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Arkansas pushes SEC spring game attendance past 500,000

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The Arkansas Razorbacks were the last of the SEC teams to wrap up their spring football practice schedule this weekend. That meant the hogs had a chance to push the SEC’s nation-leading spring game attendance number past the 500,000 mark with a solid turnout for the spring game. Arkansas reported a spring attendance of 30,546 on Saturday, which took the SEC’s spring attendance figure to 508,994 to cap the spring.

Georgia led all SEC schools with a packed house of 93,000 for its spring game, which featured a concert by Ludacris for the fans (and recruits, definitely for the recruits). Georgia dethroned Alabama from the top spot, where the Crimson Tide had been the previous two years, but Alabama did record its highest spring attendance in that time frame with 76,212 fans coming out to see the defending national champions in action. Tennessee, a perennial strong spring draw, reported a crowd of 67,027.

Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, and South Carolina all saw an increase in spring game attendance this year (Kentucky and Texas A&M also recorded attendance figures after not holding spring games in 2015). These five schools combined for an increase of 96,569 fans this spring. That helped counter a downward attendance trend at Auburn and some other mild drops around the conference. Ole Miss did not hold a spring game due to stadium renovations.

The SEC’s total attendance number easily outpaced the number pulled in by the Big Ten, which finished in a firm second place in spring game attendance this season after edging the SEC last spring. The Big Ten’s total spring attendance of 376,049 was pushed by Ohio State’s record-setting 100,189 fans for the Buckeyes’ spring game, which was complimented by the usual respectable crowds at Nebraska and Penn State as well as a program record turnout for Michigan State. The Big Ten’s spring attendance eclipsed the 400,000-fan mark last spring but failed to hit that number this season. Part of that is because Michigan saw a drop-off in the second spring game under Jim Harbaugh by moving from a traditional Saturday afternoon to a Friday night (25,000 fewer fans than 2015) and four Big Ten schools (Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota and Northwestern) not reporting a spring attendance compared to three last year.

The SEC saw a reported 482,762 fans attend spring games in 2014, which was impressive enough considering Texas A&M was unable to hold a spring game due to ongoing renovations to Kyle Field. The SEC’s official attendance number dipped to 408, 566, which again was held back by Texas A&M being unable to hold a spring game due to the renovation project but also because Kentucky did not hold a spring game.

The ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 still have spring attendance numbers to confirm, but there is no chance any of the other three power conferences will come close to rivaling the SEC or the Big Ten. The ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 are all projected to fall under 200,000 fans this spring, although the ACC may come the closest depending on pending results from this past weekend that have yet to be confirmed.

You can see an updated database of spring game attendance on this Google doc, which is updated periodically.

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.