Increased value of scholarship idea may be in jeopardy

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The NCAA moves at snail-like paces for just about everything, but when it comes to possibly rescinding legislation that would increase the value of an athletic scholarship to athletes, they’ll move at a blinding pace.

As you’ll recall from late October, the NCAA approved legislation that would allow conferences — and individual programs, really — to grant their athletes upward of $2,000 of extra money on top of the athletic scholarship they already received. There were provisions; head-count and equivalency sports were treated differently in terms of extra grant-in-aid that athletes would receive based on scholarship caps — or, in other words, the total amount of scholarship money for an equivalency sports like, say, baseball or volleyball — and other financial factors such as Pell Grants.

That legislation, however, could face an override during January’s NCAA convention, the Associated Press reports.

According to the NCAA’s Division I vice president of governance, David Berst, some 97 schools have signed an override measure because of four primary objections to the legislation:

  • NCAA’s philosophical change
  • Added expense required to compete with other schools
  • Title IX compliance
  • The immediate hit athletic department budgets would take.

In all, the NCAA would need 125 schools to sign the override measure by Dec. 26 in order for the legislation to be suspended. In any case, the NCAA has three options with legislation: rescind it and operate under previous NCAA rules, modify the rule or create a new proposal that would require another 60-day open comment period, or allow members to vote on the override.

But there’s a problem: there are different signing days for different sports. The NCAA estimates that about 1,000 players signed with schools in the month of November, with many under the agreement that their LOI would come with an increased amount of scholarship money because that individual institution could afford to provide it.

Berst said, though, that those who were promised extra money, would get extra money.

“We would honor the agreements that have taken place,” Berst said. “So even if you were to rescind the rule as of Dec. 26 and not operate under that rule in the future, we would honor those agreements. I think that causes the board to redouble its efforts at the January meeting.”

That makes sense. If a school was able to give an athlete that extra money before, how others vote on the matter is irrelevant.

Still, this was a matter that was signed and done. There was a 60-day comment period for the legislation that was eventually endorsed by the NCAA with the final say to be left to conferences and individual institutions.

An exta $2,000 annually is a compromise on the part of the NCAA for the athlete, plain and simple. It wasn’t as much as it could, but it was a start. Now, the one thing the NCAA’s done right in years has hit a snag.

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.

Ex- Utah DB Jordan Fogal tweets he’s transferring to Colorado State

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Last month, Jordan Fogal used Twitter to announce his decision to transfer from Utah. This month, he’s taken to the same social media website to reveal his new college football home.

In a tweet, Fogal acknowledged that he be enrolling in a Masters program at Colorado State and will be playing football for the Rams. While the school has yet to confirm the safety’s move, he is now being followed on Twitter by head coach Mike Bobo.

As a grad transfer, Fogal will be eligible to play immediately in 2017 at CSU.

After spending two seasons at the junior college level, Fogal played in 11 games the past two years. Fogal’s two interceptions last season were tied for fourth on the team.

The defensive back’s 2015 season came to a premature end after three games because of an injury. He then played in eight games in 2016 for the Utes.

Iowa TE Noah Fant threatened with a gun while at Omaha park

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Iowa tight end Noah Fant’s return home to Omaha, Nebraska for the summer became a lot more newsworthy than he would have liked this week.

According to a local police report, Des Moines TV station 13WHO reports that Fant was approached by a area man on Tuesday night who pointed a handgun at the sophomore football player and told him to leave the area:

Fant left the park and called police.  He initially told them he didn’t want to press charges but said if police were able to find him he would.  He told officers he believed the suspect lived in a house near the park because he’d seen the man before in the area.

As officers were searching the area near the park they spotted a man matching the description provided by Fant run into a home.  Police were able to talk to the man’s mother who convinced him to come to the door.  Officers reported the man, 23-year-old Matthew Trimble, was heavily intoxicated and placed him in the back of their cruiser for their own safety.  Trimble’s mother says her son told her that he had confronted a group he believed to be smoking marijuana in the park.  She agreed to turn over his handgun to officers.  Police say the gun was loaded with one round in the chamber and 11 in the magazine.

Trimble was later charged with one count of Making a Terroristic Threat with a Firearm after Fant identified that he was in fact the one who pulled the gun on him.

Luckily Fant (or anyone else) was not injured in the incident and everything eventually played out somewhat peacefully. The Omaha native caught nine passes for 70 yards and one touchdown last season for the Hawkeyes and is expected to return to the team later on.

School officials did not release a statement on the incident involving Fant but did tell Landof10 that they were looking into the matter as of Thursday evening.

Northwestern WR Solomon Vault reportedly set to miss 2017 season after surgery

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Northwestern’s task of replacing the Big Ten’s leading receiver from a year ago appeared to take a hit on Friday.

InsideNU reports that wide receiver Solomon Vault will miss the upcoming 2017 season after undergoing “lower body surgery” and will now take a redshirt for the year.

The speedy pass-catcher had 15 receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns last season for the Wildcats and was expected to step up and see a big increase in targets with all-Big Ten receiver Austin Carr off to the NFL. In addition to his duties catching passes from Clayton Thorson, Vault was also Northwestern’s first choice at kick returner after scoring a whopping five touchdowns on returns in the past three years.

Assuming that Vault does indeed take 2017 off, he’ll have just one year left to play in 2018 as a redshirt senior.

The school has not yet confirmed the report about Vault but it certainly seems that the Wildcats’ special teams are set to take a hit going forward if he even misses part of the upcoming campaign for the program. It was already going to be difficult to replace so much production at receiver too and this bit of news will only server to reinforce that point as Northwestern enters their summer workout programs in the next few weeks.