Gene Smith

Trio of Buckeyes suspended; AD Smith fumbles another press conference


Just a few hours ago, the eligibility status of Ohio State running back Boom Herron and receiver DeVier Posey was in question yet again following an additional NCAA probe into jobs the two athletes held at Independence Excavating.

Following a press conference by Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, consider all doubt — and all hope — removed.

Herron, Posey and offensive lineman Marcus Hall have all been suspended for next week’s game at Nebraska for accepting wages in excess of hours worked at their summer jobs. Herron and Posey were already on the tail end of a five-game suspension for receiving impermissible benefits; Hall will be missing his first game.

According to Ohio State’s release on the violations, Herron was paid for 19.5 hours he did not work; Posey was paid for 48.5 hours he did not work; Hall was paid for 15.5 hours he did not work. The release goes on to state that the players failed to report the jobs to Ohio State compliance.

Bobby DiGeronimo, the booster whose company provided the jobs to the players, has been disassociated from OSU, joining reported bag man Terrelle Pryor.

And, yes, that does mean what you think: Herron and Posey received improper compensation — which was discovered because of an NCAA investigation into other Ohio State players who received cash from the hands of another player (Pryor, reportedly) who received impermissible benefits — while suspended for receiving improper benefits.

But the violations aren’t even the worst part. They’re not even in the same ballpark as Smith’s complete nonchalance in congruence with what really is a lack of urgency and awareness by Ohio State’s compliance department.

“These are failures of individuals, not a systemic failure of compliance,” Smith said. “It’s not 30 (players).”

Buckeyes, meet the underside of Mr. Smith’s Greyhound bus. There you’ll be reunited with your former coach, Jim Tressel

A booster’s company provides more wages than hours worked to multiple players while the booster himself gives straight cash to three more athletes — all within a year or so of the tattoo scandal?

Sounds systematic to me, and the number 30 has nothing to do with it.

Ohio State’s compliance spidey senses needed to be on high alert even though the NCAA essentially agreed with their assessment that Tressel was the one to blame for the tattoogate scandal. They weren’t, and now Smith finds himself in front of the microphones again trying to explain the situation.

The most amazing and yet somehow predictable part of it all was that Smith didn’t even seem to care. At this point, he may not. Smith has blamed Tressel, and now he’s blamed the players.

Gene Smith is running out of scapegoats.

Illinois announces two-year extension for interim head coach Bill Cubit

Bill Cubit
Associated Press
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Illinois has extended year-long interim head coach Bill Cubit for another two seasons, the program announced Saturday afternoon. Does that make him a short-term full-time head coach or a long-term interim coach? Or a combination of the two?

Either way, Cubit is in Champaign to stay through the 2017 season.

A mitigating factor here, undoubtedly, is the absence of a full-time chancellor and a full-time athletics director.

“Bill has stepped in during an extremely difficult period and done an outstanding job in leading our football program since August,” interim athletics director Paul Kowalczyk said in a statement. “Our student-athletes have responded in a positive manner and we feel he is the best person at this time to be the head coach. We wanted to allow Bill to make decisions regarding the program as the head coach without the interim title, and lead the Fighting Illini into Saturday’s game without speculation.”

Cubit’s extended contract will pay him $1.2 million annually. Former Illini head coach Tim Beckman made a reported $1.8 million.

“During the past three months, Coach Cubit has led this team with a steady and experienced hand,” interim chancellor Barbara Wilson said. “He has earned respect and appreciation from all of us. This move will allow the permanent Athletics Director to evaluate the program at his or her own schedule and make decisions based on those evaluations once that search is completed.”

Illinois is 5-6 this season, playing to extend its season at home against No. 16 Northwestern (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU).

Tulane announces Curtis Johnson officially out as head coach

Curtis Johnson
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Confirming what was reported earlier this week, Tulane announced Saturday morning it had relieved head coach Curtis Johnson of duties.

Johnson closed his four-year tenure with a 45-34 loss to Tulsa Friday night, a game where the Green Wave led midway though the fourth quarter but were undone by two pick-sixes. He closes his run with a 15-34 record, peaking with a 7-6 mark and a New Orleans Bowl appearance in 2013 but winning only eight games in his other three seasons.

“I want to thank CJ for his hard work and his dedication to rebuilding the Green Wave football program,” Tulane AD Rick Dickson said in a statement. “His efforts were rewarded in 2013 when Tulane reached its first bowl in 11 years. Since then, however, the program has not progressed to the level that we aspire to.”

Similar to Illinois, Central Florida and possibly Rutgers, Tulane says it will find a replacement for Dickson (who originally said he’d step down mid-2016) before finding a new head coach.

Report: Rutgers AD Juile Hermann could be on the chopping block this weekend

Julie Hermann
Associated Press

Many assume Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood won’t survive this disappointing and scandal-ridden fourth season of his. But it could be his boss, the highly controversial Julie Hermann, that receives the ax first.

According to a report from Keith Sargeant of, Hermann could see her 30-month tenure end as soon as this weekend.

“Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann is expected to meet with university President Robert Barchi before the end of the weekend, three people familiar with the situation told NJ Advance Media on Friday,” Sargeant wrote. “The meeting, presumably called by Barchi, is the first evidence the university’s administration is preparing to act.”

Sargeant writes that Hermann has been kept in the dark while the university conducts a top-to-bottom investigation into the football program’s compliance efforts. Flood was suspended three games and fined $50,000 earlier this season for overriding the church-state relationship between football and academics.

The results of that investigation could find Rutgers joining the ranks of Illinois and Central Florida among schools looking to hire an AD and head football coach at the same time.

“The futures of Flood and Hermann could hang on a report being compiled by the university’s office of enterprise risk management, ethics and compliance,” wrote Sargeant. “The report is expected to detail allegations of failed drug tests and other issues that could result in NCAA infractions and possible sanctions, multiple people familiar with the situation have told NJ Advance Media.”

In addition to a losing season on the field, Rutgers football has dealt with drug suspensions and player arrests off the field this fall.


AD says San Jose State coach Ron Caragher safe for 2016 despite missing bowl game

Ron Caragher
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A 40-23 loss to Boise State Friday condemned San Jose State to a third straight bowl-less season, but Spartans AD Gene Bleymaier said afterwards the setback would not result in a change in job status for head coach Ron Caragher.

“There’s no question about his status,” Bleymaier told the Contra Costa Times. “Ron’s our coach, and he’ll be our coach going forward.”

Hired away from San Diego to replace the departed Mike MacIntyre, Caragher is just 14-22 in three seasons leading the Spartans.

San Jose State did go 6-6 in his debut season of 2013 but did not garner a bowl invite.