Ex-Mizzou QB James Franklin: ‘I wouldn’t say supportive, but accepting’ of Michael Sam

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There are many facets and levels to Michael Sam‘s game-changing revelation this past weekend that will continue to reveal themselves as the discussion of gays in sports moves forward.

Case in point?  James Franklin.

Franklin was Missouri’s starting quarterback during most of Sam’s time with the football program and was one of the teammates to whom the defensive lineman came out during summer camp last August.  The picture painted by the program’s head coach and the university’s athletic director was that it was all puppy dogs and unicorns following Sam’s announcement of his homosexuality, with Gary Pinkel stating that he took “great pride in how Michael and everyone in our program handled his situation.”

Almost immediately after Sam publicly came out as being gay, former Mizzou tight end and Sam’s roommate Eric Waters called out his former teammates on Twitter, writing that “[h]alf y’all posting these pics saying how proud you are… [were] the ones talkin s**t behind his back in the locker room.”

The deeply-religious Franklin — those beliefs were the subplot of a controversy two seasons ago — was asked by TMZ.com of all places about Sam, who will likely become the first active, openly-gay player in the NFL.  Franklin, as has ofttimes been the case, minced no words.

“I don’t drink.  I don’t curse.  I don’t support [homosexuality] — but it doesn’t mean I don’t accept Michael,” Franklin says.

When asked if he was supportive of Sam when he made his announcement in August, Franklin said … “I wouldn’t say supportive, but accepting.  A lot of people confuse supporting and accepting.”

In an interview with the Columbia Missourian, Franklin added some context to his comments that appeared on TMZ.

“I grew up to say, ‘yes, ma’am’ and ‘yes, sir,'” Franklin said. “You know the saying, ‘hate the sin, not the sinner.’ I was raised a certain way — like I don’t to drink and swear.”

“But I would not look down on anyone for what they choose to do in their personal life,” Franklin, whose father is an evangelical minister, continued. “I love Michael (Sam) and will always be there for him.”

Again, multiple layers and myriad facets still to come — as even those close to Sam are still finding out and processing and coming to grips with.

(Tip O’ the Cap: CFB247.com)

Indiana freshman DB Bryant Fitzgerald ruled a non-qualifier after compliance error

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A key member of Indiana’s recruiting class won’t be able to play for the Hoosiers this season as a result of a serious compliance gaff at the school.

Freshman defensive back Bryant Fitzgerald was ruled by the NCAA to be a non-qualifier according to a statement released by the program and, as a result, will now be unable to play or practice for the team. A waiver was requested but both it and the appeal were denied.

At the heart of the matter seems to be the IU compliance office incorrectly advising Fitzgerald what classes to take in order to be eligible right away at the school in the eyes of the NCAA. As the above statement and a later one from athletic director Fred Glass make clear, this was a mistake on the school’s part that will cost the defensive back a full season and not about anything he did or didn’t do.

Fitzgerald was a three-star recruit coming out of high school in nearby Avon, Ind. but was expected to make a serious run at playing time given past comments by head coach Tom Allen. It certainly seems like a bummer all around for player, school and coach but the situation is what it is at this point.

Lane Kiffin lands yet another talented transfer in WVU wideout Jovon Durante

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We can joke about Lane Kiffin turning FAU into the real ‘Last Chance U’ in 2017 but… it’s kind of happening for real.

In addition to adding several alums from the Netflix show, the Owls have been stocking the roster left and right with FBS transfers this offseason and added yet another just before the season starts in West Virginia wide receiver Jovan Durante.

Durante has started 17 games in his first two seasons in Morgantown, racking up 331 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore in 2016. He was expected to assume a starting role once again this year but didn’t report to the Mountaineers preseason camp for what WVU coach Dana Holgorsen described as personal issues.

The South Florida native will have to sit out the 2017 season but will have two seasons of eligibility for the Owls after he redshirts this year.

BYU linebacker looking to transfer to Utah after being forced to redshirt

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When BYU announced this week that linebacker Francis Bernard was going to redshirt this season, only a few people seemed to think anything was really amiss. That does not seem to be the case anymore just a week before the Cougars start their season.

The Salt Lake Tribune talked with Bernard’s brother, James, about the matter and it appears the family is not too happy over the situation and is now looking to transfer. While that wouldn’t normally be much to write home about, the fact that the younger Bernard wants to move up the road to Holy War rival Utah is bound to raise some eyebrows.

“Just to be clear: My brother wants to transfer, regardless,” James Bernard told the paper. “We talk almost every day. He just doesn’t want to stay there any more.”

He went on to say that the reason that first prompted the redshirt announcement was not related to academics or playing time but a potential Honor Code issue with the school. What exactly that violation was however, is not exactly being made clear by the program to the family.

Bernard was suspended from the team’s bowl game last year for an unspecified violation of team rules but was given every indication that he would be back in the good graces of the team prior to preseason camp. That is obviously not the question and it appears a brewing transfer battle to move from Provo to Salt Lake City will soon be taking place between two bitter rivals over the junior linebacker.

Ohio State starting RB still dealing with hamstring injury but expects to play in opener

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Ohio State’s newish looking offense is expected to lean on the ground game early in 2017 but a key cog in that machinery might not be 100 percent healthy heading into the Buckeyes’ opener against Indiana.

Starting tailback Mike Weber has dealt with a lingering hamstring injury he suffered over the summer and hasn’t participated at all in the team’s preseason camp. Despite that bit of concerning news, it seems both the running back and the coaching staff is expecting him to be good to go in less than two weeks when the team kicks off the 2017 campaign.

“I’m getting close,” Weber said Friday, according to Cleveland.com. “They’ve been holding me back all camp to make sure I don’t have problems with it during the season. … I talk to the trainer a lot and it’s looking pretty good. I’m not at full speed yet, but I’m going to get there and I should be ready for the first game.”

Weber rushed for 1,096 yards and nine touchdowns last year as a redshirt freshman and will see an increased load carrying the ball with Curtis Samuel off to the NFL. True freshman J.K. Dobbins has apparently slid into the backup role but running backs coach Tony Alford told reporters that the starting job is Weber’s when it comes time to go against the Hoosiers.

We’ll see if that eventually holds up given how finicky hamstring injuries are for tailbacks but at least the prognosis is good enough that Buckeyes fans can breathe a little easier as camp winds down in Columbus.