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College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on March 25, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Tyler Simmons now makes three Georgia players arrested for bar-related incidents in last month
THE SYNOPSIS: The wide receiver was arrested along with teammate and cornerback Tyrique Stevenson in the same incident after allegedly fighting with employees of an Athens drinking establishment.  Simmons was actually the fourth Bulldog football player arrested in a month as linebacker Jaden Hunter (driving on a suspended license) and defensive back Latavious Brini (simple battery) also found themselves on the wrong side of the law last month.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Four Texas Tech players arrested early Sunday morning
THE SYNOPSIS: Showing they were Georgia before Georgia, a quartet of Red Raiders found themselves in hot water following a disturbance outside of a Lubbock nightclub.  The four players were quarterback Jett Duffey, wide receiver Quan Shorts, defensive back Desmond Smith and linebacker Christian Taylor. Duffey and Taylor were booked on criminal mischief charges, Shorts and Smith on disorderly conduct charges.

THE HEADLINE: Report: Alabama, USC to open 2020 season in Dallas
THE SYNOPSIS: There was a flurry of Alabama-related scheduling news around this time two years ago, as we noted in part yesterday.  Two months later, it was confirmed that Alabama and USC will open the 2020 season at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex.  Provided there is a season to open, of course.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Former Michigan TE Jake Butt says college players should be able to cash in on likenesses
THE SYNOPSIS: Butt was very prescient as, more than two years later, the NCAA Board of Governors gave the unanimous go-ahead for athletes to profit off of their names, images and likenesses (NIL).  The Association is now looking to federal legislators to implement one-size-fits-all legislation that would trump state-by-state laws that vary in size and scope.

2016

THE HEADLINE: With raise, Florida’s Jim McElwain now SEC East’s highest-paid coach
THE SYNOPSIS: McElwain received a $750,000 raise that pushed his 2016 salary to $4.25 million, ahead of the $4.1 million paid to Tennessee’s Butch Jones.  In October of 2017, McElwain was given the boot by the Gators.  Two weeks after McElwain’s firing, Jones suffered the same fate.  And, for those who are curious, the highest-paid SEC East head coach in 2019 was Georgia’s Kirby Smart at $6.7 million.  At $8.7 million, Alabama’s Nick Saban was the highest-paid coach in the conference last year.

2015

THE HEADLINE: OSU looking into potential NCAA violation involving Braxton Miller
THE SYNOPSIS: Ohio State confirmed it was looking into the quarterback’s apparent endorsement of a weight loss and nutrition firm, which would’ve been a violation of NCAA bylaws.  After very briefly being ruled ineligible, the Buckeyes announced Miller’s eligibility had been restored as the NCAA closed the case.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Dr Pepper to serve as title sponsor of new CFP trophy
THE SYNOPSIS: The College Football Playoff officially replaced the BCS in 2014 as the system to determine a national champion.  In January of 2018, it was announced that Dr Pepper had extended its arrangement for six more years, running through the 2026 playoffs.

2013

THE HEADLINE: Sandusky: I don’t know if Paterno had suspicions
THE SYNOPSIS: You know the whole Jerry Sandusky-Joe Paterno-Penn State controversy, so no need to delve much further into it.  We’ll just leave this quote here.  For posterity. “If he (Paterno) absolutely thought I was (a pedophile), I’d say no,’’ the convicted creep said. “If he had a suspicion, I don’t know the answer to that.”

2011

THE HEADLINE: Get your creep on: 14-year-old QB phenom talks USC offer
THE SYNOPSISLane Kiffin, then the head coach at USC, made waves a year earlier by offering a 13-year-old quarterback a scholarship.  In March of 2011, that prospect, David Sills, stated in an interview that, among other things, he had attended meetings involving Trojan quarterbacks.  In 2015, Sills decommitted from USC and ultimately landed at West Virginia, where he starred as a record-breaking… wide receiver.

THE HEADLINE: Report: Tressel forwarded emails to Pryor’s mentor
THE SYNOPSIS:  Two months and five days after this report surfaced, and amidst the Tat-gate controversy involving multiple Buckeyes players, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, Jim Tresselresigned” as Ohio State’s head coach on Memorial Day.

2010

THE HEADLINE: FIU player stabbed to death
THE SYNOPSIS: Tragedy again struck the college football world as Florida International running back Kendall Berry was stabbed to death following an on-campus dispute.  Berry was stabbed following a verbal dispute turned violent and he died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

2009

THE HEADLINE: TERPS COACH-IN-WAITING GETS SUCCESSOR INSURANCE*
THE SYNOPSIS: It had been expected that James Franklin would take over as the head coach at Maryland when Ralph Friedgen stepped down.  Instead, Franklin accepted the head-coaching job at Vanderbilt in December of 2010, which was followed three days later by Friedgen being fired.

(*Yes, back in the day, we used to scream out our headlines at our readers in all-caps. The move to NBC a couple of months later mercifully ended that practice.)

QB Josh Adkins, a two-year starter at New Mexico State, tweets transfer to UTSA

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Already with a crowded quarterback room, UTSA has added another player at the position to its football roster.

In early March, Josh Adkins took the first step in leaving New Mexico State by entering his name into the transfer portal.  On Twitter nearly a month later, Adkins announced that he will be transferring into the UTSA football program.

