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Tom Herman denies he tipped off media as Zach Smith gets set to meet with Ohio State investigators

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The soap opera that is currently the Ohio State football program took a couple of additional twists and turns Saturday.

Jeff Snook, the author of several Ohio State books whose Facebook post this past week quoted the mother of Courtney Smith as not believing Zach Smith had abused her daughter, promised Friday in a subsequent Facebook missive that “another bombshell report is coming“; Saturday, Snook posted that Tom Herman, the former OSU offensive coordinator and current Texas head coach, had tipped off Brett McMurphy, the college football insider whose own Facebook posts on domestic abuse allegations involving Zach Smith and his ex-wife, Courtney, preceded Smith being fired as the Buckeyes’ wide receivers coach and Urban Meyer being placed on paid administrative leave as the school launched an investigation into his handling of the allegations.

In the wake of Snook’s latest social media post, Herman labeled the report he was the source “absolutely untrue” while McMurphy took to Twitter to “unequivocally” deny Herman was the source.

“Neither I, nor anybody in my family, has ever communicated with Brett McMurphy about the situation at Ohio State,” a portion of Herman’s statement read.

In that latest Facebook post by Snook, it’s claimed that the Hermans, Tom and his wife, Michelle, are helping Courtney Smith with her legal expenses. The UT coach countered in his own statement that, in March of 2017, his wife had helped “her friend Courtney Smith during a time of financial need.”

“We have not provided any financial assistance since then,” Tom Herman stated.

Finally, it was alleged by Snook’s sources that the Hermans “encouraged Courtney Smith to go public with her claims that her ex-husband had physically abused her.” The impetus for that was that the Hermans allegedly wanted Smith fired and off the OSU coaching staff. Why?

Herman was furious after five-star receiver Garrett Wilson committed to Ohio State in April over Texas, sources say. Wilson played at Austin (Texas) Lake Travis High, just miles from the Longhorns’ campus. Zach Smith was the Buckeyes’ primary recruiter in getting Wilson’s commitment.

“This is BS — we had no reason good enough to do that to Shelley or Urban,” Michelle Herman wrote to Snook.

“I really do appreciate you doing your job with integrity and checking on all the points, unlike some others,” Shelley Meyer, Urban’s wife and reportedly close confidante of Courtney Smith who allegedly knew of the extensive abuse Courtney allegedly suffered at the hands of her ex-husband, told Snook in a text message. “I just can’t comment and I am very sorry. Thank u.”

Those were Shelley Meyer’s’s first public comments since the imbroglio erupted in Columbus last month, triggered by Zach Smith criminal trespassing citation in May after attempting to drop off their child at his ex-wife’s residence.

OSU launched its investigation into Meyer’s handling of the extensive domestic abuse allegations, which extend back to their time together at Florida, the week before last, although Smith’s attorney claimed this week that neither he nor his client had been contacted by investigators handling the probe that will determine whether Meyer will continue on as the Buckeyes’ head coach.

That will change in the not-too-distant future as Zach Smith’s attorney, Brad Koffel, confirmed to ESPN.com Saturday that his client is expected to meet with OSU investigators this coming week to answer any questions the group may have.

“We’re not trying to run from the truth, but we’re not the only ones with warts on us,” Koffel told the website.

As of this posting, a statement from Courtney Smith’s attorney released this past week that neither she nor her client had been contacted by OSU investigators stands.

On Aug. 8, Ohio State announced that it expected to complete its investigation in two weeks.

Kansas State WR Hunter Rison suspended following arrest for alleged domestic battery

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Kansas State wide receiver Hunter Rison, the son of former NFL wide receiver Andre Rison, has been suspended by the Wildcats following an arrest Friday afternoon. Rison was charged for an alleged domestic battery incident and has been freed on a bond. the suspension of Rison was announced by Kansas State on Saturday morning, according to The Mercury in Manhattan, Kansas.

“Our program will be one that is built on hard work and integrity and doing things the right way,” Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman said in a released statement. “We have extremely high expectations for our players on and off the field.”

