Fabbians Ebbele

Assault charge against one Arizona player dropped

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Well, would you look at that.  A little good news for Arizona coming out of the party brawl mess.  Very little, but still.

According to multiple media outlets, a criminal assault charge against UA offensive lineman Eric Bender-Ramsay has been dropped by prosecutors.  A trespassing charge, however, remains.

Bender-Ramsey was one of four current Wildcat players — cornerback Jourdon Grandon, offensive tackle Fabbians Ebbele and safety Jared Tevis being the others — who were arrested very early last Friday morning after a brawl broke out at a party being thrown by UA students.  Grandon and Ebbele were charged with criminal assault for allegedly punching female partygoers as well as one count each of criminal trespassing.  Tevis was hit with a trespassing charge.

First-year head coach Rich Rodriguez, speaking before practice and after the story had broken yesterday, said that he will be “up-front and honest, of course” with the media regarding the situation, then essentially said he couldn’t really comment on the situation.

“[The arrests are] a matter that we’re looking into very seriously, and we’re going to make sure we go through the whole process. If anything comes up, further developments, we’ll let you know,’ Rodriguez said. “When it’s all done, when the process is done, I’ll make further comments at that time.”

As far as punishment for any of the players involved — or if they will even remain on the team — there was no substantial news on that front, although Grandon and Ebbele were held out of practice yesterday.

“We are cooperating fully with the Tucson Police Department, and disciplinary action will be handled accordingly,” athletic director Greg Byrne said in a statement. “Due to federal student-privacy laws, we will have no further comment.”

Grandon and Ebbele are scheduled to appear in court March 15.  Court dates for the other two have not yet been set.

Wisconsin announces 10-year agreement with Under Armour

Joel Stave
Associated Press

What has long been rumored became fact Friday, as Wisconsin announced a 10-year agreement with Under Armour.

“I am absolutely thrilled about our new partnership with Under Armour,” AD Barry Alvarez said in a statement. “Kevin Plank and his team have established a brand that fits perfectly with the Wisconsin athletics story and culture. Our primary focus at Wisconsin is, of course, our student-athletes, and Under Armour’s passion and commitment to high quality and innovation will benefit our student-athletes for years to come. Our entire department is looking forward to a long and mutually productive relationship with the Under Armour team.”

The new deal will pay the Badgers a total of $7 million in cash and product in 2015-16 and is valued at $96 million over the life of the contract, good for second in the Big Ten, trailing only Nike’s new contract with Michigan.

Hidden within the contract are two nuggets that UA offered to sway the Badgers away from Adidas, from the Portland Business Journal:

Wisconsin will get as much as $500,000 from Under Armour to “rebrand” athletic facilities. It’ll get $150,000 to build out an Under Armour retail space in a campus gift shop called Bucky’s Locker Room. It also gets two summer internships for students at Under Armour’s Baltimore headquarters.

“The University of Wisconsin is an institution built on the highest values of academic excellence, and we are extremely proud to be teaming up with one of the most vibrant, distinctive and successful athletic programs in the country to help elevate the performance of all Badgers with innovative footwear and apparel,” added Plank.

Wisconsin’s departure continues to weaken the stronghold Adidas had built in the Midwest after losing Michigan to Nike and Notre Dame to Under Armour in recent years (the company still owns apparel rights for Indiana and Nebraska). The Badgers are now the 41st Division I athletics department and 17th FBS program to join UA.

Video: There’s nothing wrong with Cardale Jones

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In the minds of some in the media and even more in the fan base, Ohio State in general and Cardale Jones specifically have been underwhelming through the first five games of the 2015 season.

Jones, in particular, has been a rather large target of much of the angst.  Coming off a Cinderella-like three-game postseason run that helped OSU to a national championship, the perception is that Jones has been underwhelming and underperforming; even head coach Urban Meyer appeared to be leaning in that direction as he considered making the switch to J.T. Barrett prior to the Western Michigan win before reaffirming his commitment to the redshirt junior.

Is that perception valid?  Statistically, he’s not that far off from where he was in the 2014 postseason, at least in a couple of categories.

He’s completing 61.3 percent of his passes this season compared to 59.4 percent in the games against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon.  It was 9.9 yards per attempt in that three-game stretch last season, 8.2 in five games this season.  When it comes to scoring and turning the ball over, however, that’s another matter entirely.

He threw a touchdown pass every 15 pass attempts in the 2014 postseason; this season, it’s one every 21 attempts.  Even more glaring, he’s currently throwing an interception every 21 attempts as well.  During the run that made him a household name, it was one pick every 37.5 throws.

So, fewer touchdowns plus more turnovers equals validation of the angst, right?  Not so fast, at least as far as the college arm of Pro Football Focus goes.