That didn’t take long.
Earlier Tuesday night, a report surfaced that Arizona was weighing whether to fire Rich Rodriguez as head coach ahead of a lawsuit expected to be filed this week. Not long after, the university confirmed that it has parted ways with Rodriguez.
“After conducting a thorough evaluation of our football program and its leadership, both on and off the field,” athletic director Dave Heeke said in a statement, “President Robbins and I feel it is in the best interest of the University of Arizona and our athletics department to go in a new direction.”
Rodriguez was investigated this past fall by an outside law firm for “potential workplace misconduct” that led to a sexual harassment/hostile workplace claim being filed by a female who was a former administrative assistant in the athletic department. That investigation reportedly did not find any wrongdoing on Rodriguez’s part.
In a letter addressed to “Students, Faculty and Staff” explaining the decision, President Robert C. Robbins confirmed that “[t]he investigation, which concluded on December 28, 2017, found that the original specific harassment allegations against Mr. Rodriguez could not be substantiated based on the evidence and witnesses available to it.” However, the university’s leadership, during the course of the investigation, became “concerned with the direction and climate of the football program.”
That led to what the president described as “a difficult decision… [but] the right decision.” That decision came despite the fact that the woman, after her initial claims that she was sexually harassed by Rodriguez on multiple ocasions, “declined multiple requests from the University to participate in the investigation into her allegations.”
The school also confirmed that they will honor the separation terms of Rodriguez’s contract, meaning the coach will receive a buyout in the neighborhood of $6.3 million.
In six seasons with the Wildcats, Rodriguez went 43-35. This past season, UA went 7-6 in what turned out to be the coach’s final season with the program.
Almost Heaven, y’all!
West Virginia had been set to play host to Fan Day Sunday afternoon. However, because of five cases of hand, foot and mouth disease being diagnosed within the program recently, Fan Day has been canceled.
From the football program’s press release:
Hand, foot and mouth is a mild but highly contagious viral infection that is very common among children but can spread to adults. The virus usually goes away on its own in a period of less than a week, and there is no specific treatment, just steps to ease the symptoms.
Because it is highly contagious, it is in the best interest of the general public to postpone the event. WVU’s medical staff continues to monitor the situation, taking proper steps to control the virus and communicating with the proper campus personnel.
“I know fans who were planning on attending Fan Day will be disappointed, but this is in the best interest of all involved,” WVU athletic director Shane Lyons said in a statement. “Our medical staff is doing an excellent job of addressing the matter. However, there is no reason to put the general public at risk.”
According to the program, a new date for Fan Day will be announced when it becomes available.
Wisconsin’s passing game has taken hit, although it remains to be seen how long its effects will linger.
On his personal Twitter account Saturday night, Quintez Cephus announced that he has been “forced to take a leave of absence from the team in order to focus all of my attention on clearing my name.” In his social media statement, the wide receiver stated he was informed by his lawyers Friday afternoon that the Dane County (WI) District Attorney’s office will pursue unspecified charges against him for an incident that occurred back in April of this year.
“I have been wrongfully accused of unlawful conduct and I am innocent of any allegations associated with this consensual relationship,” Cephus wrote, adding that the pending charges are the result of a three-month investigation.
No details of what led to this situation have been divulged.
While UW has yet to publicly address the development, they are expected to release a statement on the situation in the not-too-distant future.
Last season, Cephus led the run-centric Badgers in receiving touchdowns with six and yards per catch at 16.7. His 501 receiving yards were good for second, while his 30 receptions were third on the team.
In April of last year, Cephus’ father was murdered after being shot in the head execution-style.
One of the crown jewels of Georgia’s top-ranked 2018 recruiting class will have to bounce back from a significant injury yet again.
Kirby Smart confirmed Saturday that Zamir White suffered an injury to his left knee during the second scrimmage of summer camp earlier in the day. The non-contact injury occurred when the true freshman was taking part in punt coverage.
While the head coach didn’t initially know the extent of the injury, a subsequent MRI revealed that White sustained a torn ACL in the left knee. The school has not yet confirmed the Athens Banner-Herald‘s initial report.
White suffered a torn ACL last November during his North Carolina high school team’s playoff run, but had been given the all-clear medically to fully participate in practice. That ACL injury, incidentally, was in his right knee.
A consensus five-star signee, White was the No. 1 running back on 247Sports.com‘s composite board and was the No. 9 player overall. Only one member of the Bulldogs’ class this year, quarterback Justin Fields, was rated higher than White.
White had been expected to help replace the production lost with the departures of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel to the NFL.
It’s still mid-August, but Nick Saban‘s already in rare form when it comes to dealing with the media.
Saturday. it was confirmed that backup linebacker Chris Allen will be lost for the entire 2018 season because of a serious knee injury. Additionally, offensive tackle Matt Womack, who underwent surgery Friday after reinjuring his foot, will miss 4-6 weeks.
Following today’s scrimmage, Saban became agitated when he was asked by a member of the media about his level of concern with the mini-spate of reserve players going down with injuries. From al.com:
I’ve been concerned all along,” Saban said. “So, I don’t even know why you’d ask the question.”
And then things really got rolling.
“Because you all don’t, you just think we just, whatever happens, we just s**t another player and everything is going to be perfect. All of our fans think that. You all think that. That’s what you write about. That’s the message you send out there.
For the record, Saban has shat quite well on the recruiting trail over the last decade:
2018: Fifth in 247Sports.com‘s composite rankings
In that span, Saban has signed 41 five-star recruits and another 146 who were four-stars.
And the Class of 2019? Saban is getting s**t done yet again as the Crimson Tide is currently ranked No. 2 behind Georgia.