College Football
NCAAF News Wire
  • Texas Tech OL Castaneda charged with felony burglary
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, May 28, 2016

    Former Texas Tech offensive lineman Robert James Castaneda has been charged with felony burglary and faces up to 20 years in prison.

    • Castaneda on Friday was booked into the Lubbock County Detention Center, but by the end of the day had been released after posting a $5,000 bond.

      Castaneda was kicked off the team earlier this month by coach Cliff Kingsbury for "failure to uphold student-athlete expectations."

      Castaneda and two other players -- Dakota Allen and Trace Ellison, who also were dismissed from the Red Raiders -- are suspects in the theft of a number of guns from a Lubbock, Texas, home sometime in December.

      According to the police report, a Smith & Wesson 5-shot revolver worth $600, an AR-15 rifle worth $2,500, an M1 worth $3,500 were stolen from the home. A number of other weapons, including a lever-action rifle, a bolt-action rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and a Brinks gun were taken.

      Castaneda would have been a backup offensive lineman.

  • Ole Miss self-imposes reduction in scholarships
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, May 27, 2016

    Ole Miss has self-imposed a reduction of 11 scholarships for football, starting with one last season and extending into 2018, as part of the university's 154-page response Friday to an NCAA notice of allegations.

    • The notice indicates several violations occurred during head coach Hugh Freeze's tenure, and include some Level I infractions, which the NCAA considers the most serious. Women's basketball under former coach Adrian Wiggins and track and field under former coach Bryan O'Neal are also mentioned in the allegations.

      "The NCAA has alleged, and we agree, that serious violations have occurred," the school wrote in an open letter on the university's website Friday morning.

      The school received a notice of allegations from the NCAA in late January.

      In the letter posted on the website, Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork and chancellor Jeffrey Vitter wrote that the school also has requested that its case be delayed in light of allegations made by former Rebels offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil at last month's NFL Draft in Chicago.

      "On the first day of the 2016 NFL Draft, new information came to light involving a former football student-athlete," the letter said. "That very night, the University and NCAA began a joint review to determine whether bylaws have been violated, and we hope this review will be concluded soon. To ensure fairness to all parties and pursuant to (Committee of Infractions) procedure, we have asked the COI to remove the hearing from this summer's docket until this review can be completed and closed."

      Tunsil's draft stock plummeted to No. 13 when he was picked by the Miami Dolphins amid a series of social media posts on allegedly hacked accounts belonging to him just minutes before the start of the draft. A video posted on Twitter showed him smoking marijuana through a bong while wearing a gas mask.

      In addition to the video posted, screenshots surfaced on Tunsil's Instagram account on April 28 of a text conversation he allegedly had with Ole Miss director of football operations John Miller in which Tunsil asked for money to help his mother pay recent electric bills.

      Freeze, who was at the draft on the night Tunsil's stock plunged, said later he was "shocked like everyone else" that Tunsil accepted money from the school during his playing career.

      Ole Miss previously self-imposed a ban on unofficial visits from Feb. 21, 2016, to March 31, 2016; a 10 percent reduction in off-campus evaluation days for coaches during the 2015 evaluation period; and a 12.5 percent reduction during the 2016 evaluation period.

      As a result of the violations, Ole Miss claims it has taken "several corrective actions" with the self-imposed penalties.

      "The University has accepted responsibility for the violations that occurred and self-imposed meaningful penalties," the school said in the report. "While discussed in more detail below, they collectively and generally include the termination of four coaches, including the only two involved head coaches still employed when the violations were discovered; the disassociation of every involved booster; a postseason ban in women's basketball; a double-digit reduction of scholarships in the football program; a significant reduction in off-campus evaluation days and official and unofficial visits in football and track and field; violation-specific rules education across all involved sports; and a $159,325.00 financial penalty.

      "In every one of these situations, the University carefully weighed the appropriate range of penalties and erred toward the upper limits."

      The Rebels were accused of 28 NCAA violations, including 16 Level I violations, according to the report. The NCAA Committee on Infractions will assess the situation before ultimately deciding the university's penalties.

      "The fact that all but one of the 16 Level I violations arose from intentional misconduct committed by rogue former employees or boosters outside the University's direct control acting in contravention of rules education provided to them by the University," the Ole Miss report said. "Although a postseason ban may be imposed in a Level I -- Mitigated case, the University believes a ban is unnecessary here based upon applicable precedent and because the most serious allegations occurred years ago, involving staff and student-athletes long-since separated from the University."

