Saban addresses D.J. Pettway’s ‘horrible decision,’ return

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It’s not often we devote a single post to a junior college signee, let alone multiple ones. D.J. Pettway, though, is no normal JUCO addition.

The defensive lineman, a four-star Alabama recruit in 2011, was dismissed by the Tide in February of this year after being charged with two felony counts related to the beating and robbery of a UA student.  Two days after Pettway proclaimed he was back with the Tide following a season at the JUCO level, UA confirmed the player’s return. Because of the resulting controversy, the school’s athletic director even felt compelled to release a statement addressing said return.

Absent, though, was a public comment from The Process One. Until now.

Sunday night, Nick Saban addressed the decision to both allow Pettway back into the football program specifically and to the university in general.  And, for posterity, here are the Alabama head coach’s Pettway quotes, by way of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer:

“The university made some things that this particular guy (D.J. Pettway) could do and if he did all those things, they would look at letting him back in school. Based on what he did, based on his punishment and penalty, and based on what was required for him to go through a series of things, the university would make a decision to let him back in school, which he wanted to come back. He did all of those things. The university made a decision that he could come back. We made a decision that we wanted him back. We know D.J. Pettway very well. He certainly made a mistake in terms of what he did. We felt that this one person, because he did the things he was required to do, deserved a second chance.”

“D.J. was never a bad guy when he was here. We never had a lot of problems with him before. He did make a horrible decision to be involved with this incident but his involvement and the severity of his punishment was based on his involvement. Those are the guidelines that were set for him to get an opportunity to come back.”

The incident to which Saban attaches the “horrible decision” label involved three UA football players, including Pettway, accused of “[punching] a student’s head and face and [kicking] him in the ribs and back area.”   The three — Pettway, linebacker Tyler Hayes and defensive back Eddie Williams — were charged with two counts each of felony second-degree robbery, with the charges related to the theft of an Apple laptop as well as a debit card. Running back Brent Calloway was charged with fraudulent use of a credit/debit card that was stolen in the attack.  All four were ultimately dismissed.

According to Saban, Pettway was the only one of the four who “[had the] opportunity” to return.

As for how Pettway wound his way back to Tuscaloosa, Saban acknowledged a potential return was discussed in the immediacy of the lineman’s dismissal.

“I told D.J. when the die was cast and this happened that if he did the things he was supposed to do we would certainly take it into consideration based on how he manages himself and things from now to coming back,” Saban said. “Until the university made the decision to allow him back in school, or cleared us to be able to recruit him, so we thought he could get back in school, we didn’t have any communication with him.”

As Yoda would say, stinks to high Heaven, this one does.

Or, as Mr. Vader once noted, the farce is strong with this one…

NC State adds Division 2 graduate transfer kicker

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It’s possible Dave Doeren‘s life would feel completely different right now if he had a better kicker in 2016.

In this reality, Doeren is 25-26 after four seasons in Raleigh, coming off back-to-back 7-6 seasons following his 8-5 breakthrough of 2014. But if his Wolfpack could kick last year, Doeren is most likely riding high after an 8-4 regular season buoyed by a win over Clemson in Death Valley. Because not only did NC State lose that game on a late field goal whiff, the Pack also suffered a 33-30 loss to East Carolina in which it endured two missed field goals.

NC State’s two kickers combined to hit only 9-of-17 tries last fall, good for 121st nationally, and ranked 104th with a 93.3 percent conversion rate on 45 extra points. And the situation wasn’t getting better this spring.

To rectify that situation, NC State announced the addition of kicker Carson Wise. A graduate transfer from Division II Carson-Newman, Wise will have two years of availability for the Wolfpack.

Wise connected on 21-of-31 field goals and 97-of-101 PATs last season, numbers that, on their face, do not represent massive changes from what NC State posted last season. But Doeren is banking on Wise as a solution for NC State in 2017.

“I’m excited to have Carson join the family,” Doeren said in a statement. “He is a talented player who should be a great addition to our special teams as we look for him to handle our field goal and kickoff duties this fall.”

Arkansas House votes to exempt sporting venues from expanded gun law

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Remember how we talked about it’s impossible to follow sports and ignore politics? Not long after John Swofford released a statement on how a North Carolina law would effect ACC sporting events, the Arkansas legislature passed a bill that will do the same in the SEC.

The Arkansas House voted 71-20 to allow its state colleges and universities to exempt themselves from a law that greatly expands venues permitting concealed-carry handguns. Until the passing of SB724 today, guns would have been permissible inside Razorback Stadium, among other places.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement earlier this week urging state lawmakers to remove sporting venues from the bill. “HB 1249 creates concerns for the Southeastern Conference and its member institutions,” he said. “It remains our collective desire to provide a safe environment for student-athletes, coaches, officials and fans, and will continue to closely monitor the status of this legislation.”

Passing the bill was made more complicated by the involvement of the NRA, according to Rep. Jimmy Gateway.

The bill must now head back to the Senate before it can receive final approval from Governor Asa Hutchinson.

John Swofford releases statement on North Carolina repeal of HB2

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It’s pretty much impossible to keep politics out of the sports page today. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was forced to release a statement on Tuesday urging Arkansas state legislators to exempt Razorbacks sporting venues from a bill that would greatly expand areas allowing concealed-carry handguns, and now ACC commissioner John Swofford has been forced to wade back into political waters.

North Carolina’s state legislature brokered a deal Thursday with new governor Roy Cooper to repeal House Bill 2, the controversial law requiring persons within Tar Heel state borders to use public bathrooms matching their gender at birth. The “bathroom bill” cost the state a reported $3.76 billion in revenue, and some of that lost revenue related directly to college football.

Following the NCAA’s lead of revoking the state’s championship event hosting privileges due to HB2, the ACC moved its football championship game from Charlotte to Orlando (the men’s basketball tournament was previously booked for Brooklyn), a move that cost the conference itself money as well.

Thursday’s repeal of HB2 is more complicated than simply yanking the bathroom bill (this is where I’ll direct you to a much more appropriate place to digest the political news of the hour than a college football blog) and, as such, Swofford’s statement is appropriately nuanced.

The ACC is still undecided where this December’s title game will be played, and Swofford will kick that decision upstairs to the league’s presidents.

Oklahoma OL Christian Daimler to pursue graduate transfer

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Oklahoma offensive tackle Christian Daimler will pursue a transfer, according to a message posted to his Twitter account Thursday.

As a fifth-year senior, Daimler qualifies as a graduate transfer and will be eligible immediately. “I could not be more excited about what my future holds,” Daimler wrote. “Wherever I end up I know that I will always be a Sooner and for that am I so proud. This University [sic] will forever remain close to my heart. Boomer Sooner.”

If that name does not immediately ring a bell, you are forgiven. Daimler appeared in three games as a Sooner, all over last season.

Hailing from Houston, Daimler, who stands 6-foot-7 and is listed at 321 pounds, was a 3-star recruit when he signed with Oklahoma over Texas A&M, Arizona State and Colorado, among others.