Vols receive Notice of Allegations from NCAA; Haden supports Kiffin

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A nearly two-year investigation into Tennessee’s football and basketball programs has resulted in a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA, the school announced Wednesday morning.

While a sizable chunk of the allegations are dedicated to Bruce Pearl‘s basketball program, the Lane Kiffin “Era” in Knoxville came under the microscope as well.  Perhaps most damning was the NCAA’s charging Kiffin with a  “failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program and failure to monitor the activities regarding compliance of several assistant coaches.”

The “failure to monitor” aspect was first reported by Clay Travis of AOL Fanhouse earlier this month.

The charges stem in part from UT recruiting hostesses having impermissible contact with potential recruits, as well as at least one assistant, David Reaves — a Kiffin assistant and the current USC head coach’s brother-in-law — making improper contact with recruits.

In addition to the charge against Kiffin of a failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance, the notice contains the following allegations of violation of NCAA rules against the football program:

— By former members of the football coaching staff: impermissible telephone contact (16 total calls) with prospective student-athletes from Jan. 3-9, 2010.

— By a former assistant football coach: allegations relating to impermissible contacts with prospective student-athletes.

— Permitting a football recruiting intern to make impermissible contact with high school staff during a recruiting visit

““Receipt of the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations by the University of Tennessee is another step in bringing this matter to conclusion.,” UT athletic director Mike Hamilton said in a statement. “Our institution has operated in complete cooperation with the NCAA since April 2009 as they have pursued their investigation. We take these allegations seriously and most items noted in this document have already been reported broadly. I would like to thank the NCAA enforcement staff for their professionalism and guidance during this process.”

As the Notice of Allegations involved their current head coach, USC also received a copy of the NCAA’s letter.  Athletic director Pat Haden released a statement through the school, and reiterated his support of his football coach.

“We have received from the NCAA a notice of allegations against Lane Kiffin pertaining to his tenure as the head football coach at Tennessee,” Haden said in the statement.  “The NCAA enforcement process provides for Tennessee and Lane to address those charges.  Until that process is completed, it would be unfair and premature for me or USC to comment on this matter. …

“However, I will say this: Since his return to USC last year as our head football coach, Lane has been vigilant in making sure he and the football program follow the NCAA’s rules and compete the right way. Lane has my support as our head football coach.”

Kiffin declined to comment on the advice of his attorney.

“We have received the notice of allegations,” Kiffin said.  “On the advice of my legal counsel, we cannot comment other than to say we look forward to working through the process with the NCAA.”

Per the Vols’ release, the University has a deadline of May 21, 2011 to formulate and submit a response to this Notice of Allegations to the NCAA. It is anticipated that the University’s appearance before the Committee on Infractions will be during the committee’s meeting on June 10-11, 2011.

The school will have no further comment on the situation.

USC makes hiring of Virginia’s Vic So’oto official

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The massive renovation of Clay Helton’s USC football coaching staff has taken another official step.

Last week, it was reported that USC was expected to poach Vic So’oto from Virginia.  As Clint Sintim‘s hiring as So’oto’s replacement was announced a few days later, the latter’s move to the Trojans was a mere formality.

Tuesday, USC football confirmed So’oto’s addition to Clay Helton’s staff.  As he did with the ‘Hoos, So’oto will serve as the Trojans’ defensive line coach.

The 32-year-old So’oto was the line coach at Virginia for the past three seasons.  Prior to that, he was a defensive graduate assistant at the ACC program.

So’oto played his college football at BYU, ending his four-year career in 2010.  After his NFL career ended, So’oto began his collegiate coaching career as a football intern at his alma mater.

For those unaware, So’oto is the second cousin of USC football legend Junior Seau.

LSU confirms hiring of Scott Linehan as new passing-game coordinator

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LSU football has officially replaced one of the hottest young coaches in the sport.

Not long after LSU football claimed the 2019 national championship, Joe Brady left to take over as the offensive coordinator for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. Earlier this month, it was reported that Scott Linehan was expected to be hired as Brady’s successor.

