In late September, it was announced that the NCAA had decided to ease the scholarship restrictions slapped on the Penn State football program as part of the historic sanctions meted out in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
That, though, may not be the last time the university sees some relief.
George Mitchell, who was hired by the NCAA as an independent “integrity monitor,” met with Penn State trustees Friday and while no further reductions are imminent, he could recommend that be the case upon the release of his next report next September if the university continues its “quality response” to the Plan for Continuous Improvement.
It was Mitchell who recommended the initial reduction of a portion of the penalties. As was the case in that first round of reduction, any relief would have to be signed off on by the NCAA and Big Ten.
While Mitchell declined to discuss specific penalties that could be in line for a reduction, the one that makes the most sense would be the bowl ban.
The Nittany Lions are in the second year of a four-year ban on postseason play. If Mitchell makes the recommendation next September, the program could potentially see at least a year sliced off that sanction, which would mean the Nittany Lions would be eligible for the postseason — including the Big Ten championship game — following the 2014 regular season rather than the 2015 season.
A Mitchell recommendation to take a year off the bowl ban would likely, in essence, be rubber-stamped by both the NCAA and the school’s conference. How the former would respond to a Mitchell recommendation of cutting the ban in half is unclear.
One of the more infamous figures from this year’s national championship game has officially found a new home.
Earlier this week, it was reported that linebacker Mekhi Brown, who drew a personal foul for punching a Georgia player in the title game shortly before going after a ‘Bama staffer on the sidelines, would be transferring to Tennessee State. Friday, the FCS school confirmed that Brown is one of four transfers from FBS programs who have been added to its football roster.
Prior to his departure, Brown had appeared in 12 games in 2017 as a redshirt sophomore for the Crimson Tide.
The other three FBS transfers added are linebacker Christion Abercrombie (Illinois), quarterback Demry Croft (Minnesota) and defensive back John Robinson IV (UConn). As TSU is an FCS program, all four players will be eligible to play immediately in 2018.
Brown’s nationally-televised outburst notwithstanding, Croft is actually the most noteworthy of the additions. In his last year with the Gophers, Croft started the last six games of the regular season. Perhaps the most noteworthy moment of his Gophers career, though, was posting a negative quarterback rating in a mid-November loss to Northwestern two weeks before he decided to transfer.
Croft will have two seasons of eligibility left.
Abercrombie, who has three years of eligibility, played in 11 games in 2017 for the Fighting Illini. Robinson played in five games last season for the Huskies, and he too has three seasons of eligibility at his disposal.
Nearly three weeks after leaving Miami, Darrion Owens has found himself a new college football home.
Friday, Houston confirmed that it was officially added Owens to second-year head coach Major Applewhite‘s roster. As the linebacker joins the Cougars as a graduate transfer from The U, he can immediately bolster UH’s defense in 2018.
This coming season marks the Florida native’s final season of eligibility.
Owens joined the Hurricanes as a three-star 2014 recruit. 247Sports.com had him rated as the No. 30 outside linebacker in the country.
After playing in 12 games as a true freshman, Owens opened 2015 as a starter but suffered a season-ending ACL injury in Week 2. The past two seasons, Owens played in 25 games. In 13 games in 2017, he was credited with 35 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss.
In announcing Owens’ transfer from The U, head coach Mark Richt stated that, after the two had talked, “he informed me that he feels his best opportunity to get the most playing time would be at another school.”
Cal lost one of their top running backs to a season-ending injury last year. Now, they’ve lost him for good.
Tre Watson took to Twitter late Friday night to announce that, “after many months of discussion with my family and lots of prayers,” he has decided to transfer from the Bears. He will be pursuing a master’s degree elsewhere, meaning he can play for another FBS school in 2018.
The upcoming season will be Watson’s final year of collegiate eligibility.
In a Week 2 win over Weber State this past season, Watson sustained a serious knee injury and didn’t play the rest of the year. Prior to the injury, Watson’s 83 yards in less than five quarters worth of work this season were leading the team.
In 2016, Watson was second on the Bears in rushing yards with 709 and led the team with four rushing touchdowns. he finishes the Cal portion of his playing career with 1,390 yards and eight touchdowns on 274 carries.
Matt Rhule has officially been reunited with one of his former assistant coaches.
Baylor Friday confirmed that Rhule has hired Frisman Jackson to be his next wide receivers coach. In 2015 and 2016, Jackson served as Rhule’s receivers coach and passing-game coordinator at Temple.
This past season, Jackson was the receivers coach for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans.
“We are blessed to get Fris fresh off a successful playoff run at Tennessee,” Rhule said in a statement. “After having worked with him before, I know there is no one better suited to take our receivers group to the next level. His experience as both a college and pro player and coach gives him a unique perspective on developing our young men as elite football players, great students and quality men. His ability to teach and develop receivers is second to none. We are excited to welcome Fris, Lindsey, Anya and Forrest to the Baylor family.”
Jackson, who spent six seasons in the NFL as a wide receiver, has previously spent time on FBS coaching staffs at North Carolina State (2013-14), Northern Illinois (2012) and Akron (2010-11). At each of those stops, Jackson was a receivers coach.
“I’m very excited to be back with Coach Rhule,” Jackson said. “I had a great time working with him at Temple. He’s a smart coach, he’s a fair coach and he’s a true family guy. I know he is going to do things the right way.
“Getting back with coaches I have worked with before makes the transition easy and smooth. Those two years at Temple were some of my best years as a coach. We had a great run and I’m looking forward to doing the same things at Baylor.”