As a graduate transfer, Adkins will be eligible to play immediately in 2020.  On top of that, he will have another year of eligibility he can use in 2021 as well.

A three-star 2017 signee, Adkins was rated as the No. 61 pro-style quarterback in the country.  Adkins was the highest-rated signee in the Aggies’ class that year.  He also took a redshirt for the 2017 season

Adkins was a two-year starter at New Mexico State.  In that span, the Spring Branch, Tex., native completed nearly 60 percent of his 830 passes.  He finished the NMSU portion of his career with 5,151 yards, 27 touchdowns and 24 interceptions.  He also scored four touchdowns on the ground and one through the air.

As noted earlier, Adkins will enter a crowded quarterback room when he officially joins the UTSA football team.  How crowded?  Dave Campbell’s Texas Football website explains:

With Adkins’ addition, the Roadrunners are set to have six quarterbacks on campus in the fall: Adkins, Frank Harris, Jordan Weeks, Lowell Narcisse, Suddin Sapien and 2020 recruit Cameron Peters. The first four have each started at least one college football game. Adkins is the first quarterback fully recruited by new coach Jeff Traylor.

Mississippi State player who didn’t take kindly to Mike Leach tweet enters transfer portal

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When he’s not lighting up Twitter, Mike Leach has been busy adding transfers to his Mississippi State football roster.  This week, Leach has lost one to Ye Olde Portal.  Possibly because of the Twitter machine.

Thursday, the Mississippi State football head coach sent out a tweet in which he apologized for anyone he offended in a previous tweet.  In the tweet in question, the caption read “After 2 weeks of quarantine with her husband, Gertrude decided to knit him a scarf..”  The picture attached to it?  An elderly woman knitting a noose.

A handful of Leach’s followers were offended by the tweet.  In response to Leach’s original tweet, Mississippi State football player Fabien Lovett wrote simply, “Wtf.”

Coincidentally or not, Lovett used his personal Twitter account a day later to announce that he has entered the NCAA transfer database.  The defensive lineman didn’t specifically cite Leach’s tweet as the trigger for his decision to leave the Mississippi State football team.

Lovett was a three-star 2018 signee.  He was rated as the No. 7 player regardless of position in the state of Mississippi.

The past two seasons, Lovett appeared in 15 games.  13 of those appearances came in 2019.  A year ago, the defensive end was credited with 19 tackles, 2½ tackles for loss and a sack.

Because he appeared in four or fewer games in 2018, Lovett was able to take a redshirt for that season.  That will leave the lineman with three years of eligibility.  However, he Will Likely have to sit out the 2020 campaign if he transfers to another FBS school.

Jan. 9, Leach was named the new head coach of the Mississippi State football team.  Since then, the Pirate has added at least four transfers.  All of which, incidentally, will come in from Power Five programs:

Florida A&M returns to Florida’s non-conference schedule with game in 2025

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Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin is looking to the future even if spring in the SEC has been put on pause as a result of the coronavirus.

Per FBS Schedules, the Gators have added Florida A&M to their 2025 non-conference football schedule on Oct. 11 of that year. The move completes that season’s slate and will interestingly result in UF featuring every non-conference game against an in-state opponent.

Yes, we’ll have a good idea of who is truly the Sunshine State champ for real come 2025.

In addition to the game against the FCS Rattlers, the Gators will host USF in Gainesville and play at Miami in late September. Their traditional season-ender against another team from Tallahassee in Florida State will take place on Nov. 29.

The all-Florida non-conference schedule comes just as the program has actually been trying to do the opposite. The Gators were long criticized for rarely venturing outside the state’s borders for non-league games but have changed their tune recently. This has resulted in big home-and-homes with Utah, California, Colorado, Texas and Arizona State among others.

In 2025 however, football will come a lot closer to home even with those long trips on the future docket.

Oregon AD, former CFP chair Rob Mullens joins growing list taking pay cuts

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You can add Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens to the growing list of people in college athletics taking pay cuts as the result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a story posted to the university’s website on Thursday, UO confirmed that Mullens would be joining 10 other vice presidents in taking a 10 percent pay cut for the next six months. School president Michael H. Schill also announced he would reduce his salary 12 percent for the same term.

“Simply put, we are all going to have to make sacrifices,” Schill said at a virtual town hall for faculty. “I am working hard with other administrators to try to preserve as many jobs and benefits as we can as we face uncertain economic times.”

Mullens is coming off a stint on the College Football Playoff Selection Committee and served as its chairman the past two years as the face of the weekly rankings.

The Ducks top boss is in the middle of a contract that runs through 2025 according to The Oregonian. Mullens is set to make $717,500 this year though it’s not known if he will no longer get his six-figure retention bonus due at the end of June. Given the state of finances at colleges across the country, we’re betting that likely gets deferred.

The pay cut for Mullens and others at Oregon is scheduled to last six months but the school noted that it’s possible they will continue through the end of the 2021 school year.

The move to slash salary is not limited to Eugene. Already we’ve seen Wyoming’s AD do the same and even larger across the board cuts be made at Iowa State.

Given the revenue shortfalls we’ve seen this spring and the potential for the COVID-19 to impact the football calendar, it seems likely these are just the first of many such announcements coming from schools across the country.