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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.

Navy’s Tony Brown enters the transfer portal

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The on-again, off-again relationship Navy has had with the transfer portal is back on again.  Unfortunately for the service academy.

In late March, it was reported that Chelen Garnes had decided to enter the transfer portal. However, the defensive back subsequently pulled his name out of the database in a sign that he would be sticking with the Navy football team.  Earlier this month, though, Garnes opted to reenter the portal, the Capital Gazette reported.  Starting cornerback Michael McMorris, meanwhile, entered the database back in January.  Four months later, the Baltimore Sun reported last week that the defensive back has done a 180 and opted to remain with the Navy football team.

This week, however, 247Sports.com is reporting that Tony Brown has opted to enter his name into the NCAA transfer database.  As a junior, Brown would likely not be leaving the academy as a graduate.  That would mean the striker would have to sit out the 2020 season.  Barring a waiver from the NCAA of course.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

Brown was a two-star member of the Navy football Class of 2018.  The Sicklerville, New Jersey, product was the No. 55 player regardless of position in his home state. Brown attended the Naval Academy Prep School during the 2017-18 academic year.

As a true freshman in 2018, Brown appeared in two games.  He started three of the 13 games in which he played in 2019.  The 6-3, 201-pound hybrid linebacker/defensive back returned a fumble eight yards for a score in one of those appearances.

One Navy defensive back reenters portal, another pulls his name from it

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It was a wild past couple of weeks portal-wise for the Navy football program

In late March, it was reported that Chelen Garnes had decided to enter the transfer portal. However, the defensive back subsequently pulled his name out of the database.  Earlier this month, though, Garnes opted to reenter the portal, the Capital Gazette reported.

Garnes graduated from high school in Maryland in 2018. The 5-11, 200-pound defensive back spent the 2018-19 academic year at the Naval Academy Prep School.

During his first on-field season with the Navy football team, Garnes appeared in all 13 games in 2019. Garnes’ two interceptions tied for the team lead. He was also credited with 11 tackles, one pass breakup and one quarterback hit.

The portal news wasn’t all negative for the Navy football team, though.

Starting cornerback Michael McMorris entered the database back in January.  Four months later, the Baltimore Sun is reporting that the defensive back has done a 180 and opted to remain with the Navy football team.  The Sun cited an athletic department spokesman as the source for its reporting.

A season-long starter in 2019, McMorris led the service academy with nine pass breakups. His 47 tackles were the third-most for any Midshipmen defensive back.

As a true freshman in 2018, McMorris started four games. The Georgia native was a three-star signee that year.

Navy football is coming off an 11-2 2019 campaign, the first time it reached double-digit wins since 2015. It was also just the fifth such season in the service academy’s history.

Included in that program-record-tying 11-win season was snapping a three-game losing streak to rival Army and a Liberty Bowl win over Kansas State.

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.