LSU Tigers

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 16:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shakes hands with Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors after the Warriors defeated the Cavs 105 to 97 to win Game Six of the 2015 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Les Miles’s Father’s Day gift was better than your Father’s Day gift

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Oh, to make SEC head coach money.

If you follow the man on Twitter you likely know LSU head coach Les Miles was court side for Game 6 of the NBA Finals last week.

What you may not know is that trip to Cleveland was a surprise Father’s Day gift. The Hat thought he was headed to the Miles family lake house until he learned en route he was actually en route to see LeBron James and company.

“I was directed by the kids to get in the car, pack a bag and here we go,” Miles said in a pregame interview on SportsCenter.

(Bonus points for how unapologetically uninterested Michael Wilbon and Chauncey Billups are in anything Miles has to say.)

Miles predicted a Cleveland win, which came true in the form of a 115-101 Cavs blowout.

No word on if the Miles family plans on sending Les to Game 7, where the worst seats in the barn start at $775 a pop.

LSU rolls back band ban, will allow opposing team halftime shows

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 13:  The LSU Tigers band performs at Tiger Stadium on October 13, 2012 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Rest easy, America; the “Big Band Brouhaha of 2016” has come to an end.

Over this past weekend, quite the “controversy” was kicked up when it was reported that LSU would be banning opposing teams’ bands from performing at halftime of Tigers football games in 2016, which was actually the continuation of a policy that, very quietly, had been in effect last season. The university cited safety concerns as the reasoning behind the move — the school’s risk management team recommended it — although said move didn’t sit well with many individuals.

Wednesday, the university announced in a statement that, following a collaborative effort between the athletic department, band officials and risk management members — and presumably following the criticism it received — it had reversed its previous course. Moving forward, the release stated, the seating areas in the South end zone will be reconfigured “so that visiting bands may take a more direct route to the field, reducing congestion and safety hazards created by previous field entry methods.”

In the wake of the initial band ban, it was reported that people were injured in a pair of separate incidents a couple of years ago. Whether bands were involved in those incidents is unclear.

“We’re very grateful to the band and to the risk management office for working with us to find a practical solution,” athletic director Joe Alleva said in a statement. “Our goal is to celebrate the tradition of college football while enhancing the comfort and security of everyone who visits our campus on Saturday nights.”

“We have gladly made adjustments to our own halftime show to make it possible for visiting bands to perform on the field,” said band director Damon Talley. “It is important that we’re able to share the field with our colleagues who want to experience the unique atmosphere that is Tiger Stadium. We enthusiastically support the university’s effort to make this happen.”

While the policy was in place last season, only the Auburn band was affected. The McNeese State band also would’ve been barred from playing, but that game wasn’t played due to prolonged inclement weather.

Auburn’s Roc Thomas officially becomes fourth FBS transfer to sign with Jacksonville State

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 6: Running back Roc Thomas #9 of the Auburn Tigers looks to maneuver around linebacker Christian Tago #4 of the San Jose State Spartans on September 6, 2014 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. Auburn defeated San Jose State 59-13.  (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
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Roc Thomas‘ journey from one university in Alabama to another in the state is officially complete.

In May, reports began to surface that Thomas would be transferring from Auburn to Jacksonville State.  On the last day of last month, the Tigers confirmed that they had given the running back a release from his scholarship.

Earlier this week, the FCS program confirmed Thomas’ addition to the roster.

Because JSU plays at the FCS level, Thomas will be eligible to play immediately in 2016.  Counting this season, he has two years of eligibility remaining, plus a redshirt season.

“Roc is a great addition for our team,” a statement from JSU head coach John Grass, who was also Thomas’ high school coach, began. “We lost some key players at running back and it’s really good to get him in and help shore up the depth at that position.

“He is a great player that is returning home. He was a 5-star running back that is an explosive player. He is familiar with our system after playing for me in high school, and I expect him to flourish in it here at JSU.”

A five-star member of AU’s 2014 recruiting class, Thomas was rated by as the No. 4 back in the country; the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Alabama; and the No. 23 player overall on that recruiting website’s composite board.

Thomas played in 19 games the past two seasons on The Plains, starting five of those contests.  He totaled 475 yards and three touchdowns on 86 carries.  In the passing game, the rising junior contributed 227 yards and a touchdown on 17 receptions.

In addition to Thomas, the Gamecocks have also added FBS transfers in offensive lineman Darius Anderson (East Carolina), cornerback Al Harris Jr. (South Carolina) and wide receiver Kevin Spears (LSU).

Safety concerns led LSU to ban opposing teams’ bands from performing at halftime

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07:  Members of the LSU Marching Band perform prior to the 2012 NFC Wild Card Playoff game between the New Orleans Saints and the Detroit Lions at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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A policy that was actually enacted last season is causing some waves in the here and now.

LSU confirmed Friday that a new policy which prohibits the bands of opposing football teams from performing at halftime at Tiger Stadium is in effect this season and beyond.  The “new” policy was in effect last season, and kept the marching band from Auburn from performing.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune writes that the policy was put in place after “the school’s risk management team [studied] the issue for a year and determined the sidelines were too crowded, especially in the final eight minutes of the first half.”

There were no specific incidents university officials would point to, other than the “decision came after people were injured in separate situations two years ago.”  Whether bands were involved is unknown.

“It’s a safety issue,” Michael Bonnette, the LSU spokesperson, said. “We don’t have room down there for both bands. In order for bands to perform at half, they’ve got to come down to the field before the first half ends. That’s a lot of people on the sideline.”

The SEC doesn’t have a policy as it pertains to this type of situation, leaving it up to the individual schools to determine what takes place at halftime.

“There is no such policy,” said the conference’s assistant commissioner, Herb Vincent. “A home school has to give advance notice to a visiting school if the visiting school’s band will be allotted time to perform at the half.

“There have been some schools that have not allowed visiting bands to perform for various reasons. It’s worked out between the schools, so I don’t know how often it happens.”

SEC expands conduct policy for transfers, not incoming freshmen

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 13:  Greg Sankey the new commissioner of the SEC talks to the media before the quaterfinals of the SEC Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 13, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Jeffery Simmons caught what many considered an undeserved — and wholly unacceptable — break from Mississippi State Thursday.  A day later, the five-star 2016 signee caught a break from his conference for good measure.

In April of last year, the SEC voted to ban member institutions from accepting transfers who had been disciplined for serious misconduct at his previous school, with that defined as sexual assault, sexual violence and domestic violence.  As the SEC wrapped up its annual spring meetings Friday, and as had previously been expected, the conference announced that it will be expanding that policy to include “dating violence, stalking or conduct of a nature that creates serious concern about the safety of others.”

Additionally, the expanded policy will require schools to perform background checks on any transfer before they are permitted to practice or play with the team.  Those checks are expected to satisfy what’s described as the SEC’s “minimum due diligence expectations.”

However, the new policy still only applies to transfers; incoming freshmen are not subject to the policy.  That, though, could change, especially in light of the Simmons situation in Starkville.

“I can envision a continuing dialogue that looks at what we’ve done on serious misconduct relative to transfers, and the question will be asked is that sufficient?” commissioner Greg Sankey said. “Should we remain there? That doesn’t predict outcomes, but I envision that will be a conversation topic going forward. But I never anticipated that we were done.

“This conference has been wrestling with the issue, and it’s not easy. I hope people can appreciate that. It’s not as if this is done in a sterile environment, and I think that’s an important conversation. I said that last year, and I’ve said that this year. There’s a point at which the legislation concluded for this week, and we’ll see what the future might hold without prediction.”