Dez/Deion mess gets murkier; Cowboys could lose wins

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If Oklahoma State was looking for a clean, concise and — most importantly — extremely quick resolution to the Dez Bryant situation, the overnight developments are pointing to things possibly getting worse before they have a chance to get better.  If they do at all.

According to Tulsa World, a meeting is tentatively scheduled for this coming Tuesday in Indianapolis between OSU assistant director of compliance Scott Williams and NCAA officials to discuss Bryant’s eligibility issues.

At the very heart of Bryant’s ineligibility is his relationship with Deion Sanders and why he felt the need to initially lie about it.  The best-case scenario for Bryant — and Sanders as well — is that the NCAA finds the extent of the relationship between the two to be exactly what they say it is — a jog here, a dinner there, and a kid who simply “panicked” and lied when asked by the NCAA about those innocuous interactions.

The worst-case scenario for both?  The NCAA finds that Sanders was serving as some type of conduit to Eugene Parker, an agent who represented Sanders during his time in the NFL and a man who the Hall of Famer still remains close to as the case of “Crabtree, Michael” suggests. 

For Bryant, such a conclusion would mean the end of his collegiate career, although he was very likely to jump to the NFL early anyway.  For Sanders?  I’m certain Mike Florio will have something to say about what it would mean to Prime Time.

According to the Associated Press, the issues swirling around Bryant and his involvement with Sanders — as well as another former NFL player, Omar Stoutmire — started well before the start of the 2009 season.

Emails obtained by the AP show that OSU was actively looking for a resolution to Bryant’s case before the season began.  And the reason for that is quite simple.  If the NCAA ultimately finds Bryant ineligible — remember, it was OSU that declared the receiver ineligible — the Cowboys could be forced to vacate any wins in which Bryant played.

In an Aug. 26 e-mail, associate athletic director for compliance Scott Williams mentions that Oklahoma State’s season opener was approaching – at that point 10 days away – and the school would need to make “a determination on Dez’s playing status.”

Even more ominous was an email exchange obtained by the Daily Oklahoman, with the NCAA reminding OSU that it’s the school’s responsibility to certify a player’s eligibility.

On Sept. 2, responding to an inquiry about Bryant’s status, an NCAA official reminded Williams “it is the institution’s responsibility to certify the eligibility of its student-athletes,” adding that OSU “must feel comfortable that Mr. Bryant is eligible to compete.”

OSU released a statement on Wednesday announcing that Bryant was ineligible because he “failed to openly disclose to the NCAA the full details of his interaction with a former NFL player not affiliated with OSU.”  The interesting twist, though, is that OSU wanted to include the relationship between Sanders and Parker in the statement.

“Would it be possible to release information regarding an alleged association between the former NFL player and an active agent? Would it be permissible to release information regarding the alleged workouts?” Williams asked in an e-mail this week according to the AP. “What parts of the investigation are we restricted from discussing?”

The NCAA advised the school to not include specifics of the investigation in their public statement.

It’s very clear that OSU will attempt to shift the blame for Bryant’s initial dishonesty to the Sanders/Parker tandem in a misguided attempt to curry some type of of favor from the NCAA in regards to their handling of the case.  What’s unclear at this time is what exactly the remainder of the ’09 season will hold for Bryant.

Another certainty?  Deion Sanders should be considered hazardous waste by any and all collegiate football player and institution of higher playing learning from here on out, and should only be approached while wearing HAZMAT-approved equipment.

Or, as Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News so eloquently put it:

For most of Deion Sanders’ 14 years in the National Football League, it was a good idea for wide receivers to stay away from him.

Apparently, it still is.

Updated conference title odds see usual suspects remain heavy favorites

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Until we’re told otherwise, college football will play a 2020 season, and so the sports books are still offering odds on the upcoming season.

One one offshore sports book release its updated conference-by-conference odds on Monday, which saw the usual suspects atop most conferences. Clemson in particular is a massive favorite to win a sixth straight ACC title, with bettors required to place $600 down to win $100 on the Tigers.

Oklahoma is again favored to win the Big 12, Ohio State to win the Big Ten, Boise State to win the Mountain West, Oregon to win the Pac-12 and Appalachian State to win the Sun Belt. Alabama is listed as a slight favorite to win the SEC once again, as is UCF in the American.

