Rashad Evans missed Fresno State’s season opener after being declared academically ineligible for four games by the NCAA. The Bulldogs were extremely hopeful that an appeal would be successful and the senior wide receiver would be back on the field this weekend.
Unfortunately for both the player and the program, that won’t be the case.
The school announced via a press release Friday night that the NCAA has turned down its appeal of the decision, making Evans ineligible to return until the Sept. 29th game vs. San Diego State. The appeal was denied by the NCAA’s Progress- Toward-Degree Committee earlier this week.
What the specific academic issues were involving Evans weren’t detailed, although it’s evident from the statement attributed to head coach Tim DeRuyter that in no way, shape or form is the football program pleased with the outcome.
“I am extremely disappointed by the decision of the NCAA committee,” DeRuyter said. “We practiced through training camp and all last week with him as a major part of our game plan because all indications were that he would be eligible. Rashad did everything that was asked of him to regain his eligibility by NCAA bylaws. Academics always will be the foundation of our program, as it is our goal to graduate 100 percent of our student-athletes. Rashad is a quality young man who is scheduled to graduate in December. It is disappointing that he is going to miss four of his final games and it is inconceivable that through the NCAA process we could not remedy this situation.”
Last season, Evans, who will miss games against Oregon, Colorado and Tulsa, accounted for 44 receptions, 351 yards and three touchdowns. The fact that Evans is on track to receive a degree in Business Administration later this year is the source of FSU’s greatest frustration.
“This issue has been a source of great frustration for all involved,” athletic director Thomas Boeh said in his statement. “Rashad worked hard and completed all summer work asked of him. It is terribly disappointing that during the appeal process discussion appears to have strayed from the spirit and intent and of the original legislation, which was to help ensure that football student-athletes continue to progress towards an undergraduate degree.”
As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.
From the university:
The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits. During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle. In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account and since apologized.
As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.
Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”
The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.
Hope he’s been practicing.
Say it ain’t so, Steve.
According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.
Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.
He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.
But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.
Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:
Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.