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Immediate eligibility for transfers under consideration by the NCAA

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We’ve often decried the fact that, while coaches can leave a football program for another with very few ($$$) repercussions in the vast majority of cases, most players who decide to transfer must sit out a season.

Based on discussions currently being undertaken by the NCAA, that may change in the not-too-distant future.

According to Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News, allowing immediate eligibility for transfers in all sports is one of the concepts being discussed by an NCAA working group charged with reviewing ways to streamline current bylaws.  The move would be part of the NCAA’s initiative to shrink its rulebook “down to something sensible.”

Currently, football players have to satisfy what’s technically called a “residency requirement” that by and large requires the student-athlete to sit out one season when transferring to one school to another.  If the measure were to be adopted, and provided the move would not have a negative on the player’s graduation progress, the player would be eligible to play immediately.

Currently, only players who have either graduated or are granted hardship waivers due to family issues are eligible to play immediately upon transfer.

This concept is far from becoming a reality, however; the working group noted that current transfer limits could be included in any new bylaw.  It’s safe assume that coaches, who are largely as a group already bucking against the trend toward multi-year scholarships, would not be in favor of allowing it to become easier for a player to leave his program, especially if one-year renewable scholarships go the way of leather helmets and goalposts on the goal line.

If eliminating the residency requirement is in play, one stipulation needs to be in play as well: a player can transfer once and play immediately.  Anything beyond the initial transfer — with the exception perhaps of family issues and the need to get closer to home — the player should be required to sit out a year.

In addition to the transfer issue, the NCAA is looking to cut the fat off the bulky bylaws pertaining to recruiting.  The development in that arena that would most likely garner the most attention would be allowing coaches to address unsigned potential recruits.  Current bylaws state that schools are not permitted to specifically mention a player by name until a Letter of Intent is signed.

Banned so as not to give a school a perceived edge in landing a recruit, the News writes that “[t]he working group said technology and social media make such comments difficult to monitor and enforce, and it’s ‘arguable’ whether the publicity influences a recruit’s college decision.”  One idea being tossed around is a stipulation that would only allow coaches to comment publicly on a recruit only when he verbally commits to a program.

Other recruiting-related ideas under discussion include no annual certification on recruiting rules for coaching staffs; giving schools more freedom on what takes place during official visits while allowing earlier contact with potential recruits (June 15 following a player’s sophomore year in high school); and putting an end to the “Tiger Prowl” rule that restricts the number of off-campus recruiters for the perceived recruiting benefit.

Ex-Vandy RB Brian Kimbrow now an ex-MTSU RB, too

Brian Kimbrow
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Maybe the third time will be the charm for Brian Kimbrow? Or maybe there’ll be no third time, period?

That appears to be the case Kimbrow confirmed to Rivals.com earlier this week that he has walked away from the Middle Tennessee State football team. Not only that, but the running back has walked away from the sport, period.

“I just didn’t love football like I used to and wanted to focus on school and my forensics career,” Kimbrow told the recruiting website. “Just burned out for real.”

Kimbrow began his collegiate career at Vanderbilt as a four-star recruit in 2012. He ran for 748 yards and six touchdowns his first two seasons with the Commodores before he was indefinitely suspended early on in the 2014 season for conduct detrimental to the team. A month later, the then-junior was dismissed from the Vandy football program.

Kimbrow joined MTSU as a graduate transfer earlier this year and participated in spring practice with his new Blue Raiders teammates.

James Pierre, three-star 2016 signee, given release from UNC

5 Sep 1998:  General view of the mascot for the North Carolina Tar Heels displayed during the game against the Miami Ohio Redhawks at the Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Redhawks defeated the Tar Heels 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Chris Cova
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Once at 26, North Carolina’s 2016 recruiting class has been pared by one.

According to a report from 247Sports.com, 2016 signee James Pierre has been given a release from the National Letter of Intent he signed with UNC.  The recruiting website reports that Pierre was denied admissions by the university, leading to his full release.

Because he has not attended any classes at UNC, Pierre would be eligible to play immediately at another FBS program.  He’d then have the standard five years to use four seasons of eligibility.

A three-star 2016 recruit, Pierre was rated as the No. 48 safety in the country.  In addition to UNC, Pierre held scholarship offers from, among others, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Louisville, Miami, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

RB Denzell Evans opts to transfer from Arkansas

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Arkansas lost, at least temporarily, a running back to injury last month.  This month, they’ve lost one permanently, for a whole other reason entirely.

Thursday, Bret Bielema confirmed that Denzell Evans plans to transfer out of his Razorbacks football program.  No specific reason for the parting of ways was given.

The running back will remain enrolled in school until he graduates, then move on to an undetermined location.  As Evans will be a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately if his new college football home plays at the FBS level.

As a bonus for his new program, Evans will actually have two years of eligibility left to use.

The past two seasons after redshirting as a true freshman in 2013, Evans had played in 15 games.  Evans rushed for 84 yards on 13 carries in his Razorbacks career; 48 of those yards and six of the carries came in the fourth quarter of an Oct. 31 win over UT-Martin this past season.

Evans, a three-star 2013 signee, scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in the spring game last month.

Report: Joe Paterno knew of Jerry Sandusky abuses as far back as 1976

PATERNO SANDUSKY
Associated Press
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Oh boy.

As an insurance case connected to the Jerry Sandusky child-sex abuse case continues to wind its way through the legal system, PennLive.com writes, ” a new bombshell” was dropped Thursday.  According to the newspaper website, a court order in the case indicates that deceased former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno was aware in 1976 of sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky, the former Paterno right-hand man who was convicted of molesting at least 10 underage males victims during and after his long stint as a Nittany Lions assistant.

It’s further alleged in the order that Paterno did not tell his superiors of the allegations in 1976, nor subsequent allegations a decade later. From the report:

The line in question states that one of Penn State’s insurers has claimed “in 1976, a child allegedly reported to PSU’s Head Coach Joseph Paterno that he (the child) was sexually molested by Sandusky.”

The order also cites separate references in 1987 and 1988 in which unnamed assistant coaches witnessed inappropriate contact between Sandusky and unidentified children, and a 1988 case that was supposedly referred to Penn State’s athletic director at the time.

“There is no evidence that reports of these incidents ever went further up the chain of command at PSU,” Judge Gary Glazer wrote, in determining that because Penn State’s executive officers weren’t aware of the allegations, he would not bar those claims from insurance coverage.”

Paterno supporters, including his family, have long argued that Paterno did nothing inappropriate and did not cover up for his former coach; Paterno himself admitted, though, in an interview before he was fired in the midst of the scandal in November of 2011, “I wish I had done more.”

Thursday, Paterno’s family once again rushed to the Hall of Famer’s defense in a statement.

Over the past four-and-a-half years Joe Paterno’s conduct has been scrutinized by an endless list of investigators and attorneys.

“Through all of this review there has never been any evidence of inappropriate conduct by Coach Paterno. To the contrary, the evidence clearly shows he shared information with his superiors as appropriate.

“An allegation now about an alleged event 40 years ago, as represented by a single line in a court document regarding an insurance issue, with no corroborating evidence, does not change the facts. Joe Paterno did not, at any time, cover up conduct by Jerry Sandusky.

The case in which the 1976 allegation was revealed involves Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association Insurance Co., which is arguing that it’s not responsible for reimbursing Penn State the more than $60 million it has paid out in Sandusky-related damages.

The 72-year-old Sandusky is currently serving 30-60 years after being convicted on 45 counts in a 48-count indictment.