July 03, 2015
The NCAA is reportedly taking allegations made by the stepfather of Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil very seriously.
Tunsil’s stepfather, Lindsey Miller, said last week that his stepson was meeting with football agents on the night Tunsil was arrested for domestic assault against Miller. And according to The Clarion-Ledger, NCAA officials made the trip to Oxford Friday to speak with Miller regarding “an investigation into multiple alleged rules violations” by the Ole Miss football program.
Miller confirmed the meeting to The Clarion-Ledger and said he met with NCAA director of enforcement for football Chris Howard and another official for an estimated three hours. He declined to comment further about the meeting, but did tell the paper last week that he is aware of violations within the program.
But on Thursday, Miller told The Clarion-Ledger that, in addition to the contact made by agents, he is aware of violations that occurred during Tunsil's recruitment as well, including claims of falsified academic records and gifts made by the university.
Miller also alleges that the agents have provided Tunsil with other benefits outside of transportation, including gifts of cash, clothes, help with car insurance payments and more.
An Ole Miss spokesperson told The Clarion-Ledger that the school has not had contact with the NCAA and was unaware of any representatives being in the area.
Miller told police last Thursday that he and Tunsil’s mother, Desiree Tunsil, were arguing about the star tackle “riding around with football agents” before Tunsil allegedly assaulted him. Tunsil, a projected first round pick, offered his own version of the incident to police, but his statement has not been released. Additionally, Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said in a statement that Tunsil was protecting his mother from his stepfather.
NCAA athletes are permitted to speak with certified NFL agents as long as they do not accept impermissible benefits, such as accepting transportation.
"We are aware that Laremy and his family have met with potential agents, which is within his NCAA rights as a student-athlete," Freeze told The Clarion-Ledger earlier this week. "Regarding the altercation, we will continue to gather facts and cooperate with the proper authorities."
Tunsil and Miller have pressed charges against one another and have a court date scheduled for July 14.
For more Ole Miss news, visit RebelGrove.com.
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Thousands of current and former college athletes could receive money as a result of settlements from a series of lawsuits stemming from the use of football and men’s basketball players’ names and likenesses in video games.
According to legal documents obtained by USA Today, many athletes are “likely” to receive “at least $1,000” and some could receive “$6,700 or more.”
The documents were submitted late Thursday night to U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken as part of the process to gain her final approval of a combined $60 million in settlements of claims against the NCAA, video game manufacturer Electronic Arts and Collegiate Licensing Company, the nation's leading collegiate trademark licensing and marketing firm.
The settlements -- which Wilken approved on a preliminary basis last July -- applied to athletes who were on the roster of a team included in a game that was published or distributed from May 2003 through September 2014. Athletes still playing college sports are allowed receive money from the settlements without affecting their NCAA eligibility.
Claims from athletes were due on Thursday and “nearly 16,200” had done so, documents said. According to USA Today, that figure represents approximately 16 percent of athletes who were eligible for the $40 million settlement with EA Sports and Collegiate Licensing Company and nearly 24 percent of athletes eligible for the $20 million settlement with the NCAA.
Per USA Today, athletes can receive money from “either or both settlements,” based on a number of factors.
-- The validated claims rates.
-- Whether a player's name appeared on a team roster.
-- Whether his assigned jersey number appeared on a virtual avatar.
-- Whether his photograph appeared in the game.
-- Which years he appeared in a game as an avatar and/or had his photograph used in the game.
-- The number of years in which a player was on a roster, appeared in the game as an avatar and/or had their photograph used in the game.
Some of the total $60 million in combined settlement money will go toward “fees and expenses sought by plaintiffs’ lawyers” and payments to named plaintiffs, including former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon.
Of the $60 million in combined settlement money that has been proposed, the lawyers are seeking fees not to exceed $19 million and expenses not to exceed $3 million. A total of nearly $200,000 would be set aside as "participation awards" for named plaintiffs, including former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon, former Nebraska and Arizona State football player Sam Keller and former Rutgers football player Ryan Hart.
All athletes who made a valid claim will receive “at least $74.” Other monetary amounts depend on an athlete’s visibility in a game.
For example, an athlete who was in an EA game from 2005 to 2014 would receive “about $850 from the EA settlement and/or a little less than $500 from the NCAA settlement.” For each year a player appeared in a game, the total is multiplied.
