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Rimington watch list details list of returning centers

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It’s the dead time of the college football calendar, which means it’s time for this sport’s oldest, most antiquated tradition: watch lists.

First one in line is the Rimington Trophy, given to the best center in college football. And to help voters narrow down their choice for when voting picks up six months from now, the Rimington has helpfully provided this watch list of essentially every returning starting center in college football.

The 2017 list includes (deep breath):

– Aaron Mitchell, Fresno State
– Alan Knott, South Carolina
– Alac Eberle, Florida State
– Antonyo Woods, Florida Atlantic
– Asotui Eli, Hawaii
– Austin Doan, Central Michigan
– Austin Golson, Auburn
– Austin Schlottmann, TCU
– Billy Price, Ohio State
– Blaise Fountain, New Mexico
– Brad Lundblade, Oklahoma State
– Brad North, Northwestern
– Bradley Bozeman, Alabama
– Brendan Moore, Maryland
– Brian Allen, Michigan State
– Bryce Holland, Army
– Cameron Ruff, South Florida
– Chandler Miller, Tulsa
– Coleman Shelton, Washington
– Colton Prater, Texas A&M
– Danny Godloveske, Miami (Ohio)
– Dennis Edwards, Western Kentucky
– Drew Keyser, Memphis
– Erick Wren, Oklahoma
– Evan Brown, SMU
– Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
– Gabe Mobley, Georgia State
– Garrett McGhin, East Carolina
– Jake Bennett, Colorado State
– Jake Hanson, Oregon
– Jake Pruehs, Ohio
– James Daniels, Iowa
– James O’Hagan, Buffalo
– Jesse Burkett, Stanford
– John Keenoy, Western Michigan
– Jon Baker, Boston College
– Julian Good-Jones, Iowa State
– Keoni Taylor, San Jose State
– LaVonne Gauthney, Akron
– Levi Brown, Marshall
– Luke Shively, Northern Illinois
– Mason Hampton, Boise State
– Matt Hennessy, Temple
– Mesa Ribordy, Kansas
– Michael Deiter, Wisconsin
– Nathan Puthoff, Kent State
– Nick Allegretti, Illinois
– Nick Clarke, Old Dominion
– Reid Najvar, Kansas State
– Ryan Anderson, Wake Forest
– Sam Mustipher, Notre Dame
– Scott Quessenberry, UCLA
– Sean Krepsz, Nevada
– Sean Rawlings, Ole Miss
– Sumner Houston, Oregon State
– T.J. McCoy, Florida
– Tanner Thrift, Baylor
– Tejan Koroma, BYU
– Tim McAullife, Bowling Green
– Trey Martin, Rice
– Will Clapp, LSU
– Will Noble, Houston
– Zach Shackelford, Texas

Exhale.

Got all that?

Ohio State’s Pat Elflein claimed the honor last season.

New lawsuit claims ex-volleyball player was gang raped by Baylor football players

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Just when you thought it couldn’t get any uglier for the Baylor football program, it does.

Tuesday night, Baylor was served notice that it is being sued by a former BU volleyball player, only identified as “Jane Doe,” that she was gang raped by as many as eight then-Bears football players in 2012.  This is at least the seventh Federal Title IX lawsuit filed in connection to the sexual assault scandal that rocked the university and cost several high-profile officials their jobs, including head football coach Art Briles, nearly a year ago.

From the Waco Tribune-Herald:

The plaintiff, who filed the lawsuit as “Jane Doe,” remembers hearing the players yell, “Grab her phone! Delete my numbers and texts!” following the rape in an off-campus apartment with glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling, according to the suit.

According to the suit, the football team had a system of hazing freshman recruits by having them bring freshman females to parties to be drugged and gang raped, “or in the words of the football players, ‘trains’ would be run on the girls.”

Considered a bonding experience by the players, according to the suit, the rapes were also photographed and videotaped, and the plaintiff confirmed that at least one 21-second videotape of two Baylor students being gang raped by football players had circulated.

