- A couple of Michigan alums got married in the Big House.
- This is fantastic. Les Miles with perhaps his best one-liner to date.
- Penn State will face punishment, just not from the NCAA, writes Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated. I wholeheartedly agree.
- Remember how a selection committee is supposed to be transparent? Well, here you go…
- How much will Boise State’s travel costs go up now that the Broncos are in the Big East? The Idaho Statesman crunches some numbers.
- Maryland coach Randy Edsall has hired a PR firm. Really.
Monday offseason one-liners
It’s not been a good couple of days for Alabama football off the field, what with a pair of arrests involving player with previous legal issues. Now, that storm cloud has drifted into the on-field arena as well.
Citing a source with knowledge of the situation, Matt Zenitz of al.com is reporting that Cam Sims sustained some type of a torn ACL during a spring practice session Saturday. Given the timing of the injury, Sims could conceivably return at some time around the midway point of the 2015 season, if not slightly sooner. Or, the true sophomore could take a redshirt.
While the football program has not yet addressed the player’s health and his status for the upcoming season, Sims intimated on Twitter that he has some type of significant issue he needs to overcome.
And, based on one of his retweets, it is indeed an ACL issue he’ll be forced to overcome.
— ACL Recovery Club (@ACLrecoveryCLUB) March 29, 2015
As noted by Zenitz, Sims was being looked upon as a player who could potentially help replace the production lost by the departures of the Tide’s top three receivers. In 2014, the departed ones, Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White and Christion Jones, combined for 183 receptions for 2,495 yards and 21 touchdowns, although Cooper was responsible for roughly two-thirds of that production.
Sims, a four-star member of UA’s 2014 recruiting class, caught seven passes for 62 yards and a touchdown as a true freshman.
Hey, if it’s good enough for Nick Saban, Les Miles, Jim Mora and, especially, Lane Kiffin, along with a handful of other FBS head coaches, it’s good enough for the Ol’ Ball Coach.
Continuing a trend in college football that was seemingly patented by Kiffin around 2010 — and Bobby Knight in college basketball two decades before — the stepfather of Dominick Blaylock confirmed to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his stepson was offered a scholarship by South Carolina after he attended a Junior Day event at the school Saturday. What makes the offer to Blaylock, the son of former NBA All-Star Mookie Blaylock, is that he’s a 14-year-old eighth-grader from the Atlanta area.
Blaylock himself told the Journal-Constitution he was “shocked that when I met the coaches, they went straight to the point with the offer.” And, according to the stepfather, this wasn’t just some whimsical move on the part of the Gamecocks — and that he thinks this is the first offer domino that will tumble in the coming weeks for his 5-11, 165-pound stepson.
“They said this was a firm offer, and they felt like it was important that South Carolina was Dominick’s first offer,” John Woods told the paper.
“I am happy for Dominick. I know there are more eighth-graders getting offered now. It seems like it’s happening with more eighth-graders every year. Dominick got invited to five Junior Days, so I think other offers are coming.”
As creepy as it is FBS programs scoping out kids still in middle school — Blaylock will be a Class of 2019 signee — the Gamecocks, as the stepdad alluded to, certainly aren’t alone in this trend. And they aren’t alone amongst SEC teams with this specific recruiting interest as the AJC notes that Blaylock has also been invited to visit Florida, Auburn and Alabama this spring.
But this trend goes back much further than just Blaylock.
In February of 2010, Kiffin, then the head coach at USC, offered seventh-grade — seventh!!! — quarterback phenom David Sills a scholarship. Somewhat surprisingly, Sills remained a Trojan commit even through Kiffin’s firing in September of 2013, even attending quarterbacks meetings with coaches at one point, although he ultimately ended up decommitting from USC in June of last year and signing with West Virginia in February of this year.
Kiffin was also involved in a middle-school tug-of-war with cross-town rival UCLA in June of 2013, with both the Trojans and the Bruins offering to California middle schooler and Class of 2017 recruit Nathan Tilford. Both Alabama and LSU, among others, offered 14-year-old 2017 recruit Dylan Moses back in July of 2012 and February of 2013, respectively.
