Brawl

Pac-12 suspends 10 involved in Thursday night brawl

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Well, that certainly didn’t take long.

Roughly 24 hours after a bench-clearing brouhaha ruined a perfectly good faux referee striptease, the Pac-12 has brought the hammer to a handful players from both UCLA and Arizona.

In a release, the conference announced Friday night that a total of 10 players have been suspended for periods ranging from a half game to two full contests.  A total of six Bruins have been suspended by the league, while four Wildcats will sit for varying periods of time.

The harshest suspension went to UCLA defensive tackle Cassius Marsh, who will be sidelined for the next two games.  UCLA senior wide receiver Taylor Embree (no relation) and Arizona sophomore cornerback Shaquille Richardson were each ejected following the brawl that erupted with four seconds left in the first half and missed the final two quarters.  Additionally, each player has been suspended for another game.

Here are the remainder of the sanctions levied by the conference:

UCLA
Sophomore guard Alberto Cid – Half-game suspension
Sophomore wide receiver Randall Carroll – One-game suspension
Sophomore wide receiver Shaq Evans – One-game suspension
Sophomore wide receiver Ricky Marvray – One-game suspension

Arizona
Senior cornerback Lyle Brown – Half-game suspension
Junior strong safety Mark Watley – Half-game suspension
Freshman nickelback Jourdon Grandon – One-game suspension

Each player will be suspended for their respective team’s next game.  The Bruins face Cal next weekend, while the Wildcats travel to Washington.

“The Conference is extremely disappointed in the actions of the student-athletes involved in this incident,” commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. “It is unacceptable behavior and violated Conference rules, as well as NCAA fighting rules. I have taken these actions today because it is imperative that we hold our student-athletes and coaches to the highest standards of sportsmanship.”

Marsh and Evans were listed as starters on UCLA’s latest depth chart, while Richardson is the only starter Arizona will lose.

“I’m disappointed for Arizona and UCLA,” interim Arizona head coach Tim Kish said in a statement. “The altercation was a black mark on what was a good game for us. We know that players get excited and driven during games, but composure has to be maintained throughout. We’ll learn from this and grow.”

As of this posting, UCLA has yet to issue a statement on the suspensions.  Although, in fairness to the Bruins, they could be too busy lining up their next head coach to deal with such matters.

UPDATED 11:56 p.m. ET: UCLA has released a statement from head coach (for now) Rick Neuheisel addressing the suspension.

“On behalf of the entire UCLA football program, I respect the Pac-12’s decision to suspend six of our players after the unfortunate incident in the second quarter of yesterday’s Arizona game,” said Neuheisel. “As a program, we certainly do not condone the actions of our student-athletes involved, no matter what circumstances they found themselves in at the time. As the head coach, I am very disappointed with their actions. I told each and every one of our players as much in the locker room, both at halftime, and at the conclusion of the game. Everyone here understands the expectations and responsibilities we share, and that representing UCLA on the field of play is a privilege.”

Georgia raises ticket prices following Kirby Smart hire

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 28: A general view of the Sanford Stadium before the game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the LSU Tigers on September 28, 2013 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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Running a college athletics department is only getting more expensive, so attending a college football game will only get more expensive. Or, at least attending a Georgia game will.

Bulldogs president Jere Morehead and athletics director Greg McGarity revealed Thursday per-seat donations would rise an average of 17 percent for priority season ticket holders beginning in the 2017 season.

“It’s in anticipation of things that are ahead,” McGarity told the Athens Banner-Herald.

Cost-of-attendance scholarships bumped that line item up $766,000, and other costs across the department added an additional $5.3 million to the budget. All this while Georgia is building a new indoor facility and replacing Mark Richt and his staff while hiring Kirby Smart and his new staff.

“Those projects are going to be expensive,” Morehead said. “The cost of operating our athletic program each year continues to rise particularly as you look at the enhancements that are being provided to our student-athletes and to the support that we’re providing our student-athletes.”

The bump in prices will raise an extra $2.5 million for Georgia, and represents the first time Bulldogs fans have been asked to ante up since 2005.

