Redshirt freshman Ronnie Wilson broke his left ankle during practice and could be sidelined till mid-season following surgery on Saturday. Wilson was expected to be the Gators starting right guard.
Junior Drew Miller moves back to guard from his right tackle position. The leading candidates to replace Miller at tackle now are junior Carlton Medder, who has played sparingly, and redshirt freshman Jason Watkins.
In 2004 Willie Williams was the top rated outside linebacker in the country and the No. 6 overall recruit, yet it was considered a reach for major programs to offer him a scholarship. Despite being one of the most controversial prospects ever covered by Rivals.com and the rap sheet of a gangster rapper, the University of Miami (FL) took a risk in giving the Miami native a chance to play for their school.
Williams missed his first season with a knee injury and last season he played in 10 games off the bench, recording 17 tackles, two for losses. He was also a special teams standout.
But in the spring Williams announced his decision to leave the Miami football program and did not state his reasons, just that he needed to find a new home.
After many failed attempts to find another Division I program that fit him and that would accept a player with his history, Williams announced he will spend next season playing football at Pearl River (Miss.) Community College. Williams had been rumored to be heading to either Troy or West Virginia, instead Williams is headed to Poplarville, Miss.
By transferring to a JUCO, Williams can play right away this year and then has the option of transferring to any college in the nation next year without having to sit out a year.
Texas Tech coach Mike Leach signed a five-year, $10 million contract extension on Friday.
The extension boosts Leach's annual average salary to $2 million and includes a $500,000 buyout clause.
Leach can earn an extra $1 million for a contract completion bonus to be paid out after the fourth year of the contract. After year four, Leach will receive an $800,000 bonus and after year five, he will receive another $200,000 bonus.
Leach will receive $1.3 million for the 2006 season and finish the contract with $1.85 million after the 2010 season.
The agreement extends Leach's contract through the 2010 season and places him among the highest paid coaches in the Big 12 Conference.
Maurice Clarett was ordered to have a mental health evaluation following a bizarre and violent encounter with police in which the former Ohio State football star was caught with four guns after a highway chase.
The judge delayed a trial set to begin Monday on previous charges in which the player is accused of holding up two people outside a bar on New Year's Day.
Judge David Fais ordered the evaluation against the wishes of Clarett and his attorneys, citing the events surrounding the arrest early Wednesday
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Auburn investigation finds no wrongdoing
Auburn athletics officials were cleared of wrongdoing by a university probe of claims that athletes improperly boosted their grades with an easy independent study course.
Interim university president Ed Richardson said at a news conference Thursday that an internal investigation determined athletes were not steered to the courses of sociology professor Thomas Petee, who was accused by a colleague of helping football players stay eligible by offering classes that required little work or no work.
Petee and another professor, who also gave "directed-reading" courses, have resigned their administrative posts. Both are professors have tenure at Auburn and will continue to be members of the faculty, Richardson said.
Former starting quarterback Allan Evridge has decided to transfer from Kansas State less than a week into fall practice.
Evridge told new coach Ron Prince of his intentions Tuesday and was granted a release from his scholarship. A formal announcement came Wednesday, making Evridge the third Wildcats quarterback to depart Manhattan since the spring game in April.
The NCAA reinstated All-American wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett after he was briefly ineligible while the NCAA looked into his living arrangements with former Southern California teammate Matt Leinart, the Trojans announced Wednesday.
He will not miss any playing time during the season.
Jarrett, a junior at USC, must pay $5,352 to a charity of his choice after he received extra benefits including discounted rent at a downtown Los Angeles apartment.
After missing one day of practice, Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom made sure he got his players' attention when he returned to fall camp.
He arrived several minutes into the Bulldogs' second practice session Wednesday suited up for action, complete with helmet, shoulder pads and a red cross jersey signifying injury.
Croom did not attend practice Tuesday because of personal matters.
Check the BulldogBlitz practice photo gallery photos of Croom at Wednesday.
Ohio State suspends tight end
Ohio State tight end Marcel Frost was suspended for the upcoming season for violating team rules.
Athletic department officials declined to comment on the nature of the violation. Frost will remain on scholarship and will be eligible to rejoin the team next season, school spokesman Dan Wallenberg said Wednesday.
Frost, a fourth-year junior, was listed first on the Buckeyes' depth chart, ahead of sophomore Rory Nicol. Frost played in nine games last season, starting five. He made seven catches for a total of 70 yards.
Maurice Clarett was arrested early Wednesday after a highway chase that ended with police using Mace on the former Ohio State running back and finding four loaded guns in his sport utility vehicle, a police spokesman said.
Officers used Mace to subdue Clarett after a stun gun was ineffective because the former Fiesta Bowl star was wearing a bullet-resistant vest, Sgt. Michael Woods said.
"It took several officers to get him handcuffed," Woods said. "Even after he was placed in the paddy wagon, he was still kicking at the doors and being a problem for the officers."
Police planned to charge him with carrying concealed weapons without a permit and other counts, Woods said. Clarett did not speak to police who tried to interview him at the station before he was moved to the Franklin County Jail
Florida's depleted secondary got a boost Tuesday when former Utah starter Ryan Smith joined the team.
Smith, who could replace departed cornerback Avery Atkins, is eligible to play this season under new NCAA legislation that allows athletes who graduate and have eligibility remaining to transfer without sitting out a year.
Smith started 12 games for the Utes in 2004 under then-coach Urban Meyer and had 44 tackles and an interception. He started the first five games last year, but was replaced in the lineup midway though the season because coach Kyle Whittingham said others were "playing better."
Georgia's and North Carolina's secondaries took a hit when injuries knocked out a safety from each team for the season.
Bulldogs redshirt freshman Antavious Coates will miss his second consecutive season after sustaining a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He missed his true freshman season with a torn ACL in his left knee.
