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Headlinin’: Easterling drops ‘Noles for belated baseball bucks

Matt Hinton
Dr. Saturday

Making the morning rounds.

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'Nole on the run. Florida State receiver Taiwan Easterling, a full-time starter with 108 catches and eight touchdowns over the last three years, has decided to forego his senior season to a pursue a pro baseball career. It's been a long time coming: Four years ago, Easterling spurned a sixth-round nod from the Florida Marlins out of high school for a two-sport college career — and considering he was used mainly as a utility outfielder and designated hitter on the Seminole baseball team, was arguably more successful on the gridiron. With a recently acquired degree and a 27th-round flier from the Chicago Cubs in hand, though, even FSU fans can hardly begrudge him for taking his cuts on the diamond while he still can. [South Florida Sun Sentinel, Tallahassee Democrat]

This is hardball. With the official addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten roster today, the Chicago Tribune takes a look back at the conception of the latest round of conference expansion — way, way back, to 2004, when an insulting offer for television rights from ESPN exec Mark Shapiro inspired Big Ten commish Jim Delany to get creative. "[Shapiro] lowballed us and said: 'Take it or leave it. If you don't take our offer, you are rolling the dice,' " Delany told the Tribune. "I said: 'Consider them rolled.' "

The resulting bet was the Big Ten Network, which quickly created the financial windfall that sent dominoes falling around the country and Nebraska tumbling into Delany's lap. "He threw his weight around," Shapiro said, "and said, 'I'm going to get my big (rights-fee) increase and start my own network.' Had ESPN stepped up and paid BCS-type dollars, I think we could have prevented the network. In retrospect, that might have been the right thing to do. Jim is making a nice penny on that." [Chicago Tribune]

Aaron Douglas update. Fernandina Beach, Fla., Police have reportedly charged four people with allowing underage drinking at the house party where Alabama offensive lineman Aaron Douglas was found dead last month. According to police, at least 16 people under 21 years old either drank or used illegal drugs at the party — a number that does not include Douglas, who was 21. An autopsy did show, however, that Douglas had multiple drugs in his system, including Methadone and Diazepram. [Associated Press]{YSP:MORE}

I do the menacing around here. Tuscaloosa police confirmed Thursday that Alabama running back Trent Richardson was the victim of an early-morning hit-and-run, but was not injured and declined to sign a warrant on a menacing charge after the incident. Police did issue a citation for leaving the scene of an accident, but wouldn't release the person's name or any details of the accident, including whether Richardson was in a vehicle or on foot. [Associated Press]

Happy trails. North Texas has dismissed its leading receiver, Darius Carey, for failing to "live up to the standards and expectations that have been set for the program." Carey, a high school quarterback from New Orleans, had 95 catches for 1,033 yards and nine touchdowns in his first two seasons on campus. [Associated Press]

Fashion break! The latest offering in an offseason full of bold uniform rollouts comes from Kentucky's, whose new duds look … well, pretty much exactly like the old ones with a helmet stripe and a checkerboard pattern thrown in:

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Fans who don't like the changes can always take solace in the fact that at least the basketball team doesn't have to go around looking like that. [ukathletics.com, Lexington Herald-Leader]

Quickly… SEC athletic directors snub Cam Newton as the conference's Male Athlete of the Year, for some reason. … Terrelle Pryor doesn't know the words to Ohio State's fight song. (Turns out I don't , either.) … Boise State's travel costs keep going up. … SMU has seen an 82 percent spike in annual fundraising since 2006. … The top of the men's and women's divisions of the Capital One Cup look an awful lot alike. … An interesting look at Washington's biggest wins of the Pac-10 era. … Colorado has Pac-12 gear hot off the presses. … And the most interesting thing in the first chapter of Gene Chizik's new book is his obsessive preparation for interviewing at Iowa State.

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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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