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Update: Dave Joyner retires as Penn State’s AD

It’s been widely reported that Dave Joyner would remain on as Penn State’s athletic director until Rodney Erickson stepped down as president.  With Erickson resigning in January and replaced by Eric Barron a month later, everyone knew the clock was ticking on Joyner’s tenure at the school.

Now, four months later, it appears said clock is about to strike midnight.

Citing several university sources, Dave Jones of PennLive.com is reporting that Joyner’s time with the Nittany Lions is all but officially over.  In fact, an announcement revealing the move publicly could be made as early as this week.

Joyner helped shepherd the athletic department in general and the football program specifically through the dark days of the Jerry Sandusky child-sex abuse scandal and subsequent firing of the legendary Joe Paterno.  Arguably Joyner’s greatest accomplishment during his 31 months on the job was the hiring of Bill O’Brien to replace Paterno.

While he’s since left for the NFL’s Houston Texans, O’Brien took a listing Nittany Lions ship that could’ve easily ran aground and sunk and instead navigated it to calmer waters amidst historic NCAA sanctions.  O’Brien’s successor, James Franklin, has a program on much more solid footing than the one his predecessor took over.

As far as a replacement for Joyner, Northwestern’s Jim Phillips has been mentioned as a potential candidate.  That said, a Phillips move to another school in the Big Ten seems highly unlikely.

UPDATED: 4:31 p.m. ET: Following up on the report earlier in the day, Penn State sent out a press release confirming Dave Joyner will resign as athletic director, effective Aug. 1.  The release did note, however, that Joyner has offered to assist with the transition to a new AD beyond that date.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve Penn State,” Joyner said in a statement. “Our student athletes, coaches, staff and the University community were a daily source of inspiration for me. The spirit of Penn State is strong, and the department’s commitment to integrity, as well as academic and athletic excellence is stronger than ever.”

The release goes on to state that more information about the search for Penn State’s next athletic director will be released in the coming days as potential search committee members are notified and asked to serve.

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‘Noles Bovada’s overwhelming favorite to claim a conference crown

Jimbo Fisher AP

As expected, the defending BCS champions are getting some additional gambling love heading into the first season of the new College Football Playoff.

In odds released by Bovada.lv, Florida State was listed as a 4/11 favorite to win the ACC championship for the second straight season. Clemson, Louisville and North Carolina were next at 10/1 apiece.

Not only is FSU by far the most overwhelming favorite from any conference, but the gap between the next closest odds-wise is by far the biggest.

Oklahoma and Ohio State are 2/3 and 10/11 favorites to win the Big 12 and Big Ten, respectively. Baylor is “close” to the Sooners, relatively speaking, at 11/4 while Michigan State, which beat OSU in last year’s conference title game, was a good piece down the road from the Buckeyes at 15/4.

Earlier this month, the Seminoles were listed as Bovada‘s co-favorites with Alabama at 11/2 to win the 2014 title. The Tide (7/5) are the prohibitive favorites over BCS title-game runner-up Auburn (5/1) to win the SEC.

Purdue, on the other hand, is given by far the worst odds of ending its league title drought, with the Boilermakers, coming off a one-win 2013 campaign, coming in at 300/1. Boston College and Wake Forest of the ACC; Illinois and new member Rutgers of the Big Ten; Cal and Colorado of the Pac-12; Kentucky and Vanderbilt of the SEC all come in at 200/1.

And, for those who are curious, woebegone Kansas is at a disturbingly high 100/1 to win the Big 12.

