- Jerry Sandusky passed on the Temple coaching job? The Owls dodged one there.
- The halo over Joe Paterno‘s head on a mural has been removed. Here’s a picture.
- Obviously, the Freeh report has dominated Penn State headlines, but the annual Lift For Life did raise over $100,000 for the Kidney Cancer Association.
- Spencer Hall and SB Nation take on the Big 12. If you need to laugh — and judging by many of the comments over the past 48 hours, I would say that’s an affirmative — I would recommend clicking the link.
- Frank Beamer lost 32 pounds? Good for him.
Saturday offseason one-liners
The Big Ten may be swearing off scheduling cupcakes, but at least one Pac-12 school will continue gorging itself on the detectable football treats for the foreseeable future.
Oregon announced Thursday that it has scheduled three games with opponents from the FCS level – South Dakota on Aug. 30, 2014: UC Davis on Sept. 3, 2016: and Southern Utah on Sept. 2, 2017. Obviously, all three games will be played in Autzen Stadium.
The South Dakota game completes the Ducks’ 2014 non-conference slate. It’s 2015 three-game slate is also complete.
Oregon had previously scheduled games against FCS programs Nicholls State (2013) and Eastern Washington (2015).
It’s not all creampuffs for the Ducks, though, as UO has games scheduled against Tennessee (2013), Michigan State (2014 and 2015), Virginia (2016), Texas A&M (2018 and 2019) and Ohio State (2020 and 2021). The Ducks are on the hunt for a marquee game in 2017, possibly at a neutral site in a one-off-type deal.
Houston may have lost its leading rusher from the 2012 season to transfer, but the Cougars are apparently bringing in a player on the other side of the ball with the potential to start.
Lee Hightower announced on his Tumblr account that he will be transferring to Houston and will play for the Cougars. The move comes after the defensive back had visited the school last weekend.
“Really dope city and school and I’ll be here for the next 3 years,” Hightower wrote.
Hightower was indefinitely suspended in early February for violating unspecified team rules and subsequently released by Boise State head coach Chris Petersen. It was Hightower’s second suspension in less than four months.
The initial suspension came after Hightower had started the first seven games of the 2012 season at strong safety. He did not play again last season.
Hightower becomes the second Broncos transfer to land at an FBS program in Texas this week. Defensive lineman Sam Ukwuachu, dismissed earlier this month, announced that he will be enrolling at Baylor.
(Tip O’ the Cap: Idaho Statesman)
The mini-deluge of departures continues Thursday afternoon, with Michigan State the latest to see its football roster thinned.
In a press release, the Spartans announced that wide receiver Juwan Caesar has asked for and been granted a release from his MSU scholarship. There’s no word on where the Miami, Fla., native may transfer.
A three-star member of the Spartans’ 2011 recruiting class, Caesar was rated as the No. 67 receiver in the country and the No. 77 player in the state of Florida.
Caesar’s true freshman season was derailed by a foot injury and he took a redshirt. He did not play as a redshirt freshman in 2012, and was moved to tight end during bowl practices.
(Photo credit: Michigan State athletics)
Following up on Steven Bench‘s self-reporting earlier today, USF has confirmed the addition of a new player to its football program.
The Bulls announced via a press release that the quarterback is indeed transferring to the school. Bench announced late last month that he would be transferring from Penn State, and USF has been considered one of the front-runners to land the Cairo, Ga., product.
“We’re definitely excited that Steven decided to join the USF family,” head coach Willie Taggart said in a statement. “He is a coach’s son, who brings a lot of toughness to the game. His addition will also elevate the competition at quarterback, which will be good for all the players at the position. We’re looking forward to his arrival on campus so he can start working out with the guys, while getting acclimated to the way we do things.”
The release further noted that Bench is allowed to play in 2013 due to the Nittany Lions’ NCAA sanctions and will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Bench, a three-star member of the Nittany Lions’ 2012 recruiting class, told Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times that one of the biggest reasons for opting for the Bulls was that the coaching staff made it clear they not only “needed a quarterback, but they made me feel like they needed me to be their quarterback, and that goes a long way.”
