1 » With just six weeks to go until the launch of the SEC Network, there are still plenty of cable and satellite companies that have not come to an agreement on terms with ESPN to carry the channel. However, according to FOXSports.com, Comcast appears to be the next in line to make a deal with the World Wide Leader in Sports. Company spokesman John Demming claims that Comcast and ESPN are “working out final details” for the network with an agreement expected to be announced “in the near future.” Currently, the SEC Network is only scheduled to go live on AT&T Uverse, DISH Network and Google fiber. DirecTV and Time Warner Cable are the other major entities that have not agreed with ESPN, though Comcast’s agreement to purchase TWC for $45 billion will likely make that contract signing easier. (Same with AT&T attempting to acquire DirecTV in a similar deal.) Smaller cable companies are expected to come to terms to carry the channel once the larger deals are struck. Florida Gators fans concerned about whether Cox Communications will have the station should take solace in the fact that it would be bad business and public relations for the SEC Network to go live without fans of one of the top teams in the Southeastern Conference able to watch it.
The SEC Network on Monday also announced that 10-year veteran anchor Dari Nowkhah has reached a multi-year deal with ESPN an will host the station’s “weeknight news and information show,” called SEC Now. The new show will debut on Thursday, Aug. 14 at 6 p.m. [Pictures: Set renderings]
2 » Two of the three Gators that played in the Quicken Loans National golf tournament made the cut and took home money with Billy Horschel finishing at even par after four rounds and earning $125,125. Matt Every placed tied for 39th with a $25,350 purse going his way, and Camilo Villegas missed the cut. Though Horschel has not won an event this season, he has finished top-20 in six tournaments while missing the cut five times. He’s raked in $1.3 million overall – $120,468 from majors – and been in the money in five-straight events, earning $558,433 since May. Despite not playing nearly as well as Horschel this season, Every is ranked 36 places ahead of him at 20th with $2.4 million in earnings. He won his first PGA Tour event this year, capturing the Arnold Palmer Invitational title (and $1.1 million purse) in March.
3 » Former Florida running back Emmitt Smith has not faded into obscurity since retiring from the NFL as the league’s all-time leading rusher. The recently-honored Hall of Fame inductee has stayed on his feet, in fact, participating in ABC’s popular Dancing With the Stars program twice and winning the entire thing during his debut in 2006. However, in a conversation with the New York Daily News on Thursday, Smith revealed that he has been living with gout for the last five years and trying to keep it under control in order to do the things he loves. “Make sure you understand what your uric acid levels are. Monitor that throughout the course of the year,” he cautioned. “The thing we all can do is take a proactive view in how to get on top of these issues before they become major problems.”
4 » Point guard Nick Calahtes enjoyed playing in the NBA during the 2013-14 season and proved that he can hack it in the top league in the world, but a 20-game suspension for alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs (13 games remaining) and a handful of multi-million dollar offers from Europe have him desiring to go back overseas. According to Sport24.gr, Panathinaikos out of Greece has offered Calathes a three-year contract that can max out at $7.5 million after bonuses…as long as he can convince Memphis to let him out of the final year of his contract. Calathes signed a two-year, $1.3 million deal with the Grizzlies last season and served as a back-up point guard, averaging 4.9 points and 2.9 assists in 16.5 minutes per game. He even succeeded mightily as a spot starter, posting 13.0 points and 4.9 assists per contest during an eight-game stretch from Feb. 1-18. However, the suspension and huge monetary difference (he is slated to earn just $816,482 next season) has him looking at greener pastures. Calathes started his professional career with Panathinaikos, playing in Greece from 2009-12 before spending two seasons with Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia.
Extra BIT » Make it five. Junior right-handed pitcher Ryan Harris on Monday became the fifth Gators baseball player selected in the 2014 MLB Draft to decide to forego his senior season and become a professional. Harris was drafted with the No. 794 overall pick in the 26th round of the draft by the Boston Red Sox and decided to continue his career at the next level rather than return to Florida for one more year.