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College Football Hall of Fame damaged amidst protests in Atlanta overnight

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In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, protests have erupted across the country.  Overnight, those protests hit the home for college football history.

A peaceful protest in Atlanta Friday turned violent later in the night as many numerous businesses in the city were vandalized and looted.  According to myriad media outlets, one of those that suffered damage was the College Football Hall of Fame.

Fortunately, one of the reports stated, “none of the artifacts or history memorabilia was damaged… just the glass in front of the store.” One report, though, described the hall as being “destroyed.”

“First and foremost, our hearts go out to the friends and family of George Floyd,” College Football Hall of Fame CEO Kimberly Beaudin said in a statement. “We support the peaceful protests that honor his memory but unfortunately they deteriorated into chaos and disorder. We are heartbroken to see the damage to our city and the Hall of Fame. As our Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said, we are better than this, better than this as a city, and better than this as a country.

“In the coming days and weeks, we’ll work to pick up the pieces, to build back the sacred walls that housed memories and honored those who played the game many of whom fought these same injustices throughout their storied careers.”

Lovie Smith’s glorious beard is no more as Illinois head coach shaves facial greatness

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Long live the Lovie Smith beard.

Up until last season, arguably one of the best things about the Illinois football program was Lovie Smith in general and his beard specifically.  For the better part of three years, it was the envy of all face-follicly-challenged head coaches.  Its genesis?  As greatness ofttimes is, a man’s better half.

“I never shaved much during the summer, before seasons started,” Smith told the Washington Post in October of last year. “Two summers ago, I let it grow out for a while, and my wife said to me: ‘I love it. Don’t ever shave it.’ So I guess I won’t.”

And, if you need another visual refresher as to the bearded splendor…

Sadly, that era of facial greatness has come to an end.  On Twitter Wednesday, Illinois revealed that the flush-with-white mane of glory that was Smith’s beard is no more.

(I’ll give you a moment to compose yourself.)

(You good?  Good.)

In the first three seasons under Lovie Smith, the beard was about the only thing to celebrate.  From 2016-18, the Fighting Illini went 9-27.  In 2019, however, they won six games and appeared in a bowl for the first time since 2014.

Smith and the Illini have also been killing it on the transfer portal front.

In mid-March, ex-Alabama linebacker Christian Bell tweeted that he was moving on to the Illini. Shortly thereafter, we noted that an FCS All-American offensive lineman had opted to transfer into the Illinois football program. New Mexico State wide receiver Desmond Dan did the same.  As did Miami wide receiver Brian Hightower.  And Mississippi State offensive lineman Brevyn Jones in early May  And Louisville defensive back TreSean Smith (HERE) and Cal defensive tackle Chinedu Udeogu (HERE) in mid-May as well.

NCAA extends recruiting dead period through July 31; The Association will also allow strength coaches to ‘virtually observe voluntary physical workouts’

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Not surprisingly, the NCAA has reset its recruiting trail policies.  Again.

As the coronavirus pandemic effectively shuttered the sports world, the NCAA announced in mid-March that it was putting a halt to all in-person recruiting until at least April 15.  Last month, that dead period was extended through May 31.  This month, another extension took us to June 30.

As we close in on the month of June, another extension is official.  As expected, the NCAA announced Wednesday evening that the recruiting dead period has been extended through July 31.  That means all in-person recruiting activities — either on-campus or elsewhere — are prohibited.

The latest edict impacts all sports, not just football.

“The extension maintains consistent recruiting rules for all sports and allows coaches to focus on the student-athletes who may be returning to campus,” said Division I Council Coordination Committee chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania, said in a statement. “The committee is committed to reviewing the dead period again in late June or early July.”

One potential effect of all of these dead-period extension bans?  It could force The Association to, for one year, temporarily get rid of the December Early Signing Period.

The NCAA earlier this month also announced that football programs could begin bringing players back to campus for voluntary workouts starting June 1.  In the dead-period release, The Association also updated its tack on that front:

Additionally, the committee decided to allow strength and conditioning coaches to virtually observe voluntary physical workouts for health and safety purposes but only if requested by the student-athlete. The measure goes into effect June 1. The strength and conditioning coach will be allowed to observe the workouts and discuss items related to voluntary workouts but not direct or conduct the workout.

