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 most productive player on the defensive side of the ball during Western Michigan’s breakout 2016 season is moving on.
The football program announced via its official Twitter account that Robert Spillane has asked for and been granted a release from his scholarship. A rising true senior, it’s unclear if the linebacker will be leaving WMU as a graduate transfer.
If he is, he’ll be eligible to play at another FBS program in 2017. If not, he’d have to sit out the upcoming season before using his final season of eligibility in 2018.
Last season, Spillane led the Broncos in tackles with 111 — next closest was Asantay Brown‘s 95 — while he was second in tackles for loss with 10.5 and tied for third in sacks with three. His three interceptions were tied for second as well. The last of those three picks came at the end of the MAC championship game that helped seal WMU’s win over Ohio.
The past three seasons, Spillane started 28 games for the Broncos. He started all 14 games last season.
In early November, a right shoulder injury knocked Brent Stockstill out for the remainder of Middle Tennessee State’s season. Four months later, a procedure on the other side of the same area has sidelined the starting quarterback yet again.
MTSU announced Tuesday that Stockstill will miss the whole of spring practice, which is set to kick off March 15. The rising junior recently underwent surgery on his left (throwing) shoulder.
The procedure is not expected to have any impact on his availability for the upcoming season.
“The doctors just went in and cleaned some stuff up in his shoulder but he should be ready to go this summer,” Rick Stockstill, MTSU’s head coach and the player’s father, said in a statement. “He will be held out of spring drills.”
After just two seasons as the starter, Stockstill already owns school records in touchdown passes (61), 300-yard passing games (14), 400-yard passing games (2) and passing yards per game (303.3).
Idaho may be bolting for the FCS after this coming season but they’re still in the FBS for now, which makes them the latest to trigger a resetting of the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker to double zeroes.
According to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, redshirt freshman Charles Akanno was arrested Sunday on a charge of receiving/possessing stolen property. The charge stems from an alleged Feb. 20 shoplifting incident involving two other males, including a former Vandals football player.
As a result, the linebacker has been indefinitely suspended from the football program.
“We have high expectations for every member of our program,” head coach Paul Petrino said in a statement. “It is an honor and a privilege to represent the University of Idaho. Until this matter is resolved by the courts, Charles will be suspended from all team activities.”
A three-star 2016 signee, only three other members of that year’s class for the Vandals were rated higher.
Akanno took a redshirt as a true freshman. He has been expected to compete for a starting job in 2017.
Brian Bridgewater appears willing to attempt to become the latest student-athlete to make the transition from the hardwood to the gridiron.
A basketball player at LSU, Bridgewater (pictured, No. 20) confirmed Monday that he will look to make the transition to football for the Tigers this fall. While Bridgewater, who is scheduled to graduate in August, has spoken to unnamed LSU staffers about the transition, he has yet to speak to head coach Ed Orgeron regarding any move.
Based on his comments, it appears he might look to another football program if LSU falls through.
“That’s a possibility, if things go according to how they’re supposed to,” Bridgewater said of joining the Tigers football team. “Hopefully that’s an option. If not I’ll have to see what door opens for me.”
A 6-5, 282-pound power forward in basketball, Bridgewater would likely make his football hay as a tight end. He last played football in 2012 at the high school level.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune writes that “[d]espite only playing one season of high school ball, Bridgewater was ranked as the No. 27 tight end in the country by 247 Sports.”
Bridgewater is expected to finish out the 2016-17 college basketball season before turning his focus to football.