Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl - TCU v Michigan State

Le’Veon Bell leaving Spartans; Dion Sims likely to follow

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Michigan State has officially lost one important piece of its offensive puzzle, and has all but officially lost another.

In a tweet posted to his Twitter account this afternoon, running back Le’Veon Bell announced that he was leaving the Spartans early for the NFL draft.  While MSU has not yet confirmed Bell’s status for 2013, a school official acknowledged to CFT that Bell has informed head coach Mark Dantonio of his decision.

“As hard as it was to leave [S]partan nation, it was even harder to pass on such a great opportunity I have in front of me!” Bell wrote on Twitter. “But I love and thank [S]partan nation for everything! I will always be a Spartan!”

Bell is currently third in the nation in rushing yards per game at 137.9, while his 12 rushing touchdowns were tied for fourth in the Big Ten.  He was named first-team All-Big Ten after rushing for 1,793 yards, second in school history to Lorenzo White’s 2,066 in 1985.

In addition to Bell, ESPN.com‘s Joe Schad among others are reporting that tight end Dion Sims is set to make the same early leap as his teammate.  Sims finished the 2012 season third on the Spartans in receptions (36) and receiving yards (475).

When Sims’ decision becomes official, he’ll become the first player at his position to declare thus far.

UPDATED 12:58 p.m. ET: A short time ago, Sims also tweeted that he has played his final season in East Lansing.

“I want to thank #SpartanNation for 4 of the best years of my life! I’ll always bleed green & white!!!”

Imposter used alias of Vols football player for Snapchat extortion scheme

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 02:  Cameron Sutton #23 of the Tennessee Volunteers runs past Dalton Ferguson #76 of the Iowa Hawkeyes during the TaxSlayer Bowl at EverBank Field on January 2, 2015 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
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A Sweetwater, Tenn., man is accused of using the likeness of Tennessee football player Cameron Sutton to run an extortion scheme over Snapchat.

According to WBIR in Knoxville, federal authorities have charged 22-year-old Brandon Shanahan with intent to extort money and other things from a woman using the alias “Camsutton2323.”

Sutton, a senior defensive back from Jonesboro, Ga., wears number 23.

Case documents indicate the woman sent the person she thought was a Volunteers cornerback nude photos through the messaging app. The next day, authorities say, Shanahan threatened to post the photos online unless she sent more. Investigators believe Shanahan used the scheme to contact other women as well.

If convicted of criminal impersonation, Shanahan faces up to two years in prison.

Proposed Big 12 rule change would give Baker Mayfield extra year of eligibility at Oklahoma

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 5:  Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrates a touchdown against the Akron Zips September 5, 2015 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated Akron 41-3.(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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A proposed rule change up for vote at the Big 12’s faculty athletics representatives meetings could have a wide effect on the college football season in 2017.

As reported by Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News, the Big 12 will vote on a rule that would allow non-recruited walk-ons — like Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield — to transfer within the conference without penalty.

Mayfield walked on to Texas Tech’s roster in 2013 and immediately won the starting job as a true freshman. The combination of injuries and bad blood between he and Red Raiders head coach Kliff Kingsbury led Mayfield to transfer to Oklahoma, where he also walked on. (Sooners head coach Bob Stoops famously didn’t meet Mayfield until he’d already joined his roster.) Mayfield and his father James exhausted the appeals process both inside the Big 12 and nationally through the NCAA to no avail.

Because of that, Mayfield, a 3,700-yard passer for the 2015 Big 12 champions and College Football Playoff semifinalists in 2015, will be a senior in 2016 at Oklahoma — but could transfer again to another school and play outside the Big 12 in 2017. Fear of that potential embarrassment is what spurred this proposal to next week’s docket.

“I think we all ought to be a little bit thoughtful about it,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told the Morning News. “Absent Baker Mayfield getting relief, he’ll have a year of eligibility left and won’t be able to use it in our conference but instead would go someplace else and use it. That might not be in anybody’s best interest.”

Bowlsby and OU athletics director Joe Castiglione stressed the rule change would be bigger than just one quarterback, but, let’s be honest: if Mayfield was still a Red Raider, this issue would be on exactly no one’s radar.

And now, thanks to college sports’ goofy governance system, a group of Big 12 faculty chaired by Kansas chemical and petroleum engineering professor Susan Stagg-Williams will vote on Wednesday at campus headquarters in suburban Dallas on a rule that will have wide-sweeping impact on college football next year.