  • Bennett named Baylor interim coach
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, May 27, 2016

    Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Bennett was named interim coach of the Bears on Friday, the beginning of the program's attempt to restore some semblance of order amidst a dark controversy that prompted Art Briles' dismissal.

    • Briles, 60, was 65-37 in eight seasons while taking the program to unprecedented heights. The Bears have won 10 or more games in four of the past five seasons.

      Bennett, 60, is a Texas A&M graduate and the university said he was not named in any of the investigative documents turned over by the law firm Pepper Hamilton.

      In addition to the firing of Briles, athletic director Ian McCaw has been sanctioned and placed on probation and Ken Starr was removed as university president after Pepper Hamilton's investigation revealed deep and troubling patterns of disregard for alleged victims of sexual assault and violence at the hands of members of the football team.

      "I applaud the Board for its transparency," Starr said in a statement. "It must be known, however, that I was not privy to any of the allegations regarding interpersonal violence until the fall of 2015, at which time I immediately launched an internal investigation before recommending to the Board an independent external investigation, which the Board then commissioned with Pepper Hamilton. ...

      "To those victims who were not treated with the care, concern and support they deserve, I am profoundly sorry."

      Additional administrative and athletic department personnel were relieved of their duties but weren't identified by the university.

  • Baylor fires Art Briles
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, May 26, 2016

    Baylor University is in the process of firing football coach Art Briles, who was suspended until his contract is officially terminated amidst detailed and damning findings that reveal the program turned a cold shoulder to alleged victims of sexual assault and violence.

    • The dismissal was prompted by the findings of independent law firm Pepper Hamilton, LLP, which conducted an investigation into how the school handled numerous alleged sexual assaults, including incidents involving several Baylor football players.

      The school officially labeled Briles' status as "suspended indefinitely with intent to terminate according to contractual procedures."

      Briles, 60, was 65-37 in eight seasons while taking the program to unprecedented heights. The Bears have won 10 or more games in four of the past five seasons.

      Defensive coordinator Phil Bennett was named interim coach.

      In addition to the firing of Briles, athletic director Ian McCaw has been sanctioned and placed on probation. Ken Starr will no longer serve as university president but will remain at the school in the role of chancellor. David Garland will serve as interim president.

      The report unveiled the following issues regarding the football program:

      "Baylor failed to take appropriate action to respond to reports of sexual assault and dating violence reportedly committed by football players. The choices made by football staff and athletics leadership, in some instances, posed a risk to campus safety and the integrity of the University.

      "In certain instances, including reports of a sexual assault by multiple football players, athletics and football personnel affirmatively chose not to report sexual violence and dating violence to an appropriate administrator outside of athletics. In those instances, football coaches or staff met directly with a complainant and/or a parent of a complainant and did not report the misconduct.

      "As a result, no action was taken to support complainants, fairly and impartially evaluate the conduct under Title IX, address identified cultural concerns within the football program, or protect campus safety once aware of a potential pattern of sexual violence by multiple football players."

      Hamilton found that the university's student conduct processes "were wholly inadequate to consistently provide a prompt and equitable response under Title IX," and failed to eliminate a "potential hostile environment."

      The university didn't create a Title IX office until Nov. 2014, but asked senior administrators to passively help oversee the department without consideration to their professional profile.

      The Baylor Board of Regents made the personnel decisions based on the findings and a decision to change the culture of unaccountability.

      "We were horrified by the extent of these acts of sexual violence on our campus," said Richard Willis, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents. "This investigation revealed the University's mishandling of reports in what should have been a supportive, responsive and caring environment for students."

      "The depth to which these acts occurred shocked and outraged us. Our students and their families deserve more, and we have committed our full attention to improving our processes, establishing accountability and ensuring appropriate actions are taken to support former, current and future students."

      Among the sexual assault incidents involving Baylor football players include defensive end Tevin Elliott being sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually assaulting a Baylor student in 2012. Defensive end Sam Ukwuachu, a transfer from Boise State, was also convicted of sexual assault and defensive end Shawn Oakman is currently being investigated for sexual assault.

      A recent investigation by ESPN's Outside the Lines alleged that Baylor players Tre'Von Armstead and Shamycheal Chatman were named as suspects in a sexual assault that took place more than two years ago but never were charged.

