Brian Kelly: Prince Shembo not threatened into silence on Lizzy Seeberg case

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Last week at the NFL Scouting Combine, former Notre Dame linebacker Prince Shembo acknowledged for the first time publicly that he was the Irish football player involved in the sexual assault allegations made by a Saint Mary’s College student who ended up committing suicide back in 2010.  Shembo also stated that the university did not want him to speak on the matter, even as rumors of his alleged involvement with the victim, Lizzie Seeberg, were swirling across Internet message boards.

Suffice to say, Shembo’s former head coach has a different view as to how the situation played out.

Speaking ahead of the start of spring practice, Brian Kelly stated it was a “collaborative” decision for Shembo, who was never charged in connection to the alleged rape, to stay silent on the allegations.  Not once, Kelly said, was the former player barred from speaking on it or threatened with punitive measures if he did address it.

In fact, Kelly added, the decision to speak or not was left solely up to Shembo.

“We made a decision based upon the information we had,” Kelly said according to the Chicago Tribune. “We felt it was in Prince’s best interest that this was not a matter that needed to be discuss. But that was certainly something he could have decided to discuss.

We didn’t threaten him with he couldn’t play or we were going to put him on the bench or we were going to throw him out of school. It was still his decision.”

For those who are unfamiliar with the Seeberg case, the Tribune succinctly sums up the timeline and circumstances surrounding the controversy:

The Tribune in November 2010 reported that campus authorities did not initially tell county police about Seeberg’s report of a sexual attack, nor did campus police refer the case to the county’s special victims unit, which was established to handle sex offenses.

Seeberg, who battled depression and an anxiety disorder, described her account of what happened Aug. 31, 2010, in a typed statement she gave to campus police. On Sept. 2 she received a text message from one of Shembo’s friends, telling her, “Don’t do anything you would regret. Messing with notre dame football is a bad idea.”

She killed herself Sept. 10, 2010, overdosing on prescription medication.

As we have previously written, the university found the player’s actions did not violate its sexual misconduct policy and it was decided that the player would not be charged.

Oklahoma State adding gigantic new video board to Boone Pickens Stadium

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While most folks are resigned to getting a new flat screen during the holidays or right around the Super Bowl, Oklahoma State is making their purchase this summer and upgrading the Cowboys’ viewing experience significantly at Boone Pickens Stadium as a result.

In a statement released on Friday afternoon, the school confirmed that the team’s already remodeled home is getting an upgraded Jumbotron that is the eighth-biggest video board at a college football stadium in the country. In addition to packing in the pixels in a full-high definition display, the new board is set to measure in at 56 feet tall by 110 feet wide and will be mounted just above the east end zone on the outside of the OSU Athletics Center that abuts the field.

“This board not only modernizes the game day experience in Boone Pickens Stadium, but it also brings Oklahoma State to the forefront in this area,” said Athletic Director Mike Holder. “We have taken input from fans and I believe that adding a premium board like this is a game-changer for all of us who attend.

Installation will begin in July and should be finalized by well ahead of fall camp with a target of August 1st for completion. Veteran manufacturer Daktronics will build the board while a local Oklahoma City firm will design the supports. The program notes that this screen will be especially bright compared to other installations by several factors in order to account for the glare of the sun hitting the board.

The entire setup will check in at just a tad bit smaller than rival Texas ‘Godzillatron’ at Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium but will otherwise be one of the largest in the Big 12. Given how quickly the Cowboys tend to put up points in Mike Gundy’s offense, chances are it will get a nice workout when games start to roll around this fall in Stillwater as well.

Florida’s Cece Jefferson expected back for start of camp

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There’s a sizable sliver of a silver lining involving the health of Florida’s most productive defensive lineman.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Cece Jefferson would be sidelined for four months after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder earlier this week; such a timeline would’ve had the lineman out until the middle of August, after summer camp had started. Thursday, however, brought word that Jefferson is instead expected to be recovered in time for the start of camp in early August.

It should be noted that, as of yet, the football program has not publicly addressed Jefferson’s status moving forward.

Jefferson was a consensus five-star prospect, rated as the No. 2 strongside defensive end in the Class of 2015; the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Florida; and the No. 7 player overall on 247Sports.com’s composite board.

This past season, Jefferson led the Gators with 13.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. After considering early entry into the 2018 NFL draft, the 6-1, 242-pound lineman opted to return to Gainesville for one more season.

Urban Meyer, Jim Harbaugh, others pay tribute to Earle Bruce

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Not surprisingly, the memorials are pouring in for the passing of a College Football Hall of Famer.

Friday morning, the four daughters released a statement through Ohio State announcing that their father, former Buckeyes head coach Earle Bruce, had passed away at the age of 87.  Shortly thereafter, OSU released a statement from its current head football coach on the man who had battled Alzheimer’s for years.

“I’ve made it clear many times that, other than my father, Coach Bruce was the most influential man in my life,” Urban Meyer said. “Every significant decision I’ve made growing up in this profession was with him involved in it. His wife [Jean] and he were the role models for Shelley and me. They did everything with class. He was not afraid to show how much he loved his family and cared for his family.”

Others expressing their condolences included Jim Harbaugh of rival Michigan as well as Iowa State, where Bruce was the head coach from 1973-78 before taking over in Columbus in 1979, and the Cyclones’ current coach for good measure.

A&M’s Koda Martin transferring, joins dad, father-in-law at Syracuse

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Koda Martin‘s collegiate playing career has taken a familial turn.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday night, the offensive lineman announced that he would be transferring from Texas A&M.  Not only that, but Martin confirmed that he already has a new college football home — Syracuse.

Martin’s dad, Kirk Martin, was named as the quarterbacks coach at Syracuse earlier this year.  Last summer, Koda Martin married Jazzmin Babers, who happens to be the daughter of Orange head coach Dino Babers.

Whether it’s coincidence or not, Martin’s move from College Station comes two weeks after a heat stroke he suffered during an Aggies spring practice session left him near death according to a social media post from his father.

As Martin will graduate from A&M in May, he’ll be eligible to play for the Orange in 2017.  The upcoming season will be the lineman’s final year of eligibility.

Martin had started 14 games for the Aggies the past two seasons, including 10 last season as a redshirt junior.