The Tar Heels will likely lose junior Trimane Goddard for the season after he suffered a broken left foot.
Five-star Warren qualifies at FSU
Florida State five-star tight end Brandon Warren qualified academically in time to join the rest of the freshman class.
Warren, the No. 1 recruit from Tennessee, learned last week he received approval from the NCAA Clearinghouse to enroll and got the final OK from FSU admissions Tuesday.
For more Florida State football coverage, visit Warchant.com.
LSU running backs return to practice
LSU running backs Alley Broussard and Justin Vincent, the only running backs dressed for the morning practice, showed signs of recovering from knee surgeries in the Tigers' first practice Monday.
"I felt much better than I anticipated I would," said Broussard, who missed all of the 2005 season. "I thought it was going to be a little scary, but I was confident."
Broussard took part in his first practice in almost a year.
The news wasn't as good for running back Keiland Williams, who was among four true freshmen who missed the first day of practice awaiting approval from the NCAA Clearinghouse.
Defensive tackle Al Woods, offensive lineman Steve Singleton and running back Richard Murphy and also awaited approval.
Nebraska cornerback Zackary Bowman will miss the season after injuring his left knee during a one-on-one drill.
Bowman, who started the last five games in 2005, came down on his leg wrong while defending a corner route during Saturday's practice. He had an MRI exam Sunday, revealing a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Texas A&M-Commerce has asked Oklahoma for permission to contact ousted quarterback Rhett Bomar to discuss his possible transfer to the school.
Commerce officials confirmed Friday that they're interested in having the former Sooners starter play for the Division II school.
Coach Bob Stoops dismissed Bomar and offensive lineman J.D Quinn from the team on Wednesday for breaking NCAA rules by accepting compensation beyond the actual hours they worked at a Norman car dealership.
Virginia safety Tony Franklin has rejoined the team after being dismissed last spring for unspecified reasons, coach Al Groh said Friday as the Cavaliers began fall practice.
Franklin was suspended for a game late last season for violating team rules and did not make the trip to the Music City Bowl in December. Groh announced Franklin's dismissal from the team on the eve of spring practice in March.
Georgia cornerback and punt returner Thomas Flowers will miss the beginning of the 2006 football season as he serves a two-game suspension for breaking unspecified team rules.
Flowers is not the first Bulldog to be suspended this offseason. Coach Mark Richt has suspended senior offensive tackle Daniel Inman (two games), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (three games), offensive lineman Ian Smith (one game) and defensive back Antonio Sims (season) since the end of last season.
Georgia opens Sept. 2 at home against Western Kentucky followed by a game in Columbia, S.C., against the Gamecocks.
South Carolina's leading rusher misses start of practice
Mike Davis, South Carolina's top rusher from a year ago with 666 yards, missed the first practice of fall camp Saturday night with a left foot infection.
Davis wore a yellow jersey throughout the workout before leaving through a side gate about 30 minutes before the end of practice.
Davis, expected to be the catalyst for South Carolina's improved rushing game this season along with Cory Boyd, has been undergoing treatment with team physicians and is expected to miss the next couple of practices.
Syvelle Newton, in the final stages of recovery from a torn Achilles tendon, missed a mandatory team meal earlier Saturday and spent most of the practice running sprints and jogging around the field along with five players considered "overweight."
Georgia cornerback and punt returner Thomas Flowers will miss the beginning of the 2006 football season as he serves a two-game suspension for breaking unspecified team rules.
Ohio State will start this season ranked No. 1 in the USA Today coaches' poll followed defending national champion Texas.
The Buckeyes, who received 28 first-place votes, will face Texas in Austin on Sept. 9.
Notre Dame and Southern California were tied at No. 3. Oklahoma, who dismissed starting quarterback Rhett Bomar on Wednesday, was ranked fifth and received 13 first-place votes.
Auburn, West Virginia, Florida, LSU and Florida State rounded out the top 10 in that order.
Oklahoma's Thompson will replace Bomar
Senior Paul Thompson was named Oklahoma's quarterback, replacing dismissed starter Rhett Bomar.
Thompson was the backup to former Sooners quarterback Nate Hybl, Jason White and Bomar before he moved to wide receiver last season. Bomar earned the starting nod over Thompson in the second game of the 2005 season.
Junior college transfer Joey Halzle will be the backup.
California quarterback Steve Levy was reinstated to the team Thursday, one day after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor for his involvement in a bar fight in June.
Levy will be able to practice with the team when camp opens Sunday but remains suspended for the season opener at Tennessee on Sept. 2.
Levy, a senior who led the Golden Bears to season-ending wins over Stanford and Brigham Young last season, had faced felony assault charges stemming from the fight, in which he allegedly threw a pint glass at a bouncer's face after getting into an argument with another patron at a pub in San Francisco.
Under terms of his plea, Levy has three years of probation and must perform 100 hours of community service.
Oklahoma announced Wednesday it will permanently dismiss two players from the football team after an internal investigation revealed two players received extra compensation while employed by a private business.
The Sooners did not immediately release the names of the ineligible players.
The two players accepted payment in excess of time actually the actually worked over an extended period of time, the school reported.
"We spend a considerable amount of time addressing our players regarding their personal conduct and the NCAA rules," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "They know exactly what we expect from them. Ultimately, they have to make right decisions. The same holds true for our boosters. When they do not, the consequences are serious, and we will not tolerate this behavior."
Oklahoma says the two players will not be allowed to return anytime in the future.
Tennessee freshman tight end Lee Smith was arrested Wednesday morning on campus and charged with drunken driving, making him the fourth player on the team to be arrested since May.
The Volunteers, coming off a 5-6 season, begin practice Friday. Smith is the second player to be arrested this week.
