Minnesota Golden Gophers

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P.J. Fleck buys new $3 million home

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P.J. Fleck has found his new home as he settles in with his new coaching job at Minnesota. The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports Fleck has purchased a brand new $3 million home in Edina.

With a square footage of 5,949, six bedrooms and six bathrooms, it sure sounds as though Fleck did a fine job finding a new home. This newly-built home also comes with some technological features like Amazon’s Alexa built in. Settlement no the house was finalized on the same day Fleck and Western Michigan worked out a buyout of $600,000. So it was quite the busy day for Fleck.

Unfortunately, this new home is not located on a lake with a boat dock. This feels like a wasted opportunity because I was really hoping we would get a glimpse of Fleck rowing his boat up to the house in his down time.

P.J. Fleck settles up on $600K owed to Western Michigan

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The financial score between P.J. Fleck and his former employer has officially been settled.

According to mlive.com, Fleck, athletic director Kathy Beauregard confirmed to the website, has satisfied the $600,000 obligation owed to Western Michigan.  Fleck owed the money as a buyout after leaving as WMU’s head football coach for the same job at Minnesota in early January.

The news comes nearly a month to the day that WMU announced that Fleck would be taking his “Row the Boat” mantra with him to Minnesota.  In return for the rights to the very personal saying, Fleck will make an annual payment of $10,000 over the next five years, with the $50,000 being used to support a scholarship for a WMU football player.

In his four years at WMU, Fleck guided the Broncos to a 30-22 record.  The 2016 season launched Fleck to national prominence as he guided the Broncos to a perfect 13-0 regular season that included a MAC championship.  That earned WMU the Group of Five’s New year’s Six berth, although the perfect season and Cinderella story was spoiled by Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl.

Fleck takes over a program in Minneapolis that went 9-4 last season.

Second starting lineman in two months leaves Minnesota

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As P.J. Fleck deals with the NCAA fallout of a transfer from his old football program, he’s lost one at his new one.

On his personal Twitter account Friday, Connor Mayes announced that he has decided to leave Minnesota and continue his collegiate playing career at an undetermined elsewhere. The offensive lineman wrote that “[a]fter long reflection and many discussions with my family, I have decided it is in my best interest to leave” the Gophers.

Mayes, whose father and grandfather played football at TCU, added that Fleck “is an amazing man and coach,” and that “I have enjoyed this semester getting to know” him. Not enough, however, to remain.

A three-star member of Minnesota’s 2014 recruiting class, Mayes was rated as the No. 5 center in the country and the No. 57 player at any position in the state of Texas.

Mayes played in eight games his true freshman season, then played in all 26 the next two seasons. He started 15 of those 26 games at guard, including six in 2016.

Mayes becomes the second starting lineman to leave the Gophers the last two months, joining center Tyler Moore. The rising junior announced in mid-January that he would be transferring to Oklahoma State.

Ohio State OC Kevin Wilson addresses departure from Indiana, denies any wrongdoing

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One of the more eyebrow-raising moves of the offseason was the departure of then-Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson after he had guided the Hoosiers to back-to-back bowl games.

Wilson ended up on his feet as the new offensive coordinator at Ohio State but his move inside the conference did lead some to express concern over his treatment of players in Bloomington. The coach finally addressed the media for the first time since then and not surprisingly was asked about his somewhat controversial firing.

“The athletic department — the athletic director and those guys — made their decision,” Wilson told reporters, including the Columbus Dispatch. “From there, the comments were made. We just go back to how much we loved being there, loved our players (though we) didn’t have a chance to kind of see those guys off.”

As to an investigation that brought up several specific incidents of alleged player abuse, Wilson denied any wrongdoing and noted that everything had been looked into and cleared by both Indiana and Ohio State.

“We wouldn’t be here doing this job if those things were true,” he said. “Anyone can have an opinion. I know the department over there looked into everything. I know this school’s looked into everything. I know we’re very, very comfortable with what we’re doing, where we’re at, and we’re excited to move forward. The athletic director had outside counsel, found no evidence and that’s why we’re here.”

This likely isn’t the last time the late season departure will be brought up by either team as the Buckeyes and Hoosiers play each other in their 2017 opener this fall.

Minnesota to self-report ‘minor’ violation to NCAA involving P.J. Fleck, ex-WMU player

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A situation involving a player who left P.J. Fleck‘s former football program is causing some consternation for the head coach’s current one.

In very late February, Western Michigan announced that Robert Spillane (pictured) had asked for and been granted a release from his scholarship in order to transfer to another school.  It was rumored that the starting linebacker could join his former coach, Fleck, in Minnesota; it was further rumored that Fleck had been actively recruiting Spillane and other Bronco football players, the former before he had been given a release.

On Twitter, Spillane attempted to brush aside the suggestions that his move from Kalamazoo had anything to do with his former coach.

In a seemingly related matter, both the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press are reporting that the university will self-report to the NCAA what it’s describing as a “minor” violation involving contact with one of his former players. The former player was not identified by name.

Any contact between a coach and a player on scholarship at another university is strictly prohibited.

From the Pioneer Press:

From my understanding, even if a coach sends a former student-athlete a text that even says ‘happy birthday,’ that’s a violation,” [athletic director Mark] Coyle said.

Coyle said he has spoken to Broncos athletics director Kathy Beauregard “and reassured her we are not recruiting students from Western Michigan.

The Gophers opened their first spring practice session under Fleck on Tuesday.