Air Force, Army and Navy football will once again go on as scheduled this weekend starting with Thursday night’ game between Air Force and San Diego State. The ongoing government shutdown initially threatened games involving the service academy programs, but all three played last weekend as scheduled. Now it appears football will go on as planned through the end of the month regardless of the status of the shutdown.
On Thursday Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made a decision that will allow football and other sports to continue this weekend and through the end of October. At some point later this month the situation will be re-evaluated if necessary to determine what will happen to athletic activities moving in to November. According to a report by the Associated Press, Pentagon lawyers and military leaders could have issued fines if games were cancelled.
The issue regarding the service academy football programs and their ability to play games despite the shutdown is focused on the use of government funds. Because none of the academies use government funds to play their football games, they are allowed to continue playing. Much of the funding to support the athletics department, and thus football operations, comes from outside of government sources.
Surely this all provides for headaches those involved with managing the football programs at our nation’s service academies. That means the people behind the scenes, such as athletic directors, anyone involved with game day management or travel plans and more. All of this is not likely to have much of an impact on the players, who for the most part are going about their routines when it concerns football. The coaches may have a little bit of an adjustment to their routines, but ultimately this is all out of their hands as well. While this does provide a real world economic angle to what is going on this season at Army, Air Force and Navy, it continues to have little impact to football until a point comes where games are being scratched.
Having contracts to games actually helps the cause for the games to continue to be played. Backing out of games could add up in cancellation fees for all three programs. The last thing anyone in the Pentagon would want to do is cause any further deficits by preventing these football games from being played. If the shutdown lingers though, it would not be unrealistic to see a discussion over whether or not the annual Army-Navy Game should be postponed. But even that is far from a likely scenario. The last time the rivalry game was not played was in 1928 and 1929 and that was because the two academies could not agree on player eligibility rules for the game. Not even World War II prevented the Army-Navy Game from being played, although the first World War did.
In addition to Air Force’s Thursday night game, Army will host Eastern Michigan and Navy travels to Duke this weekend.
The Michigan Wolverines may have their new starting quarterback. Shea Patterson, after a drawn-out battle for eligibility this season, will be eligible to play for the Wolverines this fall. According to a report from The Detroit News, Patterson has been granted a transfer waiver from the NCAA after the NCAA, Michigan and Ole Miss came to terms on an agreement to allow for Patterson to become eligible.
From The Detroit News report;
An agreement has been reached among the NCAA, Michigan and Ole Miss, according to the source, and with the completion of some paperwork, Patterson will be eligible to play this fall.
The source requested anonymity because an official announcement has not been made, but that announcement is expected soon.
A Michigan official said Thursday night the athletic department has “no new information on a final decision from the NCAA.”
Ole Miss had been holding up the transfer process for Patterson because the school did not accept Patterson’s reason for wanting to transfer from the Rebels to Michigan. Frustrated with the process, Patterson ripped Ole Miss and former head coach Hugh Freeze. With Ole Miss blocking the transfer for Patterson, the former Ole Miss quarterback had been hanging in limbo with Michigan with no idea if he would be cleared to play this fall for the Wolverines or if he would have to sit out a season due to typical NCAA transfer rules.
Because Ole Miss was placed on probation amid scandal, Patterson sought a transfer after feeling he had been misled and lied to by Freeze and Ole Miss. Now at Michigan, Patterson can immediately begin focusing on competing for the starting job at quarterback for Jim Harbaugh and Michigan. Given how much Michigan could stand to improve at the position, Patterson could give the Wolverines a much-needed boost this fall.
A formal announcement on Patterson’s status at Michigan is expected to be made once the legal paperwork is completed between the NCAA, Michigan, and Ole Miss.
A year ago, Michigan State linebacker Jon Reschke was on the move out of East Lansing. However, perhaps time has healed enough wounds to see Reschke return to the Spartans. Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is leaving the door open for that possibility, but Reschke’s fate with the program may be left in the hands of his former teammates.
Reschke never found another program to transfer to for the 2017 season and has since undergone ACL surgery. He would need to get a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA to continue playing college football, but if he does, then Dantonio says he may welcome Reschke back if his current players decide to welcome him back.
“I’ve talked to our football team about it,” Dantonio said, according to MLive.com. “That’s our football team’s decision on that one. I think there’s certain things that you go through relative to your football team so that decision will get made as we go forward. I think it’s more important to talk to our players about that, if and when that happens.”
Football coaches allowing team members to determine the fate of a player that has fallen out of the good graces of the program is nothing new, and considering the circumstances surrounding Reschke’s departure from the program, this seems like a logical decision. Dantonio is allowing the players to determine whether or not they want to give someone who lost control a second chance rather than bring a guy who was perceived to be a bad egg back into the program without testing the waters within the locker room.
It took just one season for Jeff Brohm to convince Purdue he was the right man for the job (well, since the school hired him, at least). Now, Brohm has two more years coaching the Boilermakers lined up after the school tacked on a two-year contract extension. The extended contract now runs through the 2024 season, providing some nice job security for the coach that has already helped to reshape the Purdue football program.
“This extension is a reflection of how pleased we are with Jeff’s leadership of our football program,” Purdue athletics director Mike Bobinski said in a released statement. “He has brought renewed energy to our campus, revived our fan base and alumni, and made Purdue relevant once again in the college football landscape. With the success of last season as a foundation, we have tremendous optimism about the future of Purdue football.”
Purdue went 7-6 in Brohm’s first year as the head coach of the Boilermakers to mark the first winning season in West Lafayette, Indiana since 2011. Purdue won a total of nine games in the previous four seasons under Brohm’s predecessor, Darrell Hazell. The 2017 season ended with Purdue’s first bowl victory since the 2011 season.
As the season went along, Purdue saw an increase in fan support on game day with an average of 13,433 more fans per home game (it’s worth noting the Purdue home schedule included games against Michigan, Nebraska, and in-state rival Indiana; Purdue also played a season opener in Indianapolis against Lamar Jackson and Louisville). It may still take some time to get Purdue in a position where it can be any sort of threat in the Big Ten, but the renewed energy around the program was noticeable last fall.
Notre Dame cornerback Nick Watkins will be playing somewhere else this fall. Watkins announced, via Twitter, he will be leaving the Irish behind in search of a new program to complete his college football career.
As a graduate transfer, Watkins will be eligible to play with any new program this fall.
“When I decided to attend Notre Dame, my primary goal was to earn a degree from this prestigious university, and I’m proud to say that I’ll achieve that goal,” Watkins said in his statement. “With that being said, I’ll search for a new school to attend for my last year of college football.”
Last season Watkins appeared in 12 games for the Irish and recorded 21 solo tackles and seven assisted tackles. He also broke up eight passes and recorded an interception. Watkins played as a backup for Notre Dame and likely would have played a similar role this fall if he stayed in South Bend, but the former four-star recruit has potential to land a starting job in the right situation.