News and notes from around the country

July, 20, 2011
Quick hitters for this Wednesday afternoon:

• A high-level NCAA source said there will be discussion at the presidential level within the membership of closing the gap of full cost of attendance for student-athletes. That gap is estimated at $2,000 to $5,000 a year.

But the source said that's likely as far as any pay-for-play would go. He added that the full cost of attendance won't be universal, but rather along conference lines. If the Big Ten or SEC choose to do so, then it would once the legislation is cleared. But if the Ivy League or NEC decided against such a move, they wouldn't have to participate.

The other issue that could complicate things is the potential deficit reduction that could affect Pell Grants and other federal money. Those cost of attendance gaps have been aided by the addition of grants. The discussion at the presidential level will be the financial need of those who require assistance.

The source said the discussion has been strong and vibrant, but to assume that the movement is headed toward a true pay-for-play system would be naive. "It's not going there,'' said the source.

• Kentucky coach John Calipari said Tuesday night that Jon Hood may need to redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in a pickup game Monday. "We'll see how it goes,'' he said. "It's a possibility. It might help him.'' Calipari said that having Hood work out against the loaded incoming recruiting class will help him in the long run if he sits out this season.

• Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said Festus Ezeli (knee) and Steve Tchiengang (ankle) had minor surgery and both are expected to be cleared to go full speed when school starts late next month.

• Iona is the preseason favorite to win the MAAC, and head coach Tim Cluess is doing what he can to strengthen the schedule. The Gaels are in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off (with Alabama, Purdue, Temple, Wichita State, Maryland and Colorado), will head to dangerous Marshall and possibly Arkansas, and will play Tulane at Madison Square Garden. The Gaels will also hit the road for games at William & Mary and Hofstra. The only "marquee" home game is Saint Joseph's. Iona, like a number of mid-major schools, has a hard time finding home games.

• According to Cluess, Iona won't know until the fall if Arizona transfer Momo Jones will be eligible to play this season. Cluess said the paperwork is in and Jones is attempting to become eligible immediately through a waiver because of an ill grandmother. Jones would potentially join Scott Machado and Michael Glover in what could be a seriously loaded MAAC team.

• Long Island University is the favorite to repeat as NEC champs yet coach Jim Ferry couldn't get a decent slate of games. The Blackbirds will play 11 of their first 12 games away from home with matchups at Hofstra, at Old Dominion and at Penn State, followed by neutral-site games against Radford then either Vermont or Marist, then at Iona, at home against Wagner in a league game, at Mount Saint Mary's, at Lafayette, at Columbia and at Norfolk State. This isn't a schedule that will get the Blackbirds an at-large berth obviously since the NEC never produces one. But it proves yet again how difficult it is for even quality teams at a lower-level to simply play at home prior to conference play.

• Xavier got great news when it learned that Vanderbilt transfer Andre Walker will be eligible immediately for his last season. Walker was a solid change of pace player for the Commodores in the 15 games he played for them last season. Walker will be a solid backup to Tu Holloway, if not a side partner. Holloway chose to bypass the World University Games team this summer heading off to China so he could focus on playing with his teammates and going to school.

Andy Katz | email

ESPN Senior Writer


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