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Florida, Michigan, Ole Miss among 20-plus schools to contact Mississippi State transfer who didn’t take kindly to Mike Leach tweet

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Suffice to say, there’s a significant market for one soon-to-be-former Mississippi State football player.

In the wake of first-year head coach Mike Leach‘s much-discussed tweet, Fabien Lovett announced that he would be transferring out of the Mississippi State football program.  The defensive lineman’s father subsequently confirmed that the tweet played a role in his son’s decision.

Speaking to 247Sports.com, Lovett stated that he has been in contact with more than 20 schools since he tweeted he was entering the portal.  Among the Power Five programs who have reached out include Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Oregon, Ole Miss and Tennessee.  Houston is also a school with which Lovett confirmed contact.

Schools are now permitted to contact prospective transfers without receiving permission from the player’s current school.

At this point, it’s unclear when Lovett will make a decision.  Or to where he will transfer.  It should be noted that, during his first recruitment, he took official visits to Florida and Ole Miss.

Lovett did allow that he would prefer to make visits before he decides on a new college football home.  Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA has banned all in-person recruiting until at least May 31.  That would preclude Lovett from making a visit, official or otherwise, until June 1 at the earliest.

It’s thought that Lovett would have to sit out the 2020 season if he moves to another FBS program.  However, he is expected to file an appeal for an immediate eligibility waiver.  It’s believed that he will use the Leach tweet as the basis for his appeal.

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.  Depending on how the waiver appeal turns out, Lovett would have either three years of eligibility starting in 2020 or two starting in 2021.

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 9, 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: Alabama, Oklahoma announce future home-and-home
THE SYNOPSIS: You’ll have to wait a while for this matchup of college football bluebloods, though.  The Crimson Tide will travel to Norman Sept. 11, 2032. Then, the Sooners will make the trek to Tuscaloosa on Sept. 10 of the following season.  The last regular-season meeting came in 2003.  Their last two games (2014, 2018)came in the College Football Playoffs.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Kobe Bryant given No. 24 USC football jersey by Clay Helton
THE SYNOPSIS: Nearly two years later, the 41-year-old NBA Hall of Famer, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Report: Ole Miss blocking Shea Patterson’s appeal for immediate eligibility at Michigan
THE SYNOPSIS: Ole Miss’ petulance lasted nearly through the month of April.  In the end, however, the quarterback was granted a waiver by the NCAA.  In two seasons with the Wolverines, Patterson threw for 5,661 yards, 45 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Yet another Oklahoma quarterback arrested for public intoxication
THE SYNOPSIS: Chris Robison was the second Sooners signal-caller popped for being drunk in public.  The first?  Future Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Dabo Swinney names a favorite to replace QB Deshaun Watson out of spring game
THE SYNOPSIS: Kelly Bryant did indeed take over for Watson at Clemson.  That hold on the job lasted one season as, after the emergence of Trevor Lawrence, Bryant transferred to Missouri in December of 2018.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Report: UNLV considering building football stadium near the Strip
THE SYNOPSIS: Two years later, it was confirmed that the new home of the NFL’s Raiders will also serve as the college football Rebels’ new digs.  That stadium in Las Vegas is still set to open this year.

2014

THE HEADLINE: NCAA football attendance topped 50 million in 2013
THE SYNOPSIS: The exact figure was 50,291,275, including bowl attendance of 1.7 million fans.  By 2018, FBS attendance had dipped to 36,707,511.  The NCAA has yet to release its attendance figures for the 2019 season.

2013

THE HEADLINE: Report: ‘Noles-Irish game set for 2014
THE SYNOPSIS: That game came to fruition, with Florida State claiming a 31-27 win.  Notre Dame whipped FSU 42-13 in the next meeting in South Bend.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Officer report: ‘I do not know Jessica Dorrell and I have never met her’
THE SYNOPSIS: Pinocchio Petrino just kept stepping into it deeper and deeper.

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.

Anonymous FBS athletic director: ‘If there’s no season, we will be f*****’

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If you didn’t realize how important college football is to an athletic department’s bottom line, this should highlight it.

In the midst of the spreading coronavirus pandemic, some connected to the game of college football are decidedly pessimistic that the upcoming season will be played. Others are expressing cautious optimism. For now, at least.

Brett McMurphy of The Stadium conducted a survey of 130 athletic directors with FBS programs, with 112 of them participating. According to McMurphy, the ADs “were asked to rank their optimism on the upcoming season being played from ‘1’ (will not be played) to ’10’ (definitely will be played).”

Not a single AD gave less than a “5” in response, meaning everyone who responded, at least at this time, feels there’s at least a 50-50 chance the season will go off as planned. A slight majority of respondents (51%) assigned either the numbers seven or eight in McMurphy’s survey. One-quarter of them were decidedly optimistic with either a nine or 10 as a response. Most of that optimism was on the part of Group of Five programs that, already financially reeling from the distilled NCAA’s revenue distribution last month, desperately need a college football season to be played.

If the college football season is to start on time — the first games are scheduled for Aug. 29 — what would be the absolute latest teams could start reconvening and prepping for the 2020 campaign? The answer you get depends on the individual you ask. Some would say early June at the absolute latest. Others have said the middle of July.

So, what if the season is canceled? Completely?

“If there’s no season, we will be f*****,” an anonymous AD told McMurphy.

A tweet from Ross Dellenger of SI.com very plainly illustrates how reliant athletic departments are on revenue from college football.

Suffice to say, if the 2020 college football season is completely wiped out, non-revenue sports will be cut. Lots of them will be shuttered, more than likely.

The good news, such as it is, is that the powers-that-be in the sport will go to great lengths to save the 2020 college football season. In fact, one report earlier today suggested that the season could start as late as January of next year. How that would work with players who are eligible for the 2021 NFL Draft would have to be worked out, as would myriad other issues.

While it’s way too early to form a concrete opinion, there’s little doubt that all connected to the sport will exhaust every option to save the 2020 college football season. And, if the season is canceled? It’ll mean we all have a helluva lot more to worry about than sports.

SEC to begin allowing virtual instruction next week

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The SEC is about to allow coaches to use remote tools to instruct their players, according to a report from Auburn Undercover on Friday.

Citing a memo sent to SEC athletic departments, Auburn Undercover says the new policy will go into effect beginning on Monday, March 30. According to the memo, coaching staff members will be allowed to provide “technical or tactical instruction” to players. Strength and conditioning coaches may still provide players with specific workouts to do on heir own, but no coaches may observe the players while working out.

In these times, having any kind of chance to interact with players is important, even if it must be done through a computer. It’s better than nothing, after all. And while it may not be a perfect substitute for spring football practices, it at least keeps the lines of communication within the program more open.

As previously reported, Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley was quoted in a radio interview as having a concern about the Big 12 not allowing coaches to make use of their virtual options the way coaches in the ACC have. Riley noted players in the ACC are able to receive video instruction and training gear through the mail. The Big 12 may change their policies in the next week to be more accommodating for coaches and players in a similar fashion to what the SEC is doing.