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McClover speaks to NCAA, won’t name names

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In the wake of allegations made during a much-villified-ballyhooed HBO special by Stanley McClover, as well as three other ex-Auburn players, that they were paid cash by alumni/boosters before and during their time on The Plains, it was assumed and widely expected the NCAA would want to have a discussion with McClover regarding his claims.

That was indeed the case, although the NCAA, in essence, wasted a couple of hours of their lives that they’ll never get back.

McClover confirmed to the Sun Sentinel that he spoke to an NCAA investigator for two hours shortly after the airing of the HBO special Wednesday. And, despite publicly decrying the money handshakes and backpacks stuffed with cash, McClover declined to name any of the individuals he claims were responsible for impermissibly greasing his palms while he was a member of the Auburn football program.

In explaining his reasoning behind not fingering the supposed culprits, the paid crusader decided to step up on his soapbox and deliver an impassioned speech about some bizarro “greater good”.

“I told [the NCAA investigator] I’m not doing it for that,” McClover told the paper about naming names. “I didn’t give her anything. She wasn’t mad. I think she respected where I was coming from. I told her I don’t want to get all caught up in that. That’s another way to cover up the truth, to talk about this money. Let’s talk about what it’s doing to these kids. They don’t want to talk about that.

“I told her, ‘You and me need to be talking about how to change the NCAA system.’ I told her I’m trying to help her change. I’m an athlete. I went through it. Let’s work together and see how we can better the situation.”

Of course, at least a small part of the way to change the system, to ensure other similarly-skilled athletes aren’t put through the same set of horrors McClover endured would be to name names so those individuals could be exposed and kept away from the program.  Most certainly those anonymous individuals who McClover accused of handing him thousands of dollars in cash are still lurking in the bushes of the Auburn football program; name them, and begin the process of a change you so crave.  Apparently, however, that particular tack isn’t in line with whatever agenda prompted McClover to come forward and air his grievances nationally in the first place.

If your going to talk, why not talk? Don’t half-ass it; spill it all and lay everything out onto the table, especially with the people who may be able to most affect the change you supposedly desire. Going public with charges that may or may not be true is the easy part.  If you’re so concerned about the future, so concerned about what happened to you not happening to someone else, take any and all steps necessary even as continuing down your chosen path may be more difficult the further you go.

Unless, of course, you were simply talking out of your backside in the first place.

McClover’s right about one thing, though; something needs tweaked in a system that, apparently, allows these money handshakes to continue unfettered, starting with adding personnel to the woefully-understaffed investigative arm of the NCAA. However, it’s going to take a bigger man to prompt change than the one more than willing to lob an accusatory, verbal grenade into a crowd of people, then cower amidst the carnage of the initial blast when it comes time to deliver specifics — specifics that could greatly aid your “crusade”.

UNLV goes Ivy in replacing RBs coach poached by North Carolina

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 12:  Members of UNLV Rebels marching band perform in the stands during UNLV's game against the Wyoming Cowboys at Sam Boyd Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UNLV won 69-66 in triple overtime.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Raided by the ACC, UNLV has officially turned its eyes to the Ivy League for its coaching replacement.

Travis Burkett, the football program has announced, has been hired the Rebels’ running backs coach.  Burkett will replace DeAndre Smith, who left last week for a job at North Carolina.

Smith had been with Tony Sanchez‘s program for just three months or so, coming to Las Vegas by way of Purdue.

The past 10 seasons, Burkett served as an assistant at Cornell.  Prior to that, he was a graduate assistant at Bucknell.

This will be Burkett’s first job at any capacity at the FBS level.  His new employer added the following in announcing his addition:

At UNLV, Burkett inherits a rushing attack that stood 15th in the nation last fall with 241.5 yards per game, which ranked fourth in program history and was the most since 1979. All three of the team’s top rushers return in 2017.

