Category: Pac-12 Conference

FILE - In this Jan. 1, 2015, file photo, Oregon running back Thomas Tyner scores against Florida State during the second half of the Rose Bowl NCAA college football playoff semifinal in Pasadena, Calif. After coming on strong during last season’s College Football Playoff, Tyner has undergone offseason shoulder surgery that has prevented him from participating in fall camp.(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File

Oregon RB Thomas Tyner retires from football

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The college football career of Oregon running back Thomas Tyner has come to an unceremonious end. Oregon has announced Tyner has taken a medical retirement from football, a year after missing the entire 2015 season due to a shoulder injury.

“We thank Thomas and wish him well,” Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich said. “We will continue to support his efforts to graduate from the University of Oregon.”

Tyner was a five-star recruit for Oregon in the Class of 2013. The Beaverton, Oregon native was the top-rated recruit in that recruiting class, which also included offensive lineman Evan Voeller and four-star athletes Tyrell Robinson and Tyree Robinson.

“Thank you for all the support over the years,” Tyner said in a brief statement posted on his Twitter account Friday. “Couldn’t have been more blessed to have been party of such a great community, I have the [utmost] respect for the staff and my teammates. Now it’s time to get in the books and finish up in school. Much love to you all and Go Ducks!”

Tyner rushed for 711 yards and nine touchdowns in his freshman season and 573 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore before a midseason injury put him on the sideline for five games. He returned for Oregon’s College Football Playoff run and rushed for 124 yards against Florida State in the Rose Bowl semifinal game before rushing for 62 yards against Ohio State in the national championship game at the end of the 2014 season. Tyner missed the entire 2015 season, which led to Royce Freeman taking on the leading rusher role for the Ducks.

It would have been fun to watch Oregon run with Tyner and freeman, but alas sometimes health concerns have an unfortunate knack for taking a talented player out of the game, and that just stinks.

USC AD Pat Haden to retire

Southern California athletic director Pat Haden looks on during the second half of their NCAA college football game against Arizona, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, in Los Angeles. USC won 38-31. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

USC athletics director Pat Haden is retiring, the school has announced. Haden, who has come under fire for a handful of reasons in recent years, will officially retire from his position as athletics director of USC on June 30, 2016. He will continue to work with USC for the next calendar year to assist with the renovations of the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Haden took on the role of AD at USC in 2010 after serving as a trustee of the university. Haden took on the job as USC looked to recover from fresh NCAA sanctions against the football and men’s basketball program (see: Reggie Bush). Haden made two coaching hires at USC, including the most recent hiring of Clay Helton after he had been an interim coach for the Trojans. The hiring of Steve Sarkisian ended up being a notable failure for Haden. USC also reworked its approach to academic standards under Haden’s leadership, which has proven to pay off with improved GPAs and graduation rates.

Haden was also one of the first members of the College Football Playoff selection committee. Haden stepped down from his position after receiving advice from a doctor to limit his involvement.

USC will now open a worldwide search for the next AD, which should be a search that attracts a number of high-profile candidates. USC president C.L. Max Nikias says he will work with Nick Brill, principal and co-founder of the Brill Neumann executive search firm in finding the new AD. There is no timeline for making a new hire, but there should be plenty of time to have a new permanent AD in place or ready to take over by the time Haden’s term as AD expires over the summer.

Stanford welcomes first FBS player from Austria in Class of 2016

Mario Strecher of Austria carries the national flag as he leads the team during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
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History was made in the most recent recruiting cycle when Stanford welcomed Austrian-born defensive lineman Thomas Schaffer to the Cardinal family. Schaffer, 19, will be the first football player from Austria to play at the FBS level.

