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ESPN affiliate won’t broadcast ECU’s next game because of band’s Week 5 anthem protest

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Colonial Media and Entertainment, which owns and operates an ESPN affiliate radio station in Fayetteville, announced Tuesday that it has chosen not to air East Carolina’s game against USF this Saturday, the company announced in a press release.

Prior to ECU’s game last Saturday against UCF, more than a dozen members of the school’s marching band either knelt or didn’t play their instruments during the playing of the national anthem, continuing the string of protests that have gained steam the past several weeks.  In the release, CME stated that not airing ECU’s game this weekend is an attempt to “protest the protest,” and after “taking a knee” for the game they will resume broadcasts of Pirates games the remainder of the season.

Company chairman/CEO Jeff Andrulonis said he “fully supports the rights of the band members to protest,” the release read, “but they need to understand that the US Constitution’s ‘freedom of speech’ protections gives them freedom to speak without fear of the government but not the right to say or do whatever they want with no repercussions.”

“The band members could have quietly protested in the early morning hours before the game.  But that would’ve required them to wake up early,” a statement attributed to Andrulonis began. “So instead they chose to make a spectacle of themselves in front of the big crowd at Dowdy-Ficklen.  They’re college students and it’s about time they got an education on the concept that their actions have consequences.”

Andrulonis added that the band members who took part in the “shameful” protest “disgraced themselves,” and that every sponsor he has spoken to supports the boycott of this weekend’s game.

Monday afternoon, prior to the decision not to air the upcoming game, ECU athletic director Jeff Compher released a statement addressing the situation.

We are working with the University and the School of Music in response to the incident with the band prior to the game on Saturday. While the Marching Band does not report to Athletics, we do count on them to be an important part of the game day experience.

There are ongoing conversations with the University, the School of Music and the band, and we are confident that there will be a positive resolution for future games.

Our football program relies on the passion of our fan base and we will continue to proudly lead our team out of the tunnel with the American Flag for each and every game.

Rutgers completes 2021 schedule with addition of FCS school

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The final piece of the scheduling puzzle for Rutgers has been found for the 2021 season. Rutgers announced the addition of a home game against Delaware, an FCS program, to the 2021 schedule to give the Scarlet Knights a full schedule.

Rutgers will host Delaware on September 18, 2021. Other non-conference games lined up for Rutgers includes a season opener against Temple at home and a road trip to Syracuse for a pair of games against former Big East foes.

Rutgers has not faced the Blue Hens of Delaware since 1973. Rutgers leads the all-time series, 15-13-3. Delaware was also recently added to the future schedule of Penn State, with road trips to Penn State slated for 2023 and 2027.

In a fun little uniform twist, Rutgers will play teams with the signature winged helmet with shades of blue and yellow in back-to-back weeks. A week after hosting Delaware, Rutgers is scheduled to play a Big Ten contest at Michigan. Delaware and Michigan wear similar uniforms highlighted by a similar winged helmet design.

Nebraska squeezes in 12th game against Bethune-Cookman

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Nebraska will play a 12-game schedule after all, as long as Mother Nature decides to cooperate for the rest of the season. Nebraska announced today it has added a home football game against Bethune-Cookman.

According to the release from Nebraska, the Huskers will host the FCS school on October 27. The game will replace a home game wiped out by lightning against Akron back in Week 1.

“Our great fans and our football student-athletes deserve a full schedule, and we are glad to be able to provide an additional game on Oct. 27 against Bethune-Cookman,” Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos said. “We appreciate the patience of our fans through this process.”

Nebraska will pay Bethune-Cookman $800,000 to make the trip to Lincoln.

Injury will sideline Cal’s Cameron Goode for remainder of the year

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Unfortunately, Cal’s worst injury fears have been realized yet again.

In the Bears’ season-opening win over North Carolina, Cameron Goode sustained what’s only been described as an unspecified lower-leg injury.  The redshirt sophomore linebacker did not play in the past two games because of the injury and won’t play again this season, Justin Wilcox confirmed Wednesday.

“I really feel for him because he puts a lot into football,” the head coach said. “He’ll go through that window of not being able to play this year. It’s a pretty short window, then he’ll start working on what’s next.”

It’s expected Goode will be fully recovered by the start of spring practice.

This marks the second-straight season his year has ended prematurely because of injury.  Last year, he started the first nine games before being sidelined for the remainder of the season.

Goode had returned an interception for a touchdown in the opener before going down with the leg injury.  He also returned a pick for a score last season in the win over Ole Miss.

Recently-retired Minnesota RT Nick Connelly loses three-month battle with cancer

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There’s incredibly sad news coming out of the Minnesota football program Thursday afternoon.

In an absolutely heartbreaking missive posted to Twitter, Chuck Connelly, the father of former Minnesota offensive lineman Nick Connelly, revealed that his son lost his three-month battle with cancer Wednesday.  Or, as the elder Connelly put it, “[o]n Wednesday Sept. 19, 2018 Heaven needed a right tackle and Nick Connelly got the call.”

Connelly was just 22 years old.

The younger Connelly was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma in June of this year.  A very rare form of cancer — WebMD states just that just 1,200 cases are diagnosed annually in the United States, with nearly 60 percent of those coming in patients over the age of 40 — and is recognized as the fastest growing human tumor.

In late October of last year, Connelly, who had started the first five games of the 2017 season at right tackle for the Gophers, announced that he was retiring from football because of the effects of multiple concussions.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to Connelly’s family, friends and former teammates for their loss.