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Investigative findings into Jordan McNair’s death to be released Sept. 21

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At a meeting that had already been scheduled for Sept. 21, it was confirmed in a press release Wednesday that the University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents will be briefed on the investigation into the death of Terrapins football player Jordan McNair over the summer.  While the briefing will take place in a closed session of the board, the “findings will be shared publicly later that afternoon,” the release stated.

The 19-year-old Maryland offensive lineman collapsed during a football workout in late May and died two weeks later.

At a mid-August press conference, Maryland president Wallace Loh addressed the ongoing investigation into McNair’s death, stating that the university “accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes that our training staff made on that fateful workout day.” The president acknowledged that McNair’s death could’ve been prevented, but the football program’s training staff “basically misdiagnosed the situation.”

That press conference came three days after head coach D.J. Durkin was placed on administrative leave and not long after the attorney representing the family of deceased football player called for Durkin’s dismissal.  McNair’s father also very publicly called for Durkin to lose his job.  It has also been reported that the McNair family will not discuss a settlement with the university until Durkin is fired.

Durkin’s leave stemmed from a damning report in which it was alleged McNair was showing signs of distress before he collapsed during a workout in late May, dying a little over two weeks later of what his family described as heatstroke.  That same report, which led to the suspensions of the training staff and strength & conditioning coach as well, also detailed a “toxic” culture within the football program under Durkin, one based on fear, intimidation, belittling, humiliation and embarrassment.  Players were, allegedly, routinely subjected to what was described as extreme verbal abuse.

Offensive coordinator Matt Canada is serving as interim head coach until Durkin’s fate is decided.

“The Board of Regents is committed to uncovering all the discoverable facts about Jordan McNair’s tragic death, and separately, the culture of the football program at the University of Maryland, College Park,” USM Board of Regents Chair James Brady said in a statement Wednesday. “Once the board has the facts, we are committed to sharing what we find with the people of Maryland, and to making whatever decisions might be necessary and appropriate to best support our students.”

There are two investigations involving Terrapins football, one probing the death of McNair and the other which is examining the culture within the program.  The latter investigation is underway, the release stated, so it’s unclear if a determination on Durkin’s future as the head coach will be announced at the Sept. 21 board meeting or if it will be made after the probe into the culture of his program has concluded.

After 53 straight losses, D3 program decides to take 2019 off

Earlham College Athletics
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There will be no football played at Division 3 Earlham College in Indiana next season. The school is taking next season off with the intent on returning to the field in 2020, hopefully, with a game plan for improving the football program.

The news of Earlham shutting the program down for a year comes following a 53rd straight loss, an NCAA Division 3 record. Head coach Nick Johnson has already been informed he will no longer be a part of the program but will take on a new role within the university. The last time Earlham celebrated a win was Oct. 26, 2013, according to a Richmond Palladium-Item report.

“As President of Earlham College, I am well aware of the many ways in which a successful athletics program can enhance and strengthen the overall well-being of a college,” interim Earlham College president Avis Stewart said in a released statement. “However, it can reasonably be argued that our inability to field competitive teams has significantly hampered our ability to recruit a sufficient number of student-athletes who seek a positive, quality intercollegiate athletics football experience. Therefore, I have decided that our community needs to take a fresh approach to building and sustaining a competitive football program.”

A year off for any college football program is a difficult decision to make, and at the lower levels of football, it comes with more doubt about the potential return of a program. Fortunately, perhaps, this plan is already mapped out as opposed to when UAB decided to shut its program down for good, only to reverse course and bring the football program back after a brief hiatus.

Earlham College will plan on bringing the football program back in 2020 as long as it is determined doing so will not pose a risk to the school’s academic integrity, the school feels secure in the ability to fund the program, and it can find a suitable head coach to lead the program.

Well, Bobby Petrino is available.

Week 12 division clinching scenarios in college football

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Two teams from the state of Illinois will play for their respective conference championships in a couple of weeks. Northwestern wrapped up the Big Ten West Division last week with a win at Iowa and a bit of help from around the conference. Last night, Northern Illinois clinched the West Division in the MAC without having to play a down, as a loss by Western Michigan guaranteed the Huskies a trip to the MAC Championship.

