Miami reportedly files motion to dismiss NCAA case

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Given the developments in the Miami situation over the past couple of months, this was anticipated.

Per CBSSportsDennis Dodd, Miami has in fact filed a motion to dismiss the NCAA’s case against its athletics program. The Miami Herald reported earlier this week that UM could file such a motion, with the Associated Press reporting similarly Friday afternoon.

It’s an interesting, and according to Dodd, unprecedented move considering the charges UM is facing. While Miami is a private institution and not required to release its Notice of Allegations — it’s not believed the school will reveal the details of its motion to dismiss either — it’s been reported that the program is facing a lack of institutional control charge.

The AP reported earlier today that the NCAA is alleging Miami officials looked the other way when presented with evidence that former booster Nevin Shapiro provided impermissible benefits to athletes.

From the AP story:

“The NCAA… has asked Miami to detail whether or not it hired a private investigator to look into Shapiro’s business dealings between 2002 and 2005, records of a meeting between at least one athletics department official and Shapiro in 2003, and the findings of a study the school conducted with regard to Shapiro in 2006.

Miami has also been asked to provide copies of certain email exchanges that were about Shapiro, including one from 2008 that was sent to at least one member of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s staff.

If there’s record that Miami turned a blind eye to Shapiro, the Hurricanes could be in serious trouble.

But Miami could have a compelling argument that there’s simply not enough usable evidence for the NCAA to have a legitimate case. The Herald‘s report on Wednesday claimed NCAA’s director of enforcement, Stephanie Hannah, continued to work with Shapiro’s attorney, Maria Elena Perez, to obtain information through depositions that would aid the UM investigation.

While that would be another blemish for the NCAA because it shows a continuation of unethical practices started by Hannah’s predecessor, Ameen Najjar, it’s not nearly as bad as the allegation that NCAA investigators lied to interview subjects in order to gain information.

Hannah’s working relationship with Perez reportedly did not result in any information the NCAA could use in its investigation and Perez’s previous depositions were ultimately thrown out of the NOA. However, if NCAA investigators lied to interview subjects, that information would have to be tossed as well.

Dodd writes that Miami “will include new information regarding the NCAA’s conduct” in the motion. Whether that new information corroborates the Herald‘s report or adds to it isn’t clear. Consequently, how much information, if any, the NCAA would have to scrap is unknown.

There could eventually be a discussion of whether the NCAA should proceed with the case at all, but in the meantime, expect it to go on as planned. As NCAA guru John Infante wrote this week: “Improperly obtained evidence should be removed and the rest of the case should go forward.”

Miami thinks, as it has all along, that it should not face any additional sanctions beyond the ones self-imposed over the past couple of years. But even if Miami could get its case dismissed, all signs indicate that might not happen until after the program files an official response to its NOA.

It’s been no secret Miami planned to fight the NCAA on its NOA. Add in the numerous missteps the NCAA has taken in investigating UM and the Hurricanes certainly have ammo. Just don’t expect that fight to be over tomorrow.

Auburn dismisses WR Kyle Davis

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Kyle Davis began the 2017 season in Gus Malzahn‘s doghouse.  Today, he’s been kicked out of the yard and to the curb.

Last week, Davis was a non-participant in practice and didn’t travel with his teammates for the Week 7 game against LSU.  Malzahn confirmed Tuesday that the wide receiver has been dismissed from his Tigers football program.

The only reason given was breaking unspecified team rules.

We wish him nothing but the best moving forward,” the head coach said in announcing the dismissal.

Davis and two other Tigers were suspended for the season opener against Georgia Southern for, again, breaking unspecified team rules.  Since returning, the sophomore has seven receptions for 210 yards.  His 30 yards per catch is tops on the team.

A four-star 2016 signee, Davis was rated as the No. 10 receiver in the country and the No. 9 player at any position in the state of Georgia.    As a true freshman, he caught 12 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games.  He started one of those contests.

Mike Leach downplays rumors that have him following Bill Moos to Nebraska

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Sunday, it was confirmed that Bill Moos was leaving his job as athletic director at Washington State to take the same position at Nebraska.  It didn’t take long after the official announcement of the move for the speculation to commence.

