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Indiana’s leading WR, CB suspended for one game

Kofi Hughes, Joseph Thomas AP

When it comes to Indiana, most news is bad news, unfortunately.

That holds true with Thursday’s announcement from the school that leading receiver Kofi Hughes and cornerback Lawrence Barnett have been suspended for one game this season for violation of team rules. Which game Hughes and Barnett will miss hasn’t been clarified, although the season-opener against Indiana State seems like the logical choice.

Hughes (pictured) had 35 catches for 536 yards and three touchdowns last season. Barnett had 46 tackles in nine starts and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Reserve safety Forisse Hardin has also been suspended for one game as well for the same reasons.  Additionally, receiver Jay McCants has been booted from the team. McCants didn’t make much of a statistical impact last year with only six receptions, but IU’s receiving group has already taken a hit with the loss of Damarlo Belcher last year. 

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Two Duke players suspended ‘from game competition’

Terrence Alls

A pair of Duke football players have found themselves on the wrong end of punitive measures, the school announced Friday.

In a release, the Blue Devils revealed that both wide receiver Terrence Alls (pictured) and defensive back T.J. Douglas have been suspended from game competition. The release states that “[t]he suspension is indefinite in length until the student-athletes uphold the academic, athletic and community standards required of a member of the Blue Devil program.”

Precisely why the punishment was meted out to the redshirt sophomores wasn’t detailed.

Alls played in all 13 games during the 2014 season and caught two passes for 14 yards. Douglas played in 12 games last year and was credited with one tackle.

(Photo credit: Duke athletics)

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‘Cuse hoops hammered, but football gets by with NCAA wrist slap

NCAA Men's Final Four - Practice Getty Images

While not so much for the men’s basketball program, it was, all things considered, a relatively good day for the Syracuse football team.

In a press release Friday, the NCAA announced that “[o]ver the course of a decade, Syracuse University did not control and monitor its athletics programs, and its head men’s basketball coach failed to monitor his program, according to a decision issued by a Division I Committee on Infractions panel.” While the 10 self-reported violations primarily involved the men’s hoops team, the football team was also found to violate NCAA bylaws.

The two violations pertaining to Orange football center around academic misconduct and impermissible benefits. From the release:

From 2005 through 2007, a part-time tutor and three football students violated ethical conduct rules by engaging in academic misconduct. The tutor certified that the students completed the required number of hours for an internship and gave the professor information about the type of activities performed by the students when he had limited knowledge of activities completed. The students received academic credit for misrepresented work.

A booster developed relationships with men’s basketball and football students and members of the men’s basketball staff. In some instances, the basketball staff encouraged students to develop relationships with the booster, which resulted in rule violations. The booster provided more than $8,000 in cash to three football and two men’s basketball students for volunteering at the YMCA. Additionally, the booster gave money to basketball staff members for appearances or assistance at YMCA events. The staff members did not report the payments to the school as outside income or supplemental pay, as NCAA rules require. The compensation included a free membership to the Syracuse YMCA for a year and a half, cash payments for working events and one month’s rent for one staff member.

As a result of the violations, the Orange football program was placed on probation for a period of five years. Additionally, they will be forced to vacate all wins “in which… ineligible football students played in 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07.” A total of 11 wins from that period will be vacated, with six coming from the 2004 season, four from 2006 and one from 2005.

The identities of the players involved were not revealed. Paul Pasqualoni was the head coach in 2004, while Greg Robinson was on the job for the remainder of the violations.

Meanwhile, the hoops team got hammered by the NCAA, with sanctions ranging from 12 scholarships over a four-year period stripped to a nine-game suspension for head coach Jim Boeheim to the vacating of 108 wins to returning to the NCAA all money it received from the former Big East Conference revenue-sharing for its appearances in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 NCAA basketball tournament.  The school had previously self-imposed a postseason ban for the 2014-15 season, a penalty the NCAA accepted and declined to add

The violations for the hoops program dated back to 2001, and all of them occurred under Boeheim.

The school’s chancellor said in a statement that they were considering an appeal of certain elements of the penalties, although which ones that may be in dispute weren’t detailed.

For the complete NCAA release, click HERE.  For the complete 94-page report, click HERE.

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Starting USC LB Anthony Sarao out for rest of spring

USC v UCLA Getty Images

The bad news for USC is that one of its starters on the defensive side of the ball is sidelined because of injury.  The good news?  It shouldn’t have any impact on his availability for the upcoming season.

