PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 14:  Devon Cajuste #89 of the Stanford Cardinal makes a one-handed catch as Ugo Amadi #14 of the Oregon Ducks pushes him out-of-bounds at Stanford Stadium on November 14, 2015 in Palo Alto, California. Cajuste was ruled out-of-bounds on the play, but Amadi was called for pass interference.   (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Getty Images

NCAA: Stanford boosters gave ex-WR Devon Cajuste $3,500 in impermissible benefits

Leave a comment

Known across the country for its football program’s squeaky-clean image, Stanford has seen that reputation take a slight hit.

The NCAA announced Thursday afternoon that “two boosters impermissibly provided nearly $3,500 in extra benefits to a football student-athlete, including an impermissible loan, free use of an automobile, meals and other extra benefits.”  While the NCAA didn’t specify the player’s name, the university subsequently confirmed that it was former wide receiver Devon Cajuste.

The Cardinal self-imposed a one-game suspension on Cajuste.  Additionally, the receiver was forced to pay the value of the impermissible benefits to charity as a condition of his 2014 reinstatement.

Below is the school’s explanation as to how they ran afoul of NCAA bylaws:

Student-athletes had been residing with community homeowners during the summer for a number of decades, and in 2007 Stanford football initiated structured process to help student-athletes connect with community homeowners to obtain rental housing in the summer months. The program helped football student-athletes remain in the area to train, attend summer classes and participate in internships and other activities that would benefit them after graduation.

In the summer of 2014, the university discovered that one student-athlete had received impermissible benefits from his landlord in violation of NCAA rules. Impermissible benefits valued at under $400 included restaurant meals with the landlord’s family, movie tickets with the family and the use of a local vacation home. Another impermissible benefit was a loan to purchase a bicycle, which, at the time of the review, had already been repaid.

The NCAA investigation explored whether there was a possibility of other violations. No other violations were addressed in the report. But in 2014, recognizing the risks of these housing arrangements, the university revised its policy and now prohibits student-athletes from renting local housing during the summer. Student-athletes are now housed on campus. The university has provided additional education to community members and boosters regarding impermissible benefits.

“Earlier today, the NCAA released a report announcing that Stanford self-reported a violation involving a Stanford football student-athlete in 2014. I am the student-athlete involved in the violation,” Cajuste said in a statement. “I unknowingly accepted impermissible benefits from my summer landlord. I look forward to moving on from this incident and to supporting my alma mater for many years to come. I will have no further comment on this matter.”

The NCAA accepted Stanford’s self-imposed penalties for what were deemed Level II violations, while adding an additional $5,000 fine and a public reprimand of the university.  Those are the first “major” violations for the football program.

“The university will continue to be diligent about educating student-athletes and supporters, monitoring its programs and, when a potential violation is discovered, vigorously reviewing the matter and self-reporting to the NCAA any findings,” the university stated in its release. “Stanford will continue to work towards a tradition of excellence and hold itself to the highest standards of conduct and compliance.”

Oklahoma could be down two defensive starters vs. TCU

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 19: Running back Zack Langer #24 of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane evades defensive end Matt Dimon #94 of the Oklahoma Sooners September 19, 2015 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated Tulsa 52-38.(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

After stumbling to a 1-3 start to the season, Oklahoma could be looking at a fresh start as they kick off Big 12 play this weekend.  Unfortunately for the Sooners, at least defensively, they’ll do so at less than full strength defensively.

Wednesday, it was confirmed that, despite coming off a bye weekend, linebacker Tay Evans and defensive end Matt Dimon (pictured, left) will not play in Saturday’s game against TCU.  Both will be sidelined with unspecified injuries.

Evans was injured in the second quarter of the Week 3 loss to Ohio State and didn’t return.  Dimon didn’t play at all in the second half of that game because of his unspecified injury.

Evans has started all three games of the season thus far for the Sooners.  Dimon started the opener against Houston and the OSU game, missing the Louisiana-Monroe game sandwiched in between.

