Mississippi State Bulldog

NCAA accepts Mississippi State’s self-imposed sanctions

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Yesterday, Mississippi State confirmed a decision on its NCAA case, likely in connection to the recruitment of defensive back Will Redmond, was coming in short order.

Right on cue, the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions released its findings Friday morning.

The NCAA concludes that a university booster — not officially identified but believed to be Robert Denton Herring — provided impermissible benefits to a recruit (Redmond), including cash and use of a car.

“Additionally, the booster and his friend provided a car to the recruit for approximately $2,000 below the actual value of the car,” the release states. “Prior to taking an official visit to a different university, the booster told the recruit that if he did not take the visit, the recruit would be paid $6,000.”

Redmond, who did not play in 2012, will be suspended for the first five games of the 2013 season and is required to pay back the $2,660 in benefits he received.

The release also notes that a former assistant coach (Angelo Mirando) became aware of the violations, but did not report them to university officials. The NCAA also says the coach provided false information during two interviews by denying knowledge of the violations. Byron De’Vinner, a Nashville 7-on-7 coach, told Yahoo! Sports last year that he believed Mirando was the only MSU coach who knew of the violations.

Mirando, who stepped down for “personal issues” last August, has been cited with unethical conduct and given a one-year show-cause. Should Mirando be hired by another school within the next year, both he and the program must appear before the COI to determine if the new school should be subject to show-cause procedures. The NCAA states that because Mirando is not employed by a member school, he was not required to appear at the infractions hearing, but did anyway to take responsibility for his actions.

Mirando’s show-cause and a two-year probation period, effective immediately to June 6, 2015, were NCAA-imposed sanctions. The COI also accepted the following self-imposed sanctions from MSU:

  • A reduction of the number of official visits to 39 from the four-year average of 41 for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years.
  • A reduction of the number of recruiting days during the spring evaluation period by four, from 168 to 164, for the 2013-14 academic year.
  • A reduction in the number of total scholarships by two, from 85 to 83, for the 2012-13 academic year.
  • A reduction in the number of initial and total scholarships by two, from 25 to 23 and 85 to 83, respectively, for the 2013-14 academic year.
  • For the first two conference contests of the 2013 season, complimentary admissions to football recruits will be prohibited.
  • Disassociation of the booster by the university’s athletics program, which the university took care of last year.

The takeaway? It pays to cooperate with the NCAA — so to speak. The fact this case went before the COI results in a “major violations” label, though the sanctions are anything but major.

WATCH: Duke surprises walk-on DE Danny Doyle with scholarship

DURHAM, NC - SEPTEMBER 26:  Rain on the helmet of the Duke Blue Devils during their game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Wallace Wade Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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College football programs periodically post videos surprising walk-ons with scholarships, and it’s just the darndest thing. Every time a new video released, a dust storm happens to descend upon CFT’s remote offices.

This time around Duke walk-on defensive end Danny Doyle received this proverbial pot of gold, and head coach David Cutcliffe presented him with the scholarship after conspiring with the young lad’s parents.

Police report details how forklift ran over Michigan RB Drake Johnson

ANN ARBOR, MI - APRIL 01: Drake Johnson #20 of the Michigan Wolverines runs the ball during the Michigan Football Spring Game on April 1, 2016 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Jim Harbaugh called it a “miracle” Wolverines running back Drake Johnson was not seriously harmed when he was run over by a forklift in April, and a police report unearthed Tuesday detailed exactly how it happened.

According to the document obtained by the Detroit News, a forklift operator identified named Matt Johnson was operating his vehicle at Michigan’s indoor track facility “and felt a bump, stating he thought he ran over a starting block, when he saw Drake Johnson, a student-athlete, roll from under the forklift. And M. Johnson realized he had ran over Drake Johnson who was sitting on the track floor stretching.”

The operator only realized he ran over the running back when he rolled out from under the vehicle.

Johnson was examined by a Michigan athletic trainer at the scene, then again at Schembechler Hall before being transported to U-M Hospital’s emergency room by athletic staff.

“All I can say is thank god,” Johnson later tweeted.

“I can tell you this, it would have killed a lesser man, but he is blue twisted steel, very flexible and amazing,” Harbaugh said on the call. “But it’s one of those miraculous things and he is doing well.”

