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NCAA Football News and Notes

One of the bigger stories that is getting slightly overlooked in college football is a bill that has been introduced in California and is making its way through the legislative process. The bill would allow student-athletes to be able to make profits from their own name, image, or likeness. The bill, while still a bit away from being passed, did jump a hurdle when it made it through the Committee on Higher Education.

The bill, called the Fair Pay To Play Act, would not go into effect until 2023, but it would be an initial step in allowing college athletes to make money for playing their sport. One wrinkle in the bill comes with the NCAA regulations which prohibit such an act, leaving the state and the NCAA on a collision course that could get messy. If, in theory, the bill passed and California allowed it, the NCAA could potentially exclude those teams from being able to participate in postseason play for rules violations.

One of the biggest changes that could be seen with the passing of the bill would be that players would be able to sign endorsement deals and have their own agents (for those endorsement deals). Again, resolution on this bill and implementation of it if it were to be passed are still a long ways away, but this bill certainly could expedite the likeliness that some time in the not so far future college athletes could be compensated for their athletic contributions to the university.

Significance Of USC Scheduling UC Davis

USC has a history of never playing teams that were from lower-tiered conferences, but that is about to change in 2021. On Friday, they announced that they have a game scheduled against UC Davis in 2021 because they said they couldn’t find an FBS team to come play them that particular weekend. While this may be a first for USC, it is hardly uncommon as many teams (particularly SEC teams) usually have an FCS team on the schedule. With this change, the only two teams that have never played an FCS school will be Notre Dame and UCLA.

UCF Quarterback Breaks Ankle

UCF announced this week that its quarterback, Darriel Mack Jr., has a broken ankle and will be held out for the foreseeable future. Mack had taken over last season at quarterback after their initial signal caller, McKenzie Milton, suffered a knee injury towards the end of the season. In 2018, Mack went 51 for 100 for 619 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. He also had 69 carries for 337 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.

With Mack out, UCF will likely turn to Brandon Wimbush, who transferred to UCF from Notre Dame. In 2018, Wimbush went 54 for 102 for 719 yards, four touchdowns, and six interceptions. His best season passing, though, was in 2017 for the Fighting Irish when he went 136 for 275 for 1,870 yards, 16 touchdowns, and six interceptions. That season he also rushed 141 times for 803 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. Given an opportunity, Wimbush will look to try to rekindle that success with UCF.

Kansas RB Williams Jr. Reinstated

On Monday, Kansas announced that running back Pooka Williams Jr., who had been suspended in December for charges of domestic battery, will be reinstated to the team. While he will not be eligible to play in week 1, he will be able to go starting as early as week 2 of the season against Coastal Carolina. The victim in the case stated that Williams physically assaulted her (including punching and grabbing her throat). Williams signed a diversion agreement that calls for him to undergo assessments, anger management courses as well as other stipulations. Kansas has also put him on probation for the remainder of his time at the university.

It does seem like a pretty light punishment for someone accused of domestic battery; however, it appears that his talents on the field will be on display again this season. Last year, in 2018, Williams rushed for 1,125 yards and seven touchdowns on 161 carries. He also had 33 receptions for an additional 289 yards and two scores. He even had one passing attempt for nine yards and a touchdown.

Tennessee Coach Commits NCAA Violation

It is not uncommon for people to follow how their alma mater does, particularly if they have success like winning a state title in a sport. If you are a former athlete or a former coach, you may even reach out to the program or school to congratulate them. Seems simple enough, right? For Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt, he found out that it isn’t so simple. In fact, the Volunteers had to self-report as sending a congratulatory Tweet apparently goes against NCAA rules as it is interpreted as an endorsement of a high school team. Oddly, Pruitt has family ties to the school and wasn’t even congratulating a football program, but still, for the NCAA, which has some of the most absurd rules imaginable, it was apparently against the rules.

The Next Kyler Murray Situation?

Probably not, but it is interesting, nonetheless. Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks signed with the Boston Red Sox after being selected in the 31st round of the 2019 MLB Draft. It is worth noting that his signing bonus at that point was only $40,000 and that he does intend to return to Florida to finish out his football playing days. Franks also doesn’t have the background that Murray did in baseball as he technically hasn’t played since high school, but hitting mid-90’s on the radar gun would make most professional teams take a flyer on a kid, particularly as late as the 31st round. In 2018, Franks went 188 for 322 for 2,457 yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions for the Gators. He will certainly try to build on those stats this year; however, if things don’t work out for him on the football field, the baseball field will be waiting.

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