affiliate member institutions in 2012-13, once in the sport of softball and the other in men’s tennis, league commissioner Tom Burnett announced.

Houston Baptist University, scheduled to become a Southland member in all sports in 2013-14, will begin conference play in softball a year early. HBU’s addition gives the league 10 softball playing members in 2013, including a first-year program at current member Lamar University, and allows a scheduling format that features 27 conference games.

New Orleans, a Division I independent in other sports, will be added to the men’s tennis schedule in 2013, giving the league six men’s programs that play a single round-robin format in the regular season. The league’s only other affiliate member is also in men’s tennis, Texas-Pan American.

*The Southland Conference officially welcomed Oral Roberts University as its 10th member, giving the league one of the most successful mid-major athletic programs in NCAA Division I.

ORU is the first Oklahoma-based institution in the Southland’s nearly half-century of existence, and is also the league’s first private institution in nearly 40 years. Tulsa is the nation’s 46th largest city with a population of 391,906, and the greater metropolitan area includes approximately one million people. The area is also the 59th largest television market in the United States.

The Oral Roberts Golden Eagles will participate in 15 of the Southland’s 17 sponsored championships, including men’s sports basketball, baseball, cross country, golf, tennis, and indoor and outdoor track and field. On the women’s side, Oral Roberts will compete in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, and volleyball.

*Twenty-four student-athletes have been selected as 2011-12 Southland Conference Scholar-Athletes of the Year.

The Southland Conference annually recognizes the outstanding male and female student-athletes from each of the league’s member institutions. Student-athletes must be a letterwinner with a minimum 3.20 cumulative grade-point average and have completed at least two years of intercollegiate competition at the school from which he or she was nominated. The student-athletes were selected by their respective institution adminstrators.

The 2011-12 Southland Conference Scholar-Athletes of the Year are: Seth Allison and Katie McGregor-Central Arkansas; Matt Johnsen and Lisa Topping-Lamar; Ben Chretien and Caitlyn Baggett-McNeese State, Jordan Hanberry and Carolyn Noble-Nicholls State, Wade Williams and Kelee Grimes-Northwestern State; Travis Watson and Morgan Davis-Sam Houston State; Jordan Hymel and Kyle MacIntosh-Southeastern Louisiana; Jarid Scarafiotti and Kylie Louw-SFA; David Subirats and Courtney Zink-UT Arlington; Phil Steinert and Kelsey Jewasko-UTSA, Nathan Robinson and Hannah Schwarz-Texas A&M Corpus Christi; and Tyler Sibley and Kelsey Bernard-Texas State.

*A total of 14 players from the Southland Conference, including a national best five from Sam Houston State, have been named preseason All-Americans by the Sports Network.

Sam Houston State running back Tim Flanders, all-purpose back Richard Sincere and safety Darnell Taylor wer4e named to the first team. A pair of defensive players round out the Bearkats selections with J.T. Cleveland named to the second team and Daxton Swanson on the third team.

The five selections by the Bearkats was the most by any team in the nation, and part of a group of 14 players from the Southland Conference, which was second most from any one league, tying the Big Sky just one selection behind the Colonial Athletic Association.

McNeese State and Stephen F. Austin each placed three on the preseason All-American teams. Central Arkansas placed two and Southeastern Louisiana had one.

Other Collegiate News:

*Texas State senior Chase Harper is one of 38 tight ends who have been named to the John Mackey Award Preseason Watch List by the Nassau County Sports Commission, sponsored by Briarcliffe College.

Harper recorded 20 receptions for 287 yards and three touchdowns in 2011. He caught two passes for 74 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown reception, at Stephen F. Austin, to earn FCS Independent Player of the Week honors. He earned Player of the Week honors a second time after catching four passes for 66 yards versus Prairie View A&M.

The award, which is given annually to the most outstanding collegiate tight end is named after NFL Hall of Fame member John Mackey, who was considered the best to have played the tight end position.

The John Mackey Award recipient is selected by vote of a selection committee and the 2012 John Mackey winner will be presented live on December 6, 2012 at The Home Depot College Football Awards Red Carpet Show at 6:30 p.m. an ESPNU. Other key dates include the announcement of the 2012 Mackey semi-finalists on November 12, 2012 and the announcement of the 2012 Mackey finalists on November 19th.

*The Grambling State Lady Tigers have been chosen as one of 16 teams to participate in the Preseason Women’s National Invitational Tournament, November 9-18th. The Preseason WNIT kicks off the women’s college basketball season.

Eleven of the 16 teams in the 2012 preseason WNIT are coming off of postseason berths. Along with Grambling, the field features Davidson, Delaware, Duquesne, Georgetown, Illinois State, Iowa, Kennesaw State, Liberty, Memphis, Middle Tennessee, Morehead State, North Carolina, Northern Illinois, Sacred Heart, and Sam Houston State.

Grambling State new head coach Patricia Bibbs returns to her alma mater and will have three starters back from a 15-15 team. Bibbs is the only coach in the country to amass at least 500 wins at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and returns to a program that she built with eight conference titles in her previous 13 years there.

The Preseason WNIT features a three-game guarantee format. The event opens Nov. 9th with first-round games. Second-round games will be played Nov. 11th; semifinals will be Nov. 14-15th; and the championship is set for Sunday, Nov. 18th.

*Conference USA has announced its preliminary television schedule for the 2012 football season. The current confirmed schedule features nearly 80 games to air nationally or regionally, putting it on pace for the highest number in league history. National games will be televised on Fox Sports Net (FSN), FX, CBS Sports Network, ABC and ESPN.

The 2012 football season marks the second year of an agreement between Conference USA and Fox Sports Media Group for national television rights to a variety of marquee Conference USA events, including a minimum of 20 regular-season football games.

This season also marks the eights year of C-USA’s partnership with CBS Sports Network that includes significant national and regional exposure for football, men’s and women’s basketball and other C-USA sports.

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