Is Penn State changing its uniforms?

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Penn State could be changing their football uniforms again. Three years after removing the white neckline from the home blue uniforms and blue neckline from the road white uniforms, the striping looks like it could possibly, potentially, perhaps be making a return. Maybe.

In recent weeks Penn State football players have already been seen wearing football uniforms in public showing off the new, yet old, look. This photo gallery from Patriot News photographer Joe Hermitt shows many current Nittany Lions players wearing home jerseys with a white neckline, although the road white uniform appears to be solid white with no blue neckline or sleeve striping to be seen. The pictures are from a recent Uplifting Athletes event prior to a home basketball game. The players took part in a number of activities with children and signed autographs while wearing these jerseys.

Penn State removed the striping from their jerseys before the 2011 season. The changes were subtle but were not received well by some fans. In 2012 former head coach Bill O’Brien added last names of players to jerseys, which caused even more of an uproar for some despite it being a way to recognize players who chose to stay with the program after NCAA sanctions were levied against the program. Penn State also added a blue ribbon to the back of the football helmet to pay tribute to victims of child abuse. In 2013 all Big Ten teams added the updated Big Ten logo to their jerseys. Penn State also played their final home game of the 2012 season with a No. 42 on the helmets in honor of team leader Michael Mauti, who suffered a season-ending injury.

James Franklin comes off as a guy who is understanding and appreciative of the history and tradition within the program, so major tweaks to the football uniform are probably not likely. But a simple twist to return to the more familiar jerseys seems much more plausible. Penn State has a contract with Nike, and despite past attempts to provide an alternative look, Penn State has stayed true to their roots when it comes to the uniform. We’ll see if anything else happens to change.

Penn State has not commented on the potential uniform change for the 2014 season. It is entirely possible the jerseys already seen will not be the official jerseys worn in the fall. These jerseys also did not have names on the jerseys, so they could have just been used for special or one-time use, while more official jerseys will be organized and put together later. Some programs have already announced or leaked uniform changes for 2014, which is not uncommon this time of the year, but we will just have to wait and see what Penn State ends up doing.

Third ex-Vandy football player sentenced to 15 years for rape

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A third former Vanderbilt football player will spend a sizable portion of his adult life behind bars.

In June of this year, Brandon Banks was found guilty on one count each of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery related to a 2013 gang rape of an unconscious woman. Friday, Banks was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

In July of last year, one of Banks’ former teammates, Cory Batey, was sentenced to 15 years after being found guilty of aggravated rape. Four months later, another former Vandy football player, Brandon Vandenburg, was sentenced to 17 years after being found guilty of the same charge as Batey. The judge gave Vandenburg a longer sentence than Batey because the former was the leader in the attack and betrayed the woman’s trust.

Banks, Vandenburg, Batey and another ex-Vandy football player, Jaborian ‘Tip’ McKenziewere initially charged Aug. 9, 2013, with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery each after a police investigation determined that the four had raped an unconscious woman.

On June 28 of 2013, Vanderbilt announced that four unnamed players had been indefinitely suspended amid reports that the players were connected to an alleged sex crimes case.  The next day, Vandy officials further clarified the players’ statuses, releasing a statement announcing the dismissals of the four.  That release further added that none of the four will be permitted to return to campus without permission from the office of student conduct and academic integrity.

McKenzie has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.  He has agreed to testify against his former teammates in exchange for what he hopes is a lighter sentence.

Georgia Tech dismisses leading rusher Dedrick Mills

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I believe this one would qualify as a significant development.

In a very brief press release, Georgia Tech announced Friday afternoon that Dedrick Mills has been dismissed by Paul Johnson from the football team.  The only reason given was an unspecified violation of Tech athletics department rules.

The head coach is expected to meet with the media following practice later on this afternoon.

Regardless of the specific reason for the dismissal, Mills’ departure serves as yet another blow for the run-heavy Yellow Jackets.

Last season, Mills’ 771 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns led all Tech ball carriers.  169 of those yards came in the bowl win over Kentucky.  Mills put up all of those numbers as a true freshman despite being suspended on two different occasions for a total of three games.

Mills’ dismissal is the second huge blow to their 2017 running game as Marcus Marshall, who was second on the team last season with 624 yards, announced in late November that he would be transferring from Tech.  Less than a month later, he moved on to James Madison.

With those twin departures, Clinton Lynch‘s 415 yards last season makes him the team’s leading returning rusher.

LOOK: Notre Dame unveils alternate uniforms honoring Knute Rockne’s legacy

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As you may know, I’m hardly a fan of the alternate uniform craze.  These, though, I can very easily get behind.

Notre Dame on Friday released images of new uniforms the Fighting Irish will wear for their Nov. 18 game against Navy.  From helmet to shoes, the new duds will serve as a head-to-toe tribute to the legendary Knute Rockne.

The players will all have the name “ROCKNE” emblazoned on the backs of their jerseys, while the helmets replicate the leather ones of Rockne’s era.  The cleats also will pay homage to the era in which Rockne, also a former player at the school, coached the Fighting Irish to five national championships from 1918-1930.  In those 13 seasons, the Irish lost just 12 games under Rockne.

Additionally, the sleeves will be adorned with the words from one of Rockne’s most famous speeches.



Penn State OKs James Franklin’s new deal, reportedly worth nearly $6 million annually

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James Franklin is now in some very heady financial company.

Friday morning, Penn State’s Board of Trustees Committee on Compensation, as expected, unanimously approved an amended contract for their head football coach.  While no details were released — that’s expected to happen later today — it’s believed the amended deal will extend through the 2023 season.  Franklin’s old contract ran through 2019.

Additionally, Bruce Feldman of SI.com is reporting that the new six-year deal will average $5.8 million annually.  What Franklin’s compensation for 2017 and beyond will, again, be divulged later on today.

The average of $5.8 million a year would make him the fourth-highest-paid coach in college football, behind only Alabama’s Nick Saban and a pair of fellow Big Ten coaches — Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh.

Set to enter his fourth season with the Nittany Lions, Franklin has an overall record of 25-15 at the school.  After a pair of 7-6 seasons to begin his tenure, 2016 was a breakout one for the program as they went 11-3 and won the Big Ten championship for the first time since 2008.

Expectations are extremely high coming off that breakout season as the Nittany Lions are ranked sixth in the preseason coaches’ poll.