New contract for Cristobal? — The executive and audit committee of the University of Oregon Board of Trustees has scheduled a meeting for 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, to discuss the contract of football coach Mario Cristobal.
Cristobal was in negotiations with the university on a new contract prior to the pandemic. Those talks were put on hold, but it appears the university is prepared to move forward with a new contract.
There is pressure on Oregon, despite the financial pinch caused by the pandemic, to lock up Cristobal. When Auburn spent $21 million on Sunday to get rid of coach Gus Malzahn, Cristobal's name was one of the first mentioned as a possible replacement.
Cristobal this week expressed confidence that a new contract at Oregon would soon be finalized.
The USA Today database of salaries for college football coaches lists Cristobal's $2.7 million salary as 57th nationally among Division I football coaches. Cristobal and Oregon State's Jonathan Smith ($2.4 million) rank 11th and 12th in the Pac-12 in 2020 salaries.
By comparison, Malzahn made $6.9 million this year.
It will be interesting to see how Oregon structures a new deal for Cristobal, who on Wednesday, Dec. 16, signed one of the nation's top groups of 2021 recruits. UO certainly cannot pay SEC-level money. But we're guessing the overall program budget (including salaries for assistant coaches, where the Ducks' total staff salary pool ranked second behind Washington among the 10 public universities in the Pac-12) will be an important factor if Oregon is serious about competing for a national championship against much better-funded programs (see Alabama and Ohio State).
Thorns trade for picks — The Portland Thorns on Wednesday acquired the No. 7 and No. 37 picks in January's NWSL Draft from the Houston Dash.
Portland traded midfielders Gabby Seiler and Emily Ogle to Houston.
Thorns FC now has five picks in the 2021 draft: No. 7, No. 12, No. 22, No. 32 and No. 37. Portland picks second in each round except the first round, a pick that was traded away in the deal that brought Rocky Rodriguez to Portland.
Seiler was the No. 9 pick out of Florida in the 2018 draft, but her time in Portland was limited by injuries. Seiler played in a total of 20 matches for the Thorns (13 starts) across all competitions.
"Gabby has shown incredible resilience and determination since we drafted her in 2018," Thorns coach Mark Parsons said in the club's announcement. "We are happy that we are able to facilitate this opportunity for Gabby to be closer to her family and look forward to seeing her progress in Houston."
Ogle was the 24th selection in the 2019 draft, out of Penn State. She appeared in eight matches (two starts) in two seasons with Portland.
The 2021 NWSL Draft is slated for 4 p.m. on Jan. 13.
Timbers pick 16th — The Portland Timbers will have the 16th pick in each round of the MLS SuperDraft, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Jan. 21.
The draft has been reduced from four rounds to three rounds. Based on their third-place finish in the Western Conference and first-round playoff loss to FC Dallas, the Timbers land 16th in each round (43rd and 70th overall in rounds two and three).
Expansion club Austin FC will make the first pick in each round.
College men's basketball — Ethan Thompson scored 22 points and Oregon State shot 59% in the second half to rally past UT San Antonio for a 73-61 non-conference win on Wednesday afternoon. Jarod Lucas and Warith Alatishe scored 13 points apiece for the Beavers (3-3), who outscored UTSA (2-3) 43-27 in the second half, taking charge with an 11-2 run that began with a Zach Reichl basket with 5:28 to go.
• Portland and Oregon agreed to play a non-conference game at noon Saturday at Matthew Knight Arena. The game can be seen on the Pac-12 Network.
The Ducks (4-1, 1-0) also added a Thursday home game against San Francisco (5 p.m., Pac-12 Network).
College women's basketball — After a long wait, Portland State opened its season Wednesday with a 63-53 win over Dixie State at St. George, Utah. Desirae Hansen had 18 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals for PSU. Tatiana Streun had 16 points and eight boards. The Vikings outscored the Trailblazers 35-22 in the second half. Dixie State is in its first season playing Division I basketball as a member of the Western Athletic Conference.
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