Wazzu Leach report: ‘no detection of abuse or inappropriate behavior’

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As the iconic Frank Drebin is wont to say, “move on, there’s nothing to see here.”

Back in early November, then-Washington State wide receiver Marquess Wilson levied some very serious accusations on his way out the door, accusing first-year head coach Mike Leach and his coaching staff of the “physical, emotional and verbal abuse [of players]… in the locker room and on the field.”  The allegations prompted the university president to ask for, and get, a two-pronged investigation involving both the athletic department and the Pac-12.

As it pertains to the former, Leach appears to be in the clear.

Washington State announced Wednesday that the athletics department “has completed its internal review of practices and procedures of the WSU football program,” and that “throughout this review there was no report or detection of abuse or inappropriate behavior on the part of Leach or his staff.  The investigation was “carried out by four members of the Intercollegiate Athletic Department’s Senior Staff” and included a total of 12 players interviewed by members of WSU athletic director Bill Moos’ staff.

The report stated that the dozen unnamed players “were urged to be honest and forthright and were assured there would be no repercussions regarding their comments.”

In regards to the incident that triggered the brouhaha — Wilson walking out of a “vigorous” Sunday conditioning workout the day after a loss — the players interviewed felt Wilson “let the team down and put them, their coach and WSU in a bad light.”

What’s telling in the report, though, is Moos claiming that Wilson texted him shortly after the incident.  In that text, Wilson, per the report, “recanted the allegations of abuse.”  Wilson had released a letter to the media earlier that day in which he levied the allegations.

Publicly, Moos has appeared to defer to Leach’s strident denials of abuse, even publicly calling out Wilson for “effort [that] hasn’t always been what it could and should be.”  The investigation apparently did nothing to dissuade Moos of his opinion that Leach has the football program on the correct, proper and abuse-free path.

“Last month President Floyd asked me to fully review allegations raised concerning the football program and report those findings and conclusions as soon as possible,” said Moos in a statement attached to the report, which can be read in its entirety HERE. “I have fulfilled his charge over the past few weeks, which included interviews with multiple student-athletes and support staff involved with the program.

“Once I received the findings from members of my staff, I found that the program is moving in the desired direction, that is it on-par with, or exceeds, other BSC-level programs in terms of expectations and commitment.

“Transition in coaching changes is rarely smooth, however, after reviewing the comments from the players that were interviewed, I am encouraged the program is moving in a positive direction.”

The Pac-12 has yet to issue its report on its findings.  When that’s expected is unknown.

Super 16 Poll sees Buckeyes drop, Cougars and Aggies debut

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Just as they did in the AP and coaches polls this week, Ohio State fell down the ladder in this week’s Super 16 Poll from the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. The Buckeyes tumbled from No. 2 down to No. 9 after their blowout loss at Purdue, while seven teams moved up one spot at their expense. When all was sorted, however, Alabama remained the dominant team in the poll just as they have all season long.

The Crimson Tide received 50 of 51 first-place votes this week to continue their dominance in the Super 16 Poll. Only LSU managed to secure a first-place vote from the firm grasp of Alabama, but the Tigers managed to move up to just fourth. Undefeated Clemson and Notre Dame stand in the way behind Alabama.

Two new additions were made to the Super 16 poll this week. No. 14 Washington State finally cracked the top 16 after popping up in the voting a few weeks ago and slowly waiting for their chance to make a move. Their win over Oregon did just that and also dropped Oregon from the top 16 in the voting. Texas A&M, at No. 16, also mad their first debut in the top 16 this season after floating around in the voting for over a month. They fill the second vacancy that was left by NC State, who fell to the bottom of the others receiving votes category this week.

Iowa and Penn State, who meet this weekend in Happy Valley, are the first two teams out of the Super 16, so the winner of that Big Ten crossover matchup may have a shot to jump into the poll next week.

Here is this week’s Super 16 Poll.

