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Starting kicker one of two leaving Tulsa

Daniel Schwarz AP

With “voluntary” summer workouts set to commence in short order, Tulsa has found itself suffering an unexpected bit of personnel attrition.

The school confirmed to Tulsa World late this past week that kicker Daniel Schwarz and wide receiver Adam Boyd will not be a part of the football program for the 2013 season and will apparently seek transfers.  As is ofttimes the case, no reasons for the departures were given.

The bigger of the two departures by far is that of Schwarz.  As a freshman last season, Schwarz was the Golden Hurricanes’ starting kicker, connecting on 12-of-18 field goal attempts and 52-of-59 extra points.  He finished second on the team in scoring with 88 points.

Taking over the kicking duties will apparently be Carl Salazar, a walk-on who has spent time at both Air Force and Oklahoma.

Boyd, a two-star member of Tulsa’s 2012 recruiting class, took a redshirt for his true freshman season.

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Larry Scott not sold on graduate transfers, defends Pac-12 refs

Larry Scott

Among the many divisive issues in college athletics today, the graduate transfer rule is… one of them. Players and media love it, arguing that athletes who fulfill their end of the bargain should gain the freedom to find a favorable spot on the depth chart, whether that be at their current campus or another. Conference commissioners argue the rule isn’t being used as intended. Media retorts that coaches who bounce from school to school sound awfully hypocritical when they try to block players from doing the same.

And round and round we go.

At his conference’s spring meetings in Phoenix Wednesday, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott weighed in on the topic.

“It sounded great in theory…but I think we still have to look at some of the data,” Scott told ESPN.com. “I think we need to look more carefully into these graduate transfers that aren’t actually getting a graduate degree. There is not much success rate. It’s raising questions.”

To be clear, graduate transfers are a bigger issue – if one wants to use that term – in basketball than football. And Scott’s conference figures to be the biggest beneficiary this fall after Oregon landed Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams.

Elsewhere, Scott isn’t a big fan of your #Pac12refs memes, saying his conference’s zebras actually graded out perfectly average, thank you very much. “I definitely think there was a big perception gap between what gets reported and the reality,” Scott said.

Here’s looking at you, Glasses Ref.

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New Mexico State announces hiring of safeties coach Brian Bell

Brian Bell

It’s not often Cinco de Mayo comes and goes with a full-time opening on an FBS coaching staff, but that’s what happened on Doug Martin‘s New Mexico State staff.

The Aggies announced Wednesday the hiring of safeties coach Brian Bell, formerly of Minnesota State-Mankato, where he spent eight seasons working with the secondary and serving as recruiting coordinator.

Bell will also assist with New Mexico State’s special teams.

“We’re excited about getting him at New Mexico State,” Martin in a statement. “He’s coming from a very successful, winning program. He’s and excellent teacher and a fundamentals coach. He knows how to win and that’s how we make our program better.”

In addition to Minnesota State-Mankato, Bell previously coached at Dakota State, Iowa Central Community College and Eisenhower High School in Aldine, Texas.

(Photo credit: New Mexico State athletics)

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Texas AD Patterson says “conversations” for football game in Mexico City still ongoing

University of Texas Introduce Shaka Smart Getty Images

Former Texas head coach Mack Brown went on a well-publicized – through his Twitter account – “football-related trip” to Dubai to explore future possibilities for the Longhorns’ athletics department. At Wednesday’s Big 12 spring meetings in Phoenix, ‘Horns AD Steve Patterson clarified his intentions to Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com, sort of, for sending the burnt orange contingent to the Middle East.

Patterson didn’t shoot down that the football team could play in Dubai, but said that wasn’t the only goal. “It’s also the country that paid Tiger Woods $2 million and skip the Phoenix Open each year,” he said. “What does that mean with what we might do with a golf team? Duke went over there and played basketball a few years ago.”

Basically, Patterson thinks UT sports could be the bridge that links American culture with the Middle East and China – where Shaka Smart and company will face Washington this November. “Forty-five years ago China and the U.S. were at war. What opened the door? Ping pong? The same people that are going what the heck are you doing in Dubai were the same people who said why are you playing ping pong in China?”

However, the more relevant quote came in a snipped about the possibility of Texas playing a game in Mexico City. The topic of playing a game south of the border has been on Patterson’s radar nearly since he took office, and Wednesday he admitted the Longhorns are “still having conversations” for a game there.

As a Texas graduate, I can tell you the idea of playing a game in Mexico City would be… divisive.

The issue isn’t so much Patterson’s ambition for spreading the burnt orange brand – although it does seem silly for a 6-7 team to push itself globally – as it is the simple fact of a program that already plays its biggest game at a neutral site and no longer plays Texas A&M giving away a precious home game opposite a marquee opponent.

