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Red Raider Gridiron: Kirby Hocutt Talks College Football Playoffs; Freshmen Ineligibility

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Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt talked about being on the College Football Playoff committee with Fox Sports and ESPN, plus, the athletic commissioners are considering reinstating the academic redshirt.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Q&A's With Hocutt. FoxSports David Ubben had a Q&A with College Football Playoff's newest committee member in Kirby Hocut last week.  The most interesting thing that I found was that Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is the guy that makes the decision.  Hocutt tells the story that Hocutt was recommended to the presidents, but it is Bowlsby's decision about who represents the Big 12.  I find this interesting because Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Bennett was advocating that the next committee member needs to be a head coach, not an administrator.  I suppose I find it odd how much Baylor was politicking this offseason and none of it worked.

Anyway, Hocutt was asked what his biggest issue would be in joining the committee:

What's your biggest issue in joining the committee?
It's probably the anticipation and the unknown. When you haven't gone through something and it's such a public process and you're joining such a distinguished group of individuals, the anticipation will be something I look forward to. For me to sit here and not believe that it's going to require and adjustment of my schedule and my calendar, I'd be fooling myself. I had a chance to visit with Bill Hancock at length yesterday and it's going to be a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday full-time commitment on those three days of the week and attention the other four days. It's going to require an adjustment of my schedule and my calendar, but I knew that going in. I feel comfortable that we've got the staff and coaches in place that we can move Texas Tech forward at the pace that we have and still be able to give appropriate attention to the CFP process.

I was also saving Part I and Part II from the ESPN's Heather Dinich where they also talked with Hocutt:

There are some powerful people in that room, what are your thoughts on being the rookie?
KH:
It's a very distinguished group and I look forward to being a part of it. Having been a former college football player for five years and an administrator who has worked hand-in-hand with coaches my entire career, and obviously as an athletics director I believe there is a certain element and perspective I can bring to the conversation and look forward to hopefully being a positive addition to the group.

Does age matter?
KH:
I'm not sure at this point in time and my career that I feel young. To be the youngest on the committee I guess is an angle but at the age of 43 I feel I have worked hard to be where I am today and feel honored to be in this position and hopefully can be a positive contributor to the discussions with the committee.

Freshmen Ineligibility. CBS Sports John Solomon had the news on Friday about how the Power Five commissioners are considering freshman ineligibility, looking to curb the one-and-done rule or asking that the NBA raise the age limit, but could also impact other sports as well.  Think of it as the old partial qualifier, the student gets into the college, and then takes a redshirt year to get their grades in order.  I think Michael Crabtree did this (please correct me if I'm wrong here) as he was obviously talented enough to probably play, but was required to sit out a year to get his grades in order.

Academic redshirt years are already coming for college athletes who enroll in 2016, when initial eligibility standards increase. The NCAA's required minimum high school GPA is going to increase from 2.0 to 2.3, and high school athletes will be required to complete 10 of their 16 required core courses before their senior year of high school.

Players who meet the old academic standards -- but not the new ones -- can receive an academic redshirt. It's a new version of the old partial qualifier with one important exception -- the player does not lose a year of eligibility. Academic redshirts can receive a scholarship and practice with their teams but cannot compete. If they pass nine credit hours in their first semester, they can compete the next season as a redshirt freshman.

But that academic redshirt year is based on the NCAA's minimum standards. Universities regularly admit athletes into school below their school's own academic standards. This often causes challenges for some athletes who struggle to stay afloat academically; they are sometimes put into majors that may not help them once they're done playing, and they can even become cases of academic fraud given the pressure to do what is necessary to keep players eligible.

There's part of me that's really in favor of this, not because of the one-and-done rule, but if the student does struggle to qualify, I think a year to focus on academics isn't a bad thing.  Not every student comes from a high school situation where it is conducive to learning and getting your grades in order, so this concept doesn't bother me.  If the student has good grades and good test scores, then they are eligible and I think that's good too.

Rising and Falling in the Big 12. I was going to add this as a miscellaneous item, but it would have been the only one.  Sports On Earth's Matt Brown writes about rising and falling college football programs by conference and says that you need to buy Texas and sell Oklahoma.  We, as Texas Tech fans have wrung our hands about coaching staff changes, but at Oklahoma, this feels like Mack Brown's last stand, but with Bob Stoops.  That's probably too harsh, but it feels similar in that Stoops is making one last push, hiring what's worked the latest on offense in order to remain on that top level.  The other part of it is that it could work wonderfully, like it did at TCU, but with Jerry Montgomery leaving for the NFL, something just isn't sitting right. Losing Montgomery would be like Texas Tech losing Mike Jinks, which certainly could happen at any time, but in a year of turmoil for Oklahoma losing Montgomery seemed like a tough loss.