Former Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien is no longer under the governance of the NCAA, so he is as free as he has ever been to speak his mind about the situation Penn State’s football program is in. Speaking with NFL media at the NFL meetings in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday, O’Brien said it is ridiculous Penn State is currently serving a postseason ban.
“The fact that there is a bowl ban at Penn State, is ridiculous,” O’Brien said, according to the quote sheet provided by the Houston Texans. The quote came mixed in to a question about his decision to not leave Penn State without informing his players of the decision. O’Brien explained the team was on Christmas break because of the postseason ban, but he attempted to make contact with every player before leaving to be named the head coach of the Texans.
“I didn’t ever want to be somebody that just rode off in the middle night and never said a word,” O’Brien said. “I mean, I love those kids and had a great relationship with all those guys. I don’t know if I reached every one of them but I at least left a message for all of them.”
Penn State was issued a four-year postseason ban in the summer of 2012, just as O’Brien was getting prepped for his first season on the job in State College. The sentence was part of larger sanction parameters including a $60 million fine, significant reduction in football scholarships and the vacating of all wins dating back to the 1999 season. The landmark sanctions were dropped following the release of the Freeh Report, an investigative look at how the Jerry Sandusky crimes were handled by the university leadership in place, including former university president Graham Spanier and former head coach Joe Paterno. Penn State will enter the 2014 season, the first for new head coach James Franklin, with two full seasons remaining on the postseason ban.
The NCAA has already taken measures to restore football scholarships. Penn State jumped up to 20 available scholarships for the Class of 2014 and will return to the 25-scholarship limit in the Class of 2015. Penn State will be able to get back to a full-scholarship count by 2017. The decision to return scholarships was inspired by the latest annual report by George Mitchell to the NCAA, which complimented Penn State in acting on improvements within the structure of the university. If the NCAA is to make any other adjustments to the sanction terms in the event of another positive report from Mitchell later this year, a reduction in the postseason ban would appear to be the most likely possibility at this point.
Helmet sticker to Ben Jones of StateCollege.com.
This phase of The Grand Experiment at Arizona State is officially an abject failure.
In hiring Herm Edwards, it was known that ASU was looking to retain both of Todd Graham‘s coordinators in an effort to ease Edwards’ return to coaching after a decade-long absence. Earlier this week, the new Sun Devils head coach confirmed that defensive coordinator Phil Bennett was leaving the staff because of what were described as “family matters.” Overnight, reports surfaced that offensive coordinator Billy Napier had been offered the head-coaching job at a Sun Belt Conference program and was likely to accept it.
Friday afternoon, that likelihood became a reality as Louisiana announced that Napier has been named as the Ragin’ Cajuns next head football coach. Napier replaces Mark Hudspeth, fired earlier this month after seven years with the program.
The football program will officially introduce their new coach at a Monday press conference.
“My family and I are excited and humbled for the opportunity to serve Cajun Nation and our Louisiana football program,” Napier said. “We will make it a priority to bring in the best talent from the state of Louisiana and the nation.”
Napier just completed his first season at ASU. Prior to that, he spent five seasons as the wide receivers coach at Alabama. Next Sept. 29th, Napier’s Ragin’ Cajuns squad will square off with… the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.
With Napier’s hiring, Kent State is the lone FBS program without a head coach.
In an interview earlier this week, transferring Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson expressed confidence that he would be immediately eligible to play for Michigan in 2018. Whether that confidence will be rewarded, though, won’t be known for a couple of months down the road.
Patterson and other transferring Rebels football players have retained the services of Thomas Mars — known to most of the college football world as the bulldog attorney who handled Houston Nutt‘s lawsuit against Ole Miss — in their attempt at immediate eligibility next season without having to sit out the transfer season normally required by the NCAA. In an interview with Angelique Chengalis of the Detroit News, Mars revealed that a final decision on Patterson’s eligibility to play for the Wolverines in 2018 won’t be known until late January or early February.
In the interim, Mars will argue to the NCAA that Ole Miss displayed “egregious behavior,” including misleading recruits like Patterson and his family regarding the potential seriousness of the NCAA issues facing the football program, and thus the standard transfer year should be waived in this case. “At this point, there’s no room for Ole Miss to deny it unlawfully kept the NOA (NCAA Notice of Allegations) it had just received under wraps for five months while the school misled prospects and their parents about how the NCAA investigation would likely impact the future of the football program and the goals and dreams of the student-athletes who ended up signing with Ole Miss under false pretenses,” the lawyer told Chengalis.
The News also laid out the process that will play out between Patterson, Ole Miss, Michigan and the NCAA in the coming weeks:
In the case of Patterson, Michigan must send a package to Ole Miss with information that supports the premise of Ole Miss’ “egregious behavior.” Ole Miss has several options — it can support what Michigan sent, oppose it, express neutrality or not respond at all. Once the NCAA has Ole Miss’ position on this, it moves forward with its decision-making process.
“If Ole Miss supports the transfer waivers, this could be a very easy decision (by the NCAA),” Mars said.
If Patterson is able to gain instant eligibility, he’d immediately become the favorite to win the Wolverines’ starting quarterback job.
Seth Collins‘ winding journey in Corvallis has taken yet another twist.
After asking for it, Collins has been granted a release from his Oregon State scholarship, the school has confirmed. The junior wide receiver has already parted ways with the team, and no specific reason for the departure has been given.
This marks the second time that Collins has left the Beavers football program. In January of 2016, Collins, amidst speculation that he would be moved from quarterback to wide receiver, made the decision to transfer; three months later, he returned to OSU — as a receiver.
Last season, Collins was second on the team in catches (36) and yards (418). After three games this season, Collins was ruled out indefinitely because of what was described by the team as a health-related issue; he didn’t play again for the Beavers in 2017. In the three games in which he played this season, he caught 12 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown.
That illness was unrelated to the unspecified health event last season that left him hospitalized and caused him to miss not only the last two games of 2016 but spring practice this year as well.
If Collins moves on to another FBS school, it’s believed he’ll have to sit out the 2018 season. That would leave him with one season of eligibility that he can use in 2019.
It was thought that, when Collins left the first time, he was headed to Northern Illinois, so that’s certainly something to keep an eye on moving forward.
You just have to love the vagaries of the annual coaching rumor mill.
The offensive line coach and running-game coordinator at Minnesota, Ed Warinner has been mentioned as a potential replacement for Paul Haynes as the head coach at Kent State. In fact, just yesterday, the former Ohio State and Notre Dame assistant had been labeled as a “strong candidate” for the opening.
Thursday night, however, FootballScoop.com tweeted that Warinner is no longer a candidate.
Less than 20 minutes after that tweet, Warinner took to his personal Twitter to confirm he is not only not a candidate for the job but claimed that he has “never been contacted by anyone involved with the school.” Left unsaid is whether those representing or associated with him had been in contact with the university.
Kansas defensive coordinator Clint Bowen (HERE) and Syracuse offensive coordinator Sean Lewis (HERE) are the latest names du jour connected to the opening at the MAC school.
Kent State’s one of two jobs at the FBS level that remain open, although the other, Louisiana, could be closed in short order.