Sunday, April 30, 2006

USC's Jarrett Implicated in Growing Scandal

Welcome to the Medici, the former home of quarterback Matt Leinart and receiver Dwayne Jarrett. Now the upscale apartment complex in downtown Los Angeles is home to the latest controversy embroiling USC. Jarrett paid less than half of what Bob Leinart, the father of Matt, said was a $3,866-a-month lease, and the Trojan receiver reportedly owes Bob Leinart about $10,000. Each player paid $650 a month and Bob Leinart made up the difference — $2,566. Now making up the difference for son Matt's share — $1,283 — is not the problem. But also paying Jarrett's $1,283 share could be considered an extra benefit and possible violation of NCAA rules. University compliance officials are investigating. The players moved into the Medici last June after the Leinarts became concerned over Matt's safety at his previous residence near campus. According to the Leinarts, fans started following the Heisman Trophy winner, who guided the team to the 2004 national championship, to his residence and some would wait outside for his autograph. Matt's mother, Linda, told the L.A. Times she was "freaking out." Leinart has exhausted his eligibility — he was selected 10th in Saturday's NFL draft by the Arizona Cardinals — but Jarrett, who was one of three finalists for the 2005 Biletnikoff Award, is entering his junior season. Jarrett thus becomes the first active member of the team to directly be drawn into a ring of alleged potential violations that started a week ago with reports of the parents of former tailback Reggie Bush living (rent-free, it is alleged) in a $757,237 house that was purchased by an aspiring sports marketer. In a nutshell, what we have here is the appearance of a major scandal brewing for a team that had a 34-game winning streak end with a loss to Texas in the Rose Bowl.
Update: Pro Football Talk is suggesting that Bob Leinart, who has taken a more active role in his son's representation, may have crossed the line and somehow become an "agent" for his son. Thus the questions regarding potential extra benefits surrounding Jarrett.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Piling On

More damning reports for USC and Reggie Bush, who won't be the No. 1 pick in Saturday's NFL draft. (Are you kidding me, Mario Williams? Good luck with that one, Texan fans — that is if any remain.) The developments come from four sources: Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, San Diego Union-Tribune and Pro Football Talk, an excellent site we encourage you to visit for draft updates. The Times' piece — a bit meandering, we must say — advances the alleged connection between LaMar Griffin, Bush's stepfather, and New Era Sports & Entertainment. Griffin, as it previously had been alleged, was in part responsible for starting the company, but the startup date has been pushed to 2004, meaning NCAA infractions could have been in play during USC's national championship season. The Union-Tribune also dates cash payments since late 2004 from investors in New Era to Bush's parents. NCAA investigator Angie Cretors will be in San Diego early next week to begin a probe, the U-T reports. And issues are being raised over Mike Ornstein (marketing) and Joel Segal (agent) — the management team Bush eventually selected over, among others, New Era. Ornstein (pictured left, with Zack Thomas of the Miami Dolphins), who previously worked for the NFL, reportedly pleaded guilty to defrauding the league of $350,000 and was sentenced to six months in a community correction center, ordered to pay more than $160,000 in restitution and put on five years' probation. Ornstein, the Herald reports, was negotiating a deal with a New Jersey memorabilia dealer on behalf of Bush days before USC played Texas in the Jan. 4 Rose Bowl. Ornstein is alleged at one point to have asked by email for a $500,000 payment. Needless to say, this is a big NCAA no-no. In his defense, Ornstein said he was merely soliciting offers in preparation for presentations to prospective clients, at one point calling it a "pretty standard practice." Ornstein also hired Bush as an intern in the summer of 2005. ... As for Segal, the Times reports he was fined and suspended for one year by the NFL Players Association for providing money under an assumed name to a Florida State player in 1993. T.J. Simers of the Times takes a swipe at Ornstein, Segal and USC coach Pete Carroll in the second item of his column (some registration).
Update: The L.A. Daily News reported that former USC tailback LenDale White, who tumbled to Tennessee with the 45th pick of the draft, failed a drug test at the NFL predraft combine in late Feburary. Thanks to reader Kevin for this.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Bush Alleged to Know of Involvement

LaMar Griffin, the stepfather of Reggie Bush, was a founding member of New Era Sports & Entertainment, according to an attorney representing the fledgling sport agency. Brian Watkins also said that the former USC tailback knew about his stepfather's involvement. Watkins didn't stop there, alleging that the Griffin family did not pay rent while it lived in a house purchased by Michael Michaels, who also was involved in New Era. If the allegations are proven to be true, Bush likely played the 2005 season in violation of NCAA rules. Watkins said New Era is planning to file a $3.2-million lawsuit against the Griffins. Another story making the rounds paints a different picture. ESPN, citing anonymous sources, said the NFL Players Association and NFL Security had concluded that New Era and David Caravantes, an affiliated sports agent, tried to extort $3.2 million from Bush after the tailback chose other representation. The other troubling matter facing USC is quarterback Mark Sanchez, who was arrested on suspicion that he sexually assaulted a female student. Sanchez was free on bail and ordered to appear in court on May 17. And on a sidenote, Trojan hanger-on Snoop Dogg and members of his entourage were arrested after a fracas over access to a first-class lounge at London's Heathrow Airport. Dogg, who was released on bail, has not been charged in the incident that reportedly injured seven police officers. But Dogg has been banned for life from flying British Airways. Update: In possibly the first good news of the week for USC faithful, Dogg — or as he has been known recently, The Big Boss Dogg — was expected to arrive shortly in South Africa, where he will perform a series of gigs.

Reporters' Notebooks

Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle: A decision on the fate of the financially troubled Houston Bowl was delayed until June 26 by an NCAA committee, which also approved new games in Toronto, Birmingham and Albuquerque, bringing the postseason total to 31.

Mike Knobler, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey is passing the play-calling duties to coordinator Patrick Nix (registration).

Michael Pointer, Indianapolis Star: Purdue, which will wear throwback jerseys for its opener against Indiana State, will also offer throwback prices with 3,000 tickets being sold for $5, the price of a ticket in 1966.

Jeff White, Richmond Times-Dispatch: Virginia has landed a quarterback for its recruiting class of 2007.

Ron Kantowski, Las Vegas Sun: The Mountain West's move to College Sports TV is like announcing sliced bread but not having a bakery in which to cook it.

Steven M. Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star: Nebraska coach Bill Callahan tells the Cornhusker Nation not to worry about a slow start to recruiting efforts for 2007.

Austin American-Statesman: Texas, which has dominated the 2007 recruiting war, is not about to sit back and take it easy (registration).