Tonight, Buffalo can clinch the other spot in the MAC Championship Game with a win at Ohio. A win by the Bulls would capture the MAC East Divison and should help make a case for including Buffalo on your radar for the Group of Five New Years Six, even if that requires Buffalo to get some help from the AAC and Mountain West Conference.

With two weeks of the college football regular season to play, a few more divisions could potentially be clinched this week. Some are more complicated than others, but here is a rundown of what it will take for teams in clinching scenarios to clinch their respective divisions this week in college football.

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

East Division

  • UCF clinches with win vs. Cincinnati AND Temple loses to South Florida

Temple plays South Florida at home Saturday afternoon, which means UCF will know whether or not it can clinch the division that night. If Temple beats the Bulls, things could get pretty interesting in the division as a Cincinnati win over the Knights would open up a three-team tie for first place with one week to play, thus giving UCF, Cincinnati and Temple something to play for in the final week of the regular season.

Nobody can clinch the West Division this weekend with SMU, Houston and Tulane tangled in a three-team tie and Memphis just one game out of first place.

ACC

Coastal Division

  • Pittsburgh clinches with win at Wake Forest or Virginia loses at Georgia Tech

The Pitt Panthers are in a good spot to wrap up their first division championship since joining the ACC. With head-to-head tiebreakers already stacked up against Virginia, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, Pat Narduzzi’s program can clinch the division outright with a win or a Virginia loss this weekend. And having that all locked up before having to travel to Miami, where the Hurricanes could be looking for revenge after last year’s game, would be nice.

Clemson clinched the Atlantic Division last week.

BIG 12

The Big 12 may not have divisions, b a spot in the Big 12 championship game could be clinched this week by Oklahoma. The Sooners would guarantee themselves one of the two spots in the Big 12 championship game with a victory over Kansas and an Iowa State victory over Texas. In that scenario, Oklahoma would finish conference play with no more than two losses and they own a head-to-head tiebreaker with Iowa State (Texas owns the H2H tiebreaker with Oklahoma).

West Virginia would still have to beat Oklahoma in Morgantown or see Iowa State lose next week to avoid any possible tiebreaking situation with Iowa State.

BIG TEN

East

  • Michigan clinches with win vs. Indiana AND Ohio State loss at Maryland

It is highly likely the East Division will be decided by the result of next week’s regular-season finale between Ohio State and Michigan in Columbus, but the Wolverines could potentially take care of the division this week. Beating Indiana at home should not be too much of a problem, although the chances Maryland stuns Ohio State to send the Buckeyes home with a loss are not very inspiring for the Maize and Blue.

Northwestern clinched the Big Ten West last week.

CONFERENCE USA

East

  • Middle Tennessee clinches with FIU loss at Charlotte

The Blue Raiders are stepping out of conference this week to play at Kentucky. While they do that, they will pay attention to what Florida International does on the road at Charlotte. A loss by the Panthers against the 49ers would ensure Middle Tennessee State can do no worse than finish the regular season with two conference losses and a tie for the top spot in the division with FIU or Marshall. Middle Tennessee owns head-to-head victories against each, which would give Middle Tennessee the nod in the East division before having to play UAB in the regular season finale. If FIU wins this week, Middle Tennessee would clinch the division next week with a win at home against UAB or an FIU loss to Marshall.

UAB clinched the West division last week.

MAC

East

  • Buffalo clinches with win vs. Ohio

Buffalo and Ohio square off in Wednesday night play with the division on the line. A Buffalo win would wrap up the East division for the Bulls, but a win by Ohio leaves the Bobcats in the running for another week. A loss to Ohio still leaves Buffalo sitting in a favorable spot as they would have to beat a two-win Bowling Green team next week to clinch the division. An Ohio loss to Akron would clinch the division for Buffalo as well.

NIU clinched the West on Tuesday night as a result of Western Michigan losing to Ball State.

