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No decision on where 2017 ACC Championship Game will be played yet

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When the ACC pulled the ACC Championship Game out of Charlotte, North Carolina in response to the state’s controversial House Bill 2, referred to by many as the bathroom law, it was expected the ACC would make a quick return to the state as soon as the law was successfully repealed. But with the state of North Carolina’s legislature failing to repeal the bathroom law late last month, the law remains in place and that leaves the ACC left to figure out just where it will host its championship game in 2017. For now, no decisions have been made, according to ACC commissioner John Swofford.

Speaking to media today in Tampa as ACC champion Clemson prepares to face SEC champion Alabama in Monday night’s College Football Playoff national championship for a second consecutive season, Swofford suggested Orlando would likely be used as the host city for a second time. Orlando was used as the emergency host city on relatively short notice this past fall after the ACC announced it would not play its championship game in Charlotte. Charlotte has served as the host city for the ACC’s title game from 2010 through 2015. Despite holding a contract to host the ACC championship game through 2019, Charlotte had the game taken away by the ACC in September following a conference vote in response to the state’s controversial Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act targetted against members of the LGBT community.

“If something changes in the state of North Carolina, that would be welcomed,” Swofford said, according to Aaron Brenner of The Post and Courier. “But our presidents made what they believe is a principled decision in that regard as to where our championships should be held, and shouldn’t. I don’t see that principle changing.”

The 2016 ACC Championship Game was the first ACC title game to be played in Orlando and resulted in the second lowest attendance for an ACC championship game. Orlando’s Camping World Stadium has a seating capacity of 65,000 but netted a crowd of 50,628 for the game between Clemson and Virginia Tech. Each game played in Charlotte had a listed attendance of at least 64,000, with 74,514 in attendance for the 2015 championship game between Clemson and North Carolina.

Atlanta would seem to be out of the equation for the ACC because the SEC plays its championship game in Atlanta (although the doubleheader weekend potential of an ACC and SEC Championship Weekend sounds enticing). Past ACC championship games have also been played in Jacksonville and Tampa, with mixed opinions at best.

Wherever the ACC plays its championship game in 2017, Swofford made it clear he wants the conference to make a decision earlier than it did last year. That should be manageable, as last year’s decision was a relatively last-minute response to the controversial state law and public reaction intensified the longer the ACC took to respond. That should not be a concern this year, unless the ACC is waiting to see if any change to the law may be made earlier in the year. It would make sense to have the ACC have a conference championship destination locked in before the summer media days, but having this all hashed out before or during spring meetings may be more optimal if that can be arranged.

Victim of alleged WKU football attack plans to file charges

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A former Western Kentucky fraternity member says he was attacked by a group of Hilltoppers football players and plans to file charges.

Jerald Armfield, an alum of WKU’s Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, told WBKO-TV he was caught in an ongoing feud between the fraternity and the football team:

“I went to the house in the best interest of the fraternity and Western as a whole to prevent any type of violence from occurring. We got up there and realized they were all hiding behind garbage cans, trees, and buildings.”

“I never in my wildest dreams thought they would attack me in the manner that they did. They all started surrounding me. One of them threw a rock at me. It was within a few seconds that one of them punched me in the face.”

“I fell down. I was kicked several times. The whole time they were beating me, I was begging them to stop, telling them I wasn’t here the night before, I had nothing to to do with it, like please stop, please stop, and they didn’t.”

Armfield said between nine and 10 people ultimately attacked him; it isn’t known for sure how many of that group are on the football team, though the program’s involvement in the incident is being investigated.

“We are aware of the allegations involving a few members of our football team,” the program said in the statement when word of the altercation broke three weeks ago. “We are cooperating fully with the authorities. However, at this time, we have not received a police report and cannot provide further comment.”

While the status of the investigation is currently unknown, Armfield told WBKO he would like it to end with multiple charges. “I made it very clear that night when the police arrived on the scene that I wanted charges pressed,” he said. “As far as I know a detective from Bowling Green Police Department has it. As it stands right now, I still want charges pressed. They need to be held accountable for what they did not only as citizens but as students at Western.”

Baylor moves to dismiss lawsuit claiming 52 rapes over 3-year period

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Baylor has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit claiming 31 football players committed 52 rapes over a 3-year period from 2011-14. The school is citing the expiration of the statute of limitations and that the allegations do not meet the level of “deliberate indifference,” according to the Waco Tribune-Herald.

The suit was initially filed in late January who anonymously claimed she was raped by then-Bears football players Tre'Von Armstead and Shaymichael Chatman in 2013. Armstead and Chatman have both been indicted for that incident. Armstead was arrested earlier this month in Las Vegas in charges of resisting arrest in addition to the 2013 case.

Baylor also challenged the suit’s claim of a widespread culture of sexual violence, including claims the Baylor Bruins hostess program was encouraged to sleep with recruits in order to entice them to Baylor.

“Baylor does not agree with or concede the accuracy of plaintiff’s 146-paragraph complaint and its immaterial and inflammatory assertions,” the motion states.

Former offensive coordinator Kendal Briles told a recruit, according to the suit, “Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they love football players.”

 

Mark Dantonio breaks silence to reveal additional player suspensions

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Mark Dantonio broke his silence Tuesday to talk about all the things he couldn’t talk about.

Speaking publicly for the first time since National Signing Day, Dantonio said more players have been suspended in addition to the three players and one staff member already suspended in connection with an ongoing sexual assault investigation. There are actually three investigations ongoing — a criminal probe, a Title IX investigation and an outside evaluation of the football program.

How many additional  players were suspended in conjunction with the investigations? Dantonio couldn’t say.

When were they suspended? Dantonio couldn’t say.

When were the original three players suspended? Dantonio couldn’t say.

How, one may wonder, has Michigan State managed to keep the suspended players’ identities secret despite spring practice now being a full month old? Easy: the Spartans have essentially shielded a black cloak around the entire program. The media hasn’t been allowed to watch practice. No depth charts or rosters have been released. No photos or videos have been produced. The content on @MSU_Football has vaguely referred to the ongoing spring practices by referencing the April 1 spring game, but all other tweets have centered around Michigan State’s involvement in the NFL Draft or the basketball Spartans’ NCAA Tournament berth. The program didn’t even comment on two players’ announced transfers throughout the offseason.

Dantonio even deemed it “trivial” to discuss Michigan State’s quarterback derby. The one piece of actual Spartans football news Dantonio revealed? Linebacker Drake Martinez, he of the one tackle in two appearances last season, has transferred.

Greg Sankey releases statement against Arkansas guns-at-sporting events law

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The state of Arkansas has passed a law that allows concealed-carry handguns on publicly-owned property, which would include college sporting events.

Since it was realized immediately upon the bill’s announcement what a terrible, horrendous idea allowing lubed-up sports fans to bring handguns with them to the game would be, the law was quickly amended to exclude college sporting events.

But on Tuesday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement arguing for Razorbacks events to be exempted from the law.

To date, Arkansas AD Jeff Long and head football coach Bret Bielema have yet to comment on the law, and Sankey’s statement today is likely coordinated with that — pushing the buck upwards while not crossing those in the Natural State that may be in favor of the bill.