Some links from around college football on a Thursday…
- Matt Hayes of the Sporting News does think there’s inequality in the SEC’s scheduling model… and that Alabama is benefitting.
- Arizona State head coach Todd Graham has close ties to Oklahoma as well. Naturally, he was worried when Monday’s events unfolded.
- Toledo is also looking into selling beer and wine at football games.
- Rarely-used defensive end Ricardo Williams and receiver Robert Lockhart are no longer at Miami.
- Checking in with Tulane safety Devon Walker as he faces life with paralysis. An outstanding update from Yahoo! Sports.
- Former Rutgers quarterback Ryan Hart can pursue a lawsuit against EA Sports after winning an appeal in federal court. Similar to the O’Bannon lawsuit.
- Former Alabama athletic director Mal Moore was posthumously named Athletic Director of the Year by the Sports Business Daily.
On his Twitter account Thursday morning, the quarterback revealed that he has “decided to attend the University of South Florida and become a [B]ull!!” USF was one of a handful of schools that Bench had considered since leaving the Nittany Lions last month.
The Bulls have not yet officially announced Bench’s addition to the football program.
As has been previously noted, Bench will be eligible to play immediately in 2013 because of Penn State’s NCAA sanctions. He will have three years of eligibility remaining plus a redshirt season.
As a true freshman last season, Bench appeared in two games and attempted seven passes.
‘Tis the season for transfers, apparently.
Following up on some hints from Kansas coach Charlie Weis on Wednesday, Kansas announced that evening that former Miami (OH) wide receiver Nick Harwell would be joining the program. Harwell was dismissed from the school last week by the dean’s office following an arrest in March that also resulted in his suspension from spring practices. As a result, he was no longer considered part of the football team.
Harwell pleaded guilty to one count of attempted theft on May 9 and was sentenced to 90 days in jail with 89 days suspended for the incident.
Despite his off-the-field issue, Harwell was an extremely productive receiver for the RedHawks. He led the team in receiving yards (870) and touchdowns (eight), and finished second in receptions (68) — all while missing three games with injuries. Harwell was also the NCAA’s second-leading receiver in 2011 with 129.6 receiving yards per game, finishing his sophomore campaign with 97 receptions for 1,425 yards and nine touchdowns.
Harwell leaves Miami as the school’s second all-time leading receiver in career receptions (229) and yards (3,166), as well as third in receiving touchdowns (23).
It’s not clear if Harwell will be eligible to play right away for the Jayhawks, but Weis has stated he’s looking for players who can make an immediate impact (much of KU’s 2013 signing class was made up of JUCO players).
And keep in mind that no Kansas wide receiver caught a touchdown last year.
Though Aaron Murray will be looking to the likes of Arthur Lynch and Jay Rome to make plays at the tight end position, Georgia’s depth at that spot has taken a bit of a hit.
The school confirmed Wednesday that sophomore Ty Flournoy-Smith was transferring from the program. It’s not exactly certain where he’ll go, but it appears the JUCO route is the early favorite. Bulldogs coach Mark Richt even said there’s a possibility Smith could return to the team at a later point.
Smith had some off-the-field trouble this past February when he was arrested for falsely reporting a crime. Smith claimed his textbooks were stolen, whereas police found out he tried to sell them back to the bookstore.
Smith played in eight games last season, but did not record a reception.
(Hat tip: Athens Banner-Herald)
According to Rob Sellers of CougarsDen.com (giggity), Sims is leaving the program, though exactly why isn’t clear. In a release from the school a short time later, UH said Sims was simply weighing his future options. One thing the release made clear was that Sims has not asked for his release, something he’d have to do if he wished to transfer. Sims has already graduated from Houston and would be eligible to play immediately if he decided that was the route he wanted to go.
“We congratulate Charles on receiving his degree last week and becoming a Cougar for life,” coach Tony Levine said in a statement, adding Sims “has been a leader for our program both on and off field with number of accomplishments.”