Below are the most recent odds on the Power Five conferences, again courtesy of Bovada.lv:

Odds to win the ACC Championship
Florida State 4/11
Clemson 10/1
Louisville 10/1
North Carolina 10/1
Miami 12/1
Virginia Tech 12/1
Duke 20/1
Georgia Tech 25/1
Pittsburgh 40/1
Syracuse 66/1
Virginia 66/1
NC State 100/1
Boston College 200/1
Wake Forest 200/1

Odds to win the Big 12 Championship
Oklahoma 2/3
Baylor 11/4
Texas 7/1
Kansas State 10/1
Oklahoma State 10/1
TCU 14/1
Texas Tech 28/1
West Virginia 66/1
Iowa State 100/1
Kansas 100/1

Odds to win the Big Ten Championship
Ohio State 10/11
Michigan State 15/4
Wisconsin 9/2
Nebraska 11/2
Michigan 9/1
Iowa 14/1
Northwestern 40/1
Minnesota 66/1
Indiana 100/1
Maryland 100/1
Illinois 200/1
Rutgers 200/1
Purdue 300/1

Odds to win the Pac 12 Championship
Oregon 11/10
UCLA 11/4
USC 5/1
Stanford 6/1
Arizona State 12/1
Washington 14/1
Arizona 25/1
Oregon State 33/1
Washington State 50/1
Utah 66/1
California 200/1
Colorado 200/1

Odds to win the SEC Championship
Alabama 7/5
Auburn 5/1
South Carolina 5/1
Georgia 6/1
LSU 13/2
Florida 12/1
Ole Miss 14/1
Texas A&M 25/1
Mississippi State 40/1
Missouri 40/1
Tennessee 50/1
Arkansas 100/1
Kentucky 200/1
Vanderbilt 200/1

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UGA AD: ‘we’re upset’ over spate of arrests

Mark Richt AP

To say that Georgia has had its share of off-field issues this offseason would be an understatement.

Over the past few months, seven Bulldog football players have been arrested on charges of varying degrees of seriousness.  Two of those arrests, one of which involved a felony, occurred in the past week alone.

Suffice to say, it hasn’t gone unnoticed by head coach Mark Richt‘s boss.

People are upset, we’re upset,” athletic director Greg McGarity told the Athens Banner-Herald, “and we’ve got to work even harder to try to do things that will help us avoid these problems but at the end of the day, a young person has to make a decision. You see that not only with 18-year olds but you see that with 50-year olds that make poor decisions.

“When you do have a problem, it makes you go back and just take another look, take a second look on what’s registering and what is not.”

McGarity and Richt have taken steps to curb the untoward behavior, although its yet to bear any real tangible fruit.

According to the Banner-Herald, “[p]layers this June spent a weekend with former special operations officers to work on team building and leadership.” Additionally, former players and university police officers have addressed the team in an attempt to change the mindset of those who may be in danger of stepping across the line off the field.

A mentor program was instituted shortly after McGarity took over as well, an offseason that saw a whopping 11 arrests in 2010.

Still, McGarity insists the onus lies on him to change the culture. And, right now, the AD doesn’t like what he sees.

“All this is a reflection of my leadership and that’s the part that basically disappoints me,” he said.

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Melvin Gordon’s no fan of back-to-back Kinnick trips

Wisconsin v Iowa

The Big Ten wrapped up its annual media days Tuesday, and one of the most talented players in the conference let everybody in on a little secret.

In a scheduling quirk, Wisconsin will play at Iowa for a second consecutive season. The Nov. 22 trip to Kinnick Stadium, as it turns out, doesn’t sit well with running back Melvin Gordon.

“I saw the schedule and I was like, ‘really, we have to go back?’” Gordon said according to HawkCentral.com. “I thought they would at least come here and get a little taste of Wisconsin.

“But I just have to be ready for it. I’ve been through it, so I know how to handle it this time. But I’ll probably bring some ear plugs with me this time or something.”

The reason for Gordon’s displeasure boils down to simple numbers. Or, more specifically, statistical numbers.

During a year that saw him rush for 1,609 yards, Gordon posted a season-low total of 62 yards in the Badgers’ 28-9 win over the Hawkeyes. It was the only game all season he was held under 4.5 yards per carry, and one of just three in which he was held under 5.7.

His longest run that day was 13 yards. Three of his carries netted him a total 35 yards; the other 14 saw him go for just 27, or under two yards per carry.

So, yeah, that afternoon is sticking in the Heisman hopeful’s craw.

“It was a rough game for me, man,” Gordon said. “I didn’t play as well as I wanted to. But the fans, man, it’s like everything I said in high school about Iowa, they had a paper right there and quoted everything from me.

