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

Northwestern remembers Randy Walker 10 years after his passing

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Ten years ago Wednesday, the college football world was rocked by the unexpected and sudden loss of Northwestern coach Randy Walker.

The athletics department produced a touching video tribute to the man who suffered a heart attack at the age of 52, seven years into his tenure in Evanston.

Walker’s death unexpectedly thrust a young former Wildcats linebacker named Pat Fitzgerald into the head coach’s chair.

“I would prefer to be toasting to his longevity right now,” Fitzgerald says in the video.

Walker posted a 37-45 mark at Northwestern, including a surprising 8-4 campaign in 2000.

That followed a successful nine-year run at Miami University, the southwest Ohio school where he was a player.

Report: Ole Miss violations laid out to NCAA by stepfather of Laremy Tunsil

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The Mississippi football program might not find out its NCAA fate very soon, but the rest of the world learned more specifics regarding the accusations the Rebels face Wednesday.

Sports Illustrated published the results of its investigation, including specific allegations levied by a man in the process of getting a divorce from the mother of star offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil.

Lindsey Miller detailed several potentially serious violations involving Tunsil and his family, and SI was able to view some of the information he says he turned over to the NCAA during extensive interviews.

The NCAA’s Notice of Allegations is consistent with Miller’s claims in numerous places, including 12 occasions of free lodging that totaled $2,253. Miller says he told the NCAA those nights were arranged by boosters he met through [Mississippi DL coach Chris] Kiffin, but the NCAA never found that link. Kiffin’s name appears 13 times in the Notice of Allegations, but none of those prove he set Miller up with boosters.

Tunsil was part of a surprisingly star-studded recruiting class in 2013, but head coach Hugh Freeze has consistently defended his program against accusations his recruiting success was thanks to illegal methods.

Freeze, who took over as coach in December 2011, may minimize the NCAA’s case, but nine of the 13 football allegations relate to his tenure there. (Four allegations, including fraudulent ACT scores, occurred under former coach Houston Nutt.) There are four Level I violations under Freeze and a significant Level II failure to monitor charge in which the NCAA says the athletic department and football program failed to monitor Tunsil driving three different loaner cars between August 2014 and June 2015. (That latter allegation is the one Ole Miss is disputing.)

Perhaps complicating matters is the fact Miller went to the NCAA only after having a fallout with Tunsil and his mother, Desiree Polingo, during the summer of 2015.

Polingo denied Miller’s accusations via a statement to SI, and in another statement a lawyer for Tunsil told SI, “You have to consider the source.”

Mississippi has already admitted to 12 of the 13 allegations and self-imposed penalties, but it remains to be seen if the NCAA Committee on Infractions will find the punishment sufficient or more is added.

The full SI story goes into deeper detail about the situations facing not only Ole Miss athletics but also the NCAA enforcement model itself.

NCAA announces common-sense change to bowl selection process

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 26:  Andy Janovich #35 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers jumps over Jayon Brown #12 of the UCLA Bruins during the Foster Farms Bowl at Levi's Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The NCAA Division I council announced 5-7 teams will still have a chance to make a bowl this fall.

They will have to wait until all of the 6-6 teams have been picked, though.

The common sense rule tweak was announced Wednesday.

Nebraska, Minnesota and San Jose State all made bowls last season despite finishing the regular season 5-7, and coincidentally they all won.

In a statement, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who serves as chair of the football oversight committee, said the postseason selection process “makes sense and is fair to the schools and the bowls.”

APR scores will continue to be used to designate which 5-7 teams are eligible to take up the bowl slots left available after all of the 6-6 teams have been selected.

After swelling to 41 games last season, the postseason is not set to expand again until at least the 2020 season as a result of a moratorium on the certification of new bowls was established by the council in April.

NCAA inquires about additional Sandusky victims from Penn State lawsuit

BELLEFONTE, PA - OCTOBER 09: Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky (C) leaves the Centre County Courthouse after being sentenced in his child sex abuse case on October 9, 2012 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. The 68-year-old Sandusky was sentenced to at least 30 years and not more that 60 years in prison for his conviction in June on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, including while he was the defensive coordinator for the Penn State college football team. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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Penn State and Joe Paterno‘s family have already done their part to return the tragic Jerry Sandusky saga to the news this year.

Now the NCAA apparently wants to join in.

The Centre Daily Times reports the college sports governing body has requested information regarding two men allegedly victimized by Sandusky, a long-time Penn State assistant coach, in the 1970s.

Their stories came to light in a court filing from a lawsuit involving Penn State and an insurer. The school tried to collect on a policy to help pay settlements it reached with more than 30 individuals who accused Sandusky of sexually abusing them.

The university tried to recoup money for those settlements from liability insurer Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association, but PMA challenged that in court. The two men’s cases were revealed in an order by Philadelphia Judge Gary Glazer that referenced their cases, years earlier than the 10 Sandusky was convicted of in 2012. One said he told Paterno.

The CDT story does not give any indication the NCAA might want to revisit the sanctions that were handed down in 2012.

Rather, it is looking for defense fodder in a defamation lawsuit filed by the family of Paterno, the legendary Nittany Lions head coach

The estate claims the college sports oversight group defamed the man who helmed the program from 1966 until his firing in 2011 after the Sandusky story broke.

A key point is the NCAA’s acceptance of the findings of the Freeh report, the university-commissioned investigation of the Sandusky scandal, which placed blame on four Penn State leaders, including Paterno, who died six months before it was released. The NCAA then levied historic sanctions on the university, including stripping 110 wins from the Nittany Lions, dropping Paterno from first place in the leaderboard for most wins by a Division 1 coach.

But in new documents, the NCAA says it needs the information about the two claimants to refute the estate’s defamation claims.

Sandusky was convicted in 2012, and some of the sanctions Penn State agreed to accept from the NCAA were gradually lifted in the following years.

While Sandusky reportedly continues to work on getting his convictions overturned, it’s not hard to imagine Sandusky’s victims and plenty of members of the Penn State community would prefer to move on from the tragedy — allowing both time to heal in whatever way is possible.

The same can most likely be said of current coach James Franklin, who took the job two-plus years ago after coach Bill O’Brien endured the brunt of the storm and maintained solid recruiting despite the sanctions.

During the spring, Franklin told CBSSports.com, “This is really year one for us in a lot of ways,” citing a return to having close to a full allotment of scholarships.