Penn State reportedly won’t appeal any NCAA sanctions

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Tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. ET, NCAA president Mark Emmert will hold a press conference laying out what has already been described as “unprecedented” penalties against the Penn State program following the release of the Freeh report.

The perplexity surrounding the term “unprecedented” is two-fold, both in the sanctions themselves — though the Death Penalty is reportedly not among them — and the path the NCAA took to arrive at the final decision. There was no Notice of Inquiry, no Notice of Allegations, no Committee on Infractions hearing or anything resembling the typical structure under which the NCAA has always operated.

Like the Sandusky scandal itself, there is no template for how the NCAA could possibly handle the situation at Penn State.

However the NCAA does decide to punish the program, Penn State won’t appeal in any way, according to “assurance” given to David Jones of the Patriot-News.

“Penn State is desirous of a positive relationship with the NCAA in the future. I believe the university is also eager to clear the decks of the Sandusky mess with as much dispatch as is possible, especially before fall semester begins,” Jones writes. “I believe the rationale is that contention would only prolong the period before healing can begin.”

That line of thinking would make sense. If the aftermath of the Freeh report has taught us anything, it’s that NCAA ramifications will be the least of Penn State’s concerns moving forward as lawsuits surely await an institution that failed to stop a child molester employee for over a decade.

Fighting the NCAA won’t result in any victory for PSU.

If there’s reason to fight, that is. Speculation through this morning and afternoon has been that Penn State and the NCAA have decided on sanctions in a joint manner, though there’s been no confirmation of that.

But consider this snippet from the NCAA’s website related to charges a program can face:

“However, if an institution agrees with the facts that the investigation has uncovered, the case can enter the summary-disposition process before a notice of allegations is provided. In summary disposition, the school and the enforcement staff agree on the facts and a set of penalties to be imposed; no hearing before the Committee on Infractions is necessary.”

Such a case would bypass the normal NCAA investigative protocol, and indeed that’s what we have here.

What we don’t have yet are answers. How will the NCAA punish Penn State? Bowl bans? Scholarship reductions? Vacated wins? Maybe a TV ban? Given the emphasis put on media and TV deals nowadays, that would be a hard-hitting sanction, but most seem rather fruitless in the grand scheme of things. It’s also equally pointless to even speculate what they’ll be until Emmert announces them tomorrow.

When he does, I think it’s reasonable to presume Penn State will accept them and move on.

Texas QB Shane Buechele undergoes hip surgery, expected back for spring practice

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A postseason injury has forced Shane Buechele to undergo an offseason medical procedure.

Buechele suffered a torn abductor muscle in his hip/abdomen in the first half of Texas’ Texas Bowl win over Missouri and didn’t return in the second half.  Nearly a month later, the football program has announced that the quarterback will undergo surgery on Thursday to repair the damage.

If rehab goes as planned, Buechele is expected to be on the field when the Longhorns kick off spring practice March 5.

As a true freshman in 2016, Buechele started all 12 games for the Longhorns.  This past season was one marred by various injuries.

Buechele started the season opener for Texas, but ceded the job to Sam Ehlinger the next two games because of a bruised throwing shoulder.  Returning to the starting lineup in Week 5, Buechele suffered an ankle injury in the win over Iowa State that allowed Ehlinger to start the next three games.  In the last of those three games, Ehlinger suffered a head injury that left him in concussion protocol and opened the door for Buechele to start five of the last six games of the season.

Buechele and Ehlinger will be the two veterans battling for the starting job once spring practice kicks off in March.

NCAA tables discussions on limiting staff size

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It is going to take some more time to dive deep into the pros and cons of limiting the size of a football staff before the NCAA Division 1 Council decides what to do. In a statement released on Wednesday, the Division 1 Council has decided to table a legislative proposal focusing on setting parameters on the size of a football staff, meaning this topic should pop up again a year from now.

The proposal aims to cap the size of any football staff at 30 people and determine who may be eligible to participate in on-campus recruiting efforts. Those assigned recruiting duties, including head and assistant coaches, would then be required to pass an annual test on recruiting practices. At this time, however, there appears to be too much confusion and uncertainty about how the proposal would impact programs now. With so many questions about the proposal, it was best to put this one on the table and spend the next year examining how it could impact college football programs.

“I went to the American Football Coaches Association meeting, and there were a lot of questions about how this was going to work,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, the chair of the oversight committee, said in a release shared by the NCAA. “The coaches wanted to know who was going to be included, how they would be certified and who was exempted.”

This topic has already been floating out there since last spring, and with recent adjustments from the NCAA to allow for a 10th full-time assistant coach, it appears this will be the next step in the evolution of ruling how large a football staff can be.

Miami’s home winning streak is officially over after Orange Bowl loss

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The Miami Hurricanes opened the new year with a loss in the Orange Bowl in their home stadium, but the Hurricanes marked the bowl game down in their records as a neutral site game. Not so fast, says the NCAA. That loss to the Badgers will go down as a home loss for the Hurricanes.

Because the NCAA officially records the Orange Bowl as a home game for Miami any time the Hurricanes happen to play in the bowl game hosted in their home stadium, the wins and losses are reflected on Miami’s home record. This is true for any team playing a bowl game in their home stadium, including any time UCLA appears in the Rose Bowl or San Diego State in the Holiday Bowl or Poinsettia Bowl.

Prior to losing to Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl this past season, Miami was riding nine-game winning streak in Hard Rock Stadium dating back to November 5, 2016. Miami will get a chance to hit the reset button on their home winning streak on September 8 with a home game against Savannah State.

Report: LSU to add former RB Kevin Faulk to staff if SEC gives the green light

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Former LSU running back Kevin Faulk could be set to return to the Tigers program in a new role if the SEC will allow it. According to a report from The Advocate, Faulk is being lined up to join the LSU football support staff, but his addition must be thoroughly vetted first.

Because Faulk is a high school coach, LSU and the SEC must be certain he has no direct ties to any LSU football players on the roster. This is to ensure the staff change complies with a new NCAA rule prohibiting schools from hiring high school coaches for a two-year period when any player from that associated high school enrolls at the university. As long as there are no players on LSU’s roster with any ties to Faulk’s high school coaching within the past two years, the staff change should become official.

Having Faulk associated with the program would be good to see considering how much Faulk meant to LSU during his college career. Faulk rushed for a school-record 4,557 yards and 46 rushing touchdowns. Both are records that stand today despite some extremely talented running backs over the years. Since Faulk’s final season at LSU in 1998, Leonard Fournette has come the closest to Faulk’s career rushing total with 3,830 yards in three years. Fournette is also the closest to Faulk since Faulk played to the school record for career rushing touchdowns, with 40.

Supposing the staff addition does go through, Faulk will not be involved with any off-campus recruiting efforts or on-field coaching assignments, but he will assist with player development.