According to Thursday night's filings, based on the current claims rates and attorney fee-and-expense requests, an athlete who appeared on a roster in one of the games in one year and is not otherwise identifiable in the game would get $129 from the EA settlement.
A player depicted in one of the games or whose photograph was used in one of the games in one year from 2003 to 2005 would get about $230 from the EA settlement and/or about $130 from the NCAA settlement.
A player depicted in one of the games or whose photograph was used in one of the games in one year from 2005 to 2014 would get about $850 from the EA settlement and/or a little less than $500 from the NCAA settlement.
Those amounts get multiplied for each year of use of the player's name, image or likeness. So, as one of the documents filed Thursday night stated, the most any one athlete would get from the NCAA settlement is about $2,440 – an amount based on appearing in the game for five years. (The similar payout from the EA settlement would be about $4,260.)
Wilken could grant final approval for the payouts in a July 16 hearing.
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not currently enrolled at Michigan State, but that could change soon.Running back Delton Williams is
According to a report from MLive.com, Williams, the team’s leading returning rusher, is expected to return to the team “as early as this month.” Williams, a rising junior, could potentially participate in the team’s voluntary summer workouts, the report said.
Williams has been indefinitely suspended from the program since a March traffic incident in which Williams allegedly pulled out a gun after a man honked at him. The man said Williams, who had a concealed carry permit, did not point the weapon.
Williams was charged with brandishing a firearm and pled guilty to a reduced weapons charge in late April.
Williams’ accuser wrote a letter to police in April asking for the charge to be dropped after he looked into Williams’ background. Williams’ brother was shot and killed outside a tavern in Erie, Pa., Williams’ hometown.
The accuser, Anan Abubaker, said he could understand “why he would have a weapon.”
“I wouldn’t want him to be thrown out of school over a silly mistake he made in a moment of fear,” Abubaker wrote. “I believe he will learn his lesson and move on to better things.”
As part of Williams’ plea deal, the case could potentially be dismissed on Dec. 18 (his sentencing date) if he commits no other violations.
Despite this, Williams could still face a multi-game suspension from the team as he goes through the student judicial process.
Williams could face a multi-game suspension -- that may or may not ultimately result in him redshirting -- and he will not immediately be reinstated to scholarship status.
Coach Mark Dantonio, who has led Michigan State to bowl trips each of his eight years as the Spartans' head coach, has not publicly updated Williams' status since the suspension.
Williams has yet to be added to the team's roster, and an athletic department spokesperson would not confirm any information.
Williams was third on the Spartans with 326 yards on 54 carries in 2014. He also added five touchdowns. He was expected to compete for the team’s starting role heading into 2015.
For more Michigan State news, visit SpartanMag.com.
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In about a month, Alabama will open fall camp for the 2015 season, but it’s still working through the mistakes of 2014.
Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart told Atlanta radio station 680 The Fan that he performed “exit interviews” with three departing defensive players — Landon Collins, Jarrick Williams and Nick Perry — and asked each what they felt went wrong in the College Football Playoff semifinal against Ohio State.
All stated they didn’t feel prepared for the Buckeyes and specifically third-string quarterback Cardale Jones.
“All three of them said they did not respect the quarterback, and our job as the coaches was to make them respect the quarterback," Smart said via a Sporting News transcription. "Well, they heard from the media, they heard from ESPN, they heard from everybody that [Jones] was a third-string quarterback. How can a third-string quarterback beat Alabama? We didn’t promote him enough and they didn’t value his talents enough.”
Smart said while the staff knew Jones was a capable passer, they had no idea he had the ability to run the ball so well. Jones rushed for 43 yards and most were in an effort to escape the Alabama defensive pressure. He had a long run of 27 yards.
Smart acknowledged that despite leading 21-6, he never felt like his defense was in control of the game.
“See, everybody’s talking about the score, we were leading, but we weren’t leading," Smart said. "We had not slowed them down. We had two red area stops, which were six points, we could have been 14. We had a turnover, we stripped a ball. We had not slowed them down, and I’m thinking this could be 21 but it’s six, 21-6, could be 21-21. And then they scored right before the half, which we thought was deadly. They had a good two-minute drive and scored, and I knew that we were in trouble.”
Smart said the loss weighed heavily on the coaching staff, so coach Nick Saban invited Tom Herman, who was the Ohio State offensive coordinator and is now the head coach at Houston, to explain to the coaching staff how the Buckeyes were able to rack up 537 yards of offense.
