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Alabama blocking GRAD TRANSFER Brandon Kennedy from SEC schools

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Ridiculous, asinine, petty, you name it.  Again.

After leaving Alabama as a graduate transfer in June of 2016, Maurice Smith‘s intended transfer to Georgia was initially blocked by UA before both the school and the SEC relented. Fast-forward nearly two years, and Brandon Kennedy, who earlier this month decided to take the grad transfer route out of ‘Bama, is being barred by his former university from transferring to any school in the conference, al.com is reporting

Specifically, the website reported that the offensive lineman is interested in a transfer to rivals Auburn and Tennessee. Kennedy, who received his bachelor’s degree from the university last December, is appealing the inane restrictions.

In addition to the intra-conference restrictions placed on the graduate transfer, Kennedy, who has two years of eligibility remaining, is also barred from transferring to seven of the eight schools on UA’s non-conference schedule the next two years — Arkansas State, Duke, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisville, New Mexico State, Southern Miss and The Citadel. Kennedy will be allowed, for whatever reason, to play for FCS Western Carolina, which is nice.

In granting Smith’s 2016 request for a waiver, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey noted that, “among other contributing factors, that a student-athlete who graduates in three years and exhibits a strong commitment to his or her academic future provides compelling motivation to help them achieve their goals on and off the field.”

Kennedy enrolled in classes at UA in the summer of 2016 and graduated a little over three years later.

Since last summer, two players have transferred within the SEC. In June of 2017, running back David Williams moved from South Carolina to Arkansas. Earlier this month, defensive back Nick Harvey left Texas A&M and chose South Carolina over, among others, Auburn and Tennessee.

Both Williams and Harvey left their former schools as graduate transfers.

And then there’s this: Chris Black, who announced his decision to transfer from Alabama in December of 2016, landed at Missouri as a graduate transfer in February of 2017 — without Nick Saban or the university blocking his move to the SEC East school.

Arkansas State to make $1.8 million for 2020 Michigan game

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The cost of doing nonconference scheduling business continues to rise.

The latest example of that burgeoning phenomenon is Michigan. In March of this year, U-M announced that it had canceled a future home-and-home series with Virginia Tech and replaced the 2020 Tech game with one against Arkansas State.

According to the game contract obtained by mlive.com, U-M will pay the Sun Belt Conference school a whopping $1.8 million for the Sept. 19, 2020, game in Ann Arbor. When the $375,000 cancellation fee paid to Virginia Tech is factored in, that date on the 2020 calendar will cost the U-M athletic department nearly $2.2 million.

A new opponent for the second game against Tech, scheduled for Blacksburg in 2021, has yet to be announced.

The Big Ten and Sun Belt schools, incidentally, have never met before in football.  U-M’s most recent game against a team from the SBC came in 2014 against Appalachian State — no, not that Mountaineers team.

Arkansas, Arkansas State football stadiums exempt from concealed handgun law

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As expected, some sense of sanity has prevailed.

In mid-March of last year, the state of Arkansas legislature passed a law (House Bill 1249) that would allow concealed-carry handguns on publicly-owned property, which would include college sporting events. A day later, and after realizing, amidst considerable controversy, the potential for alcohol-fueled fans to attend an SEC football game armed, the state’s Senate voted to amend the law to exclude college sporting events; the amended version of the bill was supported by both the SEC (Arkansas) and the Sun Belt (Arkansas State).

Tuesday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported, the Arkansas State Police approved plans to exempt those two university’s football stadiums from the new law.

From the Democrat-Gazette‘s report:

Eight schools have had plans approved by Arkansas State Police that allow their sports facilities to be exempted from the law enacted last year allowing concealed handgun licensees to carry at college campuses and other locations if they undergo additional training. Nearly 1,000 people have received the enhanced licenses since training began earlier this year.

Prompted by complaints from the Southeastern Conference and other groups, Arkansas lawmakers voted to exempt college sporting events if the schools have a security plan approved by state police.

Arkansas State latest to dip into FCS coaching pool

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Bowling Green did it, and now Arkansas State is doing it as well.

The “it” is dipping into the FCS coaching ranks for a new assistant, with the Sun Belt Conference school announcing that Chris Buckner has been hired by Blake Anderson. Buckner will serve as outside wide receivers coach for the Red Wolves.

This will be Buckner’s first coaching stint at the FBS level.

Buckner spent the past two seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Western New Mexico. Prior to that, he spent two seasons (2014-15) as the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at North Carolina Central.

Buckner, who played his college football at New Mexico State, began his coaching career at Jackson State in 2010.

Miami reportedly sued Arkansas State before being sued by Arkansas State

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It seems the legal battle between Miami and Arkansas State over a game that was never played has another layer of the onion to peel away. Before Arkansas State filed a lawsuit against the University of Miami over the cancellation of a regular season game last year, it was reportedly the University of Miami that fired off the first lawsuit in the back-and-forth.

According to A-State Nation, Miami filed a lawsuit against Arkansas State on February 13, two days prior to Arkansas State following through on its threat of pursuing legal action against the Hurricanes over the scheduling conflict. The lawsuit filed by Miami seeks to get out of the scheduling contract previously agreed to due to Arkansas State claims Miami presented Arkansas State with alternative dates in the future but Arkansas State refused to agree to either alternate date. Arkansas State, Miami claims, demanded the game at Arkansas State be played on earlier dates that were not available for Miami.

Miami also claims there was no requirement in the contract to reschedule any makeup date within a certain time frame. Miami presented options to play the game at Arkansas State in 2024 or 2025, but Arkansas State demanded the game be rescheduled in 2020 or 2021.

“ASU’s demands are unjustified and unlawful,” Miami claims in the lawsuit. “ASU has not indicated that it is unavailable or unable to play [the makeup game] on the Available Game 2 Dates.”

It would be nice if the two schools could settle on scheduling a makeup game in the future without having to resort to such legal methods, but it is also understandable why each would choose to go down these paths. Arkansas States wanted to do whatever it takes to get Miami to make their trip to Jonesboro for a football game, because it would be a huge game on the Arkansas State home schedule. From Miami’s point of view, distancing themselves from such a game in the future makes sense, because playing a road game at Arkansas State in the first place offered little incentive to Miami in the first place.