Vanderbilt
Getty Images

Malcolm Turner resigning after a year as Vanderbilt AD

2 Comments

Change is afoot once again when it comes to Vanderbilt athletics.

It was announced on Sept. 11, 2018, that trailblazing pioneer David Williams would be stepping down as the athletic director at Vanderbilt.  Feb. 1 of last year, Malcolm Turner officially took over for Williams, who passed away a month later.

One year and three days after taking over, Vandy announced that Turner has resigned as athletic director and vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs.  The resignation is effective immediately.

“We appreciate Malcolm’s service to the university in support of our student-athletes and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” interim Vanderbilt chancellor Susan R. Wente said in a statement. “We are grateful for the contributions he has made during his tenure.”

“In a year of change and transition, it’s been a privilege to be a Commodore and witness firsthand the transformative power of the intersection of higher education and athletics. Vanderbilt Athletics has accomplished a great deal during my time at Vanderbilt, and the university’s athletics program and student-athletes are poised for future success,” Turner said. “However, at the onset of this next critical phase of key Athletics initiatives and after considering certain family commitments important to me, I have elected to pursue new opportunities. I fully support what will surely be an exciting next chapter for Vanderbilt Athletics and wish the entire Vanderbilt family the very best going forward. Thank you.”

Three weeks after Turner officially stepped into the job, a contract extension for head football coach Derek Mason was announced.  In the midst of what turned out to be a 3-9 2019 campaign, Turner very strongly supported Mason’s return for 2020.

And then there’s this.  From Rivals.com:

Rumors have swirled for weeks over unhappiness between Turner and Vanderbilt. The source of much discontent was Turner’s spending.

Ex-athletic director David Williams left behind a “rainy day” fund that sources estimated at $17 million. Turner blew through that in less than a year on the job.

A source familiar with the inner workings inside Vanderbilt athletics, weeks ago, said that there had been a spending freeze and that the department was running “deficits on top of deficits on top of deficits.

Simultaneously to Turner’s resignation, Vanderbilt announced that Candice Storey Lee will take over as interim athletic director.  According to the school, Lee is Vanderbilt’s first female athletic director and the first African-American woman to head an SEC athletics program.

Lee played basketball at Vanderbilt, and is a three-time graduate of the university.  She has been involved in Vanderbilt athletics for nearly two decades, serving as deputy director since 2016.

“Candice embodies the Vanderbilt Way, which is our commitment to ensuring that student-athletes excel on the field of play, academically and in life,” Wente said. “Candice is a trailblazer. Her unparalleled work ethic, energy and vision, and steadfast commitment to the Commodore family, will only build on our momentum.”

Adam Schefter: ‘strong conviction’ among people in the sport there will be college football this season

college football
Getty Images
1 Comment

It appears a pair of highly-criticized college football coaches have some company. Anonymous company, but company nonetheless.

Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy was roundly criticized when he argued that college coaches should get back to the business of football May 1, with players following shortly thereafter. Clemson’s Dabo Swinney took numerous shots when he very boldly claimed there’s no doubt the college football season would start on time.

OSU was forced to publicly address the kerfuffle kicked up by Gundy. An unapologetic Swinney, meanwhile, defended his faith-based opinion.

Thursday, however, an ESPN NFL insider offered additional optimism. In a tweet, Adam Schefter wrote that “there is a ‘strong conviction’ there will be college football this season.”

Below is the full text of Schefter’s tweet:

Speaking to people in and around college football this week, there is “strong conviction” there will be college football this season. Uncertainty about when – multiple scenarios being debated – but they sound certain there still will be college football this season.

As is the case will of these types of opinions, though, there’s no timeline attached to it.  Nor should there be, at least at this point.

At this point, it’s decidedly uncertain when the 2020 college football season will start. Or if it will even start, despite Schefter’s positive missive. There’s chatter that it could start in October, although one Bay Area health official doesn’t expect sports to return until at least Thanksgiving. January has been floated as a possibility as well. So has the spring of next year.

Playing games with no fans has also been tossed around. More than one prominent athletic director, though, has tossed cold water on such a plan. Fan-less games would very likely be an absolute, utter Hail Mary of a last resort to salvage some semblance of a season.

We’ve said myriad times before and we’ll continue to say it: The only certainty in all of this is that everyone involved in the sport will go to extreme lengths to ensure that a season is played in some form or fashion. Head coaches, though, will be far down on the list of people who will determine when a season starts. Or even if it does.

