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.

Rutgers completes 2021 schedule with addition of FCS school

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The final piece of the scheduling puzzle for Rutgers has been found for the 2021 season. Rutgers announced the addition of a home game against Delaware, an FCS program, to the 2021 schedule to give the Scarlet Knights a full schedule.

Rutgers will host Delaware on September 18, 2021. Other non-conference games lined up for Rutgers includes a season opener against Temple at home and a road trip to Syracuse for a pair of games against former Big East foes.

Rutgers has not faced the Blue Hens of Delaware since 1973. Rutgers leads the all-time series, 15-13-3. Delaware was also recently added to the future schedule of Penn State, with road trips to Penn State slated for 2023 and 2027.

In a fun little uniform twist, Rutgers will play teams with the signature winged helmet with shades of blue and yellow in back-to-back weeks. A week after hosting Delaware, Rutgers is scheduled to play a Big Ten contest at Michigan. Delaware and Michigan wear similar uniforms highlighted by a similar winged helmet design.

Nebraska squeezes in 12th game against Bethune-Cookman

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Nebraska will play a 12-game schedule after all, as long as Mother Nature decides to cooperate for the rest of the season. Nebraska announced today it has added a home football game against Bethune-Cookman.

According to the release from Nebraska, the Huskers will host the FCS school on October 27. The game will replace a home game wiped out by lightning against Akron back in Week 1.

“Our great fans and our football student-athletes deserve a full schedule, and we are glad to be able to provide an additional game on Oct. 27 against Bethune-Cookman,” Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos said. “We appreciate the patience of our fans through this process.”

Nebraska will pay Bethune-Cookman $800,000 to make the trip to Lincoln.

Injury will sideline Cal’s Cameron Goode for remainder of the year

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Unfortunately, Cal’s worst injury fears have been realized yet again.

In the Bears’ season-opening win over North Carolina, Cameron Goode sustained what’s only been described as an unspecified lower-leg injury.  The redshirt sophomore linebacker did not play in the past two games because of the injury and won’t play again this season, Justin Wilcox confirmed Wednesday.

“I really feel for him because he puts a lot into football,” the head coach said. “He’ll go through that window of not being able to play this year. It’s a pretty short window, then he’ll start working on what’s next.”

It’s expected Goode will be fully recovered by the start of spring practice.

This marks the second-straight season his year has ended prematurely because of injury.  Last year, he started the first nine games before being sidelined for the remainder of the season.

Goode had returned an interception for a touchdown in the opener before going down with the leg injury.  He also returned a pick for a score last season in the win over Ole Miss.

Recently-retired Minnesota RT Nick Connelly loses three-month battle with cancer

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There’s incredibly sad news coming out of the Minnesota football program Thursday afternoon.

In an absolutely heartbreaking missive posted to Twitter, Chuck Connelly, the father of former Minnesota offensive lineman Nick Connelly, revealed that his son lost his three-month battle with cancer Wednesday.  Or, as the elder Connelly put it, “[o]n Wednesday Sept. 19, 2018 Heaven needed a right tackle and Nick Connelly got the call.”

Connelly was just 22 years old.

The younger Connelly was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma in June of this year.  A very rare form of cancer — WebMD states just that just 1,200 cases are diagnosed annually in the United States, with nearly 60 percent of those coming in patients over the age of 40 — and is recognized as the fastest growing human tumor.

In late October of last year, Connelly, who had started the first five games of the 2017 season at right tackle for the Gophers, announced that he was retiring from football because of the effects of multiple concussions.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to Connelly’s family, friends and former teammates for their loss.