Tag:Big Ten Football
Posted on: June 13, 2011 12:17 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 12:18 pm

Tressel skipped NCAA rules seminar this weekend

Posted by Chip Patterson

Part of Ohio State's school-imposed punishment for former head coach Jim Tressel was to attend an NCAA rules seminar this weekend in Tampa. The punishment was issued well before recent revelations regarding Tressel and former Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor, when both thought there was a chance of taking the field in 2011.

But after Tressel's resignation and Pryor's hasty exit, the former head coach opted to skip the rules seminar this weekend. Gene Marsh, Tressel's attorney for the upcoming meeting with the NCAA Committee on Infractions, told The Columbus Dispatch he understood why Tressel did not attend the seminar. Marsh pointed out that Tressel, who has done no interviews since his resignation, would likely draw unnecessary media attention to the event - which was meant for much more than Ohio State.

Also attending the seminar were Connecticut men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun and former Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez, among others. Because of the resignation, Tressel will not be obligated to attend Ohio State's meeting with the Committee on Infractions on Aug. 12. Marsh also told the Dispatch that he is unsure if Tressel will appear at the meeting.

Should the COI hold their meeting without Tressel, it could have an effect on where the blame is placed as the committee sorts through the details of the violations. Some have suggested that Tressel should be present in order to have a chance to defend himself, others believe that less emphasis on the former coach will lead to more blame placed on the university. One thing is for sure, if Tressel skips the COI meeting as well there will be a lot less questions answered and more speculation into the shady ongoings with the football program in Columbus.
Posted on: May 30, 2011 5:54 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2011 5:56 am

Report: Significant NCAA investigation of Pryor

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Ohio State football community was rocked early Monday with the news of Jim Tressel's resignation as the head football coach. This may end up being a Memorial Day that Buckeyes fans would rather forget, particularly if star quarterback Terrelle Pryor ends up receiving further punishment for receiving impermissible benefits.

Trouble at OSU

The Columbus Dispatch reported Monday afternoon that the NCAA and Ohio State are conducting an independent investigation of Terrelle Pryor, according to sources close to the situation. The school would not confirm whether Pryor is being investigated, but sources informed the Dispatch that this is the "most significant inquiry to date." Pryor has been questioned by OSU compliance officials before, but after seeing Tressel's tale come to a screeching halt there is plenty of reason for concern in Pryor's case.

Pryor has already been suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling or exchanging memorabilia for cash and tattoos, so it is hard to imagine any good ending to further investigation. Since that December suspension, more details have emerged that tie Pryor to different automobiles and signed uniforms.

With all the buzz around Pryor, particularly with rumors of more Ohio State related information to be released in the coming days, it is not unlikely to imagine that Pryor may have played his final game in a Buckeyes uniform.

Posted on: March 25, 2011 9:42 am
Edited on: March 25, 2011 2:17 pm

Report: Tressel sent emails to Pryor's mentor

Posted by Chip Patterson

With the NCAA investigation into Ohio State and head coach Jim Tressel still unresolved, the local media is bound to do some further digging on the topic.  As we saw this past season in the high-profile cases of Auburn and North Carolina, the paper trail can reveal much more about the situation at hand, or in some cases misdirect the focus of violations in the first place.  For Ohio State, this bit of information may raise more questions than it answers.

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that when Tressel received the famous emails of warning regarding his players selling memorabilia to a local tattoo parlor, he forwarded them to a man close to star quarterback Terrelle Pryor.  Ted Sarniak, 67, is described as "a prominent businessman in Pryor's hometown of Jeanette, Pa."  Sarniak has acted as Pryor's mentor and advisor since high school, and reportedly was the recipient of the warning emails when they were forwarded by Tressel.  

In the news conference to announce the violations against Tressel, the coach nodded when asked if he had forwarded the emails.  He was quickly cut short by athletic director Gene Smith, and has maintained that the reason he kept the information to himself was to protect his players and the confidentiality of the federal investigation against the owner of the tattoo parlor.  Tressel apologized profusely, and has since received a five game suspension as punishment for keeping the information from the university and the NCAA.

But the report also raises questions about Sarniak, and his relationship with Pryor/Tressel/Ohio State.  Of all people involved with the Ohio State football program, why would Tressel choose to inform Pryor's 67-year-old mentor on the issue rather than Pryor's family.  Ohio State has not turned over any email records as of yet, but compliance director Doug Archie was quick to erase any doubts regarding Pryor's relationship with Sarniak.

