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Report: NCAA, conferences spent at least $750K on lobbying

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NCAA president Mark Emmert and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby spent their Tuesday before Congress, getting hammered for all the wrongs of College Sports, Inc. Though the conversation at times veered into how long it takes for the NCAA to get anything done, how hard it is to get ESPN+ in rural West Virginia and how untrustworthy the NCAA establishment is, the purpose of Tuesday’s bludgeoning was to talk about the same thing Congress spends most of its time talking about: money, how it’s allocated and who controls the purse strings.

And, according to an Associated Press report that dropped Tuesday afternoon, the NCAA and the power conferences spend a lot of money making sure they get to keep all of it.

The NCAA itself spent $450,000 on lobbying — $240,000 on outside counsel and $210,000 on its in-house lobbyists — while the ACC spent $210,000, and the Big 12 spent $90,000 in the second half of 2019.

And if the ACC and Big 12 are spending six figures on lobbying, you can bet the SEC, the Big Ten and the Pac-12 paid up as well, though those figures remain dark.

That money is spent to push the establishment’s message, which is to keep the traditional power brokers in power.

“The NCAA is going to fight for the status quo,” Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players Association, told the AP.

“The NCAA has a permanent office in D.C. They have millions of dollars they can spend on lobbying and that’a very tough thing to fight. They’re a very powerful constituency,” said David Ridpath, interim president of the Drake Group, a nonprofit group that is bankrolling the effort on the Hill to grant college athletes their name, image and likeness rights. “I think we’re doing a pretty good job in Washington despite being the little engine that could.”

Tom McMillen, head of the Division I athletics directors’ lobbying group, gave exactly the quote you’d expect him to say: “You can have all the lobbyists in the world, but it doesn’t really make a difference,” he said. “This is a complicated process, getting something done through Congress in any kind of timely fashion.”

Lobbying is a gross but, somehow, accepted part of the American political system, so it’s not surprising that a billion dollar industry would hire representatives to push its message to Congress. But that the NCAA would do that to keep other people’s money out of its labor’s pockets is just, well, it’s gross.

 

Florida State DB A.J. Lytton, removed from Seminole roster last week, makes way into transfer portal

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One former member of the Florida State football program has taken the next step in finding a new collegiate home.

Last week, it was reported that A.J. Lytton is no longer consider a member of the Seminoles team.  A Florida State football official subsequently confirmed that the defensive back “has been removed from the team.”

No specific reason, including whether the separation was voluntary or involuntary, was given for Lytton’s removal from the roster.

Wednesday, 247Sports.com, citing an unnamed source, reported that Lytton has entered the NCAA transfer database.  Thursday, an official from the Florida State football program confirmed that the ex-Seminoles has entered Ye Olde Portal.

A four-star 2018 signee, Lytton was rated as the No. 3 recruit regardless of position in the state of Maryland.  He was also the No. 7 cornerback in the country.  Only one signee in FSU’s class that year, fellow defensive back Jaiden Woodbey, was rated higher than Lytton.

Over two seasons, Lytton played in a total of 22 games.  A dozen of those appearances came during the 2019 campaign.  He started one of those appearances, with that lone start coming this past season.

In those appearances, Lytton was credited with 28 tackles, two tackles for loss, two passes defensed, an interception and a forced fumble.  That lone interception came in a 2018 loss to Clemson.

With two-year starter Stanford Samuels III leaving the Seminoles early for the NFL, Lytton had been expected to compete for a starting corner job prior to his departure.

Lytton’s departure continues the expected Florida State football roster churn since Willie Taggart‘s firing and Mike Norvell‘s hiring.  Norvell will be taking over a program that has gone 11-14 the past two seasons.  That two-year stretch is the worst for the school since they went 8-14 in 1975-76.

Starting safety Nolan Turner knocked out of Clemson’s spring practice after surgery

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As Clemson football officially kicked off its quest to earn yet another spot in the College Football Player, there was some injury news to update when it comes to the 2019 national runners-up.

Wednesday, Clemson football held the first of what will be 15 spring practice sessions that will culminate in an April 4 spring game.  One key player who didn’t take the field was Nolan Turner.  According to Dabo Swinney, the senior safety underwent surgery on his right/arm shoulder earlier this offseason.

The specific nature of the medical procedure performed on Turner, who was seen viewing the goings-on with his right arm in a sling, wasn’t detailed.

