Nick Saban

2013 spring practice dates

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The curtain on the 2012 season fell just a little over a month ago, but teams are already in the process of gearing up for the 2013 season with the annual college football rite of spring.

As was the case last year, Army will be the first to both open its allotted set of 15 spring practice sessions in mid-February and hold its annual spring game in early March.  While a handful of schools will also open the spring in either February or April, most of the rest will do so in March.

This year, just one program — Georgia State — will be conducting its final spring practice at the FCS level before jumping up to the FBS.  The Panthers will move to the Sun Belt Conference in the first year after the retirement of head coach Bill Curry.

There are, however, more than a dozen teams that will be holding one last spring practice as “members” of one conference before officially moving to a new one July 1:

— Pittsburgh and Syracuse (from the Big East to the ACC)
— UCF, Houston, Memphis and SMU (from Conference USA to the Big East)
— Louisiana Tech and UT-San Antonio (from the WAC to Conference USA)
— FAU, FIU, Middle Tennessee State and North Texas (from the Sun Belt to Conference USA)
— Utah State and San Jose State (from the WAC to Mountain West)
— Texas State (from the WAC to the Sun Belt)
— Idaho and New Mexico State (from the WAC to football independents)

Below the jump is a list of the start dates for each individual school plus the date of its spring game, separated by conferences.  Some programs have yet to announce their spring dates, so we will add them to this list as they become available:

ACC

Boston College: first practice — Feb. 28; spring game — April 13
Clemson: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 13
Duke: first practice — March 4; spring game — April 13
Florida State: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 13
Georgia Tech: first practice — March 25; spring game — April 19
Maryland: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 12
Miami: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 13
North Carolina: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 13
North Carolina State: first practice — March 24; spring game — April 20
Virginia: first practice — March 16; spring game — April 2
Virginia Tech: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 20
Wake Forest: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20

BIG EAST

Cincinnati: first practice — March 5; final practice — April 13 (no spring game)
Louisville: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 13
Pittsburgh: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 12
Rutgers: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 27
Syracuse: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20
Temple: first practice — March 22; spring game — April 20
UConn: first practice — March 11; spring game — April 20
USF: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 13

BIG TEN

Illinois: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 12
Indiana: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 13
Iowa: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 27
Michigan: first practice — March 16; spring game — April 13
Michigan State: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20
Minnesota: first practice — March 27; spring practice — April 27
Nebraska: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 6
Northwestern: first practice — Feb. 27; spring game — April 13
Ohio State: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 13
Penn State: first practice — March 18; spring game — April 20
Purdue: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 13
Wisconsin: first practice — March 9; spring game — April 20

BIG 12

Baylor: first practice — March 1; spring game — April 6
Iowa State: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 20
Kansas: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 13
Kansas State: first practice — April 3; spring game — April 27
Oklahoma: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 13
Oklahoma State: first practice — March 11; spring game — April 20
TCU: first practice — March 1; spring game — April 6
Texas: first practice — Feb. 21; spring game — March 31
Texas Tech: first practice – March 24; spring game — April 20
West Virginia: first practice — March 10; spring game — April 20

CONFERENCE USA

East Carolina: first practice — March 18; spring game — April 20
Houston: first practice — March 4; spring game — April 12
Marshall: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 27
Memphis: first practice — Feb. 28; spring game — April 6
Rice: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 5
SMU: first practice — March 25; final practice — April 20 (no spring game)
Southern Miss: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20
Tulane: first practice — Feb. 13; spring game — March 9
Tulsa: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 6
UAB: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 27
UCF: first practice — March 13; spring game — April 13
UTEP: first practice — March 4; spring game — April 10

INDEPENDENTS

Army: first practice — Feb. 12; spring game — March 8
BYU: first practice — March 4; spring game — April 5
Navy: first practice — March 18; spring game — April 12
Notre Dame: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 20

MAC

Akron: first practice — April 2; spring game — April 27
Ball State: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 20
Bowling Green: first practice — March 13; spring game — April 12
Buffalo: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 20
Central Michigan: first practice — March 12; spring game — April 13
Eastern Michigan: first practice — March 12; spring game — April 14
Kent State: first practice — April 2; spring game — April 27
Miami: first practice — March 25; final practice — April 26 (no spring game)
Northern Illinois: spring practice — March 20; spring game — April 13
Ohio: first practice — March 12; spring game — April 13
Toledo: first practice — March 14; spring game — April 12
UMass: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 20
Western Michigan: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20

