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Pitt announces death of College Football Hall of Famer Johnny Majors

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In Johnny Majors, the sport has lost another legendary head coach.

Monday, Pat Dye died at 80.  Wednesday, Pitt has confirmed that Johnny Majors died at 85.

A native of Lynchburg, Tenn., Majors played his college football at the University of Tennessee from 1953-56.  His senior season, he was runnerup in the 1956 Heisman Trophy voting.  He began his coaching career at his alma mater, first as a graduate assistant (1957) and then as a backfield coach (1958-59).

Majors’ first head-coaching job came at Iowa State, where he spent five seasons with the Cyclones.  He led ISU to its first-ever bowl win in 1971.  Majors then moved on to Pitt, coaching the Panthers for four years (1973-76).  In his last year at the school, the Panthers claimed the 1976 national championship.  That’s the last title claimed by Pitt.

From there it was back to his UT as Majors served as the head coach of the Volunteers from 1977-92.  In those 16 seasons, Majors compiled 116-62-8 record.  The Vols won three SEC championships (1985, 1989, 1990) in that span.

Majors and his alma mater parted ways in the middle of the 1992 season.  It has long been rumored that his replacement, Phillip Fulmer, helped push the coach out the door.

Following that split, Majors returned to Pitt for four more seasons on the sidelines.  All told, Majors compiled a 185-137-10 lifetime record as a head football coach.  In 1987, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame for his exploits as a player.

After his coaching days were over, Majors served as the assistant athletic director and chancellor at Pitt until 2007.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including Mack Brown in 2017 not ruling out a return to coaching ‘if the right situation came up’

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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 June 1, 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: Big 12 distributes record $38.8 million
THE SYNOPSIS: That’s per school.  And, this year, that number has dropped because of the coronavirus pandemic.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Despite first-round potential in MLB Draft, Lincoln Riley expects Kyler Murray to be Sooners QB
THE SYNOPSIS: Murray was indeed selected in the first round of the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft.  The ninth player selected, in fact.  Murray, though, remained true to the Sooners.  And claimed the Heisman Trophy later that year.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Bill Snyder confirms, defends decision to limit transferring WR’s options
THE SYNOPSIS: The legendary Kansas State head coach was usually the classiest guy in college football.  This wasn’t one of those times.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Mack Brown not ruling out a return to coaching ‘if the right situation came up’
THE SYNOPSIS: In November of 2018, Brown indeed returned.  To both coaching and North Carolina.  And he’s been killing it both on and off the field.

2015

THE HEADLINE: UAB football to be reinstated and return to C-USA play… eventually
THE SYNOPSIS: The program was shuttered the previous December.  It officially returned in 2017.   A year later, the Blazers won the Conference USA championship.  And claimed their first-ever bowl win.

2012

THE HEADLINE: SEC unanimously supports top-four playoff model
THE SYNOPSIS: Obviously, this was the model the College Football Playoff went with.  The SEC has won three (Alabama 2015, 2017; LSU 2019) of the CFP title games.  Clemson has won two, while Ohio State won the inaugural one.

2011

THE HEADLINE: Maize & blue t-shirt mocks Jim Tressel’s demise
THE SYNOPSIS: Michigan fans took great glee in the resignation of the Sweatervest. “Vest in peace,” the t-shirt read. On an unrelated note, Tressel went 9-1 vs. U-M.  All told, Ohio State has won 18 of the last 19 meetings in the rivalry.

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.”

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.

Iowa State reveals it would limit Jack Trice Stadium to half-capacity this fall

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Thanks to Iowa State, we have yet another tangible sign that there will quite possibly be a 2020 college football season.  Maybe.  Possibly.

In a message to fans of the Cyclones, Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard stated that he and the university “fully anticipate playing football this fall.” In fact, “[a]s of today, we fully anticipate playing football in Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 5.,” Pollard wrote.

That was in response to the question of whether football will be played this fall.  When it comes to fans in the stands?  Pollard revealed that Iowa State home football games would be played at about of the capacity at Jack Trice Stadium.  The home of the Cyclones officially holds 61,500.  Per Pollard, the university is “planning as though the capacity of our stadium would be limited to 30,000 spectators.”

And, just how will the university determine who gets in?  And who gets shut out?  From the letter:

As of today, approximately 22,000 season tickets have been renewed for this fall. That leaves us approximately 8,000 seats to be filled. Because we need to make plans to accommodate those fans who will be allowed into the stadium (based on state and local guidelines), we have decided to implement the following:

  1. Any fan who does not renew their season tickets and make their Cyclone Club donation by June 12, 2020, will not be provided the opportunity to attend any games this fall unless it is later decided that we can safely exceed the 50% capacity restriction.

  2. The only fans who will have the opportunity to be in the stadium this fall are those who renew their season tickets and their required Cyclone Club donation (if applicable) by June 12, 2020. If you have not done so already, please contact our staff ASAP to complete those processes. +Renew Now

  3. Because we expect to reach the 50% capacity limitation through season ticket sales, we do not anticipate selling single-game tickets unless the capacity limits are raised.

  4. Any season ticket holder who does not renew their season tickets for 2020 will continue to have first rights on their same seats for 2021. We believe it is very important to honor prior loyalty, as there may be some fans who are not comfortable attending games this fall or are experiencing financial challenges.

  5. Any season ticket holder who renews their season tickets but later decides they are not comfortable attending games this fall because of COVID-19 may request a refund of their season ticket purchase or defer the purchase of their season ticket to the 2021 season.

The university’s game-day mitigation strategies and measures that will be implemented will be unveiled at a later date.  Iowa State had previously confirmed that its coaches, including head football coach Matt Campbell, will take a one-year reduction in pay and eliminate all bonuses.

Iowa State is scheduled to open the 2020 college football season at home against FCS South Dakota Sept. 5.