With probe ongoing, Terrelle Pryor’s been tooling around with suspended license

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And the hits just keep on a coming for the beleaguered Ohio State football program.

One day after the resignation of their wildly successful head coach, and as an investigation into the vehicles driven by Terrelle Pryor continues, a report has surfaced that the star quarterback has yet another vehicle-related issue with which to deal.

According to NBC4 in Columbus, Pryor has been driving on a suspended license for the past two weeks.  BMV documents obtained by the television station show that Pryor’s license is under suspension until August for failing to provide proof of insurance.  The BMV also told the station that there is no indication that he has any type of driving privileges.

Last night, Pryor was seen by multiple media outlets driving to and from the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in a 2007 Nissan 350z with temporary tags.  Pryor had also recently been spotted driving a 2009 Dodge Challenger with dealer tags on it.

All told, Pryor’s reportedly driven at least eight different automobiles during his three years in Columbus.  That “unusually high” number of vehicles being driven around the campus triggered what the Columbus Dispatch described yesterday as a “significant inquiry” by both the school and the NCAA.

In a related development, the car salesman at the center of what’s become a widening probe into the purchases of at least 50 vehicles by football players and family members released a sworn affidavit this afternoon, proclaiming that nothing untoward transpired during his dealings with members of the football program.

“The deals that I did for Ohio State student-athletes were no different than any of the other 10,000-plus deals that I’ve done for all my other customers,” Aaron Kniffin, a former employee of two Columbus-area dealerships, said in the statement.

“OSU student-athletes weren’t given any enticements to buy the car at my dealership,” Kniffin said. “At no time did memorabilia come into play when it came time to negotiate a deal or buy a car. I was never given any memorabilia from a student-athlete in exchange for a car deal.”

Kniffin’s denials notwithstanding, it’s becoming clearer by the day that Pryor, already suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for receiving impermissible benefits, may very well have played his last down for the Buckeyes.  In fact, OSU legend and ESPN analyst Chris Spielman went so far as to state on ESPN’s College Football Live show this afternoon that he thinks Pryor has played his final game as a Buckeye.

Regardless, we’re guessing that at this point in time there are myriad members of Buckeye Nation ruing the fact their school “won” the Pryor recruiting lottery back in the spring of 2008.  And wishing that the post-Pryor era would commence post-haste.

Former Miami TE Jovani Haskins headed to West Virginia

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Jovani Haskins announced two weeks ago he was leaving Miami for “somewhere else.” That somewhere else proved to be a favorite destination of other Sunshine State transfers: West Virginia.

“WVU is my new home and I can’t wait to perform in front of the fans of West Virginia!” he tweeted on Saturday.

A 3-star prospect out of Bergenfield, N.J.., Haskins was offered by West Virginia in the class of 2016 and most recruiting experts actually had him signing with the Mountaineers before a surprise commitment to Miami.

Haskins joins two former state of Florida players on WVU’s roster: starting quarterback Will Grier (Florida) and former Miami quarterback Jack Allison (Miami). The Mountaineers also employed Florida State transfer Clint Trickett at quarterback and Miami transfer Antonio Crawford at cornerback.

Haskins redshirted in 2016 and will presumably sit out 2017 before gaining eligibility in ’18. West Virginia could use the help immediately; the roster lists one scholarship tight end at present. WVU currently has two tight ends pledged for the 2018 class in addition to Haskins.

 

BYU wearing special patch in honor of LaVell Edwards

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BYU got the summer media day fun started on Friday with their football media day. BYU tends to pull out all the stops on its media day with coach and player interviews, alumni returning, and a handful of announcements about the future of the program. In addition to news about their relationship with ESPN, BYU also announced the football team will be sporting a patch this season in honor of the late LaVell Edwards.

In addition to players wearing the patch on their jerseys, BYU coaches will also wear the patch on their sleeves.

Edwards passed away in December at the age of 86. The BYU coaching legend spent 29 seasons on the sidelines in Provo and accumulated 257 wins along the way. Among those was a national championship season in 1984, which remains the most recent national championship to be claimed by a program not currently in a power conference. Edwards took 22 BYU teams to a bowl game.

Now if we can just keep getting BYU to stick to that lighter shade of blue as their main home uniform, we’ll be in great shape.

Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks found guilty of rape

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Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks was convicted by a jury on Friday for rape of a female Vanderbilt student. Following 15 hours of jury deliberations, the verdict of guilty on one count of aggravated rape and one count of aggravated sexual battery was in.

”He’s shocked but understands that this is only the first part of this process, there’s a lot more to do from here on,” Banks’ lawyer, Mark Scruggs, said after the verdict. ”We have some really good issues to raise.”

Part of Banks’ defense was built on succumbing to peer pressure, suggesting he feared he may be beaten up by teammates if he did not participate in the scandalous activity. The jury, having reviewed videos and photos from the incident, some of which were shot by Banks, determined that was not a viable defense.

”Making fun of another person is not right, but we know it happens,” Assistant District Attorney Roger Moore said in closing arguments, according to the Associated Press. ”But it doesn’t give you a legal defense to commit a crime, particularly not an aggravated rape, an aggravated sexual battery. I mean if that’s the case, then we’d have the ‘football team defense.”’

Banks will serve a minimum of 15 years in prison. One count of aggravated rape has a minimum sentence of 15 years.

Other former Vanderbilt players had previously been convicted for their roles in the 2013 rape. Cory Batey was found guilty of aggravated rape and sentenced to 15-25 years in prison in April 2016. Brandon Vandenbeurg was found guilty and sentenced to 17 years in prison.

California’s state-funded travel ban to discriminating states raises mild football scheduling concerns

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The state of California is banning state-funded travel to the states of Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, and South Dakota. Those states are added to the previous state-funded travel bans that included Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee due to what California lawmakers say are laws that allow for discrimination against gay and transgender people.

So what does this have to do with college football? My colleague, Bryan, notes this latest decision from the state means scheduling any potential road games for a handful of schools just got a tad trickier.

This development poses a couple of issues for some California schools to address moving forward.

San Jose State is the school affected by this latest news right off the bat. San Jose State has a road game scheduled at Texas on September 9 this season. San Jose State may have to rely on some of that guaranteed money from Texas to cover the expenses, which would put a dent in the total takeaway from playing the game in the first place.

Cal is also scheduled to play at North Carolina on September 2. Cal also plays at TCU in 2021 and at Auburn in 2024. If the ban is still in operation at those times, then Cal will have to budget ahead of time to tackle the expenses. UCLA will play at Memphis on September 19.

The state-funded travel ban to these states may not be an issue for the postseason, as bowl game expenses tend to be carried by the conference and their revenue shares.

Fresno State has a road game at Texas A&M scheduled in 2020. San Diego State has no future scheduling hassles to worry about for the time being.