A star player from Powell High School, Smith was arrested after a university police officer saw him driving on the sidewalk, according to an affidavit of complaint obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press. He failed four field sobriety tests, the report said.
Miami starting tailback Tyrone Moss and wide receiver Ryan Moore were among four players who will miss the Hurricanes' opener against Florida State because of a suspension due to a violation of team policy.
Linebacker James Bryant and wide receiver Rashaun Jones were also suspended. Moss received a two-game suspension that will keep him out of the Florida A&M game as well.
Arkansas sports anchor Paul T. Eells, the "Voice of the Razorbacks," died Monday in a two-car accident on Interstate 40 less than an hour from Fayetteville, Ark. He was 70.
Returning from the Houston Nutt Golf Classic shortly after 8 p.m., Eells collided head-on with Billie J. Burton, 40, of Dover, Ark., who also died in the accident, Arkansas State Police reported.
Eells, originally from West Branch, Ia., was the Sports Director for Channel 7 News out of Little Rock. The 11-time Sportscaster of the Year Award winner had been with Channel 7 since 1978. He was best known for his famous call, "Touchdown, Arkansas!...Oh my!"
According to police, Eells was wearing his seatbelt but Burton was not. Eells' 2001 Chevrolet Impala crossed the median and hit Burton's 1997 Lincoln head-on in the crash. Both were pronounced dead at the scene. The accident is still under investigation, according to the police report.
The former Ohio State president who fired coach Woody Hayes died on Monday at the age of 87.
Harold Enarson was Ohio State's president from September 1972 until September 1981. During his tenure, the university grew in enrollment and increased its hiring of women and minorities. He also served two terms and more than 20 years as a director of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, before and after his years in Ohio.
But Enarson will forever be remembered as the man who fired the most beloved coach in school history after Hayes slugged an opposing player in a 1978 bowl game. With 1:59 left in the Buckeyes' Gator Bowl loss against Clemson on Dec. 29, 1978, middle guard Charlie Bauman intercepted a pass thrown by OSU quarterback Art Schlichter. Bauman ran out of bounds at the Ohio State bench, and when he got up after being tackled, Hayes hit him and had to be pulled away by Buckeyes players.
Enarson and then-Ohio State athletic director Hugh Hindman had no choice but to fire the hot-tempered coach after 28 seasons in Columbus.
During his career at OSU, Hayes amassed a 238-72-10 record and 205-61-10 in the Big Ten. He won four national titles, 13 Big Ten titles and played in 8 Rose Bowls. His Buckeye squads produced 56 All-Americans, and had three Heisman Trophy winners, three Outland Trophy winners and two Lombardi Trophy winners.
Georgia coach Mark Richt signed his eight-year, $16 million contract Monday, six months after the agreement was reached.
"It was just a matter of having lawyers sort through it," Richt said Monday before speaking to the Greater Atlanta Bulldog Club.
"I'm excited about it and I hope Georgia is excited about it," Richt said. "It shows I'm serious about being here a long time and it shows Georgia is serious about me and my staff being here for a long time."
The contract boosts Richt's annual salary from $1.5 million to $2 million, though Georgia athletic director Damon Evans said Monday $300,000 each year is a longevity bonus Richt will receive in a lump sum of $2.4 million at the end of the deal.
Evans said Richt can earn up to $400,000 in bonuses, including incentives for high graduation rates and for championship seasons.
After three successful seasons as the football coach at the University of Tulsa, Steve Kragthorpe signed a new six-year contract through the 2011 football season. The extension was announced Monday by Tulsa athletic director Bubba Cunningham.
Kragthorpe has posted a 21-17 record in his three seasons and has led the Hurricane to two bowl games. Last season, he led Tulsa to a 9-4 record and the Conference USA West Division title. He also led them to a victory in the inaugural Conference USA Football Championship Game with a 44-27 win over Central Florida. But his most impressive win was a 31-24 victory over heavily-favored Fresno State in the 2005 AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
After transferring from junior college, Ray Dowdy helped lead Texas to the 1970 National Championship, and was named All-Southewest Conference as a defensive tackle that season.
After college, Dowdy coached high school football and had recently accepted an assistant principal position at Rusk High School, but Wednesday Dowdy died of a heart attack while driving to Austin. He was 56.
Dennis Godfrey, a tight end from Sanford (N.C.), will not be in Winston-Salem this fall, despite committing to Demon Deacons in February.
The three-star prospect was recently indicted on charges for the rape and kidnapping of a 16-year-old girl at a cookout last October, and Wake Forest officials announced Friday that he would not be enrolling at the university this year.
The 6-foot-3 225-pound recruit could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted of all counts.
Arkansas running back Darren McFadden -- the 2005 SEC freshman of the year -- underwent surgery on his toe Saturday morning following an overnight bar fight and is doubtful for the Razorbacks' season opener against Southern California.
According to a police report, McFadden was involved in a disturbance at 4:20 a.m. Saturday at Palace the Club, a private club in Little Rock. When officers arrived, a fight was taking place in the parking lot while a crowd watched. McFadden told officers he didn't know the person he was fighting with, the report said.
Arkansas said in a release that McFadden will miss several weeks, and that the first-team All-SEC selection is doubtful for the Razorbacks' game against USC on Sept. 2 in Fayetteville.
If Auburn is to contend for the SEC championship this season, and possibly a national title, they are going to have to do so a little light at the linebacker position.
The Tigers were chosen overwhelmingly (73 of 104 ballots) as the preseason favorite to win the conference by the writers, but Friday coach Tommy Tuberville announced at media day that he was suspending two of his starting linebackers for "quite a few games" following recent run-ins with the law.