A home loss to Northern Illinois was the football program’s first-ever to a MAC school and its first home loss to a Group of Five team since 2004, sparking talk as to how much longer Mike Riley could last as the Cornhuskers’ head coach.  Losses by a combined 63 points the last two weeks to Wisconsin and Ohio State did nothing to alleviate those concerns.

Enter Moos, whose last football hire at Wazzu has turned into a very significant upgrade for that program.  Taking over a team that won a combined nine games the four years before he was hired by Moos, Mike Leach guided the Cougars to 12 wins his first three years after being hired in 2012.  The past two seasons have turned into breakout ones of sort for the Cougars as they won nine games in 2015 (most since 2003) and eight in 2016.  They were off to a 6-0 start this season before Cal stunned them in Week 7.

Add Riley’s struggles to Leach’s successes and mix in Moos’ departure Pullman for Lincoln, and the recipe was there for Leach-to-‘Huskers talk.  Monday, the coach downplayed such a possibility.

“I don’t have any plans to do that and then they already have a head coach there and he’s a pretty good one, Mike Riley,” Leach said according to the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “Wish Bill the best and we just move forward.”

Leach did, though, have high praise for his now-former boss.  Extremely high praise.

“He’s the best AD that I’ve ever met,” Leach said. “Everything from active to retired to dead. Bill’s the best AD I’ve ever even met. …

“Bill’s a very honest, straightforward guy and he was a guy you could count on, who you knew had your best interest.”

Alabama settling in as five-touchdown favorite over Tennessee

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Five-touchdown, not five-point.  The Butch Jones Era, ladies and gentlemen.

In the wake of yet another crippling, emasculating loss for the Tennessee football program, Butch Jones again pulled fired up his verbal backhoe and further buried his coaching tenure on Rocky Top.  There’s little doubt Jones’ time as the Volunteers will expire at some point between now and shortly after the end of UT’s season; there’s exactly zero doubt that, outside of Knoxville — and probably inside, to be blunt — the perception of the program under Jones is at its lowest in decades.

The latest case in the latter point?  Wagering establishments.

Sunday afternoon, UT will enter the not-so-friendly confines of Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa for the 100th edition of its annual rivalry game against top-ranked Alabama.  Over the weekend, the Vols opened as anywhere from a 33- to 34.5-point undergo.  As we head toward midweek, it’s crept a bit upward according to Bovada.lv.

Bovada tells CFT that, over the last 31 years, the Vols have never been as large of an underdog as they are right now.  Prior to a 23-13 loss, they were 30- point underdogs to Florida in 2009.  In 2011 and 2013, they were 29- and 28-point underdogs, respectively, to Alabama.  They ended up losing both contests, 37-6 in the former and 45-10 in the latter.

In the previous 99 meetings between the rival programs, the Vols have lost by 35 or more points exactly four times. The first came in 1906 (51-0), the second in 1963 (35-0).  The last two times?  The 2013 game mentioned above and 2016 (49-10).

Ahead of last year’s game in Knoxville, the Crimson Tide was in the neighborhood of a seven-point favorite.

Cal loses leading tackler to season-ending injury

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Cal’s stunning upset in Week 7 came with a very steep price tag on the defensive side of the ball.

In the second half of Cal’s upending of then-No. 8 Washington State Friday night, Devante Downs went down with an unspecified injury.  Three days later, the football program confirmed that the inside linebacker would miss the remainder of the 2017 season because of it.

Other than lower body, the specific nature of the injury wasn’t detailed.

Regardless of what exactly is sidelining Downs, it’s a very significant blow to a Golden Bears defense that’s currently tied for 67th in scoring after finishing the past four seasons 125th, 123rd, 108th and 125th in the same category.

Through seven games, Downs is far and away Cal’s leading tackler with 65.  Next closest?  Ra Davison‘s 43.  He also leads the team in sacks (three), quarterback hits (four) and forced fumbles (two), while he’s tied for the lead in interceptions (two) and fumble recoveries (two).  The 5.5 tackles for loss for which he’s been credited are tied for second.