Thursday, head coach Steve Sarkisian confirmed that Anthony Sarao will miss the remainder of spring practice due to a health issue.  The linebacker sustained what was described as a small crack in his foot at some point this offseason.

With a 6-8 week timeline for recovery, Sarao is expected to be 100-percent healthy for the start of summer camp.

After starting all 13 games at inside linebacker in 2014, Sarao has now started 20 straight games for the Trojans.  Sarao has played in all 38 games the past three seasons after redshirting as a true freshman in 2011.

With 74 tackles in 2014, Sarao was third on the team in that category.  His two interceptions were tied for second on the team, and his pick-six in the loss to UCLA was one of three defensive touchdowns scored by the Trojans last season.

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Four-star 2014 LB exiting FSU, entering JUCO

Kain Daub

One of the more talented defensive pieces of Florida State’s 2014 recruiting class has decided a change of scenery is in order.  “Probably.”

On Instagram Thursday, Kain Daub announced that he will be transferring to East Mississippi Community College.  When asked about the linebacker’s status, head coach Jimbo Fisher stated that Daub will “probably transfer” from the football program.

The Palm Beach Post wrote that Daub “was not practicing with the team on Thursday as the Seminoles went through their final day of offseason conditioning workouts.”  According to 247Sports.com, “Daub did not make the trip with the team back in January for the Rose Bowl,” with the belief being “he was suspended, but that was never confirmed.”

A four-star member of last year’s recruiting class — Scout.com had him listed as a five-star recruit — Daub was rated as the No. 9 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 22 player at any position in the state of Florida. Only four of FSU’s 12 defensive signees held a higher Rivals.com rating than Daub.

Daub didn’t see the field his freshman season, taking a redshirt for 2014 instead.

An early enrollee last year, Daub was expected to take part in spring practice.  Eligibility issues pertaining to his high school transcripts, however, derailed those plans.

“It’s not anything that he did academically, it’s a [NCAA] Clearinghouse issue that he’s having to clear up with a class,” Fisher said exactly one year ago today. “So he’s not eligible to be out here right now, but he’ll get through this and hopefully he’ll be here in the summer. He won’t be here in the spring, he’ll be in the fall. …

“It had nothing to do with anything Kain has done. I don’t agree with it, but it’s crazy what they’re making him do.”

(Photo credit: Rivals.com)

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USC’s Adoree Jackson working on offense and defense this spring

Adoree' Jackson

First it was Stanford’s Owen Marecic. Then UCLA’s Myles Jack and Washington’s Shaq Thompson. Now it may be USC sophomore Adoree Jackson‘s turn to become the Pac-12’s next two-way star.

To be clear, working on both sides of the ball isn’t new to Jackson. He did it in his first game, in fact. In all, Jackson saw action as a cornerback, wide receiver and return man in eight games last season, catching 10 passes for 138 yards with three touchdowns to go with two kickoff return touchdowns and 49 tackles.

But the Trojans are being more intentional about splitting Jackson’s time this spring.

If that’s not enough, take it from Jackson’s 2015 bio on USC’s official site:

Jackson, the most exciting player in college football who is a candidate for major national awards and All-American honors, returns as a starting cornerback and a dangerous kickoff returner, plus he figures to again see significant action at wide receiver. USC’s first 3-way player in nearly 20 years, he has drawn comparisons with former Michigan Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson (they posted comparable statistics).

Well, at least they’re subtle about it.

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Oklahoma LB Dominique Alexander to miss spring ball following wrist surgery

Desmond Roland, Ahman Thomas, Steven Parker, Jordan Thomas, Dominique Alexander

The Oklahoma defense that takes the field in next month’s spring game will look much different than the one that was torn apart by Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery is gone for the NFL, replaced by Stanford’s Diron Reynolds. Kerry Cooks now coaches the defensive backs, and Mike Stoops may coach from the box.

But the changes don’t stop there. Head coach Bob Stoops revealed that Second Team All-Big 12 linebacker Dominique Alexander will miss spring ball after undergoing wrist surgery last week.

“It had healed up, looked like it was going to be ok,” Stoops told The Oklahoman. “Through the winter with all the different working out, the different everything they have to do with their wrist, it wore down. Doctors didn’t anticipate that. It happened.”

