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Update: Jim Tressel named Akron’s ‘VP of Strategic Engagement’

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UPDATED 11:21 a.m. ET: Following up on the news that broke late Wednesday night, Akron announced the hiring of Jim Tressel as its “Vice President for Strategic Engagement”.  The release issued by the school stated that it’s a newly-created position that will be utilized in support of programs that promote student success.

“I have great memories of my time at UA and, more importantly, I feel a real sense of family when I’m on this campus,” Tressel, a UA graduate, said in a statement. “I am inspired by the vision of President Proenza.  I admire what he, the leadership team and the faculty have accomplished over the last decade to build the reputation of the University and lay a strong foundation for student success.  I’m looking forward to being part of the spirit of innovation that drives the University of Akron.”

UPDATED 8:34 a.m. ET: Akron has confirmed in a press release that it will hold a 10 a.m. ET press conference featuring school president Luis Proenza and former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel.  The release did not state specifically what the presser was regarding, although it’s expected it will be announced that Tressel has been hired for a non-athletic administrative position.

A television station in the Cleveland area is reporting that Tressel will be hired as some type of vice president and his contract will be in the neighborhood of $200,000 per year.

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Over the weekend, a Twitter “report” surfaced that former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel is interested in going back to the collegiate level — at Ohio St. or somewhere else — in an administrative capacity.

Based on another report, that could very well come to fruition sooner rather than later.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Tressel has been in discussions with the University of Akron regarding an administrative position with the school.  The Plain Dealer states that an announcement of Tressel’s hiring by the NE Ohio school could take place as early as Thursday.

In a statement, the university did nothing to shoot down the speculation.  In fact, they added more fuel to the speculative fire.

“When Jim Tressel and other alumni assisted us in our search for a football coach last December, we began to engage in dynamic conversations about Jim’s professional goals outside of athletics,” the unattributed statement read. “We share a common interest in innovative programs for student success. Our discussions continue.”

There was no detail provided as to whether the administrative position would be inside or outside of the Zips athletic department.  Tom Wistrcill was hired as Akron’s athletic director in August of 2009, and has been considered to be by and large a success during his brief tenure.

Since retiring/resigning/being fired as Ohio State’s head coach last memorial Day weekend, Tressel served as a game-day instant replay advisor for the Indianapolis Colts.  He was interviewed — twice — for the NFL club’s head coaching vacancy earlier this year, but lost out on the job to Chuck Pagano.

He had also been rumored as a potential head coaching candidate for the Zips before the school hired Terry Bowden.

The paper also reported that Tressel was being considered for administrative leadership posts at Baldwin Wallace College and Wittenberg University. BW was where his father Lee Tressel became an Ohio small college coaching legend.

UNC linebacker Allen Artis says he is not a rapist before heading to court Thursday

CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 9:  A view of two North Carolina Tar Heels helmets during the game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on October 9, 2004 at Kenan Stadium Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina defeated North Carolina State 30-24. (Photo By Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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Suspended North Carolina linebacker Allen Artis is scheduled to begin a legal battle in court on Thursday to defend himself against misdemeanor charges of sexual battery and assault on a female student. Before heading to court, Artis made time for a sit-down session with the media, with his mother and aunt by his side. Artis says the sexual interaction was a consensual act and says he did not rape Delaney Robinson, the UNC student who filed the claim she was raped by Artis on Valentine’s Day this year.

Everything was completely consensual that happened that night,” Artis said in an interview with members of the media on Tuesday. ”That’s the truth.”

As previously reported earlier this month, Robinson reported the alleged rape to university police and UNC’s Title IX office. Robinson has accused the university of taking too long to proceed with its response to her allegations, which is why she made the decision to go public  with her story.

Once Robinson went public with her story, UNC indefinitely suspended Artis the following morning. At this point, the legal process will now run its course before UNC makes any further decision on Artis’ status with the program, and the university if needed.

Artis played in each of UNC’s first two games this season and, of course, has not seen the field since.

Injury will sideline starting Mich. St. LB Jon Reschke ‘for significant period of time’

EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 28: Christian Hackenberg #14 of the Penn State Nittany Lions passes while under pressure from Jon Reschke #33 of the Michigan State Spartans in the first half of the game at Spartan Stadium on November 28, 2015 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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A game wasn’t the only thing Michigan State lost this past weekend.