The linebackers in question are senior Kevin Sears and redshirt freshman Tray Blackmon. Sears was suspended for last season's Georgia game after his arrest for driving under the influence, public intoxication and leaving the scene of an accident. He was scheduled to be the Tiger's starting middle linebacker this season before his convictions last month on those charges led to his suspension Friday.
Blackmon, a former Rivals100 prospect, was arrested in May for underage alcohol consumption and a being pedestrian under the influence of alcohol. The top rated outside linebacker in Rivals the class of 2005, Blackmon was expected to be Auburn's starting weakside linebacker this fall.
Kansas State quarterback Allen Webb announced Thursday he was leaving the school three credits shy of graduation to play his senior season elsewhere.
Webb started 10 games over the past two seasons for the Wildcats, and led them to come-from-behind victories over Missouri both seasons.
He started the first four games last season before he was replaced in a 43-21 loss to Oklahoma. He has completed 111 of 199 passes for 1,371 yards and 12 touchdowns against nine interceptions in his K-State career. GoPowercat.com reports that Webb will transfer to Texas College, and NAIA school in Tyler, TX.
For the fourth consecutive year West Coast media members have chosen USC as their preseason pick to win the Pac-10 title.
Pete Carroll's Trojans have more than delivered on their preseason hype the last three seasons, winning the Pac-10 title each year, as-well-as two National Championships and a national runner-up finish during that time period.
Different this year from the last two, however, is the Trojans are no longer unanimous choices to be atop the conference. California, Oregon and Arizona State also received first place votes this year.
The media poll has correctly selected the Pac-10 champion in 23 of 45 previous polls, but have correctly predicted eight of the last 11 champions, including six in a row.
When a big-name prospect chooses to play at Missouri over offers from Ohio State, Nebraska and Oklahoma it is big news in Columbia (MU). When a four-star prospect who has already committed to Oklahoma de-commits in order to play for his home state of Missouri, there isn't an eye in the state not watching him.
Unfortunately for wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and Mizzou, all of those eyes will have to watch him on the sideline this season.
The pride of the Tiger's 2006 recruiting class tore the ACL in his right knee earlier this week during 7-on-7 drills and will be forced to take a medical red-shirt for the 2006 season.
Maclin was a two-time all-metro player in St. Louis, where he made 99 catches for 2,226 yards and scored 17 touchdowns in his last two seasons.
With only two weeks left before fall practice officially gets underway at Utah State, having a number of your players arrested on marijuana charges is not what coach Brent Guy would like to be focusing on.
"I am very disappointed, especially with the timing with us going into camp. It is a group of young players who made a bad decision," Guy said.
Receiver Kendall Fisher, 19, defensive lineman Steven Downs, 19, tailback Marcus Cross, 21 and offensive linemen Brennan McFadden and Ryan Tonnemacher, both 19, allowed police to search the house they were in after a neighbor reportedly smelled marijuana. The players face charges of possession and drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor which carries a maximum sentence of six months.
The team had already dismissed two players from the program earlier this year. Receiver Dionte Holloway was dismissed after his arrest for marijuana possession, and quarterback Jerod Walker was also dropped for charges of marijuana possession and aggravated sexual assault.
Despite being surrounded by allegations of sexual abuse, Nebraska coach Bill Callahan has not waivered in his support of controversial recruit Major Culbert.
"After carefully examining all the facts surrounding his situation, we have made the decision to allow Major to join the Nebraska football program," Callahan said in a statement released Wednesday. "He will be a part of our 105-man roster that will report for fall camp on Aug. 2."
The three-star safety from Harbor City (CA) was sentenced this month in Eugene, Ore., to five years of probation and 25 days in jail after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of criminal trespassing and harassment in connection with an incident during his January recruiting visit to the University of Oregon.
Callahan said that the terms of Culbert's reinstatement surround a "zero tolerance" policy from this point forward.
It has been a long time since every coach in the SEC has kept his job from one season to the next. That's just the nature of the SEC. Grueling schedules and fierce rivalries that produce a put-up or shut-up environment for even the toughest of coaches.
But as media day officially got underway Wednesday in Hoover (Ala.), there wasn't a fresh face in site.
"This is the first time since I've been in the league that every coach is back," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said.
As one of the more tenured coaches in the conference, Tuberville has seen many faces come and go in his 11 seasons at Ole Miss and Auburn. Last year he saw three new coaches making their first appearance at SEC media day: Urban Meyer at Florida, Les Miles at LSU and Ed Orgeron at Ole Miss.
In fact no coach in the conference was around the last time there weren't any new coaches to introduce, almost 20 years ago in 1988. Since then there have been 36 coaching changes in the SEC.
As he closes in on his court date for aggravated burglary and weapons charges, former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett has decided that he no longer needs the services of his lawyers.
Just two weeks away from his trial stemming from an incident outside a Columbus bar in January, Clarett released a statement July 20th stating that he had fired attorneys William Settina and Robert Krapenc.
Monday Settina and Krapenc filed a motion saying that they will not continue as Clarett's lawyers due to non-payment of fees and stated that Clarett has been unwilling to cooperate in his own defense.
Following a suspension in January and an arrest in May, running back Ramonce Taylor plans to transfer from Texas, Taylor's mother, Ramona Clark, confirmed to Orangebloods.com Tuesday.
Taylor has not picked a new school, Clark said, although several news outlets reported NAIA program Texas College could be a destination.
Taylor was suspended in January for academic reasons and did not participate in spring practice. In May, he was charged with a state jail felony drug possession charge after Bell County, Texas, sheriff's deputies found four pounds of marijuana in his truck.
He accounted for more than 1,200 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns last season as a sophomore.
Miami was picked to win the ACC in the preseason conference media poll at the league's media days.
