Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Georgia Tech punter dumps football to be a priest

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Georgia Tech is losing a punter for a rather unique reason. Grant Aasen is pursuing a goal of being a priest. In order to begin that mission, he had to leave behind one final year of eligibility with the Georgia Tech football program.

This hardly comes as a surprise to Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson, however, as Aasen says he gave the head coach of the Yellow Jackets advance warning of his intentions in the spring of 2016.

Aasen explained the story to National Catholic Register;

I told head coach Paul Johnson before spring practices in 2016 that I was planning on playing one more year and then going to the seminary. I was tearing up at the time, because I was thinking of how much football meant to me and how much I had put into it. Coach told me he appreciated my honesty, but that he wanted me to stay with the team and to give it more time — to go through not only last season, but this most recent spring’s practices. I did that, and the calling remained throughout, so that’s where we are today.

It goes without saying that talking to the head coach was an important thing, but also important were the strength coaches. People outside of college football might know it, but the strength coaches are the ones players spend the most time with year-round. The other coaches are out recruiting in the offseason while the strength coaches are always there. Naturally, this leads to the development of good relationships.

Aasen went on to say he appreciated the support he received from Georgia Tech strength coach John Sisk.

“Coach John Sisk, who is our top strength coach as director of player development, was initially surprised when I told him, but was then super supportive of what I should be doing in life. That meant a lot to me, considering how close we get to the strength coaches.”

Fans can legally carry concealed gun at Georgia football tailgates

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Guns and SEC football are back in the news yet again this offseason.  And this one has the ACC riding shotgun as well.

In late March, the state of Arkansas legislature passed a law (House Bill 1249) that would allow concealed-carry handguns on publicly-owned property, which would’ve include college sporting events.  A day later, and after realizing, amidst considerable controversy, the potential for alcohol-fueled fans attending an SEC football game armed, the state’s senate voted to amend the law to exclude college sporting events.

Fast-forward to this month, and the state of Georgia legislature has passed a law (House Bill 280) that would allow the carrying of concealed handguns on college campuses, with exceptions that include on-campus stadiums, arenas, gymnasiums and the like hosting intercollegiate sporting events.  That bill is scheduled to become law in the state July 1.

In clarifying the language of the law, the university confirmed in an extensive press release Wednesday that individuals with valid weapons licenses will be permitted to conceal-carry outside of college football stadiums.  In other words, licensed individuals would be permitted to carry concealed weapons outside of Sanford Stadium as well as Bobby Dodd Stadium as part of the game-day tailgating experience.

Only handguns are allowed under this law, and only when concealed.  Long guns, obviously, are not permitted under any circumstance.

“I understand that many of you have strong feelings about this bill,” UGA Chancellor Steve Wrigley began his letter to the university community. “Yet, whether you opposed or supported the legislation, it will soon be state law, and I respectfully ask everyone to exercise patience, understanding and respect as we implement it.

“We all share the same goal of ensuring a safe campus environment. We should work together to implement the law as written and thoughtfully address any complications that may arise.”

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement amidst the Arkansas gun-law controversy that may or may not have had an impact on that state’s legislature tweaking of the bill. It bears watching whether the commish follows a similar public tack when it comes to this piece of legislation.

The Georgia Bulldogs will open their 2017 season at home against Appalachian State Sept. 2, while Georgia Tech’s home opener is Sept. 9 against Jacksonville State.

ACC distributed $23.8 million to members in 2015-16 as revenue declines

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Everybody in college athletics is making money — outside of the players — but the ACC was one entity that didn’t quite make as much as they did the year prior.

The reason for a slight decline in total revenue in the ACC? It’s members can thank not having the hefty buyout Maryland paid to leave the league and join the Big Ten the year prior.

Ace Daily Press reporter David Teel recently obtained the conference’s tax returns for the 2015-16 fiscal year and they show a still-robust $373.4 million in total revenue. That resulted in a nice $23.8 million distribution to the 14 member schools and a payment of just over $4 million to Notre Dame as part of the Irish’s agreement to house their non-football sports in the ACC.

