Big Ten

NCAA denies fifth year for Hawkeyes' Drew Ott

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Associated Press

NCAA denies fifth year for Hawkeyes' Drew Ott

It sure has taken a long time, but it seems the NCAA has finally made a decision on Iowa defensive end Drew Ott — and it's not the decision Ott and the Hawkeyes were hoping for.

According to multiple reports Wednesday, Ott has been denied a waiver for a fifth season of eligibility and will depart Iowa for the NFL.

Ott has been waiting months for a decision on whether or not he would be allowed to play a fifth year after battling several injuries last season. He appeared in six games while hampered by an elbow injury and was knocked out for the season after tearing his ACL against Illinois.

NCAA rules stipulate that a player cannot earn a medical redshirt if he appears in more than 30 percent of his team's games in a season, which of course Ott did. The NCAA did not deem Ott deserving of a waiver.

Ott has voiced his dismay over how long this process has taken, and he made it known during the NFL Draft Combine that he was hoping to return to Iowa City. But with that no longer an option, he will pursue an NFL career.

Ott was an integral part of the Hawkeyes' defense in each of the past two seasons. As a junior in 2014, he ranked fourth in the Big Ten with eight sacks. In limited action last season, he racked up five sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

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USA TODAY

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.

Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football. 

"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.

"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.

"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline." 

Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."

"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.

"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."

Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

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USA TODAY

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.

Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.

As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.

Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.

The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.