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In statement, AD John Cohen says Mississippi State is ‘disappointed’ in Mike Leach’s controversial tweet

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Mississippi State has officially responded publicly to the brouhaha kicked up by their new head football coach.

Last Thursday, Mike Leach sent out a tweet in which he apologized for anyone he offended in a previous tweet.  In the controversial 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.” Lovett soon thereafter announced that he was entering the transfer portal; his father confirmed later that the tweet played a role.  Monday, one of Lovett’s, Brevyn Jones, announced that he too will be transferring.

In the midst of that social media maelstrom, Mississippi State had been largely silent.  Until now.  In a statement, MSU athletic director John Cohen expressed disappointment in Leach’s tweet.  He also stated that the university is confident that Leach has learned from what was described as a “misstep.”

Below is the statement, in its entirety.

No matter the context, for many Americans the image of a noose is never appropriate and that’s particularly true in the South and in Mississippi. Mississippi State University was disappointed in the use of such an image in a tweet by Coach Mike Leach. He removed the tweet and issued a public apology. The university is confident that  Coach Leach is moving quickly and sincerely past this unintended misstep and will provide the leadership for our student-athletes and excitement for our football program that our fans deserve and that our students and alumni will be proud to support.

To ensure that Leach has learned from his “misstep,” Mississippi State also announced the following steps it will take when it comes to its head football coach.

Cohen said that a plan is in place for Coach Leach to participate in additional listening sessions with student, alumni, and community groups and to provide the coach with opportunities to expand his cultural awareness of Mississippi. One of those opportunities will include a guided visit to the “Two Museums” – the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum – in Jackson as soon as restrictions from the current public health crisis will allow.

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 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 April 7, 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: WATCH: South Carolina walk-on nails kick during spring game, then gets awarded scholarship
THE SYNOPSIS: These types of videos will never, ever get old.  The recipient in this video, Parker White, went on to be the Gamecocks’ primary placekicker in 2019.  He made all 25 point-afters and 18-of-22 on field goals.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Steve Spurrier is returning to coach football… but will remain a Florida athletics ambassador all the same
THE SYNOPSIS: The Alliance of American Football was officially announced on this day, with Spurrier piloting the Orlando franchise.  The Ol’ Ball Coach’s return to the sidelines lasted eight games as the new pro league shuttered eight weeks into a 10-game season last April.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Nick Saban, on making QB decision: ‘You have a time frame. I don’t’
THE SYNOPSIS: The Nicktator gives zero you-know-whats about you peasants and your timelines.  Tua Tagovailoa, the freshman sensation who was the hero of the 2017 national championship game, was the favorite.  Jalen Hurts, the two-year starter, was the subject of myriad transfer rumors.  Tagovailoa ultimately won the starting job. Hurts ultimately transferred to Oklahoma.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield enters not guilty plea in Arkansas arrest
THE SYNOPSIS: Run, Baker, run!

2017

THE HEADLINE: Shaq Wiggins barred by Louisville from transferring to five schools
THE SYNOPSIS: The Bobby Petrino-led Cardinals petulantly barred the cornerback from transferring to Kentucky, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Purdue and Western Kentucky. On appeal, MSU was removed from the banned list. Wiggins ultimately transferred to Tennessee.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Waco police investigating “prominent Baylor football player” for alleged sexual assault
THE SYNOPSIS: This was one in a series of events that marked the beginning of the end for Art Briles with the Bears.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Report: Big 12 may get title game in ’16; ACC to three divisions?
THE SYNOPSIS: Half of the report was accurate.  Kind of.  After a seven-year absence, the Big 12 did reinstate its football championship game.  In 2017.  Obviously, three divisions in the ACC never happened.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Ohio State will pay $2 million to non-conference opponents
THE SYNOPSIS: Six years later, UConn confirmed that Ohio State will pay them $1.95 million.  For just one game.

2012

THE HEADLINE: More details from Petrino’s Sunday motorcycle accident
THE SYNOPSIS: The soap opera that was Bobby Petrino had entered its fifth day.  Three days later, the daytime drama was canceled.

2011

THE HEADLINE: Writer: ‘Bama supporter paid for five-star recruit
THE SYNOPSIS: Alabama went on to find no violations in their investigation of the recruitment of Brent Calloway.

2009

THE HEADLINE: BAD NEWS FOR THE SEC: A.J. GREEN IS 100% HEALTHY*
THE SYNOPSIS: Dealing with a groin injury throughout his true freshman season, Green caught 56 passes for 963 yards and eight touchdowns in 2008. In 2009, his statline read 53-808-6. In 2010, it was 57-848-9. The wide receiver was the fourth-overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.

(*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.)

Second Mississippi State player enters transfer portal since Mike Leach’s Twitter imbroglio

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

Last 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.  His father, though, confirmed later that the tweet played a role.

Monday, on Twitter, one of Lovett’s teammates, Brevyn Jones, confirmed that he too has entered the portal.  The offensive lineman gave no indication that his potential departure was or wasn’t related to the Leach tweet.

Jones subsequently confirmed to 247Sports.com that he has already been contacted by Florida State.  And Maryland and Houston as well.

“My plan is to just take it slow right now and find the best fit. I really wanna wait till I can visit other schools,” the lineman stated. Earlier this month, the NCAA extended its ban on in-person recruiting through May 31 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jones was a three-star signee as part of the Mississippi State football Class of 2019. The Alabama native played in one game as a true freshman.  Because of that, he has been able to take a redshirt.  After sitting out the 2020 season (presumably), Jones will be left with three seasons of eligibility he can use starting in 2021.

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:

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:

SEC extends suspension on athletics activities until end of May, ups time limit on virtual film review

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SEC commissioner Greg Sankey previously said the league had a narrow window to hold spring practice. It appears that time frame is now even narrower.

The conference announced on Friday that they have extended their suspension on athletics activities until May 31. Previously that date was up to April 15.

The extension was the result of “public health advisories related to continuing developments associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19).”

Already the league has put an axe to their annual spring meetings in Destin, Fla. that normally occurs next month. While Sankey had previously said SEC media days in July are moving forward, those could also be in jeopardy depending on how things go.

Perhaps just as notable for coaches was the conference office bumping film review hours up from two to four per week. Coaches had complained about the limit and led to an NCAA waiver for many conferences.

The NCAA also recently extended their own moratorium on recruiting until May 31. The Southeastern Conference has pretty much been in lockstep with the folks in Indianapolis on those dates.

The good news is that many of the football programs around the South are doing their best with the situation. For example, Kentucky announced their indoor practice facility was being converted to a field hospital.