UCF self-imposes recruiting restrictions on football program

3 Comments

In response to the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations of recruiting violations within the football and men’s basketball programs, Central Florida released a list of self-imposed sanctions today.

As far as UCF football is concerned, the self-imposed sanctions are related to recruiting only. The Orlando Sentinel has a run down of all the sanctions, but here’s what will apply to the football program:

  • A reduction in the number of football coaches allowed to simultaneously recruit off campus over the next two years. That number has been reduced by one, from seven to six.
  • A reduction in the number of football evaluation days during the next two years. That number will decrease by nine in the fall and 34 in the spring.
  • Restricting the number of official football recruiting visits to 27 per year, a 20 percent reduction in average visits during the past four years.

Additionally, UCF placed itself on probation for three years and football coach George O’Leary received a letter of reprimand. No scholarship losses or postseason bans were self-imposed, although the basketball program will have one scholarship taken away over the next two years.

Keep in mind these self-imposed sanctions do not represent the final outcome of this case. This is merely a response to the NOA and UCF will appear before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions in April. Given the severity of some of these accusations coupled with the school’s “response”, this has the looks of something that could end up being a lot worse for the Knights.

UCF has been dealing with the recruiting allegations since a NCAA Notice of Inquiry in August, specifically involving quarterback recruit DaMarcus Smith. Smith is now reportedly heading to Western Kentucky. The NOA, released in November, stated the following:

“It is alleged between March 2009 and July 2011, Ken Caldwell, a recruiter for a professional sports agency, and Brandon Bender, an associate of Caldwell’s, assisted the institution in recruitment of six men’s basketball and five football prospective student-athletes by promoting the institution’s athletics programs. … Certain institutional staff members were aware of Caldwell’s and Bender’s activities while others involved Caldwell and Bender in the recruitment of specific prospective student athletes.”

The 11 recruits allegedly received $16,005.74 in benefits beginning in March, 2009.

UCF originally had 90 days to respond to the NOA, but received an extension to today. In the wake of the allegations, athletic director Keith Tribble and assistant football coach David Kelly resigned from their positions. Tribble is said to have “violated principles of ethical conduct when he knowingly (a) attempted to provide an improper inducement to the mother of a prospective student-athlete and (b)provided false and misleading information to the institution and enforcement staff.”

For those interested, the Sentinel obtained a copy of Tribble’s response to the allegations against UCF.

What’s more is that the Sentinel notes that UCF is still on probation for previous football infractions involving improper cell phone calls, which means the school could face a repeat violator status.

Retired Admiral Al Harms had been named interim AD and new AD Todd Stansbury will start in March.

Lane Kiffin confirmed ex-Florida State QB Deondre Francois won’t be transferring to FAU

Getty Images
Leave a comment

As expected, Deondre Francois’ winding college football journey won’t be leading him to one Conference USA school as his next stop.

In late May, it was reported that Francois would be walking on at Florida Atlantic and playing for Lane Kiffin‘s Owls; a month later, it was reported that Francois likely wouldn’t be joining the Owls as a walk-on, scholarship player or otherwise.  In officially putting this particular subject to bed, Kiffin confirmed late last week that the quarterback will not be transferring into his FAU program.

Instead, it’s still expected that Francois will continue his playing career at the FCS level, although that has yet to be confirmed.

Earlier this offseason, Florida State announced that Francois had been dismissed from the football program after a social media post brought to light an alleged domestic incident between the quarterback and his ex-girlfriend. A day later, the alleged victim in that incident posted an apology on her Instagram account, stating that the release “of the video was to scare him” and that she was seeking “closure and attention from him after we broke up but I couldn’t get it from him. The only way to get his attention was through Instagram and spiteful actions.”

Not long after that apology was released, however, the alleged victim’s Instagram account was deleted. Shortly after that, the woman’s sister took to the same social media site and claimed that her sibling’s Instagram account had been hacked, intimating that the apology that was posted was fake.

The Tallahassee Police Department subsequently determined that there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue domestic-violence charges against Francois.  The one-time starting quarterback for the Seminoles went on to enter his name into the NCAA transfer database not long after his dismissal was confirmed.