Some of the more recent examples of this (my words) disturbingly upward trend include LSU accepting a commitment from then 14-year-old eighth-grade quarterback Zadock Dinkelmann last year and Florida offering eighth-grader Blake Hinson earlier this month.
And somewhere, even though he’s still alive, Chris Hansen is rolling over in his grave…
Not so unexpectedly, Alabama’s roster is a little lighter this Sunday afternoon.
In a statement sent out by the school just a short time ago, head coach Nick Saban announced that Jonathan Taylor has been dismissed from his football program. Taylor was arrested Saturday evening on domestic violence charges.
“Jonathan Taylor has been dismissed from the team and is no longer a part of our program,” Saban’s statement began. “This will still need to go through the legal process, but when he was given an opportunity here, it was under strict guidelines and we made it clear there was a zero tolerance policy.”
It was the right move by Saban and, really, the only move he could’ve made. The fact that he did it so swiftly, though, should not be overlooked — while Saban’s a man all in favor of second chances, don’t screw him over and embarrass him when you’re given what at the time was considered a controversial opportunity.
Taylor did just that, and paid the price for putting his hands on a woman again. Allegedly.
UPDATED 3:03 p.m. ET: Shortly after Taylor’s dismissal was announced, UA athletic director Bill Battle released the following statement:
Representing this University is a privilege that none of us can take for granted. As I noted in my comments when the decision was made to allow Jonathan Taylor to attend the University on a football scholarship, I believe in second chances. I still do. However, being successful in that second chance requires responsibility and accountability. In Jonathan’s situation, the University and the Department of Athletics set forth very clear standards of accountability and expectations of conduct. Jonathan was afforded a chance to successfully overcome the difficulties that resulted in his departure from the University of Georgia. Unfortunately, it appears that he was unable to do so, in spite of extensive efforts to assist him. All of us hope that Jonathan and the young lady involved can deal constructively with the issues that led to this situation, and their aftermath, so that both of them can have productive, healthy futures. Violent conduct by any representative of the University of Alabama athletics department will not be tolerated. More than ever, we take seriously the responsibility that all of us have to represent our University and our state in the best way possible – in competition and in daily life.
Based on the details of Jonathan Taylor‘s domestic violence arrest — his second in eight months, no less — there’s seemingly no way he can move forward as a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Saturday evening, the alleged victim, a 24-year-old female, told Tuscaloosa police officers responding to a call near the UA campus that she had been assaulted by Taylor, her boyfriend. The incident report described the woman as having minor injuries around her neck; the officers also observed a bedroom closet door in the alleged victim’s residence with a hole punched through it.
ESPN.com writes that “officers located the suspect at the victim’s residence and spoke to him about the incident” and “found probable cause to arrest the suspect.” The defensive tackle was charged with domestic violence/assault and domestic violence/criminal mischief.
Taylor had been dismissed from Georgia last July following the initial domestic violence incident. In that case, which is still pending, the 6-4, 335-pound Taylor is accused of choking his then-girlfriend — a different female from the most recent incident — and striking her in the face with an open fist. Taylor has now been arrested three times in a little over a year, the other being theft by deception charges last March while he was still at UGA.
Saban has been especially passionate on the subject of second chances, and his heart may be in the right place, but too many Alabama football players manage to be good students and good citizens as well as good athletes to have their program’s reputation put at risk.
Taylor looked like a risk from the start. Now he looks like one of Saban’s and Alabama’s biggest mistakes.
In response to the situation, the university released a very brief statement early Sunday morning that’s scant on details as to Taylor’s future with the university in general and the football program specifically: “UA is aware of the incident. The student has been referred to judicial affairs.”
It would be very surprising if another statement wasn’t released at some point in the very near future, perhaps as early as today, in which Second-Chance Saban announces that Taylor is no longer a part of his football program. At least, based on the current evidence and Taylor’s prior track record, that’s what should happen, and the sooner the better for the sake of a head coach’s and university’s image that has already taken a hit because of the player’s actions — and because of the way his signing was so staunchly defended at the time.
“We recruited this young man out of high school, and we felt that from what we knew about him, what his high school coach said, what the people at the school that he was at said about him, and where he came from in junior college, that he was the kind of guy that deserved a second chance,” Saban said on National Signing Day this past February. “But with that chance, we also have stipulations of things that he needs to do from a personal development standpoint so that he won’t make any kind of mistake like this ever again.