Frank Shannon still has not returned from a year-long suspension, which means a pair of redshirt freshmen (Tay Evans and Curtis Bolton) will get an increased workload this spring.

Alexander, a junior, notched 107 tackles, six tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 2014.

Stoops also revealed Thursday that redshirt freshman defensive tackle Courtney Garnett will miss spring ball after suffering a torn ACL in winter workouts, guard Nila Kasitati will miss the first half of the spring with an unspecified injury and wide receiver Sterling Shepard will ease back into action after playing with a groin injury for the latter half of last season.

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Report: Pac-12 could soon be way behind SEC, Big Ten TV money again

Larry Scott

Remember back in 2011 when the Pac-12 announced new TV deals with ESPN and Fox along with the creation of Pac-12 Enterprises and it seemed like the balance of power was going to shift out West?

In the world of television contracts, four years is a lifetime.

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury-News, the man who would know this stuff better than anyone, has taken a peek behind the curtain of the Pac-12’s and found a picture that’s not so rosy as the conference would’ve had you believe back in 2011.

According to Wilner’s projections, the Pac-12 stands to distribute close to $23 million per school in 2017-18 – a figure that, to be fair, would’ve placed the conference at or near the top of the heap in 2011. Problem is, it’s not 2011 anymore and a lot has happened since then. SEC Network launched in August, and the Big Ten will take its first-tier rights to market soon. By 2017-18, Wilner writes the Big Ten could clear $33 million per school and the SEC should top $35 million. Sitting eight figures behind the Big Ten and SEC was why the conference hired Larry Scott in the first place.

The problem is the Pac-12 Networks. Where the SEC (quite successfully) partnered with ESPN and the Big Ten went in with Fox, the Pac-12 has financed its networks completely on its own. This would leave the conference to strike it rich if Pac-12 Networks somehow discovered the college sports version of The Walking Dead, but for now it’s only the first side of the risk/reward quandary.

For example, by 2017-18 Wilner projects the Pac-12 Networks to distribute $1 million a year, but the conference’s 12 schools will still have to cut a $750,000 check to buy back the content that the conference needed to start a network in the first place. All told, that leaves $250,000 per school on average, or the going rate for your typical linebackers coach these days.

Now you know why Scott has fought so bitterly with DirecTV these past few years.

“It could impact the competitive balance, the ability to hire top-notch coaches and manage the looming increase in expenses due to legislative changes and the O’Bannon lawsuit,” Wilner writes.

Anyone know if Keeping Up with the Kardashians is looking for a new home? I know a fledgling cable sports network that would like to talk.

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Watch: Kentucky forward Willie Cauley-Stein as a 7-foot wide receiver

Willie Cauley-Stein, Devin Robinson

Willie Cauley-Stein may be the best player in college basketball this year. The anchor of Kentucky’s asphyxiation-inducing defense, Cauley-Stein is a semifinalist for the Naismith Award as the nation’s top player and ranked No. 7 in the latest DraftExpress mock draft.

But there was a time when college basketball’s most fearsome rim protector was the most imposing figure on the gridiron. Hailing from Olathe, Kan., Cauley-Stein turned one year of varsity football into a scholarship offer from Kansas.

His highlights make Cauley-Stein look like a deer running through a field of rabbits.

“If Willie wanted to play in the NFL, I think there’s no doubt he could play in the NFL,” Cauley-Stein’s high school head coach Jay Novacek told The Sporting News. “That’s the kind of unique talent he is.”

NFL or no NFL, choosing Kentucky basketball over Kansas football qualifies as the best – and perhaps easiest – decision Cauley-Stein will ever make.

(Highlights courtesy The Sporting News)

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Surgery will KO favorite to start at QB for Army this spring

A.J. Schurr AP

Army headed into the offseason with just one quarterback who had any experience at the collegiate level.  Entering spring practice, that number is now down to zero.

Head coach Jeff Monken confirmed Thursday that A.J. Schurr will not participate in any of the service academy’s 15 spring practice sessions. Schurr underwent shoulder surgery shortly after the end of the 2014 season and still hasn’t sufficiently recovered.

As for a timeline for a return, Schurr should be available for the start of summer camp in August.

With Schurr sidelined, that leaves just three quarterbacks on the roster — sophomore Matt Kaufmann and freshmen Ahmad Bradshaw and Seth Gonzales — none of whom have played a down collegiately. HudsonValley.com’s Sal Interdonato explains the rather skimpy resumes of each player.