Schaffer was a three-star defensive end recruit, according to Rivals, and he ultimately chose Stanford over offers from Oregon, Michigan State, Illinois, Nebraska, North Carolina, Wisconsin and many others. Despite not coming to the United States until 2013, Schaffer did not take long to grab some eyes from big name college programs. At 6′-7″ and 260 pounds, it would have been hard to miss him. Schaffer moved to Illinois in 2013 and started playing football for Lake Forest Academy. Before long, his natural speed and athleticism made him a respected recruit. Those paying close enough attention though may have had an early glimpse at what he could do a year prior to that, as he played for Austria in the U19 World Championships in Houston in 2012. Playing in the United States was a bit of a transition for Schaffer after first playing some in Austria, but he seemed to like that.

I played for a small club there, so I had to play both ways,” Schaffer said in a profile story by Bleacher Report last May. “It wasn’t really organized. In Austria, it wasn’t a big deal like it is here with high school football. It was enough to help me fall in love with the game and try to pursue it at a higher level.”

American football has been growing in Europe and has become pretty competitive in Germany and Austria. These countries have become two of the better nations in terms of American football talent, so it was only a matter of time before the nation of Austria managed to send one of its best to one of the top programs in the country.

Former Sacramento State (FCS) and Adam State (Division 2) offensive lineman Aleksandar Milanovic was the first Austrian-born player to play NCAA football.

Oregon State QB transfer lands at Northern Illinois

Oregon State quarterback Seth Collins throws down field against Arizona during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri
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A day after signing day, Northern Illinois put the finishing touches on its Class of 2016 with the addition of Oregon State transfer quarterback Seth Collins.

“We’re really happy to have Seth, he’s a quality, quality young man,” said NIU head coach Rod Carey in a released statement. “He’s obviously a fantastic football player and a great quarterback, and he comes from a great family who we have gotten to know during this process. We look forward to having him on campus with the rest of the class this summer and to 2017 when he will be eligible to suit up and play for us.”

As noted by Carey, Collins will not be eligible to play for the Huskies until the 2017 season. NCAA transfer rules mean Collins will have to sit out the 2016 season, but he can join the team in all other activities other than playing games.

Collins left Oregon State as speculation grew he was possibly going to be moved to wide receiver. At NIU it looks as though he will be locked into playing quarterback for the MAC squad. Collins started seven games for the Beavers in 2015 before being sidelined with a knee injury.

Iowa bill wants Stanford band to apologize, or else!

The Stanford University Cardinal Marching Band performs in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker)
AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker

Have you ever seen a piece of legislature being discussed in a local, state or federal government and thought to yourself “Don’t they have more important things to worry about?” In the same week Iowa is celebrated for its political involvement on the presidential campaign trail, we must ask that very question today. That is because a piece of state legislature is now threatening to prohibit Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa from associating in any way with Stanford University unless the Pac-12 school’s marching band issues a formal apology to the state of Iowa.

The bill was introduced to the Iowa Capitol by Senator Mark Chelgren (R) as a result of the show of poor sportsmanship from the Stanford marching band’s halftime performance at the Rose Bowl, which poked fun at the state of Iowa and its farming culture.

“I think it’s unfortunate because here in Iowa we try to teach sportsmanship,” Chelgren said, according to Des Moines Register. “We try to teach courtesy, and when someone behaves in a way that is contrary to that, we need to point it out.”

The bill would still allow for sports competitions between Stanford and the three state universities to be held and any contracts between the schools already signed off on will be honored. Basically, this is political grandstanding at the expense of the Stanford marching band, which may just be a waste of time because there is no way the Stanford band is going to apologize for their Rose Bowl performance.

This now being a political issue, one Iowa Democrat says the bill only ends up hurting Iowa universities.

“I think what they did was offensive, but I don’t think you could blame the institution of Stanford University for it,” Sen. Robert Dvorsky (D) said. “I understand that some people were offended. Here is the problem: It is not an official Stanford marching band. They are just a student organization. It is not like the Hawkeye Marching Band and people should be aware of that. It is just some sort of loosely organized student organization.”

The answer to the earlier question is yes, there are more important things to be worried about in the Iowa government than hurt feelings over a halftime show at a bowl game.