At least according to Michigan’s sideline version of Lt. Drebin, there’s nothing to see here. Please disperse.
Over the weekend, it was reported that North Carolina had warned Michigan, among other schools, about the potential for NCAA violations involving student-athletes in general and football players specifically. Earlier this month, UNC announced that 13 of its football players have been suspended for at least one game this season because they sold team-issued shoes.
Like UNC, U-M is a Jordan Brand program. Because of UNC’s issues, U-M launched its own investigation to determine whether or not any of its student-athletes had committed any type of NCAA violations in regards to the sale of team-issued apparel.
While that probe isn’t yet officially complete, Wolverines head football coach Jim Harbaugh seemed confident Monday after, according to him, the program’s initial inventory check showed all shoes distributed to current players are present and accounted for. From the Detroit Free Press:
There were a couple shoes that were reported to be out there, we’ve gone through everybody that’s currently on the roster and they’ve accounted for those pairs of shoes,” Harbaugh said. “The latest (pair) I saw (on the market) was a No. 52 (pair of shoes). There’s nobody currently on the roster that had that number last year.”
Asked if he anticipates any suspensions for the 2018 season, Harbaugh replied “no.”
Michigan’s football program marks each pair of team-issued shoes at the time they’re given to players. The student-athletes do not get the box the shoes came in and they’re required to sign a letter acknowledging they know that selling a pair of team-issued sneakers is an NCAA violation.
The Associated Press noted that “many former [U-M] players and some former [U-M] assistant coaches had access to the shoes that have” surfaced on the secondary market, a market that led to UNC self-reporting its violations.
For the third time this offseason, first-year head coach Mike Locksley has pulled in a Power Five transfer to his Maryland program.
On his personal Twitter account Monday night, Josh Jackson announced that he has committed to continuing his collegiate playing career for Locksley at Maryland. Nearly four weeks ago, it was confirmed that Jackson would be leaving Virginia Tech as the quarterback had placed his name into the NCAA transfer database.
As Jackson is expected to graduate from Tech in May, he would be eligible to play for Maryland this coming season. Not only that, but he will have another year of eligibility he can use in College Park in 2020 as well.
After going through a tumultuous offseason, Jackson began 2018 as the Hokies’ starting quarterback only to suffer a season-ending injury in mid-September.
As a redshirt freshman in 2017, Jackson started all 13 games for the 9-4 Hokies. He passed for 2,991 yards and ran for another 324 yards while accounting for 26 touchdowns — 20 passing, six rushing. The passing yards were the most for an FBS freshman that season, while the touchdowns passes were the second-most at this level.
Given the fact that he’ll be immediately eligible, Jackson will head into summer camp as the favorite to lay claim to the Terrapins’ starting job under center.
In addition to Jackson, Maryland has landed transfers from wide receiver Sean Savoy and linebacker Keandre Jones. The former comes to College Park from Virginia Tech, the latter from Ohio State.
Not long after declaring he was looking to transfer, ex-Arizona State linebacker Jalen Bates has found his landing spot. Bates is heading to Colorado State.
On Monday, Bates announced to his Twitter followers he is a Ram. The message was posted with a Photoshopped image showing him in a Colorado State football uniform. Bates started 10 games for Arizona State last season, and he has appeared in 18 games during his college career with the Sun Devils. That’s a nice addition for the Rams.
Having already earned his degree from Arizona State, Bates will be eligible to p[lay right away for the Rams this fall.
Former Oklahoma State offensive tackle Arlington Hambright is ready for his final season of college football. He’ll play it at Colorado, Hambright announced via Twitter.
“I give all glory and praise to God, without him I would be nothing but I will be spending my last year in Boulder, Colorado playing in the Pac-12 under some GREAT coaches and for [an] amazing University,” Hambright announced, via Twitter. “Now let’s get to work!”
Reports of Hambright potentially transferring from Oklahoma State surfaced earlier this month as the player transfer fun has continued to run wild this offseason. While no specific reason for his reason for transferring has been made public, he will certainly be looking to close out his college football career on a high note. An ankle injury brought an early end to Hambright’s 2018 season after starting the first five games of the season. He did return for the Liberty Bowl against Missouri, but Hambright will look to get in a full season as a potential starter in the Pac-12 this fall.
Coming off one of the most successful seasons in recent memory in Lexington, Kentucky now has a hole to plug on the offensive line. Starting offensive tackle E.J. Price has reportedly left the football program. According to a report from Kentucky Sports Radio, Price will pursue other opportunities and a university spokesperson confirmed he is no longer with the program.
Price transferred to Kentucky from USC in 2017, but it was about a year ago Price suggested he was ready to leave Kentucky too. However, Price stuck with the Wildcats in 2018. He started 11 of 13 games for Kentucky as the Wildcats turned in a 10-win season capped with a victory in the Capital One Bowl against Penn State. It was Kentucky’s first 10-win season since 1977 and their first bowl victory since the 2008 season.
What’s next for Price remains to be seen. He will be required to sit out the 2019 season if he transfers to another FBS program unless he applies for a waiver and receives approval to be eligible in the fall.
As for Kentucky, the spring will open with a starting job up for grabs on the offensive line, although the return of Landon Young from a season-ending injury a year ago should help solidify the efforts up front.