“That’s an ongoing process with him, and that’s something that we continue to monitor, and he has done a very good job with.”
“All of us in the University community have a role in helping student-athletes reach their potential – in competition, in the classroom and in life,” UA athletic director Bill Battle said in a statement at the time of the January signing. “It’s important to note that the young man will become a part of our program after going through an extensive process conducted by the University.
“As one of our state’s most high-profile entities, we are acutely aware of our responsibility to the University, our student-athletes, our community and our state.”
It appears that Graham Glasgow may be rather expeditiously climbing out of Jim Harbaugh‘s doghouse.
In July of 2014, Glasgow was sentenced in connection to a drunk-driving charge from March. As part of that sentence, he was placed on 12 months probation, with one of the stipulations being that he couldn’t consume alcohol. Earlier this month, however, the offensive lineman violated said probation by blowing a .086 on a Breathalyzer test, which triggered a suspension from the football program that was announced March 16.
Less than two weeks later, it looks as if Glasgow is back to practicing with his teammates. Or, at the very least, dressing for practice.
In the background is a No. 61. Glasgow wears No. 61, and is the only player with that number listed on the Wolverines’ online roster. So, unless another player borrowed the jersey, Glasgow is back on the practice field.
What this means is unclear as mlive.com writes that “[a] Michigan official has not responded to a request for comment, and it is not known if Glasgow’s suspension is officially over or not.” In the immediate aftermath of Glasgow’s OVI arrest last March, he was suspended indefinitely by then-head coach Brady Hoke before being allowed to return to practice a week later. He was, though, suspended for the 2014 opener.
According to the Detroit Free Press, and because of his recent probation violation, Glasgow “will have six more months of probation past his original July 2015 end date, will have to take breathalyzer tests twice a day now, once in the morning (6-9 a.m.) and once at night (9 p.m.-12 a.m.) at the Ann Arbor Police Department and will have to serve five days on a Washtenaw County Jail Work Program by April 30.”
Provided he can get past his legal issues and avoid any further hiccups, Glasgow would serve as a talented and experienced piece of UM’s line as he started all 11 games in which he played last year. In 2013, Glasgow started 13 games — nine at center, four at guard.
After an alleged domestic violence incident led to his dismissal at Georgia last July, Jonathan Taylor signed with Alabama in January as one of Nick Saban‘s second-chance signees. Less than three months later, Taylor is making his new head coach look rather foolish and/or naïve.
Both Aaron Suttles of TideSports.com and Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News are reporting that Taylor is once again facing charges related to a domestic incident earlier today. According to the Tuscaloosa Police Department’s website, Taylor is facing charges of domestic violence/assault and domestic violence/criminal mischief.
At this moment, details of what led to the defensive tackle’s arrest have not been released. Taylor remains in jail in lieu of a pair of $500 bonds.
Taylor has been participating with his new Tide teammates in spring practice, even as his initial signing caused enough of a controversy that the school felt the need to address it in a statement. It would seem unlikely that Saban would allow the lineman to remain on his squad, not with two domestic violence arrests in less than a year littering his record, the first of which is still pending in the state of Georgia. Additionally, Taylor was one of four UGA players arrested last March on theft by deception charges.
Taylor was a four-star member of the Bulldogs’ 2012 recruiting class, rated as the No. 7 defensive tackle in the country and the No. 5 player at any position in the state of Georgia. After taking a redshirt his true freshman season, Taylor played in 10 games in 2013. He spent the 2014 season at the JUCO level.
Overall, it’s been a rough last 24 hours or so for the Tide off the field.
Late Friday night, defensive back Geno Smith was arrested for driving under the influence. It was the senior’s second drunk-driving arrest in less than two years, prompting him to issue a public apology on Twitter.
The NCAA has already changed the way it deals with hardship waivers for transfers. Now, The Association is seemingly set to further stifle the movement of its student-athletes.
The Division I Council Coordination Committee appointed earlier this month the Ad Hoc Transfer Issues Working Group to do what a release describes as “consider where improvements can be made to current [transfer] rules,” with the group focusing “on graduate transfers and permission-to-contact rules.”
