UCLA will kick off the new college football season and the first game in the Chip Kelly era a bit shorthanded. On Monday, UCLA suspended six players for the season opener this weekend against Cincinnati for what is simply being reported as a violation of athletic department policy. Tight end Devin Asiasi, running back Soso Jamabo, defensive linemen Osa Odighizuwa and Moses Robinson-Carr, defensive back Mo Osling, and offensive lineman Boss Tagaloa will all sit out of UCLA’s home game against Cincinnati on September 1.
Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reported the news of the suspension, via Twitter.
Jamabo is one of UCLA’s top running backs returning in 2018 after rushing for 446 yards and a team-high six touchdowns last season for the Bruins in 10 games. The absence of Jamabo will likely mean more carries for senior Bolu Olorunfunmi, last year’s leading rusher for UCLA, as well as some younger options that could take advantage of the opportunity. Branden Stephens may be the most liekly to get a few more rushing attempts as a result.
Tagaloa started eight games for UCLA in 2017 and recorded 32 tackles with one sack. In nine games, Tagaloa recorded multiple tackles a year after playing in 12 games as a reserve lineman and on special teams.
Odighizuwa played in 13 games last season and recorded 15 tackles with 5.5 tackles for a loss and a sack as a backup.
Osling played in 13 games as . abackup defensive back and saw time on special teams by returning kicks. Osling recorded 18 tackles and returned nine kickoffs for an average of 18.0 yards per return.
Robinson-Carr played as a backup tight end and on special teams last season. He started one game and caught one pass for four yards.
Asiasi sat out the 2017 season after transferring to UCLA from Michigan.
UCLA has not released a depth chart for this weekend’s game at this time.
UPDATE: Now, UCLA has a depth chart. Redshirt junior Joshua Kelly sits atop the depth chart at running back. Kelley did not play in 2017 after transferring from UC Davis. No starting quarterback has been decided on at this time.
Lawyers representing former Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio in a federal lawsuit filed by former Michigan State recruiting director Curtis Blackwell are seeking reimbursement for legal fees as the case appears to be heading for possible dismissal. According to Mlive.com, Dantonio’s legal team is seeking up to $214,153 to cover legal fees tied to the case.
One of Dantonio’s lawyers, Thomas Kienbaum, is optimistic his client will receive reimbursement but does not expect a full compensation.
“Have I ever gotten anything close to what I think this judge will award? Nope, never,” Kienbaum said, according to the MLive.com report. “I’ve never asked for anything close to this, never been an occasion for it.”
Blackwell filed a lawsuit against Dantonio and Michigan State University in Nov. 2018 on the claim a contract not being renewed was a violation of the contract. Blackwell also claimed Dantonio and the program were guilty of various NCAA violations connected to recruiting and job placement opportunities for recruits. Dantonio resigned as head coach of the program shortly after the lawsuit documents were submitted. Blackwell later filed another lawsuit piling on the program and Dantonio once again.
In March of this year, a federal judge has recommended the original lawsuit be tossed due to a belief Blackwell’s lawyers were misusing the court process to harass defendants, including Dantonio.
Another Penn State wide receiver is entering the transfer portal. Mac Hippenhammer, who was not named on Penn State’s spring football roster, has reportedly entered his name to the NCAA transfer portal.
By entering the transfer portal, Hippoenhammer is free to communicate with any other college football program interested in recruiting him to their program. Hippenhammer may also withdraw his name from the portal and stay at Penn State, but Penn State is no longer obligated to reserve his scholarship spot in the program.
Hippenhammer’s future at Penn State as a football player appeared to be going in the opposite direction as he has been focusing more on playing baseball. Hippenhammer did not participate in spring football practices in 2019 so he could participate in Penn State’s baseball season. He once again shifted his spring focus to baseball this spring before college baseball was shut down. This is why some of Hippenhammer’s transfer options may be slanted more toward baseball, one of the sports that was shut down by the NCAA this spring due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In 10 games in 2019, Hippenhammer caught one pass for 15 yards and returned two punts for 13 yards. Hippenhammer was a three-star addition of Penn State’s Class of 2017. He will still have one year of eligibility for football, although the NCAA tacking on an extra year of college eligibility for baseball would give Hippenhammer two years on the baseball diamond.
Penn State is already facing a bit of a questionable situation at wide receiver in 2020 following the early departure of KJ Hamler to the NFL and the transfer of Justin Shorter to Florida.
The NCAA recently made a decision to allow strength and conditioning coaches to distribute workouts to players while they are isolated away from their respective programs. But Alabama’s use of Apple watches to monitor the players is drawing some eyes from around the SEC and beyond with everyone trying to figure out whether or not Alabama is in violation of any NCAA rules.
According to a report from Mark Schlabach of ESPN, the SEC is in the process of checking in on the use of the smartwatches at Alabama. The Athletic reports Alabama has been in constant communication with the SEC regarding the manner, according to a statement shared by a university spokesperson;
“The SEC is aware that Alabama provided Apple Watches to some of our student-athletes,” Alabama senior associate AD for compliance Matt Self said in a statement. “We are in constant communication with the SEC discussing the appropriate manner in which to utilize these and any other resources to provide for the health and well-being of our student-athletes during this crisis.”
Alabama set players up with the smartwatches as part of the program setup by strength and conditioning coaches David Ballou and Matt Rhea. The watches include workouts and apps to help players stay in as best in shape as possible during these unique times in wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The NCAA recently allowed for such workouts to be distributed to players with the stipulation that coaches were not permitted to monitor those workouts. The only member of Alabama’s staff reportedly observing the information from the watches has been Alabama’s director of sports medicine, Jeff Allen.
So why all the fuss about Alabama’s smartwatches? It seems to be a lack of uniformity in interpreting the NCAA regulations.
The NCAA has certainly been more accommodating and understanding with the situation hitting every facet of the sports world right now, so it remains to be seen if the NCAA would step on Alabama to investigate this issue before the SEC makes any kind of decision first. For now, at least, Alabama players can continue using those Apple Watches.
If Alabama is given confirmation their use of smartwatches during this time is permissible, it won’t take long for other schools to follow in Alabama’s footsteps and send out smartwatches to their players as quickly as possible.
As more and more college football coaches are putting out public service announcements about the severity of the coronavirus, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, the eternal optimist, is not bashful about taking his family on vacation with a private jet. And he may be doing so again around Easter.
Speaking to members of the media on Friday, Swinney spread his usual positive message in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Swinney remains as confident as possible in suggesting college football’s 2020 season will manage to kick off as currently scheduled. Swinney’s proclamation college football will be unaffected in the fall came in the most patriotic way imaginable.
“I don’t have any doubt. I have zero doubt that we’re going to be playing and the stands are going to be packed,” Swinney said. “I’ve got one plan, and that’s to get the Tigers ready to play in late August, early September.”
Perhaps that sense of security is what has allowed Swinney to keep on living some parts of his life as if nothing has changed. For example, going on vacation with the family. Swinney said his family flew to Florida recently on a private plane, and he is contemplating flying again next week for Easter.
“The plane was sanitized,” Swinney said. “We don’t have any concern.”
It must be nice to live such a lifestyle right now.
The state of South Carolina is one of the few remaining states with no state-wide stay-home order in place (Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa have no orders in place), but it is one of four states with stay-home orders in place in parts of the state (Utah, Wyoming, and Oklahoma). As of now, Charleston and Columbia are the two major locations in the state with stay-home orders in play, with Charleston enacting its order on March 26 and Columbia following three days later on March 29.
The ACC suspended all athletic activities in mid-March.