Phil Richards, Indianapolis Star: He's back! Ryan Leaf talks about his new job as quarterbacks coach at Division II West Texas A&M.

Pete Bosak, Centre Daily Times: Former Penn State defensive lineman Scott Paxson plans to sue the Centre County District Attorney's Office if he is acquitted of an assault charge.

George Schroeder, Oklahoman: So how did Dusty Dvoracek do it? The former Oklahoma defensive lineman notched the highest Wonderlic score of prospects at the NFL combine (registration).

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Sanchez Started His Night at Club

The Los Angeles Times is reporting details of events leading to the arrest of USC quarterback Mark Sanchez on suspicion of sexual assault of a female student. At 11:21 p.m. Tuesday, Sanchez, 19, gained entrance into the 901 Club, a bar and restaurant near campus, using a fake Arizona ID that showed his name as Jordan Traver Uttal, according to an employee at the club who asked not to be identified by name. The employee told the paper that Sanchez "was stoned-faced sober when he came in." At 12:59 a.m. Wednesday, club security cameras showed Sanchez leaving the establishment. At 1:30 a.m., USC students Matthew Menjou and Altman Tsang were returning to their apartment when the car they were in ran out of gas. As they were pushing the vehicle into a parking space, Sanchez showed up and offered to help. Menjou, who said he recognized Sanchez and called him "the next Matt Leinart," said the quarterback was loud and appeared as if he had been drinking. Police said the alleged assault occurred in the early morning and did not give a location. At 4 p.m., Sanchez was arrested at the Cardinal Gardens apartment complex (video link). He was booked and bail was set at $200,000. You can view details of the quarterback's booking by going to this link and entering Sanchez's first and last name. University officials said that Sanchez would be put on "interim suspension" while the case was pending. The L. A. Daily News, which reported that campus security detained Sanchez in March after he allegedly broke a window at a fraternity party but did not make any arrests, said the quarterback attended a workshop Tuesday night at Heritage Hall for athletes on rape awareness. The Daily Trojan reported that this is the third time in three years that the LAPD has investigated a Trojan player for alleged sexual assault at Cardinal Gardens. And the student paper reported in 2005 that the 901 Club was cited by the LAPD for accepting fake IDs. The Reggie Bush story was advanced when the former Trojan acknowledged knowing Michael Michaels, the aspiring San Diego marketer who tried to sign the tailback as a client. But Bush declined to offer any details about his parents' living arrangements that sparked an NCAA investigation.

Keith Jackson: 'I'm Retired'

Legendary sportscaster Keith Jackson, 77, said he won't be back in the booth. Jackson retired in 1999, then returned after ABC officials agreed to cut his travel schedule. But Jackson, who has had both knees replaced and last year had surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles' tendon, said his retirement is official. "This time, I know it's the right decision," he said. ABC lost rights to all bowl championship series games except the Rose to Fox, which announced that Thom Brennaman will be the lead announcer for the title game, scheduled to be played Jan. 8, 2007 in Glendale, Ariz.

Reporters' Notebooks

Tony Barnhart and Jeff D'Alessio, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: There is no playoff on the horizon, but the possibility of the so-called "plus one" model has support among NCAA decision-makers (registration)

Wally Hall and Bob Holt, Northwest Arkansas Times: Arkansas coach Houston Nutt is having trouble containing his enthusiasm entering the 2006 season, but he's not talking about rival Texas possibly being added to the schedule in 2008 and 2009.

Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman: The smart money says the Texas-Oklahoma game will soon leave the Cotton Bowl, ending a 77-year run (registration).

Jerry Hill, Waco Tribune-Herald: Baylor needs a punter. All-American Daniel Sepulveda tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right (non-kicking) knee in a pick-up basketball game.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

USC Quarterback Sanchez Arrested

It's gone from bad to worse for USC. ABC 7 in Los Angeles has reported that Mark Sanchez, the likely successor to Matt Leinart as USC's quarterback, has been arrested by the LAPD on suspicion of sexual assault of a female student. Update: Associated Press also is reporting Sanchez's arrest. "The alleged assault occurred earlier today," officer Jason Lee told AP. Sanchez was taken into custody just north of campus around 4 p.m.

Troubles Appear to Be Building for USC

If you are a USC fan, be worried. Be very worried. New details have emerged that suggest Reggie Bush's family had significant ties and perhaps a business agreement with aspiring sports marketer Michael Michaels, who tried to secure the USC tailback as a client. Hearings regarding a parole violation for Lloyd Lake, who with Michaels was a founding partner of New Era Sports & Entertainment, suggest a deal was in place with Bush before the 2005 season. Now if this is true, toss out our previous statement that USC might receive only a slap on the wrist from the NCAA, which is now on the case. Try forfeiting some or all of the victories of a 12-1 season. Also comes word that New Era met with Trojan tackle Winston Justice in San Diego. This comes from San Diego-based agent David Caravantes, who also testified at a parole hearing for Lake. Justice, oddly enough, is represented by Gary Uberstine, who also is the agent for Trojan coach Pete Carroll. And in yet another bizarre twist to the story, Lake's sister, Lisa, also was mentioned in court as being part of the fledgling business. Lisa just happens to be an anchor for San Diego station KGTV. And yes, she is an alumna of Helix High, the same high school that Bush attended. We can't make this stuff up. ... No, this story is not going away, and if we continue to pile on at this rate, the San Diego Union-Tribune poster of their hometown hero that is featured with this post might soon disappear.

Fox Attitude: More Flash, Less Substance?

Goodbye Keith Jackson, hello Thom Brennaman. Fox, which secured the rights to bowl championship series games in a four-year, $320 million deal, has made its first big move, announcing that Brennaman, pictured above, will be the lead announcer for the title game, scheduled to be played Jan. 8, 2007 in Glendale, Ariz. Jackson, 77, who said last month that he considers himself retired, is out of the mix anyway because he works for ABC, which has rights to the Rose Bowl. Nonetheless, Jackson leaves a rather large shadow and following this broadcasting legend is no easy task. Other Fox changes include a pregame show for each BCS game rather than anchoring the coverage from the title site. Fox honcho Ed Goren also wants more people stories, getting the idea after watching members of the Ohio State band stretch before they went on the field for last season's Fiesta Bowl. Said Goren: "These folks were ready to go out and compete against the band from Notre Dame. I just thought that was great. And I never saw that on television. We want find stories about the bands, the cheerleaders and the fans in the stands. You're going to see more flavor." (some registration).

Reporters' Notebooks

Ray Melick, Birmingham News: If you're an assistant, get a job at Auburn. The Tigers had the highest-paid staff in 2004-05, according to budget reports mandated by the NCAA.