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Houston announces addition of Oklahoma State transfer Ra’Shaad Samples

Oklahoma State v Mississippi State Getty Images

What was rumored 10 days ago was confirmed today, as Houston officially announced the addition of Ra’Shaad Samples on Wednesday. Samples, a speedy wide receiver, arrives from Oklahoma State.

A four-star prospect, Samples was a member of the Rivals 250 in 2013.

Samples redshirted in 2013 and then hauled in three grabs for 11 yards as a redshirt freshman in 2014.

Equally important to what he can do on the field, Samples is the son of Reginald Samples, the head coach at Duncanville High School and one of the most-connected high school coaches in the talent-rich Dallas-Fort Worth area.

As per NCAA transfer rules, Samples will sit out 2015 and then resume his career in 2016.

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The new Big 12 tiebreaker procedures, explained

Big 12 Football Media Days

Stick a bunch of smart, highly-paid people in a room for two days and ask them to figure out a simple issue and what do you get? A complicated solution, that’s what.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby new tiebreaker procedures – among four choices, he noted – to determine its champion at its spring meetings in Phoenix Wednesday, seen below via ESPN’s Max Olson:

Big 12 tiebreaker

Though the intent is clear with tiebreaker B1, Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News astutely pointed out the wording needs to be ironed out:

Essentially, three teams finish 8-1 in 2015, the league has put in place procedures to guarantee only one of them holds a trophy at season’s end.

And in the rare event where three times tie in the standings and on the scoresheet? Well, now that I think about it, that’s exactly the type of thing that would happen in the Big 12.

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Former Mizzou lineman to continue career at Kansas

Harneet Gill

A one-time Missouri signee has decided to continue his playing career with one of Mizzou’s hated-rivals-currently-on-hiatus.

Harneet Gill confirmed to JayhawkSlant.com Tuesday that he has decided to transfer from the JUCO level to Kansas. The offensive lineman told the Rivals.com website that the KU coaching staff, led by first-year head coach David Beaty, played a significant role in his move.

“The thing that probably stood out are the people in there,” Gill told the recruiting site. “The coaching staff is new and coach Beaty is from Texas A&M, and coach Yenser is from Cal and those are good programs. Every recruit looks for security in a staff and I liked the excitement that I see in the program.”

Gill will be eligible to play immediately for the Jayhawks in 2015. He’ll have three years of eligibility remaining beginning this season.

Beaty & Company will actually be picking up a talented player who has the potential to contribute immediately.

A three-star member of Mizzou’s 2013 recruiting class, Gill was rated as the No. 70 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 11 player at any position in the state of Missouri. He left Mizzou during his freshman season because he concluded it wasn’t the right fit.  His 2014 season was spent at a state of Washington community college.

(Photo credit: Rivals.com)

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After alleged battery of gay couple, Herd’s Steward Butler dismissed

Relatively speaking, the expected didn’t take long.

This morning, reports surfaced that Marshall running back Steward Butler had been arrested and charged with battery in connection to the beating of a same-sex couple.  Butler allegedly became angry after witnessing the couple kissing.

Shortly after reports of the early April attack surfaced, Butler was indefinitely suspended from all team activities.  Roughly two hours later, in a statement attributed to athletic director Mike Hamrick, Butler is gone entirely.

Head Coach Doc Holliday and I have decided to dismiss running back Steward Butler from our program in light of additional information regarding his charges.

What the additional information is that surfaced is unclear.  What is clear is that, based on a statement from the university’s president, Butler wasn’t long for the football program.

In that statement, interim president Gary White described the incident as “violent, bigoted behavior” and that “the entire university is shocked and disappointed” over the details that were known at the time.

As previously noted, the charges Butler is facing are misdemeanors, although there could be federal issues as it pertains to the player violating the couple’s civil rights. The Huntington Police Department turned over evidence related to the case to the FBI, which will determine whether federal charges are in order.

Football-wise, it’s a blow to Holliday’s team as Butler, a senior, has been the Herd’s second-leading rusher each of the past three seasons.

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Louisville, Purdue reportedly headed to Indy for 2017 opener

Colts Manning Football AP

The Big Ten and NCAA may (highly unlikely) or may not (highly likely) be hightailing it out of Indiana because of a controversial new law, but it appears there will still be some high-profile football action taking place in the state.  Reportedly.

According to a report from ESPN.com‘s Brett McMurphy, Louisville and Purdue are finalizing a deal that would have the two schools open the 2017 season at Lucas Oil Stadium Sept. 2.  That home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts also serves as the host site for the Big Ten’s football championship game.