After winning ACC Rookie of the Year honors in 2016, Francois suffered a season-ending knee injury against Alabama the following year.  Francois was the starter for the vast majority of the 2018 season, missing one game in early November because of a concussion.  In his 11 starts as a redshirt junior, he completed just over 57 percent of his passes for 2,2731 yards, 15 touchdowns and a dozen interceptions.
After considering leaving FSU for the draft in December — but only if the NFL evaluations weren’t favorable — it was confirmed the following month that Francois would remain at the collegiate level.

Mike Gundy delivered all-time line to son about how he’ll be coached at Oklahoma State

AP Photo/Brody Schmidt
4 Comments

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy can drop some good zingers at any given moment. But his son, Gunnar Gundy, was on the receiving end of one of the all-time lines that is incredibly difficult to respond to.

When asked about the possibility of coaching his son at Oklahoma State, the head coach of the Cowboys stressed he would coach Gunnar just as he would any other player in the program. That means no preferential treatment even though there is a family bond in place. That is when Riley took the idea to another level.

As transcribed by The Oklahoman;

“When asked how he would coach his son, Gunnar, if the situation arose: “I told him, if you come to Oklahoma State, I’ll coach you like I do everybody else… If you’re the best player, you’ll play. If not, you won’t play — even though I’m sleeping with your mom.”

That is quite the classic recruiting sales pitch from the head coach of the Pokes. It’s certainly not a recruiting pitch that would work any other recruit. Or is it? We’ll stray from traveling down that path for now.

Gunnar Gundy is entering his senior year of high school football. As you would probably suspect, Oklahoma State is considered to be one of the favorites to land the quarterback. Gunnar could potentially follow in his father’s footsteps in Stillwater, as the current head coach is also a former quarterback for Oklahoma State.

Helmet sticker to Pistols Firing.

Matt Rhule doesn’t let stolen truck stop him from sticking to his schedule

Photo by John Weast/Getty Images
2 Comments

Baylor head coach Matt Rhule had a rough weekend. The head coach of the Bears had his truck stolen from the parking lot of a hotel. But rest assured, Rhule made it known that would not prevent him from getting to where he needed to be.

Rhule took to Twitter with a message to the party responsible for his stolen truck, confirming he would still find a way to attend an event organized by the Texas High School Coaches Association at Rice University.

As promised by Rhule, he made it to the event in Houston.

But it wasn’t just a truck that was stolen from Rhule either. Inside the truck was a set of golf clubs that didn’t belong to him, as noted by Baylor assistant coach Joey McGuire.

There is no indication at this time if the truck has or will be recovered. The same goes for the golf clubs. In the meantime, Rhule will have to keep on going about his business as he prepares for a new college football season with Baylor.

DJ Durkin resurfaces at Atlanta Falcons training camp

Getty Images
3 Comments

DJ Durkin has rarely been seen, at least in the football sense, since Halloween, when he was fired by Maryland’s board one day after being reinstated. He briefly appeared as a consultant at Alabama, a move Nick Saban was forced to immediately defend, and not a peep has been heard from Durkin sense.

Until Monday.

The Atlanta Falcons have brought the disgraced coach aboard as a guest coach for training camp, the team has announced.

Durkin and Falcons head coach Dan Quinn worked together at Florida, where the latter was Will Muschamp‘s defensive coordinator and Durkin the special teams coordinator. Quinn coached with Durkin in 2011-12 before leaving for the same job with the Seattle Seahawks; Durkin was promoted to serve as Quinn’s replacement.

Asked by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution if he had any reservations about brining in Durkin, Quinn said, “I didn’t probably because I know who the person is having coached with him before. So, I knew his background as a defensive coach and special teams. By doing our due diligence from there. … An unfortunate situation, of course, but as far as eyes to look at the defense to help us, I definitely knew the advantage of that.”

The team said Durkin will watch practice for 10 days and consult with the Falcons’ coaching staff; he will not have any direct interaction with players.

“I know DJ first hand,” Quinn said. “I know what he is as a coach. I know what his character is. We did all of our due diligence, calling everybody at Maryland and had our own follow up.”