Kyle Hightower, Orlando Sentinel: Bring 'em on! Central Florida wants to schedule Texas to open the 2007 season and its new on-campus stadium.

Eric Hansen, South Bend Tribune: Crewcut Charlie Weis needs something to worry about besides Tom Zbikowski's upcoming boxing match. The Notre Dame coach needs a kicker.

Steven M. Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star: One of the most touted recruits in Nebraska's class of 2005 is leaving the team.

Kyle Ringo, Boulder Daily Camera: Colorado coach Dan Hawkins is still adding to his recruiting class of 2006. He has a commitment from the Arizona state record holder for rushing yards in a game (registration).

Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star: Kansas, facing the dreaded "lack of institutional control" tag from the NCAA, needs to cop a plea (registration).

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Reporters' Notebooks

Billy Witz, L.A. Daily News: Former USC tailback Reggie Bush said his family "did absolutely nothing wrong" by living in a house owned by Michael Michaels, who allegedly was trying to get Bush to sign with a fledgling marketing and contract agency.

Tony Barnhart, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The bowl championship series is going through another makeover with the implementation of "double hosting." (registration)

Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Former Wisconsin tailback Booker Stanley and suspended cornerback Antonio Freeman have inquired about transferring to Wisconsin Whitewater. Thanks to Ben Maller for finding this.

Karen Crouse, New York Times: The appeal of former USC quarterback Matt Leinart? He is comfortable in Fred Segal, a clothing store on trendy Melrose Avenue, or Taco Bell (registration).

Kent Somers, Arizona Republic: The impact of players from American Samoa and Tonga continues to rise in college and the NFL.

Terry Bannon, Chicago Tribune: Northwestern coach Randy Walker, who agreed to a contract extension through 2011, is still looking for a successor to quarterback Brett Basanez (registration).

Mark Schlabach, Washington Post: Former Virginia tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson was a lightly regarded prospect coming out of high school. Now he could be the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft (registration).

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Dim View of the Bush Digs From Texas

That didn't take long. The site Bevo Sports already is having fun at the expense of Reggie Bush and USC. "Who says that college athletes don't get paid?" the Texas fans site says. The razzing continues: "If this violation holds up, USC would have to forfeit all games Bush played in while this infraction took place, although I am not sure how much good that really does, especially since [it] lost the only game that really mattered against Texas in the Rose Bowl." Ouch!

Reggie Bush's Junior Achievement

Well now, maybe it was a good thing that Reggie Bush left USC after his junior season. Otherwise the Trojans could be in serious trouble with the NCAA. Somebody spilled the beans to Yahoo! Sports and the Miami Herald on the living arrangements of Bush's family last season. According to the reports, the family moved from a 1,441-square-foot condominium and into a new 3,002-square-foot house last year in Spring Valley, Calif., after it was purchased for $757,237 by Michael Michaels, a member and employee of a San Diego-area Indian tribe. Michaels, it is alleged, tried to steer Bush to sign with New Era Sports & Entertainment, a fledgling marketing and contract agency headed by David Caravantes, who told the San Diego Union-Tribune: "If things worked out, we going to try to put something together (to become business partners)." ... Communsurate rent in this subdivision is at least $2,500 a month. Stepfather LaMar Griffin, who according the Union-Tribune has faced financial troubles for unpaid bills, works security at Morse High in San Diego. Denise Griffin, Bush's mother, works at the county jail. In other words, the Bush family is from modest means (that will soon change, of course). In the end, Reggie didn't sign with New Era, instead picking Miami-based Joel Segal and former Raider exec Mike Ornstein, who will handle marketing. So the plan to secure Reggie's services blew up and now Michaels has lost his tenants because the Bushes, who even etched their name in concrete on the driveway, moved out Friday. So what's the problem with all of this? NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes or their families from receiving extra benefits from professional sports agents, marketing companies or their representatives. The Pacific 10 is promising to investigate, but expect the conference to hand off to the NCAA. The bottom line? Given what we know and because Reggie is long gone, this will result in a slap on the wrist for USC. Nonetheless, we are very entertained (some registration).

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Homeland Security

Minnesota is doing what it can to keep Iowans out of the state on Nov. 18, which happens to be the day the Hawkeyes come rolling into the Metrodome to play the Golden Gophers. And who can blame them? You might recall the 2002 game, when Iowans stormed the Metrodome field after a 45-21 Hawkeye victory. While one group was carrying coach Kirk Ferentz off the field, another was tearing down a goalpost, eventually hauling it up the stairs and into the concourse. Minnesota managed to keep the Iowans off the field in 2004, but Iowa still won, 29-27, highlights of which we have here. Minnesota has had enough of these shenanigans on its home turf, so some new rules are in place for 2006. If you want a ticket to the game, you also have to buy one for the North Dakota State-Minnesota game on Oct. 21 in the Metrodome. It's called the "Gopher Gold Package." But that's not the restrictive part. To buy that package, you must be a Gopher season-ticket holder, a Minnesota "M" Club member, a Minnesota Alumni Association member or a Minnesota resident. These rules apply until Sept. 5, then you can be from anywhere and buy a ticket. "We're not trying to make any big issue out of this," Minnesota ticket manager Dan Teschke said. "We're not saying we're keeping out Hawkeye fans. We're just doing due diligence, and trying to do what's right for our fans and our team." By the way, the winner gets the Floyd of Rosedale trophy, a bronzed pig, which Iowa players are proudly displaying. More on that at a later date (subscription, so full story is in the comments section).

Reporters' Notebooks

Marla Ridenour, Akron Beacon Journal: A meaningless spring game drew 63,649 at Ohio State. Freshman running back Chris Wells didn't disappoint, leading all rushers with 48 yards in 11 carries (registration). Link to page with video.

Brian Vanochten, Grand Rapids Press: The excitement is building at Notre Dame, which drew a record 41,279 for its spring scrimmage.

Robbie Andreu, Gainesville Sun: A quarterback controversy at Florida? Freshman Tim Tebow outplayed senior Chris Leak in the spring finale.

Greg Hansen, Arizona Republic: For the first time since 1998, it is clear that Arizona is nicely positioned to be a winner.

Bob Condotta, Seattle Times: Isaiah Stanback solidified his hold on the quarterback job in Washington's spring finale.

Mike Knobler, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The good news at Georgia Tech's spring game came off the field. Cornerback Jahl Woods-Daniels should be healthy by the fall (registration).

Tom Luicci, Newark Star-Ledger: Rutgers tailback Ray Rice made it look quick and easy in the spring game.

