Barber says he left basketball team

Contrary to reports published Tuesday that he was dismissed from the USF men’s basketball team by coach Robert McCullum, Sam Barber said Tuesday it was his decision to leave the team.

“All the papers (said) that I was dismissed,” Barber said. “I left for personal reasons.”

Barber said he left the team on good terms. The forward said he felt it was in the best interests of both him and the program to part ways.

“(USF) just wasn’t for me,” Barber said. “I will be better without South Florida, and South Florida will be better without me.”

McCullum was unavailable for comment Tuesday, but a spokesperson close to the team said yesterday, “McCullum dismissed him from the team (Monday), and that is what happened.”

Barber said a desire to relocate closer to his home in Lake Worth helped prompt his decision to leave the program, not a dispute with McCullum.

“I really don’t have a problem with the coach,” Barber said. “I want to get closer to home.”

Barber also disputes what McCullum said in Tuesday’s edition of The Tampa Tribune. According to McCullum, it was “one situation after another” with Barber.

“I read he said he had problems after problems with me,” Barber said. “That wasn’t the case. I wasn’t getting into all kinds of trouble.”

Barber, a 6-foot-5-inch redshirt freshman, averaged 4.5 points per game and 3.5 rebounds in 11 games this season, including three starts.

The loss of Barber dropped USF’s number of scholarship players down to seven. The team also has two walk-on players.

Since McCullum took over the program, three players have been dismissed, two have quit and one was released from his letter of intent.

Barber is now looking to transfer, most likely to a junior college in order to keep his full eligibility because he said he doesn’t want to sit out a year. Should Barber decide to transfer to another Division IA school he would be forced to sit out a year and would lose that year of eligibility.

$2.5 million entrance fee, no exit fee in conference shuffle

USF will have to pay a $2.5 million entrance fee to join the Big East in 2005, but the university will not have to pay an exit fee to leave Conference USA, according to a published report in The Tampa Tribune.

USF, Louisville, DePaul, Marquette and Cincinnati all received invitations to join the Big East during the massive college conference realignment, which was set off by Miami and Virginia Tech leaving the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

According to the report, the Big East will withhold $500,000 a year from the annual revenue sharing pool from each new member in order to pay for the entrance fee. The projected revenue is $2.8 million per school in 2005-06.

However, should the Big East not maintain its Bowl Championship Series berth through 2010, the entrance fee will be reduced to $2 million.

Though USF will not be forced to pay C-USA, the university still owes the conference $800,000. The money owed is from USF’s entrance fee into the conference for football.

Instead of the exit fee, the C-USA schools leaving the conference have agreed to play an undetermined number of future football and basketball games against C-USA opponents, which will help offset the lost television revenue generated from the conference’s current powerhouse programs.

Big East officials tried to make a deal with C-USA officials earlier this month that would allow the massive conference shuffle to take place next year, when Miami and Virginia Tech will join the ACC. However, the deal fell apart because no compensation package could be worked out between the two conferences.

According to the Tribune’s report, C-USA commissioner Britton Banowsky was seeking between $6 and $10 million from the Big East. Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese told the Tribune last week that his conference would not compensate C-USA.

Oracle Sports Editor Adam Adkins contributed to this report