UMass bracing for life as an independent, but for how long?

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Times are rough for the college football independents, unless you happen to be Notre Dame. With BYU finding out the hard way the evolving world of college football will not be looking upon the program in a very positive light, the Cougars have been tied to the seemingly annual discussion about joining a conference (Big 12? Mountain West Conference?) to find stability as a football program. But even BYU’s perceived troubles may be something a program like UMass would dream of having. Entering the final season as a football associate member of the MAC, the Minutemen are now bracing for the realistic possibility of playing as a football independent until a more permanent solution can be concocted.

UMass athletic director John McCutcheon addressed the possibility of moving forward as an independent, but the long-term goal remains to find a suitable conference home.

“There will come a point fairly soon where we feel like if we don’t have a conference we have to build an independent schedule for a couple of years and we’ll have to get on top of doing that,” McCutcheon said in a report by Daily Hampshire Gazette. “It’s an option. It’s not something you want to do indefinitely, but it may be a necessity just in terms of timing to make sure we don’t get caught short. … I know people want answers and guarantees, but you just can’t give them all the time. It may be necessary for us to get an independent schedule for a few years and show that growth in the program to open some doors. The conference shift has never ended. It never will end. Somewhere an opportunity will emerge for us. It’s just where and when and that I feel confident about.”

The biggest problem for UMass is the realistic or worthwhile options for a conference home just are not to be found at the FBS level. The ACC and Big Ten have no interest in a program like UMass and despite the idea floating around before, the Sun Belt just makes no sense from a fiscal standpoint for the UMass football program. The best option the school may be hoping for at some point may be the American Athletic Conference, but that does not appear to be in the fold either. The AAC will be adding Navy as a football member in 2015, when the conference will have 12 football-playing members. That means the conference has no need to expand just for the sake of expansion (to start a championship game).

The move up to the FBS for UMass is looking more and more like a misguided one, but would the school actually contemplate dropping back down to the FCS? If it can swallow the pride, UMass should at least consider it as an option. It may be the best option left standing.

Nick Saban will reportedly add Shiloh Keo as an Alabama football staffer

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The sport may have hit the pause button, but The Process for the Alabama football program continues.

According to Matt Zenitz of al.com, Nick Saban is expected to add Shiloh Keo to his extended Alabama football staff. No specific job description for Keo was given, with Zenitz writing that he will work “in a support staff capacity.”

Thus far, Alabama has not addressed any new additions to Saban’s football staff.

The 32-year-old Keo played his college football at Idaho from 2006-10. The Idaho native earned first-team Freshman All-American honors that first season with the Vandals. A four-year starter — he took a redshirt in 2008 because of injury — the defensive back was first-team All-WAC (remember that conference?) as a redshirt junior and second-team honors as a fifth-year senior.

The Houston Texans selected Keo in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Keo played six seasons for four different teams. In addition to the Texans, Keo spent time with the Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints.

Alabama is set to open the 2020 college football season against USC Sept. 5 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. It will be the 14th season under Saban. The Crimson Tide will also be coming off missing the College Football Playoff for the first time since the system to determine a national champion was instituted for the 2014 season.

Ohio State athletic luminaries Ryan Day, Chris Holtmann, Gene Smith to donate $175,000 to COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund

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Ad Ohio State sports luminaries to the growing list of individuals doing what they can financially during the coronavirus pandemic.

Tuesday, Ohio State announced that three current OSU athletics families — second-year head football coach Ryan Day and his wife, Nina; men’s head basketball coach Chris Holtmann and his wife, Lori; and athletic director Gene Smith and his wife, Sheila — are teaming up to donate a combined $35,000 a month between April and August to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund. Between the three families, a total of $175,000 will be donated over the next six months.

From the school’s release:

The fund will help the food bank acquire and distribute food and supplies to existing families in need while also addressing the increased demand from families recently impacted by the health crisis.

For every dollar donated, the Mid-Ohio Foodbank is able to secure $9 worth of groceries. That means the $175,000 donation from the Smiths, Days and Holtmanns will result in more than $1.5 million worth of groceries for Ohioans in need. The three families are hoping their donation inspires other members of Buckeye Nation to contribute, as well.

“So many people in our community are struggling to feed their families right now,” Smith said. “Our families wanted to do something to support those who need help. By contributing to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, we know we can make a significant impact.”

Matt Habash, president and CEO of the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, says the donation will go a long way in helping the food bank meet the surging need for assistance.

“We understand that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and that it will take months for many of our struggling neighbors to recover,” Habash said. “We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of these amazing families to be on this journey with us.”

The amount of food the Mid-Ohio Foodbank has distributed since March 23 is 14% more than the same period last year, a difference that will climb even higher in the coming weeks, Habash said. The food bank provides enough food for 150,000 meals a day across its 20-county service area, but that number has increased significantly in just the past three weeks.

“We keep reading about the thousands of central Ohioans who are losing their jobs, and it’s just devastating,” Nina Day said. “Ryan and I hope that our family can help ease the burden a bit for other families in our community. We hope, too, that by our example other members of Buckeye Nation might join us in making donations to feed others.

Colorado new home for Arizona transfer TE Jake Peters

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Arizona’s personnel loss will be a gain for Colorado football.

Way back in early November, Jake Peters announced on his Twitter machine that, “[a]fter speaking with my family and the coaching staff it is in my best interest to enter into the Transfer Portal.” On the same social media vehicle this week, the tight end announced he will be transferring into the Colorado football program.

Peters said his decision came after having “a great conversation” with new Colorado football head coach Karl Dorrell.

At this point, Peters would have to sit out the 2020 season with the Buffaloes. That would then leave him with two years of eligibility beginning in 2021. Of course, there’s also the possibility that the NCAA could alter it’s transfer rules, allowing a one-time waiver for immediate eligibility for all student-athletes.

If that were to happen before the 2020 season kicks off, Peters would have three years of eligibility he could use with Colorado football.

Coming out of high school in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., Peters was a three-star member of the Wildcats’ 2018 recruiting class. Peters played in a total of two games while at Arizona, one each during the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

Medically disqualified by UCF, TE Jonathon MacCollister enters transfer portal

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After being sidelined by UCF football, Jonathon MacCollister has decided to continue his collegiate playing career elsewhere.

On his Instagram account in January, MacCollister indicated that the UCF football doctors had medically disqualified him from playing for the Knights. The tight end had previously dealt with multiple concussions.

MacCollister, though, didn’t appear to agree with the determination.

“The medical staff has to decide to medically disqualify me from playing football, because of the ‘concussions’ they said I received,” he wrote on Instagram in mid-January. “I have two options. Stay here and finish school as a student or I can transfer somewhere to continue chasing my dream.”

In the end, MacCollister has chosen the latter option. According to 247Sports.com, the redshirt junior is headed to the NCAA transfer database. A UCF football official has confirmed that MacCollister is indeed listed in the portal.

It’s believed that MacCollister will be leaving UCF football as a graduate transfer. If he can get medically cleared by another school, MacCollister would be eligible to play immediately in 2020. He would also have another year of eligibility to use in 2021.

MacCollister actually began his collegiate career at Notre Dame. A three-star 2017 2017 signee, the Florida native was rated as the No. 44 strongside defensive end in the country. He transferred from Notre Dame into the UCF football program following his true freshman season.

After appearing in one game in 2018, MacCollister appeared in six this past season. He caught one pass for four yards. That lone catch, though, was a touchdown.

UCF is coming off its third-straight double-digit win season. One of those wins was a record-setting Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl win over Marshall.