Miami reportedly files motion to dismiss NCAA case

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Given the developments in the Miami situation over the past couple of months, this was anticipated.

Per CBSSportsDennis Dodd, Miami has in fact filed a motion to dismiss the NCAA’s case against its athletics program. The Miami Herald reported earlier this week that UM could file such a motion, with the Associated Press reporting similarly Friday afternoon.

It’s an interesting, and according to Dodd, unprecedented move considering the charges UM is facing. While Miami is a private institution and not required to release its Notice of Allegations — it’s not believed the school will reveal the details of its motion to dismiss either — it’s been reported that the program is facing a lack of institutional control charge.

The AP reported earlier today that the NCAA is alleging Miami officials looked the other way when presented with evidence that former booster Nevin Shapiro provided impermissible benefits to athletes.

From the AP story:

“The NCAA… has asked Miami to detail whether or not it hired a private investigator to look into Shapiro’s business dealings between 2002 and 2005, records of a meeting between at least one athletics department official and Shapiro in 2003, and the findings of a study the school conducted with regard to Shapiro in 2006.

Miami has also been asked to provide copies of certain email exchanges that were about Shapiro, including one from 2008 that was sent to at least one member of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s staff.

If there’s record that Miami turned a blind eye to Shapiro, the Hurricanes could be in serious trouble.

But Miami could have a compelling argument that there’s simply not enough usable evidence for the NCAA to have a legitimate case. The Herald‘s report on Wednesday claimed NCAA’s director of enforcement, Stephanie Hannah, continued to work with Shapiro’s attorney, Maria Elena Perez, to obtain information through depositions that would aid the UM investigation.

While that would be another blemish for the NCAA because it shows a continuation of unethical practices started by Hannah’s predecessor, Ameen Najjar, it’s not nearly as bad as the allegation that NCAA investigators lied to interview subjects in order to gain information.

Hannah’s working relationship with Perez reportedly did not result in any information the NCAA could use in its investigation and Perez’s previous depositions were ultimately thrown out of the NOA. However, if NCAA investigators lied to interview subjects, that information would have to be tossed as well.

Dodd writes that Miami “will include new information regarding the NCAA’s conduct” in the motion. Whether that new information corroborates the Herald‘s report or adds to it isn’t clear. Consequently, how much information, if any, the NCAA would have to scrap is unknown.

There could eventually be a discussion of whether the NCAA should proceed with the case at all, but in the meantime, expect it to go on as planned. As NCAA guru John Infante wrote this week: “Improperly obtained evidence should be removed and the rest of the case should go forward.”

Miami thinks, as it has all along, that it should not face any additional sanctions beyond the ones self-imposed over the past couple of years. But even if Miami could get its case dismissed, all signs indicate that might not happen until after the program files an official response to its NOA.

It’s been no secret Miami planned to fight the NCAA on its NOA. Add in the numerous missteps the NCAA has taken in investigating UM and the Hurricanes certainly have ammo. Just don’t expect that fight to be over tomorrow.

Running back Deshawn McClease is latest player to leave Hokies

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It has been quite a busy couple of days for Virginia Tech transfer news. Within hours of Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente releasing a statement about the program’s dedication to strengthening the culture of the Virginia Tech football program after a handful of players had decided to leave the program, running back Deshawn McClease added his name to the list of transferring Hokies.

“After discussing with my family, we believe that it is best for me to transfer to another university following graduation this spring,” McClease said in a statement shared on his Twitter account Wednesday evening. “I am very eager to continue my football journey and further my education.”

McClease did not say where he is heading next. His departure is another blow to Virginia Tech’s offensive outlook for the 2019 season on a day that also saw starting quarterback Josh Jackson decide to transfer out of Virginia Tech a day after a couple of other transfer headlines surfaced around the program. As McClease mentioned in his statement, he is scheduled to graduate from Virginia Tech this spring. That will mean he will be eligible to play right away next fall for whatever team he ends up joining. He has one year of eligibility remaining.

