Venric Mark transfers to (West) Texas A&M

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A mere 10 days after he and Northwestern “parted ways,” Venric Mark has found a new college football home.

Speaking to ESPN.com‘s Joe Schad, Mark confirmed that he will use his final season of eligibility at West Texas A&M.  That was one of two Div. II schools Mark had considered, along with Northwest Missouri State.  He had also considered walking on at Texas Tech.

However, the latter option would’ve required him to file an appeal for a waiver that would grant him immediate eligibility as he’s one class short of graduating.  There were FBS programs willing to file the waiver, “[b]ut I couldn’t gamble with my last year with no guarantees,” Mark told Schad.

Mark, who is already practicing with his new teammates, mentioned Baylor, Texas State, Houston, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, SMU and Kansas as programs he looked into. Whether the interest was reciprocated is unclear.

As for choosing the D-II A&M, Mark said the proximity to his mom and an ailing grandmother proved to be a significant factor.

“This is an hour and half from my Mom. It’s the best fit,” Mark said.

In the middle of last week, it was announced that Mark had abruptly and surprisingly decided to withdraw from classes and transfer from Northwestern for “personal reasons.” That decision came a handful of days after it was announced the running back had been suspended for the first two games of the 2014 season for an unspecified violation of team rules.

Mark, a redshirt senior, missed all but three games in 2013 due to injury and received a medical hardship waiver for the 2014 season.  In 2012, he led the Wildcats in rushing with 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Mel Tucker reportedly hiring Kansas State’s Scottie Hazelton as new Michigan State DC

New Michigan State DC Scottie Hazelton
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One of the best beards in college football is headed to Michigan State.

No, not the one on the face of Illinois head coach Lovie Smith, but rather that of Kansas State defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton. Per The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman, the Wildcats assistant is leaving for the same position in East Lansing on Mel Tucker’s newstaff.

Hazelton spent just one season in the Little Apple after being hired by KSU’s Chris Klieman. The two briefly overlapped on the defensive staff at North Dakota State before reuniting in the Big 12.

In addition to a productive tenure leading the Bison’s defense at the FCS level, Hazelton has put together quite a diverse coaching career. That’s included coordinator stops at the NAIA, Division II and Division III levels as well as a season at Nevada in 2013 and a run at Wyoming from 2017-18. He also coached linebackers at USC in 2012 and did the same for the Jacksonville Jaguars during Gus Bradley’s tenure in Duval.

Now Hazelton will link up with Tucker as the final member of the MSU assistant ranks. The head coach has quite a large salary pool to work with and you can probably assume that had something to do with luring a Power Five DC so late in the typical hiring season. At K-State, Hazelton made $550,000 last year according to USA Today.

Either way, the bearded new defensive coordinator won’t have long to get acclimated to East Lansing as the Spartans begin spring practice on March 17.

Boise State shifts home-and-home with Wazzu back a few seasons

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A potential Nick Rolovich’s return to Boise State will have to wait a bit longer.

The former Hawaii head coach’s new school of Washington State announced on Thursday that they had agreed to a home-and-home with Fresno State for 2026 and 2027. One issue? Well, the dates given by the school happened to be the same as a previously scheduled home-and-home with another certain Mountain West school famous for its blue turf.

It turns out that there’s a reason for that. Per the Spokesman-Review, the two games against the Broncos have instead been shifted back a few years at the request of BSU brass. They will now take place in 2030 (Boise State) and 2031 (Pullman).

That leaves both programs with one non-conference opening in both those years as a result. The Broncos still have games against Oregon, BYU and East Carolina in 2026 and against Rice, USF and BYU again in 2027. Wazzu, meanwhile, takes on the aforementioned Fresno State both seasons and travels to Kansas State in 2026 and hosts Kansas in 2027.

Also notable is that the Spokesman-Review says that Rolovich’s 2020 debut will come against Utah State on Thursday, Sept. 3 instead of the previously set Saturday contest.

UCLA completes 2026 schedule by bringing Nevada to the Rose Bowl

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There’s been a flurry of Pac-12 and Mountain West matchups made public in recent days and UCLA added one more just under the wire this week.

The school announced on Friday that they had added Nevada to their 2026 schedule. The Wolf Pack will visit the Rose Bowl on Saturday, Sept. 19 that season.

This will surprisingly be just the second meeting between the two teams. The first also came at the Rose Bowl — an eventual 58-20 victory for the powder blue back in 2013.

With the addition of Nevada, the Bruins have now wrapped up their 2026 non-conference slate. The team also hosts fellow Mountain West power San Diego State that year and will travel to Georgia in a cross-country season opener.

On the flip side, the Wolf Pack are just getting started in their scheduling as this is the first game on the calendar that year. Jay Norvell’s squad is no stranger to taking on the Pac-12 though. In addition to this contest, the school will take on Cal in 2021 and USC in 2023.

Interestingly, both programs will open in Week 0 for this upcoming season. The 2020 campaign for UCLA kicks off against New Mexico State at home while UNR takes on UC Davis in Reno.

NCAA Football Rules Committee proposes players ejected for targeting can remain on sideline

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The NCAA Football Rules Committee is recommending several minor tweaks to the rulebook for the upcoming 2020 season.

Perhaps the most notable of the proposals being advanced is that players who have been ejected for targeting be allowed to remain on the sidelines. Since the rule’s inception, players have normally been escorted to the locker room where they remain until the end of the game.

“In reviewing the trends in targeting, the committee is encouraged and pleased with how the rules have clearly had a positive impact on our game,” said David Shaw, chair of the committee and head coach at Stanford, in a statement. “We are encouraged by the improvements in the way our officials, our coaches and our players have worked to keep our game exciting and make it safer. We will continue to look for ways to improve our approach to targeting, but we strongly believe we are on the right path.”

Among the other ideas advanced by the committee include ensuring no more than two players wear the same number. In addition, they recommend that ‘0’ be added to the list of single-digits available to be worn to help this.

Instant replay was also on the docket. A proposed guideline will call for reviews to be completed in less than two minutes (hooray for pace of play). Officials will also be allowed to take “jurisdiction of the contest” 30 minutes earlier than normal in order to limit interactions (i.e. fights) between teams. The proposal calls for them to take over 90 minutes before kickoff as a result.

Otherwise, it was pretty much a low key set of changes proposed. While there was plenty of talk about further rules being tweaked when it comes to the kickoff and targeting, the actual things advanced to the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel was rather limited. That latter group will discuss and approve/deny the changes on April 16.