MOUNTAIN WEST

Air Force: first practice — Feb. 26; final practice — March 20 (no spring game)
Boise State: first practice — March 11; spring game — April 13
Colorado State: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 20
Fresno State: first practice — Feb. 25; spring game — March 23
Hawaii: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 27
Nevada: first practice — March 28; spring game — April 20
New Mexico: first practice — March 26; final practice — April 27 (no spring game)
San Diego State: first practice — Feb. 25; spring game — March 23
UNLV: first practice — March 4; spring game — April 12
Wyoming: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 27

PAC-12

Arizona: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 13
Arizona State: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 13
Cal: first practice — Feb. 25; spring game — March 23
Colorado: first practice — March 7; spring game — April 13
Oregon: first practice — April 7; spring game — April 27
Oregon State: first practice — April 1; spring game — April 26
Stanford: first practice — Feb. 25; spring game — April 13
UCLA: first practice — April 2; spring game — April 27
USC: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 13
Utah: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20
Washington: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 20
Washington State: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 20

SEC

Alabama: first practice — March 16; spring game — April 20
Arkansas: first practice — March 10; spring game — April 20
Auburn: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 20
Florida: first practice — March 13; spring game — April 6
Georgia: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 6
Kentucky: first practice — March 18; spring game — April 13
LSU: first practice — March 14; spring game — April 20
Mississippi State: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 20
Missouri: first practice — March 12; spring game — April 20
Ole Miss: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 13
South Carolina: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 13
Tennessee: first practice — March 8; spring game — April 20
Texas A&M: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 13
Vanderbilt: first practice — March 15; spring game — April 13

SUN BELT

Arkansas State: first practice — March 11; spring game — April 13
FAU: first practice — March 18; spring game — April 20
FIU: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20
Louisiana-Lafayette: first practice — March 11; spring game — April 20
Louisiana-Monroe: first practice — Feb. 25; spring game — March 23
Middle Tennessee State: first practice — March 23; spring practice — April 20
North Texas: first practice — March 20; spring game – April 13
South Alabama: first practice — Feb. 28; spring game — April 6
Troy: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 20
Western Kentucky: first practice — March 22; spring game — April 20

WAC

Idaho: first practice — March 22; spring game — April 9
Louisiana Tech: first practice — March 15; spring game — April 13
New Mexico State: first practice: April 1; spring game — May 4
San Jose State: first practice — Feb. 19; spring game — March 23
Texas State: first practice — March 1; spring game — April 6
UT-San Antonio: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 14
Utah State: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20

Iowa DE says he was held at gunpoint while playing Pokemon Go

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Christian McCaffrey #5 of the Stanford Cardinal runs past Faith Ekakitie #56 and Cole Fisher #36 of the Iowa Hawkeyes in the 102nd Rose Bowl Game on January 1, 2016 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Iowa defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie (No. 56, above) nearly became a tragic combination of two of this nation’s hot button topics, according to a post on his Facebook page.

Ekakitie says he was in an Iowa City park playing Pokemon Go when officers approached him with guns drawn, suspecting him of being involved in a nearby bank robbery. Ekakitie wrote his profile — a large black man dressed in black clothes — led five Iowa City officers to approach him, but the Hawkeye defender did not hear their approach due to having headphones in his ears — which led the officers to draw their guns. Ekakitie wrote police searched him before letting him go.

“My pockets were checked, my backpack was opened up and searched carefully, and I was asked to lift up my shirt while they searched my waistband,” Ekakitie wrote. “Not once did they identify themselves to me as Iowa City Police officers, but with four gun barrels staring me in the face, I wouldn’t dare question the authority of the men and woman in front of me. This is what happened from my point of view.”

Sgt. Jorey Bailey confirmed Iowa City offers stopped Ekakitie, and an Iowa spokesman confirmed Ekakitie’s version of events.

“In this situation, what the media would fail to let people know is that the suspect had his headphones in the entire time the Police Officers approached him initially,” Ekakitie wrote. “The suspect had actually just pulled up to the park because he was playing a newly popular Game called Pokémon Go. The suspect didn’t realize that there were four cops behind him because his music was blaring in his ears. The suspect had reached into his pockets, for something which was his phone, but for all the cops could have known, he was reaching for a gun. The suspect could very well become another statistic on this day.

“I am not one to usually rant on Facebook or anywhere else, but with all of the crazy things that have been happening in our world these past couple of weeks it is hard to stay silent. I am thankful to be alive.”