Tuesday, LSU confirmed that Linehan has indeed been named by Ed Orgeron as the Tigers’ new passing-game coordinator. The 56-year-old Linehan has spent the past 17 seasons he’s been a coach at the NFL level.

Linehan was out of coaching this past season.

“Scott brings a wealth of knowledge to our offense,” the LSU football head coach said in a statement. “We wanted to bring in someone who will expand our passing game and with Scott’s experience as an NFL head coach and offensive coordinator we feel this is the best move for our offense. After talking to numerous people with NFL experience and interviewing Scott we knew he was the right fit for the LSU Tigers.”

In 13 of those seasons in the NFL, Linehan served as an offensive coordinator.

  • Dallas Cowboys, 2015-18
  • Detroit Lions, 2009-13
  • Miami Dolphins, 2005
  • Minnesota Vikings, 2002-04

In the other four NFL seasons in which he wasn’t a coordinator, Linehan was the head coach of the St. Louis Rams (2006-08) and passing-game coordinator for the Cowboys (2014).

Linehan’s last job at the collegiate level came as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Louisville (1999-2001). From 1996-98, he was the coordinator at Washington.

American announces 2020 schedule

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The American Athletic Conference will again play football in 2020, the conference confirmed on Tuesday.

The American revealed its 2020 conference schedule, a 44-game slate that completes the 88 total games AAC teams will play in 2020. As a reminder, UConn is no longer an American member, meaning the conference will have 11 football-playing members for the foreseeable future. All 11 teams will still play an 8-game league schedule, and the conference will still hold a title game.

The 2020 season will also be the conference’s first under the new rights agreement it struck with ESPN in March. As such, at least 40 American home games will be shown on the ESPN family of networks, and at least half of those will be on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. The conference will play a total of 12 games on Thursday or Friday nights.

“We are excited to announce our 2020 schedule as we enter the next phase of our longstanding relationship with ESPN,” said commissioner Mike Aresco. “With the continued success our schools have had, I have no doubt that we will once again provide our fans, and ESPN, with compelling matchups throughout the season in both conference and nonconference play. We look forward to another outstanding season of American Athletic Conference football.”

The season will begin on Saturday, Aug. 29 when Navy “hosts” Notre Dame at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. That game will be shown on ESPN with College GameDay in tow as part of the network’s season kick-off effort. While the full schedule can be viewed here, highlights include:

  • North Carolina at UCF, Sept. 4 (Friday)
  • South Florida at Texas, Sept. 5
  • Temple at Miami, Sept. 5
  • Houston at Washington State, Sept. 12
  • Cincinnati at Nebraska, Sept. 26
  • TCU at SMU, Sept. 26
  • Memphis at SMU, Oct. 1 (Thursday)
  • UCF at Memphis, Oct. 16 (Friday)
  • Memphis at Cincinnati, Oct. 31
  • Memphis at Navy, Nov. 14
  • Cincinnati at UCF, Nov. 21
  • UCF at South Florida, Nov. 27 (Friday)

The 2020 American season will conclude with the sixth annual American Championship on Saturday, Dec. 5.

Ohio State CB Sevyn Banks to wear No. 7

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George Costanza was never much of a college football fan. He was a New Yorker, after all. But he was a fan of the No. 7, and so he would have a new favorite college football player in 2020.

A product of Orlando’s Jones High School, Sevyn Banks has been a member of Ohio State’s defensive backfield since 2018. The former 4-star recruit has received limited playing time in the Buckeyes’ loaded defensive backfield, but figures to compete for a starting spot in 2020.

And now he’ll do so in his namesake number.

Banks announced Monday he will switch from No. 12 to No. 7 for the upcoming season.

The No. 7 had been claimed by linebacker Teradja Mitchell, who is now switching to No. 3, opening No. 7 for, well, Sevyn.

Banks appeared in all 14 games for Ohio State last season, collecting 11 tackles and one interception.

He’ll hope to get more burn in 2020, with some support from a fictional New Yorker.