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New Mexico suspends Bob Davie 30 days without pay amid multiple investigations into athletics department

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If there’s a red flag phrase for any college administrator, it’s this one: “amid multiple investigations into the athletics department.” And on Thursday, amid a trio of investigations into the athletics department, New Mexico announced it has suspended head football coach Bob Davie for 30 days without pay.

New Mexico was first investigated by retired federal judge Bruce Black, which begat an investigation by the Chicago law firm Hogan Marren Babbo & Rose, and it was upon their report that New Mexico suspended Davie on Thursday.

But wait, there’s more: New Mexico attorney general Hector Balderas announced Thursday he will expand his ongoing investigation into the athletics department Thursday. His statement:

“We will never tolerate a university culture that denies students their basic rights through illegal discrimination or retaliation against those who report sexual misconduct. Our criminal and civil investigation into the University of New Mexico includes the handling of these issues and we are reviewing the actions of officials from top to bottom and any other organizations involved.”

The report, summarized here by the Albuquerque Journal, does not point to a smoking gun, but instead points to an overall culture around the program in which proper procedure and protocol were not followed. In one instance, Davie met with a UNM police officer in an attempt to discredit a rape accusation against a Lobo football player.

A statement from the school:

“Both (investigations) identified blind-spots as well as instances where UNM policies have been violated and outdated practices persist regarding University reporting processes. Although UNM has clear policies, procedures and options for reporting misconduct and has made important progress in simplifying these options, gaps still exist. We will close the gaps and will not accept confusion or ignorance of policies as an excuse. Behavior that violates our policies will not be tolerated. We will intensify our efforts to educate our campus community and change the culture of accountability within the University.

The law firm’s report did not find instances in which coaches or players actively obstructed into ongoing criminal investigations of UNM athletes but concluded that the school should “take strong action to ensure that the University does not and will not — in any aspect of the University’s program, including athletics — tolerate sexual harassment, sexual assault, physical abuse or other prohibited misconduct against its students.” Davie was not interviewed by the firm, the report stated.

Davie, 63, recently completed his sixth season as the Lobos’ head coach. After more than a decade away from coaching, Davie is 30-45 with two bowl appearances with the Lobos. New Mexico went 3-9 in 2017.

Davie made $822,690 in 2017, according to the USA Today salary database, equating to a fine of roughly $68,000 in going a month without pay.

Transfers from Rutgers, Coastal Carolina land at same FCS school

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The same FCS program has double-dipped in the NCAA transfer portal, FBS division, in bulking up the talent on its football roster.

Monday afternoon, Albany announced via social media that running back Alex James and fullback Max Anthony have officially signed with the program.  James, a redshirt junior, comes to Albany from Coastal Carolina, Anthony, a fifth-year senior, from Rutgers.

As both players come to the Great Danes from the FBS ranks, they will each be eligible to play immediately in 2019.

The past two seasons for the Chanticleers, James has rushed for 475 yards and seven touchdowns on 114 carries.  He also caught 16 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.

Anthony had started six of the 27 games in which he played for the Scarlet Knights.

Witness in hoops trial claims he paid football players from Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State, others

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A sweeping college hoops scandal that’s engulfed the sport has now touched its gridiron counterpart.

Marty Blazer, a Pittsburgh financial advisor-turned government informant after pleading guilty to securities fraud charges, took the witness stand Tuesday in the college basketball fraud trial and levied some potentially explosive allegations.  As part of his testimony, Blazer alleged that, between 2000-14, he paid football players from, among others, Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State and Pitt.  The payments, some of which were in the thousands of dollars, were aimed at convincing the player to remain in college and not enter the NFL draft in the hopes that they would retain him as their financial adviser when they did turn pro.

The names of specific players were, for the most part, not mentioned by Blazer.

The most damning of the accusations made by Blazer seems to involve Penn State during the Joe Paterno era.  Specifically, Blazer alleges that he paid the father of then-Penn State player Aaron Maybin $10,000, with the payment being made at the behest of an unnamed Paterno assistant coach.

If accurate, the NCAA would consider such an arrangement a major infraction.  It’s unclear what, if any, action The Association will take on the football side of the accusations made under oath.

Requests for comment from each of the football programs mentioned in Blazer’s testimony have not yet been met with a response.

Kentucky’s Gunnar Hoak latest QB to enter transfer database

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You can go ahead and add Kentucky to the burgeoning list of FBS schools that have lost signal-callers to the infamous portal.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday morning, Kentucky’s Gunnar Hoak wrote that, “[a]fter much thought and consideration, I have decided to put my name in the NCAA transfer portal.” As Hoak is set to graduate from UK very early next month, the quarterback would be eligible to play immediately at another FBS program immediately in 2019.

As an added bonus for whichever school he ultimately chooses, Hoak has two seasons of eligibility available.

After losing out in the quarterback competition that ended in summer camp, Hoak spent the 2018 season as starter Terry Wilson‘s primary backup.  In that role, Hoak completed 13 of his 26 passes for 167 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Coming out of high school in Dublin, Ohio, Hoak was a three-star 2016 signee.

RB Jonathan Taylor competing with Wisconsin track team

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Jonathan Taylor is on track to be one of the most prolific running backs in college football history, but, this spring, he’ll be giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “on track.”

Wisconsin confirmed Tuesday that the Badgers running back will run in at least three meets with the UW track & field team this spring.  Taylor will make his collegiate track debut this weekend at the Penn Relays.  Additionally, he’ll run in the university’s Alumni Classic May 3 and the Big Ten Championships May 10-12.

Taylor will be running a leg of the 4×100-meter relay team, and would run in the NCAA prelims as well if they qualify.

Taylor, one of a handful of preseason Heisman Trophy favorites, is no stranger to the track as he won a pair of New Jersey state high school titles in the 100-meter dash.

As a true freshman in 2017, his 1,977 yards were third nationally.  This past season, he led the country in rushing with 2,194 yards.  If Taylor were to rush for at least 2,235 yards in 2018 — five players in FBS history have surpassed that total in college football history, most recently San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny in 2017 — he would break Donnel Pumphrey‘s all-time record of 6,405 career rushing yards.