"Mr. Sarniak and Terrelle Pryor have been friends for a number of years, and their friendship dates back prior to Terrelle's enrollment at Ohio State," Archie said in an email to The Dispatch. "As the friendship developed, Mr. Sarniak is someone who Terrelle has reached out to for advice and guidance throughout his high-school and collegiate career."

When the NCAA investigation concludes, Tressel's five-game suspension and $250,000 fine could be upheld or increased.  A big-name program like Ohio State would prefer that the investigation move quickly, so that the media attention can focus on football rather than independent investigation.  Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, the NCAA has a tendency to take their time with these matters.  

Stay tuned to CBSSports.com for more on the Ohio State NCAA Investigation

Posted on: March 1, 2011 10:30 am
Edited on: March 1, 2011 10:35 am

Minnesota WR granted medical hardship

Posted by Chip Patterson

After finishing with a 2-6 record in conference, Minnesota did not have many reasons to cheer in conference competition in 2010.  But just after the Big Ten denied a sixth year of eligibility to Purdue wide receiver Keith Smith, league officials delivered different news to the Golden Gophers.  

Wide receiver Brandon Green played in two games for Minnesota before suffering a season-ending knee injury.  On Monday Green was granted a medical hardship from the Big Ten and will have two years of eligibility remaining at Minnesota.  After the 1-6 start that led to Tim Brewster's mid-season firing, the Golden Gophers are hoping to turn things around under new head coach Jerry Kill.  Green will personally benefit from the extra year as he tries to fight for snaps among a corps that returns the top three reception leaders from 2010.

But with Adam Weber graduated, Green will have a chance to try and create some chemistry with Marqueis Gray.  Gray, who primarily played wide receiver in 2010, will be moved to quarterback for 2011.  Gray is a dual-threat quarterback who demands attention and is able to extend plays to create opportunities for his receivers.  

Kill will get his first look at the new offense when the Golden Gophers kick off spring practice on March 24.      

Posted on: February 28, 2011 11:24 am
Edited on: February 28, 2011 11:28 am

Rob Bolden still uncertain about future at PSU

Posted by Chip Patterson

Penn State freshman quarterback Rob Bolden had high hopes for his career with the Nittany Lions when he was named the starter heading into his first collegiate game.  Then, at 18, Bolden was the first true-freshman quarterback to start a season opener in Joe Paterno's 45 years as a head coach.  But after getting knocked out of the Minnesota game with a concussion on October 23, Bolden struggled on the field and failed to regain his starting position from backup quarterback Matt McGloin.  

Bolden requested a transfer after the Nittany Lions' Outback Bowl loss to Florida, and head coach Joe Paterno refused to release the quarterback from his scholarship.  Now, being forced to stay on campus at least until the end of the spring semester, Bolden must try and make the best of the situation.  Recently, Bolden spoke on the issue while making a team appearance at a charity event.  While Bolden's future at Penn State is still uncertain, he is making the most of his time in Happy Valley.

“There is no definite answer on if I'm gonna stay or if I'm gonna leave,” Bolden said during an Uplifting Athletes' event at Damon's Grill in State College Sunday. “We're just gonna wait it out, see what happens in the spring and go from there.

“I've been just fine,” he said. “I'm having fun. I'm with my teammates. That hasn't changed at all. We still love each other, they're still my guys. I'm here for the spring, (so) we'll ball up and go from there.”

If Penn State fans are hoping that Bolden will stay for the fall, one hopeful sign is that he has been spending time with former Nittany Lions quarterback Daryll Clark.  Clark befriended Bolden when he was an instructor at an Elite 11 camp two years ago.  Clark has been spending time breaking down tape of the 2010 season with the young quarterback, helping him identify improvements Bolden can make to his  game.

“I need to work on everything,” Bolden said. “My whole game needs to be bumped up. My freshman year, I got that out of the way. It was cool to get some snaps under my belt, learn from that, move on (and) don't make the same mistakes twice.”

Bolden beat out McGloin for the starting position coming into the 2010 season, and depending on how things go in spring ball he could find himself doing it again in 2011.  Paterno has not make any declarations on the status of the job, but my guess would be the position will create some great competition between the two signal-callers in the coming weeks.

H/T: Fight On State  

Posted on: November 17, 2010 10:44 am

Ron Zook does/doesn't think about the bowl game

Posted by Chip Patterson

Illinois head coach Ron Zook has always been one of the animated characters in college football.  His praises have been occasionally overshadowed by his downfalls, and from time to time his dealings with the media provide an entertainment value not usually included in postgame press conferences.  