American

Central Florida              5/4
Memphis                       9/4
Cincinnati                      3/1
Navy                             14/1
SMU                             14/1
Houston                        16/1
Temple                         25/1
Tulane                           28/1
South Florida                50/1
Tulsa                            80/1
East Carolina                 100/1

ACC

Clemson                       1/6
Miami (FL)                     15/2
North Carolina               10/1
Virginia Tech                 12/1
Florida State                 16/1
Virginia                         20/1
Louisville                      28/1
Pittsburgh                     28/1
Wake Forest                 40/1
NC State                       50/1
Duke                            66/1
Syracuse                      66/1
Boston College             80/1
Georgia Tech                250/1

Big Ten

Ohio State                    4/9
Michigan                       7/2
Wisconsin                     9/1
Penn State                    10/1
Iowa                             16/1
Nebraska                      16/1
Minnesota                     25/1
Michigan State              33/1
Indiana                          40/1
Illinois                           50/1
Maryland                       50/1
Northwestern                 50/1
Purdue                          50/1
Rutgers                         250/1

Big 12

Oklahoma                     4/5
Texas                           3/2
Oklahoma State            6/1
Iowa State                    12/1
Baylor                           16/1
West Virginia                 16/1
Kansas State                25/1
TCU                              28/1
Texas Tech                   40/1
Kansas                         100/1

Conference USA

Western Kentucky         2/1
Florida Atlantic              3/1
UAB                             4/1
Louisiana Tech              11/2
Marshall                        11/2
Southern Miss               6/1
Middle Tennessee          25/1
Charlotte                       28/1
Florida International       28/1
North Texas                  40/1
Rice                              66/1
Old Dominion                100/1
UTSA                            100/1
UTEP                            150/1    

MAC

Ohio                             13/4
Buffalo                         4/1
Central Michigan           4/1
Ball State                      6/1
Miami (OH)                    8/1
Toledo                          8/1
Western Michigan          8/1
Kent State                     12/1
Eastern Michigan          16/1
Northern Illinois             20/1
Akron                           100/1
Bowling Green               100/1   

Mountain West

Boise State                   1/2
San Diego State            13/4
Air Force                       9/2
Utah State                    12/1
Colorado State              14/1
Wyoming                      25/1
Fresno State                 28/1
Hawaii                           28/1
Nevada                         50/1
San Jose State              50/1
UNLV                            66/1
New Mexico                  150/1   

Pac-12

Oregon                         5/2
USC                             11/4
Washington                   3/1
UCLA                            4/1
Utah                             9/2
Arizona State                14/1
California                      20/1
Stanford                       20/1
Arizona                         25/1
Colorado                      80/1
Oregon State                80/1     

SEC

Alabama                       5/6
Louisiana State             11/4
Georgia                        3/1
Florida                          6/1
Auburn                          14/1
Texas A&M                   16/1
Tennessee                    66/1
Kentucky                      100/1
Mississippi State           100/1
Missouri                        100/1
Ole Miss                       100/1
South Carolina              100/1
Arkansas                      250/1
Vanderbilt                     250/1

Sun Belt

App State                     1/2
Louisiana-Lafayette       9/4
Arkansas State              14/1
Troy                              14/1
Georgia Southern          16/1
Georgia State                22/1
Coastal Carolina            25/1
UL-Monroe                    40/1
South Alabama             50/1
Texas State                  66/1

Sam Ehlinger raises over $40,000 for COVID-19 response

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Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger on Friday announced a fundraising campaign mimicking that of Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and his girlfriend, Marissa Mowry.

“I am dedicated to helping families who have been impacted by the current global crisis, and have created a GoFundMe to raise money to assist organizations that are doing incredible work in my community and nationally including the Boys & Girls Club of America, the Central Texas Food Bank, Austin Pets Alive and more,” Ehlinger said on his GoFundMe campaign’s page.

Ehlinger set a lofty goal of $1 million.

Ehlinger’s drive has raised over $40,000 for the cause. The page has been shared 3,200 times, and attracted 481 donors.

“I donated because my brother, who went to UT and is a San Antonio native living in LA, has a mild case of Covid-19. He’s on the road to recovery but he’s not out of the woods yet. I’m hoping this donation will help reach Sam Ehlinger’s goal,” one donor said. “He’s got a heart of gold and is officially my favorite QB of all time!!!”