      Baylor was a bottom-level program before hiring Briles away from Houston. The Bears went 4-8 in each of Briles' first two seasons to run their streak of losing campaigns to 14.

      Baylor went 7-6 and qualified for a bowl game in 2010 before an explosive offensive helped propel the team into a Top 10 program. Among the star players were quarterback Robert Griffin III, the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner.

      The Bears have been ranked in the Top 5 at some point in each of the past three season as well as being national champion contenders.

  • Richt to donate $1M to 'Canes indoor facility
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    Miami Hurricanes coach Mark Richt plans to donate $1 million of his own money toward the construction of an on-campus indoor practice facility.

    • The Hurricanes' first-year coach told attendees at a booster event in Chicago last week of his plan to contribute to a facility expected to cost in excess of $25 million, according to multiple reports.

      An indoor practice facility has been a major emphasis for Richt, who was unable to get one constructed at Georgia. With Boston College announcing in February that it has plans for an indoor facility, Miami would be left as the lone ACC school without one.

      "I'm very confident it's going to happen," Richt said earlier this month. "In some ways it's been approved, with maybe a few more hoops to jump through. I'm not sure how it all works, because every university's different. But it's rolling down the track really fast. I think it's going to happen pretty quick."

      Miami athletic director Blake James told the Palm Beach Post that Richt's donation has not been finalized and he could not confirm the amount. Plans for the facility include housing the entire football footprint and would cover one of the existing practice fields.

      CaneSport reported the project would cost approximately $27 million and be completed in the next two seasons.

  • Boston College suspends WR Flutie
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, May 24, 2016

    Boston College wide receiver Troy Flutie, the nephew of former Eagles and NFL quarterback Doug Flutie, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving on Saturday and was suspended from the team, the school announced Monday.

    • Flutie, 20, crashed his car into a curb in his hometown of Natick, Mass. early Saturday morning. He denied to police officers that he had been drinking, failed field sobriety tests and refused to take a breathalyzer test, resulting in the loss of his driver's license for 180 days.

      "Troy has been suspended from the football team by Coach Steve Addazio pending further investigation and faces the possibility of additional University sanctions pending the outcome of the court proceedings," Boston College said in a statement to school newspaper The Heights.

      Flutie, who played quarterback at Natick High School, also spent time at the position for Boston College during the 2015 season, completing 24 of 49 passes for 382 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

      He did not record a catch in 2015, but he rushed for 33 yards on 23 carries.

  • QB Mitch to transfer from South Carolina
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, May 20, 2016

    Former starting quarterback Connor Mitch is leaving South Carolina as a graduate transfer this summer.

    • Mitch, who began the 2015 season as the starter before he was injured, will complete his undergraduate studies this summer and then go elsewhere for his final two seasons of eligibility. As a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play immediately at another school.

      Mitch informed Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp of his decision.

      "I have enjoyed my time at South Carolina and will graduate later this summer," Mitch said in a release. "I believe it's in my best interest to continue my playing career at another school. I'd like to thank all the Gamecock fans for their support during my time in Columbia."

      After winning the starting job last summer, Mitch guided South Carolina to a 17-13 victory over North Carolina in the 2015 opener before suffering shoulder and hip injuries in the next game against Kentucky that ended his season.

      Mitch completed 13 of 29 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown in the two games.

      After spring practice last month, Mitch was buried on the depth chart behind senior Perry Orth and freshman Brandon McIlwain.

  • Alabama offers scholarship to 8th-grade LB
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, May 19, 2016

    Not every eighth grade football player can match Jesus Machado's graduation gift – a verbal scholarship offer from the University of Alabama.

    • Machado is at Champagnat Catholic in Hialeah, Fla., in August by Dennis Marroquin, who revealed the news about Machado. While written scholarship offers cannot be extended until a player is a high school senior and verbal offers are nonbinding, Machado already has verbal offers from West Virginia, Iowa State, Michigan State and North Carolina State.

      Machado is a linebacker prospect who played on Champagnat's varsity football team as an eighth-grader. The offers are noteworthy in that they are strong signals of interest and value in recruiting circles but ultimately hold no weight or responsibility for either side.

      The offers are not uncommon for middle schoolers these days.

      Miami (Fla.) head coach Mark Richt and LSU coach Les Miles have made headlines with similar moves since Signing Day 2016 in February.

