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Father of former Florida State WR Travis Rudolph killed in accidental shooting


The father of Florida State wide receiver Travis Rudolph was killed Friday in an accidental shooting, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Monday.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Darryl Rudolph was working on repairs inside a West Palm Beach, Fla., when a gun accidentally fired in an adjacent room, hitting him in the back/neck area. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 55 years old.

The younger Rudolph was Florida State’s leading receiver over the past two seasons before becoming an early-entrant into this week’s NFL Draft. He gained viral notoriety after a photo snapped of him sitting at lunch with an autistic elementary school student hit Facebook.

“When I used to coach and help other kids with football, basketball and sports, Travis was small but he used to pay attention to what I was doing,” the elder Rudolph said in an interview with ESPN last year. “I told them get your education. You can be the best athlete in the world, but without an education, you’re not going very far. That’s what Travis followed through on.”

Despite delays, Mercedes Benz Stadium still on track for Chick-fil-A Kickoff games

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Construction delays for the brand new football palace being constructed in Atlanta have forced an MLS match to be rescheduled, but there will be no altering the schedule or location for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff games. In a radio interview in Tennessee, Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic president and CEO Gary Stokan says he is in constant communication regarding the subject and remains confident the Georgia Tech vs. Tennessee game on September 2 and the Alabama-Florida State game two days later will not have to be moved.

“I have talked with them (officials) daily over the last week,’’ Stokan said to WNML. “We’ll be in good shape. It’s the fourth event (UT-GT) in there.’’

The other events scheduled to be held in the new football stadium include a pair of NFL preseason games for the Atlanta Falcons. The MLS match that was rescheduled is the other.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is currently scheduled to open on July 30, giving it a full month to work out some kinks before hosting its first real events. The targeted opening date has already been pushed back a handful of times; the stadium was supposed to be open by now.

In the event Mercedes Benz-Stadium is not deemed ready to host the Chick-fil-A Kickoff games, one or both can be moved back to the Georgia Dome. The longtime home stadium of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff and Peach Bowl will remain open and ready for business until Mercedes Benz-Stadium is given a certificate for occupancy. The Georgia Dome was supposed to be torn down in June, but the constant delays with the new stadium have forced that plan to be pushed back as well, just in case.

ACC confirms conference’s football title game returning to Charlotte

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After a one-year sabbatical, the ACC’s football championship game is returning to the state of North Carolina.

Late last month, shortly after the state announced that it had replaced the controversial House Bill 2 (HB2), the ACC Council of Presidents voted that the state would again be considered as venues for future league championships.  Wednesday, the conference confirmed that this year’s football title game will again be played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

Furthermore, to in some ways compensate the city for its one-year loss of the game, the ACC announced that the agreement to play the game in Charlotte has been extended through the 2020 season. The original agreement was expected to expire in 2019.

The league also noted in its release that “[c]hampionship events in women’s basketball, baseball, men’s and women’s swimming & diving, men’s and women’s golf, and men’s and women’s tennis will also return to the state during the 2017-18 academic year, and the ACC Women’s Soccer Championship will follow suit in November 2018.”

“We are pleased that ACC neutral site championships will return to the state of North Carolina beginning with the 2017-18 academic year,” said ACC commissioner John Swofford in a statement. “We value all of our partners in North Carolina and appreciate their support and cooperation. We are thrilled to renew our relationships with so many terrific people, outstanding cities and first-class venues.”

The ACC announced in late September of last year that the football championship game for the 2016 season would be played in Orlando.

The move to Orlando came almost two weeks to the day that the ACC announced it was yanking the title game away from the city of Charlotte and out of the state of North Carolina. The move was in response to HB2, a law which some claimed fostered discrimination against members of the LGBT communities.

Charlotte had played host to the ACC football championship game every year since 2010. Prior to 2010, the first three league title tilts were played in Jacksonville (2005-07) and the next two in Tampa (2008-09).

More construction delays for site of Alabama-FSU opener

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The brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta is scheduled to serve as the site for one of the most anticipated games of opening weekend of the 2017 season, Alabama-Florida State. The state-of-the-art stadium had been expected to be completed by early March… then early June… then late July.

Tuesday brought word, by way of our sister site, that the target date for the opening of the stadium has been pushed back yet again, this time to Aug. 26 for the Atlanta Falcons preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals. The delays have primarily been caused by the complexity of the stadium’s unique retractable roof, which opens and closes like a camera aperture.

Not only could those delays impact the ‘Bama-FSU matchup Sept. 2, but another college football game scheduled to be played at the same stadium Labor Day night — Georgia Tech-Tennessee.

The CEO of the Peach Bowl, which hosts all of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff games, isn’t worried, with Gary Stokan telling al.com that his organization has received “full assurances from the Falcons that everything’s going to be fine with the stadium.”

So, what would happen if the venue isn’t ready to play host to either game?  Both would be played next door at the Georgia Dome.

Not coincidentally, it was announced Monday that the demolition of that stadium has been postponed indefinitely.That demolition delay is being viewed, at least publicly, as strictly “an insurance policy” against the new stadium failing to receive its certificate of occupancy in time for either college football game.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is also scheduled to be the home of the SEC championship game for at least the next decade as well as the venue for the College Football Playoff title game that will be played after the 2017 season.

State budget cuts drove need for Northern Illinois to add Florida State to loaded 2018 schedule

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Northern Illinois raised a few eyebrows a few weeks ago when word came out that they had added a trip to Florida State to their 2018 schedule.

The 2013 Orange Bowl rematch from the days of the BCS was notable not only for the two schools participating in it but because it added to the Huskies’ absolutely loaded non-conference slate even more. In 2018 alone, the program will take trips to Tallahassee as well as Iowa and BYU. The Huskies will sandwich a lone home non-conference game with Utah in there as well.

As it turns out though, the MAC program had a rather unique impetus to adding the Seminoles to their schedule: state budget cuts.

“A $1.6 million infusion (from the FSU game) saved a lot of jobs and a lot of heartbreak in our department,” NIU athletic director Sean Frazier told FoxSports.com. “Our football staff stepped up and were a team player.”

The school has been on the wrong end of political issues in the state of Illinois that have led to huge cuts across higher education. That has trickled down to affect athletics and resulted in the need for a few “paycheck” games for one of the annual contenders in the MAC. Frazier did note that he was going to be upgrading the Huskies’ football schedule either way because of changes in the College Football Playoff, but even he would be the first to admit that 2018 is even tougher than it should be because of the financial need to schedule somebody like Florida State.

Safe to say that Northern Illinois will open next season with the most difficult schedule in the country as a result of all that maneuvering. The flip side is the benefits from games like the one at FSU will go a long ways toward keeping the athletic department running much smoother down in DeKalb.