With Sports Illustrated’s five-part investigative series on its football program coming to a close, Oklahoma State has decided to appoint an ex-NCAA official to conduct an independent review of the allegations.
The school announced on Monday that Charles Smrt will lead the effort. Smrt is an 18-year veteran of the NCAA’s enforcement staff and currently runs a consulting firm specializing in compliance audits.
OSU president Burns Hargis made it clear he is taking the charges very seriously:
“While the articles do not implicate any current coaches or players to have direct involvement in any alleged misconduct, we have a responsibility to confront these disturbing reports head on and with complete transparency,” Hargis said.
It is also clear that Smrt has the full backing of Hargis.
“He has asked me to pursue the facts wherever they may lead. I assured him that I will do so, and that I will conduct the review with care and urgency,” Smrt said.
The alleged transgressions occurred between 2001 and 2011 and involve cash from boosters, grade changing and other lurid actions. If the investigation by Smrt truly does have teeth, it will get to the bottom of this and give OSU a chance to clean up its act.
The more transparency, the better.
The most productive player on the defensive side of the ball during Western Michigan’s breakout 2016 season is moving on.
The football program announced via its official Twitter account that Robert Spillane has asked for and been granted a release from his scholarship. A rising true senior, it’s unclear if the linebacker will be leaving WMU as a graduate transfer.
If he is, he’ll be eligible to play at another FBS program in 2017. If not, he’d have to sit out the upcoming season before using his final season of eligibility in 2018.
Last season, Spillane led the Broncos in tackles with 111 — next closest was Asantay Brown‘s 95 — while he was second in tackles for loss with 10.5 and tied for third in sacks with three. His three interceptions were tied for second as well. The last of those three picks came at the end of the MAC championship game that helped seal WMU’s win over Ohio.
The past three seasons, Spillane started 28 games for the Broncos. He started all 14 games last season.
In early November, a right shoulder injury knocked Brent Stockstill out for the remainder of Middle Tennessee State’s season. Four months later, a procedure on the other side of the same area has sidelined the starting quarterback yet again.
MTSU announced Tuesday that Stockstill will miss the whole of spring practice, which is set to kick off March 15. The rising junior recently underwent surgery on his left (throwing) shoulder.
The procedure is not expected to have any impact on his availability for the upcoming season.
“The doctors just went in and cleaned some stuff up in his shoulder but he should be ready to go this summer,” Rick Stockstill, MTSU’s head coach and the player’s father, said in a statement. “He will be held out of spring drills.”
After just two seasons as the starter, Stockstill already owns school records in touchdown passes (61), 300-yard passing games (14), 400-yard passing games (2) and passing yards per game (303.3).
Idaho may be bolting for the FCS after this coming season but they’re still in the FBS for now, which makes them the latest to trigger a resetting of the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker to double zeroes.
According to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, redshirt freshman Charles Akanno was arrested Sunday on a charge of receiving/possessing stolen property. The charge stems from an alleged Feb. 20 shoplifting incident involving two other males, including a former Vandals football player.
As a result, the linebacker has been indefinitely suspended from the football program.
“We have high expectations for every member of our program,” head coach Paul Petrino said in a statement. “It is an honor and a privilege to represent the University of Idaho. Until this matter is resolved by the courts, Charles will be suspended from all team activities.”
A three-star 2016 signee, only three other members of that year’s class for the Vandals were rated higher.
Akanno took a redshirt as a true freshman. He has been expected to compete for a starting job in 2017.
Brian Bridgewater appears willing to attempt to become the latest student-athlete to make the transition from the hardwood to the gridiron.
A basketball player at LSU, Bridgewater (pictured, No. 20) confirmed Monday that he will look to make the transition to football for the Tigers this fall. While Bridgewater, who is scheduled to graduate in August, has spoken to unnamed LSU staffers about the transition, he has yet to speak to head coach Ed Orgeron regarding any move.
Based on his comments, it appears he might look to another football program if LSU falls through.
“That’s a possibility, if things go according to how they’re supposed to,” Bridgewater said of joining the Tigers football team. “Hopefully that’s an option. If not I’ll have to see what door opens for me.”
A 6-5, 282-pound power forward in basketball, Bridgewater would likely make his football hay as a tight end. He last played football in 2012 at the high school level.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune writes that “[d]espite only playing one season of high school ball, Bridgewater was ranked as the No. 27 tight end in the country by 247 Sports.”
Bridgewater is expected to finish out the 2016-17 college basketball season before turning his focus to football.