The Hurricanes, which are coming off a 9-3 season, and defending champ Florida State were both predicted to win their respective divisions by wide margins.
Georgia Tech receiver Calvin Johnson was the overwhelming choice for the league's preseason player of the year, receiving 75 percent of the vote. Johnson caught 97 passes for 1,617 yards and 13 touchdowns in his first two seasons.
Clemson and Virginia Tech, which have landed in the top 25 of several preseason publications, were picked to finish in second place in the Atlantic and Coastal divisions.
UCLA football coach Karl Dorrell and basketball coach Ben Howland each have agreed to new contracts that give them significant raises.
Dorrell, who guided the Bruins to a 10-2 record last year, will get a $250,000 raise to $850,000 for the upcoming school year, with possible incentives. His deal is for five years.
Howland, who steered UCLA to a 32-7 record and the NCAA championship game, gets a $220,000 hike for this season to $1.15 million, plus possible bonuses in his seven-year deal.
The Bruins' football team wrapped up last season, only the seventh 10-victory campaign in school history, with a 50-38 Sun Bowl victory over Northwestern.
The 42-year-old Dorrell's contract runs through the 2010 season and includes a possible $505,000 in bonuses each year. He will earn another $500,000 if he fulfills the entire five years of the agreement.
Jury recommends no punishment for ex-Navy quarterback
A former U.S. Naval Academy quarterback acquitted of raping a female midshipman but convicted of two lesser charges should not face any punishment, a military jury recommended Friday.
Lamar S. Owens Jr. could have received anything from a written reprimand to dismissal on the two charges of conduct unbecoming an officer and disobeying a lawful order. Prosecutors recommended a two-year sentence.
Owens' mother burst into tears when the decision was announced. His father leaned over a dividing wall and hugged him.
The 22-year-old senior from Savannah, Ga., did not speak to reporters, but his civilian attorney Reid Weingarten said the team was "thankful to God that justice was done."
The five Naval Academy officers that served as his jury on Thursday found that Owens had consensual sex with a junior midshipman in her room at the academy's Bancroft Hall on Jan. 29. His accuser had claimed Owens entered her room uninvited and raped her after she blacked out.
Former South Carolina player sues school
Former South Carolina defensive end Moe Thompson has sued the university for $300,000, claiming officials thwarted his chances of transferring -- and consequently a shot at the NFL -- after he was suspended from the team in 2005.
Thompson is serving five years' probation after he pleaded guilty in October to two counts of attempted first-degree burglary and two counts of petit larceny. He and teammate Kevin Mainord went into dorm rooms in February 2005 and took TVs and a DVD player belonging to female students.
Thompson tried playing for Grambling State, but academic problems prevented him from taking the field.
The lawsuit claims a university official withdrew Thompson from classes without the player's consent, causing him to be academically ineligible to play at Grambling. Since the withdrawal came more than six weeks into the academic session, his transcript reflected "withdrew failing," according to the lawsuit.
Former Navy quarterback acquitted of sexual assault
A former U.S. Naval Academy quarterback who was acquitted of raping a female midshipman at their dorm said Friday he wants to remain in the Navy.
Midshipman Lamar S. Owens, Jr., 22, was awaiting sentencing on two lesser charges that could lead to his confinement and dismissal from the service.
After hearing eight days of testimony, the panel on Thursday found him guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer and failure to obey a military protective order issued to keep him away from his accuser.
"I still want to be a Naval officer," Owens told the panel of five officers convened for his court martial. "I deeply regret the unwanted attention that I brought to the Naval Academy."
Dismissal from the service could leave Owens, of Savannah, Ga., indebted to the U.S. government for the costs of his education. Court documents set the costs at $136,196.62 plus interest. Documents put terms of repayment of 10 years at about $1,253 per month.
Owens remains free without bond. He was not allowed to graduate or receive a commission in May, and remains a midshipman
Miami defensive back in stable condition after gunshot
Miami safety Willie Cooper is in stable condition after he was shot in the buttocks Friday while investigating a suspicious vehicle outside his residence, according to multiple reports.
Cooper and his roommates, Miami football players Brandon Meriweather and Ryan Moore, noticed a suspicious vehicle circling their residence before 7 a.m. Friday morning. Cooper and Meriweather walked outside to find a man standing near a blue Audi. The man fired one shot, hitting Cooper in the buttocks.
Meriweather had a gun and returned fire, a South Miami police spokesman told The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post. The suspect fled in the Audi.
"There isn't any issue with Meriweather as far as we know," police spokesman Michael Mills told the Post. "He has a legal right to own a gun and protect himself and his property."
Senior cornerback Montavis Pitts, who was arrested last month in Tuskegee, Ala., on a drunk-driving charge, said he will leave Auburn for a "fresh start" at another school and apologized for making "a mistake."
Pitts, a Loachapoka, Ala., native, played in 40 games during his Auburn career, making 106 tackles.
In a statement Thursday on the transfer, coach Tommy Tuberville described Pitts as a "key contributor" to Auburn's football program. He said Pitts played "an important role as a starter during our perfect season in 2004."
Tuberville thanked Pitts for his contributions and extended best wishes for him.
Issuing an apology to teammates, coaches and Auburn fans, Pitts said, "I made a mistake and have decided that I need to get a fresh start and begin somewhere else." The statement did not say where Pitts' plans to transfer.
Former Wisconsin running back Booker Stanley was convicted of sexually assaulting a former girlfriend.
A jury in Dane County Circuit Court deliberated five hours Thursday before finding Stanley guilty of second-degree sexual assault, second-degree recklessly endangering safety, bail jumping and battery.
Stanley, who showed no emotion as the verdicts were read, was acquitted of three additional counts of battery to conclude the two-day trial.
Stanley, 23, faces up to 56 years, nine months in prison and fines of up to $145,000 for the Dec. 21 incident.
Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis on Thursday denied a player's accusation that the Irish staff criticized Clemson after the recruit verbally committed to the Tigers.
"I find it quite amusing that a student-athlete already enrolled at another university has decided to be the team spokesman on Notre Dame recruiting practices," Weis said. "There is an obvious contradiction between how this was handled and what was stated. We do not use negative recruiting tactics."
Clemson on Thursday issued a statement from the player, Jamie Cumbie, in which he said he did not correctly describe his conversations with Notre Dame during a newspaper interview.
Cumbie, a 6-foot-7, 255-pound tight end who attended Morris (Ill.) High School, is a native of South Carolina who had moved to an area about an hour west of Chicago during high school. He said his final choice of schools was between Clemson and Notre Dame.
He announced last June that he would attend Clemson. But he said Notre Dame continued to recruit him - the only school to do so.
"I'm not going to lie," Cumbie told The Post and Courier newspaper of Charleston, S.C., for a story Wednesday. "The coaches at Notre Dame sent some bad letters ripping Clemson after I committed here."
The defending national champions got little love in the preseason media Big 12 poll.
Texas was picked to finish second in the Big 12 South behind Oklahoma, who received 23 first-place votes. The Longhorns received five first-place votes.
Media members picked Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Baylor to finish in that order behind Oklahoma in Texas.
With 21 first-place votes, Nebraska was picked to with the Big 12 North ahead of Iowa State (five first-place votes), Colorado (two first-place votes), Kansas, Missouri and Kansas State.
Duke suspends Asack, dismisses three others
Duke quarterback Zack Asack was suspended for the season for plagiarism while coach Ted Roof dismissed three other players for breaking team rules, the school said Wednesday.
Wide receiver Deon Adams, safety Andreas Platt and offensive lineman Joe Suder were dismissed from the program, though the school did not specify what rules they violated.
Asack, a sophomore, will be eligible to return to Duke next summer.
Asack started six of the last seven games for Duke last season, finishing with a team-high 966 yards passing with five touchdown passes and eight interceptions. Asack was the first freshman to start at quarterback for Duke in 21 years.
Ex-Central Michigan players plead no contest to lesser charge in beating death
Two former Central Michigan football players charged with second-degree murder pleaded no contest Tuesday to a far less serious charge punishable by up to two years in prison.
James King, 24, of Oak Park, and Jerry Seymour, 21, of Miramar, Fla., pleaded no contest to attempted assault with a dangerous weapon. The charge is a high-court misdemeanor, a category of crime that falls between a misdemeanor and a felony.
A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but is treated as such for sentencing purposes.
King and Seymour were charged in the June 25, 2004, beating of Demarcus Graham outside a Mount Pleasant bar. Graham, 26, a Flint native, died 19 days later.
Their trial on charges of second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and assault with intent to do great bodily harm, began July 11. If convicted as charged, King and Seymour could have faced a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Utah receiver gets extra year
The NCAA has granted Utah receiver Brian Hernandez a one-year eligibility extension.
Hernandez, now 22, sat out his freshman season at Georgia Tech in 2002 because of a thigh injury. He had to sit out another year because of NCAA rules when he transferred to Arizona State.
Hernandez played at Arizona's Pima Community College in 2004, then enrolled at Utah in 2005.
Hernandez, who will be a junior this fall, had 39 catches for 709 yards and three touchdowns last season.
Auburn president: Course issue concerns academics, not athletics
Auburn University President Ed Richardson said questions swirling around independent-study courses taken by football players center more on academics than athletics.
"Everybody is interested in football, and that gives the story some life to some people. We hope to bring it to a conclusion fairly soon," Richardson told the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser in a story Tuesday.
The university is reviewing claims that a sociology professor, Thomas Petee, repeatedly gave high grades to football players without requiring them to do much academic work.
The grades were in so-called "directed reading" courses, in which students aren't required to attend class but instead meet privately with teachers.
Richardson spent time Monday consulting with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, an accreditation organization that requested information after learning of the allegations, first reported in detail last week by The New York Times.
New lawsuit says Missouri was unfamiliar with sickle cell traits leading to player's death
A revised lawsuit filed Tuesday by the parents of a Missouri football player who died during preseason workouts last year targets the unfamiliarity of the team's trainers and assistant coaches with the symptoms and exercise-induced complications of sickle cell trait.
Although a county medical examiner identified viral meningitis as the official cause of death for reserve linebacker Aaron O'Neal, the amended complaint focuses on the role of the genetic condition that a growing number of athletic trainers and team physicians across the country suggest should be more closely monitored.
Despite the medical examiner's conclusion, the chairman of the university's pathology department and several outside experts have suggested that sickle cell trait - a blood disorder found in an estimated 8 to 10 percent of the U.S. black population - was a contributing factor in O'Neal's death.
Former Ohio State running back Erik Haw says he will transfer to Jackson State, a Division I-AA school.
Haw, a 6-1, 212-pound sophomore who has three years of eligibility remaining, rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries last season for the Buckeyes. Haw said he decided to transfer after learning he would likely be low on the depth chart at running back going into this year.
Haw said he picked the Tigers over UCLA, Arizona State, Rutgers and West Virginia.
By transferring to Jackson State, he is eligible to play immediately instead of having to sit out a season if he went to another Division I-A school.
"I wanted to play right away. That's the biggest reason I chose Jackson State," Haw said.
Haw went to Independence High School in Columbus, Ohio. He played in four games with the Buckeyes in 2005.
Monday, July 17, 2006
LB Williams will not go to West Virginia
Former Miami linebacker Willie Williams will not transfer to West Virginia, contrary to previous reports, the Charleston (W. Va.) Gazette reported Monday.
