Pryor’s attorney hints at legal action, makes NCAA-slavery connection

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And, yes, I’m fully aware of the fact that this will not end well in the comments section below the post, but please attempt to behave with some semblance of maturity.

In an interview Thursday on Sirius/XM’s “Jason & The GM” show — thanks to the individual from the station responsible for the emailed transcript, by the way — the attorney for now-former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor addressed a variety of topics tossed at him by the show’s hosts, Jason Horowitz and ex-New York Mets general manager Steve Phillips.

In addition to a self-clearing of his client over the potential issues regarding vehicles driven/purchased by Pryor and that are the subject of a current NCAA investigation — “There is nothing, I don’t believe there is ever anything that is going to be NCAA-related violations on the use of cars by Terrelle… So that issue is off the table” — lawyer Larry James also blasted a report that surfaced on Outside the Lines earlier in the week.

In the report that appeared on ESPN.com, a former friend of Pryor’s claimed that the QB had received between $20,000 and $40,000 from freelance photographer Dennis Talbott in exchange for his signature on memorabilia.  According to James, Talbott is too small-time to be involved in something of that magnitude.  And that his client may pursue legal action against OTL at some point in the future.

“The first time this allegation of Dennis Talbott and the $20,000 to $40,000 came up was [on ESPN’s] Outside the Lines.  I know Dennis Talbott and I don’t mean to belittle Dennis Talbott but Dennis Talbott is not a deep-pocket player.  This is out of his league, he doesn’t have that kind of cash.  He is not one of those dealers that one would say ‘Dennis has the ability to negotiate the buying and selling of memorabilia that Terrelle has signed.’  No, Dennis was a part-time photographer that knew a lot of the players, guy around town, most of us knew him.  He was basically harmless, he is no big deal, and he definitely did not have the wherewithal to do that kind of stuff.  And that story is just bogus.

the [Outside the Lines] story is close to being reckless and malice and over the line.  And that’s something that Terrelle, at the appropriate time, may look at once he gets in a position to say, ‘I have the wherewithal to bring that lawsuit.'”

While ESPN could (but probably won’t) face legal action, Sports Illustrated definitely won’t suffer the same fate, at least at James’ hand.  The magazine published an expose’ a couple of weeks ago — which subsequently came under fire itself — that, among other things, accused nine current members of the football program of having received impermissible benefits from a Columbus tattoo parlor.  Despite the fact that James, who represents the nine mentioned in the piece, very strongly claims all of the players mentioned in the SI piece “will be cleared”, the magazine will be allowed to slide on their printed accusations.

“Well, the Sports Illustrated article with the nine athletes is a different story from this Outside the Lines.  I’m going to diverge on you because those allegations in Sports Illustrated by those new nine players, they will be cleared.  They will be cleared, okay?  Now, the thing about it, if someone makes the accusation that one of the student-athletes had visited the tattoo parlor and that athlete had tattoos, then that athlete must have gotten a free tattoo, a discounted tattoo, or sold his memorabilia.  So, like the movie, Absence of Malice, Sports Illustrated will probably get away with that.  They can probably get a free ride.  So it would be good money after bad and wasted time and resources.”

For the record, the father of linebacker Storm Klein, one of the new nine players mentioned in the SI article, has threatened legal action against the publication.

Not only did James intimate that a lawsuit could be filed against ESPN/OTL, the attorney also hinted that the NCAA itself could be in his legal crosshairs at some point in the future.  In the following exchange, James blistered the “archaic, draconian” NCAA as an association akin to slavery.

Phillips: “Does Terrelle have any sort of anger or resentment he still holds against coach and the school?”

James: “No, not at all.  Not at all.  I think he understands that he made a mistake that he’s held accountable for.  He wishes he had some things to do over.  Irrespective of how harsh and idiotic we think some of the NCAA rules are they are still on the books.  You know, they had slavery for all those years.  Those rules are still on the books and courts uphold them so until we bring the right lawsuit to go after the NCAA on some of these issues, they stand.”

Horowitz: “And is that something you’re currently working on?”

James: “I am definitely reviewing it.”

Phillips: “Which issues are the ones that you think are the most closely related to slavery?  That connection seemed odd to me.”

James: “Well, you’ve got a captured system here in college football.  It’s mandated, it’s dictated.  The student-athletes have no rights, they have no relief.  It’s an archaic, draconian process by which you are basically financed for about nine and a half months of your school year and then you’re to find the money for whatever else is left [of] your expenses.  You live in basically poverty through that time period and you’re making a million dollars for institutions.”