Walt Moody, Centre Daily Times: Penn State thinks it has found a quarterback in Anthony Morelli, who looked sharp in rainy conditions.

John Shipley, St. Paul Pioneer Press: Minnesota has settled one thing: It has a center, Tony Brinkhaus, to replace departed Outland winner Greg Eslinger (registration).

Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: If there is one player Wisconsin can't afford to lose, it is quarterback John Stocco.

Mike Baldwin, Oklahoman: Oklahoma State drew 15,000, and although the Cowboys appear to be improved, costly mistakes continue to slow progress (registration). Plus a video report.

Anthony Hanshew, Huntington Herald-Dispatch: Marshall fans turned out in record numbers to watch the spring scrimmage.

Pete DiPrimio, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel: Indiana has problems. The Hoosiers' athletic facilities are in serious need of renovation.

Jay Heater, Contra Costa Times: Joe Ayoob seemed to make the biggest move of the quarterback candidates at California, which has installed a new offense that includes spread tactics.

Howard Richman, Kansas City Star: Dylan Meier didn't look like a quarterback who missed the 2005 season because of shoulder surgery to the 31,875 at Kansas State's finale (registration).

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Where There's Smoke, There's Fire

Marshall fan Jamie Marcum was in Edwards Stadium on April 11 enjoying a Thundering Herd practice when he suddenly saw a young man being chased up the stadium steps by an athletic department official. Marcum took interest in the chase and followed it to the concourse, where he said the man was struggling with Marshall officials. "He was trying to get away, swinging and tugging and trying to pull away," Marcum told the Huntington Herald-Dispatch. Although the buildup this week had been toward Saturday's reunion of the Thundering Herd's 1996 Division I-AA national championship team and filming for the upcoming movie "We Are Marshall," the topic Friday became the spy scandal involving rival West Virginia. Marcum, a Marshall season ticket holder, took note of the response of Mountaineer fans after the news broke. "The reaction today is West Virginia fans are trying to spin it," he said. "I think they should just accept the fact that they're less than perfect like about every other university and quit trying to hide from it. It did happen."

Reporters' Notebooks

Jason King, Kansas City Star: Kansas is working on extension for Mark Mangino, despite a list of NCAA violations that allegedly occurred under the coach's watch (registration).

Ed McGranahan, Greenville News: The price tag for the facility that Clemson coach Tommy Bowden — the father of Lauren Bowden — envisioned when he was hired seven years ago could hit $70 million, officials say.

Jorge Milian, Palm Beach Post: Kirby Freeman, a backup quarterback, says he will remain at Miami. "There were no promises made," he said.

Eric Hansen, South Bend Tribune: Notre Dame, after reportedly getting a commitment from hotshot quarterback Jimmy Clausen, will be out to impress some elite prospects in attendance at its spring game.

Mick McGrane, San Diego Union-Tribune: It's clear San Diego State coach Chuck Long still has much work to do with his offense.

Neil Milbert, Chicago Tribune: Illinois officials say they have received a financial vote of confidence from donors who have committed to lease yet-to-be-built skyboxes at Memorial Stadium (registration).

Friday, April 21, 2006

Did West Virginia Spy on Marshall?

From the Department of If You're Not Cheating You're Not Trying: Officials at Marshall confronted, detained and seized stenographer's notebook pages from a West Virginia student who was in the Edwards Stadium stands for a Thundering Herd practice April 11. And yes, it turns out the student has connections to the Mountaineer program. His notes contained diagrams of formations and derogatory comments about certain Marshall players. The 2006 Mercedes-Benz he was driving was registered to a Parkersburg dealership that loans cars to the West Virginia program. He also had a card in his pocket that listed the phone numbers of the Mountaineer staff. The teams open the season Sept. 2 in Morgantown. And yes, it is a violation of NCAA rules for a representative of another team to attend practice without permission. "Following discussions between the schools and the coaches, we're putting the issue behind us," Mountaineer athletic director Ed Pastilong said. ... Or at least until Sept. 2. Thanks to reader Dave for this beaut!

It's Bedlam, I Tell You!

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are at each other's throats (what else is new?) Of course, you've heard about Adrian Peterson's "test drive" of a Lexus, which is drawing criticism from the Oklahoman. Now this isn't Peterson's first questionable incident at Oklahoma. Reader Charlie found this item about Peterson being linked to a fight at a Denny's in Norman in 2005. But it is the Lexus adventure that is providing the fodder for some fun-loving Oklahoma State fans. To make matters worse, former Sooner basketball coach Kelvin Sampson, who left to take the gig at Indiana, said this week that Oklahoma State turned in Oklahoma to the NCAA. The Sooners will appear Friday before the NCAA Committee on Infractions. And to top it off, Oklahoma linebacker Ryan Reynolds tore up a knee during an off-season workout and will miss the 2006 season. Oh, and one more thing. You might want to check out this animation involving quarterback Rhett Bomar, Peterson and coach Bob Stoops as they act out their rendition of "Night of the Roxbury." (some registration)

Reporters' Notebooks

Bob Condotta, Seattle Times: It wasn't so long ago that the Washington varsity played an alumni team in the spring game, one of the highlights of the sporting calendar. A great read.

Ryan Finley, Arizona Daily Star: Defensive end Louis Holmes, the junior college player of the year, says he is academically on schedule and will enroll at Arizona this summer.

Judy Battista, New York Times: All the rage has been about Matt Leinart and Vince Young, but former Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler might become the best NFLer of the three (registration).

Bob Holt, Northwest Arkansas Times: Sophomore Casey Dick is the man to beat. Dick was the No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart released by Arkansas coach Houston Nutt.

Mike Knobler, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The injuries to players in the secondary continue to pile up this spring for Georgia Tech (registration).

Nick Jezierny, Idaho Statesman: Idaho coach Dennis Erickson said his players haven't seen enough game conditions, so the spring finale will look more like a game than a scrimmage.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

New Digs for the Golden Gophers?

What does $248 million buy these days? For the University of Minnesota, it's a new 50,000-seat campus stadium. The Golden Gophers have called the Metrodome, located off-campus in downtown Minneapolis, their home since 1983. Moving to the Metrodome seemed like a good idea at the time because Memorial Stadium, which opened in 1924, was showing its age, and less than 40% of the students lived on campus. Today, about 65% of the more than 50,000 students live on campus. Minnesota's goal is have the proposed facility — already named TCF Bank Stadium — open for the 2009 season. Some hurdles remain and this is an ambitious goal for the university, especially when you factor in that the Vikings and Twins also want new stadiums. We want to thank reader Kevin for sending us links (here, here and here) to renditions of the proposed TCF Bank Stadium (some registration).