“I had such a hard time with Iowa, I’m telling you. Their fans, they really got to me. I was just so upset. I was just so mad that the Iowa fans got in my head that game.”

Here’s guessing that, public consternation aside, 2013 Kinnick will serve as nothing but pure motivation for 2014 Gordon.

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Former Vandy player moves on to WVU

Wake Forest v Vanderbilt AP

A month and a half after leaving Vanderbilt a second time, Darien Bryant has found a new place to ply his football wares.

While the school has yet to announce his addition, a source with knowledge of the situation tells CFT that Bryant has decided to transfer into the West Virginia football program.  The tight end-turned-defensive lineman-turned-(?) will join the Mountaineers initially as a walk-on.

Bryant was expected to be in attendance at a team meeting Wednesday morning in his first “official” act as a Mountaineer.

As he graduated from Vandy in May, Bryant will be eligible to play immediately in 2014.  He will also have two years of eligibility remaining.

Ohio University was also a consideration for Bryant before he moved on to WVU.

Bryant was a three-star member of the Commodores’ 2011 recruiting class, rated as the No. 30 tight end in the country. Following his first departure and return to Vandy, he moved from that position to defensive end. In leaving Vandy for good, Bryant wanted to move back to offense and play H-back/tight end or be utilized as a big wide receiver (he’s listed at 6-4, 230); it’s unclear how he’ll be used in Morgantown.

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Dabo hands Spurrier a (gasp!) compliment

Clemson v South Carolina Getty Images

If you’re headed down to Hades in the near future, you best pack a parka.

Over the past several years — including this offseason on more than one occasion — Dabo Swinney and Steve Spurrier have engaged in a little bit of “friendly banter.” Compliments, though, have been few and far between for the head coaches of the state’s two FBS programs.

Until now.

During the ACC head coaches’ version of the ESPN car wash, the Clemson head coach was asked about his South Carolina counterpart in general and his career specifically. His response may surprise you.  Or floor you, as the case may be.

“If I can have half the career he’s had, I’ll count that as a huge success.” Swinney said according to GoGamecocks.com.

In actuality, it’s not that much of a surprise that Swinney would say something complimentary. While the two snipe verbally at one another, there’s an underlying respect between the two men that each has publicly acknowledged.

Now, with that said, get back to the sniping as that’s immensely more entertaining than the niceties. Or just go ahead and have that rasslin’ match. One of the two. Or both.

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Pair of 2014 LSU signees cited for misdemeanors

Davon Godchaux

It’s certainly been an interesting last couple of months for LSU’s Class of 2014 — and for one signee in particular.

Last week, incoming freshman Trey Lealaimatafao suffered what was initially feared to be an amputation-level injury to his arm after punching through a weight-room window. Fortunately for Lealaimatafao, the physical damage wasn’t as severe as initially reported and the defensive tackle was released from the hospital two days later.

One day after that, however, Lealaimatafao was arrested for allegedly stealing a bicycle from an on-campus library. Lealaimatafao was caught on surveillance video helping himself to an unsecured bike, and was issued a citation after eventually returning it to the police.

From the Baton Rouge Advertiser:

“He did admit to investigators (Thursday) that he did take the bike,” Lalonde said, adding that Lealaimatafao indicated he borrowed the bicycle and thought it was permissible to do so if the bicycle wasn’t secured.

(Writer’s note: ROTFLMMFAO.)

Oddly enough, Lealaimatafao is the second member of LSU’s most recent recruiting class to be cited for the same issue, joining fellow defensive lineman Frank Herron‘s Schwinntation back in April.

But wait, there’s more…

In addition to Lealaimatafao’s legal issue, fellow 2014 signee Davon Godchaux (pictured, courtesy of Rivals.com) was cited last Thursday for criminal mischief. The misdemeanor arrest “stemmed from an early morning July 21 incident in which firecrackers were thrown into a unit at LSU’s West Campus Apartments, causing a small fire that damaged a sofa,” the Advertiser wrote.

(Writer’s note: let he who has not tossed firecrackers at buddies indoors cast the first M-80.)

