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Rutgers fires head coach Chris Ash after 1-3 start in 2019

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We have our first head coach fired for the 2019 season and we’re not even into the month of October.

Rutgers confirmed reports on Sunday that the school has let go of head coach Chris Ash, just hours after the team was blown out by Michigan 52-0 in Ann Arbor.

“We appreciate Chris’s dedicated efforts on behalf of our football program, our department and our University,” said AD Pat Hobbs in a release. “This change is especially difficult because of the steadfast commitment that Chris and his family have made to our student-athletes. Progress has been achieved in many areas, but, unfortunately, that progress has not been realized on the field of play. As such, it is in the best interest of the program to make a change.”

Terms of Ash’s buyout were not released but NJ.com says that the school owes roughly $8.47 million as part of the contractual agreement  with the now-former head coach.

Ash’s departure was surprising only in its timing as he entered 2019 on one of the hottest seats in the country. Faced with one of the most difficult jobs in the Power Five, he compiled an 8-32 record overall in Piscataway and a 3-26 mark in Big Ten play.

The school also announced that offensive coordinator John McNulty was relieved of his duties as well. Tight ends coach Nunzio Campanile will serve as Interim Head Coach for the remainder of the season.

Already there’s been speculation that a possible reunion with former head coach Greg Schiano could be in the cards for the Scarlet Knights though it’s still too early to say what direction the upcoming coaching search will take under Hobbs. One thing is for sure, whoever takes over for Ash on a permanent basis will face one of the biggest rebuilding jobs in all of FBS.

Ex-Houston safety Earl Foster killed in shooting

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Houston is the latest college football program to be hit with a tragedy involving a current or former player.

Citing a source with knowledge of the situation, Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle has reported that Earl Foster (pictured, right) was killed in an East Houston shooting Tuesday night. According to the report, Foster was found dead outside of a gas station.

Duarte also wrote that “[a] female companion was transported to a local hospital in critical condition.”

The shooting reportedly happened somewhere other than the gas station. “The vehicle arrived at the gas station and asked for help,” the report stated.

As of this posting, no arrests have been made. The shooting remains under investigation by the Houston Police Department.

Foster, a three-star prospect coming out of Lamar High School in Houston, was a safety for the Houston football team from 2012-15. He appeared in 49 games for the Cougars. All of his action came in a reserve role or on special teams.

The Houston football program expressed sadness over Foster’s death.

Craig Naivar, who was Foster’s position coach in 2015, posted on Twitter his sadness over the development.

“The relationships & bonds built thru competition, the grind & fellowship last forever,” the new USC safeties coach wrote. Very saddened today to hear of the loss of one of our brothers. Please keep Earl & his family close you your hearts, in your thoughts & prayers, Love you buddy.”

Oregon expected to land Boston College grad transfer QB Anthony Brown

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A very experienced player who could replace Justin Herbert has been added to the Oregon football roster.  Reportedly.

In mid-December, Anthony Brown took the first step in leaving Boston College by placing his name into the NCAA transfer database.  Four months later, the quarterback is ready to take the next step as Yahoo Sports! is reporting that Brown is set to be added to the Oregon football roster.

As a graduate transfer, Brown would be eligible to play for the Oregon football team in 2020.  The upcoming season would serve as his final year of eligibility.

In mid-October, Brown suffered a knee injury that was serious enough to sideline him for the remainder of the 2019 season.  He also saw his redshirt freshman season in 2017 cut short because of a knee injury.

In between the twin knee injuries, Brown had started 18 straight games under center for the Eagles — 12 in 2018, six in 2019.  All told, he started 28 games during his time with the ACC school.

Brown, whose decision to transfer came a week or so after head coach Steve Addazio was fired, will apparently finish his time at BC with 4,738 yards, 40 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in completing nearly 55 percent of his 680 pass attempts.  he also ran for 421 yards and another four touchdowns.

Oregon currently has three quarterbacks on its football roster.  Those are redshirt sophomore Tyler Shough, redshirt freshman Cale Millen and true freshman Jay Butterfield.  Shough is the only one in that group who has actually attempted a pass at the collegiate level.  As Herbert’s primary backup in 2019, Shough completed 12-of-15 passes for 144 yards and three touchdowns.

Butterfield was a four-star member of the Oregon football Class of 2020.  The California high schooler was rated as the No. 5 pro-style quarterback in the country in this year’s class.  He’s widely viewed as as the quarterback of the future for the Ducks.

Iowa State announces one-year, temporary reductions in pay, bonuses for coaches

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Iowa State is the first FBS athletic department to address the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.  They certainly, though, won’t be the last.

Because of the crisis, there are growing fears that the 2020 college football season could be canceled.  While all options are being considered, a complete cancellation of the season would have a steep impact on the financial bottom line of most FBS schools, especially those in the Group of Five.

Because of previous revenue streams in the tens of millions, a Power Five program would be better equipped to handle such a development.  One Power Five school, though, is getting ahead of the cash-cow spigot that is college football potentially being shut off.  In a letter posted Wednesday night, Iowa State athletic director Scott Pollard unveiled “several initiatives that we are implementing in the athletics department to best prepare for, both the known and the unknown, financial challenges that we will be facing soon.”

For our audience, the most noteworthy initiative involves coaches’ pay.  That one-year reduction will save the athletic department — Pollard made sure to note the department “is funded almost entirely by external sources” — in excess of $3 million.  Additionally, bonuses for coaches have been suspended.  That move will save in the neighborhood of $1 million

From the release:

  1. A one-year, temporary pay reduction for athletics department coaches and certain staff. This comprehensive plan will reduce total payroll by more than $3M.
  2. A one-year, temporary suspension of all bonuses/incentives for all coaches. This decision will save the department $1M.
  3. Delaying (from January 2021 to January 2022) a previously announced increase in Cyclone Club annual giving levels. The delay will save donors approximately $2.5M for required seating donations.
  4. A freeze on season / individual game ticket prices for all sports.
  5. An extension to the deadline for this year’s Cyclone Club donations and football season ticket renewals to May 29, 2020.
  6. Providing multiple payment options for season tickets and donations. Those required payments can be made monthly, quarterly or semi-annually.

In December of last year, and amidst rumors of other job opportunities, Iowa State announced a contract extension for head football coach Matt Campbell.  His $3.6 million in salary was sixth among Big 12 head coaches in 2019.

At this point, it’s unclear how much Campbell’s pay will be reduced.

Michigan State equipment manager sewing facemasks to help fight against COVID-19

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The need for facemasks in the country has never been so high, and many are attempting to chip in and help produce as many a possible. Among those taking action to produce facemasks for those who need them is Michigan State head equipment manager Andrew Kolpacki. Kolpacki, with his friends, has been spending time learning how to make facemasks suitable for those working in high-risk jobs fighting COVID-19, and he is committed to making the facemasks for as long as he is in isolation.

“Sewing is used in football equipment we usually are repairing jerseys but obviously without being on the football field right now for spring football we can use that skill that we’ve developed and put it towards good use,” Kolpacki said in a story published by WLNS.

According to the report, Kolpacki and two of his friends have produced around 100 masks while working about four hours a day. The masks are being distributed to local health care workers, nursing homes, and family and friends.

Every little bit helps in times like these, especially with medical facilities sometimes having to scramble just to find facemasks, and others preserving the facemasks they do have so they can be sure masks are available when treating patients with coronavirus symptoms.

They learned how to make the facemasks by watching videos on YouTube, as anyone can do these days. And Kolpacki, whose mother is a nurse, has his own sewing machine, so he was ready to step into action.