The larger focus in Columbus may be on the ongoing story revolving around head coach Urban Meyer, but the Buckeyes still have work to do in camp at Ohio State. On Friday, interim head coach Ryan Day released a full rundown of each position group to update the media and fans on the current status of the team, with no mention of Meyer or the investigation expected to come to a close in the coming days.
Day shared his detailed practice update on Twitter.
If nothing else, Day’s first chance addressing the current status of the Buckeyes is a reminder that no matter what is happening off the field, there is still work to be done by the coaching staff and players as the new college football season quickly approaches. Meyer may not be able to have contact with the team, but Day’s job is to continue having the program move forward for as long as necessary. In the meantime, Ohio State has shut off media access to the program, including coaches and players, with the exception of brief glimpses at practices as training camp has been going on. Ohio State will allow more availability to watch practices this weekend as Ohio State brings training camp to a close for the summer. Regular practice schedules are scheduled to begin next week as Ohio State opens classes for the fall semester.
Day was named the interim head coach at Ohio State at the time Meyer was placed on administrative leave. Meyer remains out of action while the university conducts an investigation into the allegations connected to him from a report related to former wide receivers coach Zach Smith. Smith reportedly spent hours interviewing with officials leading the Ohio State investigation earlier this week. Day has admitted to leaving Meyer in the dark regarding a previous OVI but has sided with Meyer in acknowledging that athletics director Gene Smith was aware of the allegations of domestic abuse connected to Smith that ignited much of this current situation.
With Ohio State’s 14-day timeline for this investigation coming near the expiration date, we may find out much more about the immediate future of Ohio State football and Meyer fairly soon.
Auburn tight end Jalen Harris is going from catching passes for the Tigers one week to transferring the next.
In a tweet he posted on Wednesday afternoon, the senior announced he was leaving the team as a graduate transfer but would remain on the Plains this semester as he finished classes.
Harris, who is from down the road in Montgomery, has played on special teams for the Tigers but hasn’t been too involved in the offense in his natural position. He has caught just four passes in three seasons at Auburn, including one in last year’s Iron Bowl against rival Alabama and a 12 yard reception this past week in a loss to LSU.
Far more notable for Harris’ career on the field is this move off it. He’s one of the first players to publicly take full advantage of the new redshirt rule (which allows a player to maintain a year of eligibility while playing in up to four games) and will also wind up leaving the team mid-year to be a graduate transfer as well.
The 6-4, 250 pound Harris was considered by 247Sports as a three-star prospect coming out of high school with offers from a number of SEC programs and others like Nebraska, Louisville and Miami as well.
One of the big surprises of the young college football season so far has been the play of LSU, which has two of the best wins of any team after beating Miami at AT&T Stadium to open the year and knocking off Auburn at Jordan-Hare this past weekend.
Key to the success of the Tigers? Look no further than perhaps the smallest guy on the roster in graduate transfer kicker Cole Tracy. His 42-yarder as the clock hit zero beat their SEC West rivals and he had plenty of clutch kicks against the Hurricanes as well. Well, SEC fans being SEC fans, the success of the kicker is not going unrewarded… for his old school. It seems many Tigers fans are sending money back to tiny Assumption College, a Division II program in Massachusetts.
Per USA Today:
A couple of the initial gifts were for $54, apparently because of Tracy’s 54-yard field goal against Miami in the season opener. And yes, as you’d expect, a few of the gifts that have come in after Tracy’s 42-yard field goal to beat Auburn were for $42. A few were for $42.36 — 42 for the field goal, 36 for Tracy’s LSU jersey number.
(Vice president for institutional advancement Tim) Stanton says at Tracy’s request, the gifts made in Tracy’s name will go to support Assumption’s football program. And while we’re talking about names, during an interview Saturday night with USA TODAY Sports, Stanton joked about naming a goalpost for Tracy. Except he apparently wasn’t joking.
“We don’t know where this is gonna end,” Stanton said. “If this continues and gets to a higher amount, there will probably be some kind of naming opportunity. If it really reached some significant levels — this might sound ludicrous, but like $1 million — we’d name the field after him.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, some 141 gifts have been made totally nearly $7,000 per USA Today’s George Schroeder.
While it seems like reaching seven-figures might be a stretch, if Tracy keeps kicking like he has been and helps knock off teams like Georgia or Alabama, never say never. After all, SEC fandom knows no bounds.
A penny saved is a penny earned, right? Well, that’s not quite the case at Ohio State.
Earlier, we learned that the Buckeyes had docked head coach Urban Meyer $570,507.68 in salary due to his three-game suspension as a result of his handling of domestic abuse allegations. While it might seem like the school would be able to count that as six-figure savings on the balance sheet, it turns out OSU is plowing that right back into another coach — namely, the guy who filled Meyer’s role the past two months.
Documents obtained by The Columbus Dispatch show that offensive coordinator Ryan Day will earn a $487,000 bonus on September 30 as “added compensation” that is essentially a bonus for running the program while Meyer was suspended. In the interim role, Day guided the Buckeyes to a 3-0 record and kept the team in the top five of the polls after they beat TCU over the weekend.
While the school still saves nearly $84,000 on the accounting transaction with the two coaches, that does not figure in the costs incurred for the school to investigate Meyer, AD Gene Smith and the former assistant that prompted this entire episode in Zach Smith.
With Day already set to make roughly $1 million this season before other bonuses, the nearly $1.5 million he will likely take home in 2018 will still put him in the upper echelon of assistant coaches on the salary scale. Though Clemson’s Brent Venables and LSU’s Dave Aranda are over the $2 million mark, Day’s total would be right around the fifth-highest paid assistant in college football based on 2017 salaries in the USA Today database.
Given the performances on the field so far and the perfect record, you can probably find more than one Buckeyes fan calling it all money well spent.
Washington State is 3-0 to start the season but the good vibes being put out by the football team so far this year continue to be hampered by off the field issues for the Cougars. In what has become a bit of a growing scandal up in Pullman and the rest of the state, former star quarterback Jason Gesser resigned from his position this week as an assistant athletic director after a second round of sexual-misconduct allegations surfaced against him.
Gesser was initially put on leave last week by the athletic department following an investigation that was prompted by Wazzu’s student newspaper, The Daily Evergreen, which detailed several allegations of misconduct. According to the Seattle Times this week, those reports of Gesser’s behavior led to others coming forward — including his former nanny filing a formal complaint of additional unwanted sexual advances three years ago.
“I am deeply saddened that recent circumstances in my private life have created a distraction for the department and university,” Gesser wrote in a statement provided to the Times. “While I certainly never intended to hurt anyone, I believe it is best for all involved for me to move on.”
“The University has accepted Mr. Gesser’s resignation effective immediately,” a statement from the school attributed to president Kirk Schultz and AD Pat Chun said. “We sincerely appreciate the courage it takes for individuals to come forward with concerns of this nature. We take the allegations extremely seriously, and the Office for Equal Opportunity intends to continue its investigation.”
When contacted after practice by the Times, WSU head coach Mike Leach said he was not aware of Gesser’s resignation.
Gesser was Wyoming’s quarterbacks coach in 2013 before returning to his alma mater to take a position in the department as a fundraiser. He held a number of school records after his time was done on the Palouse and notably led the team to the 2003 Rose Bowl.
Chun did not name a replacement for Gesser but the school has posted an opening for his position online.