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Dr. Saturday

Headlinin’: Todd McNair, USC scapegoat, will see the NCAA in court

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Making the morning rounds.

Lawyer time. Former USC assistant coach Todd McNair has filed a lawsuit against the NCAA, accusing the Association of libel, slander, interference with economic advantage, interference with contractual relations, breach of contract and negligence after it denied his appeal to lift a show-cause order that makes him unemployable as a coach because it restricts him from contacting potential recruits. The NCAA issued the order last year in the wake of the heavy-handed sanctions it dropped on USC in response to the Reggie Bush scandal, which were justified in part by the NCAA's contention that McNair knew or should have known about Bush's arrangement with would-be agents in 2005.

McNair — a former running back for the Kansas City Chiefs who was twice convicted in the 1990s for allegedly breeding dogs for dogfighting — has consistently denied the charges, but was let go by USC when his contract expired last summer and stands little chance of landing another decent coaching job until his name is cleared. [L.A. Daily News, Fox Sports, Conquest Chronicles]

Recurring offseason themes. As expected, SEC presidents approved major reforms to the conference's "roster management" bylaws last Friday at league meetings in Destin, Fla. — the most significant of which will reduce the cap on signees in a single recruiting class from 28 to 25 — but stopped well short of matching a longstanding Big Ten rule that limits the number of signees to the number of scholarships available under the NCAA's 85-man limit for the entire roster. Other changes will require medical hardship exemptions to be approved by the SEC office and, in a surprise twist, will ban fifth-year seniors from transferring into the conference to play as graduate students. Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Birmingham News, Gainesville Sun]

Volunteer down. Tennessee linebacker Herman Lathers, a full-time starter who finished second on the team in tackles last year as a sophomore, will miss at least part of the regular season after fracturing his ankle last week. Lathers' absence leaves the Vols without a returning starter at linebacker and, with safety Janzen Jackson still in limbo, without any of their top four tacklers in 2010. [Knoxville News-Sentinel] {YSP:MORE}

When it rains, it pours, part one. On the recruiting trail, Texas landed a weekend commitment from Pearland, Texas, offensive lineman Kennedy Estelle, the eighth member of Rivals' initial top 100 prospects for 2012 to commit to the Longhorns' next recruiting class and the fifth in Rivals' top fifty. The only other school even in the ballpark of the Longhorns' pace on the blue-chip level is Florida State, with five top-100 commits to date. [Orangebloods.com]

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When it rains, it pours, part two. Wide receiver Martavis Bryant, a former top-100 prospect who originally headlined Clemson's 2010 signing class, has been academically cleared to enroll at Clemson after a detour through Hargrave Military Academy last year. Bryant adds to the abundance of riches en route to Death Valley this fall, which already included a five-star receiver (Sammy Watkins), a five-star running back (Mike Bellamy) and two other skill players (tight end Eric MacLain and wide receiver Charone Peak) ranked among Rivals' top 100 incoming prospects for 2011. They'll join last year's breakout freshman, receiver DeAndre Hopkins, and new starting quarterback Tajh Boyd, who was ranked among the top incoming QBs in 2009. [Tiger Illustrated]

The Rap Sheet, part one. In less optimistic Clemson receiver news, freshman speedster Joe Craig — also a member of the Tiger track team — was involved in a domestic incident last month in the apartment of female sprinter Marlena Wesh, who was allegedly struck with towel rod after opening a severe cut in Craig's arm with an eyebrow razor. No charges were filed against either side, but both Craig and Wesh have been suspended from the track team; Craig hasn't faced (and apparently will not face) any discipline from the football team. [Charleston Post and Courier]

The Rap Sheet, part two. Texas A&M sophomore Damontre Moore, the likely replacement for All-American Von Miller at outside linebacker, was arrested last Friday morning on charges of possessing less than two ounces of marijuana. He was quickly released after posting $2,000 bond. Moore played in all 13 games last season and finished second on the team with 5.5 sacks. [Houston Chronicle]

Quickly… Washaun Ealey lands at Jacksonville State. … Kentucky lands a dual commitment from twin safeties. … More on Bubba Starling's big decision. … Stanford's new media guide breaks out the big guns. … Desmond Howard shows his Twitter followers there are no hard feelings with Denard Robinson. … And the situation in West Virginia is about to go ham.

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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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