Vandy turns to familiar face to fill coaching role of assistant fighting cancer

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 22:  Josh Crawford #22 of the Vanderbilt Commodores celebrates a touchdown against the Tennessee State Tigers scored by teammate Trent Sherfield #10 during the second half at Vanderbilt Stadium on October 22, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
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With an assistant fighting a significant health issue, Derek Mason has turned to someone very familiar with the Vanderbilt football program to fill the coaching void.

Vandy confirmed Monday that Warren Belin has been hired as the Commodores’ outside linebackers coach. Belin will, at least temporarily, replace Osia Lewis, who stepped down from his job as he battles liver cancer. Lewis will transition into an of-field role within the program as he fights the disease.

The announcement came on the same day Vandy kicked off spring practice.

From 2002 through 2009, Belin was Vandy’s linebacker’s coach under Bobby Johnson. He was at Wake Forest in the same role from 2013-15.

Last season, he was with the Demon Deacons in an off-field role as director of high school relations.

Blocked from Pitt and Syracuse, Gus Edwards’ transfer from Miami to Rutgers is official

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 13:  Gus Edwards #7 of the Miami Hurricanes rushes for a touchdown during a game against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Sunlife Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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In opting to leave Miami in late January, Gus Edwards was restricted by the university from transferring to two of his top choices in Pittsburgh and Syracuse as they were on this coming season’s schedule. A little over a month later, the Staten Island native, who wanted to transfer and move closer to home as he was a new father, has found his new college football home in the same area of the country.

On its official Twitter account earlier Monday, Rutgers announced that Edwards has transferred into the Scarlet Knights football program. As Edwards will be coming in as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2017.

The upcoming season will be the running back’s final year of eligibility.

Edwards was third on the team this past season in rushing with 290 yards. For his Hurricanes career, the 6-1, 230-pound back ran for 977 yards and 12 touchdowns on 186 carries.

A foot injury suffered in summer camp cost Edwards the entire 2015 season. He received a medical redshirt for that season.

Mississippi State announces contract extension for Dan Mullen

STARKVILLE, MS - NOVEMBER 5:  Head coach Dan Mullen of the Mississippi State Bulldogs celebrates with fans after the end of an NCAA college football game at Davis Wade Stadium on November 5, 2016 in Starkville, Mississippi. Mississippi State beat the Texas A&M Aggies 35-28. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
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With its Egg Bowl rivals knee/neck-deep in controversy — and with said rival reportedly trying to bring it down as well at one point — Mississippi State has taken the time to put a positive face on the current state of its football program.

The Bulldogs announced Monday night that they have reached an agreement on a four-year contract extension with head football coach Dan Mullen.  The new deal means Mullen is signed through February of 2021.

According to the school, Mullen’s financial package will be $4.5 million for 2017.  Mullen was paid $4.2 million in 2016, a figure that was seventh in the SEC according to USA Today‘s salary database.

“I am very thankful to the University and athletic administration for their belief in me,” Mullen, the subject of myriad coaching carousel rumors the last handful of years, said in a statement. “We have built a special program over the last eight years, creating a culture where winning is expected while achieving that in the toughest division in college football. I am proud of what we have accomplished, and I am truly excited about the direction we are heading as a program. This extension allows my family a long-term future here in Starkville, a place we are proud to call home.”

Since taking over as MSU’s coach in 2009, Mullen has guided the Bulldogs to a 61-42 record overall and 29-35 in conference play.  In those eight seasons, the best divisional finish was second in 2014.  In the other seven seasons, they were either fifth (five times) or fourth (twice) in the SEC West.

The Bulldogs have gone to a bowl game each of the past seven seasons, the longest such streak in school history.  They’re also 5-3 against Ole Miss under Mullen.

“Dan has brought unprecedented success to Bulldog football and is one of the elite coaches in the country,” athletic director John Cohen said. “From a school-record seven straight bowl games to our performance in the classroom, he continues to raise the standard of excellence.”