Mountain West Conference

Baylor dismisses Art Briles as Bears’ head football coach

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On Memorial Day in 2011, Ohio State stunned the college football world by announcing the dismissal of Jim Tressel as the Buckeyes’ head coach.  Nearly five years to the day later, and with another Memorial Day fast approaching, Baylor has reportedly offered up a stunner of its own.

Under fire for their handling of allegations involving sexual assault allegedly committed by a handful of football players over the better part of a decade, Baylor announced that Art Briles is out as BU’s head football coach. The Briles dismissal comes two days after reports first began to surface that BU president Ken Starr was on the verge of being ousted as well.  Starr will become Chancellor, while Athletic director Ian McCaw has been placed on probation.

The university issued a press release announcing the decisions.

“We were horrified by the extent of these acts of sexual violence on our campus. This investigation revealed the University’s mishandling of reports in what should have been a supportive, responsive and caring environment for students,” said Richard Willis, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents. “The depth to which these acts occurred shocked and outraged us. Our students and their families deserve more, and we have committed our full attention to improving our processes, establishing accountability and ensuring appropriate actions are taken to support former, current and future students.”

“We have made these decisions, because, above all, we must safeguard our students and our campus,” said Willis. “We must set a new course to ensure the leaders of the University place a premium on responding effectively and with sensitivity to those impacted by the tragedy of interpersonal violence.”

“We, as the governing Board of this University, offer our apologies to the many who sought help from the University.  We are deeply sorry for the harm that survivors have endured,” said Ron Murff, chair-elect of the Baylor Board of Regents.

Prior to Briles’ arrival in Waco in 2008, the Bears hadn’t had a winning season 1995 (7-4) and had won 10 or more games just once (1980) in over 100 years of football.  Just in the past five years, Briles’ Bears won at least 10 games four times, including each of the past three seasons.  In the 25 years before Briles arrived, the Bears went to six bowl games; in eight years under Briles, the Bears went to six bowl games.

Overall, Briles finishes his BU career with a 65-37 record — and one gigantic stain on his once-sterling résumé.

Obviously, we’ll have more of this developing story throughout the day.

Boise State expels two, suspends another for a year following sexual misconduct probe

BOISE , ID - SEPTEMBER 13: A general view of players cleets on the blue turf during the game between Boise State Broncos and Bowling Green Falcons at Bronco Stadium on September 13, 2008 in Boise, Idaho. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
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You paying attention, Baylor?

Citing the players’ families and Boise State documents, the Idaho Statesman is reporting that two Broncos football players — linebacker Marquis Hendrix and cornerback Donzale Roddie — have been expelled from the university while another, safety Darreon Jackson has been hit with a one-year suspension.  All three involved are redshirt freshman.

According to the Statesman, the punitive measure are the culmination of a Title IX sexual misconduct investigation that was conducted after a female BSU student accused them of sexual assault.  None of the players involved have been charged with a crime, although the paper noted that [i]nformation was not available Wednesday night about whether the allegations were reported to or investigated by Boise Police.”

From the Statesman:

In incidents Aug. 19, Sept. 26 and Oct. 2 of last year, the alleged victim said she was coerced into performing oral sex on the three players, or in one incident, on a recruit during his official visit. The woman first met with Kerrick in person Nov. 30. She was interviewed in February in-depth about the majority of details in the complaint.

All three players stated that the sex was consensual, although the Statesman’s report, which can be read in full HERE, paints a vastly different, disturbing picture.

The dad of one of the players was less than pleased with the outcome, and laid the blame at the feet of “promiscuous young ladies hiding behind Title IX.”

“I’m extremely upset, upset how those boys were treated,” Jack Hendrix told the paper. “We feel their civil rights were violated, that they were interrogated, not given a chance to truly defend themselves. There are some promiscuous young ladies hiding behind Title IX, and there’s a vendetta against football by those investigators. There was no police investigation, or no repercussions for her actions.”

All three players were members of BSU’s 2015 recruiting class who didn’t play last season and took redshirts.

Per father, Deron Thompson transferring from Colorado State to Kansas

TUCSON, AZ - DECEMBER 29:  (L-R) Shan Johnson #17, Deron Thompson #39, Danny Nwosu #38, Izzy Matthews #35 and Nick Januska #22 of the Colorado State Rams run out onto the field before the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl against the Nevada Wolf Pack at Arizona Stadium on December 29, 2015 in Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Deron Thompson played his high school football in Kansas, and now he’ll continue his collegiate career in the same state as well.

In March, Thompson (pictured, No. 39) opted to leave the Colorado State football program.  According to the Lawrence Journal-World, Thompson’s father told KWCH-TV in Wichita that his son will be transferring to Kansas and using his remaining eligibility with the Jayhawks.

“I just felt like I never got the opportunity I deserved,” the running back said in leaving the Rams earlier this spring.

Thompson will have to sit out the 2016 season, but would then have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.