Kaufmann was the star of last year’s spring game. He left the team during the 2014 season but returned late to be a scout-team quarterback. Bradshaw missed a good portion of the 2014 season due to an administrative matter. Gonzalez was the jayvee quarterback in 2014.

That said, although it’s not like he has any other choice, Monken is looking forward to seeing how the trio handles the opportunity afforded them.

“We got a chance to see Matt be the scout-team quarterback and he’s such a great competitor and I don’t have any doubt that he will know what to do and he will compete,” Monken said. “Seth Gonzales got to play in jayvee games so he’s going to have a basis of the offense. I hope all three of those guys will compete and it will be interesting to see who comes out of that pack and then going into fall, we have a couple of guys coming in from the prep school and see how they will compete for the starting job.”

If experience means anything, though, Schurr will be the overwhelming favorite to win the job when he’s healthy.

Last season as a junior, Schurr started a pair of games for the Black Knights. He finished fourth on the team in rushing yards with 320 while his three rushing touchdowns were tied for third. In the passing game, such as it is with Army’s style of offense, Schurr passed for 242 yards and a touchdown on his 12 completions.

He entered summer camp last year as the favorite to win the starting job, but hamstring issues in large part derailed those aspirations.

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Buckeyes debut title game highlight video

It’s been days since Ohio State romped over Oregon to claim its first national title in more than a decade, but the Buckeye Nation can continue to revel in the unexpected run to the first-ever College Football Playoff championship.

Thursday, OSU debuted a video titled “Ohio State Football: National Championship Highlights.”  In the four-minute salute — which is really well done, incidentally — there are not only highlights of the decisive 42-20 win over the Ducks, but there are also some unique behind-the-scenes clips of the run-up to the game contained in the piece as well.

 

(I don’t know about you, but, after watching that video, I’m ready for the 2015 season to start now.  Right.  Now.)

Not so coincidentally, the CFP’s official Twitter account got in on the title remembrance fun as well, reminding everyone who follows them that the 2014 Buckeyes were the “undisputed” national champs.

http://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/01/13/buckeyes-survive-turnover-storm-claim-first-crown-in-over-a-decade/

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REWIND: 18 years ago, Peyton Manning announced return to Vols

Peyton Manning

In somewhat of an odd coincidence, March 5 has been a pivotal date and the No. 18 a key number in the football career of Peyton Manning.

Earlier today the Denver Broncos announced that Manning had passed his required physical, which means the future NFL Hall of Famer will be returning for an 18th season at the professional level.  As noted by the football program’s official website, it was 18 years ago today that Manning, the wearer of the No. 18 jersey in the NFL, announced that he would be returning to the Tennessee Volunteers for his senior season.

There would be no storybook ending for Manning in Knoxville in 1997, though, as he finished runnerup to Charles Woodson in the Heisman voting and the Vols, thanks in large part to yet another loss to Manning nemesis Steve Spurrier of Florida — “I know why Peyton came back for his senior year: he wanted to be a three-time Citrus Bowl MVP” and “You can’t spell Citrus without UT” — failed to win a national championship for the third straight year with Manning as the season-long starter. To add insult to his title injury, the Vols, quarterbacked by Tee Martin, won the first-ever BCS championship the season after Manning left UT and was selected No. 1 overall by the Indianapolis Colts.

On a completely unrelated note, yes, it’s a slow news day. And this post  shouldn’t have been your first clue, either.

(Photo credit: Tennessee athletics)

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Temple officially adds NFL experience to coaching staff

Glenn Thomas AP

An assistant who would be very familiar to Atlanta Falcons fans over the past half decade or so is one of two additions that have been made to the Temple coaching staff.

In a press release earlier this week, and as had been previously reported as a likelihood, head coach Matt Rhule announced that Glenn Thomas as well as Frisman Jackson have been hired as Owl assistants.  The former will serve as quarterbacks coach, the latter as wide receivers coach.

Adam DiMichele, the receivers coach last season, has been reassigned to director of player development, the school added

“I’m very excited to add such talent and diversity to our coaching staff,” Rhule said in a statement. “Frisman and Glenn have worked at the highest level and can lead our student-athletes to greater heights. I’m also excited about what each man brings to the table as a recruiter.”

