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Torn ACL claims Oregon OL Johnstone for 2014

Byron Marshall, Tyler Johnstone

Another hour, another injury update involving a torn ACL. For Oregon left tackle Tyler Johnstone, it is the worst case of déjà vu. Johnstone re-injured his ACL ligament in his right knee last week and will undergo surgery later this week to begin treating the injury. The injury and surgery will keep Johnstone from playing in 2014 for the Pac-12 favorites. Comcast Sportsnet Northwest was first to report the injury news.

This is extra troubling because it is the same knee that was injured in Oregon’s Alamo Bowl victory at the end of the 2013 season. He was hoping to be able to be back to full strength for the 2014 season opener. As recently as Oregon’s media day, Johnstone was optimistic about making the start of the season. Oregon was getting Johnstone to slowly work back into the mix in practices, which is typical for players coming off ACL injuries. It was during a non-contact drill involving pass blocking when Johnstone heard a pop in his knee early in Oregon’s fall camp.

This leaves the Ducks with a big hole on the offensive line that now needs to be filled. Oregon is losing a three-year starter in Johnstone, and the experience lost with the injury cannot be overstated. The good news for the offensive line is Oregon still returns the rest of the starters from the end of last season, so the unit as a whole should still be in relatively good shape, and there appears to be a pretty suitable stand-in ready to go. As suggested by the CSNNW.com report, Oregon will likely turn to redshirt junior Andre Yruretagoyena (I triple checked the spelling on that one) to fill the void left by Johnstone at left tackle. Yruretagoyena measures in at 6′ 5″ and 290 pounds, so the Ducks appear to have quite the plug to use.

This has been a busy day for injury news. Texas quarterback Miles Onyegblue broke the news about his torn ACL, USC has announced linebacker Jabari Ruffin has been lost for the year with a torn ACL, and Penn State has announced tight end Adam Breneman (who suffered a torn ACL in 2012) has been sidelined indefinitely with an undisclosed injury.

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Why a buyout of AD Brandon’s contract may not be likely at Michigan

Shane Morris

This Michigan mess is just that, and it does not appear to be getting any cleaner.

The students are uniting in a stand against Michigan athletics director Dave Brandon. Brandon’s job has been scrutinized from every angle. Brady Hoke may be destined to be hitting the unemployment line at the end of the year, but Brandon is a different situation. Michigan could, in theory, buyout the remainder of Brandon’s contract as AD for a reported $3 million.

As reported by MLive.com this afternoon, Michigan would owe Brandon $3 million if they fire him before the end of the year. The contract Brandon has as AD calls for a payout equal to the remaining total under the contract if he is removed from his position prior to July 1, 2016.

For a program that has been looking for ways to save a few bucks and fill a few seats, a decision to buyout the remaining contract of Brandon on top of a potential coaching change may not be the most desirable direction.

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Texas A&M completes installation of new turf

Kyle Field

Texas A&M has played just one home game so far this season at Kyle Field, and it was a hot mess when it came to the playing conditions of the field. While the Aggies have been taking their show on the road in recent weeks, Texas A&M paid $300,000 to bring in a brand new playing surface from North Carolina. The installation of the new field is complete and ready for the next home game, on October 11 against Ole Miss.

Here’s hoping the weather holds up and allows Texas A&M to keep their turf in good shape.

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Michigan student petition for firing of AD Brandon has 3,167 signatures and counting

Notre Dame v Michigan

Michigan students are doing their part to have their voices heard this week with regard to the handling of the football program. On Monday the student newspaper called for head coach Brady Hoke to lose his job. Today a petition demanding the athletics director Dave Brandon to be relieved of duties is gaining traction as well. As of this posting, over 3,100 students had signed the petition.

