Wrong righted: Tommie Frazier part of 2013 Hall of Fame class

9 Comments

And it’s about damn time.

Inexplicably snubbed since becoming eligible in 2006, former Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier has finally and rightly taken his place in the College Football Hall of Fame.  The former Nebraska was one of 14 individuals — 12 players, two coaches — whose names were announced as members of the Class of 2013 Tuesday morning by the National football Foundation.

The fact that it took Frazier seven years to get in is simply incomprehensible.  All the quarterback did from 1992-95 was lead the Cornhuskers to two national championships — and nearly a third — four Big Eight titles, a 33-3 record as a starter and account for 82 touchdowns rushing/passing.  He was a two-time Orange Bowl MVP (1994 & 1995), Fiesta Bowl MVP in 1996, consensus All-American and Johnny Unitas winner in 1995.

“Tommie was an outstanding competitor,” legendary former Huskers head coach Tom Osborne said in a statement. “He did everything he could to win, and was a good leader by example. He expected a lot out of himself and the people around him. He was an outstanding leader and catalyst and made everyone around him better. Tommie managed the game very well, and was a natural option quarterback. He had a good sense of timing, when to pitch, when not to pitch. He had excellent balance, good speed and was very strong.

“Tommie was better prepared to start as a freshman than any quarterback we had. That’s not easy to do, but he was unusually mature and competitive. He had played at a high level in front of big crowds in high school, so going out and playing in a major college game was not intimidating to him.”

Herschel Walker, Bo Jackson and Barry Sanders were the greatest college football I’ve seen in my lifetime; Frazier is right in that mix, and was the dictionary definition of a first-ballot Hall of Famer.  It took longer than it should’ve, but at least it’s happened.  Finally.

Frazier, though, downplayed his delayed entry — supposedly because of an unwritten rule — and, as was ofttimes the case, deflected the praise to his teammates.

“This is quite an honor,” Frazier said in a statement released by NU. “You never play the game and think you are going to be in the Hall of Fame one day. You just go out and try to be the best you can be and whatever happens, happens. I was fortunate that good things happened, but it certainly was not me alone. I had great teammates and coaches that played a big part in this honor.

“If we had not won all those games and two national championships, I wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame. I was surrounded by great players at every position, and many of those guys had great careers themselves. I did have the role of being a coach on the field, but the guys around me made that much easier. With the supporting cast we had on offense, many times regardless of whether I had us in the right play or wrong play, they made it work.”

Also in this year’s class were Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel (1996 Heisman winner; two-time first-team All-American and two-time SEC player of the year; member of one national championship team and four SEC title teams), Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne (1999 Heisman winner; all-time leader at the FBS level in rushing yards with 7,125 yards; three-time first-team All-American and winner of the Walter Camp, Maxwell and Doak Walker awards), Ohio State offensive tackle Orlando Pace (two Lombardi awards, one Outland Trophy), Arizona linebacker Tedy Bruschi, North Carolina State running back Ted Brown (the ACC’s all-time leading rusher and only four-team first-team all-conference player), Texas defensive back Jerry Gray, Kentucky end Steve Meilinger, Oklahoma linebacker Rod Shoate, Michigan State linebacker Percy Snow and Baylor quarterback Don Trull.  It had previously been announced Monday that former Miami quarterback Vinny Testaverde would be part of the 12-player class.

There were also two coaches selected for induction: Colorado’s Bill McCartney and Wayne Hardin, who coached at Navy (1959-64) and Temple (1970-82)

One long-time wrong wasn’t officially rectified Tuesday, however.  Former Alabama linebacker Derrick Thomas, who still holds the single-season NCAA sack record, was not part of the Class of 2013.  He was named a unanimous All-American following that season, along with the Butkus Award winner.

An automobile accident in January of 2000 claimed Thomas’ life at the age of 33.

NCAA considering changing transfer rules

Getty Images
4 Comments

The NCAA’s Division I Council Transfer Working Group on Wednesday unleashed a set of suggestions that could either radically change or slightly tweak the way transfers are handled in college sports’ highest level.

Let’s start with the (possible) radical changes. The working group is considering a suggestion that would make all transfers immediately eligible, provided they hit certain academic benchmarks:

Establishing uniform transfer rules — which would require everyone to follow the same rules regardless of the sport they play — was a topic that the group agrees will likely take longer to resolve. While most members agreed the concept of uniformity would be positive, what the specific rules would be is less clear.

Members discussed two models: One model would require every transfer student to sit out a year to acclimate to a new school; the other would allow all transfers to play immediately provided they present academic credentials that predict graduation at the new institution.

Walking back from that, the working group did recommend changing the transfer process to where players seeking new destinations would no longer need their former school’s approval. Considering the NCAA formally argues its athletes are merely students, and there is no limit on normal students receiving financial aid upon transferring to a new institution, this change should pass without a word to the contrary. But, you know, the NCAA is the NCAA.