  1. Alabama (50)
  2. Clemson
  3. Notre Dame
  4. LSU (1)
  5. Michigan
  6. Texas
  7. Georgia
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Ohio State
  10. Florida
  11. UCF
  12. Kentucky
  13. West Virginia
  14. Washington State
  15. Washington
  16. Texas A&M

As a disclaimer, three contributors to College Football Talk are voters in the Super 16 poll: Zach Barnett, Bryan Fischer, and myself (Kevin McGuire).

TCU WR/KR KaVontae Turpin arrested for alleged assault of family member

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One of TCU’s most electric players is facing some legal trouble at the start of the week. KaVontae Turpin was arrested Sunday for alleged assault with bodily harm of a family member according to a report Monday morning from Star-Telegram. He has been released from jail.

The details of the incident have not yet been reported or shared at this time. TCU head coach Gary Patterson has yet to make any statement about the situation at this time. Before any decision on Turpin’ status with the team is made by Patterson, t is likely he and other athletics officials will want to gather as much information about the situation as possible before making any sort of announcement, whether it is handled in-house or not.

While Patterson has not officially been on the record about this news just yet, TCU has.

“Texas Christian University is aware that one of its students was recently arrested for a reported domestic situation,” a statement from TCU’s athletic department said Monday morning. “The university takes these types of reports very seriously and is continuing to gather information to determine next steps. TCU expects its students to behave in an ethical manner, abide by campus policies and adhere to state and federal law.

“The student also may face a charge of violating the University Code of Student Conduct, the results of which are independent and separate from any legal charges.”

Turpin is TCU’s second-leading receiver with 410 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Turpin’s work on special teams has also been a bright spot for TCU this season with one punt return touchdown and one kickoff return touchdown this season.

USC QB J.T. Daniels in concussion protocol, backup Matt Fink has broken ribs, Jack Sears to the rescue?

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USC freshman quarterback J.T. Daniels has been entered into the team’s concussion protocol after getting roughed up on the road against Utah Saturday night. USC’s quarterback depth looks to be even more a concern this week as head coach Clay Helton announced backup quarterback Matt Fink broke three ribs in the same game.

Because of the injuries to the top two quarterbacks on the depth chart, the Trojans will prepare redshirt freshman Jack Sears to be the team’s starter this week.

I’m a big fan of Jack. I always have been,”  Helton said on Sunday. “If he’s given the opportunities, I think he’ll do a great job.”

Daniels has been USC’s starter all season as a true freshman. Because he has already played in seven games for the Trojans this fall, he cannot use the 2018 season as a redshirt season. Players can appear in up to four games without burning a redshirt year under a modified NCAA rule regarding redshirt eligibility. How serious the concussion issue remains to be seen, as they can be difficult to predict.

Sears did not play in 2017 and has yet to get the chance to record any passing stats this season. The former four-star dual-threat quarterback is not guaranteed to start this week, but if Daniels is not medically cleared to return, then it will be up to sears to guide the offense for however long he is needed.

USC hosts Arizona State this Saturday. Tied with Utah in the Pac-12 South, USC loses the tiebreaker for the top spot with the head-to-head loss at Utah, which means USC needs to finish the season ahead of Utah in the division in order to play for the Pac-12 championship.

Iowa bar unlocks locker of free beer for Nebraska fans after first Huskers win

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Taking a page right out of the Cleveland Browns playbook, a bar in Iowa celebrated the first Nebraska win of the season by ceremoniously unlocking a case full of beer to distribute to Nebraska fans at no cost.

Barley’s, a bar in Council Bluffs, Iowa, handed out free Budweiser to Nebraska fans gathering to watch the game against the Minnesota Gophers on Saturday. The bar started the promotion in an effort to “being Iowa Nice,” as the bar is a common gathering point for Nebraska fans in the state of Iowa. Naturally, the case was full of Budweiser in bottles of red and white, Nebraska’s colors.

Bud Lite sponsored a promotion for Cleveland Browns fans that promised to hand out free beer to fans after the Browns won their first game of the season this year. Two years ago, a bar in Florida made good on a free beer promo during UCF’s dreadful 0-12 season. Leave it to Scott Frost to end one free beer promo and be a part of another.