UNLV athletics notebook: Hamilton wins Ireland award

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Former UNLV guard Bryce Hamilton dribbles the ball for UNLV basketball at the Thomas & Mack Center. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

Former Runnin’ Rebel guard Bryce Hamltion is the first UNLV men’s basketball player to win the Bill Ireland Award.  

The Bill Ireland Award is given to the best performance by an UNLV athlete against rival UNR. The award is selected through a vote by the UNLV Athletics Strategic Communications department.

Bill Ireland played major roles in the development of college sports at UNLV and UNR. Ireland’s career started off as the UNR head baseball coach in 1967. He was UNLV’s first ever football coach in 1968. After his coaching career, he became the UNLV athletic director.

Hamilton’s contribution to the team led to the first regular-season sweep of UNR since 2013. In the two games he scored a total of 44 points.

“The memories that I made at UNLV will last me a lifetime and I will always consider myself as a proud Rebel,” Hamilton said in a video posted to UNLV athletics’ Twitter account.

In his four years with UNLV, Hamilton played 119 games and scored 1773 points. Hamilton signed with the Miami Heat’s Summer League team as an undrafted free agent in July 2022.

Mountain West comments on College Football Playoff expansion

The College Football Playoff’s board of managers voted unanimously to expand the playoff to 12 teams in 2026 on Friday. The move could come as early as 2024. 

“I’m thrilled for college football student-athletes, coaches and fans and for the betterment of college football overall as it provides potential better access for the Mountain West champion,” Mountain West Conference Commissioner Craig Thompson said in a statement.

The move will allow automatic berths to the top six conference champions, which could allow the Mountain West Conference champion to play for the championship if they are one of the top six conference champions in the final CFP rankings.

Currently, the top four teams in the CFP rankings qualify for the playoff. Thompson was part of a four-person subcommittee that proposed a 12-team playoff last year.

According to Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, UNLV president Keith Whitfield sits on the board of managers as the Mountain West representative and he voted to approve the motion.

“I believe the playoff expansion is good for college football and its fans, and my vote (Friday) reflects the collective support of the Mountain West conference board of directors and its athletic directors,” Whitefield said in the Review-Journal story.

TV information announced for North Texas, UNR

Silver State Sports & Entertainment (SSSEN) will be the TV network that will broadcast UNLV football against North Texas and UNR. UNLV plays North Texas on Sept. 17 at 12 p.m. and will play UNR on Nov. 26 at 3 p.m..

FOX5 and SSSEN are coming together to broadcast over 100 Rebel sporting events on channel 5.2 and 125 on Cox. These games will be online at Mountain West Network and through the Mountain West app.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunities that this new outlet provides, showcasing all of our athletics programs, student-athletes and coaches on television,” UNLV Director of Athletics Erick Harper said in a statement.

SSSEN will broadcast a wide range of UNLV sports, including men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, women’s basketball, baseball, softball and more.

Swim & Dive announce signing class

The UNLV men’s and women’s swimming and diving team added 19 new members in the signing class for the upcoming 2022-23 season.

“With a class this large, there is no doubt their presence will be felt,” head Coach Ben Loorz said in a press release, “The program has a lot of momentum already, but, even so, this new group of Rebels is expected to make cultural and competitive contributions to the team atmosphere right away.”

Out of the 19 new members, 12 of the members are on the girls team. The women’s Swim and Dive team consisted of eight freestyle specialists, including local Hannah Jones who won a state championship in the 500 freestyle.The men’s team signed swimmers who have experienced the national stage. Krzysztof Matuszewski from Poland and Charley Page-Jones from Oregon both have represented their countries on the national level. Page-Jones competed in the U.S. junior olympics, and Matuszewski represented Poland on their national team at the European Junior Championships.

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