For now, Kansas State will continue to monitor the situation as the legal process plays out, which is the typical operating procedure in cases like this. While details of the incident have not been shared, Rison was formally charged with one count of domestic battery/knowing or reckless bodily to family/person in a dating relationship.

Rison transferred to Kansas State from Michigan State last year and was slated to return to eligibility for the Wildcats this fall. Rison sat out the 2018 season under standard NCAA transfer rules after leaving the Spartans in East Lansing.

Nick Saban’s hip-replacement surgery scheduled for Monday

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We already knew that one of the greatest college football coaches in the history of the game was set to undergo a rather invasive medical procedure. Now, we know exactly when it’ll take place.

This past weekend, Nick Saban confirmed that he’ll have hip-replacement surgery at an unspecified time this offseason. Friday, USA Today was the first to report a specific date as the Alabama head coach is set to go under the knife this coming Monday. According to the Tuscaloosa News, the surgery will be performed that morning by Dr. Lyle Cain of Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center.

The procedure is expected to sideline Saban for a period of 6-8 weeks, a timeline that will allow the coach plenty of time to recuperate and rehabilitate ahead of the start of summer camp in early August.

That said, Saban’s biggest concern involves a sport that’s not football.

“The only thing I hate about it is, I’ll have to not play golf for six weeks or so,” Saban told USA Today. “… But this is the best time for me to do it. I do a lot of speaking and evaluating and film work and stuff like that, but we’re not practicing. Other than playing golf, I probably wouldn’t be very active. So this is the best time, and then it gives me a lot of summer to get back in shape.”

The 67-year-old Saban will be entering his 12th season with the Crimson Tide in 2019. “I don’t want to coach for one more year. I want to coach for a lot of more years,” the future College Football Hall of Famer said in explaining his decision to undergo the surgery at this point in time.

Jacksonville Jaguars taking over Gator Bowl operations as game faces financial difficulties

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NFL teams owning (or providing significant assistance) to a bowl game is nothing new in this day and age but you can add another to the list of operators as the Gator Bowl has turned to the Jacksonville Jaguars in an effort to cut costs and help save the 75-year-old postseason game for several more years.

The Jacksonville Daily Record first made note of the moves, which were announced at the Jaguars’ annual state of the franchise presentation on Thursday. The team will formally take over “ticket sales and back shop operations.” The Florida Times Union also provided more context on the moves, which note that contracts expire after the upcoming game on everything from the TV deal with ESPN to title game sponsorship agreement.

“We’re in negotiations now for everything,” said Gator Bowl CEO Rick Catlett. “We got a good deal overall with the city [on the stadium], but not a great deal. We got to get the city to give us the same deal as Georgia-Florida with rent, concessions and parking. “We have to step up our game. We’re not going to be the Poulan Weed-Eater [Independence] Bowl. My instructions from our board is to move it forward or we’re done.”

Ticket sales and local revenue dropping were cited as the most pressing concerns to the financial health of the bowl, which is one of the oldest in the sport and has been held continuously since 1946.

It will be interesting to see if these financial trends continue for both the Gator Bowl and others at large. We’ve seen more and more bowl games get added to the docket in college football over the years but one of the mainstays to the lineup facing such challenges could be a warning that the system in the College Football Playoff era isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Five college football officials joining NFL ranks for 2019 season

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The NFL draft is this week and hundreds of college football players will formally be making the jump to the pros as a result. They won’t be the only ones going from Saturday’s to Sunday’s this fall however.

Per the NFL’s Twitter account dedicated to all matters officiating, five officials from the college ranks are being bumped up to crews in the league:

All five of the college football officials were part of the NFL’s Officiating Development Program according to Football Zebras. The Memphis Commercial Appeal also notes that the five were also involved as officials in the now-defunct Alliance of American Football this spring. Based on that, it’s pretty clear that the group as a whole was really focused on moving up to the NFL at some point and now get the call up to the big leagues.