Buckeye Is No Longer a Wells-Kept Secret

Who will be the freshman that makes the biggest impact in 2006? At this point, you can't go wrong taking Ohio State running back Chris Wells, who graduated in December from Akron's Garfield High so he could enroll for the spring quarter in Columbus. During a scrimmage earlier this month, Wells gained 92 yards in 19 carries. Said fullback Stan White of the 6-1, 235 pound Wells: "He's going to punish people while he's here." There are a couple of things working in Wells' favor. First, Antonio Pittman, who ran for 1,331 yards last season, returns, so much of pressure will be taken off Wells. The second factor is that Ohio State will have plenty of offensive firepower, meaning more open space for a back such as Wells to operate.

Reporters' Notebooks

George Schroeder, Oklahoman: Oklahoma officials say no NCAA rules were violated by running back Adrian Peterson, who aborted the purchase of a late-model Lexus from Norman dealer Big Red, which also employs football players in the off-season (registration).

Steven M. Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star: Nebraska coach Bill Callahan has booted receiver Grant Mulkey off the team. Mulkey was the team's fourth-leading receiver the past two seasons.

Kevin Haskin, Topeka Capital-Journal: Kansas coach Mark Mangino has listed quarterback Kerry Meier as his starter leaving spring drills. Meier is the only freshman listed on the two-deep roster.

Barry Jackson, Miami Herald: To sum up spring drills at Miami, it appears the Hurricanes have two trouble spots: receivers and offensive line (registration).

Joseph Person, Columbia State: Former South Carolina linebacker Marco Hutchinson is facing up to 25 years in prison after he was found guilty of robbing a bank.

Pat Forde, Interesting piece on West Virginia not hiding from the buzz when talk starts about a Mountaineer run for the national championship.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Death of the Fumblerooski

If you haven't heard the news, the football rules committee of the National Federation of State High School Associations has decided to ban the "fumblerooski." The trick play, outlawed in the NFL in the early 1960s and banned in college football in 1993, was a favorite of former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne, who used the risky play numerous times with surprising success. In the 1984 Orange Bowl, Osborne called the fumblerooski with his team trailing Miami, 17-0. Outland and Lombardi trophy winner Dean Steinkuhler rumbled for a 19-yard touchdown that rejuvenated the Cornhuskers, and although Nebraska eventually lost, 31-30, Steinkuhler's place in fame was secure. So why was the fumblerooski banned? According to Jerry Diehl, the assistant director of the National Federation of State High School Associations, the play was an officiating nightmare. Diehl said because the referee had to be informed before the play was run, it created an unnecessary burden to a crew. Diehl told the L.A. Times that banning the play "eliminates confusion in a ballgame."

Reporters' Notebooks

Rick Maese, Baltimore Sun: Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen has big plans for the Pro Simulator, a pricey computer program that is a cross between a simulator and a video game (registration).

Kent Babb, Columbia State: South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is making a pitch for upgraded facilities during his tour of Gamecock Clubs.

Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star: Half of the teams in the Big 12 are auditioning new quarterbacks and in many cases a decision on a starter won't be made until fall (registration).

Doug Lesmerises, Plain Dealer: Ohio State players returned to practice, but their minds were on teammate Tyson Gentry, who has undergone two surgeries for a neck injury suffered in practice.

Gary Klein and Greg Johnson, L.A. Times: USC completed its spring drills with a light practice. Now it's back to the recruiting trail for the coaching staff. Also, former quarterback Matt Leinart completed the switch to agent Tom Condon.

Natalie Meisler, Denver Post: The Mountain West will have a majority of its games broadcast by a new regional cable network.

Mike Herndon, Mobile Press-Register: Miami has received a commitment for the class of 2007 from a Mobile-area defensive back.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Another Look at Texas' Title Feat

How do college football fanatics get a fix in the off-season? Here is a classic example. And if you are a follower of the Texas Longhorns, you won't want to miss it. This nearly 15-minute package has clips from all 13 games and can be downloaded. Once again, we want to thank reader Charlie for sending us this link.

Reporters' Notebooks

Ed Graney, San Diego Union-Tribune: It's clear where coach Chuck Long is going with San Diego State's offense. He wants more power and less pizzazz.

Marcus R. Fuller, St. Paul Pioneer Press: Minnesota's new tailback? It's none other than Brylee Callender. Also, the Golden Gophers will wear throwback jerseys in an Oct. 21 game (registration).

Terry Hutchens, Indianapolis Star: Indiana has found another receiver in Andrew Means, who also happens to play right field on the baseball team.

Joe Rexrode, Lansing State Journal: So is Michigan State's defensive line that good, or is the offensive line that bad?

Randy Peterson, Des Moines Register: Iowa State linebacker Matt Robertson was dismissed from the team after testing positive for a banned substance.

Andrew J. Beckner, Charleston Daily Mail: West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said his team lacked intensity this spring and must change its attitude to live up to expectations.

Kyle Tucker, Virginian-Pilot: Virginia Tech's search for a replacement for quarterback Marcus Vick will continue into the fall.

Carter Strickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: NFL scouts continue to marvel at Georgia's ability to crank out top-flight players (registration).

Bob Condotta, Seattle Times: The Pacific 10 has reached an agreement to send its No. 6 team this season to the Hawaii Bowl.

Bruce Adams, San Francisco Chronicle: Nate Longshore is penciled in as California's starting quarterback, but Joe Ayoob is mounting a serious challenge.

Aaron Fentress, Oregonian: Oregon has serious problems on the offensive line, with leaks springing everywhere.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Poker Event You Won't See on TV

We might be taking a big gamble here in going off-topic, but it's nothing compared to billionaire banker Andy Beal's recent high-stakes poker venture. Beal became interested in poker in 2001 and developed into a world-class player, once winning a reported $12 million in one day. Earlier this year, in what is considered the largest head-to-head cash game of all time, Beal matched $20 million against a coalition of professional players that included Phil Ivey, Jennifer Harman, Todd Brunson and Ted Forrest. The average pot size per hand was well over $300,000, with the largest pot at $1.9 million. Wins and losses ran as high as $10 million in a day, and one session featured two $8 million swings. But after about two weeks, Beal had won most of the coalition's bankroll. Now we don't want to tell the entire story here, but Ivey, pictured above, engineered a turnaround that still has them buzzing in Las Vegas.

Reporters' Notebooks

Jeff D'Alessio, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: It's clear coaches could brush up on the NCAA rules book given the number "secondary violations" that continue to occur (registration).