      Richt offered Georgia eighth-grade quarterback Harrison Bailey a scholarship on February 17, and Bailey posted for a photo in a No. 5 Miami jersey when he confirmed the news on Twitter. Since he is in the Class of 2020, Bailey has three more years to wait before he can officially sign a binding letter to join the Hurricanes.

      Bailey is 6-3, 175 pounds and said he was told by Richt they made the exception to offer a scholarship to a kid without a driver's license for a reason.

      "You're talented and we think you can handle it," Bailey told Youth1.com of the meeting. "We don't think you'll get a big head and we want to offer you a scholarship."

  • Former Texas Tech QB Webb transferring to Cal
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 18, 2016

    Quarterback Davis Webb is leaving Texas Tech and heading to Cal as a graduate transfer after earlier saying he would play for Colorado next season, according to reports from multiple media outlets Wednesday.

    • The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Webb is considered an NFL prospect and a candidate to replace 2016 No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick Jared Goff as Cal's starter. As a graduate transfer, Webb will be eligible to play immediately.

      Webb was enrolled for the spring semester at Texas Tech when he said in January that he would join the Colorado Buffaloes after graduating, but it was a verbal commitment only and he reportedly started to question his decision in February.

      Colorado offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini tweeted his support for Webb's decision.

      Cal coach Sonny Dykes and new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital worked under former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, who developed the pass-oriented "Air Raid" offense.

      Webb passed for 5,557 yards and 46 touchdowns with 22 interceptions in three seasons at Texas Tech, but he was supplanted as the starter by Patrick Mahomes.

  • Troubling Baylor accusations piling up
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 18, 2016

    Baylor is already under a microscope for its handling of sexual violence allegations involving the football program and a new report indicates more possible transgressions have mostly escaped public notice.

    • ESPN's Outside the Lines uncovered in an investigation details of alleged sexual assault, domestic violence and other violent acts not reported in the media and that many of the football players allegedly involved were not subject to disciplinary action or held out of games.

      In one instance, three football players were charged at an off-campus event, but Baylor and Waco police took steps to shield the report from the public. Another case remained open for four years, with police concluding that the victim had made various other previous allegations and questioned her credibility.

      For months, Baylor has been under fire for its handling of similar cases pertaining to athletes. The university hired a law firm in 2015 to conduct a review of its response to sexual assaults that has yet to be completed.

      According to federal law, schools are required to address allegations of sexual assault immediately. And yet Outside the Lines in a previous investigation found apparent violations of Title IX federal law when the school failed to look into allegations of sexual violence.

      According to ESPN, the university also failed to comply to federal law requiring schools to hire a full-time Title IX coordinator until 2014.

      "We are certain the actions that result from this deliberative process will yield improvements across a variety of areas that rebuild and reinforce confidence in our university," Baylor said in a statement to ESPN. "We are saddened when any student, including a student-athlete, acts in a manner inconsistent with Baylor's mission or is a victim of such behavior."

      Former defensive end Tevin Elliott was found guilty of one sexual assault after being a suspect in four similar cases and one attempted assault from 2009 to 2012. In 2013, former defensive end Sam Ukwuachu was found guilty of sexually assaulting a Baylor soccer player.

      In April, former defensive end Shawn Oakman was charged with a sexual assault of a Baylor graduate student after being investigated in a 2013 case for assaulting his former girlfriend. Also last month, Baylor players Tre'Von Armstead and Shamycheal Chatman were named as suspects in a sexual assault that took place more than two years ago but never were charged.

      One female student told Outside the Lines that she did not proceed with charges because she doubted the school would act punitively toward the player allegedly involved.

      "I'd seen other girls go through it and nothing ever happened to the football players," she said. "It's mind-boggling to see it continue to happen. I can't understand why. I think as long as they're catching footballs and scoring touchdowns, the school won't do anything."

  • College football notebook: Alabama's Robinson arrested on weapons charge
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, May 17, 2016

    Alabama left tackle Cam Robinson, the top-ranked prospect at his position in the 2018 NFL Draft class, was charged with felony possession of stolen firearms and misdemeanor possession of narcotics on Tuesday morning in West Monroe, La.