Another interesting angle to this is that, no matter how the votes tally, the result will be bittersweet for the Sooners. Either Oklahoma sees the nation’s No. 3 most efficient passer from 2015 receives the opportunity to play elsewhere in 2017, or Kyler Murray sits on the bench one year longer than anticipated. And Oklahoma can ask their former Big 12 bunkmates at Texas A&M how the Murray camp will probably handle that.

Reports say Rutgers to face Maryland at Yankee Stadium in 2017

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 23:  General view as CC Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees delivers a pitch to Adam Rosales #9 of the Texas Rangers in the second inning on May 23, 2015 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The goal of adding Rutgers to the Big Ten was to extend the conference’s brand into New York. So it would be nice to have the Big Ten’s “New York team” actually play in New York every so often.

On that front, Rutgers has lined up a game with Maryland at Yankee Stadium on Nov. 4, 2017, according to multiple reports.

Dan Duggan of NJ.com reported former Knights AD Julie Hermann originally agreed to move a game to the House That Jeter Built for the 2017 season.

“There were discussions by the previous administration with the Yankees and an agreement in principle was reached,” Rutgers AD Pat Hobbs told the site on Friday. “I’m reviewing those terms and we’ll announce our intention in due course.”

Rutgers brass appeared at a Yankees game on Tuesday to promote the budding relationship between the two entities.

“(The Yankees) want to work more closely with us,” Hobbs told NJ.com Tuesday. “We want to look at maybe bringing a game here and announcing that sometime down the road. I guess the Yankees see Rutgers is starting to move forward and is a good story so they want to be part of it, too.”

Scarlet Knights head coach Chris Ash threw out the first pitch before the pinstripers’ game earlier this week.

“They kind of explained the configuration of the stadium for a football game and it looked like it would be a really neat set-up,” Ash said. “It looks like from the suite anyway, if you were in cold weather in the fall or in December, that would be a pretty good place to watch a game.”

Yankee Stadium hosted a Notre Dame-Army game in 2010, and the New Era Pinstripe Bowl (with which the Big Ten is affiliated) has been a post-Christmas bowl week staple since that same season.

Hobbs said a game at Yankee Stadium will help toward the Rutgers-Yankees relationship he’s been hoping to build, which makes perfect sense when you’re Rutgers and they’re the Yankees.

“There are a tremendous amount of Rutgers alums who work here in the city, so it’s really important,” Hobbs said. “It’s important for our relationship if we can be with an iconic organization like the Yankees. They have a lot of the history that we would like to start building at Rutgers.”

Ole Miss to suspend assistants, reduce scholarships in response to NCAA Notice of Allegations

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 25:  Head coach Hugh Freeze of the Mississippi Rebels reacts to a call during the game against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on October 25, 2014 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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A day after Baylor fired Art Briles and a day before Memorial Day weekend, Ole Miss has released its long-awaited response to the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations.

The 52-page document details the breadth and nature of violations committed by the Rebels’ football program. A sizable chunk of the 13 violations pertaining to football occurred under the four-year watch of current head coach Hugh Freeze.

Current assistant coaches Chris Kiffin (defensive line), Derrick Nix (running backs), Maurice Harris (tight ends) and Matt Luke (offensive line) were named in the report. Most of the violations come in the forms of paid cell phone bills, comped hotel stays, paid ACT prep courses and free loaner vehicles.

Many of the violations are downright silly.

The most serious allegation comes from the Houston Nutt era, when assistant coach Chris Vaughn and operations assistant David Saunders arranged for three future Rebels to commit ACT fraud. Vaughn was fired from his assistant coaching job at Texas due to his involvement in this case.

Ole Miss requested to exclude the Laremy Tunsil NFL Draft night fiasco from this summer’s report since those allegations are still being investigated, and the NCAA granted that request.

Ole Miss has released this graphic detailing the scope and timeline of the case. The Rebels submitted its NOA response on April 21, and the NCAA has 60 days to submit its rebuttal. The two parties will then appear before the Committee on Infractions, who will then have around six weeks to release their verdict. A rough timeline would have the case wrapped up in full by October.

Ole Miss graphic

Ole Miss has also self-imposed the following penalties, plus a fine of nearly $160,000:

Those sanctions are just a baseline punishment. The NCAA can — and likely will — argue to increase them during the Committee on Infractions hearing later this year.

Ole Miss has suspended two unnamed assistants from recruiting.