NCAA Football News and Notes: Gundy Stirs Up Controversy
It’s truly a crazy time in the college football world. As the start of the season slowly grows closer, college football is caught in the whirlwind of both the ongoing pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. Let’s check out all of the newsworthy stories from the past few days.
Player and Coach
The biggest story of the week in college football was undoubtedly the situation between Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard and head coach Mike Gundy. Hubbard was initially upset at seeing a photo of Gundy wearing the T-shirt of a far-right cable network, saying he wouldn’t do “anything with Oklahoma State until things CHANGE.”
Gundy soon issued an apology and met with some of his players to discuss the matter. However, that was followed by allegations from a former Colorado player that Gundy used a racial slur during a game while he was playing quarterback for OSU in 1989. Gundy has since denied the allegation.
A Baker’s Dozen
On the COVID-19 front, the Texas football program has confirmed that at least 13 football players have tested positive for the coronavirus or are presumed to have it. Earlier this month, 58 players returned to campus and were tested with the positive tests slowly adding up over several days.
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All 13 players who tested positive are in self-isolation while another 10 are self-isolating based on contact tracing protocols.
Some of the Texas football players who aren’t in quarantine met with athletic director Chris Del Conte this week to discuss some of the frustration on campus in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. Linebacker Juwan Mitchell is one of the latest Texas players to speak out, saying he’s not comfortable being associated with the university.
Mitchell and others feel that Texas isn’t doing enough to promote diversity. Last week, Texas student-athletes asked the university to change the school song and rename several buildings on campus. While no formal action has been taken, Del Conte described the dialogue during the meeting as “tremendous.”
The Pac-8 Returns
On June 15, the Pac-12 allowed schools to welcome student-athletes back to campus for voluntary workouts. However, only eight schools were able to do so with the four California schools, UCLA, USC, Stanford, and Cal, being left out.
The state of California is yet to meet the Pac-12’s requirements. UCLA has announced that it will start welcoming athletes back to campus on June 22, although it’s uncertain when the other Pac-12 schools in California will do so.
Another One in the Pot
The Washington Huskies have added another contender into the fight to replace quarterback Jacob Eason. Sacramento State grad transfer Kevin Thomson has officially joined the Huskies.
Thomson was Big Sky Player of the Year and an FCS All-American last season. He will battle sophomore Jacob Sirmon, redshirt freshman Dylan Morris, and true freshman Ethan Garbers for Washington’s starting quarterback job.
Thomson is by far the most experienced quarterback of the group, albeit at the FCS level, which could make him the early frontrunner.
On Thursday, the ACC announced that its media days this year would be completely virtual. Obviously, this was fully expected, given the ongoing pandemic.
However, with the ACC going virtual, it’s now official that every FBS conference will be hosting a remote media day this year.
What a Shame
The ongoing pandemic has caused the cancelation of the Southern Heritage Classic. Since 1990, Tennessee State and Jackson State have played every year at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis.
The decision was made this week after a spike in reported cases in Shelby County, Tenn., where Memphis is located. As a result, Phase 3 of the reopening process is being delayed, causing the cancelation of the game, which is the centerpiece of a three-day festival that also includes a parade.
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