In May of last year, it was reported that Will Grier would likely be eligible to play for West Virginia in the 2017 opener. Fast-forward 13 months, and that’s officially come to fruition.
On its official Twitter account Tuesday morning, WVU confirmed that Grier will be eligible to play in the Sept 3 neutral-site opener versus Virginia Tech in Landover, Maryland. Coming off a solid spring, Grier is expected to start at quarterback for the Mountaineers.
Including this season Grier will have two years of eligibility remaining.
“We are pleased that Will has been cleared to play in our season opener by the NCAA,” head coach Dana Holgorsen said in a statement. “Since he enrolled here last year, he’s done everything he is supposed to do. He has been an outstanding teammate and leader on and off the field. Now that this decision is behind him, Will can turn his attention and preparation for the upcoming season.
The announcement is the latest step in Grier’s winding college football road from Gainesville to Morgantown.
Then at Florida, Grier was suspended in Oct. of 2015 for one full year after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. Grier had appealed the NCAA’s initial decision, but that maneuver was shot down. It was reported in mid-December of the same year that Grier would resume workouts with the Gators; a couple of days later, Grier decided to transfer from the UF football program and ultimately landed at WVU.
It was initially thought that Grier would be forced to sit out the first six games of the 2017 season to fulfill that one-year suspension. However, Grier and the university sought, obviously successfully, to have the remainder of the suspension run concurrently with the transfer year he had to sit out last season.
Grier took a redshirt as a true freshman after coming to the Gators as a four-star member of their 2014 recruiting class, then started the first six games of the 2015 season before the suspension sidelined him for the remainder of the year.
West Virginia’s quarterback room added yet another transfer on Tuesday as former Miami signal-caller Jack Allison announced he would be heading to Morgantown instead of a junior college this offseason.
The somewhat surprising move means the Mountaineers will have at least three transfer quarterbacks on the roster this year even if Allison is not expected to be eligible to play until 2018. Former Florida QB Will Grier appears to be the starter for the upcoming season once any and all NCAA transfer issues are cleared up as the school expects, while the team also signed David Isreal out of a junior college this spring.
Backup Cody Saunders recently had to take a medical retirement from football but it seems Dana Holgorsen didn’t waste much time in replacing him by bringing in the former Miami product just a few days later. Allison left Coral Gables looking for more playing time so it will be interesting to track if he eventually finds it at West Virginia once he eventually gets cleared to play.
A month and a half or so before Mark Richt kicks off his second summer camp at Miami, attrition has again hit the Hurricanes’ roster.
The U announced via a press release Tuesday afternoon that Jovani Haskins is no longer a member of the football program. No specific reason was given for the tight end’s move away from Coral Gables, although it appears to be a mutual decision.
“I talked to Jovani and we both felt it was in his best interests to get a fresh start somewhere else,” the head coach said in a statement. “We wish him all the best in his future plans.”
A three-star member of UM’s 2016 recruiting class, Haskins was rated as the No. 19 tight end in the country and No. 10 player at any position in the state of New Jersey. Prior to signing with The U, Haskins also held offers from, among others, Boston College, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. He took official visits to the latter two schools before committing to Miami a few days before National Signing Day.
The 6-4, 240-pound Haskins took a redshirt his true freshman season.
While the perception is that the Big 12 is lagging behind on the field, the conference and its membership is doing just fine at the bank, thank you very much.
Friday afternoon, commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced that nine of the 10 schools in the conference will each receive a revenue payout of $34.8 million. And what of the 10th? In early February of this year, the Big 12 announced that it will withhold 25 percent of future revenue payments to Baylor, only releasing the monies to the scandal-plagued university “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.”
Thus far, Bowlsby said, that total is in the neighborhood of $6 million.
As for the other members, the windfall represents a 15-percent increase from a year ago. In 2016, each school received in the neighborhood of $30.4 million, which was a 20-percent increase from 2015.
When Tier Three revenue is taken into account, Texas will pull in nearly $50 million in revenue while Red River rival Oklahoma’s number is around $42 million.
It’s a bad time for the Big 12. The conference isn’t signing blue chip prospects at the rate of its peers, isn’t producing draft picks at the rate of its peers and isn’t reaching and winning big games at the rate of its peers.
But the Big 12 is still getting paid at the rate of its peers.
The league’s contracts with ESPN and FOX combined with its 10-team set up have allowed the Big 12 to keep pace with the SEC and Big Ten and remain ahead of the ACC and Pac-12 in financial distribution. The Dallas Morning News‘s Big 12 writer Chuck Carlton tweeted on Friday the league’s per-school distribution will again grow 10 percent to more than $33 million in 2017-18.
The SEC distributed just north of $40 million in 2016-17, while the Big Ten was at $33 million by 2014-15.
However, since the Big 12 does not have its own television network, its conference distributions do not include third-tier rights, which its schools keep and sell on their own — like the Longhorn Network. So schools like Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are likely getting paid equal or above their SEC and Big Ten peers.
Now if only they could start recruiting and winning like them, too.