AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Notre Dame president blasts NCAA for not restoring vacated wins

8 Comments

Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins went on a lengthy tirade in the form of an elaborate letter to the Notre Dame community to express his disappointment with the NCAA. After appealing a ruling by the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions to vacate all wins from the 2012 and 2013 seasons due to an academic misconduct investigation in South Bend, Notre Dame was informed the restoring of vacated wins will not be granted for those two particular seasons. Jenkins was not pleased.

“We are deeply disappointed by and strongly disagree with the denial of the University’s appeal, announced today by the NCAA, of an earlier decision by the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions to vacate Notre Dame’s 2012 and 2013 football victories due to academic misconduct by several student-athletes,” Jenkins said in his lengthy letter, which has been shared on Notre Dame’s website.

“In academic misconduct cases, the penalty of vacation of team records has, until now, only been applied in the case of serious forms of institutional culpability: when coaches, administrators, or persons with academic responsibilities are complicit in cheating, or when an institution fails to monitor or lacks control over its athletics program,” Jenkins later explained. “In Notre Dame’s case, two of the students had received assistance from a full-time undergraduate student who had part-time employment as an assistant to our athletic trainers. Student-to-student cheating is not normally within the NCAA’s jurisdiction, but the NCAA concluded that the student’s role as a part-time assistant trainer made her a “representative of the institution” and justified a vacation of team records penalty in this case.”

As a refresher, here is what the NCAA said about the investigation back in November 2016;

During two academic years, the former student trainer and two football student-athletes engaged in academic misconduct when the former student trainer completed coursework for the student-athletes. These student-athletes, in addition to a third football student-athlete, also committed academic misconduct individually. The university determined the three student-athletes violated its academic integrity policies. The misconduct resulted in the student-athletes playing while ineligible — one student-athlete during the 2012-13 season and the other two student-athletes during the 2013-14 season.

The former student trainer also provided impermissible academic assistance to six additional football student-athletes in a total of 18 classes. She provided the assistance while she attended the university and a year after she graduated. Two of the student-athletes violated the university’s academic integrity policies. The remaining four student-athletes were not enrolled at the time the violations were discovered, so they were not subject to the university’s policies.

Jenkins has not changed his stance on the issue regarding the vacated wins, which really is one of the most meaningless punishments the NCAA can hand out anyway.

Notre Dame won 12 games in the 2012 season, which resulted in an undefeated regular season before losing in the BCS National Championship game against Alabama. The Irish won nine games in 2013, including a victory in the Pinstripe Bowl. All 21 wins will be wiped away in the NCAA record book.

You can read the full letter from Jenkins HERE.

Texas’ Jeffrey McCulloch involved in single-car accident after hydroplaning, hitting pole

Getty Images
Leave a comment

One member of the Texas Longhorns football program was involved in an off-field incident this week that, thankfully, sounds a little scarier than it (hopefully) turned out to be.

Tom Herman revealed Tuesday that Jeffrey McCulloch was involved in a single-car accident Tuesday.  Per the head coach, the linebacker hydroplaned on a wet, slick Austin road and hit a light pole.

McCulloch was treated at the scene and then went to a local hospital before eventually being released, the Dallas News reported.

However, the Austin American Statesman writes that “[a]fter complaining about neck soreness, McCulloch was expected to have a CT scan.”

“All early indications is that he should be OK,” Herman said. “Just want to make sure everything is good to go.”

On Twitter Tuesday night, McCulloch also indicated that he’s fine.

McCulloch, a junior, has played in all seven games this season, starting one of those contests.  He’s listed as the starting B-backer on the Longhorns’ most recent depth chart.

Suspect arrested in shooting of two FIU football players

Indiana v Florida International
Getty Images
Leave a comment

There’s been a rather significant development in an off-field incident involving a pair of Florida International football players.

According to WPLG-TV among other outlets, 29-year-old Lorenzo Shine has been arrested in connection to the Sept. 6 drive-by shooting of running back Anthony Jones (pictured) and offensive lineman Mershawn Miller.  Shine, who admitted to driving his girlfriend’s car at the time of the shooting, is facing two counts of attempted first-degree murder.

From the CBS affiliate in Miami:

Anthony Jones and Mershawn Miller were visiting Miller’s brother at his home in the 2400 block of NW 140th Street when a car pulled up and shots were fired from within the vehicle, according to police.

At least 16 shots were fired at those sitting on the porch. Surveillance video from a nearby home shows bullets flying, as two men run to the back of the house.

Using the surveillance video, police tracked down the owner of the car. The owner of the car said she didn’t remember driving it on the day of the drive-by. Lorenzo Shine, 29, then came out of the woman’s house and retrieved two bags and something from the car’s glove box which he put in one of the bags. He took both bags inside the house.

The homeowner consented to a police search of the residence for guns. Inside one of the bags that Shine had removed from the car was a 40 caliber pistol.

Shine had been released from prison in late June after serving time for armed robbery and burglary.  Police have been unable to unearth a motive in the shooting.

Jones was shot in the face and the back during the incident, while Miller, his high school teammate in Miami, was shot in the arm.  The latter was released from the hospital shortly after the incident, while the former required a lengthier stay, although he was released after a two-week hospital stay.

Jones, the nephew of former Florida State star Dalvin Cook, ran for a team-high 88 yards in FIU’s season-opening loss to Indiana.  He also accounted for a career-high two rushing touchdowns in the same game.  Miller saw his first career action in the opener after redshirting as a true freshman last season.

Neither player has played since being shot.

Status of nation’s leading receiver up in the air for Colorado vs. Washington

Getty Images
Leave a comment

One of the nation’s most prolific players on the offensive side of the ball may not be available this weekend.  Or he may be.  One of the two.

Late in the third quarter of then-undefeated Colorado’s loss to USC, Laviska Shenault went down with a toe injury and didn’t return.  With Washington, also reeling from a tough overtime loss to Oregon, on tap this coming weekend, Shenault’s status is decidedly up in the air.

“We haven’t found out anything on it yet,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said by way of the Boulder Daily Camera. “They’re still evaluating everything. We haven’t found out any total results or anything. He still has a sore toe, but we’ll see.”

Per the Daily Camera, the wide receiver didn’t practice Monday and was seen wearing a walking boot.  As of Tuesday, he’s still considered day-to-day.

Shenault currently leads the country in receptions per game (10) and receiving yards per game (130).  His six receiving touchdowns are second in the Pac-12 and tied for 14th nationally.

TE who took leave for personal reasons will now transfer from Pitt

Getty Images
2 Comments

What was a temporary absence has apparently turned into a permanent one.

Oct. 10, a Pitt spokesperson confirmed that “[i]t was mutually agreed upon that Tyler Sear will take leave of the team for personal reasons.” Less than a week later, the tight end took to Twitter to announce that, “after much communication and discussion between myself, my coaches, and loved ones… I have decided to pursue a fresh start and transfer.”

In the social media missive, Sears indicated that he took “a leave of absence to focus on my mental health.”

Sear started five of the first six games this season for the Panthers, catching two passes for nine yards.  He started two games as a freshman last season and caught one pass for 10 yards.

Sear is the third tight end to leave the program in the last seven months.

In March, it was confirmed that UCLA transfer Chris Clark was taking a leave of absence from Pitt; the projected 2018 starter is not expected to return.  In July, Charles Reeves Jr. was dismissed for unspecified violations of team rules.