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Arrest warrant filed in Nebraska RB Maurice Washington’s revenge-porn case

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There’s been another development in the legal matter involving a playing member of the Nebraska football program.

Earlier this week, reports surfaced that California native Maurice Washington is facing charges under that state’s revenge-porn law.  It’s alleged that Washington sent a sexually-explicit 10-second video, recorded two years prior by someone other than the running back, involving an underage female and two other boys to that same female in early March of 2016.

According to the Lincoln Journal Star, an arrest warrant has now been filed for Washington in connection to the case.  The Journal Star writes that “Clarissa Hamilton, the Santa Clara district attorney prosecuting the case, said it could take one to three months for a judge to sign an arrest warrant.” Once that happens, Washington would either be extradited from Nebraska to California or he could turn himself in to authorities.

The DA told the newspaper that the county would have no objection to self-surrender; Washington’s new attorney told the same outlet that his client “would go to California at some point and make a voluntary appearance in the case.”

While Washington didn’t participate in the sex act nor did he record it, he is still facing a felony count of possessing a video or photograph of a person under 18 who is engaging in or simulating sexual conduct and a misdemeanor count of posting a video or photograph of a person engaging in or simulating sexual conduct without consent, leading to the person suffering emotional distress.  Washington had dated the alleged victim prior to the video being recorded.

There’s also some question as to exactly what the NU football program knew about Washington’s situation and when they knew it.

In attempting to contact Washington in late August, the Santa Clara detective investigating the case for the sheriff’s department, Colin Haselbach, spoke to an investigator from the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, Ed Sexton, on Aug. 29 for help.  Sexton subsequently texted Washington, who, when informed that Sexton was a law enforcement official, failed to reply further.

Two weeks later, Sexton, who in the interim had spoken to university police about the case, received a phone call from Jamie Vaughn, NU’s compliance director, who was made aware of Sexton’s interest in talking to Washington by UNL police. Per Vaughn via Haselbach, the football staff was “concerned about Maurice needing a lawyer” in order to speak to Sexton.

A day after Vaughn and Sexton spoke, “Sexton got a call from former Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, who said he was representing the Athletic Department,” the newspaper wrote.  Bruning also represented Washington in the case from the middle of September until Feb. 8.

Bruning has denied the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office’s assertion that he was a representative of the NU athletic department. “I’ve never represented the University of Nebraska as legal counsel, and I’ve never held myself out as doing so,” Bruning said in a statement earlier this week.

Bruning has also denied that he shared details of the case with university officials, athletic department or otherwise; in a statement Monday, the Nebraska athletic department also claimed they were not privy to the details of the case.

“We knew that there [were] some questions and things that the folks in California were asking about — but they weren’t specific,” athletic director Bill Moos said during an interview Wednesday as relayed by the Omaha World-Herald. “I was made aware there were inquiries, but they were not specific. …

“[NU] will cooperate with all of this. We’re not trying to get away with anything.”

Washington is now represented by Lincoln criminal defense attorney John Ball, to whom the player was referred by Bruning.

After some academic uncertainty throughout the offseason, Washington was cleared to join the Cornhuskers football team in early August of last year.  As a true freshman, and despite the legal clouds hanging over him from the start of the season, Washington rushed for 455 yards and three touchdowns, numbers that were both good for third on the team.  His 24 receptions were also third-best, while his 221 receiving yards were fourth.

Florida Gulf Coast says someone was extending football offers for club program

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Florida Gulf Coast University does not have a football program, nor does the school have any plans to add a football program to its sports department. So when some football players started receiving offers to come play football at FGCU, there was bound to be some confusion.

According to a statement released by Florida Gulf Coast University on Wednesday, a non-employee was extending offers to for a club team at FGCU. So anyone receiving an offer could have potentially thought the university itself was looking to recruit that player to the university to play for an NCAA football program.

“Unfortunately, we have been notified that a non-employee, volunteer with the football sport club has extended “offers” to come to FGCU and play football to more than 100 individuals across the country,” the statement said. “This has been done without FGCU’s knowledge or sanction, and has caused a great deal of confusion to not only the individuals receiving the “offers” but to others reading accounts on social media.”

