Thanks to the circumstances surrounding Jim Tressel‘s departure from Ohio State in the wake of “Tat-gate”, it was a given that the Buckeyes’ football program would be under the microscope for the foreseeable future.
Thanks to a recruiting dustup earlier this year involving public accusations flung by Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema at new head coach Urban Meyer, said microscope was really a given.
The latest example of the ‘Vest Effect comes courtesy of Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who, following a records request by that paper, revealed a combined 46 secondary violations in all sports had been reported by the school’s compliance department since May 30 of last year. That’s the day, incidentally, Tressel “stepped down” as head football coach.
While a sport-by-sport breakdown wasn’t offered up by the Plain Dealer, it appears that at least eight of the 46 violations were football-related.
Included in that total are multiple examples of how the NCAA’s bureaucracy has blown past sheer lunacy and is hurtling straight toward (a word that has yet to be invented):
- Meyer said “good luck” to a potential recruit prior to a Pennsylvania high school state title game in mid-December. Such game-day contact is forbidden.
- Five OSU players took the same number of recruits on visits out to a movie in mid-December. In part because of a cab ride to the movie, the players were $1 to $5 over the maximum of $60 allowed by the NCAA, so a secondary violation was deemed to have been committed.
- An OSU assistant coach purchased 20 “JT” bracelets for $5 each to honor his former coach last fall. He sold several of the bracelets to players for $15 apiece in order to avoid any type of NCAA issue for giving away freebies; despite the 200-percent markup, it was still considered an NCAA no-no as players were given something not available to the general public.
- Assistant coach Mike Vrabel was gigged for dipping chew on the sidelines during games last year.
- We’ll let Lesmerises take this bit of asinine heavy-handedness: “On Aug. 20, assistant coach Dick Tressel responded to a text message from the parents of recruit Warren Ball asking which gate to use to enter Ohio Stadium for a scrimmage. Texting the parents of a recruit was a violation.”
The biggest takeaway from Lesmerisis’ work? The NCAA is completely and totally out of control when it comes to recruiting/compliance bylaws, and is in dire need of paring down its rulebook — which supposedly is in the works — sooner rather than later.
As ACC commissioner John Swofford deftly put it last August, it’s time for the NCAA to begin “addressing the felons… as opposed to the jaywalkers, and get ourselves out of this maze of rules that are unenforceable.”
OSU’s version of jaywalking is Exhibit A that the NCAA needs to continue on that trajectory out of its petty maze.
The injury-plagued career of a member of South Carolina’s secondary has officially come to an end.
USC officials confirmed to The State that Ali Groves will not return to the Gamecocks football team. The defensive back has taken a medical hardship waiver, making him ineligible to suit up again for the Gamecocks.
The Georgia native will, though, remain on scholarship. He’s expected to graduate later this year with a degree in business administration.
A three-star member of USC’s 2013 recruiting class, Groves was rated as the No. 47 safety in the country. Groves sustained a right shoulder injury his true freshman season, with the injury lingering over the next couple of seasons as well.
This past spring, Groves, who didn’t play a down for the Gamecocks, was moved from cornerback to safety. Twice in his career, Groves was named to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.
Baylor’s recruiting loss will turn into another football program’s gain. Again.
On his Twitter account Monday, 2017 quarterback prospect Kellen Mond announced that he has decided to verbally commit to play his college football at Texas A&M. Mond had been considered the crown jewel of Baylor’s 2017 recruiting class after committing to the Bears in the summer of 2015, but opted to decommit less than a week after Art Briles was dismissed as BU’s head football coach.
Shortly after decommitting from Baylor, Mond announced a new Top 3: Auburn, Ohio State and A&M. Those schools were listed in his order of preference at that moment, although the Aggies were, obviously, able to make up ground on the other two.
Mond visited College Station earlier this month, and, coupled with the Buckeyes landing a verbal from five-star quarterback Tate Martell — a former A&M commit, incidentally — had seemingly pared his choices down to the Tigers and Aggies. According to his tweeted announcement, A&M’s “tradition of excellence,” along with the coaching staff, led him to his latest commitment.
Mond, a Texas native who is playing his senior season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., is rated as a four-star prospect on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. That recruiting website rates him as the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the country and the No. 103 player overall.
Ohio State announced earlier this month that it would be offering cold beers to all of-age fans during football games this fall in The ‘Shoe. A couple of weeks later, a fellow FBS member to the east has followed suit.
As part of its press release on new fan initiatives for the 2016 season, Pittsburgh announced that beer will be sold stadium-wide throughout Heinz Field this upcoming football season. Prior to this season, alcohol sales were only permitted to those ticket holders in the club and suite sections of the stadium.
The first opportunity for fans to take advantage of the new policy is the home opener against Villanova Sept. 3. The ACC opener Oct. 8 against Georgia Tech.
From the press release:
The expansion of this amenity will coincide with the implementation of appropriate safety measures for Pitt game days, ensuring the continuation of a fan and family friendly environment for all. (Such measures are already in place for Steelers home games. Aramark, Heinz Field’s official food and beverage concessionaire, provides comprehensive staff training in the sale of alcohol.) A portion of the funds from beer sales proceeds will be dedicated to drug and alcohol education programs for the overall student body through Pitt’s Division of Student Affairs.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, there are now nine Power Five members with a similar beer policy for football games. One of the nine is West Virginia, with the Post-Gazette writing that athletic director Scott Barnes cited data from WVU “suggesting that beer sales in the stadium could actually cut down on alcohol-related incidents.”
Not surprisingly, one member of Houston’s secondary will get back the time he lost last season.
According to a press release from the Houston sports information department, Howard Wilson has been granted a medical hardship waiver for the 2015 season. Wilson sustained a season-ending torn ACL in the third game of 2015, making the decision to grant the waiver a no-brainer.
The waiver will extend Wilson’s eligibility clock through the 2018 season, and makes him a redshirt sophomore for the upcoming season.
As a true freshman in 2014, Wilson played in all 13 games, starting one of those contests. He had three interceptions that season.
Prior to his injury, he started the first three games of last season. He’s projected to start at one of the corner spots for the Cougars entering summer camp.