    • Robinson had his bond set at $750 and was arrested at a city park with Alabama defensive back Hootie Jones. Jones, who was also charged with narcotics possession, and Robinson are from West Monroe. The Quachita Parish Sheriff Office said the arrest happened as officers approached a car at 2:33 a.m. to investigate what they expected to be the smell of marijuana.

      The handgun was spotted on the lap of the passenger and a bag of marijuana was also observed on the driver's side floorboard. A stolen handgun was removed from beneath Robinson's seat. Jones was also charged with possessing a handgun in the presence of narcotics.

      NFLDraftScout.com ranks Robinson, who is entering his junior season in 2016, as the best offensive tackle in the 2018 draft class. He is likely a first-round pick in next year's draft if he opts to leave school early.

      --Former Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill joined the athletic department at Kansas State in a non-coaching position.

      In five seasons, Kill was 29-29 with the Golden Gophers and 156-102 overall.

      The 54-year-old Kill, who retired in October. has dealt with the effects of epilepsy since 2005 -- including several game-day seizures -- and took a seven-game leave of absence in 2013. He will be the associate athletic director for administration at K-State, where he is not a candidate to replace the 76-year-old Snyder, the school said.

      --Notre Dame landed prized quarterback recruit Phil Jurkovec, the top dual-threat passer in the Class of 2018.

      Coach Brian Kelly has had a golden touch with quarterbacks on the recruiting trail, including Everett Golson, Gunner Kiel, Malik Zaire, DeShone Kizer and Brandon Wimbush. With the exception of five-star recruit Kiel in 2012 (he transferred multiple times), all were four-star recruits.

      The Gibsonia-Pine (Pa.) sophomore quarterback was widely expected to opt for Ohio State or Alabama but told 247 Sports that he would be in South Bend.

  • Jerry Kill hired at Kansas State
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, May 17, 2016

    Former Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill joined the athletic department at Kansas State in a non-coaching position.

    • In five seasons, Kill was 29-29 with the Golden Gophers.

      "Rebecca and I couldn't be happier to return home to the state of Kansas and join the K-State Athletics family and Manhattan community," Kill said. "I want to make it known that my coaching days are over, and I am excited to start this next phase as an administrator for one of the finest athletics departments in the country.

      "Mentoring has always been very important to me, and I am thrilled to work in support of Hall of Fame Coach Bill Snyder and the football program and learn more about the administrative side of college athletics under John and the rest of the first-class staff at K-State."

      The 54-year-old Kill retired in October. has dealt with the effects of epilepsy since 2005 -- including several game-day seizures -- and took a seven-game leave of absence in 2013.

      Kill retires with a 29-29 record in five seasons at Minnesota and a 156-102 career record, including stints at Northern Illinois and FCS Southern Illinois.

      He becomes the associate athletic director for administration at Kansas State, where he is not a candidate to replace the 76-year-old Snyder, the school said.

      "We are thrilled that Jerry and Rebecca are coming home to join the K-State family," athletic director John Currie said in a statement. "He is ready to move into a new chapter of his life and professional career, and his experience as a former head coach will be a terrific addition to our staff. We look forward to the perspective and mentoring he will provide our coaches and student-athletes as we continue toward our vision of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program."

  • Notre Dame lands top 2018 QB
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, May 17, 2016

    Notre Dame landed prized quarterback recruit Phil Jurkovec, the top dual-threat passer in the Class of 2018.

    • Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly has had a golden touch with quarterbacks on the recruiting trail, including Everett Golson, Gunner Kiel, Malik Zaire, DeShone Kizer and Brandon Wimbush. With the exception of five-star recruit Kiel in 2012 (he transferred multiple times), all were four-star recruits.

      The Gibsonia-Pine (Pa.) sophomore quarterback was widely expected to opt for Ohio State or Alabama, but he told 247 Sports on Monday that he would be in South Bend.

      "I came up here with the intent of committing," Jurkovec said. "It's the right fit for me. The whole education of Notre Dame from the books to the spirituality, the whole university and everything that it offers—I just fell in love with it."

  • Alabama star LT Robinson arrested for felony
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, May 17, 2016

    Alabama left tackle Cam Robinson, the top-ranked prospect at his position in the 2018 NFL Draft class, was charged with felony possession of stolen firearms and misdemeanor possession of narcotics in West Monroe, La., on Tuesday morning.

    • Robinson had his bond set at $750 and was arrested at a city park with Alabama defensive back Hootie Jones. Jones, who was also charged with narcotics possession, and Robinson are from West Monroe.

