Late last month, Vanderbilt dismissed four players thought to be connected to an alleged sex crimes case at a campus dorm. Given the nature of the situation, none of the names were released at the time.
That has since changed. In a news release, Vanderbilt announced that Brandon Banks, Cory Batey, Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie and Brandon Vandenburg will not be a part of the 2013 roster. Officially, the university cites the decision based on a “violation of team rules.”
The release also pointed to the updated roster for the 2013 season.
Below is the statement from head coach James Franklin:
“For student athletes at Vanderbilt, it is a privilege, not a right, to be a part of the program. My coaching staff and I make sure every member of our team understands that. We insist on high standards of personal responsibility and integrity, and there are consequences when those standards are not met.
“In dealing with this matter, the Commodores football team will continue to hold itself to the same high standards of responsibility and integrity Vanderbilt demands of all of our students.
“We are cooperating fully with the Nashville Police Department and have pledged not to say or do anything that could interfere with its work or compromise the rights of anyone involved. We have not prejudged anyone’s guilt or innocence.”
Banks and Batey were redshirt freshmen defensive backs who did not see playing time last season. McKenzie was a three-star wide receiver in Vanderbilt’s 2012 class and Vandenburg, a tight end, joined the Commodores in 2013 as a junior college transfer.
Franklin will be present for SEC Media Days this Thursday.
And now we know a little more of the rest of the story, and it’s potentially serious for one member of the USC football program.
Monday night, Clay Helton revealed that Osa Masina has been suspended for his team’s season opener against Alabama this weekend. The head coach gave no specific reason or reasons for the sanctions being placed on the linebacker, although a school official subsequently described it as an unspecified violation of team rules.
However, the FOX affiliate out of Salt Lake City is reporting that Masina, a Utah native, is being investigated over sexual assault allegations. The probe stems from an alleged incident or incidents that allegedly took place over the summer in Salt Lake County.
From the television station’s report:
Cottonwood Heights Police have confirmed the ongoing investigation but have not released details about the alleged crime.
Cottonwood Heights PD, with the help of the Los Angeles Police Dept., served a search warrant last week at a USC practice facility in Los Angeles.
At this point, no charges have been filed. All questions to Masina’s parents were referred to the defense attorney representing their son.
Masina (pictured, left) was a five-star 2015 recruit who was the top-rated player at any position in the state of Utah. He played in 12 games as a true freshman last season and was credited with 25 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss, with the highlight of his first year as a Trojan coming on a fumble return for a touchdown in the season-opening win over Arkansas State.
On the preseason depth chart released a week ago, Masina was listed as a backup to starting inside linebacker Michael Hutchings.
The roller coaster career of Dylan Sumner-Gardner at Boise State is on a downward trajectory yet again.
Tuesday, Boise announced that Sumner-Gardner (pictured, No. 29) has been suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season. According to the school’s release, the suspension stems from the defensive back “failing to meet NCAA football academic eligibility requirements.”
Sumner-Gardner will kiss games against Louisiana-Lafayette, Washington State, Oregon State and Utah State. Provided the current timeline holds, Sumner-Gardner would be eligible to return for the New Mexico game Oct. 7.
After playing in 13 games as a true freshman, Sumner-Gardner started the first four games last year before going down with a season-ending ankle injury. In November he was arrested on a misdemeanor drug charge, then didn’t travel to BSU’s Poinsettia Bowl win over Northern Illinois in late December because of what was described as an unspecified violation of team rules. His status for the upcoming season has been a question mark throughout the offseason.
Sumner-Gardner, a four-star 2014 prospect who was the Broncos’ highest-rated recruit in that class, had been a projected starter at safety; with the junior sidelined, Cameron Hartsfield is listed as the starter instead.
Sadly, a non-football health issue will bring to an end Josh Mabin‘s football-playing career.
On his personal Twitter account, Mabin announced that he will be forced to retire from the sport due to a diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The Mayo Clinic’s website describes the disease as one in which “the heart muscle (myocardium) becomes abnormally thick (hypertrophied),” with the thickened heart muscle making it harder for the heart to pump blood. The condition could cause “problems in the heart’s electrical system, resulting in life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).”
Oklahoma State has yet to publicly address the linebacker’s status with the program moving forward.
It’s likely Mabin will remain on scholarship at OSU, but won’t count against the Cowboys’ 85-man limit.
A four-star 2014 recruit, Mabin was rated as the No. 18 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 54 player at any position in the state of Texas. After redshirting as a true freshman, Mabin played in five games last season. He was credited with four tackles in that limited action.
Mabin was listed as the backup middle linebacker to starter Chad Whitener on the depth chart OSU released last week.
Facing the best quarterback in the country, Auburn will need all hands on deck in the secondary for the opener. Unfortunately for the SEC Tigers, that won’t be the case.
Late last week, Stephen Roberts was arrested following a traffic stop and charged with attempting to elude a police officer and possession of a firearm without a permit. Tuesday, head coach Gus Malzahn confirmed that the defensive back will be suspended for Saturday’s season opener against No. 2 Clemson.
It’s uncertain if Roberts will return for the following Saturday’s game against Arkansas State as Malzahn labeled the suspension “week-to-week.”
Roberts played in 13 games last season, starting the final four games of the year. He was expected to start at one of the safety positions for the Tigers this season.
Both of the charges Roberts is facing are misdemeanors. His first court appearance is currently scheduled for Nov. 17.