Things aren’t looking good for the return of UAB football, at least according to an Alabama State Representative.
State Rep. Jack Williams told AL.com Thursday morning he's received "strong indications" that UAB President Ray Watts has decided not to reinstate the school's football program and plans to announce that news Friday night.
"This could lead to irreparable damage at UAB in its relationship with the community," Williams said.
Watts announced his decision to eliminate football, rifle and bowling last December, and Williams told Al.com that the president is “holding fast” to that decision. While Williams says the school is planning for a Friday night announcement, Watts said in a statement that no decision has been reached.
"We continue to consult with various stakeholders within the UAB community and consider the findings of the (College Sports Solutions) report, along with other important, valuable and mission-critical data, in order to make the best decision for UAB, guided by our vision, mission and strategic plan," Watts said. "We will meet with our constituent groups over the next week to receive their input as part of the decision-making process. We plan to make an announcement by June 1."
Williams told Al.com that Watts had meetings scheduled with powerful boosters on Thursday morning, both of whom would like UAB to reinstate football.
Williams said two key meetings are scheduled for this morning to try to convince Watts to reinstate football. Williams said four local business leaders have a meeting scheduled with University of Alabama System trustee Johnny Johns, and local philanthropist Jimmy Filler has a meeting scheduled with Watts.
Williams said he understands that Filler plans to present Watts with a multimillion-dollar guaranteed letter of credit to contribute to upgrading UAB's football facilities if that sport is reinstated.
When announcing his decision, Watts said the school could not afford to continue supporting the three eliminated sports. However, an independent economic analysis firm said in April that the decision to terminate the sports was was “ill-advised from a net cash-flow perspective.”
Additionally, the university enlisted College Sports Solutions to complete a report on the feasibility of reinstating the sports. According to Al.com, the CSS report said going either way were “viable options” for the school.
For more UAB news, visit BlazerSportsReport.com.
- - - - - - -
Penn State senior defensive back Da’Quan Davis is no longer with the team.
Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin announced the news Wednesday during a stop on the Penn State Coaches Caravan, hours before the Baltimore Sun reported that Davis was arrested for marijuana possession earlier in the month.
“Da’Quan is no longer with the team,” Franklin said Wednesday in New York City, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I keep my comments pretty limited on those things, but we wish him the best, but yeah, he’s no longer with the program. That’s also why we don’t necessarily release things if we don’t have to because I want him to be able to focus on graduating and finishing up his academics.”
According to the Sun, Davis was arrested May 9 by Penn State campus police and charged with “possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal use, possession of drug paraphernalia and purchasing alcohol as a minor.”
Davis, who played in six games for Penn State last season, turns 21 on June 17. He has a preliminary hearing in State College scheduled for June 24.
The 5-foot-10, 174-pound Davis played in all 12 games for the Nittany Lions as a true freshman in 2012 under Bill O’Brien and recorded five tackles, three pass breakups and one fumble recovery.
Davis has mainly played on special teams in the past two seasons, combining for eight tackles in 13 games played. He was expected to play a similar role in 2015 as he sat behind senior Trevor Williams and sophomores Grant Haley and Christian Campbell throughout spring practice. Penn State also brought in four-star recruits John Reid and Garrett Taylor at corner.
For more Penn State news, visit BlueandWhiteIllustrated.com.
- - - - - - -
Northern Illinois is looking for a new field design for 2015 and it's looking for fan input.
Here's the catch though, the field design has already been chosen. Yes, this is a slow reveal. We know, we know. The school posted six designs on its Instagram and would like feedback, but the choice has already been made.
Here are the designs via NIU’s Instagram account:
Personally, I like the first choice with outline of the Huskie, but I’m also a gravitating to the last option with the alternating yard lines. Maybe the Huskies should make it easy on everyone and just change their field design for every home game in 2015.
Which one would you pick?
And don’t forget to keep up with all of Graham’s thoughts, witty comments and college football discussions on Facebook
Perhaps Syracuse has confused itself when it comes to the No. 44 jersey. Or, at the very least, confused a lot of us.
A day after having a ceremony around the number worn by Jim Brown, Ernie Davis and Floyd Little, the school issued a statement about the number on Wednesday.
"Yesterday's announcement was simply a reiteration of that commitment and another opportunity to celebrate the great accomplishments of those who have worn the number with Syracuse pride and honor," Syracuse Senior Vice President for Public Affairs Kevin Quinn said in an email to Syracuse.com. "The retired #44 jersey will continue in its place of honor at Dome — as a symbol of past glories and future successes."
Yes, the school unveiled plans for statues honoring Brown, Davis and Little at Tuesday's ceremony, but the crux of the event seemed to center around the return of the No. 44, which was retired by the school in 2005.
