Bo Pelini

Pelini pens letter of apology, thanks to Husker fans

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When it comes to worst… weeks… ever, Bo Pelini’s ranks right up there, football-wise.

Last Saturday, Nebraska coughed up an 18-point lead — at home, no less — en route to an embarrassing double-digit loss to a very good UCLA team. Shortly thereafter, a former Cornhusker great very publicly called out Pelini’s defensive coaching staff, with Pelini responding in kind.

A couple of days later, a surreptitiously recorded audiotape surfaced in which Pelini was heard strafing “f******* fair-weather fans” with a barrage of f-bombs. The reactions to that release were swift, as were the apologies on all fronts.

After a pair of public mea culpas from Pelini, the university decided that its current head football coach — who some felt should be the former head football coach — would continue on in the role he’s held for the past six-plus seasons with no punitive measures. Ahead of NU’s first home game since all f-bomb hell broke loose, Pelini has again offered up an apology* to a fan base that’s sold out every single home game since early November of 1962.

Here’s the text of the letter, in its entirety:

There is no better time than right now for me to personally thank you for your support of Nebraska Athletics and Nebraska Football.
This past week has obviously been a difficult one for many people associated with the University of Nebraska and our football program. I wanted to take this opportunity to say I regret the comments that I made in private two years ago, and apologize to Husker fans everywhere.

We all make mistakes in our lives, both personally and professionally, and like everyone else I am human. The important thing is to learn from your mistakes and correct them to improve yourself as a person. I hope you can see that I have done that and continue to strive to improve each day.

Most importantly, I want all of you to know that my comments in 2011 were not in any way representative of my true feelings about our great fans and donors here at Nebraska. The time, energy, money and passion you invest in our football program and all of our athletic programs is second to none.

It is an honor to lead our football team into Memorial Stadium in front of more than 91,000 fans for each home game. It never ceases to amaze me how many of you show up on the road, no matter where we travel. That type of fan support makes a difference and certainly does not go unnoticed.

On the field, we have the opportunity to be a good football team. Last week’s game wasn’t the result any of us were looking for, but we will bounce back. There is still a lot of football to be played and I like the attitude of this football team.

I appreciate the support of Chancellor Perlman and Shawn Eichorst, and once again the support that all of you provide for our athletic programs. Your support makes it possible for student-athletes, coaches and staff to have a great experience at Nebraska, and provides us with every opportunity to succeed.

Thank you and Go Big Red!

Bo Pelini

(*Neil Cornrich, PR genius extraordinaire with a grammatical game that puts most other agents to shame.)

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.