At some point in the second half of Saturday’s loss to Wisconsin, starting outside linebacker Jon Reschke sustained an injury to his ankle.  Tuesday, head coach Mark Dantonio described the as a severe ankle sprain, and, as a result, Reschke will be sidelined “for a significant period of time.”

A year after starting all 14 games for the Spartans, Reschke started two of the first three this season.  The junior missed the season opener because of another injury.

The news wasn’t completely negative on the linebacking front for Sparty, though.

Riley Bullough missed the Badgers game with an undisclosed injury.  Dantonio labeled Bullough as “day-to-day” and left the door open for the starting middle linebacker to play against Indiana Saturday.

A decision on the status of Bullough, who entered Week 4 tied for the team lead in tackles, will be made later on in the week.

Urban Meyer, on LSU speculation: ‘I’m going to be the coach at Ohio State’

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01:  Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes shouts on the sidelines against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the All State Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
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A report surfaced Monday that, in its search for a replacement for the deposed Les Miles, LSU was set to gauge the interest of a handful of big-name head coaches, among them Ohio State’s Urban Meyer.

With the opening of Big Ten play on tap for this weekend, the Buckeyes head coach wasted little time in shooting down the speculation connecting him to the Bayou Bengals.

“No, I’ve not been contacted,” Meyer said of LSU during the Big Ten’s weekly teleconference. “And I’m going to be the coach at Ohio State.”

Meyer is in his fifth season as the head coach at OSU, guiding the Buckeyes to a 53-4 mark in that span.  For perspective, the Tigers have lost four of their last eight games, paving the way for unceremonious ouster and Meyer’s name being mentioned in connection to the opening.

Alabama’s Nick Saban was also mentioned as a coach who LSU would gauge his interest in the job.

Wazzu’s Shalom Luani won’t face charges stemming from assault

PULLMAN, WA - OCTOBER 17:  Shalom Luani #18 of the Washington State Cougars carries the ball to a touchdown on an interception return against the Oregon State Beavers in the fourth quarter at Martin Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Pullman, Washington.  Washington State defeated Oregon State 52-31.  (Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images)
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After a very public back and forth between the police and university, Washington State has some (somewhat) positive off-field news on which to celebrate.

Monday, Whitman County (WA) prosecutor Denis Tracy announced that he will not file charges against Cougars safety Shalom Luani in connection to a fight outside of a Pullman Domino’s Pizza shop.  Video evidence indicated that it was Luani who broke a man’s nose with a punch; however, the prosecutor stated that a jury would likely conclude that Luani, who claimed he was ambushed by six males who pushed him from inside the pizza shop outside and sustained a concussion in the scuffle, had acted in self-defense.

From Tracy’s letter to the alleged victim:

[I]n order to prove that a criminal assault happened, the prosecutor must not only prove that the suspect hit someone, but the prosecutor must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect was not acting in self defense.”

“In this case, it is my view that no reasonable jury could conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Luani was not acting in self defense. …

“Since I cannot prove that Mr. Luani was not acting in self-defense. I cannot prove that he committed a criminal assault.

WSU athletic director Bill Moos, who along with the university’s president met with the chief of the Pullman Police Department earlier this month, issued a statement expressing his happiness over the prosecutor’s decision.

We are pleased that the prosecuting attorney’s office came to the same conclusion as we did regarding this case. While not always afforded the opportunity, I believe this illustrates the stance we have taken from the beginning which is to handle such matters internally, not speak in great detail, until the legal process has played out. Though we choose to reserve comment on such instances, we continue to cooperate with law enforcement, and assume innocent until proven guilty. We will not engage in public debate, rather, will let the legal process run its course, and as best we can gain an understanding of all the facts, without publicly acknowledging guilt or innocence prematurely. We will continue to educate our student-athletes on representing our fine university is a positive manner and also emphasize they remove themselves from situations that have the potential to impact them and the university negatively.

Luani started all 13 games for the Cougars last season after transferring from the junior college ranks, earning honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors.  This season, he leads the team with two interceptions.