Jon Solomon, Birmingham News: Don't expect much in the way of changes to the bowl championship series formula, SEC commissioner Mike Slive says.

Bob Holt, Northwest Arkansas Times: There was plenty of offense on display as Arkansas concluded its drills.

Eric Pratt, Fort Dodge Messenger: Iowa State coach Dan McCarney is sick of critics saying that he continues to crank out mediocre teams.

Kyle Ringo, Boulder Daily Camera: So much for coach Dan Hawkins' new offense at Colorado. The attack sputtered during the spring game (registration).

Dave Matter, Columbia Tribune: Cut to the Chase. It was quarterback Chase Daniel to receiver Chase Coffman during Missouri's finale.

Don Williams, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: It's not often you say Texas Tech and defense in the same sentence, but the offense could not get rolling in a 16-0 game.

John Heuser, Ann Arbor News: Will Michigan rebound from last season's 7-5 effort? The final workout provided no answers.

Doug Lesmeries, Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio State's Tyson Gentry remained hospitalized after having surgery for a serious neck injury.

Susan Miller Degnan, Miami Herald: Miami's defense was the story of the day during the spring scrimmage. Coach Larry Coker acknowledged the offense has a lot of work to do (registration).

Jeff Metcalfe, Arizona Republic: Rudy Carpenter, the backup quarterback, was nothing short of spectacular in Arizona State's spring finale.

Shawn Courchesne, Hartford Courant: Connecticut reinstated running backs coach Terry Richardson, who was arrested Feb. 22 on charges stemming from an incident with his 15-year-old stepdaughter.

Karen Crouse, New York Times: Terrific feature on former Virginia tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, who is expected to be selected among the top four picks of the NFL draft (registration).

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Rich Keep Getting Richer

Texas is continuing a recruiting haul that is second to none. The latest addition is offensive lineman Tray Allen, a 6-foot-4, 305-pound high school junior. We'd love to see the cafeteria at his high school. Allen is the 19th oral commitment for coach Mack Brown's class of 2007, but the recruit that seems to be catching the eyes of Texas is quarterback-receiver-cornerback John Chiles, who might be the top prep player in the state. You might want to check out this man-against-boys video link of Chiles sent to us by reader Charlie (some registration).

Reporters' Notebooks

Chris Conley, Commercial Appeal: Police detailed the tragic last minutes of Logan Young, the former Alabama booster who died after falling backward down 13 stairs and hit his head on a wrought iron post at the bottom (registration).

Pete Bosak, Centre Daily Times: A sexual-assault charge against former Penn State defensive lineman Scott Paxson was dismissed, but he still could be tried on two lesser counts. Thanks to reader Kevin for the heads-up.

Tom Oates, Wisconsin State Journal: With 10 practices down and five to go, it's clear that Wisconsin needs work on offense.

Brian Rosenthal, Lincoln Journal Star: Does the addition of a 12th game mean the end of the Big 12 championship game?

Dave Rahme, Post-Standard: Syracuse's offense received much of the blame for last season's 1-10 showing, but now the defense, which lost seven starters, is a concern.

Tim Stevens, Raleigh News & Observer: North Carolina, North Carolina State and Wake Forest received good news on the recruiting front (registration).

Ryan Finley, Arizona Daily Star: Where does a coach turn when his staff needs coaching? Arizona's Mike Stoops turned to a New York Jet assistant.

Matthew Kredell, L.A. Daily News: Who is Brad Walker? You might recognize him if you watched USC's loss in the Rose Bowl.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Reporters' Notebooks

Chris Conley, Commercial Appeal: Memphis police are backpedaling in their explanation of how Alabama booster Logan Young died and are now calling it a "death investigation" rather than a homicide or an accident (registration).

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune: Officials had planned to switch Aaron Taylor from his job as studio analyst on ABC's college football show to a role on ESPN, but Taylor surprised everybody last week by saying he was leaving to pursue other interests.

Reid Hanley, Chicago Tribune: Haven't had time to keep up with developments involving Big Ten teams this spring? This will get you up to speed.

Greg Johnson, Los Angeles Times: As mentioned on this site last Friday, former USC quarterback Matt Leinart cut his ties with agent Leigh Steinberg.

Jeff White, Times-Dispatch: Two more Virginia players have been arrested in connection with a March 3 break-in and subsequent brawl at the Delta Upsilon fraternity.

Chip Cosby, Lexington Herald-Leader: Kentucky tailback Rafael Little dislocated a bone in his right wrist and underwent surgery. He should be full strength in the fall.

Eric Crawford, Louisville Courier-Journal: Patrick Carter had stops at Florida and Georgia Tech, but he has found a home at Louisville.

Associated Press: The Poinsettia Bowl moved its game to Dec. 19, giving it the leadoff spot in the postseason.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Franco Won't Carry the Ball for Swann

Franco Harris, left, and Lynn Swann shared Super Bowl glory as members of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Republican Swann, a former ABC sideline reporter for college football telecasts, won't be able to count on his former teammate for support in his race to become governor of Pennsylvania. In fact, Harris is working for Swann's opponent, Democratic incumbent Ed Rendell. "We've always been very close," Harris said of Swann. "But right now I feel there needs to be a change in the direction from where our national administration has taken us and where the Republicans in state government want to take us."

Reporters' Notebooks

Chris Conley, Commercial Appeal: Alabama booster Logan Young, who was convicted last year of paying a high school coach $150,000 to ensure that prospect Albert Means signed with the Crimson Tide, was killed in his home. His son, Logan Young III, was detained for questioning (registration).

John Heuser, Ann Arbor News: Antonio Bass, a do-it-all offensive performer for Michigan, is likely out for the 2006 season because of knee surgery.

Joe LaPointe, New York Times: Another piece on the controversy surrounding the potential addition of "elite seats" to Michigan Stadium (registration).

Tom Mulhern, Wisconsin State Journal: ACL surgery has come a long way in 15 years. Just ask Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema.

Scott Wolf, L.A. Daily News: USC coach Pete Carroll said there will be surprises when he releases his depth chart this week.

Tom FitzGerald, San Francisco Chronicle: Because of a change in rules, teams adding a 12th game to the schedule have often opted to find a cupcake opponent.

Sagar Parikh, Daily Bruin: UCLA coach Karl Dorrell has reinstated kicker Justin Medlock, who was sentenced to three years' probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor drunken driving charge.

Robert Cessna, Bryan-College Station Eagle: Texas A&M showed some offensive firepower during its spring game, but the defense still looks suspect.