Another option for Sims could be the NFL’s supplemental draft in June. Obviously, this is all a bit out of the blue considering he’s just months removed from electing to return to UH for another year.
Wherever he ends up, some team, whether at the college or pro level, is getting an excellent running back. Sims was a first-team All Conference USA selection in 2011 and a second-team selection last season. Despite nagging injuries, he still finished 2012 with 851 yards rushing and six yards per carry — still good enough to lead the team. He’s also a noted pass-catcher and can be a versatile weapon for any offense.
Updated 9:15 p.m. ET: In a statement released to CougarsDen.com, Sims confirmed he is departing Houston. As you’ll read below, what the running back’s future holds still remains unclear.
“It is with regret and deep humbling, that I am ending my playing career at the University of Houston. I have a lot of great memories that I will carry with me forever. I want to thank the University of Houston for allowing the opportunity to be a part of its football program.
I have worked extremely hard while I have been here at U of H and made every attempt to carry myself in a manner that would reflect the utmost integrity upon the school and this program.
I don’t know what my next step will be. I have one more year of eligibility, therefore I may look to play (1) more year of college football or I may enter the NFL Supplemental Draft later this year.
My family and I will continue to discuss my options and we will make a decision in the near future.”
Nevada coach and Pistol offense innovator Chris Ault stepped down as the Wolf Pack’s head coach last December after nearly three decades of service. Less than six months later, he’s getting a well-deserved honor.
In a Wednesday press conference, Nevada-Reno president Marc Johnson announced that the field at the university’s Mackay Stadium would bear Ault’s name going forward. So, officially, it’s now Chris Ault Field at Mackay Stadium.
“I was always blessed at this University but my biggest blessing was always my family,” Ault said at the presser. “Though there is only one name on the field, I’m hoping it reflects a University and community that supported us, and players and coaches who did so much for our program. This is not about one person.”
Sure, but there’s no denying Ault is synonymous with Nevada football. Ault had three separate stints as Nevada’s coach — 1976-92, 1994-95 and 2004-present. He was also the school’s athletic director from 1986-2004, guiding the Nevada football program from the Div. II level to Div. I-AA to the FBS level (then-Div. I-A) in 1992.
In all, Ault spent 41 of the past 48 years at his alma mater as a player, coach and/or administrator. His final record over his coaching career was 233-109-1.
Ault was hired earlier this month by the Kansas City Chiefs as a consultant, demonstrating just how far his influence with the Pistol has gone.
Oregon reportedly met with the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions last month — perhaps around April 19th or 20th — over alleged recruiting violations dating back to 2008 in the Chip Kelly era. The hearing was a result of the university’s bid for a summary disposition with the NCAA falling through late last year.
According to documents obtained by the Eugene Register-Guard, UO received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA on Dec. 5, 2012. The NOA lists seven specific allegations of wrongdoing under Kelly, who became the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles toward the beginning of this year, that, per the paper, ”closely resemble — almost to the word — the allegations listed in Oregon’s failed attempt at a summary disposition…” Said to be included in those allegations is a failure to monitor charge that may include Kelly.
Additionally, the NOA states Oregon could be subject to penalties under the repeat violator rule because alleged recruiting misconduct involving J.J. Arrington in 2004. If Oregon is considered a repeat violator by the NCAA — a major violation would have to occur within five years of another major violation — it would shed light on why the summary disposition failed last year.
From the Oregonian on March 8, 2012:
In its online glossary of terms, the NCAA defines summary disposition as “a cooperative process between the school, involved individuals and the NCAA enforcement staff.”
It continues, explaining how an in-person hearing in front of the Committee on Infractions can be avoided. But then, in bold print, is the kicker:
“A school that would become a repeat-violator cannot use the summary disposition process and must go before the Committee on Infractions.”
In April, multiple outlets reported that Oregon and the NCAA previously “agreed” that major violations occurred in the use of recruiting services. However, the NCAA’s enforcement staff noted in the documents that there was “no finding of lack of institutional control and no finding of unethical conduct.” Because Oregon’s attempt at a summary disposition ultimately failed, the findings in the documents weren’t necessarily binding.