It’s not all negative news on that side of the ball as all signs are pointing to defensive tackle Matt Romar is back at practice and on track to play against TCU.  Romar, a key part of OU’s line rotation who started 12 games last season, overcame a concussion sustained during summer camp to play the first two games of the season.  He didn’t see the field against the Buckeyes because of, you guessed it, an undisclosed injury.

Gophers’ leading sacker ruled out of game vs. Nittany Lions

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 01: Tai'yon Devers #92 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers forces a fumble on Darell Garretson #10 of the Oregon State Beavers in the first quarter at TCF Bank Stadium on September 1, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Gophers recovered the fumble setting up a touchdown.(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

With injuries decimating its own linebacking corps, Penn State may have caught a break on the other side of the ball.

With the Week 5 game against Minnesota still three days away, the Gophers have already announced that Tai’yon Devers has been ruled out against the Nittany Lions.  Devers is dealing with an ankle injury that will sideline the freshman through at least this coming Saturday.

The defensive end currently leads the Gophers in sacks with three, including one in last week’s game against Colorado State.  That one proved to be an absolute smothering of the Rams’ unfortunate quarterback.

In addition to the sacks, Devers also leads the Gophers with three forced fumbles in three games.  According to head coach Tracy Claeys, Dever being more aware of his on-field surroundings could’ve allowed him to add to those totals this weekend.

From the St. Paul Pioneer-Press:

The Rams tried to cut Devers, who has wreaked havoc off the edge.

“He has to learn to protect himself,” Claeys said. “He’s going to see that a little more.”

Ex-LSU AD repeats claim Les Miles turned down Michigan, more money in 2011

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 03:  Head coach Les Miles of the LSU Tigers leads the team on to the field at Tiger Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Getty Images
3 Comments

One of the biggest open secrets in all of college football has been confirmed (?) by a person who purportedly had a front-row seat to the spectacle.

Shortly after Rich Rodriguez was fired following the 2010 season, Michigan put on the full-court press to land Les Miles as his replacement.  It was known at the time that then-UM athletic director David Brandon and other school officials flew down to Baton Rouge to meet with Miles, who played his football for the Wolverines in the mid-seventies and was an assistant at his alma mater a decade later.

The open secret many still swear by?  That on that trip south Brandon had offered the job, along with a significant raise to what he was making at LSU, to Miles, who ultimately decided to turn it down and stay with the Tigers.

During a radio interview Wednesday, Skip Bertman, LSU athletic director from 2001-2008, confirmed that version of events

“Les Miles turned that job down for more money at Michigan. He turned it down,” Bertman told the ESPN Radio affiliate in Baton Rouge. “He would never say that because he’s a very humble guy. But I was there; he turned it down.”

Renowned Michigan historian John Bacon, however, disputes not only the 2011 claim, but the 2007 claim by Kirk Herbstreit and one made in 2014 as well.

The football program hired Rodriguez in 2007 and Brady Hoke in 2011, then stuck with Hoke through a rough 2014 season that had Miles-to-Ann Arbor speculation flying yet again. Ultimately, though, the university finally landed its Michigan Man in Jim Harbaugh.  I’m thinking that’s working out just fine for the program, regardless of how exactly things transpired with Miles in the past.

Big Ten to use commemorative coin to honor Sam Foltz, Mike Sandler

sam-foltz-cleats
Nebraska athletics
Leave a comment

Tributes to Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler have seemingly been a weekly occurrence across college football the first four weeks of the season, and the players’ conference will get on board in Week 5.

A commemorative coin will be used to honor both Foltz and Sadler at all seven Big Ten games this weekend, the league announced Wednesday.  As this is the first full weekend of conference action, the coins, with Foltz on one side and Sadler on the other, will be used for the coin flip prior to each league matchup.

The Cornhuskers have decided to use the coins for the remainder of the season.

Folks and Sadler were killed in a July car accident on their way home from a kick camp in Wisconsin. LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye was injured in the wreck, but is kicking this season for the Tigers and honoring both by wearing special cleats.

Below are the coins that will be used, courtesy of the Big Ten:

sam-foltz

mike-sadler