If/when the game comes to fruition — an official announcement is expected to happen at some point this month according to a UofL official — it will mark just the second-ever meeting between the two football programs.  The first came back in 1987 and ended in a 22-all tie.

Purdue has played one game at Lucas Oil Stadium, a 30-14 loss to Notre Dame last season.  Louisville will open the 2015 season with a neutral-site matchup against Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.

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Marshall indefinitely suspends RB Steward Butler

Western Kentucky v Marshall

At bare minimum, Steward Butler is temporarily separated from his Marshall football team.  At worst, he’ll be separated permanently from the university.

Earlier Wednesday it was reported that the running back was arrested on a pair of battery charges after he allegedly beat up two gay men after he had witnessed the couple kissing.  A short time after those reports surfaced, athletic director Mike Hamrick announced that Butler has been indefinitely suspended from all team activities.

“We take all accusations against our student-athletes seriously, especially those of such a sensitive nature,” Hamrick wrote. “We hold all of our 350+ student-athletes to a high standard, on and off the playing surface, as ambassadors of Marshall University.”

In a tersely-worded statement, interim Marshall president Gary White intimated that, depending on how the legal process plays out, Butler’s time at the school may be drawing to an end.

“The entire university community is shocked and disappointed to learn the details surrounding the alleged actions that led to Mr. Butler’s arrest this morning.

“The type of violent, bigoted behavior reported to have been perpetrated by this student is not tolerated at Marshall University. Period. This is an extremely serious matter.

“We will allow the legal process to run its course and will act swiftly and appropriately within our Student Conduct System and according to the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities as more details become clear.”

While the charges Butler is facing are misdemeanors, there could be federal issues as it pertains to the player violating the couple’s civil rights. The Huntington Police Department turned over evidence related to the case to the FBI.

Butler, a senior, has been the Herd’s second-leading rusher each of the past three seasons.

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Urban Meyer undergoes previously unscheduled medical procedure

Urban Meyer AP

And cue the Urban-Florida-health scare-retirement one-liners in three… two… one…

Scheduled to make an appearance in Findlay, Ohio, Wednesday night, Urban Meyer instead made an unscheduled visit to a local medical facility earlier in the day.  According to multiple media outlets, and confirmed by an Ohio State spokesperson, the Buckeyes head coach underwent what was only described as an unspecified surgery.  Where the procedure was performed wasn’t divulged.

There are also reports that Meyer underwent an appendectomy, although those have yet to be confirmed.

There’s a possibility that Meyer will be forced to stay in the hospital overnight, but, according to the school, he’s expected to be fine moving forward.  In fact, he’s still expected to travel to New York City Friday for Ohio State Night at a New York Yankees game and throw out the first pitch.

In March of last year, Meyer underwent a minor surgical procedure that involved the removal of fluid from a congenital arachnoid cyst.  Health concerns prompted Meyer to briefly step down as Florida’s head coach in December of 2009, and played a role on some level in his permanent decision to leave his Gator post a year later.

After spending one season as a college football analyst at ESPN, Meyer took over as the Buckeyes head coach in November of 2011.  In three seasons at OSU, Meyer has compiled a mark of 38-3 that includes not only a perfect 24-0 mark in regular season Big Ten play but also the conference’s first national championship in over a decade.

UPDATED 12:58 p.m. ET: Meyer’s wife Shelley Meyer confirmed to the Cleveland Plain Dealer that her husband had his appendix removed Wednesday.  A school official subsequently acknowledged to CFT that it’s uncertain as to whether Meyer will make the trip to the Big Apple as planned.

UPDATED 2:44 p.m. ET: The Associated Press writes that Meyer “is still scheduled to throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium on Friday night as part of a trip to New York City” after undergoing the appendectomy this afternoon. As someone whose appendix burst 20 years ago, I have no idea how Meyer will be physically able to throw a pitch two days after such a procedure.

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Four-star A&M QB signee Kyler Murray opts out of MLB draft

Kyler Murray Marlon Walls AP

At least for now, Texas A&M doesn’t have to worry about losing the most high-profile member of its 2015 recruiting class to the stick-and-ball sport.

Following a closely-watched recruiting scuffle that involved hated (former?) rival Texas, A&M landed a signed National Letter of Intent from touted 2015 quarterback prospect Kyler Murray this past February.  The four-star signee, however, is also a touted baseball prospect, leaving some worried that he would be selected high in next month’s Major League Baseball draft and would ditch football altogether.

Murray himself, however, took to Twitter Wednesday afternoon to allay those fears.

This doesn’t mean that A&M’s baseball worries are over as far as Murray is concerned as he could always change course in subsequent years.  For 2015, though, it appears he will be a football Aggie, and a very talented one at that.