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

Mountain

  • Utah State clinches with win at Colorado State AND Boise State loss at New Mexico

West

  • Fresno State clinches with win vs. San Diego State

It is possible both divisions in the Mountain West Conference could be clinched this weekend, although it is more likely the Mountian Diviosn will have to wait a week to see who wins a matchup between Utah State and Boise State. The West Division is probably the more likely division to be clinched this week with Fresno State getting a chance to play at home against San Diego State. Things get a bit more interesting for the final week of the season if the Aztecs come away winners though, as it opens the door for Nevada to have a shot. We can explore that more in the event San Diego State does win, but for now we’ll keep it simple. If Fresno State wins, the division is a wrap.

PAC-12

North

  • Washington State clinches with win vs. Arizona AND Washington loses to Oregon State

South

  • Utah clinches with win at Colorado AND Arizona State loses at Oregon AND Arizona loses at Washington State

Odds are the North is going to be decided in next week’s Apple Cup between rivals Washington and Washington State, but the Cougars do have a scenario to root for this week. And even though it is a more complicated path to clinching for Utah, it may be the more likely scenario to play out this week. The Utes have to win a game at Colorado to finish up their Pac-12 record at 6-3 with just one non-conference game to play next week against BYU. If they do that and both Arizona and Arizona State lose on the road, then the division is theirs.

SEC

Alabama and Georgia already clinched their respective divisions and are heading to a potential College Football Playoff play-in game in the SEC Championship.

SUN BELT

East

  • Troy clinches with win vs. Texas State AND Appalachian State loses to Georgia State

West

  • UL Monroe clinches with win at Arkansas State AND Louisiana loses vs. South Alabama

The stage for the inaugural Sun Belt championship game could be set this weekend, although it is more likely to come down to the wire next week. Troy and UL Monroe are each in positions to clinch their respective divisions this week. Troy will likely have to take care of business next week in a matchup with Appalachian State to decide the East Division. UL Monroe may have a tough time doing what needs to be done to gain the crown in the West this week with a road game at Arkansas State. A loss by UL Monroe sets up a good finish in the West Division next week.

As USC struggles, can Chip Kelly and UCLA seize an opportunity?

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No matter what happens this weekend, UCLA will not be going to a bowl game in the first season with Chip Kelly as a head coach. At 2-8, that end result was determined weeks ago. Despite taking a while to get things seemingly together, UCLA will meet with their crosstown rivals from USC this week, and the timing could not have been better for Kelly and the Bruins.

USC was officially ruled out of the running for the Pac-12 South Division last week as they fell to 5-5 this season. The pressure on head coach Clay Helton has seemed to be on the rise as frustrations about the Trojans continues to build this season. The possibility of a coaching change has become a bit of a popular talking point for some as college football gets the coaching carousel greased up and ready to go at full force. And with Notre Dame coming to Los Angeles next week with their own College Football Playoff hopes potentially on the line, this week against the Bruins feels like it could be a must-win game for USC.

That alone makes this a pretty important game for Kelly and UCLA as well, even more so than it already was destined to be by default. Kelly will have an opportunity to really stick it to his new rival with an opposing head coach under an increasing amount of pressure by putting USC’s own bowl hopes on the edge of a cliff, with the Irish coming to town to give the final nudge.

A win for Kelly would help give UCLA’s recruiting efforts an extra sales pitch to make. As UCLA is looking to build something, they could be responsible for potential changes going on at USC. USC is rarely going to lose out in the recruiting battles and the Trojans will always have quality recruiting hauls, but Kelly would benefit by having a head-to-head win against USC, and this year would be a great way to end his first season at UCLA.

UCLA DL Moses Robinson-Carr has been indefinitely suspended

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UCLA defensive lineman Moses Robinson-Carr has apparently been in the doghouse of Chip Kelly for a few weeks. The head coach of the Bruins confirmed to reporters today Robinson-Carr has been indefinitely suspended for violation of team rules.

The news of the suspension appears to answer some questions about his lack of availability in the last few weeks, as Kelly confirmed the suspension is a couple of weeks old. This would be the second time this season Robinson-Carr has been suspended by Kelly this season. Robinson-Carr was one of six players suspended by Kelly for UCLA’s season opener against Cincinnati.

Robinson-Carr previously played tight end and special teams for the Bruins, but he was converted to the defensive line to provide some depth. Robinson-Carr ha splayed in six games for UCLA this season.

UCLA faces rival USC this weekend.