“You know us better than anybody. You spent four weeks getting ready for us. What’s our tendencies? What do we do wrong? What do you think?’" Smart said. "And he was honest with us, he just told us what he thought. It was very valuable for us.”
The ability to acknowledge shortcomings and seek out answers to rectify them is what has made Saban and Alabama so successful, and it will only make the team better in the future.
For more Alabama news, visit TideSports.com.
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July 03, 2015
It turns out quarterback Asiantii Woulard isn’t the only new addition to South Florida’s offense.
In addition to officially announcing the transfer of Woulard from UCLA, Bulls head coach Willie Taggart also confirmed that ex-N.C. State wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling is joining the program.
The 6-foot-3, 208-pound Valdes-Scantling is a native of St. Petersburg, Fla., who will have two years of eligibility remaining for USF after sitting out the 2015 season. The program said a in a release that Valdes-Scantling is “expected to enroll for the fall semester and join the team at the beginning of preseason camp.”
Valdes-Scantling, a three-star recruit in the 2013 class, caught 44 passes for 538 yards and a touchdown in two seasons at N.C. State.
He started the first eight games of the 2014 season for the Wolfpack and finished the year with 22 catches for 257 yards and one score. As a true freshman in 2013, Valdes-Scantling started three games and registered 22 receptions for 281 yards.
He is the fourth player to transfer into the South Florida program this offseason. He joins Woulard, former Wisconsin safety Austin Hudson and former Stanford offensive lineman Reilly Gibbons. Now entering his third season with the program, Taggart has welcomed nine transfers from other D-I programs.
“Nearly all of the transfers we’ve asked to join our program are guys we knew very well,” Taggart said in a release. “We built very strong relationships with them and their families during their high school recruiting process and are confident how they will benefit our program.”
Coming off a 4-8 2014 campaign, the Bulls open their 2015 schedule at home against Florida A&M on Sept. 5.
For more USF news, visit RunningTheBulls.com.
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P. Diddy isn't staring at felony charges after his incident with UCLA coaches.
Los Angeles County prosecutors will not charge the rapper with a felony after his arrest on June 22. Diddy was arrested by UCLA police after he allegedly confronted UCLA strength coach Sal Alosi and threatened a member of UCLA's staff with a kettlebell.
Diddy was reportedly unhappy that Alosi had removed his son, Justin Combs, from a team workout session. Combs is a junior cornerback for UCLA.
Ricardo Santiago, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, said prosecutors declined to file felony charges related to his June 22 arrest. The case was referred to the Los Angeles city attorney to decide whether Combs' conduct amounts to a misdemeanor. The prosecutors received the case Tuesday.
Diddy was arrested on three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of making terrorist threats and one count of battery. A rep for Diddy has said he was acting in self defense while UCLA coach Jim Mora has commended the actions of his staff in a statement.
Combs was reportedly in Alosi's doghouse for his effort during the workout as well as previous absences.
According to a report by TMZ, UCLA coaches weren't too keen on Diddy facing charges. Former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said that UCLA coaches didn't want to the incident to lead to an arrest and Diddy was arrested after UCLA police reviewed the surveillance footage of the incident. Neuheisel's son Jerry is a quarterback for the Bruins.
TMZ also reported the incident was not the first between Alosi and Combs, who posted a message of support for his father on Instagram after the incident.
For more UCLA news, visit BruinSportsReport.com.
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Adidas may have lost Tennessee to Nike this week, but it gained Arizona State.
The Sun Devils officially began their new deal with Adidas on Wednesday – a deal that spans eight years and is worth $33.8 million according to ArizonaSports.com.
As part of the roll out of Arizona State’s new Adidas gear, the football team showed off a practice jersey that honors Pat Tillman.
Tillman played collegiately at Arizona State and was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 1998. After a few years in the league, Tillman left the NFL to join the Army in 2002. Tillman died while serving in Afghanistan in 2004 and posthumously was awarded with the Purple Heart and Silver Star.
Per ArizonaSports.com, the Tillman practice jersey will be “awarded to players who demonstrate Tillman’s character, courage, and excellence in the classroom and on the field.”
For more Arizona State news, visit ASUDevils.com.
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July 02, 2015
Pitt has lost a potential starter on the offensive line.
The team said tackle Jaryd Jones-Smith will miss the 2015 season after suffering a knee injury.
