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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.

Devin Bush confirms he’s leaving Michigan early for the NFL

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Not surprisingly, the collegiate portion of Devin Bush‘s playing career has come to an end.

In the midst of the Early National Signing Period, Bush took to Twitter to announce that, as expected, he will be foregoing his senior season in order to make himself available for the 2019 NFL Draft. Additionally, Bush confirmed that he will not be playing in Michigan’s bowl game against Florida.

“Despite getting treatment every day, I have not been cleared to practice or play in the Peach Bowl due to the hip injury I suffered in the [Ohio State] game,” the linebacker wrote.

One of the top linebackers in the country, Bush was a finalist for the 2018 Butkus Award won by LSU’s Devin White.  He was also named as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Linebacker of the Year late last month.

Bush joins teammate and defensive lineman Rashan Gary as Wolverines who have left U-M early this year for the 2019 draft.

Five-star DB who flipped from Michigan to Alabama a week ago flips back to Michigan

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This just might be the perfect example of how a verbal commitment is not even remotely binding.

On Sept. 18 of this year, five-star 2019 prospect Daxton Hill announced that he had committed to playing his college football at Michigan.  On Dec. 8 of this year, that same recruit announced that he had decommitted from Michigan and, on the same day, committed to playing his college football at Alabama.

As the second Early National Signing Period dawned earlier today, Hill decommitted from Alabama and signed his National Letter of Intent with… Michigan.

And, at least for now, there will be no additional flipflopping as Hill is officially signed, sealed and delivered to Ann Arbor.

Hill, the younger brother of Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill, is the top-rated safety in the Class of 2019 and, according to 247Sports.com‘s composite board, the No. 8 prospect overall.

Battle won: Alabama flips four-star DB commit from Ohio State

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In late June, four-star Florida defensive back Jordan Battle committed to Ohio State.  A little over five months later, Urban Meyer announced his retirement as OSU’s head coach; a couple of weeks later, Meyer’s replacement, Ryan Day, officially suffered his first big loss.

Even after Battle committed to OSU, and before Meyer’s retirement announcement, he took official visits to, among others, Alabama.  As the second Early National Signing Period kicked off Wednesday, the uncertainty for the Buckeyes over the level of Battle’s commitment morphed into a hard reality as the St. Thomas Aquinas product officially flipped his commitment from OSU and signed with the Crimson Tide.

It’s a big loss for Day as Battle had been the third-highest-rated commitment in OSU’s 2019 recruiting class, and the highest-rated recruit on the defensive side of the ball.  Battle becomes the first 2019 commit to decommit since Meyer announced he was stepping down, although two 2020 four-star prospects decommitted in the days after the announcement.

On the flip side, of course, Battle’s signing merely adds to an Alabama class that entered the day as the top-ranked group in the country.

Battle is a consensus four-star prospect, rated as the No. 6 safety in the country; the No. 10 player at any position in the state of Florida; and the No. 77 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  As was the case with the Buckeyes, it’s believed he will, at least initially, play cornerback for the Crimson Tide.

Alabama enters Early Signing Day with nation’s top-ranked class, could add at least two five-star undecideds

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It appears very likely the 2018 cycle will indeed be but a hiccup for the recruiting machine that is the Alabama Crimson Tide.

From 2011-17, Nick Saban pulled in the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class to Tuscaloosa.  Last year, however, Georgia and former UA defensive coordinator Kirby Smart knocked Saban off his recruiting perch and claimed the top class in 2018.

As we head into the second Early National Signing Day, Alabama once again sits atop 247Sports.com‘s team rankings with 304.52 points (24 commits, including two five-stars and 21 four-stars).  The Tide is also poised to add to their recruiting riches as they are in play for five uncommitted five-star prospects:

  • Florida running back Trey Sanders — No. 5 on 247Sports.com‘s composite board
  • Louisiana defensive tackle Ishmael Sopsher — No. 9 on 247Sports.com‘s composite board
  • West Virginia offensive tackle Darnell Wright — No. 10 on 247Sports.com‘s composite board
  • Mississippi linebacker Nakobe Dean — No. 14 on 247Sports.com‘s composite board
  • Florida offensive tackle Evan Neal — No. 20 on 247Sports.com‘s composite board

Of the five, though, Alabama is only currently projected to corral two of them (Sanders, Neal).  LSU is in line to land Sopsher (per 247 crystal ball projections), who is expected to wait until the February signing period to put pen to paper, while Tennessee is an overwhelming favorite for Wright.  Dean is viewed to be a near tossup between UA and Georgia, with a slight lean toward UGA but also with other SEC schools (Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss) in the mix.

After Alabama, the rest of the current Top 10 consists of, in order from Nos. 2-10, Georgia (287.38), Texas A&M (282.55), LSU (274.12), Oregon (272.07), Clemson (269.57), Texas (268.18), Oklahoma (263.03), Michigan (262.36) and Ohio State (255.99).

Those last two rivals, incidentally, could make a big early splash as both are in the mix for the top uncommitted 2019 prospect, Ohio defensive end Zach Harrison (No. 4 on 247′s composite board).  While Penn State is also a finalist, the home-state Buckeyes are the projected front-runners for Harrison, who will tweet his school of choice around 12:30 ET this afternoon.

And that’s it.  A tweet.  No dog-and-pony show, no elaborate signing ceremony.  Just a tweet to announce where he will spend at least the next three years.  Refreshing.