Minnesota Golden Gophers

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P.J. Fleck exposes loophole in football camp promo video

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It didn’t take long for Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck to ruffle some feathers with his outside-the-box thinking at his new Big Ten job. Following a recent football camp at Minnesota, Fleck shared a promotional video for the next summer camps on Minnesota’s campus that featured video highlights and sequences of potential recruits. Although the issue was raised to the NCAA by some coaches who noticed this tactic, it is perfectly within the rules of the NCAA for Fleck to share such video.

The loophole comes from the video being an advertisement for a football camp, as explained by 247 Sports. As such, any footage of participants in the camp is fair game. If the video was promoting the university or football program specifically, that’s another issue entirely.

Fleck is a young and upcoming head coach who has found ways to provide a spark as a head coach at Western Michigan and now at Minnesota. He will do some new things that have not been tried or some other strategies that coaches like Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh may not have to resort to in order to improve his program. So far, he has played within the rules as best he possibly can. And that’s a good thing. Every coach should be working within the rules and utilize any loopholes to their advantage if it means improving the chances of building a stronger football program.

I cannot wait to watch Fleck in the Big Ten.

FBI investigating potential fraud in Minnesota’s ticket office

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Some schools just can’t help themselves when it comes to waddling into hot water. One of the first schools that comes to mind in this area over in the Big Ten is Minnesota and it appears the Gophers are dealing with something so serious that the FBI is being called in to help investigate.

Yes, that’s right, the FBI.

A school spokesperson confirmed to the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Thursday that the bureau is indeed conducting an investigation at the school, specifically centered on the Gophers’ ticket department. The introduction of the feds to the case stems from an initial internal audit by the university that discovered some potential discrepancies in athletic ticket transaction records. After looking into the matter further, the school then turned the case over to the FBI.

The Star Tribune notes that ticket operations director Brent Holck was fired within 24 hours of the audit’s discovery of the discrepancies after being with the school for just shy of a decade. Obviously information is a bit tight-lipped beyond what the school spokesperson would confirm to the paper but it certainly seems as though the Gophers have yet another serious headache on their hands in the athletic department.

Rutgers adds another graduate transfer from B1G school

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Yeah, it’s just a kicker but it still counts, right? Sort of?

Regardless, nj.com, citing an unnamed source, is reporting that Andrew Harte has committed to Rutgers and will continue his collegiate playing career with the Scarlet Knights.  Harte offered some confirmation on his Twitter account as his profile has been edited to mention Rutgers football.

Because the placekicker was a walk-on at Minnesota and will be the same at RU, Harte won’t have a penalty year for transferring within the conference.  He’s also coming to Piscataway as a graduate, which would’ve given him immediate eligibility at another FBS program outside of the conference.

After redshirting as a true freshman in 2013, Harte played in four games the next two seasons. In that limited action, he attempted one extra point and three onside kicks.  Last season, he didn’t appear in any games.

Jerry Kill was Harte’s head coach for the first three years of his time with the Gopher and is now the Scarlet Knights’ offensive coordinator.

David Bonagura, RU’s main kicker last season, hit on 20-of-22 point-after attempts and 10 of 14 field-goal tries. His long was just 41 yards, however, and he connected on just one of his four attempts from beyond 40 yards.

Another pair of walk-ons, Justin Davidovicz and Gavin Haggerty, will be a part of the Scarlet Knights’ kicking fray this summer.

In February of this year, Ross Taylor-Douglas confirmed that he would be transferring to RU from Michigan. The running back-turned-defensive back comes in as a graduate transfer as well.

East Carolina officially inks Power Five transfer trio

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An influx of Power Five talent has significantly bolstered East Carolina’s roster on both sides of the ball.

As has previously been reported at various points in time, ECU has officially confirmed the additions of running back Tyshon Dye (Clemson), defensive lineman Gaelin Elmore (Minnesota) and quarterback Thomas Sirk (Duke).  As all three players are coming to the Pirates as graduate transfers, each will be able to immediately contribute to the football in 2017.

Sirk’s official addition continues what’s been an injury-plagued football odyssey.

Sirk continues his recovery from what was a third Achilles injury, which he sustained last August, and would have been held out of contact had he remained at Duke for spring practice. The same injury cost the quarterback both the 2013 and 2016 seasons.  Sirk started all 12 games during the 2015 season before rupturing his Achilles in early February of 2016.

Because of those injuries, Sirk was granted a sixth season of eligibility from the NCAA this past November.  In February of this year, Sirk announced his decision to transfer from the Blue Devils.

“I feel Thomas will help this football team in many ways, especially from a maturity and character standpoint,” head coach Scottie Montgomery, who was Sirk’s coordinator and quarterbacks coach for two seasons with Duke, said. “He knows our system well on the field and we feel confident about merging his skills with what we’re trying to do as an entire unit.”

A four-star member of the Tigers’ 2014 recruiting class, Dye was rated as the No. 14 running back in the country. The Georgia high schooler chose Clemson over offers from, among others, Auburn, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Tennessee and USC.

After running for what turned out to be a career-high 151 yards as a true freshman, he ran for 91 in 2015. Dye’s 109 yards during the Tigers’ run to the title this past season was tied for sixth on the team.

In mid-January, not long after Clemson beat Alabama for the title, Dye decided to transfer out of the program for his senior season.

Moore, meanwhile, opted for ECU over opportunities that included, among others, Arizona and South Carolina.

The 6-6, 275-pound lineman played in 38 games the past three seasons. He started nine of those contests, with six of the starts coming last season.

“Tyshon is a big physical back who definitely has home run potential,” Montgomery said in a statement. “He’s obviously been a part of a championship culture and I’m confident he will have an opportunity to impact our program with a similar mindset. …

“I expect Gaelin’s presence to provide us with an explosive edge rusher who can affect both the running and passing game. Off the field, his life story is one of perseverance and will be a source of inspiration to all of us.”

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany set to cash in with over $20 million in bonuses

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It’s good to be a college commissioner nowadays but it seems it’s an even better time to be the one leading the Big Ten.

USA Today reports that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is set to cash in big time with some $20 million in future bonus payments on the books from the conference. The league’s most recent tax returns shed light on the paychecks, which will come in addition to the over $2 million he already receives each year.

“Commissioner Delany has provided invaluable leadership for Big Ten member institutions while delivering first-in-class performance during a time of great transformation in college athletics,” University of Minnesota president Eric Kaler said in a statement provided by the conference. “He has not only successfully balanced the missions of academic achievement, student-athlete development and athletic success, he has successfully developed the resources necessary to strategically position the conference for success well into the future. His compensation is market-competitive, based on an independent third-party analysis, and reflects the value and impact of his leadership.”

Delany has served as commissioner of the Big Ten since 1989 and has been one of the most powerful leaders in college athletics ever since. He was the driving force behind numerous expansions by the conference over the years and the cash-cow that the Big Ten Network has turned into.

While Delany has drawn his fair share of criticism from fans and media members alike over the years, it’s hard to argue with what he’s done for the league’s burgeoning balance sheets. He is already one of the most handsomely compensated commissioners out there but something says the presence of this pay package will cause a few raised eyebrows around college athletics while also quieting talk that he may be set to retire in the very near future.