Of course, I believe that the current NCAA “slave owners” actually encourage student-athletes to continue to learn to read and write and better themselves academically, but I guess it’s easier to shock and rile up the media masses by tossing out a ‘slavery” bomb than actually have some type of rational discourse on the subject.  There are some very real issues about the way the NCAA conducts its business that should be discussed, but lobbing that kind of inflammatory comparison into the mix does nothing to further the discussion.  In fact, it actually damages what is becoming more and more a very credible and compelling argument, that, given the amount of money flowing into conference coffers and then to the universities, something needs to be done about closing the gap between a scholarship and the actual cost of attending school.

Slavery?  Please.  To each his own, though, I guess.

Pac-12 responds to football players threatening opt-outs

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The Pac-12 responded Monday to football players who have threaten to opt-out of the season because of concerns related to health and safety, racial injustice and economic rights with a letter touting the conference’s work in those areas and an invitation to meet later this week.

A letter from Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, dated Aug. 3, was sent to 12 football players leading the #WeAreUnited movement. The letter was obtained by The Associated Press and first reported by Sports Illustrated.

The players say they have been communicating with more than 400 of their peers throughout the Pac-12. The group released a lengthy list of demands Sunday and said if they are not addressed they will not practice or play. The group said it reached out to the Pac-12 on Sunday to request a meeting. In the letter, Scott said he was eager to discuss their concerns.

“I will come back to you in the coming days following discussion with our members and student-athlete leaders to schedule a call for this week to discuss the matters that you have raised,” Scott wrote.

Also Monday night, Washington State coach Nick Rolovich said in a statemen t he regretted cautioning one of his players about being part of the #WeAreUnited movement. A recording of a conversation between Rolovich and receiver Kassidy Woods obtained by the Dallas Morning News revealed the coach seemingly warning the player that being involved with the group would hurt his standing with the team. Woods had called Rolovich to inform him he was opting out of the season for health reasons related to COVID-19.

“I spoke with Kassidy Woods in a private phone conversation last Saturday afternoon. This was before the #WeAreUnited group had released its letter of concerns,” said Rolovich, who is in his first season was Washington State coach. “Without knowing the concerns of the group, I regret that my words cautioning Kassidy have become construed as opposition. I’m proud of our players and all the Pac-12 student-athletes for using their platform, especially for matters they are passionate about. WSU football student-athletes who have expressed support for the #WeAreUnited group will continue to be welcome to all team-related activities, unless they choose to opt out for health and safety reasons.”

The #WeAreUnited players’ demands focused on four areas: health and safety protections, especially protocols related to COVID-19; guarding against the elimination of sports programs by schools during an economic downturn; ending racial injustice in college sports; and economic freedom and equity.

Scott addressed each area, highlighting the conference’s:

— Medical advisory committee working on COVID-19 protocols and webinars for student-athletes and their parents;

— Support for reforming NCAA rules regarding name, image and likeness compensation for college athletes;

— Recent initiatives to address racial inequities such as the formation of a social justice & anti-racism advisory group that includes student-athletes representatives.

Scott also listed 10 areas in which, he wrote, “The Pac-12 has been a leader in supporting student-athlete health and well-being …” Included were enhanced medical coverage post-eligibility; cost-of-attendance stipends added to the value of scholarship; mental health support; and the Pac-12′s support of reforming NCAA transfer rules to allow athletes more freedom to switch schools.

Pac-12 football teams are scheduled to begin preseason practices Aug. 17 and the league’s conference-only regular season is set to start Sept. 26.

Big 12 to allow teams to play 1 non-conference football game

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Two people involved with the decision say the Big 12 will permit its teams to play one nonconference football game this year to go along with their nine league contests as plans for the pandemic-altered season continued to fall into place.

The people spoke Monday night to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the conference was still preparing an official announcement.

The Big 12 university presidents signed off on the conference’s scheduling model, which gives schools the ability to play one nonconference game at home. The conference’s championship game is scheduled for Dec. 5, but one of the people told AP that the conference is leaving open the possibility of bumping it back a week or two.

The 10-team Big 12 already plays a nine-game, round-robin conference schedule. Unlike other Power Five conference that have switched to either exclusively (Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC) or mostly (ACC) league games this season, the Big 12 could not add more conference games without teams playing each other more than once.

Several Big 12 teams have already started preseason practice, with Kansas and Oklahoma slated to play FCS teams on Aug. 29.

As conferences take steps toward a football season that seems to be in precarious shape, the NCAA is expected to weigh in Tuesday on fall sports other than major-college football.

