Dez/Deion mess gets murkier; Cowboys could lose wins

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If Oklahoma State was looking for a clean, concise and — most importantly — extremely quick resolution to the Dez Bryant situation, the overnight developments are pointing to things possibly getting worse before they have a chance to get better.  If they do at all.

According to Tulsa World, a meeting is tentatively scheduled for this coming Tuesday in Indianapolis between OSU assistant director of compliance Scott Williams and NCAA officials to discuss Bryant’s eligibility issues.

At the very heart of Bryant’s ineligibility is his relationship with Deion Sanders and why he felt the need to initially lie about it.  The best-case scenario for Bryant — and Sanders as well — is that the NCAA finds the extent of the relationship between the two to be exactly what they say it is — a jog here, a dinner there, and a kid who simply “panicked” and lied when asked by the NCAA about those innocuous interactions.

The worst-case scenario for both?  The NCAA finds that Sanders was serving as some type of conduit to Eugene Parker, an agent who represented Sanders during his time in the NFL and a man who the Hall of Famer still remains close to as the case of “Crabtree, Michael” suggests. 

For Bryant, such a conclusion would mean the end of his collegiate career, although he was very likely to jump to the NFL early anyway.  For Sanders?  I’m certain Mike Florio will have something to say about what it would mean to Prime Time.

According to the Associated Press, the issues swirling around Bryant and his involvement with Sanders — as well as another former NFL player, Omar Stoutmire — started well before the start of the 2009 season.

Emails obtained by the AP show that OSU was actively looking for a resolution to Bryant’s case before the season began.  And the reason for that is quite simple.  If the NCAA ultimately finds Bryant ineligible — remember, it was OSU that declared the receiver ineligible — the Cowboys could be forced to vacate any wins in which Bryant played.

In an Aug. 26 e-mail, associate athletic director for compliance Scott Williams mentions that Oklahoma State’s season opener was approaching – at that point 10 days away – and the school would need to make “a determination on Dez’s playing status.”

Even more ominous was an email exchange obtained by the Daily Oklahoman, with the NCAA reminding OSU that it’s the school’s responsibility to certify a player’s eligibility.

On Sept. 2, responding to an inquiry about Bryant’s status, an NCAA official reminded Williams “it is the institution’s responsibility to certify the eligibility of its student-athletes,” adding that OSU “must feel comfortable that Mr. Bryant is eligible to compete.”

OSU released a statement on Wednesday announcing that Bryant was ineligible because he “failed to openly disclose to the NCAA the full details of his interaction with a former NFL player not affiliated with OSU.”  The interesting twist, though, is that OSU wanted to include the relationship between Sanders and Parker in the statement.

“Would it be possible to release information regarding an alleged association between the former NFL player and an active agent? Would it be permissible to release information regarding the alleged workouts?” Williams asked in an e-mail this week according to the AP. “What parts of the investigation are we restricted from discussing?”

The NCAA advised the school to not include specifics of the investigation in their public statement.

It’s very clear that OSU will attempt to shift the blame for Bryant’s initial dishonesty to the Sanders/Parker tandem in a misguided attempt to curry some type of of favor from the NCAA in regards to their handling of the case.  What’s unclear at this time is what exactly the remainder of the ’09 season will hold for Bryant.

Another certainty?  Deion Sanders should be considered hazardous waste by any and all collegiate football player and institution of higher playing learning from here on out, and should only be approached while wearing HAZMAT-approved equipment.

Or, as Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News so eloquently put it:

For most of Deion Sanders’ 14 years in the National Football League, it was a good idea for wide receivers to stay away from him.

Apparently, it still is.

Banged up North Carolina down three starters after trio of season-ending injuries

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North Carolina’s injury situation has gone from bad to worse in the blink of an eye this week.

The school confirmed via their weekly injury report on Thursday night that three starters were lost for the rest of the season as linebacker Andre Smith, offensive lineman William Sweet and receiver Thomas Jackson all won’t return to action. The trio, who were not listed with a specific injury, were part of a whopping 19 players who were banged up on the report.

Smith did not play in last week’s game for the Tar Heels but it appears both Sweet and Jackson went down against Old Dominion and did not return.

“It is what it is. It’s the same old thing: The next guy has to get up, and the next guy has to play,” head coach Larry Fedora said earlier in the week. “You hope you can build some type of continuity at some point.”

The three starters join a lengthy injury list for the Tar Heels that is now up to nearly a 1/10th of the roster — nine names long — out for the year.

Defensive lineman Jalen Dalton was also ruled doubtful for UNC’s game against triangle rival Duke on Saturday, along with cornerback Corey Bell. offensive lineman Cam Dillard and Bentley Spain, as well as wideout Dazz Newsome, were all listed as questionable.

Ex-Miami DT Courtel Jenkins no longer at Houston

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That certainly didn’t last long.

In mid-June, Houston announced former Miami defensive lineman Courtel Jenkins was one of four Power Five transfers who had been added to Major Applewhite‘s roster.  A little over three months later?  Jenkins is no longer on the roster.

No reason for the departure was given.

While Jenkins was not eligible to play in games this season, he had been practicing with his Cougar teammates. After this year, he has one year of eligibility remaining.

The past three seasons, Jenkins, a three-star member of the Hurricanes’ 2014 recruiting class, appeared in 34 games at The U.  He started seven of those contests, with all seven of those coming in 2015.

