Mike MacIntyre defends handling of ousted CU assistant Joe Tumpkin

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Colorado assistant Joe Tumpkin has resigned amid domestic abuse allegations against him, but the school’s handling of him has put head coach Mike MacIntyre under the microscope.

Sports Illustrated story last week stated Tumpkin’s then-girlfriend came forward to MacIntyre and his wife in early December, with the coach pledging to handle the situation. The woman claimed to have suffered around 80 episodes of abuse from Tumpkin over a 2-year period, including one that prompted neighbors to call the local police department:

Earlier in 2016, she says she told MacIntyre during this second conversation, “the police had shown up at Joe’s apartment … [there is] a domestic violence call on file … a neighbor heard Joe beating me up.” She had lied to the police that night, she explained, by claiming that the violent sounds had been part of a consensual sexual encounter. The police bought it and left.

MacIntyre thanked Jane for the heads up, she recalled. According to Jane, he said that he had spoken briefly about the matter with athletic director Rick George, who was traveling, and “they were going to sit down together when [George] got back and decide what to do,” Jane said. After that call, and over the next three days, Jane’s phone was silent. She would not hear from MacIntyre, or anyone at Colorado Athletics, again.

In between those conversations and Tumpkin’s resignation, MacIntyre promoted him to defensive coordinator for the Alamo Bowl after Jim Leavitt left for the same post at Oregon. (The Buffs lost the Alamo Bowl 38-8 to Oklahoma State.)

With questions mounting how he could promote an assistant he knew had serious domestic violence allegations against him, MacIntyre offered this statement on Friday:

Upon hearing the allegations by Joe Tumpkin’s girlfriend, my initial reaction and foremost concern was for her safety. I reiterated that to her several times and confirmed that she was in fact, safe.

In the same conversation, I was clear in communicating to her my obligation as a university employee to notify my superior, which is exactly what I did. I can say I did everything necessary to ensure this individual’s statements were relayed immediately.

I would like to clarify the following reported statements:

There were two separate conversations. The first was her report to me of the abuse. In the second conversation, I communicated to her that I reported it. 

Tumpkin was made the play caller for the bowl game because, at the time of the decision, there was no police report or legal complaint. This decision was approved by my superiors.

I want to be clear I unequivocally endorse the chancellor’s plans for improving CU’s policies and practices in dealing with matters of domestic violence and pledge that I and the entire football coaching staff will work to carry out our obligations under university policy.

With both the allegations against Tumpkin and MacIntyre’s subsequent promotion of Tumpkin on the record, Colorado AD Rick George in January rewarded MacIntyre with a contract extension through the 2021 season.

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

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Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

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Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

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It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

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The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.