Currently, FBS graduate transfers in all sports can transfer to another FBS program without sitting out a season, proved three provisions are met: 1. the student-athlete has graduated from his current institution; 2. the student-athlete enrolls in a graduate program at his new university not offered at his previous one; and 3. the student-athlete’s original university signs off on the transfer.
What the group will look into in the coming months is “whether to update the policy for graduate transfers to more closely mirror a new policy adopted last year for undergraduate transfers.”
Earlier this month, the new policy mentioned above went into effect, effectively eliminating the hardship waiver that provided immediately eligibility for a transfer. Previously, a student-athlete could file an appeal for a hardship waiver on various grounds, the most common one of which was related to illnesses and/or situations in the family that necessitated a move closer to home; now, potential transfers can request a waiver that would extend their eligibility out by another season but cannot gain immediate eligibility.
Normally a graduate transfer would have a single season of eligibility remaining, although there are occasionally exceptions. If the new procedure is adopted — it wouldn’t be in place until the 2016-17 academic year at the earliest — a graduate transfer would be forced to sit out the first season with his/her new program, then have another season of eligibility tacked on the following year if the waiver is granted.
For example, if Cardale Jones, by then a redshirt junior, decides to transfer out of Ohio State to Michigan after graduating next May, Jones would be forced to sit out the 2016 season. He could then apply for a waiver that would give him one more year of eligibility in 2017.
Provided, of course, the same policy in place for undergrad transfers is implemented for grad transfers.
“Student transfers are an important issue in higher education, and it is no different in athletics,” said co-chair Jere Morehead, Georgia president, in a statement. “The group will be mindful of the integration of athletics and academics when creating recommendations for Division I transfer policy or legislation.”
Smith did not participate in practice Saturday, in large part because he was still jailed around the time his teammates began yet another spring session.
Head coach Nick Saban did not address the latest development involving an experienced piece of his secondary, although that’s expected to happen early this coming week. Ahead of that, a contrite Smith took to Twitter to apologize to the university, the football program and its fans for his latest off-field misstep.
Whether it’s enough to help avoid the full wrath of Saban — and maintain a spot on the roster for his final season — remains to be seen.
A pair of Florida State linebackers who had their 2014 seasons interrupted by suspensions have not seen their spring interrupted by injuries.
Friday, head coach Jimbo Fisher confirmed that both Chris Casher and Matthew Thomas (pictured) will miss the remainder of the spring due to shoulder issues. The former has already undergone surgery to repair his damage, while “[w]e’re gonna have to end up [surgically] fixing” the latter.”
The issue with Thomas is an ongoing and lingering one. He took a medical redshirt for the 2013 season because of it, while he dealt with the issue throughout the 2014 season as well.
“It popped out. Popped out,” Fisher said of the shoulder according to the Orlando Sentinel. “It popped out a bunch of times last year, one game it popped out four different times. It popped out the other day. It’s too loose.”
After a copious amount of drama and a splash of theatrics, Thomas signed with FSU as a five-star recruit in 2013. As a redshirt freshman last season — he played in four games in 2013 before the initial injury — Thomas was suspended in early September and didn’t return until mid-October. He went on to play in the remaining eight games, making three starts.
Casher, meanwhile, was suspended for the 2014 opener for what was described as an academic-related issue. He ended up starting two of the final 13 games of that season.
Despite some on-field production, Casher is more well-known for off-field headlines, whether it be in connection to the Jameis Winston sexual assault allegations or being sued by his attorney or being stopped by police at gunpoint over a pellet gun.
Friday, head coach Jimbo Fisher confirmed that Jones has decided to transfer out of the FSU football program and continue his playing career elsewhere. That elsewhere, according to Fisher, is likely East Mississippi State Community College.
The Palm Beach Post noted that Jones had traveled with the team to the Rose Bowl and said at the time that, as a longtime Seminole fan, he had no desire to transfer. What prompted the change of heart, and whether it was again related to academics, wasn’t addressed.
A four-star member of the Seminoles’ 2013 recruiting class, Jones was rated as the No. 28 receiver in the country and the No. 36 player at any position in the talent-rich state of Florida. As a true freshman in 2013, the 6-4, 194-pound Jones caught two passes for 31 yards.