As summarized by the online petition, Brandon stated “athletic programs play [a role] in helping to shape the culture and image of our university community.” The petition then states the following;

“Unfortunately, under Mr. Brandon’s tenure, the football program, one of the most prominent programs at the University of Michigan and in the nation, has become a black eye for the University of Michigan. Instead of adding to the image and prestige of the university, the state of the athletic department has hurt the connection shared between alumni, fans, and the university. Furthermore, policies and decisions of the athletic department have alienated the current student body. As a result, the university risks producing a generation of alumni that are disinterested and disengaged. Finally, President Mark Schlissel previously stated that one draw of the athletic program is to provide an avenue for “public attention on to the other wonderful things that are happening on campus…” When the athletic department produces overwhelmingly negative media attention, it distracts from the main mission of the university.”

Brandon released a statement in the middle of the night addressing the handling and response to the injury to quarterback Shane Morris. It raised some questions while providing reason for the mishandling of the situation from the top down on the sidelines.

It is probably not likely Brandon will lose his job over this, but the reaction is fair for the most part. There is no question this has been mismanaged from all angles, but will ultimately take responsibility for the actions or lack thereof?

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Doeren issues apology to Fisher for faking injury accusation

Jimbo Fisher, Dave Doeren

NC State head coach Dave Doeren took a shot at Florida State following Saturday’s defeat to the top-ranked team in the nation. Doeren made the accusation Florida State players were faking injuries in an attempt to slow down the tempo of the game, which saw the Wolfpack give Florida State’s defense all it could handle. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher took exception to those remarks and responded by suggesting took exception to those remarks and responded by suggesting Doeren had no clue what he was talking about, and that he should worry about coaching NC State instead.

On Tuesday Doeren issued a public statement saying he has apologized to Fisher for his remarks. The statement was released via Twitter.

As suggested yesterday, it is rare to see one of the top teams in the country accused of faking injuries to slow down the opponent’s momentum. Florida State was already facing some injury depth concerns on the defensive line, so it is reasonable to expect some players slowing down at some point, but there is not much evidence to suggest Florida State was faking any injuries along the way.

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Texas Tech QB Webb is day-to-day

Davis Webb

Texas Tech quarterback Davis Webb is day-to-day for the Red Raiders heading into this weekend’s game against Kansas State. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury provided that update Monday during a Big 12 coaches conference call. Webb injured his left shoulder in a Thursday night loss at Oklahoma State last week, but Kingsbury is not ruling out his possible return this weekend on the road in Manhattan.

“Just make sure he can protect himself, really, and operate at a level we need him to operate,” Kingsbury said, according to The Dallas Morning News,  when asked what needed to happen for Webb to return to the field to play this weekend. “But more than anything, that he can handle taking a hit and protect himself.”

Webb was sacked just once by Oklahoma State on Thursday night, but he did take a beating at times. Webb had 54 passing attempts and three rushes. He was intercepted twice and fumbled once, but the fumble was recovered by Texas Tech. Ball protection will be important for Webb moving forward.

“That’s two weeks in a row we’ve given a very good football team the ball inside our own 15, and they’ve scored on all four of those chances, so that’s the biggest deal,” Kingsbury said Monday. “We’re not protecting the ball against quality opponents. You’ve got to do that to win.”

Kansas State enters this weekend’s game with Texas Tech with a -2 turnover margin. The only two teams in the Big 12 with a worse turnover margin are Texas Tech and West Virginia. The Red Raiders and Mountaineers each have a -5 turnover margin.

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Urban Meyer says Braxton Miller will be back in 2015

Wisconsin v Ohio State

Ohio State looks like they are going to survive the 20145 season without Braxton Miller at quarterback. After a rough start to the season with a tough test at Navy and a home loss to Virginia Tech, tough test at Navy and a home loss to Virginia Tech, J.T. Barrett has grown and the Buckeyes offense has been playing well. Ohio State still looks like a team capable of winning the Big Ten this season, if they can get by Michigan State later in the season. Whatever happens this season, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer remains confident he will have Miller back under center in 2015.

“Braxton is our quarterback,” Meyer said Monday, per ESPN.com. “To be fair to Braxton, Big Ten Player of the Year. But it’s good to know we’ve got both of them.”