Of the two most recent arrests, Godchaux is easily the most highly-rated player. A four-star recruit according to Rivals.com, Godchaux was rated as the No. 9 strongside defensive end in the country and the No. 10 player at any position in the state of Louisiana.

Both players are expected to be disciplined, although it’s unclear if said punishment will include suspensions.

The off-field damage for the Tigers is not limited to the Class of 2014, however. Starting cornerback Jalen Mills was indefinitely suspended earlier this offseason after allegedly punching a woman in the mouth and being arrested on a second-degree battery charge.

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Wrench thrown into Jayhawks’ plans as KU loses four-star RB

Traevohn Wrench

(Writer’s note: not literally lost, for those who were concerned about the player’s well-being.)

The highest-rated member of Kansas’ 2014 recruiting class will have to wait a year if he’s going to play in Lawrence as originally planned.

Multiple media outlets reported recently that Traevohn Wrench will be a non-qualifier academically at KU. Instead, the running back will go the JUCO route, playing the 2014 season at Butler (Kan.) Community College.

Wrench had signed with KU this past February.

The good news for the Jayhawks and Charlie Weis — if he’s still around in 2015, that is — is Wrench plans on resigning with KU and playing for them in 2015.

“I am 100 percent going to KU,” after spending time at Butler the player said.

That would be welcome news for a roster that needs as many quality football players as it can acquire. Wrench would fit in that category as he was a four-star member of KU’s 2014 recruiting class, rated as the No. 25 running back in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Kansas.

(Photo credit: Rivals.com)

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Purdue suspends starting safety for first two games

Melvin Gordon, Taylor Richards

An off-field at the end of last year will cost Purdue’s defensive secondary at the beginning of this season.

Second-year head coach Darrell Hazell confirmed to the Indianapolis Star recently that Taylor Richards (no relation) will be suspended for the first two games of the 2014 season. Taylor was arrested last December and charged with operating while intoxicated (a vehicle, not on a patient) and underage consumption of alcohol.

The incident occurred after the postseason-less Boilermakers put the finishing touches on a one-win season.

Taylor has started 27 consecutive games at safety, so the loss of his veteran experience will certainly be a steep price to pay for both the player and the team. He will miss, incidentally, the opener against Western Michigan and the following week versus Central Michigan.

Additionally, fellow safety starter Landon Feichter will miss the first half of the opener. In the season finale against Indiana, he was flagged for targeting in the second half of the loss.

Feichter has started 25 straight games for the Boilermakers.

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Dismissed Bergeron seeking release from UT scholarship

New Mexico State v Texas Getty Images

Well, this is a plot twist most wouldn’t necessarily see coming.

Last Friday, multiple media outlets reported that Joe Bergeron had been dismissed by new Texas head coach Charlie Strong. The only reason given was the standard “violation of unspecified team rules.”

Five days later, the Austin American-Statesman is, citing unnamed family sources, reporting that Bergeron is “actively seeking a release from his scholarship.” It’s unclear why a player who has been dismissed would need to actively seek a release — speculation is that he’s been granted an unconditional one — especially considering said player’s next reported stop.

Again per the American-Statesman, Bergeron is looking at moving on to West Texas A&M to continue his collegiate playing career. That school’s athletic director confirmed that portion of the story to the paper.

Because that A&M is a Div. II program, Bergeron would be eligible to play immediately in 2014. Perhaps the release is a mere technicality, although, again, it’s unclear.

(Writer’s note: I’ve put out multiple feelers to divine what if any meaning this whole “release” angle has.)

The American-Statesman, though, sums up the overall situation very nicely:

Bergeron’s situation is perplexing. He was sent home from spring football practice for undisclosed reasons. But Strong talked up Bergeron during the coach’s bus tour in April and May and always included him in any discussion about the depth at running back.

Then prior to his appearance at Big 12 media day, Strong told the Statesman, “Joe’s back.” By week’s end, Bergeron was gone from the team for good.

Bergeron was one of four Longhorns reportedly dismissed late last week by Strong. The school has yet to announce the forced departures.

All told, seven players have been dismissed since Strong took over for Mack Brown.

