The University of North Carolina is reviewing data from a university staff member suggesting a number of student athletes were reading far below the standard reading level. An open letter to the university students and faculty by Chancellor Carol Folt says the allegations are being taken “very seriously” by the university’s leadership.
“In spite of seven investigations and numerous reforms already in place, this continues to be a painful journey for the Carolina community, and I will not ignore the lessons learned,” Folt said in the open letter.
“This issue is part of a larger national conversation about the role and impact of college sports and even further about the commitment schools make to ensure their students receive the support they need to succeed in the classroom as well as on the playing field,” Folt continued. “I assure you that I will not accept anything less than the excellence we expect Carolina to represent for our students and the community.”
An investigative report published by CNN earlier this month mentioned literacy problems among football and basketball players at North Carolina as just one example of a growing concern across the world of collegiate athletics at many top programs. The data was supplied by a university reading specialist and the claims were quickly disputed by the university and men’s basketball head coach Roy Williams.
Football head coach Larry Fedora has been quiet on the subject since the report was released. It is currently unknown just how many football players are or have been believed to be struggling to read at a reading level needed for college work.
An offseason of change in Jim Harbaugh‘s Michigan coaching staff continues, with one of the Wolverines’ million-dollar assistants stepping down. Reportedly.
Multiple reports, including ones from The Wolverine Lounge and SI.com‘s Bruce Feldman, are indicating that Tim Drevno has decided to step down from his post as U-M’s offensive coordinator. Drevno has been Harbaugh’s coordinator on that side of the ball each of his three seasons in Ann Arbor.
Drevno also served as the Wolverines’ offensive line coach.
Under Drevno’s direction, Michigan’s offense was tied for 91st nationally in averaging 25.2 points per game this past season.
The reports come three days after McElwain was officially announced as U-M’s new quarterbacks coach. In the run-up to that hiring, it was reported that McElwain, the former coordinator at Alabama prior to his run as Florida’s head coach, could take over play-calling duties at U-M.
An already crowded graduate transfer market has gained yet another entrant.
On his personal Twitter account Thursday night, Brandon Dawkins announced that he has decided to transfer out of new head coach Kevin Sumlin‘s football program. While no specific reason was given for the quarterback’s decision to move on, the presence of a Heisman Trophy contender, rising junior Khalil Tate, for the next two seasons likely played a significant role.
Dawkins is set to graduate this May, which will make him eligible to play immediately in 2018 at another FBS school if that’s the tack he takes.
Dawkins started nine games in 2016 and the first four games this past season before Tate took over. For the Wildcats portion of his playing career, Dawkins completed just over 56 percent of his 334 passes for 2,418 yards, 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He ran for another 1,582 yards and 20 more touchdowns.
That certainly didn’t last long.
In December of 2016, it was confirmed that Orlondo Steinauer would be leaving his post as the defensive coordinator of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League to take the same job at Fresno State. After one season at the Mountain West Conference school, Steinauer announced on Twitter that he has decided to move back to the CFL with the same organization.
“Orlondo is an accomplished CFL coach with a great track record at this level,” said Ticats head coach June Jones in a statement. “He’s a coach whose great work ethic, intelligence, knowledge of the Canadian game and ability to get the most out of his players will be a huge asset to our staff.
“We’re very happy to bring him home to Hamilton after an exceptional year at Fresno State.”
Prior to his one season at Fresno, Steinauer had spent his entire coaching career in the CFL, including a four-year stint as the defensive coordinator for Hamilton from 2013-16. Steinauer, a Seattle native who played his college football at Western Washington, also played professionally in Canada from 1996-2008 prior to embarking on his coaching career.
It was a busy day on the assistant hiring front for Chris Ash.
Earlier Thursday, Rutgers confirmed that Noah Joseph had been hired as co-defensive coordinator as well as safeties coach. Not long after, the football program again confirmed that Cory Robinson has been hired by Ash as well.
Robinson will serve as passing-game coordinator for the Scarlet Knights as well as cornerbacks coach.
“We are excited to have Cory and his family join our program,” said Ash in a statement. “Cory is a fast-rising young coach that will bring tremendous energy and passion to our defense. We look forward to having him develop and mentor our corners.”
Robinson spent the past two seasons as a cornerbacks coach, at Temple in 2017 and Toledo the year before. Those were his first two years as an on-field assistant at the FBS level.