Just as damning is that the alleged victim informed her mother of the rape, who in turn took the information, including the names of the players allegedly involved, to an unnamed assistant football coach.  The mother never heard from the coach again, although she, the victim and other family members heard from the alleged assailants through harassing text messages sent from what was described as fake phone numbers.

The Tribune-Herald went on to write that, “[i]n Baylor counseling sessions, Doe was not presented with Title IX-related reporting options but with statistics about how few women report sexual assaults, ‘in an apparent effort to dissuade’ (Doe from taking action), the suit states.”

This filing comes a little over two months after the Texas Rangers confirmed that it had commenced a preliminary investigation centered on how the university, the football program and campus police handled allegations of sexual assault made against student-athletes, most notably members of the football team.  The confirmation of that probe came a little over a month after details in one of the handful of federal lawsuits the university is facing emerged, with that suit alleging 31 Bears football players had committed 52 acts of rape over a period of four years beginning in 2011; in late March, BU sought to have that suit dismissed.

Outside of the federal lawsuits and Department of Education Title IX investigation, two former Bears football players have been convicted of sexual assault that were committed while they were members of the football team.  Several other players were accused of committing either sexual assault or violence — or both — while playing for Briles.

None of Briles’ assistants were dismissed along with the head coach as a result of the scandal even as an independent review into the football program’s handling of sexual assault accusations showed that “members of the Baylor coaching staff chose not to report incidents of sexual violence involving football players, [instead] meeting directly with those filing complaints of sexual abuse and handling their own investigations outside of university policy to discredit the complainants, thus denying them the right to a fair investigation by the university.”

In early February of this year, the Big 12 announced that it will withhold 25 percent of future revenue payments to BU, only releasing the monies “pending the outcome of third-party verification review of required changes to Baylor’s athletics procedures and to institutional governance of its intercollegiate athletics programs, among other matters.”

In response to the latest lawsuit, the university issued the following statement:

The alleged incident outlined in the court filing occurred more than five years ago, and Baylor University has been in conversations with the victim’s legal counsel for many months in an attempt to reach an amicable resolution.

Baylor has since initiated and structurally completed 105 wide-ranging recommendations in response to issues of sexual violence within our campus community, in addition to making changes within the university and athletics leadership and investing significantly in student support services.

As this case proceeds, Baylor maintains its ability to present facts — as available to the University — in response to the allegations contained in the legal filing. The University’s response in no way changes Baylor’s position that any assault involving members of our campus community is reprehensible and inexcusable. Baylor remains committed to eliminating all forms of sexual and gender-based harassment and discrimination within our campus community.

Big 12 coaches for some reason unconcerned about Draft drought

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As I’m sure you’re aware by now, the Big 12 produced only 14 picks in last weekend’s NFL Draft. The league’s coaches have heard about it, and they say (on the record, at least) that they’re not concerned about it and, frankly, they’re tired of talking about it.

“You have cycles. You have waves,” Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg. “We’re obviously down when it comes to top, top prospects. We have good players, but maybe not the elite level that some of the other leagues have. I don’t think it’s panic mode yet.”

Added West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen: “I don’t think there’s anything to worry about. I’m a little tired of [the media] making it a big deal.”

And TCU’s Gary Patterson: “I don’t go out and recruit saying, ‘This guy, the only reason I’m going to take him is he fits the NFL model.'”

While it’s true that the Big 12 coaches’ jobs is to find players that win games first, second and third and find players the NFL may one day like somewhere around sixth or seventh, it’s impossible to NFL’s tepid interest in Big 12 players as anything other than another problematic data point in a disturbing ongoing trend for this once proud conference.

It’d be easy to ignore last weekend’s NFL Draft if the Big 12 didn’t also produce a then-low 17 picks in 2014.

It’d be easy to ignore last weekend’s NFL Draft if the Big 12 wasn’t also consistently behind its peers in signing top 250 recruits.

It’d be easy to ignore last weekend’s NFL Draft if the Big 12 wasn’t also the only Power 5 conference to miss the College Football Playoff twice in three years.