After rushing for 87 yards on 23 carries in six games as a true freshman, the 5-10, 178-pound Thompson totaled just seven carries (49 yards) in two games in 2015.  Thompson was a three-star member of the Rams’ 2014 recruiting class.

2016 Las Vegas win totals think highly of Clemson, FSU, Sooners and Vols

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 31:  Wayne Gallman #9 of the Clemson Tigers scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma Sooners during the 2015 Capital One Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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The top two teams in the ACC, Clemson and Florida State, are widely expected to once again lead the way in the ACC and the first batch of season win totals from Las Vegas outlet The Golden Nugget back that up. The initial 2016 win totals for a handful of college football programs were released by The Golden Nugget this week, and it would appear the sportsbook expects a big season from the defending ACC champion and national runner-up Clemson.

As noted by The Sporting News, The Golden Nugget gave a regular season win total of 10 to Clemson and Oklahoma, both coming off an appearance in the College Football Playoff last season. Florida State also gets a double-digit win total, as does Tennessee. Defending national champion Alabama has a line of 9.5 for its win total.

Tennessee having a higher win total than Alabama? Well, consider the divisions each play in. The SEC West is still arguably a stronger division than the SEC East, suggesting Tennessee will have an easier path to hitting 10 wins during the regular season. Tennessee opens the season on a neutral field against Virginia Tech in Bristol, while Alabama hits the big stage in Arlington to take on USC. The Trojans have a win total of just 7.5. There was no number available for Virginia Tech.

Defending Big Ten champion Michigan State has a win total number of 8, which is half a game lower than the 8.5 given to Ohio State (take the over now while you can) and 1.5 games lower than in-state rival Michigan (9.5). Defending Pac-12 champion Stanford has to get to eight games to break even. The Golden Nugget set UCLA’s win total at nine, the highest among Pac-12 teams.

Clemson 10 (over -120)
Alabama 9.5
Florida State 10 (over -120)
Oklahoma 10 (under -130)
LSU 9.5 (over -140)
Michigan 9.5 (over -120)
Houston 9 (under -150)
Notre Dame 9 (under -125)
Ohio State 8.5 (over -115)
Tennessee 10
Baylor 9 (under -125)
Michigan State 8 (under -135)
Stanford 8 (under -130
Ole Miss 7.5 (under -115)
Georgia 8.5 (over -145)
Auburn 7 (over -120)
UCLA 9 (over -120)
USC 7.5 (over -120)
Oregon 8.5 (under -120)
Florida 8 (under -125)
Louisville 9
TCU 8.5 (under -125)
Oklahoma State (under -130)
UNLV 4.5

42 defensive players named to Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list

Ronnie Lott
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Another day, another watch list.

One day after the Rimington Award released its initial spring watch list, the Lott IMPACT Trophy has followed suit, with the award named in honor of former USC great Ronnie Lott unveiling a watch list consisting of 42 players from seven of the 10 FBS conferences.  The trophy is handed out annually to the defensive player who most represents the qualities of the honor’s namesake – Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

Last year’s winner was Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib.

Alabama is the only team with three players on the list. Six teams placed two players each: Michigan, Stanford, TCU, Tennessee, USC and Virginia. There was also one FCS team represented — Harvard.

Conference-wise, the Big Ten paced all leagues with 10 players selected, followed by the SEC”s eight and the ACC’s seven. The Mountain West led all Group of Five conferences with two players. The only other G5 league to get an initial nod was the AAC (Houston).

Below is the complete 42-player watch list for the 2016 Lott IMPACT Trophy.

Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Sean Ahern, S, Harvard
Joey Alfieri, LB, Stanford
Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
Dante Barnett, S, Kansas State
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Evan Berry, CB, Tennessee
Quin Blanding, S, Virginia
Ben Boulware, LB, Clemson
Riley Bullough, LB, Michigan State
Jason Cabinda, LB, Penn State
Josh Carraway, DE, TCU
Jack Cichy, LB, Wisconsin
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Dylan Haines, S, Texas
Charles Harris, DL, Missouri
Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
Eddie Jackson, S, Alabama
Derwin James, S, Florida State
Joshua Kalu, CB, Nebraska
Andrew King, LB, Army
Desmond King, S, Iowa
Micah Kiser, LB, Virginia
Jourdan Lewis CB, Michigan
William Likely, CB, Maryland
Dallas Lloyd, S, Stanford
Cameron Malveaux, DE, Houston
James McFarland, DE, TCU
Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State
Viliami Moeakiola, LB, Arizona State
Calvin Munson, LB, San Diego State
Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
Cameron Smith, LB, USC
Arrion Springs, DB, Oregon
Weston Steelhammer, S, Air Force
M.J. Stewart, CB, North Carolina
Jordan Thomas, CB, Oklahoma
Drue Tranquill, S, Notre Dame
Anthony Walker, LB, Northwestern
Jordan Whitehead, DB, Pitt
Tim Williams, LB, Alabama
A.J. Wolf, DL, Duke