Ted Lewis, Times-Picayune: Officials at the New Orleans Bowl are happy to no longer be leading off the postseason lineup. The game has been moved to Dec. 22. The GMAC Bowl, on Dec. 20, will kick off the postseason.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Reporters' Notebooks

Patrick Obley, Columbia State: Clemson might have found a new offensive talent in Rendrick Taylor, but Tiger quarterbacks threw a troubling seven interceptions during the spring game.

Joseph Person, Columbia State: A quarterback controversy at South Carolina? Not the case, says Steve Spurrier, even though backup Cade Thompson outperformed starter Blake Mitchell.

Steve Ellis, Tallahassee Democrat: Myron Rolle, the hotshot recruit who got the text message on his cell phone from Florida Governor Jeb Bush, showed that he is the real deal at Florida State's spring game.

Carter Strickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "I'm not too worried," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. Maybe he should be. His quarterbacks threw six interceptions in the spring game (registration).

Marlon W. Morgan, Commercial Appeal: Somebody more intense than Mississippi Madman Ed Orgeron? It appears to be the case, as new offensive line coach Art Kehoe turned up the intensity at the Rebels' spring game.

Mark Burgess, Knoxville News Sentinel: Only 15,411 watched Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge and receiver Robert Meachem put on a show.

Jerry Hill, Waco Tribune-Herald: Baylor unveiled its spread offense, but the defense stood its ground for three quarters.

Berry Tramel, Oklahoman: Barring unforeseen calamities like broken legs and Lubbock officiating, the 2006 Oklahoma season comes down to this: offensive line. Plus a video report (registration).

Dan Collins, Winston-Salem Journal: Wake Forest backup quarterback Riley Skinner made quite an impression during the final scrimmage of spring.

A.J. Carr, Raleigh News & Observer: North Carolina State's young defense had some breakthrough moments during a two-hour situational game (registration).

Ken Tysiac, Charlotte Observer: Joe Dailey, a transfer from Nebraska, and Cam Sexton will continue their battle this fall to be North Carolina's starting quarterback.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Reporters' Notebooks

Will Vandervort, Columbia State: Because Clemson's spring game will be televised, coach Tommy Bowden, father of Lauren Bowden, will scale things back so the Tigers' plans for the fall won't be fully exposed.

Steve Wiseman, Columbia State: South Carolina, which also holds its spring game Saturday, appears to have a commitment from a top-notch offensive lineman for its class of 2007.

Steve Ellis, Tallahassee Democrat: Florida State spent much of its spring trying to pump up its running game. On Saturday, the results will be displayed.

Dan Collins, Winston-Salem Journal: Wake Forest, which is installing FieldTurf in Groves Stadium, won't have a spring game. Coach Jim Grobe says because of a high number of injuries, his team will conclude drills with a scrimmage.

J.P. Giglio, Raleigh News & Observer: North Carolina State is hoping to show some offensive punch in its spring finale on Saturday (registration).

Steven M. Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star: Who was that watching Nebraska's practice on Friday? None other than Tampa Bay Buccaneer coach Jon Gruden. Plus, coach Bill Callahan's top assistants received a nice boost in pay.

John Helsley, Oklahoman: Oklahoma coaches are looking for quarterback Rhett Bomar to assume more of a leadership role (registration).

Jeff Carroll, South Bend Tribune: Justin Hoskins, a reserve running back and former Michigan prep player of the year, will transfer from Notre Dame, leaving only 10 scholarship players from the recruiting class of 2004.

Bob Condotta, Seattle Times: Danny Morovick dropped his plans to be a quarterback to become a long snapper. The move paid off with a scholarship to Washington.

Carter Strickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia will try to sort out its quarterback puzzle when it stages its spring game on Saturday (registration).

Chris Low, Tennessean: After the 2005 spring game, Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer thought his team could contend for the national championship. Instead the Volunteers finished 5-6.

Friday, April 07, 2006

We're Keeping an Eye on USC

Plenty of buzz surrounding the USC Trojans, past and present. First comes word that Hershel Dennis, a candidate to replace running back Reggie Bush, will miss the season after blowing out his left knee during practice on Tuesday. And Ben Malcolmson, the Daily Trojan reporter who made the team as a walk-on, has suffered a dislocated shoulder, so he's done for the spring. As for some former Trojans, the fallout continues from Sunday's pro day. Bush, the expected No. 1 pick in the April 29-30 draft, has his first endorsement deal. He's the new pitchman for Subway and will be featured on Flush with cash, Bush wasted little time, reportedly purchasing a new Mercedes. And the site Pro Football Talk is reporting (scroll down on page) that former teammate Matt Leinart, who took a bruising for not running the 40-yard dash at pro day, is now blaming representatives Leigh Steinberg and Chuck Price for that decision. The site speculates that Leinart will break from Steinberg and Price and join Tom Condon after the draft. Offensive tackle Winston Justice, whose stock soared after his impressive pro day performance, reportedly has broken ranks with Steinberg. The speculation is that Justice was upset that Steinberg was spending too much time with Leinart. Justice, according to, will land with Gary Uberstine, who has a partnership with former Trojan Willie McGinest and Snoop Dogg, a hanger-on at USC games and practices. Now if you want to see video and analysis of USC's pro day, check out this link (12 minutes in length). We also have a link to an interview with former Trojan tailback LenDale White (7 minutes in length), whose stock tumbled after he participated in only one pro day drill.

Ohio State Fans Want a Uniform Policy

Ohio State has unveiled a new uniform design, and if a Cleveland Plain Dealer poll is an indication, Buckeye fans are not embracing the change. The most noticeable differences are that the gray stripes are gone from the sleeves, and the stripes of black, white and scarlet that remain are thinner. Players' numbers also have moved from the shoulders to the sleeves. At the time of this posting, fans voting in the Plain Dealer poll say they prefer the previous jersey, 73.4 to 14.6 percent. Twelve percent of those voting didn't care, which makes you wonder why they even bothered to vote.

Reporters' Notebooks

Aron Kahn, St. Paul Pioneer Press: A plan for a campus stadium at Minnesota has cleared a legislative hurdle (registration).

Tom Kubat, Lafayette Journal & Courier: Purdue players say the team needs an attitude adjustment after a disappointing 5-6 record in 2005.

Larry Milian, Miami Herald: Miami offensive lineman John Rochford has started practicing at fullback and tight end (registration).

Carter Strickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia coach Mark Richt wants an alcohol-free nightclub on campus. What's next, a crackdown on the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party? (registration)

John Henderson, Denver Post: Eight recruits admitted that they committed rape, at least 25 said they had nonconsensual sex and 27% consumed alcohol on their trips, according to an NCAA survey of more than 5,000 student-athletes who took recruiting trips from 1999-2005. Thanks to Fan Blogs for digging this up.

