The Zips will hold an open practice and "Meet the Team" event the evening of Aug. 10.
The team released the rest of its practice schedule, but that is the only event that fans can attend. It is tentatively scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m.
GoZips.com conducted a thorough interview with Keith Dambrot, looking ahead at next year's team. It's a good read.
The Zips are unhappy that the media picked them to finish last in the MAC East, according to the ABJ's Tom Gaffney.
When you look at the MAC East, a last-place tally should not have been a surprise. Buffalo and Temple are improving quickly. Bowling Green and Miami played well with young teams last season. Ohio and Kent State... Well, that's debatable.
With the wealth of mediocrity, it won't matter to Akron how other teams are playing. The Zips must ascend, not wait for others to fall.
Akron will begin practices on Sunday. I plan to report from training camp as much as possible.
The duel for junior college cornerback Chaz Russell has intensified, with the four-star athlete receiving scholarship offers from Memphis and Kansas State.
Meanwhile, Russell was scheduled to visit Akron's campus last weekend. The Scout.com story (linked above) makes it obvious that the Zips are doing everything possible to land Russell, who could suit up this season.
With Akron's lack of depth in the secondary, Russell's commitment would mean a lot for the pass defense.
(Sorry, I haven't used a terrible pun in awhile.)
Akron bagged another recruit when Nolan Procter, a 5-foot-9 slot receiver, chose the Zips.
The finalists were Akron and Bowling Green for the Michigan athlete. He decided based on Akron's offense, the coaching staff and facilities.
Akron's most famous alumnus went from cellar-dweller to playoff team when the Washington Redskins acquired Jason Taylor in exchange for a second- and sixth-round pick.
Taylor made headlines this offseason by making it to the finals of Dancing with the Stars. The Dolphins weren't too enthused, and Bill Parcels wanted to dump Taylor.
A recent poll of NFL coaches asked which one player you would pick first if the entire league was eligible to be drafted. Taylor was one of only three players who received votes. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning were the others.
Romeo Travis and Dru Joyce are slowly working their way into coach John Kuester's lineup.
In Wednesday's loss to Houston, Travis attempted two 3-pointers and made one in 11:28 minutes of playing time. Joyce, meanwhile, had a rebound in 2:08 minutes during Friday's loss to Washington.
It makes me wonder if the statisticians confused the two former Zips.
Travis and Joyce don't mind that everyone thinks they're on the team because of No. 23, according to the Plain Dealer.
Joyce had a quote with which I disagree:
Scout.com is reporting that Ohio running back Stephen Curtis committed to Akron.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pound rusher also had a scholarship offer from Western Michigan. He averaged 7.4 yards per carry at Wayne High School in Huber Heights. His highlight video shows a shifty runner who prefers to go outside the tackles.
Curtis was a high school teammate of Zips' 2008 recruit Troy Gilmer, a running back/linebacker. Curtis also might play safety in college.
Curtis did not qualify coming out of high school. Therefore, he will attempt to qualify on campus this fall, then join the team next season if all goes well.
Wide receiver Dee Frieson is the Zips' other early commitment to this point.
Local four-star offensive lineman Nate Klatt recently committed to Michigan State.
Akron offered the nation's No. 4 center a scholarship, but the Canal Fulton resident's decision came down to Michigan State, Northwestern, Indiana and Kansas.
ESPN.com's Andy Katz chronicled the many ways in which LeBron James has helped Akron's basketball program.
The James Effect was not a factor in recruiting Zeke Marshall, but it has given Keith Dambrot an open door for other guys who otherwise have little business with MAC teams.
The Chaz Russell story I quoted from a few days ago is outdated.
I thought it was from June 2008 not June 2007. (That's what you get, I suppose, when you blog during class.)
Therefore, Akron probably still has a chance on him. I will find out more in a couple weeks.
Gee LeBron, it's nice you put your buddies on the summer league team.
Think they could serve as more than mascots?
Dru Joyce got on the floor for 2 seconds in the Cavaliers' summer league team's 97-94 loss to the Knicks on Monday. Romeo Travis did not play.
Despite the loss, first-round pick J.J. Hickson scored 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
A recent Rivals.com story says junior college cornerback Chaz Russell has his eyes on his team's opening game, not on the Zips.
Furthermore, Russell did not mention Akron in the story, but did discuss his interest in several BCS schools.
At the suggestion of Dan Kadar (whose Browns blog you should read), I requested a copy of Ohio State's contract with Nike, to give some perspective on what the Zips are getting with adidas.
I have some general observations, but I encourage you to read the contracts for yourself as well.
OSU's licensing contract with Nike OSU's equipment supply contract with Nike OSU's appearance contract with Nike Akron's expired contract with adidas
It's true: The university does not have a contract with adidas, as of today.
The agreement with adidas expired June 30.
However, the prior contract with adidas explicitly prohibited the university from negotiating with a third party (such as Nike) regarding the wearing of similar products until the contract expired. Clearly, that happened, because the Nike announcement was made on June 18.
That means, provided there was no secondary agreement (which the university did not provide me a copy of), the university breached its contract with adidas. Perhaps that is why adidas and UA are still negotiating next year's contract.
You can download a copy of the old agreement to see for yourself.
Something fishy is going on.
The university declined my public records request for the athletic department's contract with adidas because, well, there IS NO CONTRACT.
That is in stark conflict with an official GoZips.com story (and various other media reports) that the Zips' agreement with adidas lasts until 2013.
Don't believe me? Here is PDF of the letter I received. (Don't blame the sender. This order came from above him.)
Something doesn't add up. I love Dr. Luis Proenza. His underlings, however, have been known to be much less than forthcoming.
CBSSportsLine.com wrote an interesting story about LeBron James and Chris Paul's Monday evening, which included seven pick-up games at UA's Rec Center.
The nation's best and brightest basketball people have converged in Akron for the LeBron James Skills Academy. Some of the ZipsNation members have poked their heads in and gotten a look at future Zip Zeke Marshall. Read some of their comments if you have a chance.
Do you want your name on InfoCision Stadium?
The university wants to sell naming rights to just about every facet and part of the new football facility, the ABJ reports.
In a conference that has seen first-round NBA draft picks, Zeke Marshall might be the most highly anticipated player ever.
The Plain Dealer's Elton Alexander heaved that high praise on the future center of the Zips, saying Marshall could be the most celebrated recruit in MAC history.
The MAC has produced top-10 picks such as Antonio Daniels, Wally Szczerbiak and Chris Kaman -- all of whom have enjoyed productive NBA careers. That begs the question: Does Marshall have potential to be the Zips' NBA draftee?
If I had to compare Marshall to a current professional (from what I have heard about him), it would be Samuel Dalembert or Roy Hibbert -- a center with defensive prowess and a skosh of offense.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I am itching to watch the Zips practice in August. I want to see the new players, the new schemes, who's been working hard and who's been playing too much XBox.
I plan to report from as many practices as possible, but for now, let's examine three of the main issues this team will face...