Regardless of what you think of how it ended — or whether it was really an elaborate Onion ruse — the Johnny Manziel case was officially closed yesterday afternoon.
In a joint press release, Texas A&M and the NCAA announced that, while the quarterback has been declared ineligible, he will be reinstated provided he meets three conditions, one of which involves sitting out the first half of the season opener against Rice. A&M athletic director Eric Hyman’s statement expressed thanks to the NCAA for “not only for its fairness and professionalism throughout this process, but also for the expediency of its actions.”
Not so surprisingly, Manziel’s family’s statement doesn’t include the letters “N” “C” “A” “A” grouped together to form The Association’s acronym. Instead, in a statement released exclusively to AggieSports.com, the family of the reigning Heisman winner expressed their thanks to the university and the powerful legal team both sides had assembled.
“The Manziel family thanks Texas A&M University for its significant efforts on behalf of their son, and stands united with Texas A&M. The Manziel family sends a special thank you to their attorneys, Jim Darnell, Brad Beckworth and Jeff Angelovich, for their tireless determination on behalf of Johnny. We are looking forward to seeing Johnny back on the field against Rice.”
In the release, which followed an investigation that lasted less than a month, it was “confirmed… that there is no evidence that quarterback Johnny Manziel received money in exchange for autographs, based on currently available information and statements by Manziel.” There was, however, found to be an inadvertent violation of an NCAA bylaw that puts the onus on a player to prevent his likeness/image/autograph from being used for commercial purposes, a notion that’s ripped to shreds by the great Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports.
California will hire former Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter to serve as its defensive coordinator, according to multiple reports out Monday.
DeRuyter, of course, was the Bulldogs’ head coach through mid-October, where he was let go after starting with a 1-7 record. Prior to that, he led Fresno State to the 2013 Mountain West championship and shares of the MW West Division crown in 2012 and ’14. (And then Derek Carr graduated.)
A longtime defensive coordinator, DeRuyter previously served in that same post at Ohio, Navy, Nevada, Air Force and Texas A&M.
Gorley writes DeRuyter will be asked to transition the Bears from a 4-3 to a 3-4 alignment, a task he’s successfully completed in the past. He would take over a defense that finished last season ranking 122nd in yards per play allowed and second-to-last in scoring.
The NCAA is going to shut down the ability to take a football team off campus during spring break starting in August, so Jim Harbaugh is making sure his program gets one more trip squeezed in. This one is going to require a passport.
This April, Harbaugh is taking the Wolverines to Rome for a “week of education and spring drills.” This is a direct response to criticisms Michigan faced when moving spring football practices to Bradenton, Florida last spring, nestled right in ACC and SEC recruiting grounds. The practices at the home of AS Roma, an Italian soccer club. What’s different about this one is the trip will come at the end of the semester instead of over spring break. Harbaugh just found a loophole.
“We were looking to provide our student-athletes with a great educational, cultural and international football experience,” Harbaugh said in a released statement. “I am excited that our student-athletes will be able to take advantage of this amazing educational opportunity, be exposed to another culture, and be ambassadors for the United States and the University of Michigan during our visit to Rome.”
Last week, the NCAA’s Division 1 Council voted to ban off-campus trips over scheduled off days from the academic calendar. But because this trip is not taking place over a spring break, the trip can, in theory, be used every year.
Just think, if Michigan had just gone to Rome last year instead of Florida, perhaps the feathers from the ACC and SEC would not have been so ruffled.
Harbaugh in Rome. This should be fun to follow.
San Diego State is already locked in to continue playing games in Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego through the 2020 season, which may be perfect timing. A move to build a brand new Major League Soccer stadium is projected to open its doors in 2020, and the plan is to have room for San Diego State to share the stadium as well.
As detailed by a report from The San Diego Union-Tribune, FS Investors is an investment group that owns the rights to apply for a MLS franchise in San Diego. While still working out the finer details of their bid, but the company is reportedly planning to purchase the land containing Qualcomm Stadium, demolish the existing stadium and use that land to develop a new venue that could seat between 20,000 and 30,000 fans. At the same time, other land would be set aside in order to reserve for a potential NFL stadium in the event the city makes a bid to lure the National Football League back to the city after the Chargers packed up and left for Los Angeles.
The firm also hopes it can attract developers to add housing and commercial options that will target San Diego State students, and perhaps add to the environment around a soccer and college football stadium for a more enjoyable game day experience for both.
An application for an MLS franchise is due January 31 and the firm hopes to receive approval from City Council without having to rely on a public vote.
In an ideal world, every FBS program would have its own place to call home, but the reality is a number of schools must work out lease agreements to play home game sin NFL stadiums. USF is reportedly set to continue renting space in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa for the next six years.
According to a report from Tampa Bay Times, USF will not have to pay a rental fee and will just have to handle costs of operation on game day. In addition, USF will have to pay a ticket surcharge of eight percent off the sales of tickets, with a cap of $2.50 for each ticket sold. USF also has an opt-out clause if it desires.
Under the terms of the agreement between USF and the Tampa Sports Authority, USF must play at least six games in Raymond James Stadium each season. USF will play seven home games this upcoming season, including conference games against Cincinnati, Houston, Temple and Tulsa. Other home games will be played against Illinois, UMass and Stony Brook.
USF continues to evaluate long-term plans that could lead to the construction of an on-campus football facility, but for the next six years, it will call Raymond James Stadium home.