Murray was rated as the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback in the country and the No. 9 player at any position in the state of Texas by Rivals.com.  With true sophomore Kyle Allen seemingly entrenched as the starter, there’s a possibility, or even probability, that Murray will redshirt as a true freshman this season, although he will be given the opportunity to unseat the incumbent during summer camp.

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Marshall RB Steward Butler charged in alleged beating of gay couple

Western Kentucky v Marshall

A member of the Marshall football program is the latest FBS football player to find himself running into some post-spring legal issues off the field, although this one’s a bit different as it could possibly have federal implications.

According to multiple media outlets, Steward Butler has been charged with two counts of battery after he was accused of beating a homosexual couple early last month.  Butler had been wanted by police for questioning pertaining to April 5 incident, and turned himself in Wednesday morning.

As for the particulars that led to the pair of misdemeanor charges, the Huntington Herald-Dispatch has the following account:

The charges stem from the April 5 beating of two men, moments after they kissed at 5th Avenue and 9th Street in Huntington. Criminal complaints charge Butler witnessed the kiss, exited a passing vehicle and proceeded to shout derogatory words toward both men related to their sexual orientation.

Butler then struck the face of both victims with a closed fist, the complaints charge.

The alleged attack was caught on video by one of the alleged victims. The Herald-Dispatch also writes that the Huntington Police Department “has turned over evidence to the FBI for its review of any civil rights violations.”

“We are aware of the situation involving Marshall running back Steward Butler and are currently in the process of gathering all available information,” a statement attributed to Marshall athletics began. “We will handle the matter internally and appropriately.”

Butler’s 798 yards rushing and seven rushing touchdowns were second on the Herd last season. He was also second on the Herd in those categories in 2013 (765, eight) and second in yards in 2012 (500).

All told, Butler has scored 18 ruishing touchdowns the past three seasons.

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Potential Maxx Williams successor for Gophers granted sixth year

Duke Anyanwu AP

It looks as if the potential, or even likely, successor to All-American tight end Maxx Williams will head into the 2015 season armed with another season in his back pocket.  Provided he can stay healthy, of course.

While Minnesota has yet to confirm it, Duke Anyanwu took to Twitter Tuesday to announce that his medical hardship waiver for a sixth season of eligibility has been approved by the NCAA. The tight end missed the entire 2014 season after sustaining a torn ACL during summer camp last August.  He also took a redshirt for his true freshman season in 2012 after tearing an ACL a first time.

The waiver means that, including 2015, Anyanwu will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.

The 6-4, 239-pound Anyanwu has played in exactly one game for the Gophers, the 2013 season opener against Western Illinois. Despite his lack of experience or receptions at this level, and despite the injuries, Anyanwu is viewed as one of the favorites to replace Williams at tight end.

To buttress that potential front-runner status, Anyanwu had entered camp last year as Williams’ primary backup prior to his latest injury.

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Texas OL Darius James to reportedly seek transfer

Darius James

As first reported by Jason Suchomel of Orangebloods.com and then confirmed by just about everyone else in Austin, Texas offensive lineman Darius James is leaving the team.

A native of Killeen, Texas, James was rated the No. 1 guard and No. 65 overall player in the 2013 class by Rivals.com.

He redshirted in 2013 and then saw action in six games as a redshirt freshman in 2014, starting two, including a 482-yard explosion in a loss to Oklahoma.

He missed the bulk of November and the Longhorns’ Texas Bowl loss to Arkansas after suffering a season-ending knee injury.

An expected starter in 2015, James missed spring ball rehabbing his knee. Head coach Charlie Strong also said he “had some work to do academically.”

(Photo credit: Texas athletics)

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Report: Record 42 bowls approved for 2015-16 season

Valero Alamo Bowl - Kansas State v UCLA Getty Images

Do you and 10 friends have college eligibility remaining? Do you have access to football equipment? If so, you could be in line for a bowl trip this winter.

ESPN’s Brett McMurphy – the Bob Woodward of the bowl industry – reported Tuesday night the NCAA had rubber-stamped three new bowls into existence for this season.

My math tells me 42 multiplied by two equals 84 teams, which means more than 65 percent of FBS will be bowling after this season.

For those of you who believe 42 is too many bowl games: rejoice. The number could have been higher. McMurphy reported last month that Little Rock, Ark., was also considering applying for a bowl game.

While ESPN would be a good bet to televise the new games – they own the TV rights to all but the Sun Bowl, and own a number of games outright – the Austin Business Journal reported last month Austin Sports Commission representatives had meetings with Fox and planned to meet with CBS. McMurphy reported the Tucson game is expected to be televised by CBS Sports Network.

The Cure Bowl (Orlando) will be televised by CBS Sports Network on Dec. 19, McMurphy reported.

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