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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.”

College coaches speak out following death of George Floyd

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The despicable, abhorrent, unconscionable murder of George Floyd has touched myriad aspects of our society.  College football is no different.

Monday night, 46-year-old George Floyd died after a Minneapolis Police Department officer took a knee on the man’s neck.  For several minutes.  Floyd was a black man.  The police officer is a white man.

“I can’t breathe, please, the knee in my neck. I can’t move … my neck … I’m through, I’m through.”

Four police officers connected to the death of Floyd were fired.  The white officer who murdered Floyd, Derek Chauvin, has since been charged in the black man’s death.  The 19-year veteran of the force is facing one count each of of third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Wednesday, the University of Minnesota significantly distanced itself from the Minneapolis Police Department.  The MPD assisted the university for large events, including Minnesota football games.

In the days since, college football coaches have decried the fatal brutality.  On the Rich Eisen Show Thursday, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh spoke about the “horrendous… outrageous” murder (my words, not the coach’s) of George Floyd.

On Twitter in the ensuing days, Harbaugh’s colleagues at the collegiate level — including one ex-coach who is now an athletic director — have used their platform to decry the senseless murder of George Floyd.

Some of them, including Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin (HERE), Florida State’s Mike Norvell (HERE), Tulsa’s Philip Montgomery (HERE), Troy’s Chip Lindsey (HERE) and UTSA’s Jeff Traylor (HERE), retweeted the powerful words of Tony Dungy.

Others sent out their own messages.

 

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.

Northwestern officially adds Indiana transfer QB Peyton Ramsey, punter from Kent State

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The quarterback room for Northwestern football has officially received a much-needed infusion of talent.  And experience.

In late January, Peyton Ramsey entered the NCAA transfer database.  Two months later, the erstwhile Indiana quarterback committed to the Northwestern football program.

Monday, Northwestern formally confirmed Ramsey’s addition to its football roster.  Also, former Kent State punter Derek Adams was added as well.

Both players come to the Wildcats as graduate transfers.

“We are thrilled to welcome Peyton and Derek to our football family,” said Northwestern head football coach Pat Fitzgerald in a statement. “The graduate education opportunities at Northwestern are unparalleled, as is the opportunity to compete at the highest level of college football. We look forward to welcoming them properly when we all return to Evanston to prepare for the 2020 season.”

Of the 32 games in which he played for the Hoosiers, Ramsey started 23 of those.

During his time in Bloomington, Ramsey completed 66.5% of his career pass attempts for 6,581 yards, 42 touchdowns and 23 interceptions.  The Cincinnati native also ran for 832 yards and another 14 touchdowns. This past season, he earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors after finishing second in the conference in completion percentage (68%), fourth in yards per attempt (8.2) and fifth in passer rating (147.7).

This past season, Northwestern was 126th (out of 130 FBS schools) in passing yards per game (117), 124th in completion percentage (50%) and dead last in passer rating (84.5). NU’s six touchdown passes in 12 games?  129th in the country.

“I would like to thank everyone at Indiana University for allowing me to live out my dream of playing college football,” said Ramsey. “I would especially like to thank my teammates that pushed me, encouraged me, and trusted me. Sometimes the road to realizing your dreams can take you in a different direction than you expected. I am grateful to Coach Fitz and his entire staff for this opportunity. I can’t wait to get started.”

Adams, meanwhile, was a three-year starter for the Golden Flashes.  He averaged 42 yards per punt in that span.  Last season, the average was at 43.1.

Twice, Adams earned All-MAC honors.

“It has been one heck of a journey so far,” said Adams. “I am beyond grateful to Coach Fitz, Coach Genyk and the entire Northwestern Football program for providing an opportunity of a lifetime.”

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