SCOTTSDALE, AZ - JANUARY 09:  A helmet for the Auburn Tigers is displayed during a press conference for the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game against the Oregon Ducks at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn on January 9, 2011 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Attorney: ex-Auburn TE sent apologetic texts to alleged rape victim

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A sordid legal matter involving a former Auburn football player is now very publicly playing out for all to witness.

The attorney Landon Rice, who has been accused of rape but not charged, issued a statement earlier this week in which he labeled the allegations as “false” and that his client has been “vilified” and “unfairly treated” because of them.  In response to that statement, the lawyer for the unnamed 19-year-old allegedly raped by Rice released a series of text messages between the player and alleged victim in which the former apologized to the latter on multiple occasions.

From the Opelika-Auburn News:

Hey so I know this is out of the blue but this has just been on my mind a lot since last week,” the woman wrote to Rice on April 18. “When I came over after Greek sing I said no to having sex. I didn’t say it just to hear my own voice, I said it because I meant it. So the fact that you didn’t respect me enough to listen really hurts. I know you knew better than that,” the woman texted.

“I’m saying this because I want you to know that what you did was wrong. Whether it was 5 seconds or it was 20 minutes, it was still wrong. So I’m texting you about this for two reasons. One because the next time you are in that position, listen and do not make another girl feel disrespected like I do. Two because I want you to just leave me alone from now on.”

Rice responded, saying “Yes I knew it was wrong and I am sorry. There is nothing I can do to make it right. I am really sorry. I should have never put you in that position, I was just in the moment. That is not the person kind of person I am [sic]. (Redacted name) I am really sorry.”

The woman responded by saying she believed Rice but wanted him to leave her alone and he apologized again, saying: “Yes I will can we just put this behind us and don’t tell anyone and I’ll leave you alone. Once again I am really sorry and feel terrible about it.

Subsequent text exchanges between the two grew testy as the woman essentially begged Rice to stop contacting her via texts and social media messages.  After promising to leave her alone as long as they “just let it go and never bring it up again,” the woman responded “Why? Because you don’t want it getting around and possibly affecting football???”

Rice again apologized, saying “I know that it was wrong and I hope you know I’m sorry and I think about how wrong it was a lot.”

The woman’s final text message, at least of the ones provided by her lawyer, was the most heated.

“It’d be in your best interest to stay the (expletive) away from me,” the woman wrote. “You’re a piece of (expletive) to me Landon. Do not come near anything involving my sorority. Stay away from me.”

A temporary order of protection has been granted to the alleged victim and a hearing is scheduled for October 4, although Rice’s attorneys are seeking to have that order dismissed.

Following the Week 2 win over Arkansas State, head coach Gus Malzahn confirmed that the tight end had left his football program for what he described as “personal reasons.” The four-star 2016 recruit was an early enrollee who participated in spring practice earlier this year.  His brother, Logan Rice, plays wide receiver for the Tigers.

Report: Ohio Bobcats RB arrested for alleged intoxicated accident and fleeing scene

LAWRENCE, KS - SEPTEMBER 10: Maleek Irons #21 of the Ohio Bobcats rushes for a first down against the Kansas Jayhawks in the second quarter at Memorial Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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Ohio running back Maleek Irons was arrested over the weekend for his role in fleeing a possible drunk driving accident.

The Athens News reports Irons was arrested Saturday morning by police responding to a call about “an intoxicated male driving a vehicle, colliding with other vehicles, and fleeing the scene.” The vehicles connected to the call was found off the road at 3:39 a.m. When police discovered the car, Irons got out of the car and started to run tow a dorm on Ohio’s campus, failing to stop when commanded by the officer.

Irons has been charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, resisting arrest and obstructing official business. He was released on bond and has a court appointment scheduled for Tuesday morning. There has been no statement from Ohio on his status with the program, although an indefinite suspension of some sort may be expected as is usually the case when an issue like this arises.

With Irons finding himself in some legal hot water, that means The Fulmer cup season is officially underway.

Alabama to hires Arizona AD Greg Byrne for same position

TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 19: Athletic Director Greg Byrne of the Arizona Wildcats looks on during the second half of the college football game against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks at Arizona Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
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Alabama head coach Nick Saban may be the most powerful person within the Alabama sports department, but even he has a boss.  Now, he will have a new boss.

Alabama Director of Athletics Bill Battle is stepping down into retirement from his current position, although he will remain active in the university as a special assistant to university president Stuart Bell. Battle has been fighting through health issues and completed treatment for cancer last summer. His vacant spot in the athletics department will be filled by Arizona Athletics Director Greg Byrne. A formal announcement has not been made as of yet, but multiple reports have confirmed the pending Byrne hiring. (UPDATE: Alabama has since formally announced the hiring of Byrne)

”Bill has done a tremendous job as director of athletics, and has accomplished so much during his career,” Bell said, according to the Associated Press. ”His business expertise, coupled with his coaching experience and his strong understanding of the role an athletic department has in the daily fabric of a university, has allowed us to achieve the great successes we have enjoyed during his tenure. We are blessed to have the continued benefit of his counsel.”

The hiring of Byrne takes Alabama outside its own foundation to bring in an outsider to lead the sports department. Byrne is an Idaho native who has worked in an administrative role in two SEC schools, so he will be familiar with the landscape the conference has to offer. Byrne was the athletics director of Mississippi State from 2008 through 2010 before moving to Arizona for the past six years. At Mississippi State, Byrne hired football coach Dan Mullen. Byrne also held an associate AD role at Kentucky, where he directed development and fundraising efforts for the Wildcats.

Notre Dame OL Quenton Nelson announces return to school

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It’s not yet Signing Day, but Notre Dame has already secured a major commitment for what Brian Kelly hopes is a major bounce-back 2017 season.

Offensive lineman Quenton Nelson announced Sunday he is returning for his senior season. “Excited for this team to grow every day this offseason by putting in nothing but hard work and grinding together. When we reach our full potential, look out,” Nelson wrote in an Instagram post. “I’m right behind you Coach.”

Nelson, who hails from “Westeros, GOT,” according to his Twitter bio, is a two-year starter at guard for the Irish. Notre Dame finished tied for 62nd nationally in yards per carry this season, but ranked eighth in that same metric a year ago en route to earning a finalist not for the inaugural Joe Moore Award — given to the nation’s best offensive line unit — and a Fiesta Bowl appearance.

Sonny Dykes reportedly joins TCU staff

TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 24:  Head coach Sonny Dykes of the California Golden Bears looks on during warm ups prior to the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Tempe, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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Former California head coach Sonny Dykes is set to join TCU’s staff in a to-be-determined role, multiple outlets reported Sunday evening. Jeremy Clark of TCU’s 247 site broke the news.

Dykes, of course, was the head coach of the Golden Bears through last Sunday, when the school abruptly fired him. He was 19-30 in four seasons with Cal.

With Doug Meacham off to Kansas and Sonny Cumbie running the show for the Horned Frogs’ offense, Dykes is a natural fit to slide in and assist Cumbie. Dykes was an offensive assistant of Mike Leach at Texas Tech from 2000-06, and Cumbie played for the Red Raiders as a quarterback from 2000-04. Sharing the same first name can’t hurt, either.