Johnny Football graces the cover of Time magazine

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And, no, it has nothing to do with anything negative.  Unless you happen to be the NCAA or certain conference commissioners, of course.

As if he hadn’t already transcended the game of college football enough, Johnny Manziel has now found himself gracing the cover of the most recent issue of the iconic Time magazine.  The cover featuring Manziel, with the title “It’s time to pay college athletes,” pushes hot-button issues such Syria and Russian president Vladimir Putin to mere footnotes above his Heisman-esque photo.

Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com notes that Manziel is the first college football player on the cover of Time since Notre Dame’s Terry Hanratty and Jim Seymour 47 years ago.

Below is the latest cover of a magazine featuring Manziel, courtesy of Time‘s Twitter feed:

Johnny Manziel Time Cover

As for the substance of the article — which we’ve discussed on this site ad nauseam — you’ll have to buy the magazine to read the piece in its entirety or subscribe online.  The magazine’s website does, though, provide a brief synopsis of what you can expect on an issue that is — right or wrong — simply not going away.  Or, as Time writes, “[c]hange, in some form, is coming to college sports”:

Schools and big-time conferences are signing lucrative television deals. Some are even starting their own TV networks, which could be cash cows. But as revenues have expanded over the last decade–and will continue to expand into the next one–a fair share should go to the players. “The rising dollar value of the exploitation of athletes,” says noted Stanford sports economist Roger Noll, “is obscene, is out of control.”

In fairness, college players are compensated, with scholarships that can be worth over $100,000 over four years at some schools. That’s an attractive package. But given the time demands on major college athletes–40 hours per week plus in season–that naturally conflict with education, college should have the option to offer more. Schools could also allow athletes to secure sponsorships–that’s how Olympic athletes capitalize on their abilities. “Lifting the restriction on athlete commercial opportunities is a great step toward compensating them for the value they create,” says Warren Zola, assistant dean of the Carroll School of Management at Boston College and an expert in college sports and business law. “And it doesn’t cost the schools anything.”

Alabama QB Jalen Hurts uses photo of Clemson celebrating title win as motivational phone background

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Nick Saban said last week that the loss to Clemson in the the national championship game earlier this year is one that he’ll never get over, although he didn’t go so far as to compare it to a death in the family. One playing member of Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide team is taking to steps to ensure that he never forgets, either.

Jalen Hurts was the Tide’s talented true freshman starting quarterback who helped lead ‘Bama into the title game and, with a 30-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes left, gave his team a 31-28 lead. That lead was short-lived, however, as Deshaun Watson led his Tigers on an epic 88-yard drive that was capped by his two-yard touchdown pass with just one tick left on the clock for the 35-31 win.

The stunning last-second loss is something that Hurts makes a conscious effort to remind himself of daily as the rising sophomore, as the background on his smartphone, has a picture of Clemson players celebrating their win.

“We’re obviously all on our phones all the time,” Hurts said according to al.com after this past weekend’s spring game. “Every time I unlock it, it’s kind of a reminder. It kind of humbles me and keeps me motivated. …

“It’s not a grudge at all. It’s just something that keeps it on the back of your shoulder like, yeah, it’s still there. Remember why you’re doing it because at the end of the day, the goal for this team is to win the national championship.

Father of former Florida State WR Travis Rudolph killed in accidental shooting

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The father of Florida State wide receiver Travis Rudolph was killed Friday in an accidental shooting, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Monday.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Darryl Rudolph was working on repairs inside a West Palm Beach, Fla., when a gun accidentally fired in an adjacent room, hitting him in the back/neck area. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 55 years old.

The younger Rudolph was Florida State’s leading receiver over the past two seasons before becoming an early-entrant into this week’s NFL Draft. He gained viral notoriety after a photo snapped of him sitting at lunch with an autistic elementary school student hit Facebook.

“When I used to coach and help other kids with football, basketball and sports, Travis was small but he used to pay attention to what I was doing,” the elder Rudolph said in an interview with ESPN last year. “I told them get your education. You can be the best athlete in the world, but without an education, you’re not going very far. That’s what Travis followed through on.”

LSU QB Danny Etling undergoes back surgery

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LSU quarterback Danny Etling has undergone surgery to relieve back pain, the program announced Monday.

“Danny had a minor back procedure this morning and everything went alright,” head coach Ed Orgeron said in a statement (and not in an Arrested Development way).

Etling has played through back pain for months, according to Ross Dellenger from The Advocate, and this procedure should remove that pain.

In a possibly related story, Etling went 4-of-11 for 53 yards in LSU’s spring game.

A transfer from Purdue, Etling appeared in 11 games for the Tigers last season, completing 160-of-269 passes (59.5 percent) for 2,123 yards (7.9 yards per attempt) with 11 touchdowns against five interceptions.

Etling’s recovery from Monday’s procedure is expected to be a short one.

Willie Taggart defends Oregon’s offseason workouts in interview

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Things got off to a rocky start for new Oregon head coach Willie Taggart. Among the issues Taggart was forced to deal with soon after accepting the job of head coach at Oregon was players falling ill during and after offseason workouts.

Three Ducks were hospitalized in January to treat symptoms of rhabdomyolysis, a product of overworking leading to soft tissue and possible kidney damage. Oregon suspended strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde following the hospital treatments to players, and questions about his certification were thrust under a microscope. Despite the unfortunate situation in Eugene, Taggart has defended his program’s workout routine in an interview with Stewart Mandel of FOXSports.com.

“We know we didn’t do anything to try to hurt our kids. We’d done [the same program] everywhere we’ve been and never had a problem,” Taggart explained in the interview. “I think our guys just overworked themselves and didn’t hydrate. … They were trying to impress the new coaches.”

It seems Taggart has been trying to raise the bar at Oregon and find a way to make his new players tougher overall. That is a common strategy for a new coach in a new program, so Taggart’s mission is not unique in that sense.

Maybe it was just a tough physical transition in the approach to workouts after years of Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich running the show. Will this all pay off in the end? Taggart sure hopes so.