After all, Syracuse tweeted this:
It's back pic.twitter.com/gZAXOztdwd— Syracuse Football (@CuseFootball) May 19, 2015
And interim athletic director Pete Sala said this, via Syracuse.com:
"With the blessing of Jim Brown and Floyd Little, the No. 44 is back. The Syracuse University Football Orange, we are restoring the No. 44 back to the program."
Makes it look like the No. 44 would be back on the roster, right?
And former Syracuse QB Donovan McNabb, a member of the school's board of trustees, certainly felt the number was being brought back as he expressed his displeasure about the announcement on Twitter.
Instead, it appears that Syracuse either had an event for the sake of having an event or Sala and the team's Twitter account weren't completely correct.
Now, it seems that Syracuse will proceed with a previous policy that said players would be allowed to wear No. 44 in special circumstances. During the ceremony, Little, now a special assistant to the athletic director and on the committee to help decide who is deserving of No. 44, was quoted describing the characteristics the school would be looking for in a player to wear the number.
Given the Wednesday statement, those comments appear to be in reference to the continuation of the policy. Unless, somehow, the waters surrounding the number get murkier in the days ahead.
For more Syracuse news, visit Cuse-Confidential.com.
- - - - - - -
Chris Petersen's return to Boise State is only available to season-ticket holders.
The Broncos' home-opener is against Washington and the school will not be selling single-game tickets to the game on Sept. 4.
“We need to reward our season ticket holders,” Boise State athletic director Mark Coyle told the Idaho Press-Tribune. “If you’re a season ticket holder for Boise State, you can order as many Washington tickets as you want. The only criteria is that you have to be a season ticket holder. Our goal is that we want to create more value in our season ticket.”
There is no limit on the number of additional tickets to the game a season-ticket holder can buy. So if you want to go to the game and that game alone, better find a friend who has season tickets. The extra tickets to the game go on sale June 1.
As the Press-Tribune notes, BSU's home schedule is, well, not that good outside of this marquee matchup. In addition to Washington, where Petersen went in December 2013, Boise hosts Idaho State, Hawaii, Wyoming, New Mexico and Air Force. While the Falcons were 10-3 last year, Idaho State is an FCS school and the other three opponents went a combined 12-25 in 2014.
Similar to Miami's two-pack of tickets last year for the Florida State game, It also may be a way to prevent opposing fans from snatching up a bunch of tickets and putting a smattering of purple in the stadium.
Boise isn't incredibly close to Washington given its location in Idaho, but Washington fans aren't limited to the extreme northwest part of the country. It's reasonable to assume that some would travel to the Boise State game and giving access to season-ticket holders only is a way to blunt that idea.
Or, at the very least, make Washington fans who do want to go pay a premium on the secondary market and make some Boise fans a little money in the process.
For more Boise State news, visit Blue-Turf.com.
- - - - - - -
Southern Mississippi wide receivers James Cox and Kyle Foster were arrested Wednesday morning on multiple charges, including armed robbery.
The two players were arrested in connection to an alleged incident at a residential complex and officially charged with armed robbery, burglary of an occupied dwelling and kidnapping.
"We have been made aware of the situation and we are continuing to gather information at this time," Southern Miss spokesperson Jack Duggan said in a prepared statement to the Hattiesburg American.
The Hattiesburg Police Department didn't provide any details on the charges to the American. The alleged incident happened before 7 a.m. Wednesday morning and the players were booked into jail at approximately 6:30 p.m.
Cox had 15 catches for 219 yards and two touchdowns last year. Foster had 15 catches for 168 yards. Cox, from Tuscaloosa, Ala., is set to be a junior in 2015. Foster is to be a senior and transferred from Dodge City Community College before the 2014 season.
- - - - - - -
It looks like Florida State’s injury woes from the spring could carry over into the fall.
According to Noles247, Seminoles linebacker Matthew Thomas will be out another three or four months due to a shoulder injury. Thomas, a redshirt sophomore, missed most of spring practice after having surgery on the injured shoulder.
Now, Thomas is expected to miss more time than initially expected, head coach Jimbo Fisher said Tuesday.
Thomas, a five-star recruit in the 2013 class, has missed significant periods of time due to injury. Thomas played in four games and registered four tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack as a true freshman, but his season ended due to a shoulder surgery (for which he received a medical redshirt).
After a suspension for violation of team rules kept him out early in the 2014 season, Thomas returned to the lineup and started in three games down the stretch for the Seminoles. Overall, he appeared in eight games last season and totaled 26 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss.
Linebacker is a position where FSU could not afford to lose production. Starter Reggie Northrup is still on the mend from a torn ACL and backups Kain Daub and E.J. Levenberry transferred. With Thomas, an expected starter, out until midway through the 2015 campaign, junior college transfer Lorenzo Phillips has a chance to move into the starting lineup.