Bottom line: the Draft is another data point proving the Big 12 is suffering through a significant down period right now. There’s nothing saying that can’t change. Tom Herman and Matt Rhule succeeding at Texas and Baylor, respectively, would go a long way toward lifting the conference out of the ditch it currently finds itself in, as would winning high-profile non-conference games like Oklahoma at Ohio State and TCU at Arkansas. More than anything else, though, the conference’s fortunes won’t turn until its coaches find a way to recruit a large influx of talented players. The NFL Draft is the best arbiter of judging who has the most talent, as Herman himself admitted in the piece that the NFL will go wherever it has to go to find talent. And it hasn’t been going to Big 12 campuses as much as it used to.

Big 12 football is down right now and last weekend was another low point in a period full of them for this conference. Believing otherwise is as intellectually dishonest as believing Big 12 coaches wouldn’t turn around and thump their collective chests if the league started producing SEC-like draft numbers.

 

Big 12 review into Baylor reform to pick up in June

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In February, the Big 12’s Board of Directors took an odd step to withhold 25 percent of the Bears’ conference revenue pending a satisfactory review of the school’s procedures following the sexual assault scandal that pushed out Art BrilesIan McCaw and Ken Starr.

“By taking these actions the Board desires to ensure that the changes that were promised are actually made and that systems are in place to avoid future problems,” Big 12 board chairman and Oklahoma president David Boren said at the time. “The proportional withholding of revenue distribution payments will be in effect until the Board has determined that Baylor is in compliance with Conference bylaws and regulations as well as all components of Title IX.”

Three months have passed since then, so where does that review stand?

According to Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby‘s comments at the league’s meetings in Phoenix this week, not much has been done. But there’s a reason for that.

Baylor has, of course, hired a new AD in Mack Rhoades and a new football coach in Matt Rhule, and the third key leadership post has been hired but is not yet in place. School president Linda Livingstone starts June 1. And with that in mind, the Big 12 will begin to expect answers from Baylor after Livingstone has started her new job.

Here’s what the Dallas Morning News‘ Chuck Carlton had to say from Phoenix:

The independent review is continuing into Baylor’s reforms following a sexual-assault scandal involving the football program, Bowlsby said. The Big 12 board of directors voted in February to withhold 25 percent of Baylor’s conference revenue pending its completion. Bowlsby said Baylor is working to get the most complete information to the conference, and that the hiring of new school president Linda Livingstone, who starts June 1, also played factor.  “We want to let her get in the chair,” Bowlsby said. “Bringing in [athletic director] Mack Rhoades was a big step. Doing the governance review at the board level is a big step. Getting a president is a huge step. In deference to all of that, I think we probably won’t get started in any sort of substantive way until after June 1.”

Though the conference is talking tough with Baylor, it will be a major shock if the end result is anything but a thumbs up from the conference office.

Pair of former Baylor assistant coaches land with NAIA program

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Former Baylor assistant coaches Jeff Lebby and Randy Clements are still in the coaching game, but they continue to do so at a much lower level than they previously coached. Lebby and Clements have joined the coaching staff of NAIA program Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida.

The school announced the additions of the coaching staff under head coach Southeastern Fire (cool nickname) head coach Keith Barefield, the first head coach in the history of the Southeastern University program (the school is playing just its fourth season as a member of the NAIA this fall and has already won two Sun Conference championships; it moves to the Mid-South Conference this fall).

“I am pleased to have Jeff Lebby and Randy Clements join the Fire Football Family as a part of my coaching staff,” said Barefield in a released statement. “They both bring years of successful football experience, at various levels, to our young program and will contribute greatly to our continued success.”

Lebby was previously found to have conducted prohibited off-campus scouting when he attended a game of a future opponent in 2015. Lebby was seen on the sidelines of Tulsa during a game against Oklahoma, which former Baylor head coach Art Briles said he was unaware of. That action led to a first half suspension from a game by the university last fall. Lebby served as Baylor’s passing game coordinator and running backs coach in addition to being the program’s recruiting coordinator. Clements was Baylor’s running game coordinator and offensive line coach.

As things stand right now, there are just three assistant coaches from last season that are currently without a coaching job according to The Dallas Morning News; Carlton Buckels, Cris Dishman, and Tate Wallis.