Big Ten: Cedric Everson
- Russell Wilson makes his decision today, and you can catch it on ESPN's "College Football Live." Former Wisconsin running back Zach Brown finds a home at Pitt, Jerry DiPaola writes in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- The Columbus Dispatch's Ken Gordon examines several top storylines around the Big Ten.
- Nebraska's recruiting momentum continues with a top O-line prospect, Brian Christopherson writes in the Lincoln Journal Star. The Big Ten actually has gotten the best of Nebraska over time, Mike Hlas writes in The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette.
- An interesting look at Ohio State's outlook without Terrelle Pryor from colleague Josh Cooper (Insider). Ohio State has the resources to have the nation's best compliance department, Bob Hunter writes in The Dispatch.
- Speaking of compliance, Michigan and Michigan State both take it very seriously, Angelique Chengelis writes in The Detroit News.
- Michigan adds its 18th verbal commit in offensive lineman Blake Bars.
- Michigan State adds a running back recruit from Georgia. The Spartans get some insurance at quarterback for the fall, Tom Lang writes in the Detroit Free Press.
- Nebraska AD Tom Osborne weighs in on good friend Joe Paterno, Steven M. Sipple writes in the Lincoln Journal Star. Penn State picks up two commits, including one from a top lineman, Tommy Keeler Jr. writes.
- Terry Hutchens looks at Indiana's prospects for the 2011 season. The Hoosiers' recruiting rolls on with another commitment, Curt Conrad writes in the Mansfield News Journal.
- A look back at Illinois' last Big Ten championship team from a decade ago, Bob Asmussen writes in The (Champaign) News-Gazette. Nothing has come easy for Illinois football in recent years, Herb Gould writes.
- Iowa picks up a punter for its 2012 class, Marc Morehouse writes in The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Former Hawkeyes player Cedric Everson receives a week in jail for a 2007 assault.
- Northwestern adds a long-snapper, ESPNChicago.com's Scott Powers writes.
- The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Doug Lesmerises examines the return of all of Ohio State's underclassmen for 2011. Eight Buckeyes players are headed to the NFL scouting combine next month.
- New Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison talks about coming home to Ann Arbor, Angelique Chengelis writes in The Detroit News. Brady Hoke adds his first recruit as Michigan's coach.
- The Big Ten had a nice season until New Year's Day, Rivals.com's Tom Dienhart writes.
- Missed this from last week: The (Lafayette) Journal Courier's Mike Carmin examines Purdue's ACL epidemic.
- Michigan State's early interest in recruit Matthew Ramondo has paid off, Matt Dorsey writes in the Detroit Free Press.
- Wisconsin's Bret Bielema is on a roll in terms of hiring good assistants, Tom Mulhern writes in the Wisconsin State Journal.
- Aaron Green won't be the only running back in Nebraska's strong 2011 recruiting class, Brian Christopherson writes in the Lincoln Journal Star.
- Former Iowa player Cedric Everson is convicted of only one misdemeanor in his assault trial.
- Penn State has no underclassmen leaving early for the draft, Mark Wogenrich writes in The Morning Call.
- A running back recruit from Texas will visit Illinois this weekend, Bob Asmussen writes in The (Champaign) News-Gazette.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
From reading the coverage of Iowa's possible missteps in its handling of the sexual assault case involving two former football players, one name keeps coming up. It's a name Iowa fans don't want to hear again: Pierre Pierce.
If you don't remember Pierce, here's a refresher. The former Hawkeyes basketball player was charged with sexual assault in 2002, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and returned to the team after sitting out the season. Three years later, Pierce was involved in an incident with a former girlfriend, whom police said he threatened with a knife.
Initially charged with felony first-degree burglary and several other counts, including intent to commit sexual abuse, Pierce reached a plea agreement and served almost a year in jail. Iowa and basketball coach Steve Alford were blasted for their handling of the Pierce situation, a PR nightmare that wouldn't go away.
That brings us to the current situation involving the University, Athletic Director Gary Barta, the athletic department, the football program, head coach Kirk Ferentz, former players Cedric Everson and Abe Satterfield and the alleged victim, a female student-athlete. As Mike Hlas writes in The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette:
"It may be completely unfair to say "cover-up" until we've heard both sides of the story, whenever that may be. University people are at the disadvantage of being unable to speak on the matter for legal reasons. The "best-case" scenario may be that decent people in the athletic department have shown poor-to-rotten judgment in how they handled this matter. Who knows, maybe they didn't want to force the woman into making a decision she didn't want to make at the time.
