Landon Collins

Landon Collins’ mom levels more accusations against Saban

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Based on how the touted prospect’s new year has gone, of course that’s the next logical step.

In less than a month, April Justin, the mother of five-star recruit Landon Collins, has very publicly displayed her displeasure over her son picking Alabama over home-state LSU as well as accusing Nick Saban of “stereotyping” her during an in-home visit last summer.

Now, Ms. Justin has flung additional accusations in Saban’s direction.

In an interview with a website called MomsTeam.com, Justin expounded on her distaste for the Tide as Collins’ choice, saying that “[Alabama] want[s] to redshirt – or greyshirt – him and they want him playing nickleback instead of safety. He is the top safety in the country and he will never play a game his freshman year.”  At the choice of school for her son, LSU, “coach Les Miles is offering to play him as safety during his freshman year.”

“His (Nick Saban’s) goals don’t meet the criteria of the family; they meet the criteria of Alabama,” Justin added.

And then there’s the “girlfriend” issue.  Prior to Collins’ televised announcement earlier this month, there was reportedly a confrontation between Justin and the player’s girlfriend, Victoria Lowery, over the latter appearing on the stage for the announcement.  In the interview conducted last week with the MomsTeam website, Justin claimed that Lowery, who is headed to Alabama as a student, had “allegedly been offered a job to work in head coach Nick Saban’s office.”

The intimation is, of course, that Saban and/or the Tide football program had committed an NCAA violation in order to land Collins as a member of its 2012 recruiting class.  If Collins were a basketball player, and if Justin’s accusation were true — UA officials would not discuss the issue — it would indeed be an NCAA violation.  As he’s not a hoops player?  It’s not.  From the Birmingham News:

The NCAA passed a new bylaw in 2010 pertaining specifically to men’s basketball that prohibits a university from employing an individual associated with a prospective student-athlete. This bylaw, however, does not apply to college football recruits. According to NCAA bylaw 13.8.3.2:

“In men’s basketball, during a two-year period before a prospective student-athlete’s anticipated enrollment and a two-year period after the student-athlete’s actual enrollment, an institution shall not employ an individual associated with the prospective student-athlete in any athletics department non-coaching staff position.”

So, that’s that, I suppose.  While offering a job to the girlfriend of a five-star recruit may have the look and feel of something unsavory, it would not violate NCAA bylaws.  Again, if Justin’s accusation of a job offer is even accurate.

Despite all of the noise surrounding his recruitment, Collins has remained steadfast in his verbal commitment to Alabama, and is expected to sign his National Letter of Intent with the school on Wednesday.  Hopefully, Collins’ on-field talent is worth all of the off-field hiccups that have come along with it.

Reportedly transferring from Vols, Ray Raulerson confirms he’s ‘exploring options’

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Thursday, reports surfaced that two Tennessee offensive linemen would be leaving the Volunteers football program and possibly transferring to the FCS level.  Friday, one of those two confirmed he’s looking into it.

Speaking to The Knoxville News Sentinel, Ray Raulerson acknowledged that he’s “exploring options right now,” although he stopped short of confirming a transfer.  However, the redshirt sophomore center talked of his time in Knoxville in the past tense, an indication that he is prepared to move on.

“I’m exploring options right now,” Raulerson told the News Sentinel. “…I really loved it at Tennessee, but I’m going to go to a place where I have a better chance to play.”

Raulerson was a three-star member of UT’s 2014 recruiting class.  After redshirting as a true freshman, he played in five games in 2015.

It has yet to be confirmed that the other lineman, fifth-year senior tackle Dontavius Blair, is indeed transferring.  Raulerson, though, told the newspaper that his teammate is leaving as well.

Clemson tables proposal that would’ve had students paying for some football tickets

CLEMSON, SC - AUGUST 31: Clemson Tigers fans celebrate at the start of the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Memorial Stadium on August 31, 2013 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Students at Clemson can rest easy; your football fix will still be free of charge this year.

In 2015, tickets for the student sections in both the lower bowl and upper bowl of Memorial Stadium came at no cost to those enrolled in classes at the university.  In April, however, athletic director Dan Radakovich proposed levying what was described as a “$225 student donation” for those wishing to sit in the lower bowl on season tickets, while the upper bowl seats would remain free.

Late this past week, tigernet.com reported, Radakovich’s proposal was tabled as the university will “continue to have good conversations with student leaders about the entire ticketing process.”

So, for the 2016 football season, tickets in both bowls will come at no cost to students.  As was the case last year, all of those tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

It wasn’t all good news financially for Clemson students — or their parents — as The State news paper writes that “[t]he university’s board of trustees voted almost unanimously via teleconference Thursday to raise tuition rates for the 2016-17 year for in-state and out-of-state students.”

Separation of UCLA coach Jim Mora, wife of 30-plus years announced in a statement

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Head coach Jim Mora of the UCLA Bruins greets players after a third quarter UCLA touchdown against the BYU Cougars at the Rose Bowl on September 19, 2015 in Pasadena, California.  UCLA won 24-23.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Unfortunately, the private life of a major college football coach has once again become laid bare for public consumption.

In a statement released Friday, the agent for UCLA head coach Jim Mora, Jimmy Sexton, released a statement confirming that his client and his wife, Shannon, have decided to separate.  The couple have been married for more than 30 years, and have four children — one daughter and three sons.

“After much thought and careful consideration, Jim and Shannon Mora have decided to separate,” the statement from Sexton began. “This was a very difficult decision and they appreciate the respect for their family’s privacy at this time.”

The 54-year-old Mora will be entering his fifth season as the head coach of the Bruins.  Earlier this month, UCLA announced that Mora, 37-16 in his first four seasons with the Bruins, had reached an agreement on a two-year contract extension with the university.

There was no specific word on whether any type of raise was involved in the new agreement, which keeps Mora signed through the 2021 season.

Entire Penn State staff on receiving end of new two-year contracts

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 27:  Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions hugs a police officer after defeating the Boston College Eagles in the 2014 New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on December 27, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
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Earlier this year, James Franklin saw a pair of key assistant coaches leave his Penn State staff for other jobs.  Fast-forward a few months, and the head coach’s athletic department is looking to provide the program a little more staff stability.

Speaking to area reporters earlier this week, Franklin revealed that every member of his nine-man coaching staff received new two-year contracts this offseason.  Not only that, but other members of the football staff received new deals as well.

“Our entire staff just this summer got (two)-year contracts,” Franklin said Thursday according to the Times Leader. “All of the assistants, their first contracts just ran out. And they all just signed multiple-year, guaranteed contracts. All the strength coaches did. All the administrators. Everybody.”

Arguably the best part, though, at least from Franklin’s point of view?  The new deals also addressed the buyout aspect of contracts, presumably making it harder for a Nittany Lion assistant to jump ship without some type of significant financial penalty.

“That’s really good from a stability standpoint. It’s helpful,” said the coach o the contracts, adding, “and what we did is, it’s both ways. They have the stability and protections, but we have buyouts as well.”

In January, Franklin watched as defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and offensive line coach Herb Hand leave for jobs at Tennessee and Auburn, respectively. And it’s not like the assistants left for promotions; rather, each of the moves involved was, at least in title, lateral ones.

The pay involved in those moves, however, is another matter entirely, something that, along with the buyouts, was likely addressed in the new deals. The financial particulars, though, have yet to be released, although that’s expected at some point in the next month or two.