Group members believe financial aid should not be tied to whether a school grants permission to contact. They want to know if others in the membership feel the same way. The group also agreed that enhancements should be made to the formal process students use to notify a school of their desire to transfer. The group will seek input from the membership on appropriate enhancements.

To curb a possible spike in transfers, the working group suggested upping penalties for coaches caught tampering with scholarship athletes at other schools.

The group expressed interest in increasing the consequences for coaches who break recruiting rules to seek out undergraduate and potential graduate students. The working group will ask the Committee on Infractions and enforcement staff to review the concept and provide feedback.

Finally, the working group suggested adding academic accountability to the graduate transfer market by either making graduate transfers count against the 85-man scholarship limit for two years or tweaking the APR formula to up the impact graduate transfers’ academic progress has in the system.

One potential approach could be to require that the financial aid provided to graduate students count against a team’s scholarship limit for two years, regardless of whether the graduate student stays for two years or leaves when their eligibility is complete.

Another concept for increasing that accountability is through the Academic Progress Rate calculation, specifically the eligibility and retention points for which a student would be held accountable as they pursue a graduate degree. The Committee on Academics discussed the calculation and the working group plans to continue conversations on the topic.

“I am thrilled with the great progress made this week, and I’m confident we can move forward with some initial concepts for consideration in this year’s legislative cycle,” South Dakota State AD and working group chair Justin Sell said in a statement. “We are working toward academics-based, data-driven decisions that benefit student-athletes, teams and schools.”

Any changes proposed by the working group are merely suggestions. The earliest any proposals could be voted on would be April 2018.

Michigan WR Grant Perry pleads guilty to felony resisting of a police officer

Getty Images
1 Comment

Michigan wide receiver Grant Perry on Wednesday pleaded guilty to resisting of a police officer in a Lansing, Mich., court, according to the Lansing State Journal. The charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

Perry also pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of assault and battery, but did so to avoid two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and one alcohol charge.

The case stemmed from an October incident in which Perry was accused of groping a female outside an East Lansing bar. (The Wolverines were off that weekend.) A Michigan State student said Perry “started licking his lips and smiling and pushing his chest up against her chest” before groping her.

Police were called to the scene, and Perry attempted to escape.

“When (police) arrived on scene, we tried to grab onto him, and we had to chase him,” East Lansing P.D. spokesman Lt. Scott Wriggelsworth said at the time. “In the midst of that fracas, one of our officers suffered a minor hand injury.”

Prosecutor Christina Johnson said Wednesday she has not ruled out sentencing Perry under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, which, pending Perry’s completion of certain requirements, would wipe Wednesday’s conviction from his record by his 24th birthday.

In the meantime, Perry has been suspended by Michigan but has since resumed practicing with the team. Jim Harbaugh has said Perry will not play for the Wolverines until his case is resolved, which it will be by the time Michigan opens the season against Florida on Sept. 2. Sentencing for the case is set for Aug. 2.

Eastern Michigan extends Chris Creighton through 2022

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Eastern Michigan has extended head coach Chris Creighton through 2022, the school has announced.

“I feel as though we have made progress all the way through,” Creighton said in a statement. “The vision of making the football program a real source of pride for the department, the university, the alumni, we are making progress, but that vision has not been realized yet.

“So I’m really excited about our program and the Championship Building Plan. There is a lot of momentum going on right now.”

Creighton is 10-27 in three seasons as the Eagles’ head coach, but that mark obscures the progress EMU made in his third season. After starting 3-21, Eastern Michigan rocketed to a 7-6 mark in 2016 with a Bahamas Bowl trip, the school’s first postseason appearance since 1987.

The new deal raises Creighton’s base salary by 2.5 percent, according to MLive. He made a total of $434,840 in 2016, according to the USA Today coaching salary database.

Beer sales approved for Marshall home football games

3 Comments

Let the beer taps start flowing at the next home Marshall football game. The University announced today that beer sales at Joan C. Edwards Stadium have been approved by the Board of Governors starting this fall.

This is the latest decision in an evolving stance on alcohol sales at Marshall. Last year, the school began expanding the sale of alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine from the Big Green Room to chairback seating. Now, the majority of fans attending a football game in Huntington will be able to purchase alcohol. The expanded alcohol sales plan will help to build the infrastructure of Marshall’s facilities moving forward.

“This is a continuation of our goal to provide more amenities for our fan base that makes attending Marshall Football games a more enjoyable experience,” Director of Athletics Mike Hamrick said in a released statement. “We have played a lot of winning football in our stadium over the past five years and we have great opponents such as Pittsburgh, Boise State, North Carolina State, and Navy just to name a few over the next five years, and it is imperative that the investment in our fan experience matches our football brand.”

Marshall will keep some sections of the football stadium free of alcohol for those fans who wish not to be near the booze-loaded fans.

The announcement was coupled with some other stadium news regarding the future renovation plans for the football stadium. Construction on the west side of the stadium should be completed by August, in time for the start of the 2017 college football season. The southwest side of the stadium will have a new retail location for fans.