His production could’ve been higher that season, but a foot injury forced him to miss most of the second half of the season.
The bad news for Ole Miss is that key players on each side of the ball have sustained injuries. The good news? It’s only the spring, and the start of the new season is still more than five months down the road.
The most significant injury was sustained by defensive back Mike Hilton, who broke his thumb during a practice session earlier this week. Additionally, running back Jordan Wilkins suffered what’s being described a sprained MCL.
Hilton will miss the remainder of the spring, but is expected to be healthy enough to participate in summer camp at the beginning of August. Wilkins’ availability for the rest of the spring is to be determined.
In 2014 as a third-year junior, Hilton started 11 of the Rebels’ 13 games. He led the team in tackles with 71, and was second in interceptions (three) and passes broken up (seven).
Over the past three seasons, Hilton has started 26 of the 36 games in which he’s played.
Wilkins‘ 361 yards rushing as a redshirt freshman last season was second on the Rebels, while his 6.9 yards per carry was tied for tops on the team.
Will Muschamp may be gone at Florida, but he’s certainly not been forgotten.
Shortly after his firing last November, Muschamp was very emphatic in stating that the Gators possess “a deep and talented roster, so don’t let that new guy tell you he ain’t got any players.”
The new guy in this case is Jim McElwain, hired away from Colorado State in December and charged with cleaning up the mess in Gainesville. And, apparently, he didn’t get Muschamp’s memo.
“When you look at it, you know, the thing that has been lacking is the numbers and the size of what we’re doing on the other side of the ball,” McElwain told reporters in Gainesville. “It’s probably the reason we’re here. That’s all right, man, I’m excited to be here and we’re going to get it taken care of.”
“They’re trying their tails off,” McElwain said. “For the lack of numbers there, and it’s one of those things you’ve got to play the hand you’re dealt and right now, quite honestly, the hand we were dealt is really insufficient at some of the areas. And yet at the same time that’s what you have, so we’re going to make the best of it. Those guys are battling in there. To try to even create kind of two groups is hard, so these guys, we’re giving them spells. Just kind of the way we practice, we had to kind of totally change how we will normally practice here in the future.”
It’s not uncommon for the new cook on campus to lament the lack of ingredients left in the cupboard. One of the things that lamenting does, though, is undercut those who remain on the roster.
Perhaps mindful of that, McElwain also tossed around words like “foundation” and “toughness” and “fight” in an attempt to soften what he sees as a lack of depth at best and, at worst, an overall lack of talent.
“The thing about this group of guys is they care about each other and care about the team,” the first-year coach said. “They fight their way through tough times, and that’s how you build the foundation of a football team. It’s really exciting to watch because at some point in the season, this toughness foundation is going to be what carries us, and we’re learning all about that right now.”
While they’re far from the gospel, recent recruiting rankings would suggest that McElwain at least has some talent with which to work — he and his staff just needs to coach them up better than their predecessors.
Muschamp was hired as UF’s head coach on Dec. 10, 2010. In his four recruiting classes, none finished lower than 12th nationally according to Rivals.com. That was Muschamp’s first class, one that he had roughly three months to put/hold together.
The first full class of the Muschamp era was in 2012, and that class finished No. 3 overall and No. 2 in the SEC. That was followed up by the fourth-ranked class in 2013 that was again second in the conference.
Even when rumors were swirling that he was a dead man coaching, Muschamp was able to pull in the No. 8 class in 2014, although that was only good for sixth in the conference.
Again, recruiting rankings aren’t the be-all, end-all when it comes to wins and losses, but they are a good indicator of potential. And potentially, McElwain, whose first class ranked 23rd nationally and 10th in the conference — they get a pass on that — has a lot more talent with which to work than he’s allowing.
Tempering expectations of an anxious and dissatisfied fan base? Perhaps. Or he’s realized that the most important ingredient in the kitchen, the quarterback, may not necessarily be in his cupboard at the moment.
Miami takes the field this afternoon for its annual spring game, and the Hurricanes will do so without a player who’ll be expected to be a key piece of their 2015 offensive puzzle.
Shortly before the game kicked off, Miami announced that Joseph Yearby has been suspended for the spring finale. According to the team, it was for a violation of unspecified team rules.
