Baylor Bears

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 4: Republican candidate for governor, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott speaks to the press after voting in the Texas primary at Western Hills Church of Christ on March 4, 2014 in Austin, Texas. Abbott is planning to make stops in Houston and Dallas for get out-the-vote rallies ahead of the elections. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
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Texas governor, lieutenant governor, UT president tweet support for Houston in Big 12 expansion

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Legend has it, Baylor would not be in the Big 12 had it not been for former Texas governor Ann Richards.

As the story goes, the old Big 8 was set to add Texas and Texas A&M and become The Big 10 But Not That Big Ten. The name needed some work. But realignment drama reached the Texas capitol, and Richards, a Baylor graduate, and Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock, a Texas Tech graduate, forced their schools’ way in as well.

History, as we know, has a way of repeating itself, as current Texas governor Greg Abbott is now throwing his political weight behind Houston’s inclusion into the Big 12.

Abbott is a Texas graduate but lived and worked in Houston previously. And it’s, of course, the public university of the largest city in the state he governs.

How much Abbott’s support for the Coogs matters in the end remains to be seen, but his support marries that of Big 12 coaches’ in favor of Houston. For starters, the climate is different in Texas now than it was in the mid-90’s. Texas A&M already left for the SEC, and two of the four Lone Star squads in the Big 12 are privates.

Of course, there’s a chance Abbott’s support could be a massive jinx for Houston. Someone in the governor’s office famously tweeted congratulations to the Houston Astros for defeating the Kansas City Royals in last year’s American League Division Series only to see the Royals rally to defeat the Astros and win the World Series.

Update: Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick and University of Texas president Greg Fenves have also posted statements of support for Houston today.

Former Baylor DE Shawn Oakman indicted in sexual assault case

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 03:  Shawn Oakman #2 of the Baylor Bears before a game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at AT&T Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Just a day after Jim Grobe insisted there are no problems at Baylor, the news cycle goes out and proves him wrong.

Former Bears defensive end Shawn Oakman has been indicted by a McLennan County, Texas, grand jury on one count of sexual assaulting a Baylor student at his apartment on April 3. (Yes, for those keeping score at home, that came after his time with the Baylor football program was officially complete.)

If convicted, Oakman would face up to 20 years in prison. ESPN reported Oakman is currently free on $25,000 bond.

“Shawn Oakman maintains his innocence in regard to the recent accusations made against him, and he insists that the sexual relationship in this case was consensual,” Oakman’s attorney Michelle Tuegel told the Waco Tribune-Herald. “It is unfortunate that this situation has been lumped in with other events that are unrelated. It is important that we not rush to judgment. Every citizen accused of a crime in this country is presumed innocent unless the state proves the accused offense beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. We look forward to vigorously defending Mr. Oakman and presenting the facts involved in this situation.”

Law enforcement examined Oakman’s DNA and cell phone, while also searching his duplex to obtain items ranging from ear rings to bed sheets to blood.

Waco police has charged Oakman of inviting the woman to his home on the night of April 2, where he forced her into his bedroom, “forcibly removed” her clothes and sexually assaulted here.

Oakman was also accused of assaulting his former girlfriend in 2013, but charges were not filed in that case. He originally signed with Penn State out of high school but was dismissed for shoplifting and violating team rules.

A one-time candidate for a No. 1 overall pick, Oakman was not chosen in this spring’s NFL Draft after a season in which he posted 14.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.

Oakman is the third Baylor player charged with sexual assault in recent years, following Tevin Elliott and Sam Ukwachuku. Both were convicted of rape.

It’s a go: Big 12 to pursue expansion

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 25:  The Big XII logo on a pylon at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 25, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Presidents of American Athletic Conference and Mountain West schools, grab your phones. You’ve got some calls to make.

After a seemingly endless string of “will they or won’t they?” stories, brought on by the league itself, the Big 12 announced following a Board of Directors meeting Tuesday afternoon it has authorized commissioner Bob Bowlsby to pursue expansion candidates.

Not a lot of details are ironed out as of yet — this wouldn’t be the Big 12 if they were — but the concept is a go.

Oklahoma president and board chair David Boren said the Big 12 could become 12 again or balloon all the way up to 14.

While no one’s coming out and saying it now, the top candidates for expansion figure to be Cincinnati, Memphis, Connecticut, Houston, South and/or Central Florida, BYU and Colorado State in some order.

One thing that differentiates the Big 12 from others: Bowlsby has used the term “negotiate” when discussing the expansion process. With more interested parties than spots to give, the Big 12 can afford to be selective.

While no one attached firm dates to anything, the implication Tuesday was that this would be taken care of sooner rather than later.

One thing is certain: this is the Big 12 we’re talking about. No amount of craziness is off the table here.

 

Jim Grobe says there’s no ‘culture of bad behavior’ at Baylor

CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 6: Head coach Jim Grobe of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons watches his team warm up prior to the game against the Boston College Eagles on September 6, 2013 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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If you were rooting for Baylor interim head coach Jim Grobe to trip on his words during Tuesday’s Big 12 media days, you got what you wanted.

Grobe is one of two people in green and gold — new AD Mack Rhoades being the other — who doesn’t have to answer for what happened in Waco under Ken StarrArt Briles and Ian McCaw. He’s got a clean slate. He is the clean slate.

Still, Grobe chose to wade into the waters of moral equivalency.

Let’s dive into the transcript, shall we?

Q. With all the talk surrounding the program, it’s all been nonfootball recently. All the success that Art had on the field and in the standings, how daunting is this task for you to come in and try to continue that while also changing the culture off the field?

