Report: OSU trio given $200 each at charity event

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The only reason given by Ohio State when it ruled three players — junior running back Jordan Hall, sophomore defensive back Corey Brown, and junior defensive back Travis Howard — ineligible for the opener was that they had been found to have received less than $300 each in impermissible benefits at a charity event earlier this year.

Shortly thereafter speculation began as to the reasons behind the suspensions, up to and including the players merely being guilty of accepting gift bags that were being passed out to everyone at the charity event.  Unless those gift bags were also rumored to have contained pictures of dead presidents that can be folded and put into a wallet, that simply wasn’t the case.

Instead, the Columbus Dispatch, citing documents they obtained pertaining to the investigation, is reporting that Hall, Brown and Howard each received $200 in cash at the charity event in Cleveland.

(Writer’s note: what can I say; we’re generous in this area of the state.)

In the self-report obtained by the Dispatch, two of the players stated that they thought they were being paid for working at the event.  The third stated that he received the money from a teammate — there were two other current Buckeyes at the event, but it was found they did not receive any impermissible benefits — but wasn’t sure why.

It was also unclear exactly which individual or individuals were responsible for giving the three players a total of $600.

One player told investigators he received the cash from a former OSU player while another indicated he received payment from a person who is “a representative of athletics interests.” Both names were redacted by Ohio State attorneys.

The two players who did not receive money observed someone carrying several envelopes during the event. However, the identity of that individual was also redacted by Ohio State attorneys.

According to the self-report, it was unclear whether the person who gave the money did so in his role as a representative of the charity or acting alone. The source of the money is also unclear.

(Writer’s note: why is it that the players’ names are released in a very public manner and allowed to become the object of scorn and/or ridicule in these types of situations, yet at the same time the facilitators of these impermissible benefits have their names redacted?)

All three players were reinstated by the NCAA earlier this week and will be available to play this weekend against Toledo.  Hall and Howard had been listed as starters on the Buckeyes’ depth chart before their suspensions, but head coach Luke Fickell said each player would have to earn back their starting jobs.

North Dakota State takes No. 1 seed in FCS Playoffs

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The playoff field is set for the FCS Playoffs. Defending national champion and No. 1 North Dakota State took the top seed overall but will face a challenging bracket if the Bison are to claim another national title this year.

As the top seed, North Dakota State will own home-field advantage in the Fargo Dome for as long as they are in the playoffs, with the exception of a possible national title game appearance, which will be played in Frisco, Texas on January 5. North Dakota State’s portion of the bracket includes No. 4 seed Kennesaw State (who was the No. 2 team in the FCS top 25) and last year’s national title runners-up from James Madison. The Dukes were not seeded in this year’s tournament with a record of 8-3, but they are always to be considered a dangerous opponent this time of year.

A handful of teams ended playoff droughts with this year’s bracket. East Tennessee State is making its first playoff appearance since 1996, ending the longest drought among this year’s playoff teams. Delaware and Southeast Missouri State are each back in the playoff for the first time since 2010. The field also includes three first-time playoff teams; Incarnate Word, Lamar, and UC Davis.

The FCS Playoffs begin next weekend.

Michigan’s Berkley Edwards tweets he has been released from hospital after nasty hit

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Michigan running back and special teams player Berkley Edwards was carted off the field on a stretcher in the fourth quarter at Michigan Stadium on Saturday in a scary scene that paused the game for roughly 10 minutes. The morning after the Wolverines beat Indiana, however, there is good news to report on Edwards. Edwards shared an update on his Twitter account to tell his followers and Michigan fans he has been released from the hospital and he is OK.

“Just got out the hospital,” Edwards said. “[E]verything is good!”

Edwards followed that up to say he did not see the Indiana player who hit him (Cam Jones, who was ejected for the hit) and his head is still hurting a bit.

It is unknown at this time what the status of Edwards will be for Michigan’s regular-season finale at Ohio State this week. The winner of the Michigan-Ohio State game will play in the Big Ten Championship Game as the East Division champion.

Reports say Texas State will not bring Everett Withers back in 2019

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Send another coach through the coaching carousel. Multiple reports on Sunday say Texas State will move on from Everett Withers after this season. Football Scoop and The Athletic each reported news of the coaching change for the program.

According to Football Scoop, as reported by College Football Talk contributor Zach Barnett, Withers will not coach for Texas State this week in the regular season finale against Arkansas State.

Withers was hired by Texas State prior to the 2016 season to replace Dennis Franchione. Texas State had back-to-back 2-10 seasons in his first two years on the job and the Bobcats are just 3-8 this season with one game remaining. This will be the fourth straight season Texas State has had no more than four wins (and it could be a fourth straight year with no more than three wins).

The former James Madison head coach will likely manage to find a job somewhere on a coaching staff, even if not as a head coach. Texas State is now looking for its third head coach since jumping up from the FCS to the FBS in 2012.

UCF moves up to No. 8 in AP Top 25, Army makes first appearance since 1996

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After arguably the biggest weekend in UCF football history, the Knights are now enjoying their highest ranking in the AP Top 25 of the season and second-highest ranking in program history. UCF moved up to No. 8 in this week’s AP Top 25 poll as they finally managed to jump ahead fo a couple of power conference programs that have been standing in the way the past few weeks.

Alabama claimed all 61 first-place votes from the AP voters this week. The top-ranked Crimson Tide are followed by Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan, Georgia, and Oklahoma as there were no changes in the top six. No. 7 Washington State, UCF, and LSU all took advantage of No. 12 West Virginia falling five spots after a loss at Oklahoma State.

UCF moved into a tie with LSU for the No. 8 spot in the ranking this week, but the Knights have officially moved ahead of Ohio State. The Buckeyes slipped to No. 10, dropping one spot.

Army is also making some headlines in the AP Top 25 by appearing in the ranking for the first time since 1996. Army cracked the Ap Top 25 at No. 23 to be in the AP Top 25 for just the third time since 1985.

Here is this week’s AP Top 25:

1. Alabama (61)
2. Clemson
3. Notre Dame
4. Michigan
5. Georgia
6. Oklahoma
7. Washington State
8. (tie) UCF
8. (tie) LSU
10. Ohio State
11. Texas
12. West Virginia
13. Florida
14. Utah State
15. Penn State
16. Washington
17. Kentucky
18. Utah
19. Syracuse
20. Northwestern
21. Boise State
22. Mississippi State
23. Army
24. Pittsburgh
25. Iowa State