The ACC was the big winner among the Power Five conference in the prior tax return period, seeing their revenue jump by a whopping $100 million in 2014-15 to $403.1 million. Taking out the $30 million buyout that the Terps paid in order to leave and revenue was essentially flat for the ACC year-over-year.

Despite that, the balance sheet is still a very healthy one and slots the ACC in front of the Big 12’s $313 million in total revenue among the Power Five conferences. That only means a fourth place finish though as the Pac-12 ($488 million), Big Ten ($483.4 million) and SEC ($639 million) all came out significantly ahead.

USA Today reports that ACC commissioner John Swofford didn’t feel the pinch of the decline however, as his salary was just a tad under $3 million in the same reporting period and represented an increase of nearly $300,000 from the year prior. Something says everybody in the league can expect future increases though with Clemson’s back-to-back national title game appearances as well as the upcoming ACC Network launch factoring into the equation in coming years.

ACC, Notre Dame release future schedules through 2037

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Yes, you read that correctly — two decades out.

Since 2014, Notre Dame and the ACC have had a scheduling relationship that sees the Fighting Irish face five teams from that conference each season.  That schedule had previously been announced through the 2025 season; Thursday, the schedule through the 2037 season was announced as well.

There are 60 games total in this portion of the agreement, with 30 of those being home contests for the Irish.

“The ACC’s football partnership with Notre Dame has been extremely successful throughout our first four seasons,” said ACC commissioner John Swofford in a statement. “As we look to the future, these games will continue to enhance the experience for our players, schools and fans.”

Over the past three seasons, Notre Dame was 9-6 against ACC schools.  They were 2-3 last season.

Below are the complete future matchups between the two entities:

2026
Notre Dame at Florida State
Louisville at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at North Carolina
Syracuse at Notre Dame
Virginia at Notre Dame

2027
Notre Dame at Clemson
Notre Dame at Duke
Georgia Tech at Notre Dame
Virginia Tech at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Wake Forest

2028
Boston College at Notre Dame
Clemson at Notre Dame
Miami at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Pitt
Notre Dame at Virginia Tech

2029
Notre Dame at Florida State
Georgia Tech at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at NC State
Notre Dame at Syracuse
Wake Forest at Notre Dame

2030
Notre Dame at Boston College
Duke at Notre Dame
Florida State at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Louisville
North Carolina at Notre Dame

2031
Notre Dame at Clemson (Labor Day night)
Miami at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at North Carolina
NC State at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Virginia

2032
Florida State at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Georgia Tech
Louisville at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Miami
Wake Forest at Notre Dame

2033
Notre Dame at Boston College
Notre Dame at Duke
Notre Dame at Louisville
Pitt at Notre Dame
Virginia Tech at Notre Dame

2034
Clemson at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Miami
Notre Dame at Pitt
Syracuse at Notre Dame
Virginia at Notre Dame

2035
Boston College at Notre Dame
Duke at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Louisville
Notre Dame at NC State
Notre Dame at Virginia

2036
Florida State at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Georgia Tech
North Carolina at Notre Dame
Pitt at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Virginia Tech (Labor Day night)

2037
Notre Dame at Clemson
Miami at Notre Dame
NC State at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Syracuse
Notre Dame at Wake Forest

George O’Leary to be roasted for charity

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Former Georgia Tech and Central Florida head coach George O’Leary will be roasted for a good cause later this month.

As detailed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, O’Leary will take comedic punches to benefit the RisingSeniors Foundation on May 20 in Atlanta.

The foundation exists to benefit educational seniors rather than literal ones and was founded by former Georgia Tech football player Joe Burns.

While there’s no word if Jeffrey Ross or Pete Davidson will be in attendance, any roast worth its salt will make frequent mention of O’Leary’s brief tenure at a certain Catholic university in northern Indiana.

O’Leary, 70, compiled a 52-33 mark as head coach of the Yellow Jackets from 1995-01 and then went 81-68 as head coach at Central Florida from 2004-15. He led the Knights to the inaugural American Athletic Conference championship, a Fiesta Bowl win over Big 12 champion Baylor and a top-10 ranking in 2013 but has not coached since starting 0-8 in ’15.