Jim Harbaugh

Stanford throws money at Harbaugh, clings to his leg

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Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby knows that Jim Harbaugh is kind of a big deal right now. As a result, he’s willing to fork over an even bigger deal of his own.

In an effort to keep the highly-sought Harbaugh in Palo Alto, Bowlsby has offered to increase  the current $1.25 million the coach receives every year.

“We have a proposal in front of Jim and he’s indicated he plans to accept it,” Bowlsby said. “He’s got this year and four more on his contract. I expect that he will be our coach in the foreseeable future.” Currently, Harbaugh has four years remaining on his contract.

Harbaugh has led one of the more significant program turnarounds in the last four years. When the former San Diego coach arrived at Stanford, he inherited a 1-11 team. Flip those numbers and add an Orange Bowl invite to the list and Harbaugh might as well be Bear Bryant to university presidents and athletic directors.

“Anytime we have people who are highly successful, there are going to be others who are going to be interested in securing their services,” Bowlsby said. “We need to be prepared to be preemptive and responsive.”

There’s been a wildly popular school of thought that Michigan AD David Brandon will can his blubbering coach Rich Rodriguez in the near future (because, you know, there’s no crying in football), leaving open the possibility for Harbaugh to return to Ann Arbor. On the contrary, though, Harbaugh has refused to speak about possibly leaving for Michigan — or any other job for that matter — and has insisted that Stanford is “an opportunity of a lifetime.”

As has been mentioned previously, Stanford’s … um … “fan base” has been a source of speculated frustration that might cause Harbaugh to leave The Farm. In their 50,000 seat stadium, the Cardinal have averaged 80-percent attendance this season, selling out only when they hosted USC.

Certainly, it’s fathomable that Harbaugh would leave for Michigan (assuming the job does, indeed, become available) because it’s his alma mater, but throwing out the notion that he’ll bolt solely based on game attendance seems a little far fetched. For all we know, Stanford has what Harbaugh wants in a program and, if they’re willing to compensate him well, that he’ll stay.

South Carolina DB Ali Groves takes medical hardship, will remain on scholarship

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The injury-plagued career of a member of South Carolina’s secondary has officially come to an end.

USC officials confirmed to The State that Ali Groves will not return to the Gamecocks football team. The defensive back has taken a medical hardship waiver, making him ineligible to suit up again for the Gamecocks.

The Georgia native will, though, remain on scholarship. He’s expected to graduate later this year with a degree in business administration.

A three-star member of USC’s 2013 recruiting class, Groves was rated as the No. 47 safety in the country. Groves sustained a right shoulder injury his true freshman season, with the injury lingering over the next couple of seasons as well.

This past spring, Groves, who didn’t play a down for the Gamecocks, was moved from cornerback to safety. Twice in his career, Groves was named to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.

Four-star 2017 QB Kellen Mond, an ex-Baylor commit, verbals to A&M

COLLEGE STATION, TX - OCTOBER 31: Texas A&M Aggies mascot Reveille runs onto the field before a NCAA football game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Kyle Field on October 31, 2015 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Eric Christian Smith/Getty Images)
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Baylor’s recruiting loss will turn into another football program’s gain.  Again.

On his Twitter account Monday, 2017 quarterback prospect Kellen Mond announced that he has decided to verbally commit to play his college football at Texas A&M.  Mond had been considered the crown jewel of Baylor’s 2017 recruiting class after committing to the Bears in the summer of 2015, but opted to decommit less than a week after Art Briles was dismissed as BU’s head football coach.

Shortly after decommitting from Baylor, Mond announced a new Top 3: Auburn, Ohio State and A&M.  Those schools were listed in his order of preference at that moment, although the Aggies were, obviously, able to make up ground on the other two.

Mond visited College Station earlier this month, and, coupled with the Buckeyes landing a verbal from five-star quarterback Tate Martell — a former A&M commit, incidentally — had seemingly pared his choices down to the Tigers and Aggies.  According to his tweeted announcement, A&M’s “tradition of excellence,” along with the coaching staff, led him to his latest commitment.

Mond, a Texas native who is playing his senior season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., is rated as a four-star prospect on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. That recruiting website rates him as the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the country and the No. 103 player overall.

Pitt joins trend of stadium-wide beer sales for football games

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Ohio State announced earlier this month that it would be offering cold beers to all of-age fans during football games this fall in The ‘Shoe.  A couple of weeks later, a fellow FBS member to the east has followed suit.

As part of its press release on new fan initiatives for the 2016 season, Pittsburgh announced that beer will be sold stadium-wide throughout Heinz Field this upcoming football season.  Prior to this season, alcohol sales were only permitted to those ticket holders in the club and suite sections of the stadium.

The first opportunity for fans to take advantage of the new policy is the home opener against Villanova Sept. 3.  The ACC opener Oct. 8 against Georgia Tech.

From the press release:

The expansion of this amenity will coincide with the implementation of appropriate safety measures for Pitt game days, ensuring the continuation of a fan and family friendly environment for all. (Such measures are already in place for Steelers home games. Aramark, Heinz Field’s official food and beverage concessionaire, provides comprehensive staff training in the sale of alcohol.) A portion of the funds from beer sales proceeds will be dedicated to drug and alcohol education programs for the overall student body through Pitt’s Division of Student Affairs.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, there are now nine Power Five members with a similar beer policy for football games.  One of the nine is West Virginia, with the Post-Gazette writing that athletic director Scott Barnes cited data from WVU “suggesting that beer sales in the stadium could actually cut down on alcohol-related incidents.”

Houston’s Howard Wilson granted medical hardship waiver

Howard Wilson
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Not surprisingly, one member of Houston’s secondary will get back the time he lost last season.

According to a press release from the Houston sports information department, Howard Wilson has been granted a medical hardship waiver for the 2015 season. Wilson sustained a season-ending torn ACL in the third game of 2015, making the decision to grant the waiver a no-brainer.

The waiver will extend Wilson’s eligibility clock through the 2018 season, and makes him a redshirt sophomore for the upcoming season.

As a true freshman in 2014, Wilson played in all 13 games, starting one of those contests. He had three interceptions that season.

Prior to his injury, he started the first three games of last season. He’s projected to start at one of the corner spots for the Cougars entering summer camp.