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Multiple Level II violations part of NCAA’s Notice of Allegations sent to Rutgers

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More than a year removed from the Kyle Flood‘s dismissal, Rutgers’ football program is still being impacted by that era.

Citing sources with knowledge of the situation, nj.com is reporting that, following an 18-month investigation, the NCAA has issued a Notice of Allegations to RU.  In general, a NOA “outlines the rules that the institution is alleged to have broken and describes the facts of the case.”

According to nj.com, “there are seven possible violations stemming from allegations that some members of the athletics department had not been operating in full compliance with NCAA standards.” Those violations range from academic improprieties to drug-testing irregularities to the recruiting ambassador program.

In a letter from Robert Barchi, the RU president confirmed the university has received the NOA from the NCAA.  According to Barchi, the violations are mostly Level II (Significant Breach of Conduct), the second-most severe under the NCAA’s revamped structure.  Barchi also acknowledged that the NCAA has levied a failure-to-monitor charge on the program.

Below are the specific violations the NCAA is alleging has occurred going back as far as 2011, the final season under Greg Schiano.

  • The former head football coach is alleged to have provided a former student-athlete with an impermissible extra benefit by directly contacting a professor seeking special consideration for the student-athlete in an academic course relating to the 2014-2015 academic year. In addition, he is charged with failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance in the football program, violating the principles of NCAA head coach responsibility legislation. Both allegations are deemed Level II by the NCAA.
  • A former assistant football coach is alleged to have had improper off-campus recruiting contact with a prospective student athlete in 2014 (Level III) and the NCAA has also charged the coach with unethical conduct for providing false or misleading information to the NCAA and the institution during the investigation. (Level II)
  • The NCAA has alleged that between the 2011-12 academic year and the Fall of 2015, the Rutgers football host/hostess program, staffed by student workers, was not properly operated and supervised as required by NCAA legislation; that two student hostesses had impermissible off-campus contact and electronic correspondence with prospective student athletes; and that the former football director of recruiting impermissibly publicized the recruitment of prospective student-athletes. (Level II)
  • It is alleged that between September 2011 and the Fall of 2015, the University and the Director of Sports Medicine employed practices and procedures that violated the institution’s drug-testing policy by: failing to notify the Director of Athletics of positive drug tests; along with the former head football coach, failing to implement prescribed corrective and disciplinary actions and penalties; and failing to identify select drug tests as positive in accordance with University policy. (Level II)
  • Because of the scope of these alleged violations, the NCAA has also alleged that between 2011 and 2016, the University failed to monitor its football program regarding its host/hostess program and drug-testing program. (Level II)

In a statement, the university said it “has already taken significant steps to address these allegations and will continue to work cooperatively with the NCAA to ensure that our athletics program meets the highest standards of ethical behavior and is in strict compliance with all NCAA and Big Ten policies.”

While it began under Schiano, most of the alleged violations occurred under Flood.

In September of last year, Flood was suspended for three games in the wake of a university investigation into his alleged actions.  The probe centered on an email that Flood sent from a private email account to an RU faculty member regarding the eligibility of one of his former football players.

The NCAA kicked off its probe of the football program in the spring of that year, prior to Flood’s suspension.  The head coach, along with athletic director Julie Hermann, were dismissed in late November of 2015.

Rutgers has 90 days to respond to the NOA.

Oklahoma State OT Arlington Hambright announces transfer to Colorado

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Former Oklahoma State offensive tackle Arlington Hambright is ready for his final season of college football. He’ll play it at Colorado, Hambright announced via Twitter.

“I give all glory and praise to God, without him I would be nothing but I will be spending my last year in Boulder, Colorado playing in the Pac-12 under some GREAT coaches and for [an] amazing University,” Hambright announced, via Twitter. “Now let’s get to work!”

Reports of Hambright potentially transferring from Oklahoma State surfaced earlier this month as the player transfer fun has continued to run wild this offseason. While no specific reason for his reason for transferring has been made public, he will certainly be looking to close out his college football career on a high note. An ankle injury brought an early end to Hambright’s 2018 season after starting the first five games of the season. He did return for the Liberty Bowl against Missouri, but Hambright will look to get in a full season as a potential starter in the Pac-12 this fall.

E.J. Price, Kentucky OL with starting experience, leaves Wildcats

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Coming off one of the most successful seasons in recent memory in Lexington, Kentucky now has a hole to plug on the offensive line. Starting offensive tackle E.J. Price has reportedly left the football program. According to a report from Kentucky Sports Radio, Price will pursue other opportunities and a university spokesperson confirmed he is no longer with the program.

Price transferred to Kentucky from USC in 2017, but it was about a year ago Price suggested he was ready to leave Kentucky too. However, Price stuck with the Wildcats in 2018. He started 11 of 13 games for Kentucky as the Wildcats turned in a 10-win season capped with a victory in the Capital One Bowl against Penn State. It was Kentucky’s first 10-win season since 1977 and their first bowl victory since the 2008 season.

What’s next for Price remains to be seen. He will be required to sit out the 2019 season if he transfers to another FBS program unless he applies for a waiver and receives approval to be eligible in the fall.

As for Kentucky, the spring will open with a starting job up for grabs on the offensive line, although the return of Landon Young from a season-ending injury a year ago should help solidify the efforts up front.

Virginia Tech promotes ex-Hokie Justin Hamilton to safeties coach

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Virginia Tech has promoted director of player development Justin Hamilton to safeties coach, the program announced Monday.

“Justin has more than proven his mettle to our staff over the past year and has earned this opportunity to take the next step in his football career,” head Hokie Justin Fuente said in a statement. “We know how invested Justin is in the continued success of our program. He’s a bright and talented coach who has built a solid rapport with our players and football staff. Coach Foster and I are both excited to expand his responsibilities with our team.”

A former Hokie player himself, Hamilton spent the bulk of this decade coaching at smaller programs in the Commonwealth. He was UVA-Wise’s defensive coordinator from 2011-13 and coached linebackers at VMI from 2014-17.

Hamilton fills a void created by the departure of current safeties coach Tyrone Nix. Virginia Tech officially said goodbye to him on Monday by announcing his departure for Ole Miss, though Ole Miss has yet to say anything as of press time.

Derrick Nix is on staff as Ole Miss’ running backs coach.

Southern Miss reportedly hiring offensive coordinator away from Arkansas State

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Southern Miss reportedly has its offensive coordinator, and the hire is more notable for who it’s not than who it is.

After the fiasco that was Art Brilesinterview and interview postscript, Golden Eagles head coach Jay Hopson has decided to go with the decidedly uncontroversial choice of Arkansas State offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner, according to FootballScoop. (Full disclosure: I also write for FootballScoop.)

Faulkner spent the past three seasons as the offensive coordinator at Arkansas State, and prior to that spent four in a similar role at Middle Tennessee. Faulkner’s first stint as an offensive coordinator came in 2010 at Murray State, where his Racers offense became the first in FCS history to post a 500-yard passer, a 200-yard rusher and a 200-yard receiver in the same game.

Faulkner takes over for Shannon Dawson, who was let go and subsequently became the tight ends coach at Houston.

Southern Miss finished No. 109 nationally in yards per play and No. 90 in scoring; the Golden Eagles went 6-5 but did not garner a bowl bid last season. Arkansas State, meanwhile, was No. 31 in yards per play and No. 55 in scoring.