Report: Big Ten contemplates rule to make freshman ineligible again

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The Big Ten Conference may intentionally be going out of its way to lose recruiting battles.

In 1972, the NCAA abolished a rule that made all incoming freshmen ineligible to play for the football or basketball programs. The rule was revoked to help the Marshall Thundering Herd after a tragic plane crash.

But the Big Ten now appears in favor of returning to the old ways.

The Diamondback — the University of Maryland’s student newspaper — reported that the Big Ten Conference is trying to get its institutions to support the potential rule change and start a “national discussion.”

“What I like about the concept of the proposal is it puts right up front the basic issue: Are we basically a quasi-professional activity or primarily an educational activity?” University of Maryland president Wallace Loh told The Diamondback. “And if you support it, you are basically saying very clearly the No. 1 priority is the education of the students.”

The Big Ten Conference wouldn’t confirm the proposal, though:

The B1G is a step behind, because the national discussion already began last week.

One league couldn’t adopt this rule without it negatively affecting its teams. Plenty of top recruits expect to play during their first year on campus. This is particularly important with basketball programs due to one-and-done athletes. As one conference pushes to rule freshmen ineligible, it won’t sit well with some recruits.

“One-and-done is a small percentage, it’s not even one percent of our student-athletes when you take all the schools,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg. “That’s way off base to me. Do we have challenges with young people who aren’t really prepared the way they should be to attack college education? No doubt about it.

“I have not been a proponent of freshman ineligibility but I keep my mind open that maybe it’s something we have to consider.”

Recruiting is exactly what at least one league coach is hiding behind as a reason to move forward with the proposal.

“That would be one of the healthiest things we could do for college sports right now,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz told ESPN. “Recruiting’s kind of a runaway train and what a lot of people don’t consider is there’s a lot of serious pressure that’s put on some players’ shoulders that I’m not sure is healthy for them big picture-wise. … It would allow the guy to transition a little bit with a lot less fanfare and get their feet on the ground and get a good foundation established.”

In the end, it’s another step for leagues to maintain control over incoming athletes.

Instead of trying to provide those athletes with the best possible situation based on the individual, one of the country’s most powerful conferences wants to create a blanket rule that applies to all.

At least the NFL hasn’t changed its three-year rule before a player is eligible for the draft. Who knows? That could change too if this becomes more than a “national discussion.”

Oregon DB Kahlef Halassie steps into transfer portal

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Oregon defensive back Kahlef Hailassie is now officially on the market. Hailassie announced on his Twitter account on Monday afternoon he has officially entered his name into the NCAA transfer portal.

A sophomore and a member of Oregon’s Class of 2018, Hailassie is now eligible to have contact with any other college football program that may be interested in recruiting him to their program. when he committed to the Ducks out of high school, Hailassie chose Oregon over offers from Colorado and Washington State, among others. Hailassie had previously committed to Colorado during his recruiting process, only to de-commit shortly after an official visit to Boulder.

Hailassie played in just three games this season before being sidelined with an injury. Because he has played in fewer than four games, Hailassie can use the 2019 season as a redshirt year. Hailassie played in all 13 games for Oregon as a true freshman in 2018, recording one tackle as a reserve player and a special teams player. Hailassie will have to sit out the 2020 season if he ends up at another FBS program, which would make him eligible to return to the field with two full years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2021.

Oregon’s leading receiver, TE Jake Breeland, suffers season-ending leg injury

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It turns out the leg injury suffered by Oregon tight end Jake Breeland was pretty serious. Ducks head coach Mario Cristobal confirmed the news on Monday that Breeland will miss the remainder of the 2019 season with a left leg injury.

“It hurts you personally and it hurts everyone when a guy that’s worked so hard, has overcome as much as he has and the type of season he was having, to have to endure something like this,” Cristobal said in a press conference on Monday, according to The Oregonian. “He’s ready to attack the whole process of getting healthy again so he can play again.”

Breeland will have his 2019 season brought to a premature close after leading the team with 405 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Oregon’s receivers have been banged up at times already this season, and losing the top tight end in the offense won’t make things any easier. Oregon visits Washington this week for a pivotal Pac-12 North matchup with the defending conference champions.

So, who replaces Breeland at the position? Oregon’s latest depth chart currently has Ryan Bay and Hunter Kampmoyer filling the top spots at the tight end positions for the Ducks. Bay, a senior, has appeared in all six games and has caught three passes for 35 yards and a touchdown. Kampmoyer, a junior, has caught one pass for 21 yards and a touchdown in six games this season.

Knee injury knocks Boston College QB Anthony Brown out for a second season

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Anthony Brown had his redshirt freshman season cut short due to a knee injury, battled back to start all 12 games in 2018 and BC’s first six contests this fall, until yet another knee injury knocked him out for another season.

Boston College head coach Steve Addazio revealed Monday that Brown will miss the remainder of the season with what the school is calling a “lower leg injury.” Brown made a cut avoiding a tackle during BC’s Oct. 5 game against Louisville and immediately clutched his left knee. Boston College lost the game, 41-39, though Brown began the contest 6-of-7 for 193 yards and a touchdown.

“We’re very, very sad for Anthony. He worked hard to get himself where he was. He’s seventh all-time in passing in BC history and heading towards greater things this year. He’s had a great career and he’s prepared and practiced and put so much into it. We’re so proud of him,” Addazio said.

The fourth-year junior from Cliffwood, N.J., finishes his season 81-of-137 for 1,250 yards with nine touchdowns against two interceptions while rushing for 128 yards and two scores.

“It’s a tough deal, but he’s a tough guy and he’ll bounce back,” Addazio said. “We’re gonna love him and support him and get him back to where he was, but his season has come to an end.”

Brown can return as a fifth-year senior in 2020, with two year-ending knee injuries under his belt, literally and figuratively.

Virginia loses CB Bryce Hall for the season

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Virginia has lost cornerback Bryce Hall for the season, head coach Bronco Mendenhall revealed Monday.

He suffered an ankle injury in Virginia’s loss to Miami on Friday and underwent surgery on Monday, which will spell the end of his college career. The injury came while Hall was blocking on a punt return. Trainers put the injured ankle in an air cast and, while players on both teams gave him good wishes, ESPN decided the injury was gruesome enough that it would not air replays of the play.

“Bryce Hall is in good spirits,” Mendenhall said. “We expect a good recovery, he sustained a left ankle injury and had surgery Monday. We do not expect him back this season. He is an amazing young person, I am thankful for his efforts and to be his coach. On the bus after the game, Bryce was sitting behind me and he said to me, ‘Coach, I’m a human buoy.’ He has been exemplary in everything he has done here.”

Hall is the best player on Virginia’s roster. The Harrisburg, Pa., senior entered the season a Preseason All-American on multiple lists and led the nation in 2018 with 24 passes defended. He also posted two interceptions and 62 tackles, earning him First Team All-ACC honors.