Lane Kiffin

NCAA to hit Kiffin, Vols with ‘failure to monitor’ violation

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Nearly 13 months after he left for his dream job at USC, Tennessee still can’t escape the lingering effects of Lane Kiffin‘s one-year tenure on Rocky Top.

In an excellent piece appearing on the AOL Fanhouse website Wednesday evening, writer Clay Travis writes that the “NCAA will cite the University of Tennessee’s football program with a failure to monitor a violation stemming” from Kiffin’s time at the school.  Additionally, the NCAA will cite Kiffin, as well as former UT assistant David Reaves, personally with a “failure to monitor” violation.

The alleged violations stems from the now-disbanded Orange Pride program — including hostesses who allegedly made improper contact with potential recruits — as well as Reaves himself allegedly making improper contact with recruits.  Travis writes that “the NCAA has determined that Reaves… provid[ed] written and oral instruction to the Vol hostesses about which top recruits to contact, how to contact them, and asked for updates on those conversations, which occurred either via Facebook, text message or phone call.”

Reaves denied the allegations to the NCAA during the course of an investigation that began early last year, but sources both inside and outside of the football program told Travis that the NCAA has evidence that proves otherwise.

If Kiffin is hit with a ‘failure to monitor’ violation, he could face sanctions from the NCAA that would impact his current job, including, but not limited to, recruiting restrictions.  Travis writes that the “decision to pursue charges against Kiffin and Reaves represents an expansive assault on not just the Volunteer football program, but the coaches themselves.”

A prominent NCAA attorney, Mark Jones, chair of the law firm Ice Miller’s collegiate sports practice, said that “failure to monitor allegations are almost always classified as a major violation,” but that punishments for failure to monitor can vary significantly based upon the NCAA’s opinion of the severity of those violations.

Jones also stated that situations where coaches commit a violation and then move on to another school and receive punishment are “not the norm, but in the past twenty-five years that has happened in a number of cases.”

The most recent example of a coach with a checkered past being slammed was Kelvin Sampson, the disgraced former Indiana coach who was handed a five-year show-cause penalty by the NCAA that effectively acts as a five-year college coaching ban. Sampson’s penalty occurred after continued improper recruiting contacts. But Sampson was a serial rule violator, having previously been punished at Oklahoma prior to arriving at Indiana.

Other than a handful of secondary violations, Kiffin has yet to find himself on the really wrong side of the NCAA.

An official notice of allegations has yet to be received by any party involved, but is expected to arrive in the not-too-distant future.  Once the notice has been received, those involved will have 90 days to respond to the findings.

A hearing is currently scheduled for sometime this summer.

Heisman Trophy odds see change at the top

Leonard Fournette
Associated Press
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There is a new preseason favorite for the 2016 Heisman Trophy, at least as far as Bovada is concerned.

The betting service Tuesday listed LSU running back Leonard Fournette checks in with the best odds at 9/2. He moved ahead of Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, whose odds went from 9/2 in January to 5/1 now.

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey’s odds moved to 11/2 while Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, Florida State running back Dalvin Cook and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield are all at 12/1.

Several players were added to the board since January, including UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen (16/1), Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough (20/1) and Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham (28/1).

The group of newcomers also includes both of the competitors to be Notre Dame’s starting quarterback. DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire are both set at 28/1.

Oklahoma DB facing charges after early morning arrest

NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 3:  Safety Hatari Byrd #4 and cornerback Jordan Thomas #7 of the Oklahoma Sooners take the field before the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers October 3, 2015 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated West Virginia 44-24.(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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Oklahoma defensive back Jordan Thomas was arrested early Thursday morning and stands accused of three offenses.

Cleveland (Oklahoma) County sheriff arrest records show the 20-year-old Thomas was booked at 2:45 a.m. on charges of assault and battery, public intoxication and interference.

A school spokesperson told The Tulsa World the department is aware of and monitoring the situation.

Thomas, who reportedly has been released on bond, was second on the Sooners with nine pass defended last season and was credited with 46 tackles. He had five interceptions.

The World notes Thomas has been in trouble both with the law and the team previously.

Thomas was jailed in Grady County before last year’s Orange Bowl after failing to appear in court following a traffic citation.

The junior also has faced issues on the team. He missed the first quarter of the 2015 opener against Akron and the entire Tulsa game for undisclosed disciplinary reasons.

The Sooners won the Big 12 last season and made the College Football Playoff.

They are expected to be contenders again this season and have a showdown with Ohio State looming in Norman on Sept. 17.

Joker Phillips among Urban Meyer’s new hires at Ohio State

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 25:  Head coach Urban Meyer of the Florida Gators is congratulated by head coach Joker Phillips of the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Gainesville, Florida. Florida defeated Kentucky 48-14 for Meyer's 100th career victory.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
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Ohio State has quietly added Joker Phillips and Brian Knorr — two experienced college coaches — to Urban Meyer’s staff.

Although the athletics department has not made an announcement yet, Phillips is listed in Ohio State’s employee directory as a sports program associate with the working title of “Football QC – kicking,” which presumably means he is a quality control assistant for the Ohio State kicking game.

Knorr is listed simply as an athletics intern.

Of the two, Phillips is the more experienced. Now 53, he began his coaching career as a G.A. at Kentucky, his alma mater, and eventually spent six seasons as a full-time receivers coach for the Wildcats in the early 1990s.

He also coached at Minnesota, Notre Dame and South Carolina before returning to Lexington as an assistant and eventually rising to head coach in 2010.

The Wildcats went just 13-24 in his three seasons, and he spent last year as wide receivers coach of the Cleveland Browns. He also spent a season coaching receivers at Florida, where he was found guilty of a level two recruiting violation.

Knorr was most recently the defensive coordinator at Indiana. He spent two seasons in Bloomington after six at Wake Forest.

A Kansas native, he played quarterback at Air Force and previously worked in the Buckeye State as an assistant to Jim Grobe and then Frank Solich at Ohio University from 1995-2004.

The Hoosiers ranked last in the Big Ten in scoring defense and total defense last season, and he was replaced by Tom Allen in January.

Texas’ plunder of Baylor’s recruiting class continues

SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 30:  Texas Longhorns mascot Bevo wears a harness in honor of head coach Mack Brown during the Valero Alamo Bowl against the Oregon Ducks at the Alamodome on December 30, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Make that four new additions to Texas’ 2016 recruiting class in late June.

The school announced Wednesday that Patrick Hudson, an in-state offensive lineman from Silsbee, has signed a financial aid agreement and is expected to enroll in Austin in July when the second summer session begins.

Hudson is a four-star prospect and the 50th-best player in the country according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.

He signed with Baylor in February but was granted a release from his letter of intent after a report accusing members of the school and athletics department of mishandling accusations and incidents of sexual assault delved the school into controversy.

J.P. Urquidez and brothers Devin and Donovan Duvernay also signed with the Longhorns in the past week.

“We’re really excited to have Patrick joining our program,” Texas coach Charlie Strong said in a release. “Patrick coming to Texas, along with J.P. and Donovan earlier this week, are tremendous additions to an already impressive class of 2016. Patrick and J.P. are two big, physical, talented linemen, and Donovan is an explosive athlete who has played on both sides. We’re looking forward to getting them on campus and working with the team.”

Urquidez is also a four-star offensive lineman while Devin Duvernay is a four-star receiver and Donovan Duvernay is a three-star athlete per 247Sports.

Texas’ class is ranked seventh nationally and No. 1 in the Big 12 as Strong looks to put a rocky start to his tenure behind him and return the Longhorns to national prominence.

They start the season with a visit from Notre Dame on Sept. 4.