"We are incredibly disappointed for Jaryd," Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said in a statement. "Our entire team will rally behind him as he works to overcome this challenge. Jaryd is a great young man and a tough competitor. Even though he is sidelined this year, he is going to remain an important member of our team this fall."
He's scheduled to have surgery on Thursday.
A redshirt sophomore in 2015, Jones-Smith was penciled in as Pitt's starting right tackle. He played last year at left tackle and started three games.
According to Panther-Lair.com, there is no obvious replacement for Jones-Smith at right tackle.
The most likely option might be to move redshirt freshman Alex Bookser, who worked at right guard in spring camp but came to Pitt as a highly-regarded offensive tackle prospect. That scenario would probably mean a move for redshirt sophomore Alex Officer from center to right guard and a return to the starting lineup at center for redshirt senior Artie Rowell.
Other options could include junior Dorian Johnson, who started 13 games at left guard last season but played tackle as a freshman in 2014, as well as redshirt freshman Aaron Reese, who was Jones-Smith's backup in spring camp.
Last season Pitt running back James Conner ran for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns.
For more Pitt news, visit Panther-Lair.com.
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Not long after his coach said he was "pretty close to full speed," Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller said he had a successful visit with Dr. James Andrews.
The location of Andrews' office in Birmingham, Alabama, has previously helped elicit transfer rumors. Those rumors have been proven to be unfounded so far. But given what Miller said to the Columbus Dispatch after his tweet, there are going to be some Ohio State fans on pins and needles.
In response to a question from The Dispatch about what it means for his future, Miller wrote back that he expects to announce his immediate plans next week. As a recent graduate, Miller has the option to transfer and play elsewhere immediately for his final season; though Meyer and others have said they expect Miller back, he has never formally announced his intentions.
Ooohhh ... "immediate plans." Start the rumor mill!
No. Please. Don't restart the rumor mill. ESPN's Joe Schad tweeted Thursday afternoon that Miller is planning on staying at Ohio State.
Braxton Miller planning to stay at Ohio State and continue focus on rehabilitation/recovery says one person who spoke w him— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) July 2, 2015
If it's true, and we have no reason to think it isn't, we'll likely have an official answer in the form of a statement from the university and Miller in the near future.
For more Ohio State news, visit BuckeyeGrove.com.
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Oklahoma president David Boren believes two Sooners returning to the team in 2015 have learned from their punishments.
Linebacker Frank Shannon and running back Joe Mixon are set to be on the Oklahoma roster after suspensions in 2014. Mixon was suspended after punching a female student while Shannon was suspended for violating the school's Title IX sexual misconduct policy.
“I think part of being an educational institution is that you have to have discipline when it’s required,” Boren told the Tulsa World. “With good parenting, punishment is required sometimes. Most of us have been on the receiving end of that from our parents and we’re better people for it. I think they’ll be better people because they’re on the receiving end of punishment.”
Mixon rejoined the team in February. A heralded recruit, he missed the entire 2014 season after the incident, which occurred in July and was captured on surveillance footage. According to police affadavits, the woman had multiple facial fractures.
Mixon reached a plea deal in October that entailed a one-year deferred sentence and community service. While he practiced with the team in the spring he didn't play in the spring game.
He was a five-star recruit in the class of 2014 and the No. 8 prospect overall according to Rivals.
While he was suspended by the university after an investigation, Shannon was never prosecuted. He was suspended for the school year in August 2014 and reinstated in June. Shannon had 92 tackles, two sacks and an interception in 2013.
“Both of the two individuals have shown great attitudes. They’ve gone through what they were supposed to go through,” Boren said. “I’ve watched Mixon because he’s been here and I’ve been able to see him more. Discipline, academic wise, he’s done really well. He and Shannon with their colleagues have been great out there. I think they’ve gone the extra mile.
“To me, it’s over. It’s just like being a parent. Sometimes you have to punish but then you still care about people. Then you give them every advantage to work their way back into the fold. They’ve done that.”
The return of both players is obviously a big boost to Oklahoma's Big 12 title chances. Mixon could be the primary backup to Samaje Perine at running back and Shannon could get his starting spot back at linebacker. But, more importantly, the two need to back up Boren's belief. If either player slips up off the field, the university will look like it wasn't hard enough on either player in letting them return for 2015.
For more Oklahoma news, visit SoonerScoop.com.
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