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SEC tweaks grad transfer rule, paves way for rumored Malik Zaire-Florida marriage

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If he wants it, the door to The Swamp is wide open for a former Notre Dame quarterback.

The SEC confirmed Friday that it has made a significant tweak to its rules as it pertains to graduate transfers.  Previously, teams in the conference who took in graduate transfers who failed to complete their academic requirements at their new school would be barred from adding another graduate transfer for a period of three years.  Now, teams would only be barred for a one-year period should a grad transfer fail to make the academic grade.

Which brings us to Malik Zaire.

The quarterback, who was given an unconditional release from his Fighting Irish scholarship last November, is reportedly giving serious consideration to transferring to Florida or Texas.  In fact, there are reports that he was doing a rather significant lean toward the Gators.

Under the old policy, UF wouldn’t have been allowed to add another graduate transfer until after Zaire had completed his collegiate eligibility. Under the new rule, however, Zaire would be able to transfer to UF if he so desires.

Reportedly, Zaire put off making a decision until the SEC ruled, one way or another, on how it would handle his type of transfers moving forward.  A decision from the signal-caller is expected in short order.

Boise State’s second-leading rusher arrested for failure to appear

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Were it not for its demise, it’d once again be time for the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker to shine.

The latest college football player with an off-field dustup is Boise State’s Robert Mahone, with KTIK‘s Mike Prater reporting that the running back was arrested earlier this week for misdemeanor failure to appear.  The arrest stemmed from a speeding ticket that went unpaid.

That ticket has since been taken care of, and it’s not expected to impact Mahone’s availability for this weekend’s key Mountain West Conference matchup with Utah State.

A junior, Mahone is second on the Broncos with 411 yards rushing and is tied for the team lead with five rushing touchdowns.  He’s also caught seven passes for another 62 yards coming out of the backfield.

At a perfect 6-0, Boise State leads the MWC Mountain division by one game over USU (5-1) and Air Force (5-1).  Boise is ranked 20th in the most recent College Football Playoff rankings, third behind No. 18 Memphis and No. 19 Cincinnati among Group of Five schools.

With Ralphie V’s retirement, PETA calls on Colorado to end live mascot program

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They’re at it.  Again.

Earlier this month, Colorado announced that its live buffalo mascot since 2008, Ralphie V, will be retired after this weekend’s home finale Washington.  In that same announcement, the university confirmed that it is searching for a successor, which will make its debut in 2020.

If it’s up to the individuals at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, though, the live mascot program at CU will end with Ralphie V.

In a letter posted on its website and addressed to CU System President Mark Kennedy — and as they have done in the past when it comes to the likes of Texas (HERE), Georgia (HERE), LSU (HERE), Mississippi State (HERE), among others — PETA “respectfully request[ed] that you agree not to replace this individual with another animal but rather forgo their use from now on.”

From the letter, which you can read in full HERE:

Using live animals as mascots is often a recipe for disaster. For example, at this year’s Sugar Bowl, Bevo, the longhorn steer used by the University of Texas, broke out of an enclosure and charged the University of Georgia’s bulldog mascot, Uga, nearly trampling him. Then just last month, an Auburn University football player collided with Mississippi State University’s mascot, Bully. Mascots from falcons to big cats have sustained physical injuries because they were being used as living props.

Even if animals aren’t physically harmed, it’s hard to imagine that they enjoy being paraded before raucous crowds, entirely out of their element, and treated as if they were toys rather than living, feeling beings with interests, personalities, and needs of their own. Being forced into a stadium full of bright lights, exuberantly screaming fans, and loud noises is stressful—and can be terrifying—for animals who have no idea what’s going on or why.

Fortunately for those who appreciate the beloved tradition, Ralphie isn’t going anywhere, a university official has confirmed..

Alabama fan charged with murder of LSU fan after shooting during LSU-Alabama game

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Sadly, this has become a ghoulish tradition of late when it comes to the LSU-Alabama game.

Last year, an Alabama fan was fatally injured after a verbal altercation with two LSU fans during the annual SEC West clash turned physical.  This year, an LSU fan, 29-year-old James Michael Roland “Mikie” Merritt, was shot with a pistol by 31-year-old David Allen Fulkerson, an Alabama fan, during the game.  After spending nearly a week on life support, Merritt died last Friday after the family decided to pull the plug.

Fulkerson was originally charged with attempted murder; that charge has since been upgraded to murder.

“They just got into it over the ball game,” Colbert County Sheriff Frank Williamson said by way of the Baton Rouge Advocate. “They’d been jawing at each other all day. Alcohol played a big part in it.”

Williamson said that Fulkerson’s and Merritt’s girlfriends are sisters and that the fight broke out at Fulkerson’s residence in Littleville, Alabama. People had gathered there to watch the game in which LSU beat Alabama 46-41.

Court records obtained by AL.com say that Fulkerson, a 31-year-old from Tuscumbia, Alabama, was cheering for Alabama and Merritt was cheering for LSU. When Merritt called a football player an expletive, Fulkerson thought he had said it to him and grabbed his gun.

Fulkerson’s defense attorney has claimed that the shooting was in self-defense, evidenced by a black eye he suffered. However, one witness told authorities that she watched Fulkerson hit himself in the face.

LSU LB who left, returned won’t be eligible until national title game

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This will certainly clear up some speculative ends.

A little over two weeks ago, it was reported that Michael Divinity had left the LSU football team for what were described as personal reasons.  Monday, the linebacker announced on social media that he had returned to the top-ranked Tigers football team, although the program had yet to acknowledge the return.

Wednesday, Ed Orgeron confirmed Divinity’s return to his team.  The head coach also confirmed that Divinity will not be eligible to play for the Tigers in any of the two remaining regular-season games or the SEC championship game.  Or a playoff semifinal for that matter.

The earliest Divinity could return to the playing field? The College Football Playoff championship game Jan. 13 next year in New Orleans.

An unspecified eligibility issue is at the center of Divinity’s availability — or unavailability, as the case may be.  According to one report, though, the “eligibility issue” is centered around the fact that Divinity tested positive a fourth time for marijuana.

From the Lafayette Daily Advertiser:

According to the LSU athletic department’s substance abuse policy, a fourth violation means “suspension from 50 percent of countable contests,” including postseason games.

“If time remaining in the current season dictates immediate and consecutive withholding is necessary to serve the prescribed penalty, athletics administration will enforce immediate withholding (of games),” the policy states.

Divinity had started 11 games as a true junior in 2018.  This season, despite missing a total of five games — three early on because of a coach’s decision/injury, two after he left the team — Divinity still leads the Tigers with three sacks.