Miller was lost for the season with a right shoulder (his throwing shoulder) injury in the weeks leading up to the start of the regular season. The shoulder was initially hurt during Ohio State’s Orange Bowl loss to Clemson. Miller had surgery that went well and could be on track to return for Ohio State in 2015, which he has stated is his plan. The NFL could also come calling for Miller, but with a shoulder injury it may be better to come back in 2015 and show the shoulder is healed and good to go. Otherwise, Miller would be considered a huge draft risk for any franchise looking for a quarterback. A healthy 2015 season could move Miller up the big boards.

And if Miller returns for 2015, Ohio State could once again start the year with playoff expectations.

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Michigan AD admits lack of communication regarding Shane Morris concussion, but statement raises more questions

Brady Hoke, Devin Gardner, Shane Morris

Michigan’s lack of communication on the sideline led to the mishandling of a head injury to quarterback Shane Morris on Saturday. As it turns out, Morris did suffer a concussion to go with a high ankle sprain. Michigan athletics director Dave Brandon says he has been thoroughly reviewing the situation the past few days and admits to a “serious lack of communication that led to confusion on the sideline.”

“Unfortunately, this confusion created a circumstance that was not in the best interest of one of our student-athletes,” Brandon said in the Michigan statement released overnight. “I sincerely apologize for the mistakes that were made. We have to learn from this situation, and moving forward, we will make important changes so we can fully live up to our shared goal of putting student-athlete safety first.”

Morris was on the receiving end of a big hit from Minnesota defensive end Theiren Cockran. The hit appeared to leave Morris wobbly, but the quarterback appeared to wave off trainers for assistance and remained on the field. During his Monday press conference, Michigan head coach Brady Hoke suggested that “tells you something” about the competitive nature of the player. Hoke said he did not see the hit and believed Morris was playing through pain in his ankle, which was injured earlier in the game. He was cleared to play through the ankle injury by medical staff at the time. The statement from Michigan released overnight states nobody on the Michigan sideline saw the hit to Morris, which led to the lack of response for care for possible head trauma.

“We now understand that, despite having the right people on the sidelines assessing our student-athletes’ well being, the systems we had in place were inadequate to handle this unique and complex situation properly,” Brandon said. “From the field level and without the benefit of replays, medical and coaching staffs did not see the hit. Because they did not see the hit, the athletic training staff believed Shane stumbled because of his ankle injury.”

Brandon said a team neurologist did not see the hit on Morris but did not notice the stumbling on the field. He determined Morris needed to be evaluated but because he did not see the hit he was unaware of the severity of the possible injury. Because he did not see the hit, the medical trainer cleared Morris to return to the field after just one play, which is what led to the whole mess blowing up in Michigan’s face the past few days.

Michigan’s statement does have some clarity and does explain how something like this could happen. If legit, it also raises some more questions. How did Brady Hoke not become aware of any of this internal reviewing when he went out for his Monday press conference? During his press conference on Monday Hoke said if not for the high ankle injury, Morris would have practiced with the team Sunday night. According to the Michigan statement, Morris was diagnosed with a mild concussion on Sunday. Did Hoke know that? If not, then why not? Hoke is still responsible for the actions of the football staff, including to a certain degree the medical staff. This does not clear Hoke entirely from guilt, but if we are to take this Michigan statement as the full and accurate explanation for what unfolded, Michigan left Hoke out to dry.

You can read the full statement from Brandon on Michigan’s website.

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Unauthorized selfies lead to Todd Gurley being falsely accused of punching Georgia student

Todd Gurley

At 3:18 a.m. Sunday morning, a 20-year-old Georgia student stood in his apartment and told police he had been punched by Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley. Police, however, had reviewed footage from Bourbon Street Bar and Grill and told the student that was impossible, because the person who punched him was white.

Strange as that is, it is not the strangest part of this story.

According to the Athens Banner-Herald, the whole thing started when the student began taking unauthorized selfies with Gurley in the background. The student then began getting pushed by what Gurley described as “other guys”, and the student lost his hat in the process. Gurley reached down to retrieve it, and the student repaid that kindness by tossing a racial epithet his way.

It was then that the unidentified white male punched the student, who was then ejected from the bar.

