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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.”

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.

Louisville announces phased return of college football players to campus, beginning May 27

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Louisville has just provided the college football world a much-needed first.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that schools can begin bringing some student-athletes, including football players, back to campus for voluntary workouts starting June 1.  A day later, Louisville announced that, beginning May 27, the university will launch a phased return of football players to the campus.  Men’s and women’s basketball players will start returning on that date as well.

Louisville won’t, though, allow football players to return en masse.

From the school’s release:

Under the first phase, a limited group of student-athletes totaling about 30 in football, plus 15 in men’s and women’s basketball, would arrive on campus on May 27, with education on protocols to be employed prior to their arrival. The group would begin testing and physical examinations on June 3 and be ready to participate in voluntary physical training, not directed by coaching staffs, on June 8. Three UofL facilities — the Schnellenberger Football Complex, Trager Center, and Planet Fitness Kueber Center — would be open with limited occupancy during the first phase.

If all proceeds well with Phase 1 and dependent upon NCAA rules, in the next phase an additional 30 football and 60 Olympic sport student-athletes would arrive on campus on June 10. The group would experience similar preparations before engaging in voluntary physical activity by June 22 within their respective venues.

In the third phase of the plan, the remaining football student-athletes would be back to campus on July 6, preparing to begin voluntary physical activity on July 18.

If all goes well in the first three phases, the fourth phase would consist of Louisville football players returning “to activities with full practices, scrimmages and competitions as allowed by NCAA or ACC guidelines.”

Exactly who will be a part of the initial group of 30 players and how they will be selected wasn’t divulged.  The UofL also emphasized that all of the workouts are voluntary and not required participation.

“We have worked very closely with our campus leadership, medical professionals and coaching staffs to prepare a comprehensive plan for a safe return to campus for our student-athletes to participate in voluntary activities,” athletic director Vince Tyra said in a statement. “The multi-phased plan avails a limited number of student-athletes to return at various dates and get back to routines they are accustomed to at this time of year.”

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, ex-West Virginia coach Bill Stewart dies of a heart attack at 59

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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 21, 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: Mississippi State announces four-year extension for Joe Moorhead
THE SYNOPSIS: Less than eight months later, Moorhead was fired by the Bulldogs.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Jim Harbaugh says Michigan is going on safari in South Africa next spring
THE SYNOPSIS:  On an unrelated note, Ohio State has won The Game 15 of the last 16 times its been played.  Michigan’s last win came in 2011.  The season between Jim Tressel’s resignation and Urban Meyer‘s hiring.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Alabama legend Derrick Thomas finally a College Football Hall of Famer
THE SYNOPSIS: As was the case with Tommie Frazier and Deion Sanders, this inexplicable snub was finally (unofficially) rectified.

2013

THE HEADLINE: Detroit Lions reportedly ready to create bowl game
THE SYNOPSIS: The game that would become the Quick Lane Bowl was officially announced two months later.  The main conference tie-in is the ACC and Big Ten.  The MAC serves a secondary tie-in.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Former WVU coach Bill Stewart dead of apparent heart attack
THE SYNOPSIS: The Grafton, WV, native spent 11 seasons as a coach at WVU.  From 2008-10, Stewart served as the head coach of the Mountaineers.

2011

THE HEADLINE: Cross Cleveland off list of possible Big Ten title game sites
THE SYNOPSIS: Indianapolis has hosted every B1G title game since it debuted in 2011.

NCAA tables one-time transfer proposal to early next year

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Rightly so, the NCAA as castigated and publicly pilloried for some of its decisions.  This time, though, they got it right.  For now.

Many, us included, criticized the NCAA back in April when its Board of Directors and its Presidential Forum recommended to the Division I Council that the proposal on a one-time transfer waiver is “not appropriate at this time.” Wednesday, the Council did the expected and tabled the proposal until January of next year.

From the NCAA’s release:

The resolution was recommended by the Transfer Waiver Working Group, which earlier this year had proposed a change to waiver guidelines that would have accomplished the same goal but through the waiver process instead of through a legislative change. Last month, the Division I Board of Directors indicated it preferred a legislative change and lifted the moratorium it had placed on transfer eligibility proposals last fall.

“The transfer environment has long been an issue of much discussion in Division I. The Division I Council is committed to a uniform and equitable approach to transfer rules that considers student-athlete well- being and the opportunities available after transfer,” said Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania. “We will not simply change the rule, but we will consider a comprehensive package designed to address the multiple complexities involved.”

The Council committed to work with conferences, schools, the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the Division I Committee on Academics and other committees to form a permanent legislative solution

Currently, Division I rules permit student-athletes in all sports except baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, football and men’s ice hockey to immediately compete after a first transfer. Reliance on the waiver process for student-athletes in those five sports has put enormous strain on a historically collaborative process built to handle extenuating circumstances.

The resolution called the waiver process “an unsustainable method to achieve lasting stability, consistency and transparency within the transfer environment” and declared it was “never designed to accommodate sustained requests for relief from a rule without actually changing the rule.

The comprehensive package will address issues that impact transfer, including academic requirements, roster management considerations, transfer notification dates, accountability measures for schools that accept transfer students, and additional education on the transfer rules and process. The Committee on Academics will provide its guidance to any academic aspects of the package.

Given the uncertainty the coronavirus pandemic has caused across all sports, pushing this legislation back a few months is a very prudent move.  Instantly granting thousands of football players — not to mention basketball players as well — a one-time free transfer pass at this time, while athletic departments are already stretched attempting to safely get their student-athletes back on the field, would’ve done exponentially more harm than good.

It’s expected that the legislation will be adopted at the NCAA convention in January, and will go into effect for the 2021-22 academic year.