      The Quachita Parish Sheriff Office said the arrest happened as officers approached a car at 2:33 a.m. to investigate what they expected to be the smell of marijuana.

      The handgun was spotted on the lap of the passenger and a bag of marijuana was also observed on the driver's side floorboard.

      A stolen handgun was removed from beneath Robinson's seat. Jones was also charged with possessing a handgun in the presence of narcotics.

      NFLDraftScout.com ranks Robinson (6-5, 326), who is entering his junior season in 2016, as the best offensive tackle in the 2018 draft class. He is likely a first-round pick in next year's draft if he opts to leave school early.

      That projection is clouded by the arrest Tuesday.

      Robinson was limited during spring practice and wore a black non-contact jersey because of a shoulder injury, but coach Nick Saban called on him to emerge as a leader with senior center Ryan Kelly, a first-round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts in April, gone to the NFL.

      "He's got sort of the alpha dog personality that you really like in a leader. Some guys are willing to take that responsibility. He seems to be doing that."

  • Pitt losing WR Davidson, QB Bertke to transfers
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, May 16, 2016

    Pitt Panthers wide receiver Jaquaun Davidson and backup quarterback Adam Bertke both plan to transfer, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

    • Neither played last season as redshirt freshmen, and their transfer destinations are not yet known.

      Davidson is a former three-star recruit from Elizabeth Forward High School who was expected to compete for reserve playing time next season.

      Bertke was also a three-star recruit coming out of Maria Stein, Ohio. But the Panthers have plenty of depth behind starter Nate Peterman in redshirt freshman Ben DiNucci, converted wide receiver Manny Stocker and incoming freshman Thomas MacVittie. Former Central Florida quarterback Bo Schneider also announced he plans to transfer to Pitt, where he will be eligible to play in 2017.

  • Michigan schedules satellite camp in Australia
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, May 14, 2016

    Michigan's Jim Harbaugh is scouring more than just the four corners of the United States for players to don the Maize and Blue.

    • The Wolverines will hold three camps in Florida on June 3. That same day, Michigan has scheduled a satellite camp nearly 10,000 miles away in Australia.

      Nathan Chapman, who runs a football camp in Australia that has sent mostly kickers and punters to the States, will be in charge of this camp as well. According to Chapman, all positions will be looked at during the three-hour camp.

      Harbaugh has also suggested holding satellite camps in Hawaii and Samoa.

  • DT Knox won't return for Michigan State
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, May 14, 2016

    Michigan State defensive tackle Damon Knox has played his last game for the Spartans.

    • Coach Mark Dantonio said in a release that Knox, who graduated in December, will pursue a career in law enforcement.

      "Damon has been a major contributor to our success the past five years," Dantonio said. "We appreciate his time and commitment to the Michigan State football program and wish him the best in his future endeavors."

      Knox was injured for much of his career with the Spartans, but he was healthy for the 2015 season. He started in one game and finished with 15 tackles.

      He participated in winter workouts and spring practices while trying to chart his future. He did not participate in the Green and White scrimmage on April 23.

  • College football notebook: ACC adding football replay center
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, May 12, 2016

    The Atlantic Coast Conference will become the first conference to add a replay review center for football.

    • At the end of the ACC's spring meetings on Thursday in Amelia Island, Fla., conference officials announced that on-site officials will work with a review center for all ACC games and nonconference home games starting this fall.

      Notre Dame, which is part of the ACC in all sports except football, plays five conference schools each year and will comply with the new replay system.

      Replay officials at the operations center in Greensboro, N.C., will be able to assist with calls that are challenged by coaches and help the officials at the game make rulings through headset communications.

      --Thomas Sirk is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a torn Achilles and could be ready for Duke's season-opener.

      Head coach David Cutcliffe said at the ACC spring meetings there is a chance Sirk is under center Sept. 3 against N.C. Central, seven months after he was injured.

      With Sirk injured in February after tearing his left Achilles three years ago, the Blue Devils prepared Parker Boehme during spring practice for the possibility he would be the starter in September.

      --Mississippi officials have confirmed a text message conversation published on Laremy Tunsil's Instagram account during the NFL draft did occur last year but are still investigating whether the messages were altered, ESPN's Outside the Lines reported Thursday.