The Banner-Herald‘s report then offers this glorious sentence: “The student admitted he’d had been drinking that night, but contended he was not drunk, according to police.”

After an interview with police, Gurley has officially been cleared of all wrongdoing.

“In consideration of all the information, to include statements and video recordings from the incident location, Todd Gurley’s involvement in this report is unfounded,” the detective wrote in a supplemental report. “Based also on the information … I was able to see clearly that Todd Gurley had no involvement in this case other than trying to give an individual his hat back.”

Earlier that day, Gurley had rushed 28 times for a career-high 208 yards and two touchdowns while also catching four passes for 30 yards in Georgia’s 35-32 win over Tennessee, so he presumably followed up his early-morning altercation with some well-earned sleep.

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Hey Kansas, Ed Orgeron wants to be your next head coach

Ed Orgeron

Kansas is without a head coach. College football’s favorite coaching free agent, former USC defensive line coach-turned-interim head coach Ed Orgeron, is without a job.

Let’s make it happen, Jayhawks.

“It’s a Power Five (job),” Orgeron told George Schroeder of USA Today at a speaking engagement Monday in Little Rock, Ark. “(Mark) Mangino went 12-1 and went to the Orange Bowl. It’s in a great conference. His staff proved that you can do it.”

When asked if he really wanted to be Kansas’ fourth head coach seven years, Orgeron was undeterred.

“It’s a challenging job,” he said. “But most jobs you get, there’s gonna be some things you’re gonna have to fix.”

The popular longtime assistant holds a 16-27 career record as a head coach – 10-25 at Ole Miss from 2005-07, and 6-2 on an interim basis at USC last season. He believes the second job is more indicative of his ability as a head coach than the first. “I believe I put my résumé out on the TV those last eight games,” Orgeron said. “They know who I am and what I’ve done.”

Orgeron credits his success at USC with loosening the atmosphere inside Heritage Hall following Lane Kiffin’s ouster, famously putting cookies on the training table and pitting position groups against each other in tug of war. “Play with energy. Have fun. Loosen up,” Oregon said.

Kansas still has eight games to play before it can officially bring in a new coach, but Orgeron has nothing but time on his hands to watch football. He’ll be watching, and he’ll be ready.

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Former UCF DC Paul Ferraro accuses George O’Leary of racist remarks in wrongful termination suit

St. Louis Rams 2009 Headshots

Paul Ferraro worked under George O’Leary as Central Florida’s defensive coordinator for approximately two months this winter. According to a lawsuit Ferraro filed on Friday, those had to be the worst two months of his three-decade career.

Hired in late December and gone by early March, Ferraro is accusing O’Leary of racist remarks and creating a work environment “permeated by bullying, threatening behavior, and repeated discriminatory epithets.” He accuses O’Leary of referring to the NFL as “one big ‘Ru-Ru’ tribe” and encouraging his assistants to “make sure (African-American players’) gums are blue, because they are bigger and stronger than (African-American players) with red gums,” according to a copy of the suit obtained by USA Today.

“No longer will I put up with your constant verbal abuse of both our coaching and support staff,” Ferraro emailed to O’Leary while copying the coaching staff. “Threatening coaches on a regular basis with their jobs and racial slurs mixed in to make a point is wrong.”

For its part, UCF is denying everything.

“UCF immediately investigated the allegations Mr. Ferraro made when he abruptly abandoned his job,” UCF vice president of communications and marketing Grant Heston emailed USA Today. “The university’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action office found the allegations to be untrue.

“None of the individuals alleged to have been the subject of, or to have overheard, these supposed statements corroborated Mr. Ferraro’s claims. In fact, until seeking compensation after abandoning his job, it does not appear he ever discussed this with anyone at UCF.”

Translation: “This dude is making the entire thing up.”

Of course, the basis for all of this is money. The school claims Ferraro resigned, and Ferraro claims he was fired without cause. He thinks he is owed $15,000 in salary on the two-year, $440,000 contract he signed. UCF maintains it has paid Ferraro what he is owed.