“We went ahead and did a little surgery on Nolan so he’s going to be out,” the Clemson football head coach stated. “He could’ve gone through spring and we could’ve done it after spring… But he’s incredibly knowledgeable and knows what he’s doing. We felt like from a timing standpoint if we went ahead and did it he’d be ready for the start of May and really have a full summer. Having him out there this summer and leading skills and drills and all of that is important.”

After redshirting as a true freshman in 2016, Turner played in 43 games the past three seasons.  He started four of those contests, with all of those coming in 2019.  Given the departures at safety as well as his experience in the system, Turner is expected to start for Clemson football in 2020 when he gets healthy.

In his nearly four-dozen appearances, Turner has been credited with 124 tackles (5.5 for loss), 14 passes broken up, three interceptions (all in postseason play), a sack and a forced fumble

Turner is the son of Kevin Turner, who played with Swinney at Alabama.  The elder Turner died in March of 2016, shortly before his son arrived on the Clemson campus, after a courageous and inspirational battle with ALS.

Ex-TCU QB Trevone Boykin sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to beating girlfriend so bad her jaw was wired shut

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The next chapter of a former TCU football player’s tumultuous life will play out by bars.

Wednesday, Trevone Boykin was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to a pair of felonies related to aggravated assault and tampering with a witness.  He was also sentenced to 180 days in jail for theft of services and theft of property on charges unrelated to the assault.  The misdemeanors are related to his failure to pay for a hotel room in December; the former TCU football player has been in jail ever since that arrest.

In June of 2019, Boykin was arrested on one count each of aggravated assault of a family member with a deadly weapon and tampering with a witness.  In March of the year before, Boykin beat his girlfriend Shabrika Bailey so badly that she was hospitalized and had her jaw wired shut.

A member of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks at the time, Boykin was immediately cut.

These incidents continued what’s been a spate of legal issues in which Boykin has been involved over the past five years.

In December of 2015, Boykin was charged with, among other things, felony assault of a police officer following an incident outside of a San Antonio drinking establishment very early Thursday morning.  The altercation, which was preceded by Boykin skipping out of the team hotel following bed check, led to Boykin being suspended for the Alamo Bowl matchup with Oregon, leaving his teammates in a lurch and effectively ending his collegiate playing career.

Video of that incident subsequently surfaced.

After leaving the TCU football program, Boykin was arrested twice in an 11-game span in late March and early April of 2017.

In 2014, Boykin was named as the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year.  He remains the TCU football leader in career passing yards (10,728), passing attempts (1,356), pass completions (830) and touchdown passes (86).  In that 2014 season, he also set single-season team records for passing yards (3,901), touchdown passes (33), touchdowns responsible for (42) and total offense (4,608).

Pair of Oregon State assistants given additional titles

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It’s Oregon State football “Additional Title Week” in Corvallis.

Earlier this week, Jonathan Smith announced a pair of on-field assistants have been given additional duties.  Linebackers coach Trent Bray has assumed the title of assistant head coach.  Additionally, running backs coach Michael Pitre will assume the role of recruiting coordinator.

Obviously, both assistants will continue on in their on-field roles.

“Working with Coach Bray for over two years, I recognize the value in his wealth of experience makes him a great resource for me to bounce ideas off,” the Oregon State football head coach said in a statement. “I love his passion and the perspective he brings to our conversations. …

“Coach Pitre is a tremendous recruiter and his influence on our recruiting staff will provide great vision, direction, and growth.  He is exceptional and connecting with people and building relationships with coaches and young men.”

This past cycle, the Beavers pulled in the No. 9 recruiting class in the Pac-12 in 2020.  Prior to that, they were 10th in 2019 and 12th in 2018.

Pitre has been part of the Oregon State football coaching staff since 2018.  This was his first on-field job at the FBS level.  He did, though, begin his collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant at Colorado.

Pitre, who played his college football at UCLA, was the running backs coach at FCS Montana State (2014-17) prior to joining the Oregon State football program.

Bray, who played for Oregon State football, has also been at his alma mater since Smith took over in 2018.  This was his second stint with the Beavers as held the same job coaching linebackers from 2012-14.  In between those two Corvallis stops, he was at Nebraska from 2015-17.  From 2009-11, he was at Arizona State.

Taking over a one-win program, Smith won two games in 2018 and five in 2019.  That was the program’s most wins since hitting that same number in 2014.

Last month, it was reported that OSU is working on a contract extension for Smith.