Mike Knobler, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Joe Gaston has suffered a knee injury that will keep the Georgia Tech safety sidelined for the 2006 season (registration).

Benita Y. Williams, Kansas City Star: Kansas fullback Bruce Ringwood is facing a felony charge of aggravated battery after he allegedly beat his roommate (registration).

Associated Press: Former Georgia Tech cornerback Reuben Houston, charged with conspiracy and attempt to distribute 92 pounds of marijuana, was sentenced to nine months probation.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

An Early Peek at the Defending Champion

Terrific post by the Texas site Bevo Sports, which has a two-minute highlight package from the Longhorns' orange-white scrimmage Saturday that concluded spring practice. Texas is working out of the shotgun formation, just like 2005, but there is much work to be done with Vince Young leaving for the riches of the NFL (direct link to spring video). Quarterbacks Colt McCoy and Jevan Snead are battling to replace Young and a decision on a starter won't be made until fall. In the meantime, Texas continues to stockpile talent, with standout Florida prep quarterback John Brantley becoming the 18th player to give coach Mack Brown an oral commitment for the class of 2007 (some registration).

Oldie, but Definitely a Goodie

With baseball starting its seemingly endless season, we felt it was time to resurrect one of the classic quotes for all of us who see the so-called national pastime as something that stands between spring football and the regular season. Love him or hate him, Beano Cook came up with the zinger after 52 American hostages held at the U.S. embassy in Tehran for 14 months arrived home safely in 1981. Cook, when told that then-commissioner Bowie Kuhn had offered the hostages lifetime baseball passes, remarked, "Haven't they suffered enough?"

Reporters' Notebooks

Shannon Shelton, Detroit Free Press: Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton is a busy man, serving a semester-long internship with the school's sports information department.

Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ted Ginn will be a junior in the fall, but is this his last season as a member of the Ohio State Buckeyes?

Josh Kendall, Macon Telegraph: Georgia sophomore quarterback Blake Barnes is done for the spring after breaking the thumb on his throwing hand.

Glenn Reeves, San Mateo Times: Stanford is ready to begin spring drills, but not before coach Walt Harris announced the suspension of two starters.

Shreveport Times: The Louisiana State-Arkansas game, scheduled for Nov. 25 in Little Rock, has been moved to Nov. 24 at the request of CBS.

Randy Peterson, Des Moines Register: Iowa State receiver Jon Davis could miss part of the 2006 season after suffering an Achilles injury.

Howard Richman, Kansas City Star: Kansas State defensive back Justin McKinney was arrested on a warrant in relation to writing a bad check. Thanks to EDSBS for finding this gem.

Rodney McKissic, Buffalo News: Buffalo and new coach Turner Gill have scheduled games at Auburn, Boston College and Wisconsin in 2006 to help fund the athletic department.

Susan Field, Mt. Pleasant Morning Sun: Former Central Michigan safety Michael Thomas was sentenced to 15 years in prison after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Perry A. Farrell, Detroit Free Press: The best defensive end in 2006? It could be Daniel Bazuin of Central Michigan.

Matt Eagan, Hartford Courant: Connecticut running backs coach Terry Richardson, who was charged with second-degree assault, will have the charges dropped if he completes a family violence program.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Reporters' Notebooks

Kevin Spain, Times-Picayune: NCAA president Myles Brand said that presidents of the 11 Division I-A conferences have shown no inclination toward a football playoff. Thanks to the great Ben Maller for digging this up.

Jeff Metcalfe, Arizona Republic: Derek Shaw, rated as the nation's No. 1 quarterback by PrepStar coming out of high school, is leaving Arizona State.

Paul Buker, Oregonian: Oregon State coach Mike Riley is counting on an influx of talent from the junior college level to jumpstart the 2006 season.

Beth Velliquette, Durham Herald-Sun: Four Duke players and one North Carolina player will have charges stemming from a fight in downtown Chapel Hill dismissed if they complete community service requirements and pay fines.

Patrick Obley, Columbia State: As expected, the Clemson-Temple game, scheduled for Oct. 14 at Temple, has been moved to Oct. 12 and will be played at Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium.

Kent Babb, Columbia State: South Carolina standout Syvelle Newton, who played three offensive positions before a season-ending injury in 2005, now wants to give defense a try.

Brian Hawkins, Starkville Daily News: Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom has suspended six players who were arrested for assaulting an off-duty police officer.

Jon Malavolti, Lansing State Journal: Michigan State has received its second oral commitment for the class of 2007.

Mick McGrane, San Diego Union-Tribune: San Diego State has lost a second tight end to injury and could be shorthanded at the position this fall.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Reporters' Notebooks

Brian Hawkins and Travis Downey, Starkville Daily News: Five Mississippi State players are each facing a charge of felony assault after an incident with an off-duty officer. The great site EDSBS had this first, and you should check out the Fulmer Cup, a scoreboard of off-season shenanigans.

David Whitley, Orlando Sentinel: Florida is the NCAA basketball champion, but more important, when is the spring game?

Phil Kornblut, Columbia State: Offensive lineman Quintin Richardson, one of the top high school juniors in South Carolina, plans to announce his college choice Friday.

Don Williams, Lubbock Avalanche Journal: Texas Tech coach Mike Leach stopped practice twice to rip into the play of his offense.

Steven M. Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star: Several Nebraska players, including backup quarterback Harrison Beck, are hurting after Saturday's scrimmage.

Mike Baldwin, Oklahoman: It's clear that the strength of Oklahoma State's team in 2006 will be the defensive line (registration).

Randy King, Roanoke Times: Quarterback Ike Whitaker, who was suspended after his arrest on March 2, was reinstated by Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer.

Doug Doughty, Roanoke Times: Virginia coach Al Groh made it clear that 2006 will be a season of rebuilding.

Andy Hamilton, Iowa City Press-Citizen: Former Iowa cornerback Jovon Johnson said he did not receive benefits from a former cellular phone employee. Also, Jovon Johnson's site.

Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin receiver Marcus Randle El reached a plea agreement for his alleged role in a December fight. Video report.

Ryan Finley, Arizona Daily Star: Arizona has completed only five practices, but the team continues to show a marked improvement.

Chadd Cripe, Boise Statesman: Boise State is the latest team to hike ticket prices, with some seats going up 18%.

Dave Reardon, Honolulu Star Bulletin: Hawaii returns to practice after spring break, a departure from past workout schedules.