The association’s Board of Governors is scheduled to meet and whether to cancel or postpone NCAA championship events in fall sports such as soccer, volleyball and lower-division football is expected to be a topic.

Only the Pac-12 has a full football schedule with matchups and dates in place among Power Five conferences. The Pac-12 will begin Sept. 26, along with the Southeastern Conference, which is still working on its new 10-game slate.

The Atlantic Coast Conference has opponents set for its 10-game conference schedule and will start the weekend of Sept. 12, but no specific game dates. The ACC has also said it will permit its teams to play one nonconference game.

The Big Ten, first to announce intentions to go conference-only this season, has yet to release a new schedule, but that could come later this week.

Now that the Power Five has declared its intentions the Group of Five conferences can start making plans and filling holes on their schedules.

American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco has said the AAC could stick with its eight-game conference schedule and let its members plays as many of their four nonconference games as they can salvage or replace.

The Mountain West, Conference USA, Mid-American and Sun Belt conferences are likely to take similar approach.

Early Monday, Texas State from the Sun Belt announced it was moving a nonconference game against SMU up from Sept. 5 to Aug. 29.

Good morning and, in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening and good night! CFT, out…

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CFT is no more. At least, when it comes to NBC Sports.

The first of last month, I — this is John Taylor (pictured, catching the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl XXIII) — began my 12th year with CFT and NBC Sports. This morning, I was informed that my position was being eliminated and I would not be completing that 12th year. Which, of course, meant I wouldn’t be eligible for the traditional 13th-anniversary gift of lace. Which really bummed me out. Because I really like lace.

The jarring phone call was both a slap in the face and a relief. Jarring because, well, it was completely unexpected. Out of the blue, even amidst the pandemic that is wreaking absolute and utter havoc across the country. A relief, on the other hand, because, every single day for the past four months, I woke up wondering if this would be the day I get that call.

Would this be the day? Would this be the day? A question played on an endless loop that just f***s with you mentally, emotionally, physically.

That’s no way to live.

Then again, being job-less is no way to live, either. But, here we are.

So many people I want to thank. First and foremost, Mike Florio and Larry Mazza. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Especially Mr. Mazza on the food front. Hopefully, lunch at Oliverio’s — best damn stuffed shells I have EVER had — can still be a thing, Larry.

And so many people that have worked for me. Not to single anyone out, but I’m going to single one out in Ben Kercheval. Ben, non-biological son of Hoppy, you were and continue to be the man. I appreciate you more than you know.  Rasheed Wallace may indeed be your biological father, but I will forever consider you my illegitimate Internet stepson.

Mike Miller is the best boss anyone could ever ask for.  Hire that man.  You can thank me later.

Kevin McGuire, Zach Barnett, Bryan Fischer, I will always treasure what we did, together, these last few years. Things were on the uptick, and it’s sad that we won’t be able to see it through. Together.  We should’ve — SHOULD’VE SHOULD’VE SHOULD’VE — been given that opportunity.  And it will forever piss me off that we weren’t.

Brent and Chris and JJ, much love to you all as well.

Shortly after I received the job call of death, I called my dad. Told him what was going on in his son’s life.  After I hung up the phone, he sent me a GIF in a text message a few minutes later.  I’ll link it here to end whatever this is, because it’s appropriate.  And old school.

And, well… bye.

via GIPHY

2018 FCS All-American RB commits to Virginia

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Virginia joined South Carolina over the weekend as Power Five football schools realizing a personnel benefit from a lower-level program’s loss.

Two weeks ago, the Colonial Athletic Association announced that it was canceling its 2020 college football season because of the coronavirus pandemic.  One member of that FCS conference is Towson.  Coincidentally or not, one standout member of the Tigers, Shane Simpson, took to Twitter last week to announce that he has entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.

On that same social media service Sunday, the running back confirmed that he has committed to the Virginia football team.  Simpson had his transfer to-do list down to Virginia and Texas.

As Simpson was a fifth-year senior in 2019, it appears he has been granted a sixth season of eligibility.  Or, is fairly confident he will receive one.

Simpson would likely be eligible for that sixth season as he missed all but four games of his true freshman season in 2015 because of injury, then missed all but the first three games last season because of a serious knee injury.

In 2018, Simpson earned first-team All-American honors.  He finished second in all of FCS with 171.5 all-purpose yards per game, totaling 2,058 yards on the season.  That same season, the Pennsylvania product was the CAA’s Special Teams Player of the Year and earned three different all-conference honors: first-team at running back, second-team as a kick returner and third-team as a punt returner.

Simpson would be eligible to play immediately in 2020 at the FBS level.