For more Florida State news, visit Warchant.com.
- - - - - - -
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh will meet with a small group of Muslim students next Wednesday after the controversy at the school surrounding the movie 'American Sniper.'
The movie was scheduled to be shown at Michigan in April as part of a movie series for students. After the movie was announced, a petition was created criticizing what some felt were anti-Muslim sentiments in the movie.
Following the backlash, the movie was canceled and, amidst the backlash to the backlash, eventually reinstated with another viewing option made available to the (optional) viewing of American Sniper. During the time the movie was called off, Harbaugh made the following tweet.
Michigan Football will watch "American Sniper"! Proud of Chris Kyle & Proud to be an American & if that offends anybody then so be it!— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) April 9, 2015
Lamees Mekkaoui, of the Michigan campus organization Students Allied for Freedom and Equality, originally said in an email obtained by The College Fix that the meeting with Harbaugh would include an apology from the coach about his tweet. However, according to The Fix, Mekkaoui subsequently issued a correction.
A few hours after Mekkaoui sent the email, it was retracted and replaced with a different message.
“I would like to make a correction in my email,” her second email stated. “I made the mistake of assuming that an apology would be issued. However, Coach Jim Harbaugh was simply invited to a private meeting with us in order to talk about the screening of American Sniper and get a dialogue going about how a university leader’s social media can impact campus climate. I take full responsibility for this assumption and I am very sorry for any confusion I may have caused.”
Harbaugh's Twitter account has quickly become the most popular account of any college football coach.
A Michigan spokesperson told The Fix that Harbaugh was meeting with the group to hear their concerns. The spokesperson also told MLive.com that the meeting had been scheduled for "several weeks."
- - - - - - -
LSU athletic director Joe Alleva has a simple explanation for why LSU has been playing a lot of major non-conference games at neutral sites.
Teams don't want to lose at Tiger Stadium.
He made the comments during a Tuesday radio appearance on 104.5 ESPN in Baton Rouge and, when asked the number of teams that refuse to play a home-and-home at Tiger Stadium, he put the number at 80 percent.
"Probably 80 percent. Literally 80 percent, they just say no right away," Alleva said. "They’ll say no to a home-and-home game. They’re a little more open to the so-called ‘neutral site game.’ And that’s why we’ve been able to attract a Wisconsin or a TCU … I know we’re going to play BYU in the future in one of those games."
"They’re a little more open to those neutral site games than direct home-and-home games."
LSU played Wisconsin in Houston to begin 2014 and will play the Badgers at Lambeau Field to start 2016. LSU played TCU in Dallas in 2013. The Tigers are also scheduled to play BYU in Houston in 2017 and Miami in Dallas in 2018.
He then continued when talk of fans wanting the Tigers to play marquee opponents at Tiger Stadium came up. It's tough, he said, because teams don't want to lose. LSU is 62-9 at Tiger Stadium in coach Les Miles' tenure.
"Oh absolutely. Absolutely. Teams don’t want to come to Tiger Stadium and get their butts beat," he said with a chuckle. "That’s just a fact of life. I’m being as blunt as I can be. Teams are looking for teams they can hopefully compete with and win. They don’t want to schedule losses and that’s what it amounts to most of the time."
And while home-and-home games may be a struggle for Power Five teams – while the thought of a marquee home game can be intoxicating, the thought of the return trip can be incredibly nauseating – Alleva has proven it's not impossible. The Tigers head to Syracuse in 2015 and the Orange come to Tiger Stadium in 2017.
If Syracuse is underwhelming to LSU fans, other future opponents shouldn't be. LSU has also scheduled home-and-home games with Texas, Arizona State, UCLA and Oklahoma, though the Sooners and Tigers aren't scheduled to play until 2027 and 2028.
For more LSU news, visit Tigerbait.com.
- - - - - - -
If there’s one song you should hear at a Tennessee football practice, it’s “Rocky Top,” and based on the reaction of Vols head coach Butch Jones in the video below, it should never be “Sweet Home Alabama.”
The latter song began playing loudly at a recent Vols practice and a flustered Jones tried to figure out who was responsible.
It wasn’t coming from the football program, but there was a charity event taking place at the nearby baseball stadium. Jones had his culprit.
“Go over to the baseball field and turn that (expletive) off,” Jones said to a staff member. “Hey. I’m serious, run over there and see if it’s the baseball field and tell them that we’re at Tennessee and don’t play that here. You can tell them I sent you.”
I’d bet that no one on Tennessee’s campus makes that mistake again.
For more Tennessee news, visit VolQuest.com.
- - - - - - -