For more on college sports, follow Pete DiPrimio via Twitter at www.twitter.com/pdiprimio
Matt Painter doesn't see it happening.
Yes, the East Coast has become the new hot thing on the Big Ten agenda. Maryland and Rutgers are now official members. The conference is putting an office in New York City, with a smaller one in Washington, D.C. The Big Ten men's basketball tourney will be played in D.C. in 2017.
But to think Purdue will make the East Coast a primary basketball recruiting area, well, Painter isn't going for it.
“I don't think so,” the Boilers coach said. “We recruit out east a little bit. We just signed a kid from Boston (freshman forward Jacquil Taylor). We've always tried to recruit the prep schools (out east). Not saturate them, but try to pinpoint a couple of guys out there and stay with it.”
Instead, Purdue will maintain its Midwest recruiting roots.
“With the Big Ten Network already being in 55 million homes across the country, that gives you that wide range of people who are watching you all the time,” Painter said. “I think that helps you more than adding a couple of schools from the East Coast. You do get into that market and it's great for our league and the marketing of our league, and it probably helps us financially, but does it help you recruiting or help you sign a player you normally wouldn't sign? Probably not.”
Painter and athletic director Morgan Burke also aren't interested in a major scheduling focus on East Coast games.
“You're already go out there (with games against Maryland and Rutgers),” Painter said. “You have very few (non-conference) slots anyway.
“We get locked in with the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the Crossroads Classic (in Indianapolis with Butler and Notre Dame). Now we'll have the Gavit Games (a new series matching Big Ten and Big East teams). Then you throw in an exempt tournament, and you still have to have X amount of home games from a season package standpoint. When start doing that, you're up against it.”
Burke sees no reason to schedule non-conference football games against East Coast teams, or for any of the Boiler sports.
“The Big Ten's East Coast expansion won't affect football scheduling at all,” Burke said. “We're going to nine conference games in 2017, so it makes scheduling non-conference games more challenging to get a good mix of home and away. Everybody wants a home game. Nobody wants to go on the road,
“Basketball is not as challenging, but you're going to charter more. You'll have a bigger expense budget. So some of the additional revenue, people always talk about the revenue, but in my world I talk about the net. At the end of the day it will cost you.
“With some of your Olympic sports, you might not be able to use commercial flights, so you'll have to charter more. We're fortunate because we have an airport on campus. We have to learn how to do it.
“With some of the Olympic sports, we don't do full round robins right now. We allow the conference championship to serve as the mega championship. In basketball and volleyball, we will have more travel than expected.
It also puts more pressure on us to get the kids back to school. At Purdue we do go to school. That's important. We want to make sure, if we have to use revenue to charter the kids back, make sure don't miss a class. We do it in men's basketball. We do it in women's basketball. We might have to do it for other sports. Not every week or multiple times in a year, but you might have to do it.”
Burke added it might be cost effective to share charter flights with Indiana for some sports. He said a few years ago he and Hoosier athletic director Fred Glass combined to fly their track teams to an away meet.
“We chartered a flight out of Indy, split the cost and both teams went together,” Burke said. “We might have to be more creative like that as we go forward.”
Tailback Akeem Hunt's versatility has put him among the 47 Paul Hornung Award candidates for the second straight season. The award annually goes to college football's most versatile player.
Hunt was seventh in the Big Ten in all-purpose yards last season, averaging 119.2 a game. He totaled 464 rushing yards, 340 on receptions and 626 on kickoff returns. His career total of 1,666 kickoff return yards are second in school history behind Dorien Bryant (2,125). His 867 return yards in 2012 also are second in Purdue history (Bryant had 1,007 in 2007). Hunt had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Ohio State in 2012 and a 99-yard TD return against Indiana State in 2013.
He has 3,300 career all-purpose yards, including 1,086 rushing.
Williams is one of 10 Big Ten players on the list.
Meanwhile, Purdue continues its Ross-Ade Stadium South End Zone project with the removal of the bleachers, and its 6,100 seats. Burke has opted for a temporary approach -- called a “Patio” -- while finalizing plans for a long-term change.
“We knew (the bleachers) were going to come down.” he said. “It was a waste of resources to maintain them. We've taken them out and are doing market survey on the (permanent) options. We're working with people to see what they'd like in the South End Zone. We'll engage four to five architects to see what's the best concept.”
The patio will include a 3,200-square-foot high-peak tent with six 46-inch TVs. Fans can purchase food and drinks, including beer and wine. The patio will be open to football season ticket holders and Boilermaker students with VIP Cards.
The patio, which will hold 1,500 fans at a time, will have four gated entrances with landscaping, flags and banners that honor Purdue's quarterback and defensive end tradition.
Boiler officials will take fan suggestions, plus their own input and give them to the architects to produce a final end zone design.
“I view this as a 10- to 15-year project,” Burke said. “Our last major work in Ross-Ade Stadium was in 2000. We want to make sure we stay contemporary. The viewing patterns have changed. Everybody uses the buzz word, 'fan experience.' You have to make it compelling for fans to get off the couch and come to the stadium. We're trying to do something on a temporary basis for the next season until we finalize the plan.
“We've challenged ourselves. We have (less than two months) to come up with something that will allow us to further explore how to best use that space.”
Robert Kugler rates among the nation's top centers. He's one of 66 players on the Remington Trophy watch list. The award goes annually to the nation's best center.
Kugler, a converted tight end, has started 19 straight games.