University Beat


Even without a name, the athletic conference USF will soon play in has a seven-year, $126 million TV contract with ESPN -- a deal worth about $1.5 million annually to USF Athletics.

However, citing industry sources, ESPN reports if this new conference loses two schools, the deal can be terminated.

NBC Sports Network's contract divided the league into Group A (Connecticut, Cincinnati, Houston and Temple) and Group B (the remaining members, including USF), sources said.

The media rights deal can be terminated if either two Group A schools leave or one Group A and one Group B school leave. If two Group B schools leave, the contract will be renegotiated, sources said.

Penn State Brandywine (PA)

Sophia T. Wisniewska, the chancellor of Penn State Brandywine, has been named the new regional chancellor of USF St. Petersburg.

According to a press release from USF News, the scholar of Russian language and literature held a number of leadership positions in the Penn State System. She also served as dean and CEO at Temple University Ambler for six years.

Katy Hennig / USF News

When it comes to technology, history is not kind to the middleman—the person who gets an innovation from the prototype stage to the point it’s an everyday item. Just about everyone knows IBM’s punch cards slowly evolved into Steve Jobs’ mini-super computers that we carry on our hips. But hundreds of lesser-known names moved us along that road.

USF Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Craig Lusk readily admits that he’s one of those middlemen. This week's University Beat on WUSF Public Media examines Lusk's work with 'shape-shifting' devices and the ideas he's come up with for the technology, such as a lighter, more flexible form of body armor or containment for oil spills.

Tom Hagerty /

For only the second time in team history, the USF women's basketball team will play in the NCAA Tournament.

The Bulls (21-10) received the 10th seed in the Spokane Region and will play the 7th seed Texas Tech (21-10, 11-7 Big 12) at the Lady Raiders' home in Lubbock, Texas, at 6:30 p.m. ET Saturday.

Police at the University of Central Florida say a 30 year old student about to be removed from his residence hall planned to open fire on classmates this morning before his plan was foiled by officers responding to a 911 call from one of his roommates. James Oliver Seevakumaran, a graduate of Seminole High School in Pinellas County, was found dead in his dorm room at the 51,000-student Orlando campus of the University of Central Florida. No one else was hurt.

Last Friday was a day the members of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine Class of 2013 have long looked forward to: Match Day. Find out what it's like when your entire future might be dictated simply by a school's name hidden inside an envelope.

There's worrisome news from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, where a man who authorities say was a student at the school apparently killed himself Monday — which led to the discovery of "a handgun, an assault weapon and [improvised explosive devices]" in his dorm room, according to school officials.

Eric Younghans / USF Health

USF Health has broken ground on its new Specialty Care Center in the Villages, providing coordinated  health care to the country's largest community of people over the age of 55.

According to USF Health officials, the center will serve as a collaborative compliment to The Villages Health primary care network, which is going to soon have seven different medical offices in The Villages.

Speaking at the formal ground-breaking last week, Dr. Stephen Klasko, USF Health CEO, said such collaboration allows residents to receive health care without leaving their neighborhood.

USF College of Education

For the tenth straight year, USF's College of Education has been named one of the country's top graduate schools by U.S. News & World Report.

According to a USF News release, the College of Education was ranked 81st overall and 34th 52nd in funded research.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF

The answers to the mystery of what lies below the site of the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Fla. -- as well as what happened to many of the young men who may have died and been buried there between 1900 and 1952 -- may be closer than ever before.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has filed a petition on behalf of Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Hunter to allow him to exhume human remains from the school's "Boot Hill Cemetery" and surrounding areas.

Emails obtained by the Tampa Bay Times show the relationship between USF Health and Tampa General Hospital is not as strong as it once was, with enough issues on both sides that Hillsborough County officials ordered the two organizations to seek the equivalent of marriage counseling.

USF will say goodbye to the Big East Conference June 30th, the now-official date that the so-called "Catholic 7" schools will take the conference name and start their own league. ESPN reports that, in addition to keeping the Big East name, the new league will continue playing its postseason men's basketball tournament in Madison Square Garden, one of the last remaining questions about the split.

The American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) has come out with its 2012-2013 list of the 75 Best College Towns and Cities, and while Gainesville (University of Florida) and Tallahassee (Florida State University) make the grade, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Sarasota (USF), Orlando (UCF) and Miami (University of Miami) fall short.

US Presswire

Since it's become clear USF and the other schools that field Football Bowl Series (FBS) level teams will lose the "Big East" name, they'll have to come up with a name for their new conference.

If some of the domain names filed for by the conference's law firm are any sign, it looks like some form of "America 12" will be the choice.

Ryan Dillow / WUSF

From virtually controlling a robot, exploring a man-made cave, and creating their own lip gloss, the more than 20,000 people who attended the recent USF Engineering Expo had a huge variety of activities to choose from.

The 41st Annual Engineering Expo—believed to be one of the longest running events at USF—drew in students from elementary, middle and high schools around the Bay area and across the Southeast United States.

USF News

You might not recognize the name "Jerry Greenfield," but take away the last name and add "Ben and..." and everyone suddenly knows the ice cream magnate.

Greenfield will bring that notoriety, along with his business acumen (and some tasty treats), to USF's Tampa campus Monday night as part of the University Lecture Series.

Big East Conference

After memberships in the Sun Belt Conference and Conference USA, the University of South Florida will reportedly soon say farewell to the Big East Conference -- but not by choice. reports the so-called "Catholic 7" schools splitting off from the league will keep the Big East name.

According to ESPN, the seven schools, which don't field Football Bowl Series (FBS) level teams, want to formally split off in July of this year. Sources say the seven -- DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall, and Villanova -- will be joined by Butler, Xavier, and possibly Creighton in the 'new' Big East.

Kathleen Cabble / Tampa Bay Business Journal

The University of South Florida Saint Petersburg's campus continues to grow. The Tampa Bay Business Journal reports the College of Business will be built on the College's current location, the Piano Man building on 7th Avenue South.

The Journal reports that the university had been planning to use a parking lot across from the University Student Center, but that site was ruled out after officials decided they might use it instead to expand the nearby Science and Technology Building.

While Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford says Florida Polytechnic University is "a disaster" that could use an outside ally, he's looking for an entity more like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and not USF -- the university Florida Poly was spun off from.

Speaking to the Tampa Tribune editorial board, the Wesley Chapel Republican presented what he admits is "a crazy idea... go talk to MIT or CalTech or Stanford and see if they want to have a satellite campus in Florida."


USF, along with its fellow Big East Conference schools, will remain on ESPN after a deal was announced over the weekend. And while the unease over not having a TV rights arrangement is gone, so is a relatively substantial amount of money.