South Carolina’s Byrd receives four-game suspension from NCAA

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With Damiere Byrd unexpectedly sidelined for South Carolina’s opener due to an NCAA compliance issue, head coach Steve Spurrier said he hoped to “get it cleared up before next week.”

Spurrier got his wish as Byrd’s status has indeed been cleared up.  It’s doubtful, though, the resolution was what he was hoping for.

First reported by 247Sports.com, and subsequently confirmed by the school, the wide receiver will be forced to serve a suspension that totals four games.  In addition to the opener against East Carolina, Byrd will miss the the next three games against Georgia, Navy and Vanderbilt.

Byrd, a freshman, was found to have received impermissible benefits prior to signing with the Gamecocks.  The school stated in the release that Byrd will have to repay benefits as a condition of becoming eligible to compete again, although the amount was not disclosed.

“While we respect the process, we are very disappointed for Damiere,” said Athletics Director Eric Hyman in a statement. “Damiere is an outstanding individual and has been upfront with us as to what occurred during the recruiting process. He had no idea that being part of the Student Athlete Mentoring (SAM) Foundation would in any way affect his college eligibility. We continue to support him and will carefully consider appealing this decision

Byrd’s father is Adrian Byrd, who is listed as the director of the New Jersey chapter of S.A.M., a Delaware-based organization whose stated goal is to “provide supplementary support to high school student-athletes in both their academic and athletic endeavors.”  That same organization is connected to Sharrif Floyd, the Florida defensive lineman who the NCAA ruled Thursday would have to sit two games and repay $2,700 after it was found he had received impermissible benefits prior to his enrollment at UF.

It should also be noted that S.A.M.’s treasurer, Kevin Lahn, is a graduate of South Carolina and a football season-ticket holder.  As explained to us by Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post, in order to become a USC season-ticket holder, you must first be a member of the booster club.  Technically, that makes Lahn a USC booster.

Coming out of Sicklerville, NJ, Byrd was a four-star member of South Carolina’s 2011 recruiting class.

UPDATED 3:19 p.m. ET: The NCAA announced that Byrd will be forced to repay $2,700 as a condition of his reinstatement, the same amount as Floyd.  So, why was Byrd suspended for four games and Floyd just two for what appears to be the same “crime”?  The NCAA noted in its release on Floyd that the player was in line for a four-game suspension, but, “[b]ased on the mitigating circumstances in the case” — with those being Floyd’s “personal hardship that led to the impermissible benefits being provided to the student-athlete by someone other than a legal guardian or family member” — the “withholding condition” was cut in half to two.

Report: Big 12 still raking in SEC-level cash

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It’s a bad time for the Big 12. The conference isn’t signing blue chip prospects at the rate of its peers, isn’t producing draft picks at the rate of its peers and isn’t reaching and winning big games at the rate of its peers.

But the Big 12 is still getting paid at the rate of its peers.

The league’s contracts with ESPN and FOX combined with its 10-team set up have allowed the Big 12 to keep pace with the SEC and Big Ten and remain ahead of the ACC and Pac-12 in financial distribution. The Dallas Morning News‘s Big 12 writer Chuck Carlton tweeted on Friday the league’s per-school distribution will again grow 10 percent to more than $33 million in 2017-18.

The SEC distributed just north of $40 million in 2016-17, while the Big Ten was at $33 million by 2014-15.

However, since the Big 12 does not have its own television network, its conference distributions do not include third-tier rights, which its schools keep and sell on their own — like the Longhorn Network. So schools like Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are likely getting paid equal or above their SEC and Big Ten peers.

Now if only they could start recruiting and winning like them, too.

Former Texas DT Jordan Elliott headed to Mizzou

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Former Texas defensive tackle Jordan Elliott will now be a Missouri Tiger, he announced on Friday.

Elliott chose Missouri to follow Brick Haley, his defensive line coach in Austin that landed at Mizzou after Charlie Strong‘s firing.

“They’re a program that’s on the come up, SEC ball is the highest level,” Elliott said in an interview with Power Mizzou. “Coach Haley is one of the best D-Line coaches out there. Missouri’s a powerhouse for defensive linemen. They’re coming and going first round every year. That’s real appealing to me.

“I talked to coach Haley and got it rolling.”

Elliott was a Signing Day addition to Strong’s 2016 class who was committed to Michigan before his late flip. He said that his one season in Austin amounted to a year-long version of buyer’s remorse.

“There’s a lot of speculation going around, but at the end of the day I just wasn’t happy there,” he said. “It’s nothing against the coaches at Texas, they’re great coaches. It’s a great program and I really learned a lot of things, but I just never really enjoyed Texas since I first got there.”

Elliott posted eight tackles and 1.5 TFLs in six appearances as a true freshman last season before suffering a torn MCL against Iowa State in October.

He would have been in line for starter’s snaps had he remained on Tom Herman‘s squad this fall. Instead, Elliott will sit out the 2017 campaign and have three years remaining to compete as a Tiger beginning in ’18.

 

WATCH: FCS player paralyzed in 2015 game vs. Georgia walks

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Tired of the continuous stream of negative college football news? Here ya go.

During a September 2015 game against Georgia, Southern wide receiver Devon Gales sustained a severe spinal injury that left him paralyzed and hospitalized for five months. This week, Gales used Twitter to offer up a very encouraging and inspiring update — the former wide receiver, with the assist of a couple of physical therapists, taking a dozen steps.

On the way indeed.

In February, Georgia announced that it was launching “Drive to Build a Dawg House” for Gales and his family.

Nebraska WR Stanley Morgan avoids felony pot possession charge

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One of the top playmakers in Nebraska’s passing game has avoided what was originally a serious legal charge.

According to KETV-TV in Omaha, Stanley Morgan was arrested following a traffic stop May 6 in Port Orange, Fla., for possession of 21.4 grams of marijuana; according to the penal code in the state of Florida, possession of more than 20 grams of weed is considered a felony.  However, the television station wrote, “prosecutors charged the case as ‘possession of cannabis not more than 20 grams,’ making it a misdemeanor.”

Why the the charge against Morgan went from a potential felony to a misdemeanor — or reduced as the Associated Press reported — wasn’t detailed.  A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia charge was dropped as well.

Cornhuskers defensive back Antonio Reed was also in the vehicle that was driven by his teammate and was charged with misdemeanor pot possession as well.

“Head Coach Mike Riley and the Athletics Department are aware of a recent incident in Florida involving Stanley Morgan Jr.,” a statement from the university began. “We will have no additional comment until we have all information regarding this matter.”

Morgan’s 33 receptions for 453 yards were second on the team last season.  With Jordan Westerkamp‘s departure, the junior is the Cornhuskers’ leading returning receiver.

Also a junior, Reed played in 22 games last season.  He was credited with 22 tackles.