But after all the arrests of Iowa football players over the last two years, can outsiders be faulted for wondering if the insiders may have felt rape charges against two Hawkeyes were something to be diverted if possible? Can outsiders be faulted for thinking football is the engine that drives an entire athletic department, and the department would have deeply wanted to avoid this kind of hit?
Maybe that's grossly unfair to suggest. But given the off-field record of Hawkeye footballers in that time period, how can you not expect a certain percentage of the public to consider it a serious possibility?
But perhaps the most pressing question for now is how in the world, after the university royally bungled its handling of the Pierre Pierce sexual assault case in 2002, could it have handled this situation so awkwardly, to put it kindly. Who designed a policy that would have an "informal" option and allow athletic department people to steer matters? Is that even a real policy? It seems bizarre."
Alford never really took the fall for the Pierce situation, choosing to leave Iowa for New Mexico in March 2007. But if the allegations from the alleged victim's mother prove true in this case, heads likely will roll. Iowa fans want to win just as much as anyone else, but they care about the character of those running the teams and the athletic department. It's the reason Dr. Tom Davis remains a beloved figure in Iowa City, and why Alford's approval rating sunk. Ferentz is well liked, but the recent string of off-field transgressions and the spotlight on this case can't be helping his cause.
As Hlas writes: "This isn't just Pierre Pierce all over again. It may be much worse."
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
We're T-minus two days from the start of Big Ten media days in downtown Chicago. Items sure to be discussed ad nauseam: Joe Paterno's future, Rich Rodriguez's offense and the trouble in Iowa City. I can't imagine Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz is looking forward to his time at the podium Thursday.
Time to take a spin around the league:
- The Iowa state Board of Regents meets today to discuss how the university handled the sexual assault case involving two former football players and a female athlete last October. If Ferentz erred in his response to the incident, he should go, SportingNews.com's Dave Curtis writes.
- Former Hawkeye Abe Satterfield joined ex-teammate Cedric Everson in pleading not guilty to the sexual assault charges.
- Prep quarterback Kevin Newsome is still coming to Michigan, despite rumors that he's reconsidering his commitment. Meanwhile, the Wolverines went into Les Miles' backyard to snag their latest 2009 commit, defensive end DeQuinta Jones.
- It's impossible to sugarcoat Ohio State's bowl record against the SEC, but here's an interesting explanation about the struggles, courtesy of Bleacher Report.
- The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Doug Lesmerises breaks down the Ohio State defense. The big challenge is generating more pressure without top pass rusher Vernon Gholston.
- In case you missed it, Carson Palmer might live in Ohio, but the former USC quarterback is no fan of the state school.
- Indiana promoted from within to find its new compliance director. Up next: a new athletic director.
- Youngstown State, this is your future.
- Despite a rough stretch off the field and constant speculation about his future, Paterno still envisions a strong season in Happy Valley this fall.
- Illinois picked up two high school teammates for its 2009 recruiting class.
- Bleacher Report ranks the top 10 mascots in college football. Bucky the Badger comes in at No. 6, two spots ahead of Sparty the Spartan. No love for Purdue Pete or Brutus Buckeye? Can't wait to see all the mascots Friday at the Big Ten kickoff luncheon.
- Think Illinois' struggling basketball program could use wide receiver Jeff Cumberland in the post this winter?
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
A big week in college football kicks off around the country as media days begin or, in some cases, continue. The Big Ten anchors the gab fest Thursday and Friday at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, and I'll be there to give you the goods. Every Big Ten school but Purdue begins preseason practice two weeks from today, so you can officially begin the countdown.
OK, onto the links.
Hope you had a better weekend than Iowa. Things started Saturday with a story in the Iowa City Press-Citizen, which last week obtained a copy of a letter sent by the mother of the alleged victim in a sexual assault case involving two former Hawkeyes players (Cedric Everson and Abe Satterfield). The letter stated that university officials, including athletic director Gary Barta and football coach Kirk Ferentz, encouraged the victim to keep the matter in-house. The alleged victim's mother sent the letter to university officials last November and said she received no response.
In a phone interview with the newspaper, the alleged victim's mother said: "University of Iowa's character was non-existent. It is disappointing to say the very least."
