Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh plays shirtless with participants during the Coach Jim Harbaugh's Elite Summer Football Camp, Friday, June 5, 2015, at Prattville High School in Prattville, Ala. (Albert Cesare/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)  NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT
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NCAA council proposes two early signing periods, satellite camp changes, 10th assistant

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Significant change could be coming to major college football, and a couple of Big Ten coaches may not exactly be excited about the direction the sport’s headed.

One proposed change, though, will likely be greeted with open arms.

The Division I Football Oversight Committee is considering proposing legislation that would allow teams to add an additional on-field assistant.  Currently, teams are permitted nine such assistants; the proposal would push that number to 10 across the FBS board.

The committee plans to examine this issue during the upcoming year, and could make a recommendation to the Div. 1 Council next year.

“There was unanimity around the table on the addition of a 10th assistant coach being allowed (in FBS),” oversight committee chair and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement. “We feel it is appropriate from a student-athlete welfare standpoint. The ratio of coaches to student-athlete is much higher in football than other sports, and this helps address that.”

That’s arguably one of the smartest decisions the NCAA has made in years, doing something that actually can benefit players and not just programs.  Now, though, the twin issues that will make the most noise and have arguably the biggest impact in the coming months — and years.

First and foremost, the Council is proposing two, 72-hour early signing periods, one that would begin the last Wednesday in June and the other in mid-December during the initial time junior college players can sign National Letters of Intent. Currently, the only signing period for high school football prospects begins the first Wednesday in February, otherwise known as National Signing Day.

The Council will ask the Division I Collegiate Commissioners Association to approve the measures, which would then go into effect for the 2017-18 signing year if okayed.

Urban Meyer‘s been one of the most vocal critics of any type of early signing period. While a June signing period would help the recruit focus on and enjoy his senior season of high school, it would also, for example, tie him down to a school that will make a coaching change just a few months down the road. Critics such as Meyer argue that “[y]ou’re going to see more transfers and more mistakes made in recruiting than ever” if early signing periods are implemented.

Bowlsby, though, feels the committee “hit a sweet spot” with “a proposal [that] is both student-athlete-friendly and coach- and staff-friendly.” Left unsaid in the NCAA’s release is if a transfer clause involving coaching changes and the like would be a part of the legislation, although, if it’s as “student-athlete-friendly” as claimed, it already should be.

The biggest fight in the coming months will likely be over the early signing period, but Jim Harbaugh may have some words regarding satellite camp legislation being proposed.

If adopted, the Council’s legislation would reduce from two periods of 15 consecutive days for participating in football camps and clinics — i.e. satellite camps — to a total of no more than 10 days. Those days can be used non-consecutively, with the NCAA noting the proposal would provide “greater flexibility to attend more events and visit with more students at various locations.”

There’s also no specific limitation on the number of camps that can be attended over the course of those 10 days, meaning staffs could go to more than one per day, although again they’re not permitted more than 10 total days of such camps.

While the two-third reduction is certainly significant, it’s not the most significant portion of the proposed legislation:

With a refinement in the purpose of the camps to one focused primarily on recruiting rather than instruction, which traditionally has been done in the scholastic environment, the camps must be owned, operated and conducted by NCAA member schools and occur on the school’s campus or in facilities the school primarily uses for practice or competition. Keeping camps and clinics at known facilities will better protect the health and safety of participating students, members said.

Translation: say goodbye to the Harbaugh-led camps at high schools and junior colleges across the nation.

One positive tweak to the camp is that the proposal “would allow all coaches participating in the camps or clinics to have recruiting conversations with participating prospective student-athletes during the event.” Under the current bylaws, such talk is prohibited even as the camps had swung from being instructional to a recruiting tool in many a coaching staff’s arsenal.

“We needed to limit the number of days (for camps and clinics) and do things differently than we did before,” Bowlsby said. “But the best chance for us to manage this is to acknowledge that the summer is about recruiting, not skill development, and to manage it in ways that reflect best on our universities and the process.”

The Council will vote on the camp legislation next April, and, if approved, it would go into effect immediately.

Oregon suspends strength coach in wake of player hospitalizations

EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 6: Close-up of the Oregon Ducks 'Liquid Metal' helmet during the the game between the Oregon Ducks and the Washington Huskies on October 6, 2012 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won the game 52-21. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
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Three Oregon players were hospitalized after grueling winter workouts conducted by new strength coach Irele Oderinde, and now the school has suspended Oderinde for one month without pay.

The original report from The Oregonian, which the school later confirmed, saw at least one player contract symptoms of rhabdomyolysis, a soft tissue condition triggered by overwork that can lead to kidney damage. Other players showed signs as well, according to the report.

The sources said that some players “passed out” and others later complained of discolored urine, which is a common symptom of rhabdomyolysis. After testing, others were found to have highly elevated levels of creatine kinase, an indicator of the syndrome.

As a result, Oderinde has been suspended and head coach Willie Taggart has issued an apology. Oderinde previously worked for Taggart at South Florida.

