Another week, another twist in the drama surrounding Big 12 expansion.
The latest move was made Wednesday night on the subject from an unlikely source: Iowa State’s student government, which passed a resolution opposing BYU joining the Big 12 Conference.
“Student Government’s goal is to create a safe and all-inclusive campus where students feel supported to learn, grow and succeed,” the group said in an official statement obtained by the Ames Tribune. “The Senate finds that Brigham Young University’s Honor Code does not communicate nor reflect the values that The Big XII Conference represents. Therefore, the Senate of Student Government does not support BYU’s membership bid to the Big XII at this time.”
The resolution will reportedly be sent to the presidents all every Big 12 school in addition to conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby.
BYU’s honor code has been one of the chief sticking points surrounding the school’s candidacy to join the Big 12 and a subject that has received quite a bit of attention ever since the league announced it was looking at expansion. The school, which is privately owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has been criticized heavily over the years regarding sections of the code that prohibits homosexual behavior, among other things. National LGBT advocacy groups have already sent letters to the Big 12 conference office urging them to avoid inviting the Cougars because of the school’s stances but Wednesday’s resolution by ISU’s student government appears to be the first — and so far loudest — message made against BYU by one of the conference’s current members.
Big 12 leaders are reportedly meeting with school officials from a group of roughly 10 finalists this week in Dallas. While it has not been made public when BYU will present their case, it appears likely that the thorny issue surrounding the honor code will play a key role as to whether the Cougars are ultimately invited to join the conference or if they will remain an independent school in football.
It’s doubtful that a student government resolution would be enough to truly derail the otherwise strong case BYU has to join the Big 12 but, given all of the twists and turns that have already happened with conference expansion, stranger things have happened.
Suspended North Carolina linebacker Allen Artis is scheduled to begin a legal battle in court on Thursday to defend himself against misdemeanor charges of sexual battery and assault on a female student. Before heading to court, Artis made time for a sit-down session with the media, with his mother and aunt by his side. Artis says the sexual interaction was a consensual act and says he did not rape Delaney Robinson, the UNC student who filed the claim she was raped by Artis on Valentine’s Day this year.
”Everything was completely consensual that happened that night,” Artis said in an interview with members of the media on Tuesday. ”That’s the truth.”
As previously reported earlier this month, Robinson reported the alleged rape to university police and UNC’s Title IX office. Robinson has accused the university of taking too long to proceed with its response to her allegations, which is why she made the decision to go public with her story.
Once Robinson went public with her story, UNC indefinitely suspended Artis the following morning. At this point, the legal process will now run its course before UNC makes any further decision on Artis’ status with the program, and the university if needed.
Artis played in each of UNC’s first two games this season and, of course, has not seen the field since.
A game wasn’t the only thing Michigan State lost this past weekend.
At some point in the second half of Saturday’s loss to Wisconsin, starting outside linebacker Jon Reschke sustained an injury to his ankle. Tuesday, head coach Mark Dantonio described the as a severe ankle sprain, and, as a result, Reschke will be sidelined “for a significant period of time.”
A year after starting all 14 games for the Spartans, Reschke started two of the first three this season. The junior missed the season opener because of another injury.
The news wasn’t completely negative on the linebacking front for Sparty, though.
Riley Bullough missed the Badgers game with an undisclosed injury. Dantonio labeled Bullough as “day-to-day” and left the door open for the starting middle linebacker to play against Indiana Saturday.
A decision on the status of Bullough, who entered Week 4 tied for the team lead in tackles, will be made later on in the week.
A report surfaced Monday that, in its search for a replacement for the deposed Les Miles, LSU was set to gauge the interest of a handful of big-name head coaches, among them Ohio State’s Urban Meyer.
With the opening of Big Ten play on tap for this weekend, the Buckeyes head coach wasted little time in shooting down the speculation connecting him to the Bayou Bengals.
“No, I’ve not been contacted,” Meyer said of LSU during the Big Ten’s weekly teleconference. “And I’m going to be the coach at Ohio State.”
Meyer is in his fifth season as the head coach at OSU, guiding the Buckeyes to a 53-4 mark in that span. For perspective, the Tigers have lost four of their last eight games, paving the way for unceremonious ouster and Meyer’s name being mentioned in connection to the opening.
Alabama’s Nick Saban was also mentioned as a coach who LSU would gauge his interest in the job.
After a very public back and forth between the police and university, Washington State has some (somewhat) positive off-field news on which to celebrate.
Monday, Whitman County (WA) prosecutor Denis Tracy announced that he will not file charges against Cougars safety Shalom Luani in connection to a fight outside of a Pullman Domino’s Pizza shop. Video evidence indicated that it was Luani who broke a man’s nose with a punch; however, the prosecutor stated that a jury would likely conclude that Luani, who claimed he was ambushed by six males who pushed him from inside the pizza shop outside and sustained a concussion in the scuffle, had acted in self-defense.
From Tracy’s letter to the alleged victim:
[I]n order to prove that a criminal assault happened, the prosecutor must not only prove that the suspect hit someone, but the prosecutor must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect was not acting in self defense.”
“In this case, it is my view that no reasonable jury could conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Luani was not acting in self defense. …
“Since I cannot prove that Mr. Luani was not acting in self-defense. I cannot prove that he committed a criminal assault.
WSU athletic director Bill Moos, who along with the university’s president met with the chief of the Pullman Police Department earlier this month, issued a statement expressing his happiness over the prosecutor’s decision.
We are pleased that the prosecuting attorney’s office came to the same conclusion as we did regarding this case. While not always afforded the opportunity, I believe this illustrates the stance we have taken from the beginning which is to handle such matters internally, not speak in great detail, until the legal process has played out. Though we choose to reserve comment on such instances, we continue to cooperate with law enforcement, and assume innocent until proven guilty. We will not engage in public debate, rather, will let the legal process run its course, and as best we can gain an understanding of all the facts, without publicly acknowledging guilt or innocence prematurely. We will continue to educate our student-athletes on representing our fine university is a positive manner and also emphasize they remove themselves from situations that have the potential to impact them and the university negatively.
Luani started all 13 games for the Cougars last season after transferring from the junior college ranks, earning honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors. This season, he leads the team with two interceptions.