The decision was supported by the Committee on Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports Prevention and Performance Subcommittee. The subcommittee encouraged schools that decide to allow their strength and conditioning coaches to observe voluntary workouts to proactively consider the school’s overarching responsibility to protect the health of and provide a safe environment for each student-athlete. More specifically, the subcommittee stressed that schools should plan for how the strength and conditioning coach should respond if they observe an unsafe workout environment or in the event that a medical emergency occurs during a voluntary session.

The committee will continue to explore the opportunity for strength and conditioning coaches to conduct voluntary workouts virtually, as they do during in-person, on-campus voluntary workouts.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including Art Briles being dismissed as the head coach at Baylor

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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 that stretch back to 2009 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 May 26, 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 college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Ex-Ohio State coach Urban Meyer downplays USC rumors: ‘I think I’m done’
THE SYNOPSIS: Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart attempted to recruit Meyer to the Trojans.  USC, though, reportedly told athletic director candidates that the coach wouldn’t be an option.  In the end, the university left the college football program in the hands of Clay Helton.  For now.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Two Illinois players charged with theft for relocating deer sculpture
THE SYNOPSIS: Those wild and wacky college kids.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Chip Kelly’s new ESPN gig could be pit stop back to college sideline
THE SYNOPSIS: Six months later, Kelly was hired by UCLA.  In two seasons with the Bruins, Kelly has gone 7-17 overall. He’s also 7-11 in Pac-12 play.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Baylor dismisses Art Briles as Bears’ head football coach
THE SYNOPSIS: Briles was ousted over his handling of allegations involving sexual assault allegedly committed by a handful of football players.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Clemson’s Dabo Swinney in the middle of LGBT issue
THE SYNOPSIS: Unbelievably, this post kicked up quite the ruckus in the comments section.  And Twitter.

2013

THE HEADLINE: Everett Golson apologizes for ‘poor academic judgment,’ vows Irish return
THE SYNOPSIS: Golson was suspended for the entire 2013 season for academic misconduct.  He then returned to Notre Dame for the 2014 season.  Only to ultimately transfer to Florida State.

2011

THE HEADLINE: Ex-Buckeye WR Ray Small doesn’t ‘see why it’s a big deal’ players sold rings, got car deals
THE SYNOPSIS: Quite fitting, on the verge of the NIL era in college football.

Big Ten announces Football Media Days won’t take place as scheduled

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Count the Big Ten as the next Power Five shot to drop.

In late April, the MWC announced that the conference will hold its Football Media Days virtually instead of in-person.  A day later, the MAC announced that its Football Media Days will be virtual as well.  Then, May 4, the AAC confirmed it will be doing the same.  The next day, it was ditto for Conference USA.

May 6, the Big 12 became the first Power Five to go virtual for Media Days.  The Pac-12 quickly followed suit.  Friday, the Big Ten did the inevitable as well.

In a release, the B1G announced that its Football Media Days and Kickoff Luncheon will not be held as scheduled.  The event had been scheduled to take place July 22-23 in Chicago.

“[Media Days] will not be held as scheduled in order to ensure the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans, partners and media,” the release stated. “The Conference will continue to monitor developing information and continue to consult with medical experts to determine the appropriate dates and format for our annual event.”

As for other FBS conference’s Media Days? Those are still to be determined. It’s expected, though, all others will eventually follow suit.

Below, though, is the current schedule for each FBS league:

AAC — Virtual, to be determined
ACC — July 22-23, Charlotte, North Carolina
Big Ten — Virtual, to be determined
Big 12 — Virtual, to be determined
Conference USA — Virtual, to be determined
MAC — Virtual, to be determined
MWC — Virtual, to be determined
Pac-12 — Virtual, to be determined
SEC — July 13-16, Atlanta, Georgia
Sun Belt — July 28-29, New Orleans, Louisiana