“I have visited with the three young men involved in the incidents in the past few days and I have been in constant contact with their families, offering my sincere apologies,” Taggart said in a statement. “As the head football coach, I hold myself responsible for all of our football-related activities and the safety of our students must come first. I have addressed the issue with our strength and conditioning staff, and I fully support the actions taken today by the university.

“I want to thank our medical staff and doctors for caring for all of our young men, and I want to apologize to the university, our students, alumni and fans.

Added AD Rob Mullens: “The university holds the health, safety and well-being of all of our students in high regard. We are confident that these athletes will soon return to full health, and we will continue to support them and their families in their recoveries.”

Additionally, Oderinde will now report to director of performance and sport science Andrew Murray instead of Taggart.

Appalachian State, East Carolina announce 4-game series

GREENVILLE, NC - SEPTEMBER 05:  Devon Moore #20 of the Appalachian State Mountaineers is tackled by teammates Chris Mattocks #19 and Derek Blacknall #26 of the East Carolina Pirates at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Greenville, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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North Carolina’s eastern and western Group of 5 programs are going to rekindle their rivalry.

Appalachian State and East Carolina — or is that East Carolina and Appalachian State? — announced Tuesday plans to play a 4-game series in 2021 and then 2024-26.

The teams will meet on opening weekend (Sept. 4) of the 2021 season at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, then go home-and-home for the final three games of the series. East Carolina will host on Sept. 14, 2024, App State will take a turn on Sept. 6, 2025, and East Carolina will close the series on Sept. 5, 2026.

“On behalf of Appalachian State University, I would like to thank Will Webb, the Charlotte Sports Foundation, Jeff Compher and East Carolina University, the Carolina Panthers, and Bank of America Stadium for the opportunity to host a home game in downtown Charlotte,” App State AD Doug Gillin said in a statement Tuesday. “The chance for App State to host a home game in an NFL Stadium, in Charlotte where our largest alumni base is and against a program like East Carolina is a great opportunity for our students-athletes, alumni, and fans.”

“Both football programs have a rich history of success and outstanding fan support,” East Carolina AD Jeff Compher added. “I am especially excited for our future football student-athletes who will have an opportunity to play in such an exceptional NFL venue as Bank of America Stadium. We are grateful to Doug [Gillin] and our colleagues at Appalachian for working together in creating this four-game series.” 

The two teams have met 31 times previously, but only twice since 1979. East Carolina has won each of the recent meetings — 29-24 to open the 2009 season and 35-13 to open ’12, both in Greenville — and holds a 19-12 all-time advantage with wins in the last six and nine of the last 11 matches.

Arkansas promotes Paul Rhoads to defensive coordinator

AMES, IA - NOVEMBER 14: Head coach Paul Rhoads of the Iowa State Cyclones coaches from the sidelines in the second half of play at Jack Trice Stadium on November 14, 2015 in Ames, Iowa. The Oklahoma State Cowboys defeated Iowa State 35-31.(Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
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Arkansas has promoted Paul Rhoads to defensive coordinator, the program has announced.

Like a college player going pro or a high schooler freshly offered a scholarship, Bret Bielema made the announcement through his Twitter account.

Rhoads ascends to the defensive coordinator spot after Robb Smith left the staff to take the same job at Minnesota. He spent the last season on staff as defensive backs coach, but he’ll have his work cut out for him as he moves to the big chair.

Arkansas concluded the 2016 season ranked 123rd nationally in yards per play allowed and 85th in scoring defense. The Razorbacks allowed 37.3 points per game and 7.87 yards per play in SEC games — which both stood as the worst in the conference.

Best known for his 7-year run as the head coach at Iowa State, Rhoads made his name in coaching as a successful defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh (2000-07) and Auburn (2008).

Clemson LB Ben Boulware trolls Desmond Howard with CFP trophy tattoo on his heel

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09:  Linebacker Ben Boulware #10 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates with the College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide 35-31 to win the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware is the quintessential “player you hate if he’s on the other team and player you love if he’s on your team.” Boulware constantly searches — often times outside the letter of the rule book — to look for an edge, and made no secret of his disdain for ESPN college football analyst Demsond Howard‘s disdain for Clemson’s linebackers.

Howard’s quote that started the one-sided feud, via The Clemson Insider:

“Defensively, when I watch Dalvin Cook, Florida State’s running back do … and he is an elite running back and there is no doubting that. He is a special talent. But they are supposed to have a special defense, too. I think their achilles heel may be their linebackers. They are good straight ahead, but as far as going east and west, sideline to sideline, Dalvin Cook turned the corner whenever he wanted to against that defense. I need to see the linebackers play a little better, too, from Clemson.”

That’s the kind of quote that the average viewer would consume and then never give a second thought, or, if you’re a Boulware, the kind you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life.

With Clemson’s national championship now in the bag, Boulware showed off his new strategically-placed tattoo on Twitter, tagging Howard in the process.

(By the way, Cook did rush for 169 yards and four touchdowns that night, though Clemson won the game, 37-34.)

Knowing Boulware, he’ll spend the rest of his days barefoot, hopping with his inked foot splayed in the air, begging each and every passerby to ask him how he got that tattoo.