Justin Fields takes veiled shot at ex rival Tate Martell

Getty Images
1 Comment

Justin Fields hasn’t said much about Tate Martell since enrolling at Ohio State. Actions speak louder than words, after all, and 51 touchdowns says plenty all on its own. But that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten.

Martell, of course, was an Ohio State quarterback before Fields, and all but challenged Fields’ manhood to come in and try to take the job Martell viewed was his.

“[W]ord of advice: don’t swing and miss… especially not your second time,” Martell tweeted on Dec. 22, 2018.

“Why would I leave for somebody who hasn’t put a single second into this program yet?” Martell later said. “I’ve put two years of working my ass off into something that I’ve been praying for and dreaming of my whole life. To just run from somebody that hasn’t put a single second into workouts or anything like that and doesn’t know what the program is all about, there’s not a chance.”

Two weeks later, Martell was in the transfer portal.

So, yes, Fields hasn’t said much, because he hasn’t had to. Fields led Ohio State to a Big Ten title and a College Football Playoff berth in 2019; Martell led Miami to seven passing yards.

But, on Tuesday, Fields reminded Martell that he still remembers that since-deleted tweet.

Fields won the battle with Martell a long time ago. Won it before it even began, actually. But Tuesday’s tweet was a nice victory lap, 15 and a half months in the making.

Louisville assesses pay cuts for all head coaches, senior athletics staff

Getty Images
2 Comments

On Thursday, Louisville followed Iowa State’s lead in implementing pay cuts for all 21 of its head coaches plus its senior athletics department staff.

AD Vince Tyra told WDRB the cuts are necessary to make up for $2.1 million in lost revenue from the canceled ACC and NCAA tournaments, plus anticipated losses from the football season.

“We’re looking at everything,” Tyra said. “There’s nothing that’s not on the table to me. You have to (look at every expense). When I got into this job (in 2017) I had no idea I was going to have to use my business skills as much as I have.”

WDRB reported Louisville’s four highest-paid coaches agreed to salary cuts on Friday. The head coaches plus Tyra and 12 senior staffers will say goodbye to 10 percent of their salaries. For head Cardinal football coach Scott Satterfield, that means a drop of $325,000 from his $3.25 million salary.

Tyra will slash $85,000 off his $850,000 salary. He’ll also forgo bonuses due to him both this and next June.

Tyra also said the department is looking to cut its budget by bussing to games eight hours or fewer from campus, which figures to affect other sports more than football. Peering ahead to Louisville’s 2020 schedule, that could mean bus trips to Clemson on Sept. 12 (a 7-hour drive, per Google Maps), Virginia on Nov. 7 (7 hours, 30 minutes) and Notre Dame on Nov. 21 (4 hours), though that may prove to be one of those things where Tyra is talking to other U of L head coaches more than Satterfield.

Louisville is implementing such efforts to avoid cutting any of its 21 sports. One aspect not helping see-saw the budget in the right direction, according to Tyra: the $14 million buyout the school owes Bobby Petrino.

Colorado State losing LB Trey Sutton to transfer portal

Colorado State football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

If you had Colorado State as the next participant in the spinning of “Ye Olde College Football Transfer Portal Wheel of Future Fortune,” collect your winnings. Which is essentially a cyber pat on ye olde back.  Congrats?

As most of the cool transfers are doing these days, Trey Sutton utilized Twitter to announce he’s made the first move in leaving the Colorado State football team by entering his name into the NCAA transfer database. The linebacker stated that he will be leaving the Rams as a graduate transfer.

That means Sutton would be eligible to play immediately at another FBS school immediately in 2020. He also claims he will have another season of eligibility he could use in 2021 as well.

That, of course, means he was granted a sixth season of eligibility at some point by the NCAA.

Sutton was a three-star member of the Colorado State football Class of 2016. The Florida product took a redshirt for his true freshman season.

After playing in four games in 2017, Sutton saw action in a career-high 12 the following year. He started three of those contests. Those were the only starts of his collegiate career thus far.

Interestingly, Sutton didn’t see the field at all in 2019.

Colorado State will be under new leadership this fall as Steve Addazio was hired as the program’s new head football coach. Addazio replaces Mike Bobo, who was fired earlier that month.