Sadly, there’s some terrible and tragic news coming out of Kent, Oh., this afternoon.
In a release Wednesday, Kent State announced that offensive lineman Jason Bitsko died unexpectedly this morning. According to the school, Bitsko was found unresponsive in the bedroom of his off-campus apartment shortly before 9 a.m.
Police believe he passed away from an undetermined medical issue.
Bitsko was just 21 years old.
“Kent State University and the entire Kent community mourns his passing,” said athletic director Joel Nielsen in a statement. “We are heartbroken by the news of Jason’s death. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, teammates and everyone whose lives he touched.”
“Our players, coaches and everyone involved with our team are hurting because he was family,” head football coach Paul Haynes said. “As a team, we will come together and get through this one day at a time.”
The school added in its release that Bitsko would’ve been entering his fourth year with the Golden Flashes and that he would’ve been the starting center this coming season.
Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to everyone impacted by Bitsko’s way-too-early death.
(Photo credit: Kent State athletics)
Barry Switzer and Tulsa have some fun with Baker Mayfield’s arrest
Enjoying some down time in Fayetteville, Ark., Mayfield was booked on charges of public intoxication, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and fleeing the scene.
Those last two parts have drawn the brunt of the attention since the news went public, specifically this portion from the police report:
I told Mayfield to come over to me. When I gave that command, Mayfield began to walk away from me. I repeatedly told him to stop. Mayfield then began to sprint away. I chased after him. Mayfield was tackled to the ground.
For what it’s worth, Mayfield shredded Tulsa in their one meeting to date in 2015, hitting 32-of-38 passes for 487 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing 13 times for 85 yards and two touchdowns in a 52-38 Sooners win.
UCF announces largest financial gift in school history for athletics department renovations
UCF announced the largest financial gift in school history from UCF alum Kenneth Dixon. The donation will help give UCF the support needed to move forward with its athletics facility upgrades, including an athletics village. Among those upgrades will be an expansion to the school’s baseball stadium and basketball facility, as well as a better atmosphere outside the football stadium for fans.
As far as the football program is concerned, the upgrades to the football operations and athletics headquarters have received a $2 million commitment to date. Most of the renovations will help bring the school’s other sports programs up to a more level playing field, but the football stadium will be given a fresh look on he outside with a plaza and promenade to make for a more inviting atmosphere for UCF fans before and after home football games.
In all, UCF is looking to invest $25 million in the renovation project, and the recent donation from Dixon has helped the school cross the $10 million benchmark.
“With more than $10 million committed to our $25 million facilities vision, our goal is to build the best Athletics Village in the nation,” UCF Athletics Director Danny White said in a released statement. “Thanks to Ken Dixon’s gift of more than $5 million, we’ve taken a major step in that direction.”
Sirk was Duke’s leading passer in 2015 with 2,625 passing yards and 16 touchdowns with eight interceptions. He was also Duke’s leading rusher that season with 803 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. Naturally, he will likely be a quality dual-threat option for whatever program lands his services in 2017. As a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play this fall at any FBS program.
With the rights to use “Row the Boat” successfully acquired through a deal with Western Michigan, Minnesota is going all in with the merchandising efforts to capitalize on the motto of P.J. Fleck. Aside from being able to use the motto for program-building measures, Minnesota has the rights to market the saying on merchandise, including an upcoming bobblehead featuring Minnesota’s Gopher mascot.
A limited edition University of Minnesota bobblehead featuring Goldy Gopher rowing a boat was unveiled on Friday by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum. Though just an illustration now, it looks incredibly promising and I sort of want to add it to my bobblehead collection.