An NCAA investigation involving the football program at Nebraska is underway.
Longtime college football reporter Brett McMurphy, now with The Action Network, reported Wednesday morning that the Huskers program and head coach Scott Frost are being investigated for “improper use of analysts and consultants during practices and games.”
These allegations reportedly date back to last year. NCAA interviews, including with Frost, have already taken place:
The school, sources said, has “significant video footage” confirming the practice violations took place in the presence of Frost and other assistants.
Frost has obtained legal counsel, and the NCAA has interviewed Frost, multiple current and former staff members, administration and football players regarding the allegations, sources said. The allegations date back 12 months.
NCAA rules allow for just 10 full-time, on-field assistant coaches that can have direct contact with players. Graduate assistants also may instruct players both on the field and in the film room. Analysts and consultants can work with coaches, but cannot directly contact players.
Additionally, McMurphy is reporting that Nebraska conducted strength workouts at “an undisclosed off-campus location to avoid detection” during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s unclear whether that is part of the NCAA’s investigation. Organized team activities were barred by the NCAA during the pandemic.
Later Wednesday morning, Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts released a statement saying the athletic department has been "working collaboratively with the NCAA to review a matter concerning our football program."
"We appreciate the dialogue we have had with the NCAA and cannot comment further on specifics of this matter," Alberts said.
Scott Frost enters 2021 season on the hot seat
What comes of this investigation remains to be seen. Regardless of the severity of the penalties, it’s another hit to the lackluster tenure of Frost in Lincoln. Frost, a Nebraska alum, was expected to revitalize the Huskers program after his excellent run as head coach at UCF. Instead, the Huskers have a 12-20 record in Frost’s three seasons with an ugly 9-17 mark in Big Ten play.
This was already a crucial season for Frost, whose job security is widely considered to be tenuous. This won’t help his cause.
What could stand in the way of the school moving on from Frost — other than a considerable leap forward in on-field success — is his massive contract buyout. The school curiously gave Frost a contract extension during the 2019 season, and his buyout now sits in the range of $20 million.
That extension came when Bill Moos was running the athletic department, and Moos somewhat abruptly announced his retirement back in June. Since then, the school brought in Alberts — another former Nebraska player — as its new athletic director. So now the evaluation of Frost falls at Alberts’ feet.
Another angle worth noting is if this NCAA investigation turns up conduct that violates Frost contract, Nebraska could presumably fire Frost with cause. That would get the school off the hook from paying such a massive buyout, like Kansas (with David Beaty) and Tennessee (with Jeremy Pruitt) have tried to do.
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