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Chad Morris falls to 2-12 vs. FBS schools as Arkansas’ head coach

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To say that Chad Morris‘ time in Fayetteville hasn’t gone as planned would be an understatement of mammoth proportions.

Hired away from SMU in December of 2017, Morris went 2-10 in his first season as the head coach at Arkansas.  At that point, there were already grumblings that UA had made a hiring gaffe and should cut bait after one year.

That didn’t happen, of course, and Morris “rewarded” that confidence with a 2-1 start to the 2019 campaign.  Unfortunately, those feel-good vibes are a thing of the past as San Jose State, a three-touchdown underdog coming in, looked every bit the part of the better team in every phase of the game as the Spartans got past the Razorbacks 31-24 Saturday night.

In Fayetteville, no less.

Along with the embarrassing 44-17 loss to North Texas last season, Arkansas has now suffered losses to Group of Five schools in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1995-96.

As if that weren’t distressing enough for Hog Nation, Morris is now 4-12 overall at Arkansas.  Even worse?  Two of those wins have come against FCS programs, meaning Morris sports a 2-12 record against FBS competition.

Moving forward, as Morris attempts to salvage something out of this season as well as hold onto his job, he’ll likely have a decision to make at quarterback.

Ben Hicks, a graduate transfer from SMU, began the season as Arkansas’ starter before being benched in favor of Nick Starkel, a graduate transfer from Texas A&M.  Saturday night, Starkel tossed five interceptions to help aid greatly in the losing cause.

To add current insult to future potential injury, Arkansas has the following games left on its 2019 schedule:

  • vs. No. 17 Texas A&M
  • at Kentucky
  • vs. No. 8 Auburn
  • at No. 2 Alabama
  • vs. Mississippi State
  • vs. Western Kentucky
  • at No. 4 LSU
  • vs. Missouri

Good luck making it to Year 3, Coach Morris.

LeBron James throws support behind California bill to pay players

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Football players and other college athletes in the state of California appear to be getting a big boost of support from the state’s most famous basketball player.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James tweeted his support on Thursday for California Assembly Bill SB 206, which is labeled as the “Fair Pay to Play Act” and is designed to allow players at the state’s major universities to receive compensation related to their name, image and likeness.

The bill has drawn the ire of the NCAA and the schools that will be impacted despite the fact that it would only go into effect in 2023 if passed. As it currently stands, players receiving any compensation for their names, image or likeness is a violation of the organization’s bylaws.

While the NCAA has created a committee to study such payments and any related changes, the folks in Indianapolis are not at all happy to be dealing with lawmakers intent on pushing them into something before they’re ready. California isn’t even the only one pursuing the idea as a federal version is also in the works from by Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT).

James has been an outspoken critic of the NCAA over the years so it’s not surprising to see him voice his support for something like SB 206. The bill appears likely to pass once it makes its way through the legislative process and that seems doubly so after one of the biggest names on the planet is encouraging those to get out the vote on the subject.

 

Arkansas sidelines RB T.J. Hammonds for first four games of season

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Another hour, another suspension on which to post.

In late February, Chad Morris confirmed that T.J. Hammonds was not a part of his Arkansas football team “right now” as the running back looked to get his academic house in order.  Three months later, Hammonds was back with the program.

Apparently, there were strings attached to the return, though, as the head coach confirmed Monday that Hammonds will “not be with the team” for the first four games of the 2019 regular season.  Morris gave no specific reason for the forced hiatus.

The back will be suspended for games against Portland State, Ole Miss, Colorado State and San Jose State; he’ll be eligible to return for the Sept. 28 game against Texas A&M.

The past three seasons, Hammonds, a four-star 2016 signee, has rushed for 378 yards and two touchdowns on 57 carries. Just 28 of those yards came last season, although he did catch four passes for 84 yards and a touchdown in 2018.

Games against Arkansas State, SJSU and WKU complete Ohio State’s schedule through 2023

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Ryan Day knows what he’s up against for the next few years.

Ohio State confirmed three additions to their future schedules on Thursday, filling up all their non-conference slots through the 2023 slate in the process. Combined with an already announced Big Ten rotation, the Buckeyes now know who they’re playing and when for the next five years.

The first addition comes in the form of Arkansas State, who will visit Ohio Stadium on Sept. 10, 2022. This will be the first ever meeting between the two programs and follows a mega matchup between the Buckeyes and Notre Dame the week prior. MAC power Toledo is also on the docket for OSU in the non-conference slate for 2022 while the Red Wolves are still looking for one more opponent to go with a trip to Memphis and a home game against UMass that same season.

Per AStateNation, the Sun Belt power is getting a pretty penny to head to the Horseshoe that year too:

Also confirmed were two non-conference games for Ohio State in 2023, with both San Jose State and Western Kentucky making the trip to Columbus. The Spartans will head across the country for a game on Sept. 9, 2023 while the Hilltoppers will make their first ever appearance against the Buckeyes on Sept. 16.

Seven Mountain West games will air on Facebook this season

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The past two years, a social media behemoth has been the home of a handful of Mountain West Conference games. This week, it’s been confirmed that nascent tradition will continue into a third season.

Through a partnership with Stadium, Facebook will air seven games this coming season involving schools from the MWC, the conference announced Monday. The first four matchups will feature MWC schools in non-conference action; the last three will be conference affairs.

San Diego State is the only league member that will play in two Facebook games.

Below is the complete schedule:

Earlier this offseason, Conference USA announced that 10 of its 2019 football games will air on NFL Network as Group of Five leagues look to any and all means of exposure for its member institutions.