December 14, 2011
Making the morning rounds.
• Nothing to see here, folks. Clemson has issued a cease-and-desist order to a restaurant in Fort Myers, Fla., for naming hometown hero Sammy Watkins as a "host" in ads for a "Naughty or Nice X-Mas Party" on Dec. 23. Like most things, using a player's name or likeness for promotional purposes is an obvious violation of NCAA rules, though Clemson fully expects its dynamic freshman star to remain in good standing for the Tigers' Orange Bowl date with West Virginia on Jan. 4. Watkins' brother, Mountaineer safety Brodrick Jenkins, should also be in the clear.
"We fully expect Sammy Watkins to play," said Clemson spokesman Tim Bourret. "We asked them to take (the fliers) down and they did. You wouldn't expect every restaurant in American to know it was a rules violation." [Charleston Post & Courier, Charleston Daily Mail]
The same cannot be said, however, for Watkins' five-star classmate, running back Mike Bellamy, who has been suspended indefinitely from bowl practices and the game. (Regular readers may remember Mike from his ill-fated Facebook prank last summer.) Bellamy remains on campus and is likely to be reinstated in January, per coach Dabo Swinney, providing "he does the right things" to get back in good standing. [Charleston Post & Courier]
• DeRuyter on de move. Multiple outlets suggest Fresno State is on the verge of offering its head coaching job to Texas A&M defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter, who could be introduced as soon as today — the first day Fresno is legally allowed to offer the job under a California law that requires public job postings to remain open for at least ten days. DeRuyter earned high marks as the architect of A&M's defensive turnaround in 2010, his first year after arriving from his alma mater, Air Force. But the Aggie D didn't fare as well this year, and with a new regime on its way in, the opportunity to take his first head coaching job in his home state may be too good to pass up. [Fresno Bee]
• He'll be here all week. Colorado State formally introduced Jim McElwain as its new head coach Tuesday, but his new job won't keep McElwain from finishing his old gig as Alabama's offensive coordinator in the BCS Championship Game. Next Monday is the beginning of a "dead period" in recruiting, at which point McElwain will return to Tuscaloosa to begin planning for LSU on Jan. 9. [al.com]
• It takes two, bb. Ohio State isn't the only school getting the benefit of two coaching staffs this December: The NCAA has also granted a dual-staff waiver to UCLA, allowing the current staff (sans ousted head coach Rick Neuheisel) to prepare for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl while the yet-to-be-assembled staff under Jim L. "Don't Call Me Junior" Mora hits the recruiting trail. The waiver specifies that no more than ten coaches may be involved in recruiting, and no more than seven at any given time. [Los Angeles Daily News]
• So Sioux me. North Dakota's Secretary of State has approved two ballot measures that seek to save the nickname "Fighting Sioux" at the University of North Dakota, despite repeated NCAA warnings to drop the name because at least one Sioux tribe has refused to sanction it. One referendum is out to repeal the state legislature's decision last month to allow UND to drop the nickname; the other proposes a one-sentence amendment to the state constitution: "The University of North Dakota and its intercollegiate athletic teams shall be known as the Fighting Sioux."
The NCAA has warned that a failure to drop the mascot will result in sanctions, including a ban on postseason tournaments and a likely kibosh on North Dakota's efforts to join the Big Sky Conference next year. [Associated Press]
• Tokin' Pokes. Two Oklahoma State linemen, redshirt freshman Christian Littlehead and fifth-year senior Jonathan Rush, were hit with misdemeanor charges Monday for possession of drug paraphernalia. Last week, campus police reportedly found "two homemade smoking devices containing burnt residue" in a dorm room Littlehead and Rush share. Both were part-time starters for the Cowboys (Rush has already been granted a sixth year of eligibility after suffering a season-ending knee injury in September) and are expected to travel with the team for the Fiesta Bowl. [The Oklahoman]
Quickly… Miami will have at least one senior on next year's roster. … Michigan unveils yet another "alternate" uniform for the Sugar Bowl. … Hawaii has 30 applicants for its vacant head coaching job, including Norm Chow. … Ron Powlus joins his old boss in Kansas. … Texas loses a backup wide receiver to transfer. … A local columnist wonders if Rich Rodriguez has any idea what he's in for in Arizona. … Miami, Ohio's equipment manager is a dancin' fool. … Mark Asper didn't appreciate BYU's recruiting pitch. … And Auburn is no stranger to replacing coordinators. But both at the same time?