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No decision on where 2017 ACC Championship Game will be played yet

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When the ACC pulled the ACC Championship Game out of Charlotte, North Carolina in response to the state’s controversial House Bill 2, referred to by many as the bathroom law, it was expected the ACC would make a quick return to the state as soon as the law was successfully repealed. But with the state of North Carolina’s legislature failing to repeal the bathroom law late last month, the law remains in place and that leaves the ACC left to figure out just where it will host its championship game in 2017. For now, no decisions have been made, according to ACC commissioner John Swofford.

Speaking to media today in Tampa as ACC champion Clemson prepares to face SEC champion Alabama in Monday night’s College Football Playoff national championship for a second consecutive season, Swofford suggested Orlando would likely be used as the host city for a second time. Orlando was used as the emergency host city on relatively short notice this past fall after the ACC announced it would not play its championship game in Charlotte. Charlotte has served as the host city for the ACC’s title game from 2010 through 2015. Despite holding a contract to host the ACC championship game through 2019, Charlotte had the game taken away by the ACC in September following a conference vote in response to the state’s controversial Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act targetted against members of the LGBT community.

“If something changes in the state of North Carolina, that would be welcomed,” Swofford said, according to Aaron Brenner of The Post and Courier. “But our presidents made what they believe is a principled decision in that regard as to where our championships should be held, and shouldn’t. I don’t see that principle changing.”

The 2016 ACC Championship Game was the first ACC title game to be played in Orlando and resulted in the second lowest attendance for an ACC championship game. Orlando’s Camping World Stadium has a seating capacity of 65,000 but netted a crowd of 50,628 for the game between Clemson and Virginia Tech. Each game played in Charlotte had a listed attendance of at least 64,000, with 74,514 in attendance for the 2015 championship game between Clemson and North Carolina.

Atlanta would seem to be out of the equation for the ACC because the SEC plays its championship game in Atlanta (although the doubleheader weekend potential of an ACC and SEC Championship Weekend sounds enticing). Past ACC championship games have also been played in Jacksonville and Tampa, with mixed opinions at best.

Wherever the ACC plays its championship game in 2017, Swofford made it clear he wants the conference to make a decision earlier than it did last year. That should be manageable, as last year’s decision was a relatively last-minute response to the controversial state law and public reaction intensified the longer the ACC took to respond. That should not be a concern this year, unless the ACC is waiting to see if any change to the law may be made earlier in the year. It would make sense to have the ACC have a conference championship destination locked in before the summer media days, but having this all hashed out before or during spring meetings may be more optimal if that can be arranged.

Missouri WR Kam Scott steps into transfer portal

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One of Missouri’s top wide receivers from 2019 could be on the move. Kam Scott has reportedly entered the NCAA transfer portal, allowing him to begin evaluating potential transfer options for the upcoming season.

By entering the transfer portal, Scott is now free to have contact with any other college football program interested in recruiting him. Scott is also free to pull his name out of the portal and remain at Missouri, but Missouri is no longer obligated to hold his scholarship. If Scott does transfer to another FBS program, he will be required to sit out the 2020 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Of course, a potential relaxed waiver process could make a path to immediate eligibility in 2020 a realistic possibility if the NCAA does approve a new waiver process.

Scott caught 17 passes for 328 yards in 11 games last season for the Tigers. He was Missouri’s third-leading receiver in 2019 behind Jonathan Nance and Tyler Badie.

Penn State and Paterno family resolve their issues

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It seems there is peace between Penn State University and the family of former head coach Joe Paterno. Or, at the very least, the two can go their separate ways without any more hostile feelings.

On Friday, the Penn State Board of Trustees announced the university and the Paterno family have reached a resolution on their ongoing issues. The Paterno family has agreed to drop all outstanding claims against the university and Penn State will cover some Paterno family expenses.

“The University recognizes and takes great pride in the many contributions made by Joe Paterno, not just to the football program, but to the academic advancement of this institution and to countless charitable causes in the community as well,” a statement from Mark Dambly, Penn State Board of Trustees chair, said. “We are pleased that the Paterno family has indicated that they will not support public or private advocacy efforts to revisit the past, through further review or release of investigative materials, or otherwise.”

