John Marinatto

Big East says letter sent by WVU not proper withdrawal method

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As one would expect, the lawsuit between West Virginia and the Big East over when the school can leave to join their new conference, the Big 12, has gotten ugly.

Just over a week ago, WVU made it known they planned on joining the Big 12 on July 1 of next year. A lawsuit by the school the following Monday claimed, among many other things, that the Big East’s degeneration wasn’t keeping the conference attractive enough for BCS inclusion past 2013. Therefore, the 27-month notification and waiting period was null.

In so many words, WVU is arguing is that because the Big East didn’t “uphold their end of the deal” (“breach of fiduciary duties” is how the lawsuit describes it), the conference bylaws cannot be applied to the institution as it attempts to get out early.

WVU also noted, in their belief, that the conference had conceded to letting the school out early because it had accepted $2.5 million in an proposal to withdraw letter from WVU — half of the $5 million exit fee* the conference employed. That belief was in context to the fact that the Big East had allowed TCU to only pay the exit fee and not wait 27 months before leaving for the Big 12.

(*note: WVU wanted to make the Big 12 move official ASAP to avoid any increase in exit fees took effect; conference presidents voted unanimously to raise the exit fees to $10 million)

Below is the explanation in the lawsuit reflecting that belief under Count 1: Declaratory Judgement.

40. In addition, WVU recently submitted an offer to the Commissioner proposing that WVU be permitted to immediately withdraw from the Big East in exchange for a payment of certain monies with this offer

41. Following receipt of of the aforementioned offer or proposal, the Commissioner accepted WVU’s tendered enclosed payment, thus accepting WVU’s offer or proposal to immediately withdraw from the BigEast on the terms that WVU had submitted.  

Thanks to BlueGoldNews.com, the proposal was made pubic via Freedom of Information Act. The proposal is dating Oct. 28, the same day WVU announced its plan to move to the Big 12.

On the same day — Oct. 28 — Marinatto replied back with the following e-mail

The Big East has since filed a countersuit against WVU, demanding the institution comply with conference bylaws. The Big East maintains that WVU intends to breach contract and intentionally injure “the reputation, goodwill and financial interests of the Big East and is members.”

The countersuit cites that a departure by WVU in 2012 would cause “irreparable” damages in scheduling and negotiation of the reduction of TV rights by ESPN and CBS — two media rights holders for the Big East.

John Marinatto‘s e-mail states that Clements’ proposal was not a proper withdrawal method, therefore the acceptance of the $2.5 million buyout money was not a concession to WVU’s desire to exit the Big East early. Article 11.02(b) of the Big East bylaws says any an attempt by an institution to leave early causes irreparable damages “for which there is no adequate remedy of law”, and that the school is required to stay the 27 months.

In the eyes of the Big East, WVU didn’t even give the correct notification of withdrawal, so how in the world do they have a good enough case to get them out of the conference early?

Report: Arizona lineman Zach Hemmila’s death caused by toxic mix of prescription drugs

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 03:  Arizona Wildcats helmets display the #65 to honor offensive lineman Zach Hemmila who passed away in the off-season before the college football game against the Brigham Young Cougars at University of Phoenix Stadium on September 3, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Nearly two months after his tragic passing, a cause of death for Zach Hemmila has been confirmed.

Based on the autopsy report filed by the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, the Arizona Republic is reporting that the 22-year-old Hemmila’s death was the result of the combined toxic effects of two different prescription drugs. The two drugs, the Republic noted, were oxymorphone, an opiate painkiller, and alprazolam, an anxiety medication.

From the newspaper’s report:

Chewing tobacco was found in Hemmila’s mouth, according to the autopsy report. No intact pills were discovered in his gastrointestinal system. His lungs were “markedly congested,” per the report.

Hemmila passed away either very late on the night of Aug. 7 or early in the morning Aug. 8. A cousin discovered Hemmila’s body at the Arizona offensive lineman’s residence.

His death has officially been ruled an accident.