McClease was Virginia Tech’s second-leading rusher in 2018 and likely would have been the starting running back in Blacksburg for the 2019 season had he decided to stick around. McClease rushed for 433 yards and two touchdowns last fall behind senior starter Steven Peoples.

Oklahoma State QB Keondre Wudtee leaving Stillwater via transfer

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The quarterback competition at Oklahoma State this spring has been reduced by one. Keondre Wudtee is one his way out of Stillwater after entering his name into the NCAA’s transfer portal, it was reported on Wednesday.

As noted by Pistols Firing, redshirt freshman Spencer Sanders appears to be the most likely candidate to land the starting job at quarterback for the Cowboys in 2019 following the graduation of Taylor Cornelius. Wudtee was the only other quarterback to record any passing stats for Oklahoma State in 2018 in his backup role, completing two of five attempts for 26 yards and a touchdown. A pair of wide receivers, Tylan Wallace and Dillon Stoner, were the only other players to attempt a pass for Oklahoma State in 2018.

Oklahoma State’s quarterback depth chart will still be padded even with the departure of Wudtee. Dru Brown, who transferred to Oklahoma State from Hawaii, is still around and the Cowboys added an early enrollee in three-star Class of 2019 quarterback Brendan Costello. Being enrolled early will allow Costello to get started with spring practices this semester in Stillwater and could potentially have him prepared to step in if needed in the fall.

As for Wudtee, we’ll see where he heads next. He will have to sit out the 2019 season due to NCAA transfer rules, of course.

After dustup with Uga, Texas president says Bevo is not leaving the sidelines

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Finally, a story NOT about the transfer portal.

Prior to the Sugar Bowl between Texas and Georgia, somebody decided it would be fun to do a photo with the live animal mascots of the Longhorns and Bulldogs. As Uga made his way over to see Texas mascot Bevo, the longhorn burst out of his caged area and made it known he was not about being a part of a fun photo opp. Fortunately, there were no injuries to report for any people or animals in the incident, but concerns about the handling of Bevo were certainly raised.

And despite pressure from PETA to stop including live animal mascots as part of the gameday experience and any others who may have voiced concerns about the worst-case scenarios involving a live steer, Texas president Gregory Fenves says Bevo will not be retired and forced to watch Longhorns football games from the ranch.

“We take the safety very seriously, but we’re going to continue to have Bevo as our mascot,” Fenves said in a recent interview with the American-Statesman. “He’s an incredible animal and a great symbol for the university. Seriously, we’re always looking at the protocols for Bevo at public events. I don’t think they need to be revised.”

So there you have it. Bevo stays. Sorry, not sorry, PETA. Unless Bevo does decide to enter the transfer portal…

Wisconsin TE Kyle Penniston enters transfer portal

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I have never seen it myself, but the transfer portal must be the place to be. Wisconsin tight end Kyle Penniston is just one of the many players putting his name in the transfer portal, as reported Wednesday, as he begins to look for a new place to finish up his college football career.

First reported by 247 Sports, Penniston will have one year of eligibility left to use for the 2019 season. He will be eligible to play right away this fall as a graduate transfer. Penniston enrolled at Wisconsin in 2015 after accepting an offer from Wisconsin over offers from Oklahoma and a handful of other top programs in the Class of 2015.

Penniston appeared in 13 games for the Badgers in 2018 with three receptions for 18 yards and a touchdown. The instant rise of Jake Ferguson at the tight end position on his way to becoming the second-leading receiver for Wisconsin meant Penniston likely wasn’t going to play a pivotal role in the offensive gameplan in 2019. Wisconsin should still be in decent shape at the tight end position this fall, not that losing an upper classmen at the position is ever a good situation for a program. It’s worth noting Penniston was recruited under former head coach Gary Andersen, who adopted a different type of offensive scheme that would have potentially been a better fit for Penniston.

Where Penniston goes next remains to be seen.