      The conversations show Tunsil asking Ole Miss assistant athletic director John Miller for money to pay rent and his mother's $305 utility bill in early 2015. Miller directs Tunsil to "see Barney next week," a reference to assistant athletic director for high school and junior college relations Barney Farrar.

      The firestorm erupted during the draft as Tunsil plummeted down the board and was finally selected 13th overall by the Miami Dolphins. The offensive tackle was forecast to go as high as No. 3.

      Tunsil said on April 28 that he did receive money from an Ole Miss coach. He has refused to elaborate further.

  • ACC approves centralized replay center
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, May 12, 2016

    The Atlantic Coast Conference will become the first conference to add a replay review center for football.

    • At the end of the ACC's spring meetings on Thursday in Amelia Island, Fla., conference officials announced that on-site officials will work with a review center for all ACC games and nonconference home games starting this fall.

      Notre Dame, which is part of the ACC in all sports except football, plays five conference schools each year and will comply with the new replay system.

      Replay officials at the operations center in Greensboro, N.C., will be able to assist with calls that are challenged by coaches and help the officials at the game make rulings through headset communications.

      "This is another step in enhancing the quality of instant replay within college football," ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. "Officiating remains one of the highest priorities for our league, and our coaches and schools value the opportunity to be state of the art in this area."

      Dennis Hennigan, ACC coordinator of football officiating, will be in charge of the review center and Ted Jackson will serve as assistant coordinator for instant replay.

      Central replay systems were approved by the NCAA football rules committee in February on an experimental basis.

      "I felt like we needed to be aggressive in being a part of this experimentation," Swofford said. "I'm sure we'll learn a lot from it, but we want to do everything that we can do to enhance officiating."

      The ACC had several games impacted by questionable calls last season, including the Miami-Duke finish during which the Hurricanes' eight laterals led to the winning touchdown. The ACC later said there were four blown calls on the crazy play.

      The NFL already uses a similar centralized replay center.

      "The NFL model is working, and you've got better equipment, you've got more experience, more eyes; I don't think it's going to be a drastic change," Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. "But if it gets one thing right, I think that's critically important."

  • Ole Miss officials say Tunsil text seeking payments did occur
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, May 12, 2016

    Mississippi officials have confirmed a text message conversation published on Laremy Tunsil's Instagram account during the NFL draft did occur last year but are still investigating whether the messages were altered, ESPN's Outside the Lines reported Thursday.

    • The conversations show Tunsil asking Ole Miss assistant athletic director John Miller for money to pay rent and his mother's $305 utility bill in early 2015. Miller directs Tunsil to "see Barney next week," a reference to assistant athletic director for high school and junior college relations Barney Farrar.

      The firestorm erupted during the draft as Tunsil plummeted down the board and was finally selected 13th overall by the Miami Dolphins. The offensive tackle was forecast to go as high as No. 3.

      Prior to the Instagram issue, a picture on Tunsil smoking from a bong while wearing a gas mask was posted on Tunsil's Twitter account.

      Tunsil said on April 28 that he did receive money from an Ole Miss coach. He has refused to elaborate further.

  • Duke QB Sirk could be back for September opener
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, May 12, 2016

    Thomas Sirk is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a torn Achilles and could be ready for Duke's season-opener.

    • Head coach David Cutcliffe said at the ACC spring meetings there is a chance Sirk is under center Sept. 3 against N.C. Central, seven months after he was injured.

      He's ranked the 12th-best quarterback in the 2017 class by NFLDraftScout.com.

      "That's where we are in our thoughts," Cutcliffe said. "He's a great athlete. He heals a lot faster than I do. So I'm hopeful that we have a shot."

      With Sirk injured in February after tearing his left Achilles three years ago, the Blue Devils prepared Parker Boehme during spring practice for the possibility he would be the starter in September.

      Cutcliffe said it became apparent recently that Sirk might actually get back on the field in August.

      "He's done amazingly well," Cutcliffe said. "Now you reach a point that he's still well ahead, way beyond what he was the last time. Now when we get to the next step -- can you run full speed? And after he can run full speed, can he change directions? He rushed for over 800 yards, so he is a runner. We'll get to that point hopefully … maybe mid-July we'll start getting a pretty clear picture is what they're telling me."

  • Big 12 flirting with Houston, Memphis for expansion
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, May 11, 2016

    The Big 12 is drawing interest from Houston, Memphis and other schools with expansion back on the table.