After requesting his release from Miami last week, Williams asked the Mountaineers about a possible transfer, but West Virginia turned down the former five-star recruit, the Gazette reported.
"He called and inquired and we said, 'Thanks, but no thanks,'" West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez told the newspaper Sunday. "I don't know where this stuff gets started, but he will not be transferring to West Virginia."
Friday, July 14, 2006
GMAC Bowl rescheduled for January
The GMAC Bowl will move this season from its pre-Christmas date to Jan. 7, a day before the new BCS National Championship Game, bowl officials announced Friday.
There will now be two bowls between the four BCS games on Jan. 1-3 and the new title game Jan. 8. The International Bowl will be played in Toronto on Jan. 6.
The GMAC Bowl matches a team from Conference USA against a team from either the Mid-American Conference or the Western Athletic Conference. It will be televised on ESPN.
Report: Auburn athletes draw academic scrutiny
Carnell "Cadillac" Williams and other Auburn athletes received high grades from the same professor for sociology and criminology courses that didn't require them to attend classes or do much work, The New York Times reported.
Williams, the former star running back who now plays for the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, told the newspaper the only two classes he took the spring semester of his senior year were one-on-one courses with Professor Thomas Petee, the sociology department's highest-ranking member.
The Times reported on its Web site Thursday night that 18 members of the 2004 football team -- a team that went undefeated and finished No. 2 in the nation -- took a combined 97 hours of the courses during their careers. The newspaper said the offerings resemble independent study and include subjects as statistics, theory and methods, which normally require class instruction.
Arizona State QB changes jersey number to honor friend
Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller wanted to honor his friend and teammate, Angelo Richardson, who was paralyzed by a gunshot to his lungs and ribs in March.
But Keller wasn't sure what he should do. A few months ago, Richardson made a request. He asked Keller to wear Richardson's No. 2 jersey next season.
On Wednesday, Keller formally traded in his familiar No. 9 for No. 2 and unveiled his new jersey - maroon with gold trim - at a campus news conference.
Richardson and Keller were teammates at San Ramon Valley High School in Danville, Calif. Keller came to ASU and succeeded record-setting quarterback Andrew Walter. Richardson ended up at Santa Rosa Junior College, where he excelled last season before signing with ASU last winter. A month later, he was shot.
LSU agrees to contract extensions for Miles, Brady
LSU agreed Wednesday to long-term contract extensions with football coach Les Miles and basketball coach John Brady that would keep both on the sidelines in Baton Rouge for the next five seasons.
According to information released by the university, the new contract for Miles is a five-year agreement to expire after the 2010 season, while Brady's five-year deal runs through the 2010-11 basketball season.
Miles' deal includes the release of $400,000 in 2006 of funds accrued in the first two years of his original contract, followed by a base salary of $300,000 per year starting in 2007, plus $950,000 for participation in radio, television and Internet programming for 2007 and 2008 and $975,000 for 2009 and 2010. Including additional compensation,
Miles' total compensation will be $1.65 million in 2006 and $1.8 million in 2007. Miles' contract calls for the opportunity to earn raises during the term of the contract based upon the team's finish among other SEC schools.
Louisville coach Bobby Petrino agreed to a new 10-year contract Thursday morning that will extend through the 2015 season.
Petrino's new contract is worth $25 million in total incentives over the life of the contract and is the largest per year contract in the Big East.
Petrino, who has been the subject of coaching search rumors after each of his first three seasons on campus, said the deal was important for him on the recruiting trail. Rival recruiters had previously used Petrino's short tenure and his lack of a contract buy-out against the Louisville head coach.
The new contract, complete with a buy-out, was Petrino's idea according to Jurich. Petrino's new contract stipulates the school would get $1 million if the contract is bought out before June 30, 2011.
Minnesota running back Gary Russell won't return to the team this year.
That leaves the Gophers without both of their 1,000-yard rushers from last season, since Laurence Maroney left a year early for the NFL. Russell, who would've been a junior, isn't enrolled in classes for the fall semester, school spokesman Shane Sandersfeld said Wednesday.
That means Russell is ineligible for this season, and the chance of him playing college football again anywhere is slim. Academic failure forced Russell to drop out of the university last spring, and he attended a local community college to try to better his grades
Former USC wide receiver Whitney Lewis, the No. 3 recruit in the country in 2003, is expected to enroll at Division I-AA Northern Iowa and play for the Panthers this season.
UNI spokesman Colin McDonough said Wednesday that Lewis has been working out in Cedar Falls and will be eligible to play immediately. Lewis has two years of eligibility remaining.
Lewis was one of the top players in Southern California's 2003 recruiting class, which included Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush, Tennessee Titans second-round pick LenDale White and current star receiver Steve Smith.
Lewis was shifted between receiver, tailback and fullback as a true freshman in 2003 and gained 38 total yards. He was redshirted in 2004 after being ruled academically ineligible
Willie Williams has asked Miami to release him from his scholarship, and is beginning the process of finding a new school.
The linebacker -- who was allowed to enroll at Miami two years ago despite having 11 entries on his arrest record -- was touted as one of the nation's best defensive players coming out of high school, but never became a starter with the Hurricanes.
"Whatever is best for Willie, I will be in favor of," Miami coach Larry Coker said in a statement released by the school.
Williams has not yet enrolled at any other school, and it's still possible that he could return to the Hurricanes if he changes his mind. Practice for the 2006 season begins next month.
Harvard senior Matthew Thomas, 22, was suspended over the weekend and could be kicked off the football team as he faces criminal charges following his June 5 arrest.
The charges include assault and battery, domestic abuse and breaking and entering.
Witnesses say they saw the 6-foot-1, 245-pound middle linebacker choke and beat his former girlfriend in her dorm room, and the woman was treated for her injuries at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge.