Ferraro claims he because he “wanted to return to work in an environment free from O’Leary’s bullish and discriminatory tactics and that he did not and was not resigning.”

And around and around we go.

This is the type of suit that had better be true, otherwise Ferraro has damned his former boss to a lifetime of search returns pairing “O’Leary” with “racist”, all in the name of a money grab. In the always-online culture we live in, that’s (allegedly) one of the sorriest stunts a person can pull.

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Kentucky suspends four players for airsoft gun incident, police action pending

Ohio v Kentucky

Well, this got out of hand.

Kentucky has suspended four freshmen – wide receiver Dorian Baker, running back Stanley “Boom” Williams, quarterback Drew Barker, and defensive end Tymere Dubose – for a Sunday evening airsoft pellet gun incident that ended with Lexington police shutting down campus.

“Proper conduct is emphasized as a core value of our program,” head coach Mark Stoops said in a statement. “If we have a situation in which someone who does not act according to our standards, we hold him accountable.”

This story doesn’t end there, though. The chief of the University of Kentucky police department will meet with the Fayette County Attorney’s office Tuesday to “determine what next steps need to be taken” according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Police were called around 9:30 Sunday night to a residence complex on the south end of campus, near the football facilities, after fielding calls about possible shots being fired. UK and Lexington police searched the area for two hours and recovered three airsoft guns.

“We absolutely respect being part of a wonderful campus community,” added AD Mitch Barnhart. “It disappoints us when one of our student-athletes does not live up to our expectations. We respect the process of the University and are working hand-in-hand with the campus community on this issue.”

Williams has produced 174 yards and two touchdowns on 21 touches from scrimmage, and Baker has collected 11 receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown. Barker and Dubose are expected to redshirt.

All four will miss Kentucky’s date with South Carolina on Saturday. With the amount of eye rolling and hand wringing a suspension like this is sure to inspire, you half expect Saturday’s official roster to list these four as “Suspended: SMH.”

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John Harbaugh speaks, wants Brady Hoke to remain Michigan’s head coach

John Harbaugh

Straight from the desk of the “What would you expect him to say?” department, active Baltimore Ravens coach and Michigan alum John Harbaugh denied having any interest held by active Michigan head coach Brady Hoke. A report emerged Monday morning saying the same thing, but now we have the quote straight from the horse’s mouth.

Harbaugh told the Baltimore Sun that he “really didn’t know why” speculation linked he and his brother Jim to the job, which, c’mon coach, you can’t play that dumb. But he did speak for his brother in stating that they both hoped Hoke turned things around and finished the year successfully.

“Brady Hoke is a guy that we all believe in. The Harbaughs believe in Brady Hoke. He’s a great coach. He believes in Michigan. I believe in what they’re doing there. I think they’re going to get it turned around,” he told the paper. “The team should be galvanized right now. They should be like lions. I’m interested in Brady Hoke being the coach at Michigan for a long time coming.”

Coaches aren’t fond of displaying interest in other coaches’ jobs, especially before the calendar even hits October, and especially when that coach is speaking about a school where his father worked, his brother played, and he spent his high school years going to school nearby. Add in the fact that Harbaugh and Hoke worked together at Western Michigan from 1984-86 and describe themselves as friends and there was no way Harbaugh was going to provide anything other than a flat refusal.

And then, of course, there is the likely option that Harbaugh is telling the unvarnished truth. He’s entrenched into a job that pays him $6.5 million through 2017, is fresh off a recent Super Bowl victory, and is off to a 3-1 start this season. He has plenty of reasons to stay right where he is and watch the maize and blue bonfire that is the current state of Michigan football from afar.

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Yale receives national honor for overtime defeat of Army

The best game you didn’t see on Saturday took place in New Haven, Conn.

Yale defeated Army, 49-43 in overtime, at the Yale Bowl, giving the Bulldogs a 2-0 start to the season and their first victory over the Black Knights since 1955. With the win, Yale was honored as the Football Writers Association of America’s “National Team of the Week” award on Monday.