Thomas had been on Mike Smith‘s Atlanta staff since 2008, the last three of which were as quarterbacks coach. Midwestern State (2001-07) was his last stop at the collegiate level, while he began his coaching career as a grad assistant at his alma mater Texas Tech (1998-2001).

Jackson was the receivers coach at North Carolina State the past two seasons. Last month, Jackson was let go by NCSU head coach Dave Doeren and replaced by George McDonald.

Following a six-year playing career, Jackson coached receivers at Northern Illinois (2012), Akron (2010-11), and Western Illinois (2008-09).

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LSU DB Jamal Adams takes Tiger hoops fans to task on Twitter

Kentucky v LSU

Memo to LSU basketball fans: step your game up and get with the program.

At least, that’s the message a member of the football team sent on social media Wednesday night after a double-digit home loss to Tennessee by the men’s hoops squad.  The Tigers and Vols were actually tied at halftime before the latter, which came into the game losers of five straight and nine of its last 11, stretched the lead to as many as 18 points in the second half.

Because of the deficit, LSU fans began leaving the Pete Maravich Assembly Center en masse before the final horn sounded on the 78-63 loss.  And because of that, LSU defensive back Jamal Adams took to Twitter to vent his frustration over the exodus.

Adams may take some heat from the LSU faithful, but he can take solace in knowing that, more than likely, Nick Saban has got his back on this front.

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Former BYU QB Christian Stewart rejoins team for spring ball

Christian Stewart

Christian Stewart played in 11 games in 2014, starting the final eight after Taysom Hill was lost for the season in October. The senior completed 199-of-348 passes for 2,621 yards with 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions. After throwing only two passes in 2013, Stewart stepped up and shined when needed, throwing for 408 yards and four touchdowns against Nevada and 433 yards with five touchdowns in a shootout win over California to close the regular season.

He had a rough day in the Miami Beach Bowl loss to Memphis, hitting only 23-of-48 passes for 348 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions, and that, supposedly, was that.

But Hill is not yet ready to return from injury and sophomore McCoy Hill injured his foot to open spring drills on Monday. Tanner Mangum is still on his church mission, and signee Beau Hoge has yet arrive on campus. Sophomore Hunter Moore is also on the roster, but not capable of properly testing the Cougars’ defense in an 11-on-11 setting, so BYU brought Stewart back for spring ball.

“I said, ‘You’re like gum on my shoe,'” head coach Bronco Mendenhall told the Associated Press. “‘I can’t get rid of you. No matter if I pull it, I stretch it, it just snaps back.’ So we laughed. Talk about a loyal alumni. I think he was maybe more excited than I was that he gets to play football again. Our team, they already loved him before, now he’s like idol status.”

BYU compliance cleared Stewart to practice in the spring, the AP noted, without penalizing the club. And it didn’t take much convincing to give Stewart one last shot at college football.

“I don’t necessarily feel any pressure, especially because what are the coaches going to do? Yell at me?” Stewart said. “They can’t really get on me because I’m the one doing them a favor. But myself, I demand a lot out of myself.”

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Michigan State WR Macgarrett Kings Jr. arrested over the weekend

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic - Michigan State v Baylor Getty Images

Nearly 11 months to the day after his first arrest, Michigan State wide receiver Macgarrett Kings Jr. was again in handcuffs. The rising senior was arrested over the weekend for drunken and disorderly conduct and obstructing, resisting, hindering or assaulting a police officer, according to a report from the Detroit Free Press.

He was taken into custody at 2:36 on Saturday morning and released on $200 bail.

Kings missed spring ball last year for a violation of team rules. It was later revealed that a DUI arrest was the cause for the suspension.

A similar punishment could be in line here.

“We’re aware of the incident,” head coach Mark Dantonio said in a statement. “All of our student-athletes are held to a high standard, and individuals will be held accountable for their actions. We will manage this situation internally.”

The Free Press notes that Kings was sentenced to 13 months of probation last summer, but it was cut short in December. Part of that suspension he would still otherwise be subject to included avoiding alcohol and establishments where alcohol is served.

In 35 games, Kings has caught 76 career passes for 942 yards. With Tony Lippett and Keith Mumphery lost for graduation, Kings’ 29 grabs for 404 yards and a touchdown qualifies him as the Spartans’ leading returning receiver. He was also the team’s punt returner in 2014.

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