“Arizona Athletics continues to mourn the passing of Zach Hemmila,” a statement from the university said in response to the report. “We will honor the family’s request for privacy and support them in any way we can.”

Hemmila started six games last season. He was slated to start at center for the Wildcats this season.

The Wildcats will continue to wear a sticker the No. 65 to honor Hemmila for the remainder of the season.

LSU reinstates suspended starting D-lineman, but Leonard Fournette a game-day decision vs. Mizzou

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 03:  Chikwe Obasih #34 of the Wisconsin Badgers tackles Leonard Fournette #7 of the LSU Tigers during the second half at Lambeau Field on September 3, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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LSU received some good news and not so good news ahead of its first game without Les Miles on the sidelines in more than a decade.

On the latter news front, star running back Leonard Fournette is listed as a game-day decision for Saturday’s contest against Missouri because of a lingering ankle issue.  The All-American initially injured the ankle during a mid-August summer camp practice; then aggravated it against Wisconsin in the opener; sat out the Week 2 game against an FCS foe; and then aggravated it again in Week 4 against Auburn.

After leading the country in yards per game last season with nearly 163 yards per game, Fournette is currently 10th at 128.7. That total still tops the SEC.

On a more positive tip for the Tigers, interim head coach Ed Orgeron confirmed that starting defensive lineman Davon Godchaux has been reinstated to the program and will be permitted to practice with his teammates.  Whether he plays this Saturday remains to be seen.  Godchaux had been arrested on a pair of charges stemming from a domestic incident over the weekend, but the prosecutor in the case announced Tuesday that he would not be filing formal charges.

Godchaux has started all four games this season (26 in his career) and is fifth on the team in tackles.

Anthem-kneeling Cornhusker invited to meet with Nebraska governor

Neb. Gov. Pete Ricketts, left, and former Gov. Kay Orr unveil the state road projects that have been designated as major priorities over the next few years at a news conference in Lincoln, Neb., Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Three playing members of the Nebraska football program who knelt in protest during the playing of the national anthem Saturday faced significant — and some racially-charged — criticism for their actions, including one NU regent who wants the players removed from the program.  The state’s governor, Pete Ricketts (pictured, right), was highly critical as well.

“Generations of men and women have died to give them that right to protest,” Ricketts said. “I think the way they chose to protest was disgraceful and disrespectful.”

One of the NU kneelers, senior linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey, took to Twitter to ask the governor to met with him and discuss the issues that led he and his teammates, freshmen Mohamed Barry and DaiShon Neal, to kneel in protest.

Late Tuesday night, Ricketts responded.

Imagine that, discussion, not rhetoric, on both sides of an issue. What a revolutionary concept.

Jimbo Fisher: ‘I love FSU. I plan on being here for a long time’

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 28:  Head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Florida State Seminoles signals to his players during the game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
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In the eyes of some, Jimbo Fisher left the door open for a departure from Florida State in his first public comments since LSU fired Les Miles.

I’m not talking about LSU. No I haven’t [had contact with the Tigers] and I’m not talking about it,” the head coach said Monday.

Two days later, Fisher, one of the wagering favorites to replace Miles, attempted to slam the door on a potential departure, although some will see his “plan on” qualifier as leaving the door propped open yet again.

“I love this university. I plan on being here for a long time,” Fisher said during Wednesday’s ACC coaches’ teleconference. “I love Florida State, and that’s all I’m saying. I’ll talk about myself and Florida State.

“Anything else is clutter, and does not concern me, and is not involving me.”

Fisher spent seven seasons (2000-2006) as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at LSU before leaving for the same jobs — and the added title of head coach in waiting — at FSU.  Taking over for Bobby Bowden following the 2009 season, Fisher has guided the Seminoles to a 71-15 record in six-plus seasons, with 2013 ending with a national championship.

Last year as speculation centered on Miles’ tenuous status, Fisher was mentioned as a potential candidate then as well.  In fact, some reports had Fisher “intermediaries” in talks with LSU, although, obviously, nothing ever came of it if it indeed actually happened.