Urban ‘good luck’ one of several secondary violations for Buckeyes

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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.

Suspended LSU player facing felony burglary charge

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And now we know a little more of the rest of the story.

Wednesday, LSU announced that Adrian Magee had been indefinitely suspended from the football program.  The stated reason?  Unspecified violations of team rules.

Not surprisingly, word subsequently surfaced that the offensive lineman had become entangled in an off-field situation.  Specifically, Magee, after a warrant had been issued for his arrest, has been charged with simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling in connection to an alleged on-campus apartment heist.  The charge, it should be noted, is a felony.

According to reports, Magee actually returned some of the items he allegedly lifted after finding out there may be video evidence of the incident.  From WBRZ-TV:

According to Baton Rouge Police, the victim returned to his apartment just before midnight on April 1. The victim says he returned to find the door to his apartment was forced open and he was missing electronic items and cash.

The victim says he was looking through the apartment when Magee stuck his head through the open door and asked the victim if he had been burglarized. The victim says he’s an LSU fan and immediately recognized Magee due to him wearing clothes with his football jersey number on it.

After the victim told Magee that he was going to check his security cameras to see who burglarized his apartment, Magee walked out and soon returned with several of the victim’s belongings, according to the arrest warrant.

According to the victim, an Xbox gaming console, six Xbox games, Gucci flip flops, an Onyx bluetooth speaker, and $1,200 cash were stolen from the apartment. The victim’s girlfriend’s purse was also dumped out and rifled through.

A three-star member of the Tigers’ 2015 recruiting class, Magee was rated as the No. 45 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 20 player at any position in the state of Louisiana.  An injury forced the 6-5, 309-pound lineman to take a redshirt as a true freshman.

Last year as a reserve, Magee saw action in three games.

This spring, Magee started at right tackle because of an injury to returning starter Toby Weathersby.  Weathersby is expected to be fully recovered for the start of summer camp in early August, with Magee sliding back to his role as a backup.

Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson frowns upon Group of Five playoff idea

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The chances a team from the Group of Five ever gets selected to play in the College Football Playoff range from slim to none. As such, talk from within the Group of Five has kicked up from time to time, especially over the last year, about a possible Group of Five-only version of the College Football Playoff. The reactions to that idea has been mixed, but add Sun Belt Conference commissioner Karl Benson to the group of people who thinks that idea should be tossed aside.

While attending meetings for the College Football Playoff, Benson told reporters he would prefer to see conference champions from the Group of Five (American, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, and Sun Belt) receive better bowl bids instead of playing in a minor version of the College Football Playoff.

It’s time to have a realistic conversation about creating a playoff for the Group of 5,” NIU athletic director Sean Frazier told Brett McMurphy, then of ESPN.com, back in December. “Why not?”

Well, there are a number of reasons. First, not everybody seems to be on board with playing the college football version equivalent of the NIT. Sure, it would be on TV and would get ratings, but the reward at the end of the JV playoff would mean little. Nobody would consider it a national championship. That’s what the FCS is for.

Benson is not alone in his anti-Group of Five playoff stance. MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher also has been on record saying he is not interested in such a plan, and he oversaw a member from his conference go undefeated last season and play in the Cotton Bowl (Western Michigan).

My initial reaction is that’s not something I’m interested in,” Steinbrecher said, according to MLive.com in December. “We’re part of the (College Football Playoff) system, and it’s done a lot of very good things for the Mid-American Conference.”

Without the support from two of the Group of Five commissioners (and you can almost be guaranteed you can add Mike Aresco of the American Athletic Conference to the list given the conference’s push to be considered a power conference), this idea is pretty much dead on arrival.

LSU’s Arden Key: I am not sitting out my junior year

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After taking a little time off from the LSU football program this spring, Arden Key calmed the nerves of Tigers fans on Wednesday with a simple message on his Twitter account.

Key announced to his Twitter followers he will be on the field for the Tigers this fall. Back in February, LSU released a statement saying Key would be stepping away from the program “for personal reasons.” What those personal reasons were is unknown, but he did so with the support of head coach Ed Orgeron and the entire football program at the time.

Key earned second-team All-SEC honors last season after leading LSU with 14.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks, a school record. With news, he would be stepping away from the program and the age of top NFL Draft prospects opting out of bowl games, the mere thought that Key might become the first potential NFL Draft pick the following season sitting out the entire football season was difficult to completely ignore. Fortunately, especially for LSU and not so much for LSU’s opponents, Key is choosing not to break that barrier at this time.

Texas A&M removes WR Kirk Merritt from roster

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After being charged for allegedly exposing himself to tutors at Texas A&M, wide receiver Kirk Merritt is no longer an Aggie. Merritt has been removed from the Texas A&M football program, according to a report from The Eagle. Though there has been no official statement confirming such news, Merritt’s name has been wiped off the team’s online roster.

Merritt pleaded not guilty to a pair of indecent exposure charges against him stemming from an incident last October. Merritt allegedly exposed himself to female academic tutors. Merritt was suspended by Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin a few days after the alleged incidents. The suspension was expanded to indefinite status following Merritt’s arrest on November 8. The suspension has since been lifted after the university’s conduct process wrapped up in January.

It has been a bit of a bumpy year for Merritt. Merritt left Oregon for Texas A&M last summer due to family reasons. He participated in Texas A&M’s spring practices but did not play in the spring game.