For the Fighting Illini, one win stands between them and bowl eligibility.  A win that could have been picked up at the expense of a struggling Minnesota team.  So after Saturday's 38-34 home loss to the Golden Gophers, Zook took the podium with a loquacious explanation for why the Fighting Illini lost to a team that had not yet won a conference game.  Unfortunately, an unexpected flash from a camera set off a charge in Zook's mind that replaced half of his argument with the phrase "bowl game."

Seriously, he uses the phrase six times in 17 seconds.  Does he think about the bowl game?  Does he not think about the bowl game?  Are YOU thinking about the bowl game? BOWL GAME! BOWL GAME! BOWL GAME!

Okay I'm done. Video below.

Posted on: November 10, 2010 9:33 am
Edited on: November 10, 2010 9:35 am

Iowa expects to have RB Robinson back on Saturday

Posted by Chip Patterson

After narrowly escaping Indiana for the second-straight year with an 18-13 victory in Bloomington, head coach Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes gladly welcome leading rusher Adam Robinson back to the field this week after missing time due to an injury.  Several media outlets reported the injury as a concussion, but Ferentz did not confirm that on Tuesday.  He did, however, inform the media that Robinson should be good to go against Northwestern on Saturday.

"As far as I know, he's practicing today and he's training; ran on Sunday, lifted and all that stuff," Ferentz told the media on Tuesday.  "So he's fine to go."

Having Ferentz offer a "denial/non-denial" to the concussion rumors was a little odd, though other reports do confirm that Robinson has returned and appears healthy.  He was replaced by backup Marcus Coker against Indiana, who rushed 22 times for 129 yards in the win.  While Coker held his own against the Hoosiers, Robinson's importance to the Hawkeyes' offense cannot be easily dismissed.  He leads the conference in rushing attempts per game and his 10 rushing touchdowns on the season are good for 5th in the Big Ten.  

This Saturday has all the makings of a trap game for the Hawkeyes, with a season-determining matchup in Columbus just a week away.  Iowa must keep their focus on Northwestern in order to stay in the hunt for the Big Ten title.  No game was more important for the race than the 37-6 victory over Michigan State giving them a tie-breaker edge against the one-loss Spartans.  But in order to capture the Big Ten conference crown, the Hawkeyes need to win out and get some serious help from one of Wisconsin's final opponents.  But with that out of their hands, head coach Kirk Ferentz knows they need to win each game left on the schedule, and it starts with Northwestern on Saturday.    
Posted on: November 3, 2010 10:03 am
Edited on: November 3, 2010 10:10 am

Fulmer: Minnesota 'has great potential'

Posted by Chip Patterson

Yesterday, reports began to surface that former Tennessee head coach and current CBS College Sports analyst Phillip Fulmer had emerged as a candidate for the open coaching position at the University of Minnesota.  Initially, there was some speculation as to the probability of Fulmer being enticed by the position.  After all, names such as Tony Dungy, Mike Leach, Scott Linehan, and Marc Trestman (the hometown favorite), have all come up in reports since Tim Brewster's firing in mid-October.

Also, as Tom Fornelli pointed out, there is doubt that Fulmer, 60, would want to take on the task of rebuilding a program that has not seen overwhelming success in quite some time.  But after seeing his interest in the Louisville job, eventually given to Charlie Strong, it is fair to assume that Fulmer is most interested in coaching, less so where.  When asked by the Knoxville News Sentinel about any possible contact with Minnesota, Fulmer was non-committal, though he did offer some kind words about the program.     

“Minnesota has great potential, and with its new facilities it’s a place you could recruit to,’’ Fulmer told the News Sentinel on Tuesday night. “I believe it’s a place where you can compete.’’

COMPETE. There is that operative word for a program that has not won a conference title since 1967.  Fulmer would bring an awfully impressive resume to Minneapolis, particularly 13 nationally ranked finishes in his 17 years of head coaching.  While athletic director Joe Maturi said that he preferred the next candidate "get" Minnesota, other sources have indicated that a "Tubby Smith-type hire" may be probable to fill Brewster's position.  While Fulmer spent nearly all of his coaching career with the Volunteers, he is a seasoned and respected in the national scene.  His pedigree would elevate the program's status almost immediately, the challenge would be utilizing that status to produce winning seasons.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com