FCS ready to expand playoffs

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It has taken college football’s elite more than 100 years to be dragged toward a playoff system that will likely still only have a handful of teams.

Smaller schools have been doing the playoffs for a long time – and they’re about to make them bigger.

The Football Champion­ship Subdivision is on the verge of expanding its playoff system from 20 to 24 teams by 2013. The proposal would give an automatic bid to all FCS leagues that want one, seeds the top eight teams and gives them first-round byes and home games in the following round.

The proposal goes before an NCAA championships cabinet in June and will be subject to final approval by an executive committee on Aug. 2. It is expected to pass and be in place for the 2013 playoffs.

SAINTS: An e-mail from an imprisoned friend of the New Orleans coaching staff with a postscript saying, “put me down for $5,000” on Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers has become another sore point between players being punished for New Orleans’ bounty system and the NFL.

The e-mail, obtained by The Associated Press, was written from prison by marketing agent Mike Ornstein shortly before the Saints’ 2011 season opener against the Packers. Ornstein once represented Reggie Bush and later got to know members of the Saints’ coaching staff.

Ornstein was sentenced to eight months in federal prison, which he served in Florence, Colo., for conspiring to scalp Super Bowl tickets and hawking fake “game-worn” jerseys. He was released last fall.

“It’s a running joke going for three years,” Ornstein said in a phone interview this week, explaining that he had been kidding Williams about bounties ever since the NFC Championship game in 2010, after which the Vikings told the NFL that they believed the Saints had a bounty on quarterback Brett Favre.

BILLS: Wasted little time locking up a majority of their rookie draft class by agreeing to contracts with six of their nine selections.

That leaves Buffalo with its top three picks unsigned, including South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

who was selected 10th overall.

RAVENS: Have signed their entire rookie draft class, including top pick Courtney Upshaw.

Upshaw, a standout outside linebacker from Alabama, was the 35th overall selection in the draft. He received a four-year contract worth nearly $5.3 million, including a $2.292 million bonus.

He is projected as an immediate starter because Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs will be sidelined for a major portion of the season with a torn Achilles tendon that required surgery.

The New England Patriots have hired Bill Belichick’s son as a coaching assistant, making him the third generation of the family to try his hand as a football coach.

The team said Thursday that Steve Belichick will join his father’s staff. Bill Belichick’s father, also named Steve, was a fullback who played for the Detroit Lions and coached in college, spending 33 years on the staff at Navy.


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