Iowa responded with a statement saying the victim and her family were "repeatedly informed" of their options and that the university "fully supported" their decision to file a criminal report. Either way, Gov. Chet Culver wants an explanation and so do members of the state board of regents, the Press-Citizen reports.
Things only got worse early Saturday, as incoming freshman defensive end Riley Reiff became the latest Hawkeyes player arrested. Reiff pleaded guilty to public intoxication and interference with official acts, both misdemeanors, after allegedly leading at least eight Iowa City police officers on a 20-minute foot chase. In a statement, Barta called Reiff's actions "disturbing."
Expect more on both stories, but to restate this obvious, this isn't what Iowa, Barta and especially Ferentz needed heading into a pivotal season.
Here's what's going on around the rest of the league:
- It's safe to say Illinois coach Ron Zook won't be getting a Christmas basket from the Mendenhall family, Terry Bannon writes in the Chicago Tribune.
- Beanie Wells wants to make sure a fellow Ohio State running back (Archie Griffin) remains the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner, Tim May writes in The Columbus Dispatch.
- Penn State isn't telling recruits about a succession plan, said coach Joe Paterno before his College Hall of Fame enshrinement. Paterno admitted he has put university president Graham Spanier in a bind, Ron Musselman writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Daryll Clark has taken the long road toward possibly becoming Penn State's starting quarterback, Eric Thomas writes in The (Carlisle, Pa.) Sentinel.
- Wisconsin players are still stewing about a disappointing 2007 season, Jeff Potrykus writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Purdue coach Joe Tiller reflects on retirement, heightened expectations and his final season on the sidelines, Austin Ward writes in the Jackson Hole Star-Tribune.
- Desmond Tardy and the rest of Purdue's wide receivers are playing the no-respect card, Tom Kubat writes in The Lafayette (Ind.) Journal and Courier.
- Does Indiana's next athletic director need direct ties to the school? The Indianapolis Star's Terry Hutchens takes a look, and has a list of potential candidates. Bet they'd love to land Louisville's Tom Jurich.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
You've waited for it and on Tuesday, you'll get it. Our series of Blue Ribbon previews will spotlight the Big Ten, and the blog will have plenty for you to digest, including team rankings, interviews, games to watch and the debut of Big Ten Hot Seat. So check in early and often. For now, here are a few tidbits I found this afternoon.
- This was first reported back in May but it's now official: Linebacker Aaron Nagel has transferred from Notre Dame to Northwestern. Nagel, originally recruited by the Wildcats, will join his younger brother, Brett, a incoming freshman superback (think fullback-tight end hybrid) in Evanston this fall. Nagel's chances of seeing the field in South Bend didn't look promising, and he should challenge for playing time in 2009. Northwestern has had some good luck with Notre Dame transfers, most notably quarterback Zak Kustok, who led the team to a share of the league title in 2000.
- Jim Tressel still prays for former player Maurice Clarett and doesn't get too down after losses, the Ohio State coach details in his new book, "The Winners Manual: For the Game of Life." Wonder if he'll feel the same way should the Buckeyes suffer another title-game whipping.
- The preseason magazines can be wrong, as the Columbus Dispatch notes. Could that spell trouble for Ohio State, this year's slam-dunk pick in the Big Ten?
- Cedric Everson, one of two Iowa football players facing sexual assault charges, pleaded not guilty Monday.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
A few items to chew on before dinner:
- You probably need a law degree or three to completely understand this story, but the Iowa City Press-Citizen is seeking access to investigative subpoenas in the sexual assault case of former Hawkeyes football players Cedric Everson and Abeberell Satterfield. The county attorney's office isn't making much information public, but the newspaper isn't standing by (good for them). If you need a refresher on a very ugly situation that could follow coach Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes throughout a critical season, here's one.
- Jim Tressel might be pillaging Penn State's backyard for top recruits, but the Nittany Lions are making up for it in Maryland. Penn State's 2009 recruiting class includes six commits from MD.
- Illinois linebacker Brit Miller is already one of the Big Ten's most entertaining personalities. Now he's working toward becoming one of the league's best defenders, Mark Tupper of the Decatur Herald & Review writes.
- The domino effect of the Big Ten Network's agreement with Comcast continues. As the BTN and Mediacom continue to talk, Verizon signed a deal to carry the network on FiOS TV, which is like cable except it's delivered through fiber optic lines. Pretty cool.