On the one hand, it is deceptive to pose “offers” to come play football at a university that doesn’t field a football program and those responsible should pay whatever consequences there may be for such a deception. On the other hand, that is one savvy way to try and recruit actual football talent to improve the skill on a club team. What’s next, boosters for club teams? Well, actually, let’s not give anyone any bad ideas.

Texas A&M linebacker entering transfer portal

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One member of the Teas A&M football program will begin evaluating his options to play elsewhere. Linebacker Brian Johnson has reportedly entered the NCAA transfer portal. News of Johnson entering the transfer portal was first reported by Matt Zenitz of Al.com, via Twitter.

By entering the transfer portal, Johnson is free to communicate with any other college football program interested in recruiting him. Johnson can always return to Texas A&M too by pulling his name out of the portal at any time. While not unprecedented, it seems most players that enter the transfer portal do eventually move on to a new home.

As noted by Zenitz, Johnson appeared in just four games this season. According to the NCAA redshirt rules, Johnson will be able to use a redshirt year for the 2019 season and preserve one year of eligibility. Having played as a true freshman in 2018, Johnson still will have three years of eligibility remaining. However, one of those years will be burned while Johnson sits out the 2020 season if he transfers to another FBS program. That will leave Johnson with two years of eligibility at his disposal beginning in 2021 at any other FBS program.

Big Ten and SEC each land two Bronko Nagurski finalists

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The final list of players left in the running for the Bronko Nagurski Award for the 2019 season has been released by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club. Two players from the Big Ten and two from the SEC are joined by one player from the ACC.

Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown, Georgia safety J.R. Reed, Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons, Minnesota defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr., and Ohio State defensive end Chase Young are the five finalists for the award for best defensive player in college football.

The winner for this year’s Nagurski Award will be announced at a banquet on Dec. 9. Ohio State head coach Ryan Day is the keynote speaker for the banquet this year and former UCLA linebacker Jerry Robinson will be honored as this year’s Bronko Nagurski Legends Award winner.

Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen won the Nagurski Award last season. Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State all have had one player win the Naruski Award before. Champ Bailey won the award for Georgia in 1998. Ohio State’s James Laurinaitis won the award in 2006. Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers won the award in 2010. Auburn and Minnesota have never had a Bronko Nagurski Award winner and hope to add their first this season. Other past winners include Pitt’s Aaron Donald, Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o, Boston College’s Luke Kuechley, Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh, Arizona State’s Terrell Suggs, Michigan’s Charles Woodson, and Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald. The current head coach of the Northwestern Wildcats is the only two-time winner of the award, having done so in 1995 and 1996.

The Belk Bowl will be no more

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Get your last bit of Belk Bowl goodness this upcoming bowl season, because one of the quirkiest bowl games is about to have a new name.

According to a Joe Person of The Athletic, via Twitter, Belk will not be renewing its contract to be the corporate sponsor for the bowl game and early season kickoff game organized by the Charlotte Sports Foundation.

The Belk Bowl has been one of the more entertaining and fun bowl games to follow on Twitter due to the social media handler’s ability to be witty and charismatic with the college football Twittersphere, but the Belk Bowl has seen its share of good games over the course of the corporate sponsorship as well. While last year’s game was a dud (Virginia beat South Carolina 28-0), the previous season’s meeting between Wake Forest and Texas A&M was a 55-52 shootout won by the Demon Deacons.

The Belk Bowl was previously named the Meineke Car Care Bowl from 2005 through 2010, and before that was the Continental Tire Bowl from 2002 through 2004. The Belk Bowl certainly is not going to be dropping off the bowl schedule given how well it generally does with attendance with its partnership with the ACC and SEC (the Big Ten will begin alternating appearances with the SEC from 2020 through 2025), but now a new sponsor will have to take over the lead.

The Belk Kickoff Game, first played in 2015, still has three upcoming matchups locked in the schedule. So the kickoff game will live on, at least for the next three seasons, just with a new sponsor. It is expected the new sponsor of the bowl game will take on the sponsorship of the kickoff game as well. Wake Forest will meet Notre Dame in the 2020 game, followed by East Carolina and Appalachian State in 2021 and South Carolina and North Carolina in 2023. No game is currently booked for 2022. UNC topped the Gamecocks in this season’s opener in the Belk College Kickoff, 24-20.

This season’s Belk Bowl is scheduled for Dec. 31.