A:….. So from our standpoint, what I want to do is let people know that the majority of our kids are fantastic kids and their programs, the problems that we’re dealing with at Baylor or have dealt with at Baylor to this point are probably problems at every university in the country. I hate to say every one, but I’m guessing most universities are having some of the same issues we’ve had at Baylor. You can make a call as to whether you think Baylor was too strong in the way they dealt with it.

Unbelievably, I’ve had people tell me they don’t think they dealt with it strongly enough. But I think going forward, do we want to learn from our past mistakes? We absolutely want to learn from our past mistakes, and we’re doing that.

For those keeping score, Grobe just said A) most universities are dealing with issues where their most high-profile students are caught raping other students, the university has no Title IX office to handle such cases, the head football coach then takes the jurisprudence of these cases into his own hands and the university president refuses to act, B) the university may have been too strong in firing those its law firm deemed responsible, C) acted incredulous at the suggestion the school didn’t go far enough in keeping the entire assistant coaching staff intact.

Q. Jim, so much has been made about the assistant coaches remaining on your staff that were a part of Art Briles’s staff and part of that culture and yesterday interim President Garland said the way you change the culture is by having a new President, a new Athletic Director, a new head coach. But obviously those coaches remain in their position. What have you implemented in your obviously short time still at this point within the Baylor family? What have you changed to help modify the culture that exists there? 

A: Well, I have to push back, again, and tell you that is not a culture at Baylor University. We don’t have a culture of bad behavior at Baylor University. 

Grobe denied a culture of bad behavior despite the fact that his employment is proof of the culture of bad behavior at Baylor University. He wouldn’t have the job he does otherwise.

And, again, he doesn’t have to answer any of these questions! A simple “I was hired to move this football program forward” would suffice.

But instead Grobe chose to go to bat for people he didn’t know two months ago and a culture that is in the process of implementing sweeping changes.

And in the process, he walked himself into some unfortunate — no pun intended — verbal bear traps.

Four of five 2015 finalists on 40-player Walter Camp POTY watch list

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 5: Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners looks to throw against the Akron Zips September 5, 2015 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated Akron 41-3.(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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One of the most prestigious awards in college football becomes one of the last honors to release its preseason watch list.

The Walter Camp Player of the Year award, the fourth-oldest individual college football award, released Friday its list of 40 players to watch for the upcoming season.  Named in honor of the legendary head coach, the Camp POTY award has been handed out annually since 1967, with USC running back O.J. Simpson claiming the first two trophies.

The 2015 winner of the award was Alabama running back Derrick Henry.  The other four finalists, Iowa defensive back Desmond King, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, return for the 2016 season and, of course, are among the watch listers.

Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, Washington State quarterback Luke Falk and LSU running back Leonard Fournette were semifinalists in 2015 and make an appearance on the list.

There are 15 quarterbacks, 11 running backs, three wide receivers and one tight end, as well as 10 players on he defensive side of the ball.  The breakdown on the latter front is five defensive backs, four linebackers and one defensive lineman.

The Big Ten leads all conferences with eight watch listers, immediately followed by the SEC’s seven.  The rest of the leagues, from most to least, include Pac-12 (six), ACC (five), Big 12 (four), AAC (two), MAC (two), Mountain West (two), Conference USA (one) and Sun Belt (one).  There also one each from independents BYU and Notre Dame.

Clemson is the only team with three players on the list.  Florida State, Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Texas A&M are the only ones with two each.

Below is the complete 2016 Walter Camp Ward preseason watch list:

Quarterbacks
J.T. Barrett, Junior, QB, Ohio State
C.J. Beathard, Senior, QB, Iowa
Josh Dobbs, Senior, QB, Tennessee
Luke Falk, Junior, QB, Washington State
Chad Kelly, Senior, QB, Ole Miss
DeShone Kizer, Junior, QB, Notre Dame
Tanner Mangum, Junior, QB, BYU
Baker Mayfield, Senior, QB, Oklahoma #
Nick Mullens, Senior, QB, Southern Miss
Josh Rosen, Sophomore, QB, UCLA
Seth Russell, Senior, QB, Baylor
Brett Rypien, Sophomore, QB, Boise State
Anu Solomon, RS Junior, QB, Arizona
Greg Ward, Senior, QB, Houston
Deshaun Watson, Junior, QB, Clemson *

Running Backs
Nick Chubb, Junior, RB, Georgia
Dalvin Cook, Junior, RB, Florida State *
Leonard Fournette, Junior, RB, LSU #
Royce Freeman, Junior, RB, Oregon
Wayne Gallman, Junior, RB, Clemson
Justin Jackson, Junior, RB, Northwestern
Marlon Mack, Junior, RB, South Florida
Christian McCaffrey, Junior, RB/KR, Stanford *
Samaje Perine, Junior, RB, Oklahoma
Donnel Pumphrey, Senior, RB, San Diego State
Larry Rose, Junior, RB, New Mexico State

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Corey Davis, Senior, WR, Western Michigan
Christian Kirk, Sophomore, WR, Texas A&M
Jordan Leggett, TE, Senior, Clemson *
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Junior, WR, USC

Defense
Myles Garrett, Junior, DE, Texas A&M #
Eddie Jackson, Junior, DB, Alabama *
Derwin James, Sophomore, DB, Florida State
Malik Jefferson, Sophomore, LB, Texas
Desmond King, Senior, DB, Iowa #
Jourdan Lewis, Senior, DB, Michigan *
Shawun Lurry, Junior, DB, Northern Illinois *
Raekwon McMillan, Junior, LB, Ohio State *
Jabrill Peppers, Sophomore, LB, Michigan
Anthony Walker, Junior, LB, Northwestern

# – 2015 Walter Camp First Team All-America selection
*- 2015 Walter Camp Second Team All-America selection