In March of 2011, Yahoo! Sports and ESPN.com published reports that called into question the financial relationship between Oregon and a pair of so-called recruiting services. One of those services was Complete Scouting Services and its owner Willie Lyles. Among the items of interest in the business relationship between UO and Lyles stems from a “2011 National Package” sold to the Ducks in 2010 at a price of $25,000 that contained no recruits that would make up the following year’s class. Impermissible phone calls and too many coaches on the recruiting trail are among the other allegations said to be facing the program.
Oregon has proposed a two-year probation period and a reduction of one scholarship for each of the next three seasons as a result of the alleged violations. The COI can add additional sanctions to the program, at which time UO can either accept the them or appeal. The university’s policy regarding the ongoing case, as it has been along, has been that of “no comment.”
Some links from around college football on a Wednesday…
- Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated projects the major conference bowl lineups starting in 2014.
- Renovations to San Jose State’s football stadium were approved on Tuesday.
- As he does every year, Bruce Feldman ranks his top-20 freaks in college football. Take a crack at who you think is No. 1.
- Oh my. Florida State’s Orange Bowl rings are very cool.
- Paul Finebaum is set to reappear on ESPN. The Wall Street Journal has the details.
- Michigan footballs: Made in the USA, not in Ohio.
- The AAC (formerly the Big East) has been looking into creating a new bowl game for a while, but that game could be held at Marlins Park in Miami.
Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater ended the 2012-13 season as one of the early preseason Heisman favorites for the upcoming year. Whether he makes it to New York next December remains to be seen, but if he does, the junior doesn’t want any help from the school.
Per WDRB.com, Bridgewater asked his coaches for no Heisman campaign from the program.
“He went to the coaches not wanting a Heisman-type campaign,” UL SID Rocco Gasparro said. “He wanted it to be about team and if we won as a team individual recognition would come anyway. It says a lot about the character of Teddy, I think, and how much his team means to him.”
If nothing else, it’s a departure from his tone toward the Heisman last month. When asked in April if he would mind the school putting on a Heisman campaign for him, Bridgewater said ”Not at all. It’s something that I’ve been training for my whole life to be in these shoes, and at this stage, I don’t see anything wrong with it.”
That’s because there isn’t, but if Bridgewater really is more focused on the bigger picture, good on him. If he — if Louisville — has a great year with the more than manageable schedule the Cardinals face, he’ll probably be in New York either way.
Given the boot from Boise State earlier this month for violating team rules, defensive lineman Sam Ukwuachu says he’s found his transfer destination. And it’s back in his home state of Texas.
Speaking to Sic’EmSports.com, Ukwuachu says it’s a “done deal” that he will transfer to Baylor early next month. The redshirt freshman recently visited Waco and chose the Bears over Florida and Utah. Baylor cannot comment on the news until Ukwuachu officially enrolls.
“Baylor was my best option. It’s close to home. It’s a good program. [Boise St. Chris Petersen] really helped me to where I wanted to go. Things just didn’t work out up there,” Ukwuachu told the site, adding that while he was reportedly dismissed from the team, he and Petersen came to a mutual understanding that it was best to part ways. Ukwuachu also missed Boise’s spring practice because of what Petersen called “personal things.”
Ukwuachu played in all 13 games for the Broncos last season, including 12 starts. He was named a Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America.
Barring a special waiver, Ukwuachu will have to sit out a season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.
Like many of you, I’m sure, I was glued to the television yesterday watching as a horrifying tornado ripped through central Oklahoma.
While Monday’s events are separate from football, there is a football angle. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and his family live just south of Moore, OK, a town unfortunately hit hard by yesterday’s storm. Stoops said his family could see the tornado through their back window; he was working at OU’s football offices at the time.
To his knowledge, no player was directly affected by yesterday’s tornado. However, two assistant OU coaches, a grad assistant and strength coach, lost their homes.
We’re glad Stoops, his family, and the entire OU family, are safe. And certainly our thoughts go out to those who were not so lucky.
(Hat tip: the Oklahoman)