According to Susan Miller Degnan of the Miami Herald, the suspension involves allegedly breaking curfew so that the running back could be in attendance at a life-altering event:
I was told by my source, but not by UM, that Yearby was suspended for breaking curfew last night.
I was told he was there for the birth of his baby, but I did not have that confirmed and I don’t know when the baby was born.
It seems incomprehensible that Yearby would be suspended for attending the birth of his child, but we’ll just have to await Al Golden‘s postgame talk with the media and see if he offers any further explanation to the report.
Last season as a true freshman, Yearby was second on the team with 509 yards rushing. He also added eight catches for 118 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield.
UPDATED 2:52 p.m. ET: And now a little bit more of the rest of the real story.
Yearby did indeed become a new father recently… over the winter. Becoming a new parent, however, had nothing to do with the suspension; instead; it was breaking curfew last night that sidelined the back.
I guess now we’re going to find out just how wedded Nick Saban is to his second chance mantra, and if it extends to a third chance.
While the details are scant at the moment, and the school has yet to address the situation, Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News is reporting that Geno Smith was arrested Friday night on a charge of driving under the influence. According to the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Department website, Smith was released on a $1,000 bond this afternoon.
From the sheriff’s department’s website:
What makes this a significant issue for Smith is that it’s the player’s second alcohol-related charge in less than two years.
In August of 2013, Smith was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence. A couple of days later, Saban announced that the defensive back would be suspended for the opener against Virginia Tech.
Smith started six of the 14 games in which he played last season as a true junior last season. All told, he’s played in 39 games in his three seasons with the Tide, including eight starts.
Well, that settles it. Or not.
AS CFT wrote earlier this week, the NCAA Tuesday released 500 pages of documents– including damning internal dialogue – related to the Reggie Bush investigation as part of a defamation lawsuit involving former USC running backs coach Todd McNair. The documents revealed those involved stepping well beyond the bounds of normal investigation protocol – including value judgments on the program’s hiring of Lane Kiffin as head coach — and seemingly showing bias against the USC football program in meting out near-historic sanctions that crippled the Trojans for years.
Suffice to say, USC was not pleased with how the NCAA’s investigation was conducted as portrayed in the document dump, saying in a statement that “[w]e are extremely disappointed and dismayed at the way the NCAA investigated, judged and penalized our university throughout this process.” In that same statement, the school intimated that further action could be taken — legal action of its own would be the most likely recourse — depending upon further review of documents, both those that have been released and others that may soon, as the school expects, come to light.
In a statement released Friday, the NCAA, which has been accused by the McNair camp of not releasing all pertinent documents, claimed that its Committee on Infractions “acted appropriately” and “engaged in a comprehensive, deliberative process and did not act with malice” in the Bush investigation. Furthermore, a governing body that saw one COI member compare the Bush investigation to the Oklahoma City bombing had the audacity to write “[i]t is unfortunate that Mr. McNair’s unfounded claims have resulted in an attack on the character and integrity of dedicated individual committee members and the overall infractions process.”
For the entirety of the NCAA’s statement, grab your hip waders and step in it below:
As a result of the Court of Appeals February 6 decision and in order to have a meaningful appeal opportunity, the NCAA filed a collection of documents with the court which demonstrate that the Division I Committee on Infractions acted appropriately when reaching its conclusions in the USC Infractions Report.
These publicly filed documents illustrate how the Committee on Infractions underwent thorough deliberations consistent with the policies and procedures governing the infractions process. The documents, including committee’s e-mail correspondence after the hearing which has received the most attention, further demonstrate that the Committee on Infractions is not a body of single-minded individuals but rather a group of individuals with different perspectives who worked diligently to reach a consensus based on information presented to the committee.
After careful review of the documents, we are confident the Court of Appeals will conclude that the committee engaged in a comprehensive, deliberative process and did not act with malice.
Our volunteer committee members, comprised of highly reputable individuals from member schools, conferences and the public, work extremely hard to uphold the NCAA’s mission and values. It is unfortunate that Mr. McNair’s unfounded claims have resulted in an attack on the character and integrity of dedicated individual committee members and the overall infractions process.