“For the second week in a row, it wasn’t pretty, but the perseverance of these guys came through,” said Yale head coach Tony Reno. “We continue to follow the process, taking it one play at a time. This is an incredible group of young men that has limitless potential.”

The Bulldogs and Black Knights combined for 1,222 yards of total offense and 7.18 yards per play on  170 total snaps. Quarterbacks Angel Santiago (6-of-8 passing for 117 yards, eight rushes for 88 yards and two touchdowns) and A.J. Schurr (6-of-12 passing for 94 yards and a score, 15 rushes for 135 yards and another touchdown) paved the way for Army, while Yale quarterback Morgan Roberts threw for 290 yards and a touchdown with an interception while adding 67 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and running back Tyler Varga rushed 28 times for 185 yards and a school-record-tying five touchdowns.

Army took a 28-14 lead just 88 seconds into the second half after Jeremy Timpf returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown, but the Bulldogs battled back to tie the game at 36-36 and again at 43-43 on Varga’s third and fourth scoring dashes.

After a missed field goal in the top of the first overtime by Army kicker Daniel Grochowski, Varga’s fifth touchdown, a three-yard plunge, gave Yale the win – and the Ivy League’s first win over an FBS opponent since Penn topped Navy 30-26 in 1986.

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Jimbo Fisher: FSU did not fake injuries vs. NC State

Jimbo Fisher, Dave Doeren

Florida State was given a good scare by North Carolina on Saturday, but the Seminoles managed to respond and get out of town with another victory to keep their unbeaten streak alive. North Carolina State head coach Seminoles managed to respond and get out of town with another victory to keep their unbeaten streak alive. North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren accused Florida State of faking injuries in Saturday’s game in Raleigh.

“The tempo we had (in the first quarter) was working until all the crazy fall down things were going on and the clock kept stopping,” Doeren said, according to The Rocky Mountain Telegram. “You know the refs can’t do anything about that, but it’s horrible the way the tempo gets slow downed by these injuries. We went fast in the first-quarter, I guess there were no fake injuries.”

On Monday, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher fired back.

“I accuse him of not knowing what he’s talking about,” Fisher said Monday, according to The Orlando Sentinel. “We did not fake injuries, no one fakes injuries. We’ll coach Florida State, he can coach North Carolina State.”

NC State ran 87 plays (50 pass plays, 37 rushing attempts) against Florida State and controlled the football for nearly 32 and a half minutes. Florida State ran 71 plays on offense.

The topic of teams faking injuries is nothing new in college football, but it is not often you see one of the top-ranked teams in the country be on the receiving end of such criticism. Doeren is probably misguided in thinking Florida State felt a need to stoop to that level, given the overall athleticism of the roster on both sides of the football.

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Report: Oklahoma transfer QB Mayfield’s appeal denied

Baker Mayfield

Quarterback Baker Mayfield will not play this season for Oklahoma after having an appeal for immediate eligibility denied. According to a report by The Oklahoman, the Texas Tech transfer had his appeal denied by the NCAA and Big 12.

Per the report by The Oklahoman, Big 12 transfer rules for players moving from one Big 12 school to the other will actually cost Mayfield a year of eligibility despite his status as a walk-on player at both Texas Tech and Oklahoma. Mayfield transferred from Texas Tech after being informed by head coach Kliff Kingsbury the Red Raiders would be going in a different direction at quarterback this fall.

There was some confusion last week regarding Mayfield’s transfer status. One report suggested Mayfield’s appeal had been approved, which would make him eligible to play for Oklahoma this season (assuming there was a need; Trevor Knight is clearly the team’s quarterback in Norman).Trevor Knight is clearly the team’s quarterback in Norman). There was also talk of Mayfield being able to retain a year of eligibility, but the latest now seems to suggest those talks did not pan out as Oklahoma and Mayfield would have hoped.

This latest news is adding more fuel to the fire regarding the transfer rules. Should schools be allowed to prevent a player from moving to another school, regardless of conference affiliation? Should conferences be allowed to force a player to lose a year of eligibility under these situations?

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