“The last eight years have been difficult, made more so by the opinions in the Freeh Report, which my family and I believe was deeply flawed, reached unsupported conclusions about Joe and unjustly criticized the culture of Penn State,” a statement from Sue Paterno, the wife of Joe Paterno, said. “The University has made clear that Mr. Freeh’s opinions about Joe were never endorsed by Penn State. By confirming this position and reaching this understanding, the leadership of Penn State has acted in the best interests of the University, and for this I am grateful.”

The Paterno family has taken public aim at the Freeh Report, a report commissioned by the Board of Trustees following the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky scandal that rocked the university and community in 2011, which ultimately led to the dismissal of Joe Paterno as head coach of the Penn State football program and landed the program on hefty NCAA sanctions (which were later removed in part due to the Paterno family fighting the NCAA in court). Given the Paterno family’s long-time association with the university and the tension that arose with Paterno amid the Sandusky scandal, there were plenty of bitter feelings to go around.

As both the university and Paterno family stated, the real victims in this tragedy have been the ones truly suffering, and the hope is the university and Paterno family putting their differences aside can help keep the focus on what is really important in all of this.

And no, we’re not talking about the whereabouts of the Paterno statue.

Butch Jones getting a new job title at Alabama

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Former Cincinnati and Tennessee head coach Butch Jones is moving up the ranks on the Alabama football staff. Jones will be promoted from analyst to special assistant to the head coach, according to a report from Al.com.

Jones joined the Alabama program in 2018 as an offensive analyst after his tenure at Tennessee ended in 2017. As a number of Alabama assistants and analysts tend to be, Jones has been a candidate for some potential jobs on the market since arriving at Alabama. the 2020 season will be Jones’ third with the Crimson Tide, as his name will likely continue to circulate the coaching rumor mill once the coaching carousel picks up again. With a new title at Alabama, it is expected jones will not be a candidate for the vacancy at Colorado.

What jones will do as the special assistant to the head coach, Nick Saban, can be pretty broad, but it will certainly be more than simply getting coffee (although the image of Jones as a coffee boy sounds entertaining). Jones will assist Saban in many parts of the operation of the program, taking some of the load off Saban’s shoulders where needed.

Just remember that Jones is not the assistant head coach, but he is the assistant TO the head coach. But if there is an Alabama spin-off of “The Office” in production, we’d certainly like to see it.

 

Ted Gilmore leaves Wisconsin for job at Michigan State

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Mel Tucker has continued to quickly assemble his first Michigan State football coaching staff.

Friday, MSU announced the addition of Ted Gilmore to Tucker’s first staff in East Lansing.  The 25-year veteran of the profession will serve as the Spartans’ tight ends coach.

“Coach Gilmore is a great teacher and excellent motivator who brings high energy,” said the new Michigan State football head coach in a statement. “He’s a proven developer of players and a very effective recruiter. He’s a true difference-maker.”

Gilmore comes to the Michigan State football program armed with recent and extensive experience in the Big Ten.  The past five seasons, Gilmore worked at Wisconsin as wide receivers coach.  From 2017-19, he carried the added title of passing-game coordinator for the Badgers.  From 2005-10, Gilmore was the receivers coach at Nebraska.  The last three seasons with the Cornhuskers, he was also the assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator.

In between those two stints, he worked as the receivers coach at USC (2011) and the NFL’s Oakland Raiders (2012-14).

Gilmore has also served as the receivers coach at Colorado (2003-04), Purdue (2001-02), Houston (2000) and Wyoming (1997-98).  In 1999, Gilmore was the tight ends coach at Kansas.  He played his college football at Wyoming, and began his coaching career at his alma mater as a graduate assistant (1994-96).

The hiring of Gilmore is the seventh officially announced by the Michigan State football program.

This past weekend, it was confirmed that Ron Burton and Mike Tressel would be retained.  Shortly thereafter, Chris Kapilovic officially followed Tucker to MSU from Colorado.  Wednesday, former first-team All-Big Ten wide receiver Courtney Hawkins returned to East Lansing to coach the same position he played for the Spartans.  A day later, Jay Johnson was confirmed as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach and Harlon Barnett was brought back as defensive backs coach.