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Amidst abuse allegations, Howard places Ron Prince on administrative leave

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In early October, Caylin Newton, brother of 2010 Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, announced on Twitter that he had decided to transfer from Howard.  A day later, a report surfaced in which Howard’s head coach, Ron Prince, was accused by anonymous parents of harassing, bullying and verbally and mentally abusing his football players since he arrived at the FCS program this past offseason.

One month after confirming that the allegations were under investigation, the university announced Wednesday night that Prince has been placed on administrative leave as the probe continues.

Howard University is committed to completing our internal investigation of the allegations involving concerns about the football program. As a result of our continuing investigation, the University has decided to place Head Football Coach Ron Prince on administrative leave effective immediately. Director of Football Operations Aaron Kelton will serve as the interim coach until further notice. Howard University is committed to ensuring our athletic programs reflect Howard’s core mission and values and to ensuring the well-being and success of all student-athletes.

The website HBCU Gameday reported in October that they had “been contacted by several parents of Howard football players who accuse Prince of being verbally abusive and intimidating to the student-athletes. Additionally, the website wrote at the time that “parents accused Prince of sending injured players home without treatment and creating an atmosphere of intimidation within the program by the constant threat of loss of scholarships.”

The site also published an anonymous letter that been sent to not only the university’s president and athletic director but also to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference as well as the NCAA.  In the letter, an unnamed parent described Prince as a “hostile and abusive head coach,” stating that “Prince has been threatening, hostile, abusive, and disrespectful of the young men and coaching staff at Howard University since his arrival.”

“The harassment, bullying, verbal, and mental abuse needs to STOP!” the letter continued. “He has demoralized, ridiculed, and threatened the players on the team since his arrival. …

“You hold all [student-athletes] to a very high standard, if there is an allegation about misconduct they are suspended and or removed from the team, and maybe from the institution. Why are coaches not held to the same standard when it comes to blatant disrespect and harassment of [student-athletes]?”

The letter also levies various accusations at Prince, including calling players “cowards” or “sorority sisters”; making church service attendance mandatory; a bizarre alleged threat of an FBI investigation over point-shaving; and telling players he knows someone in the locker room is gay and he wants them to come out because he wants to have the first openly homosexual player in the country.

“I know currently these are just allegations,” the parent wrote. “I sincerely hope that there is an investigation into what is being reported and that the hostile environment is addressed before a student has a mental breakdown or commits suicide because of this treatment.”

The 50-year-old Prince, who has steadfastly claimed he has no knowledge of the allegations, is in his first season as the head coach at Howard, with the Bison currently sitting with a 1-8 in a season that included a 79-0 loss to Maryland in the opener.

A longtime college football coach, Prince spent three years (2006-08) as the head coach at Kansas State after succeeding Bill Snyder following his first retirement.  This past season, Prince was an offensive analyst for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan.

Dave Doeren not impressed with Xavier Lyas’ decision to transfer from NC State

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We didn’t start the day with a portal post, but you knew the odds were favorable that we’d get one in sooner rather than later.

On his personal Twitter account over the weekend, North Carolina State’s Xavier Lyas announced that he has “decided to enter the transfer portal in order for me to reach my full potential both academically and football.”

The defensive end’s head coach, though, didn’t seem very impressed with Lyas’ decision. From Dave Doeren‘s Monday press conference, via Rivals.com:

When did you find out about Xavier Lyas and what does his departure kind of do to depth?

“He came in and see me saw me on Sunday. Wish him luck, rather talk about the guys that are here. Somebody put a great screenshot out today, though, that their girlfriend was in the portal, I thought that was pretty funny. It’s life, some of these kids don’t play as much as they want and how it goes.

“So as far as our depth will be fine. We got enough defensive ends we’ll be good.

Lyas was a three-star member of the Wolfpack’s 2017 recruiting class.  This season, Lyas is currently third in sacks with four and tied for third in tackles for loss 4½.  Additionally, his two forced fumbles are tops on the team.

Three Power Five WRs added to Biletnikoff watch list

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For the fourth time in a little over a month, a major college football honor is adding to its watch list.

This week, the Biletnikoff Award announced that it has added five wide receivers to its watch list, including three from Power Five schools and two from Group of Five programs.  Those included this go-around are Louisville’s Chatarius Atwell, Western Kentucky’s Lucky Jackson, Syracuse’s Trishton Jackson, Tennessee’s Jauan Jennings and San Jose State’s Tre Walker (pictured).

Below are each players’ statistical particulars for the 2019 season:

  • Atwell: 46 receptions for 810 yards, eight touchdowns
  • L. Jackson: 62-839-2
  • T. Jackson: 51-780-8
  • Jennings: 50-771-7
  • Walker: 59-896-1

Walker is currently 13th in the nation in receiving yards, Lucky Jackson 17th. The latter is also tied for 25th in receptions per game.

The Biletnikoff Award is handed out annually to the nation’s most outstanding FBS receiver. The Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation, which oversees the honor, stresses that “[a]ny player, regardless of position (wide receiver, tight end, slot back and running back) who catches a pass is eligible for the award.”

Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy was the 2018 winner of the award.  A wide receiver has won the award every year since it was first handed out in 1994, and all of the players added this week are listed as receivers.

Texas Tech intends to redshirt QBs Alan Bowman and Maverick McIvor

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A season that was derailed early on by injury concerns will now end with Alan Bowman redshirting the 2019 season. Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells confirmed on Monday Bowman will redshirt the remainder of the 2019 season to preserve a year of eligibility. The decision is not much of a surprise given the current status of the Red Raiders offense and Bowman’s injury history. Maverick McIvor, who has not appeared in a game this season due to an offseason foot injury, will also redshirt the remainder of the season.

In mid-September, Bowman was said to miss “several weeks” due to a shoulder injury. Although Bowman has now been medically cleared to play for the Red Raiders, the situation in Lubbock appears to be a good opportunity to protect the shoulder a little more unless absolutely needed. The decision to redshirt was Bowman’s, according to multiple reports, and Wells agreed that was in the best interest of all involved.

Bowman appeared in three games this season for the Red Raiders, leaving him one more game to play without jeopardizing a year of eligibility. Texas Tech could still play Bowman in one more game and not have this season count against his redshirt year under the NCAA’s revised redshirt rules from a year ago.

In his three games played, Bowman has completed 101 of 154 attempts for 1,020 yards and six touchdowns with three interceptions. Jett Duffey has led the offense in Bowman’s absence, and he has performed admirably with 1,774 yards and 10 touchdowns to just two interceptions over seven games.

McIvor is a freshman, so he will still have four years of eligibility beginning with the 2020 season.

Houston cornerback Ka’Darian Smith charged with aggravated assault

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Houston cornerback Ka’Darian Smith has been suspended by the football program after he was charged for aggravated assault for an incident occurring last week. Smith admitted to the assault to police and was released from jail after posting bond.

“We are aware of the serious allegations regarding Ka’Darian Smith,” a UH Athletics spokesperson said, according to The Daily Cougar. “He has been suspended indefinitely from the Houston football program. We will have no further comment at this time.”

According to police records, the incident leading to the charge occurred last Wednesday, Nov. 6. The alleged victim was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for injuries to the upper body and the head.

Smith responded to a tweet from Houston Chronicle reporter Joseph Duarte, there was more to the story about the alleged victim. According to Smith, the man broke into his room and was stealing from Smith.

How long Smith remains suspended may depend on how long the legal process takes to play out, which is fairly standard for incidents like these.