    • According to documents obtained by ESPN.com, officials from universities at Houston, Memphis, Central Florida and Colorado State have been lobbying members of the Big 12's composition committee.

      West Virginia president Gordon Gee is one of three Big 12 presidents on the committee, which is charged with exploring expansion candidates.

      According to ESPN, documents reveal that Gee has been busy in that role, which included a trip to Houston in late November. Gee met with Houston president Renu Khator, athletic director Hunter Yurachek and football coach Tom Herman.

      The documents also show Memphis president David Rudd wrote a letter to Gee in February, and copied Oklahoma president David Boren and Baylor president Ken Starr, the other two members of the composition committee, as well as former Big 12 board chairman and Kansas State president Kirk Schulz.

      In the Feb. 24 letter, Rudd pledged that Memphis will make a $500 million investment in academic and athletic infrastructure over the next five years, according to ESPN. Rudd also enclosed a letter from FedEx chairman Fred Smith, who stated that the company headquartered in Memphis will be behind the school's Big 12 campaign.

      "We strongly support the university's efforts to become a member of an expanded Big 12 athletic conference," Smith wrote to Rudd in a letter dated Feb. 23. "In support of (Memphis') Big 12 aspirations, we have researched college conference sponsorships and are prepared to become a major Big 12 sponsor of football and basketball."

      Smith said in the letter that FedEx would be prepared to sponsor a Big 12 championship game.

      "We believe the University of Memphis and the Big 12 are a great fit and hope our support will contribute to the University of Memphis becoming a member of this storied athletic conference in the near future," Smith wrote in the letter.

      Other documents ESPN.com gathered show that the presidents at Colorado State and Central Florida also sent brochures to Gee promoting their schools to the Big 12.

      The Big 12 presidents and athletic directors will meet May 31 in Irving, Texas. The topic of possible expansion is expected to be discussed.

  • Clemson reinstates WR Cain
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, May 10, 2016

    Suspended Clemson wide receiver Deon Cain will be back with the team this fall.

    • Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said Tuesday at the Atlantic Coast Conference coaches spring meetings that Cain will begin working out in preparation for the 2016 season.

      Cain was suspended in December before the College Football Playoff semifinal against Oklahoma after failing a drug test. He sat out winter and spring workouts as part of his punishment.

      Swinney indicated that he's not concerned about the missed time with the team as much as Cain's conduct off the field.

      "I really don't need to see him run a comeback, to be honest with you," Swinney said. "I am not worried about the football side of Deon Cain. The football side of eon Cain is going to be special if I can get him dialed in on other things that really are more important."

      The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Cain finished last season with 34 receptions for 582 yards and five touchdowns as a true freshman.

  • Pitt RB Conner says he has completed chemotherapy
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, May 10, 2016

    Pittsburgh running back James Conner's vow to return to the football field picked up steam when he said he had finished his chemotherapy treatments associated with the Hodgkin's lymphoma he has been dealing with for close to six months.

    • Conner is waiting on test results from doctors now that his 12th and final chemotherapy session is completed.

      "Glory to God allowing me to get through these 12 schedule chemo treatments.. Been a long road, Results coming soon!" Conner said on his Twitter feed.

      Conner was the 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year when he rushed for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns as a sophomore.

      He suffered a season-ending knee injury in the 2015 season-opening contest but that was far the only hardship he was going to have to face. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in late November.

      Conner recently appeared on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show" and expressed confidence that he will ready for the 2016 season.

      "Hopefully everything will look great and I'll be back on the field," Conner said during the show. What I want to do next is carry the ball again. I can't wait for the season to start. The goal [to play in the NFL] is still the same; it's just a little postponed. Everything's going to work out for the best. I believe it."

  • Auburn QB to have shoulder surgery
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, May 10, 2016

    Auburn Tigers quarterback Tyler Queen was scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery Tuesday, according to multiple reports.

    • Queen was limited during spring practice as he continued to recover from elbow surgery in September, but was shut down after injuring his AC joint during a live scrimmage on April 2, according to AL.com.

      The 6-foor-1, 241-pounder from Kennesaw, Ga., is a redshirt freshman who is fourth on the depth chart. While he may be available in the fall, Queen is not expected to have a significant role in 2016. Jeremy Johnson, Sean White and John Franklin III will compete for the starting job.