ESPN releases statement on Feldman, prays gullible swallow it whole


At 7:16 p.m. ET Thursday, posted a story on ESPN indefinitely suspending highly-respected college football writer Bruce Feldman for his participation in Mike Leach‘s new book, Swing Your Sword.

Shortly after that story broke, both Brett McMurphy of CBS and Richard Deitsch of received “no comments” from the network after asking for confirmation to Brooks’ story.  CFT sent three different emails to ESPN seeking a confirmation/denial on the story, but those missives went unanswered.  In fact, there were zero on- or off-the-record comments from the network on the situation to anyone that we are aware of even as #freebruce and “Bruce Feldman” nearly blowed upthanks, Emmitt — Twitter, until…

At a little after 3 p.m. ET Friday, and nearly 20 hours after the story first broke, ESPN released a statement on Feldman’s status.  And, apparently with a straight face and everything, claimed there was never a situation in the first place.  The following is ESPN’s official statement on the uproar, although we’d strongly urge donning a pair of quality hip waders before reading:

“There was never any suspension or any other form of disciplinary action. We took the time to review his upcoming work assignments in light of the book to which he contributed and will manage any conflicts or other issues as needed.   Bruce has resumed his assignments.”

Additionally, ESPN released a companion video to accompany the written statement:

Of course, all ESPN’s “statement” did was lead to additional questions, namely…

If there was never any suspension or disciplinary action taken against Feldman, why did it take ESPN and its myriad mouthpieces and platforms nearly a full day to address something that one ESPNer labeled a “danger [of Twitter]: rumor presented as fact.”

If there was never any suspension or disciplinary action taken against Feldman, why were “no comments” given to major media outlets seeking information on the reported suspension?  If one of the dangers of Twitter is rumor being presented as fact, why was it allowed to sit out there and grow when there were many members of the media willing to put out the fire of false speculation?

If there was never any suspension or disciplinary action taken against Feldman, why was it necessary to note that “Bruce has resumed his assignments”?

If there was never any suspension or disciplinary action taken, why has Feldman, who has not gone a single day without tweeting at least once since before Dec. 1 of last year, gone Twitter dark since the evening of July 13?

Of course, we’ll never get any answers to these questions, or any others that have evolved from this latest black eye for the network.  Instead, all we’ll get is the same thing we’ve gotten from the World Wide Leader for more than a decade when it comes to internal hypocrisy…

Dismissed by West Virginia, Tyree Owens has now been removed from East Carolina’s roster

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To say that Tyree Owens has had an up-and-down — mostly down — collegiate career would be a significant understatement.

Originally a West Virginia signee, Owens was one of three Mountaineer football players stabbed in an off-field accident in September of 2015… only to be one of three WVU football players dismissed from the program very shortly thereafter for violating unspecified team rules.

After one season at a junior college, the defensive lineman transferred to East Carolina. After one season at ECU, Owens is out again as the American Athletic Conference school announced that the redshirt junior “has also been removed from the roster as a result of an indefinite suspension related to the team’s academic policy.”

Last season, Owens started three of the 10 games in which he played, with all of those starts coming at defensive tackle. His 3.5 tackles for loss were fourth on the team, while his three quarterback hits were second on the Pirates.  Two of those tackles for loss came against… WVU, of course.

A three-star member of WVU’s 2014 recruiting class, Owens was rated as the No. 49 strongside defensive end in the country. He took a redshirt as a true freshman for the Mountaineers.

Owens, now at a Mississippi junior college, originally committed to Texas A&M in October of 2016 before decommitting nearly three months later and ultimately signing with ECU in mid-December of that same year.

Clemson DT Christian Wilkins on substitute teaching: I felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘Kindergarten Cop’

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Those of a certain age may look back on going to grade school and think fondly on those rare days where the regular teacher was out and a substitute filled in. For many around the country, that often meant watching a movie or two for class instead of doing, well… actual work.

If you happen to be a kindergarten student at James M. Brown Elementary School in Walhalla, South Carolina though, having a substitute teacher for class has been taking on a whole different meaning the past few weeks. That’s because 300-pound Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins has been moonlighting as a sub and trying to corral little kids on a much gentler scale than he corrals quarterbacks on Saturdays in the fall.

“It was fun, but took a lot out of me,” Wilkins told ESPN earlier this week. “I felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘Kindergarten Cop’ with all those little kids. Talk about energy, but it was a real cool experience.”

Perhaps the most accurate line from Chris Low’s excellent story on Wilkins’ substitute duties came by one young pupil who muttered, ‘That’s one big mister.’ The senior All-American is only getting $80 for a day’s worth of work with the kids but seeing the massive defensive tackle walk into a room is probably as priceless for Wilkins as it is for those at the school.

UCF claims undefeated season was worth $200+ million in exposure for football program

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How much is an undefeated season worth for a program? If you ask the most recent team to accomplish the feat, the answer is a lot of dough. Like nine figures worth.

According to a release by UCF, the school commissioned a report compiled by Joyce Julius & Associates on just how much value they got from their football team’s perfect season that was capped off with an AAC conference title and a Peach Bowl victory over Auburn:

When combining national television game broadcasts, television news coverage, print media, Internet news and social media, the value of the exposure for UCF Football from Nov. 17, 2017-Jan. 31, 2018 was $171,079,417.47. Combined, the entirety of the 2017 UCF Football season’s exposure was valued at well over $200 million.

Further more, the study found roughly 160,000 total social media posts “generated nearly 655 million impressions with an estimated exposure value of $17,696,403.81. Of the 160,792 posts the study found, over 138,000 of them were on Twitter.” No word how many of those tweets were fans ridiculing the school for claiming a national title or just angry Alabama supporters yelling back about the sport’s true champion last season.

There’s no doubt that the Knights’ story and resulting publicity from claiming to be “national champions” was worth plenty to the school, but it seems like a bit of fuzzy math to claim all of $200 million worth of exposure even with new state license plates and trips to Disney World. One wonders if UCF can claim low nine figures from a “championship” run you’ve got to think Nick Saban’s actual title-winning Alabama team might be able lay claim to more than double that amount for winning the College Football Playoff after all.

Louisville signee Jairus Brents caught speeding, arrested for outstanding shoplifting warrant

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It’s never good for a head coach to get a call that one of his players was arrested and equally bad when the player in question hasn’t even arrived on campus. Such is the case for Louisville coach Bobby Petrino as one of his recent signees was arrested by police on Wednesday.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that four-star cornerback Jairus Brents was cited for speeding by local police and then was arrested due to an outstanding warrant that was the result of a shoplifting citation from shortly before National Signing Day. He was reportedly going 86 mph in a 55 mph zone and was also cited by police for reckless driving and driving without a license.

While that’s not great to say the least, here’s what the Courier-Journal says about the reason for Brents’ actual arrest:

He was arrested because of a warrant stemming from an alleged incident on Jan. 26. According to police, Brents and an “unknown (co-defendant)” took five tank-top shirts and four boxer briefs from the JCPenney store at St. Matthews Mall. Brents’ court date was set for March 5, but court records show that he was not present.

Louisville has not released a statement about the matter yet but Brents is still expected to remain a member of the Cardinals’ recruiting class. In addition to being rated as a four-star defensive back by 247Sports, the local star was also listed as the state’s No. 2 prospect in the class of 2018.

Either way, not the way one wants to begin a career in college football… before it really even begins.