New Mexico State linebacker Shana Leaupepe, who was set to be a starter this season, was killed in a drive-by shooting.
Leaupepe, 21, died Friday in Long Beach, Calif., coach Hal Mumme said Saturday. Leaupepe was visiting family when he was killed.
"Shana was an outstanding young man, and we are shocked that this has happened," Mumme said in a statement. "Shana was a wonderful friend and teammate, and our hearts go out to his family. We've lost a special young man whose time at New Mexico State left a lasting mark on our coaches, players and staff."
Leaupepe led West Los Angeles College with 56 tackles in 2004, helping his team to a conference championship. In his two years at the college, he tallied more than 100 tackles and was named an all-Conference selection twice. He transferred to New Mexico State in 2005 and redshirted that season.
Mumme said Leaupepe will be buried in American Samoa.
Friday, July 7, 2006
Northwestern to name Fitzgerald as Walker's successor
Former Northwestern star linebacker Pat Fitzgerald will be named to the Wildcats' head coach, replacing Randy Walker, two sources have told Louie Vaccher of Rivals.com.
The 31-year-old linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator is expected to be elevated to head coach today at a news conference scheduled by the Northwestern sports information department for 1:15 p.m. Eastern. Fitzgerald is not being named on an interim basis.
The announcement comes one day after the memorial service for Walker, who died suddenly June 29 of an apparent heart attack in his suburban Chicago home. Freshmen are scheduled to report to campus on Aug. 2.
Fitzgerald, who will become the youngest Division I-A head coach, served under Walker since 2001 as a defensive assistant. He started as defensive backs coach before being moved to linebackers coach in 2002. He has been recruiting coordinator since 2003.
WildcatReport.com of the Rivals.com network was the first to report Fitzgerald's elevation to head coach.
Thursday, July 6, 2006
Former Buckeye Clarett expected back on the gridiron this season
The Columbus Dispatch reported Thursday that former Ohio State football star Maurice Clarett is expected to sign a contract with the Mahoning Valley Hitmen of the newly-founded Eastern Indoor Football League.
The troubled running back helped lead the Buckeyes to a national championship as a freshman in 2002. Since then there has been nothing but difficulties for Clarett.
He was suspended for the 2003 season for violating NCAA rules, after which he unsuccessfully sued the NFL in an attempt to enter the 2004 draft.
Two-years removed from playing football, Clarett came to the combine overweight and out of shape, but was drafted in the third round of the 2005 draft by the Denver Broncos. After choosing to sign a non-guaranteed contract that included no signing bonus, the running back was released by Denver before the start of pre-season.
The trouble did not end there for Clarett, earlier this year, he pleaded not guilty to aggravated-robbery charges in Columbus and is awaiting trial.
All of this still has not deterred Hitmen coach and general manager Jim Terry from pursuing him to play for the Youngstown team, where Clarett is from. Terry has also expressed interest in former Buckeye quarterback Steve Bellisari.
Georgia Southern receiver dies in motorcycle accident
Georgia Southern wide receiver Teddy Craft died from injuries in a motorcycle accident.
The senior was injured in a two-vehicle accident Tuesday night near Statesboro.
He was in critical condition Wednesday night, and his death was confirmed Thursday by Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah. He had been taken to East Georgia Regional Medical Center, then airlifted to Memorial.
The school said he was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
Craft, of Hartwell, was a second-team All-Southern Conference pick the past two years. He led the Eagles in reception yards (319) and touchdowns (5) last season. He caught four of his five touchdown passes during the final two games.
Wednesday, July 5, 2006
Florida finally grants troubled DB his release
A week ago the University of Florida indefinitely suspended defensive back Avery Atkins following allegations that he beat the mother of his two-month old child.
Atkins maintains it was in self-defense, and no arrests or charges have yet been made.
The sophomore, who was scheduled to start for the Gators this fall, had claimed he requested to be released from the program to seek a transfer, but the university denied his request.
Wednesday coach Urban Meyer and the Florida staff had a change of heart as they officially released Atkins from the program.
The arrival of star recruit Chris Wells in Columbus this fall will give the Buckeyes three very talented running backs who will all see their share of playing time. Unfortunately for sophomore running back Erik Haw, this meant that he wasn't going to see the field much - if at all. OSU has announced that Haw has been granted his release from the program in order to transfer.
Haw figured to be the fourth-string tailback behind starter Antonio Pittman, Maurice Wells and the incoming Chris Wells. Haw played in four games last season for the Buckeyes, rushing 14 times for 61 yards and a touchdown.
Athletic department spokesman Steve Snapp also said cornerback Mike Roberts has transferred to Indiana State and defensive lineman Sian Cotton is no longer on the team.
Four players have been given their release from the Oregon football team so that they can look to continue their college football careers somewhere else.
The list of players transferring in search of more playing time includes two sophomores, running back Terrell Jackson and defensive lineman Thor Pili, along with two redshirt freshmen, linebacker Tucker Callahan and offensive lineman Levi Horn.
Jackson was the only player among the four that played last season, with 27 carries for 107 yards. He ran for 29 yards in his lone start against Stanford.
All four players would be eligible to play immediately if they transfer to schools lower than the Division I-A level but would have to sit out the 2006 season should they transfer to another Division I-A school.
Northwestern University football coach Randy Walker died of an apparent heart attack Thursday night. He was 52.
Walker died after feeling chest pains around 10 p.m. at his suburban Chicago home, said Mike Wolf, the school's assistant athletic director for media services.
"This is a devastating loss, not only for our athletic program, but for the entire Northwestern community," athletic director Mark Murphy said in a statement early Friday. "Randy truly embraced Northwestern and its mission, and cared deeply for his student-athletes, both on and off the field."