In 2016, he was credited with 11 tackles in 10 games.  4.5 of those were tackles for loss, a total that was tied for 10th on the team.

In early February, Miami announced that Jenkins had been dismissed from the football program for violating unspecified team rules.

Rutgers avoids scholarship reductions, other harsh sanctions as NCAA issues ruling

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The Rutgers football program can officially breathe a huge sigh of relief.

As the culmination of a two-year investigation into the football program, the NCAA on Friday announced its final ruling on a case involving Rutgers.  Despite a failure to monitor charge, the NCAA essentially accepted the sanctions the university had previously self-imposed on itself for violations ranging from academic improprieties to drug-testing irregularities to lack of oversight in the recruiting ambassador program.

Below are the original penalties self-imposed by the program:

  • a 1-year probation period
  • a $5,000 fine
  • a reduction of 10 off-campus recruiting days (five in the fall of 2017-18 and five in the spring)
  • a limit of 36 official visits hosted, 26 lower than the limit
  • a 1-week ban on initiating phone calls, contact on social media and written correspondence to recruits

The only change made by the NCAA was bumping the probation period from one year to two.  Additionally, former head coach Kyle Flood, now an assistant with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, received a one-year show-cause.

The NCAA had particularly pointed words for Flood.

“The former head coach took a casual approach to compliance as it relates to the host program,” the panel said in its decision. “He exercised little, if any, oversight of the group, permitting recruiting staff to administer the program with no supervision. As the individual who had ultimate oversight of all aspects of the football program, it is implicit that the head coach was also responsible for the actions of football hosts and, ultimately, the violations they committed.”

In September of 2015, Flood was suspended for three games in the wake of a university investigation into his alleged actions.  The probe centered on an email that Flood sent from a private email account to an RU faculty member regarding the eligibility of one of his former football players.

That situation was highlighted in the committee’s decision:

In the last instance of not following university policy, the former head coach contacted a student-athlete’s instructor, contrary to university policy, to arrange for extra coursework after the conclusion of the term so the student-athlete could pass the class and be eligible for the fall 2015 season. After contacting the instructor and before meeting with her, the former head coach reached out to an academic support administrator, who warned against contacting the instructor. The former head coach stated he was unaware of university policy prohibiting him from contacting faculty members.

The former head coach provided the student-athlete with an impermissible academic extra benefit when he contacted the instructor to arrange extra coursework, an arrangement that is not available generally to the student body. The instructor ultimately did not accept the extra coursework, and the student-athlete was ineligible for the fall 2015 season.

The NCAA kicked off its probe of the football program in the spring of 2015, prior to Flood’s suspension.  The head coach, along with athletic director Julie Hermannwas dismissed in late November of 2015.

Ex-A&M AD: ‘I had nothing to do with’ Kevin Sumlin’s massive contract extension

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If you’re a fan of honesty — or at least one man’s version of what he honestly thinks is reality — this one’s in your wheelhouse.

In 2012, the first season for both Kevin Sumlin in College Station and Texas A&M in the SEC, the Aggies went 11-2 overall and 6-2 in conference play, largely behind the play of Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. In February of 2013, and after Sumlin had been mentioned in connection to a couple of NFL jobs, a six-year, $30 million contract extension was approved by the university.

Since that reworked contract and the hundreds of millions of dollars poured into the football program? A&M has gone a middling 35-20 and, more importantly, just 15-17 in conference play. More to the point, the Aggies have finished fourth, sixth, fifth and fourth the past four seasons in the even-more hyper-competitive SEC West. An even finer point? They are 9-15 against divisional foes in that same span.

Following the historic season-opening collapse to UCLA in the 2017 opener, one A&M regent — part of the same body that approved the extension — very publicly called for the immediate firing of Sumlin, who was still the seventh-highest-paid head coach in college football in 2016. That came on the heels of Sumlin’s boss, athletic director Scott Woodward, very publicly putting his head football coach on the hot seat this offseason by stating that Sumlin “knows he has to win and he has to win this year.”

This week, Woodward’s predecessor, Eric Hyman, washed his hands of the contract that’s seemingly saddling the university, telling Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that, in essence, he had absolutely nothing to do with the contract extension. At all. That those above his paygrade gave him his marching orders when it came to the new deal.

From Engel’s piece:

Was That Contract Hyman’s decision?

“No. I had nothing to do with it,” Hyman told me in an interview on Wednesday morning at a Starbucks near his home in Fort Worth.

“I have done this job a long time and I don’t blame Kevin Sumlin. If someone is going to give you $5 million a year for six years, it would have been stupid of him to turn it down,” Hyman said. “But the contract was given to me, and it was ‘This is what we are going to do.’ I looked at myself and I was stunned.

“I had no say so over it. I’ve been doing this job for a long time. I had worked with Steve Spurrier for years, and he was paid a heck of a lot less than Coach Sumlin. And he won national championships after conference championships. And then you are making this commitment to a person, and again I don’t blame Kevin, that’s never won a conference championship.

“When the original contract was given to me, if Kevin were to leave the next day there was no buyout provision.

There’s literally no gray area there. If Hyman’s version of events is correct, and A&M is forced to oust Sumlin at some point in the next couple of months, any financial ramifications the university faces can be placed squarely at the feet of those who forced the contract on Hyman.

As for those financial ramifications? It would reportedly cost A&M in excess of $11 million to get rid of Sumlin.