A senior from Brampton, Ontario, Canada, Ekakitie recorded 13 tackles in 12 appearances last season.

Georgia Southern vacates three wins from 2013-14 seasons

STATESBORO, GA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Players of the Georgia Southern Eagles sing the school's alma mater after defeating the Western Michigan Broncos 43-17 on September 12, 2015 at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro, Georgia.  (Photo by Todd Bennett/GettyImages)
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Georgia Southern has vacated three wins from the 2013-14 seasons stemming from a two-year investigation into its football program, the school has announced.

The violations occurred when the Eagles played an ineligible athlete in three games over those seasons. The wins came against Savannah State and St. Francis in 2013 and Louisiana-Monroe in 2014. Georgia Southern’s 2014 Sun Belt championship will not be impacted by the ruling.

“While it is disappointing to vacate these three victories, we get to put this chapter behind us,” Georgia Southern AD Tom Kleinlein said in a statement. “The student-athletes on this year’s football team, and teams moving forward, are not affected by the NCAA’s ruling and our goals are still in front of us. In addition to graduating student-athletes and developing leaders, we look forward to competing for conference championships and bowl berths this season and in the future.

“Compliance and academic integrity are of the utmost importance here at Georgia Southern; we will continue to reinforce these values and ensure that our department is operating in a manner that consistently upholds the proud tradition of this University.”

The player — who was unnamed — will also have his statistics removed from the record books, while Jeff Monken will have his Georgia Southern win total reduced by two and Willie Fritz by one. Each coach has since moved on to a new school; Monken is at Army and Fritz at Tulane.

 

BYU says it would be open to football-only Big 12 membership

PROVO, UT - SEPTEMBER 1:  BYU  Athletic Director Tom Holmoe announces that BYU football will become independent in football in 2011 separating from the Mountain West Conference, September 1, 2010 in Provo, Utah. The remaining BYU sports will become affiliated with the West Coast Conference in 2011. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
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While not preferred, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has said his conference would be open to football-only membership as it pursues expansion.

That would work for BYU, too.

“We’re obviously open to listening to what they want to do. We’re going to go through this process with an open mind to listen to what they have to say,” BYU AD Tom Holmoe told ESPN.

A football-only addition of the Cougars would solve a number of problems for the Big 12:

1) The conference is starting a championship game in 2017 and, as an independent, BYU would be available immediately. Holding a title game with 10 teams is a clunky option the conference would prefer to avoid if possible, so the Cougars’ immediate availability helps both sides.

2) Adding only BYU’s football program eliminates the question of what to do with the Cougars’ no-Sundays policy.

3) Stretching a conference from Morgantown to Provo is, obviously, geographically challenging. Sending your football team across two time zones is one thing, asking your women’s basketball team to do the same on a Wednesday and turn around and play again on Saturday is something else entirely. It may serve both parties well to keep the Cougars’ Olympic sports in the West Coast Conference.

However, if the Big 12 is interested in bringing BYU aboard as an all-sports member, Holmoe is confident the two sides can make it work. After all, they’ve done it in the WAC, the Mountain West and now the WCC.

“I believe that’s something that can be worked out,” he said. “We’ve been in a lot of leagues through the years, and we’ve been able to work it out.

“There would be a difference in the Big 12 because that would be a Power 5 conference. They’re going to ask questions. We’ll have our solutions, creative ideas of what we can do. We’re going to do everything we can.”

Florida LB Cristian Garcia stops sexual assault behind Gainesville bar

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 13: The Florida Gators take the field before the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Florida linebacker Cristian Garcia stopped a sexual assault behind a popular Gainesville bar, according to a police report.

Garcia told police he was taking out the trash early Thursday morning at 101 Cantina, where he works security, and witnessed a couple having sex by the dumpsters. Upon closer inspection, he says, Garcia noticed the woman was unconscious. He and a coworker approached the man, a 34-year old named Christian Shaw, who managed to escape but has since been arrested on sexual battery charges.

“I was taking out the garbage, and I saw the man pressing the woman up against the Dumpster. At first the guy said she was his girlfriend, but about five seconds later I realized the girl was unconscious,” Garcia told the Gainesville Sun. “I turned around and pulled the guy by the shoulder and said ‘get off.’ That pretty much ended the situation then. He was intoxicated and attempted to throw some punches, but he slipped and busted his face on the wall.”

The Sun notes that police video shows “the victim was mentally and physically unable to give consent due to her level of intoxication.”

Garcia is a walk-on from Miami who appeared in one game in 2015.