“It’s a miracle right up there with Easter. Just thanking God he is all right, that’s my thoughts on it.”

Pac-12 to tamper down on select #Pac12AfterDark kickoffs

TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 07:  Pac-12 Commissioner, Larry Scott stands in front of the Stanford Cardinal as they celebrate the Pac 12 Championship after defeating the Arizona State Sun Devils 38-14 at Sun Devil Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Tempe, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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When you allow television networks to pay you $3 billion to broadcast football games and happen to be located on the West Coast, you’re going to pay for it in the form of late kickoffs. ESPN and Fox want eyeballs on their networks as long as possible on fall Saturdays, and they’re not putting SEC games on at 10 p.m. Eastern time.

So, naturally, the Pac-12 drew those time slots.

And they absolutely hated it.

Remember, this is a conference that only recently joined the 21st century. For decades, the conference was happy with its 10 teams, its football games played on Saturday afternoons and its basketball schedule diced into a handy Thursday-Saturday format. Larry Scott was hired in 2009 to modernize the league while increasing the bottom line, and part of that required late kickoffs.

But on Tuesday the conference announced it has worked with its television partners to reduce the number of late kickoffs. ESPN and Fox won’t change their late slots, but the conference has received clearance to play Pac-12 Network games in previously exclusive windows of 2 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. local time. The change is expected to reduce the late night kickoffs by “up to” four games.

“The Pac-12 has some of the most loyal fans in college athletics and we appreciate our television partners working with us on this important issue for fans,” Oregon AD Rob Mullens said in a statement. “The increased exposure and revenue from our contracts with ESPN and FOX Sports have been instrumental to our success, but we continue to work hard to minimize as much as possible the negative impact late start times have on our fans who travel great distances to see our teams in person.”

Additionally, the conference announced it has instituted a field storming fine structure of $25,000 for a first offense, $50,000 for a second offense and $100,000 for a third offense. The SEC has a similar structure on its books.

“The Pac-12 Council carefully considered this policy and its impact on our fans who loyally support our teams,” Cal AD Mike Williams said. “This enhanced policy underscores the importance our universities place on the safety and welfare of our student-athletes, officials and fans, and will allow us to educate staffs and fans on procedures going forward.”

Finally, Pac-12 Network will start broadcasting eSports contests between member schools. Clear your schedule now.

Washington promotes Jennifer Cohen to athletics director

jennifer cohen
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When Scott Woodward left his post as Washington’s athletics director for the same job at Texas A&M in January, the Huskies promoted Jennifer Cohen to be the program’s interim AD.

Washington spent the next four months searching far and wide for Woodward’s replacement, and ended up finding her already sitting in Woodward’s old chair.

“I am very pleased to announce Jen’s appointment,” Washington president Ana Mari Cauce said in a statement. “She has all the skills and energy to provide exceptional leadership for Husky athletics. Her years of experience leading its fundraising program, along with her direct involvement overseeing football, provide a strong foundation for assuming overall leadership for the department.  This is the right time for her, and I look forward to a very exciting time for our students, coaches and fans of Husky athletics.”   

The Tacoma native joined the Huskies’ athletics department in 1998 as an assistant director of development and eventually rose to handle all of UW’s fundraising efforts. Before becoming interim AD, Cohen also oversaw the Huskies’ football and baseball programs.

“I am humbled, honored, and extremely thankful for this opportunity,” said Cohen. “The University of Washington has been part of my life for nearly two decades, and I believe our department is poised to accomplish great things. Together, we will work to positively impact our student-athletes, inspire a championship culture, and build and unite our community. I believe there is no better place to achieve these things than at Washington, and I can’t wait to get started.”

From a football standpoint, Cohen inherits a program on more stable footing than it’s been in a decade and a half — and considering the turmoil the Rose Bowl-bound 2001 Huskies experienced off the field, one may have to go back to the national championship days under Don James in the early 1990’s to find a rosier time for Huskies football. Chris Petersen is entrenched as head coach and has Washington positioned to be the nation’s top sleeper heading into this fall, and Husky Stadium recently underwent $50 million in renovations that Cohen herself fundraised.

Cohen also arrives to the position with Petersen’s enthusiastic approval.