“I donated because I want to help people in my area afflicted with this terrible virus,” said another. “Through no fault of their own they find themselves in this situation and hopefully I can help them recover. Thank you, Sam for doing this. On the field and off the field you are a special person. Best wishes for a great 2020 season! Hook ’em Horns!!”

Those wishing to join the effort can do so HERE.

Big 12 shuts down in-person activities through May, will allow virtual instruction

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We long ago passed the threshold where it became newsworthy when an upcoming event has not been shut down, but, still: the Big 12 has officially put the kibosh on any and all hopes to hold a spring football season in 2020.

As of Sunday night, all in-person team activities across all sports are hereby canceled through May 31 “or until additional guidance is provided.”

But that’s not the news here.

The conference’s coached had grumbled loudly that the Big 12 was barring them from holding online football-specific meetings, but that moratorium is officially over.

The league was spurred to action by a Friday announcement by the SEC, but the Big 12 actually cut in front of its eastern rival. Whereas SEC coaches can hold virtual football meetings at 1 p.m. ET, but the Big 12 actually lifted its ban effective 8 a.m. ET this morning. (The Big Ten and ACC placed no such prohibition on its coaches.)

Like the SEC, Big 12 coaches are not allowed to watch their players go through drills or workouts, but they can hold meetings and they can send their players supplements, team apparel and workout equipment. That last provision bars teams from buying equipment — e.g., Texas can’t ship its whole roster their own Pelotons — but they can send them “reasonable” supplies “such as stretching band/straps, foam rollers, etc.”

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on March 27, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2018

THE HEADLINE: Les Miles says he still wants to coach but is trying his hand at acting in the meantime
THE SYNOPSIS: Less than nine months after this headline ran, Mad Hatter the Actor became Mad Matter the Coach again as Miles took over the Kansas football program. In the first season under Miles, the Jayhawks went 3-9. One of those wins, over Texas Tech, was one of the most Mad Hatter wins ever. Miles was also the first KU coach to start a season 2-1 since 1997.

As an aside, the last time Kansas won more than three games in a season? 2009, when they won five.  Chew on that.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Penn State trustee says he’s ‘running out of patience’ with ‘so-called victims’ of Jerry Sandusky
THE SYNOPSIS: It takes a special level of douchiness to go here.  Yet that’s what Albert Lord did.  Or, as we wrote: “With Baylor seemingly running away with the title of most embarrassing university in collegiate athletics, a Penn State trustee has said ‘hold my beer.'”

THE HEADLINE: Suspended Mich. St. staffer receives one-month contract EXTENSION
THE SYNOPSIS: Three years later, and even with Mark Dantonio‘s retirement, Michigan State is still knee-deep in the Curtis Blackwell situation.  Whether they’ll be knee-deep in an NCAA situation is to be determined.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Mich. St. releases statement on four-star signee Auston Robertson
THE SYNOPSIS: This player was the genesis for the off-field issues still facing the Michigan State football program.

2015

THE HEADLINE: PHOTO: Ohio State has a Michigan fire hydrant near its vet school
THE SYNOPSIS: College football.  The sport’s rivalries.  Still the best.  Ever.

2013

THE HEADLINE: Longtime Alabama AD Mal Moore passes away at age 73
THE SYNOPSIS: The 73-year-old Moore’s passing came less than a month after he stepped down because of health issues.  Moore had been the AD since 1999.

2011

THE HEADLINE: Fickell to take over for Tressel during five-game suspension
THE SYNOPSIS: After Jim Tressel abruptly resigned in May of that year because of his NCAA issue, Luke Fickell took over for the 2011 season at Ohio State.  He was ultimately replaced as head coach by Urban Meyer.  Five years later, Fickell became the head coach at Cincinnati.

2009

THE HEADLINE: HAWKINS PREDICTS 10 WINS FOR COLORADO*
THE SYNOPSIS: In his third season at Colorado, Dan Hawkins went on to win three games post-prediction.  After five wins the following season, Hawkins was fired.

(*Yes, back in the day, we used to scream out our headlines at our readers in all-caps. The move to NBC a couple of months later mercifully ended that practice.)