Additionally, three more UT players are facing suspensions as the new football sheriff in Austin looks to open the eyes of his players to a new, and more demanding, style of discipline.

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Third legal strike and Herd RB is out

cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwezymfkotm5mdjhodhmowuxoguznda5ogrkm2uwnjc2 AP

Unfortunately for Kevin Grooms, in college sports, as in baseball, very, very rarely are you given a fourth strike.

Over the weekend, Marshall announced that the running back had been dismissed from the football program. The separation came a few hours after Grooms was arrested on a felony burglary charge as well as misdemeanors of domestic assault, petit larceny and fleeing on foot.

The arrest was Grooms’ third in a little over 15 months. In late April of last year, the back was charged with underage consumption of alcohol and obstruction. Seven months later, he was suspended indefinitely after he was arrested and charged with domestic battery and obstruction.

Head coach Doc Holliday reinstated Grooms before the start of spring practice, with the player exiting the 15 sessions as the clear starter at the position.

Grooms was a talented player who could never quite get his head out of his nether regions, though.

After redshirting as a true freshman — he was a three-star member of the Herd’s 2011 recruiting class coming out of high school in Hollywood, Fla. — Grooms led Marshall in 2012 with 737 yards rushing and eight touchdowns, averaging 6.1 yards per carry. He was named Conference USA’s Freshman of the Year following that season.

Despite not playing the in the last three games last season due to a combination of injuries and his suspension, Grooms finished third on the team with 503 yards rushing and six rushing touchdowns.

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Punishment up in the air for starting Utah QB cited for alcohol

Travis Wilson AP

As evidenced by his 16 interceptions last season — second most at the FBS level, and in just nine games no less — Travis Wilson had an issue with the on-field decision-making part of the quarterback equation.

As evidenced by a recent incident, the off-field decision-making could use some work as well.

Late last week, Utah’s starting quarterback — at least for now — was cited for underage consumption of alcohol. The citation was issued at a Tim McGraw concert and came courtesy of the Utah Highway Patrol.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Wilson was released at the scene.

What if any disciplinary measures Wilson will face are to be determined.

“We are still in the process of gathering information on the incident,” head coach Kyle Whittingham said in a statement released to the Tribune. “Once we have all the facts, we will handle the situation internally and determine any disciplinary action that should be taken.”

After starting the first three-quarters of the 2013 season, a concussion — technically, an intracranial artery injury — sidelined Wilson for the last three games and led to questions as to whether he would ever play the game again. Wilson, though, was cleared to participate in spring practice, albeit in non-contact mode, and was ultimately cleared medically for full contact last month.

Wilson will enter summer camp as the projected starter, although, Kendal Thompson, a transfer from Oklahoma, is expected to push the incumbent for the job.

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Bo Pelini suggests foul play by Ole Miss

Bo Pelini

There is an old football cliche that goes something like this: “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’.”

And Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini stopped just short of accusing the Ole Miss Rebels of cheating during a recent recruiting battle.

Wide receiver transfer Damore’ea Stringfellow, who originally chose the Washington Huskies as part of the 2013 class, verbally committed to Nebraska during a visit this summer. After visits to Alabama and Ole Miss, Stringfellow, a four-star recruit, decided to flip his commitment and he will attend Ole Miss in the fall.

What happened in between?

“Read between the lines,” Pelini told Huskers Illustrated’s Michael Bruntz. “I think we all know what happened in that situation.”

Since Coach Pelini suggested it, let’s read between the lines about what could have possibly happened.

OK — I’m reading between the lines now — what could Ole Miss have done to flip Stringfellow’s commitment?

  • They paid him.
  • They gave him a car.
  • They offered his parents a job.
  • They told him he would start right away.
  • Young ladies were used as “campus aides” to woo him.

There really is an untold amount of possibilities we can think of based on Pelini’s simple suggestion.

Or — and this is far more likely — a teenager with plenty of options available to him changed his mind. Too bad the coach on the wrong side of the decision simply couldn’t accept that fact.

Pelini didn’t give much of an explanation for his outburst, but he seemed to lay the blame at the feet of Stringfellow’s parents.

“Especially when it’s a clueless parent,” Pelini said.

