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College notes: Big Ten to hire trainers to look for concussions

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An independent athletic trainer stationed in the video replay booth will be on the lookout for players who show visible signs of a concussion during Big Ten football games.

The athletic trainer will have his or her own video monitor and have the ability to directly contact officials on the field. The independent athletic trainer will be in addition to the continued presence of on-field doctors and athletic trainers from each school.

A message seeking details about the new concussion surveillance plan was left at the Big Ten office.

Graduation disparity low on bowl teams

A study of this year’s bowl-bound schools reveals a record-narrow gap between the graduation rates of white and African-American players.

According to the annual report released by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, the average graduation success rate for black football players at bowl schools is 67 percent compared to 85 percent for whites. The 18-point gap is the smallest in the study’s history.

All bowl-bound schools also received a score higher than 930 – equivalent to a 50 percent graduation rate – in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate.

Wright top defender

Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright won the Bronko Nagurski award given to the nation’s top college defensive player.

The sophomore had 89 tackles — 27 for a loss — and 14 sacks this season, helping the 12th-ranked Wildcats earn a spot in the Fiesta Bowl against Boise State.

• East Carolina senior wide receiver Justin Hardy has won the Burlsworth Trophy given to the nation’s most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on.

Hardy has amassed more catches than any player in Bowl Subdivision history. He has 376 catches, breaking the record of 349 set by Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles in 2011, for 4,381 yards and 34 touchdowns.

Portland State keeps interim coach

Bruce Barnum will coach the Portland State Vikings through 2015, the Vancouver Columbian reported.

The interim head coach since Nigel Burton was fired last month, Barnum will maintain his role for the 2015 season.

Barnum, who was given a 12-month contract, has been the offensive coordinator at Portland State the past five seasons.

The Vikings have compiled the top four rushing totals in school history over the last four years, averaging over 200 yards rushing per game each season. In 2013, the Vikings ranked third in the nation in total offense (540.5 yards per game).

Quick kicks

The University of Houston fired football coach Tony Levine after three years and a 21-17 overall record. Houston said defensive coordinator David Gibbs has been named interim coach as the Cougars prepare for a Jan. 2 matchup against Pittsburgh in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. … Former Michigan coach Brady Hoke received a standing ovation at the school’s end-of-season football banquet. Less than a week after being fired by the Wolverines, Hoke took part in Monday night’s ceremony.

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