“We wanted to be respectable in the increase to not price people out of a certain area but we did feel like we needed to make an adjustment,” said McGarity. “We want to continue to encourage people to come to games. We’ve got our work cut out to make sure (that happens).”

Ohio State to host Tulane in 2018

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 6:  The Ohio State Buckeyes kickoff to the Virginia Tech Hokies at Ohio Stadium on September 6, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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The Fighting Frites are heading to the Horseshoe.

Ohio State and Tulane announced a one-time game to be played in Columbus on Sept. 22, 2018.

“Tulane enhances and completes a non-conference schedule in 2018 that already includes Power 5 conference teams TCU and Oregon State,” Ohio State deputy AD Martin Jarmond said in a statement. “The Green Wave is part of a fine American Athletic Conference, which produced a New Year’s Day 6 bowl winner last year [Houston over Florida State in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl], so its first trip to Ohio Stadium should be exciting for our students and fans.”

The two teams have never met previously. Tulane last faced a Big Ten team on Sept. 27, 2014, a 31-6 loss at Rutgers. Ohio State last faced an American Athletic Conference program in the 2014 opener, a 34-17 Buckeyes win over Navy in Annapolis, Md.

We are excited for the opportunity to play Ohio State, one of the premier programs in the country,” Tulane executive associate athletics director Brandon Macneill said in a statement.  “Our coaching staff and players, along with our fans are eager to play against the very best and this should be a great game.  There will be a significant number of Tulanians from around the country joining us at the Horseshoe.”

Adding Tulane completes Ohio State’s 2018 non-conference schedule; the Buckeyes host Oregon State on Sept. 1 and visit TCU on Sept. 15. Tulane still lacks two games for 2018 but is slated to visit Georgia Tech on Sept. 8.

Georgia AD apologizes for giving Ludacris everything he demanded for spring game concert

Greg McGarity
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The University of Georgia paid Ludacris $65,000 to perform a concert at Georgia’s spring football game, and now the athletics director is apologizing for catering to every demand made by the artist.

In a meeting with the Georgia athletic board of directors, athletics director Greg McGarity offered an apology for giving in to a lengthy list of demands from Ludacris, which included condoms and alcohol.

“I do want to take this opportunity to apologize to our board for mistakes we made with certain aspects of the details of an entertainment agreement,” McGarity said, according to The Athens Banner-Herald. “Few things in my professional life have bothered me more than this situation. There are no reruns in life so we need to turn the page, learn from our mistakes and do everything we can to make sure errors of this nature do not reoccur.”

Georgia set a school attendance record for its spring game with an estimated total of 93,000 fans coming out for the first spring game under new head coach Kirby Smart. Of course, more than a few of those fans were encouraged to come out to see Ludacris perform, so it all worked out well for Georgia even if some people were not happy with the goods supplied to him during his stay.

“Some more than others as far as different age groups,” McGarrity said of the people expressing their displeasure with Georgia’s hospitality. “It was all over the map. I think there were a lot of things that came into play.”

Auburn RB Roc Thomas apparently heading to Jacksonville State

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 6: Running back Roc Thomas #9 of the Auburn Tigers runs the ball in for a touchdown as offensive linesman Jordan Diamond #76 of the Auburn Tigers blocks safety Forrest Hightower #12 of the San Jose State Spartans on September 6, 2014 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. Auburn defeated San Jose State 59-13.  (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
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Auburn running back Roc Thomas is possibly looking to join one of the top programs from the FCS ranks. Reports today surfaced suggesting Thomas is looking to transfer to Jacksonville State, although another report says he has yet to ask Auburn for a request to transfer.

During a radio interview, Jay G. Tate of AuburnSports.com said Thomas is likely on his way to Jacksonville State…

As that message was spreading around the college football landscape, largely under the ominous storm cloud from Waco, Texas, SEC Country updated their report by saying Thomas has not yet made a request to transfer from Auburn. That may have been accurate, but may not suggest a transfer to Jacksonville State is off the table. It could just be a matter of semantics, where Thomas is set to join the Jacksonville State program but still must go through the formalities of transferring from Auburn.

Thomas does have two years of eligibility remaining.