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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.”

Stanford transfer RB Trevor Speights officially commits to Notre Dame

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Once again, Notre Dame has added a Power Five football player.  And this one has been decidedly expected.

In early JanuaryTrevor Speights became one of more than a dozen Stanford players who had entered the NCAA transfer database. A month later, it was reported that Notre Dame football was viewed as the front-runner early on in the process.

In an update earlier this week, Speights confirmed that Notre Dame is still very much in play.  As is, oddly enough, Rice.

Thursday night, Speights confirmed that, yes, he is moving on to the Notre Dame football team.

“I am thankful for my time at Stanford and for everyone who has helped me while I was there,” the back wrote on Twitter. “It has been an opportunity of a lifetime to be able to pursue my dreams on and off the field. I’m thankful to have had great teammates whom I have created lifelong bonds with.  I look forward to what y’all do in the future. I will miss y’all! …

“Thank you to everyone who has helped me throughout this difficult process.  It has been a long month, but I am grateful to have the support system in place to come to a big decision like this one.”

Speights, incidentally, will head to South Bend as a graduate transfer.

Familiarity certainly played a role in the decision.

Lance Taylor was the running backs coach at Stanford before taking the same job with Notre Dame football in January of last year.  He was Speights’ position coach and helped recruit him to the Cardinal.

Speights was a three-star 2016 signee.  After rushing for 363 yards and a touchdown on 95 carries in 2017-18, Speights didn’t record a carry in 2019.

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.

Pac-12 targets June 15 for return of players for voluntary in-person workouts

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The Pac-12 is the latest to contribute to the measured return of college football.

Last week, the NCAA announced that it would allow schools to bring its student-athletes back to campus for voluntary workouts starting June 1. Friday, the SEC announced that it will allow players to return starting June 8.  That same day, the Big 12 announced its target date is June 15.

Monday, the Pac-12 followed the Big 12’s lead, with that Power Five confirming a return date of June 15 for voluntary in-person athletic workouts. The league came to its decision to allow student-athletes to return to campus following a meeting of the Pac-12 CEO Group earlier in the day.

The conference also made sure to note in its release that the universities will “determine whether and how to open its sporting facilities in accordance with relevant county and state guidelines.”

“As educational institutions, our highest obligation is to the health and welfare of our students, faculty, and staff,” said Pac-12 CEO Group Chair and University of Colorado Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano in a statement. “As we considered the pros and cons of taking steps that can pave a path to returning to play, those considerations were foremost, guided by the advice of our own medical experts along with public health officials.”

“The Pac-12 is committed to the well-being of our student-athletes, and the decision to allow for voluntary workouts, subject to a determination by each school, is guided by the advice of our medical experts and will be supported by the detailed protocols established by our medical advisory committee in concert with our campus’ own safety guidelines,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “As states have either already opened or begin to open up access to parks, gyms and other training facilities, student-athletes should have the option at this time to be in, what for many, will be a much safer environment on campus, where they can have access to the best available health, well-being and training support.”

The ACC and Big Ten are the only Power Fives to not announce a uniform plan for a return.  Both Ohio State and Illinois, though, will allow players to return June 8, for example.  Ditto for Clemson and Louisville as well.

Notre Dame still very much in play for Stanford transfer RB Trevor Speights

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Courtesy of a rival, Notre Dame could very well be adding some talent to its football roster.  Still.

In early JanuaryTrevor Speights became one of more than a dozen Stanford players who had entered the NCAA transfer database. A month later, it was reported that Notre Dame football was viewed as the front-runner early on in the process.

The coronavirus pandemic, though, has slowed the process.  It, hasn’t however, caused the running back’s interest in the Fighting Irish to wane.

“Things are going well with my second recruitment. I’m very happy with my options,” Speights told 247Sports.com. “I have an opportunity to play at a prestigious school like Notre Dame and pursue my Masters in Business. … I am in a great position and I’m extremely blessed. …

“I’m just taking things slow. I didn’t really have the chance to visit Notre Dame, so I got to hop on the Zoom with [running backs] coach [Lance] Taylor and [offensive coordinator Tommy] Rees, and just talk ball with those guys and how I’d fit in the system.”

Taylor was the running backs coach at Stanford before taking the same job with Notre Dame football in January of last year.  He was Speights’ position coach and helped recruit him to the Cardinal.

Rice is also in the mix for the graduate transfer.  Speights stated he hopes to make a decision “within the next couple of weeks.”

Speights was a three-star 2016 signee.  After rushing for 363 yards and a touchdown on 95 carries in 2017-18, Speights didn’t record a carry in 2019.