Purdue reinstates second-leading tackler, third-leading receiver

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Three times in the past five months, key members of the Purdue football program ran into off-field issues that put their futures with the Boilermakers up in the air.

Monday, the status of two of those players was clarified, and in a positive way for head coach Danny Hope.

Hope confirmed to the West Lafayette Courier & Journal late last week that wide receiver O.J. Ross and linebacker Dwayne Beckford (picturedhave been reinstated and are expected to be a part of the team in 2012.  Both players were suspended for the Boilermakers’ bowl game this past season and had their scholarships stripped by Hope at various points.

Beckford actually was dismissed from the program entirely, but has paid his dues — literally — in climbing out of Hope’s doghouse.

“He had to get a job, take out loans, pay for his education, work hard and pass the classes,” Hope said of the LB. “He’s passed the classes that he needs to stay on track for eligibility and from a graduation standpoint. He’s on the team, back on scholarship and we don’t anticipate any further incidents with Dwayne.

“As long as he does well in school and takes care of business and there aren’t any type of legal repercussions we’ll proceed on.”

The legal repercussions to which the coach refers stems in part from a drunk-driving charge early last December.

Ross, who was suspended for the bowl game due to academic issues, participated in spring practice but had his scholarship yanked after missing classes.  Hope said that the receiver is on track to be eligible this summer.

Beckford finished second on the team in tackles last season, while Ross finished third in receptions (33) and receiving yards (356), and tied for first in receiving touchdowns (three).  Both players are back on scholarship.

As for the third member of the trio, wide receiver Antavian Edison is still a member of the team.  Edison was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of carrying a concealed weapon.  He has yet to be charged, however, leading to Hope’s decision to keep him on the team for the time being.

Last season, Edison led Purdue in receiving yards with 584 and was second in receptions with 44.

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

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Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

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Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

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It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

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The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.