Pelini may think he knows what’s best for every kid Nebraska recruits, but he is not in any position to tell Stringfellow and his family what’s best for them.

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A deluge descends upon UCLA’s campus

Terrence Bowman #12

A water main break near UCLA’s campus has completely flooded large areas of the university.

The football team was forced to quickly move its gear from the onrushing water. The football field is almost completely submerged, and the weight room is reportedly in “bad shape.”

Here are other images from around UCLA’s athletic complex:

If you want to follow the NBC 4’s coverage of the water break, click the video below:

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Report: Three more Longhorns could face a suspension

Daje Johnson

When four players were dismissed from the Texas Longhorns program last week, there was speculation more players would follow. Three more players have been identified by HornsDigest.com’s Chip Brown as being at risk.

Wide receiver Daje Johnson and offensive tackles Desmond Harrison and Kennedy Estelle all face suspension, according to Brown. The trio are apparently down to their “last strike” with the program.

It should be pointed out that Texas has not announced anything and these three players may simply be facing internal pressure to conform with head coach Charlie Strong’s new approach.

If we do take a moment to consider the possibility of any of these players being suspended, it would be a major blow to the Longhorns’ offense.

Harrison and Estelle are projected to the team’s starting bookends at offensive tackle. The Longhorns lack experience behind their starters and protecting quarterback David Ash with a pair of neophyte offensive tackles could prove to be disastrous. Kent Perkins, who is projected to start at guard, would likely be asked to move back to right tackle, while sophomore Camrhon Hughes would be thrust into the starting lineup.

At wide receiver, Johnson has shown the potential to be a dynamic play maker. While it may be difficult to replicate what Johnson can do within the offense, it could eventually prove to be an opportunity for a young receiver — whether it’s Jacorey Warrick, Jake Oliver or one of five incoming freshmen — to earn playing time and possibly produce.

It wouldn’t be surprising with Strong’s recent track record to find out that one or all of these players are eventually suspended, but we wanted to stress the fact that it hasn’t happened or hasn’t been announced at this time.

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Mizzou WR suspended due to a banned substance

Missouri v Vanderbilt

The Missouri Tigers’ war of attrition at wide receiver continues.

Sophomore Levi Copelin has been suspended for the 2014 campaign due to taking a banned substance.

“The reason I am suspended is that I recently bought an over-the-counter nutritional supplement from a local store, and used it as part of my workout routine,” Copelin said in a statement released by the schoool. “Unfortunately, I used it without clearing it with my strength coaches or trainers.  This supplement is legal and available to the public, but it isn’t approved by the NCAA, and as a result of using it, I failed an NCAA drug test.  This was a stupid mistake on my part, and I’m very sorry that I put myself and my team in this situation.  This is a hard lesson to learn, as I never had the wrong intentions. I also understand there aren’t any shortcuts to success.  There’s nothing I can do except dedicate myself to representing me, my family, my team, and Mizzou the right way going forward.  I’m very grateful to my coaches and my teammates for giving me a chance to overcome this.”

Last season, the Tigers had one of the most explosive wide receiver corps in college football. L’Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas were lost to the NFL, and budding superstar Dorial Green-Beckham was dismissed from the team in April.

The team will now rely heavily on seniors Bud Sasser, Darius White and Jimmie Hunt. Copelin was projected to be the team’s fourth starter at wide receiver in its spread system. Instead, Copelin’s absence will provide an opportunity for a pair of true freshmen, Nate Brown and DeSean Blair, to make an early impact for the Tigers. The coaching staff could also turn to tight end Sean Culkin to provide a big presence — all 6-6 and 245 pounds of him — in the slot.

“This is a very unfortunate situation, but one that Levi created for himself,” Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel said in the statement. “He’s paying the price for this mistake, and I commend him for owning up to it and taking responsibility.  Our strength coaches and trainers rely on our players to be careful of what they do on their own, and to always get approval from them first.  We’re disappointed that Levi didn’t follow this guideline, but we will support him during this time, and have high expectations that he will handle all of his responsibilities in the classroom, in the community and on the field in a first-class manner.”

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