Big Ten

Nebraska gets commitment from Georgetown transfer Isaac Copeland

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USA TODAY

Nebraska gets commitment from Georgetown transfer Isaac Copeland

Nebraska picked up a commitment from Georgetown transfer Isaac Copeland, the team announced Monday night, and it's possible he could be with the Huskers for the start of the 2017-18 season.

Copeland was a highly touted prospect out of high school, a five-star recruit ranked as the No. 23 player in the Class of 2014 by Rivals. He averaged 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as a sophomore during the 2015-16 season.

Copeland played in seven of the Hoyas' first nine games this season before being sidelined with a back injury that required surgery. He hasn't played since early December and announced his intent to transfer shortly thereafter. Copeland averaged a mere 5.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in that limited action. He posted a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds against Maryland earlier this season.

"Isaac’s commitment to Nebraska basketball is a great thing for the Nebraska basketball program, and we want to make it a great thing for Isaac as well," Nebraska head coach Tim Miles said in the announcement. "There were so many connections between Isaac and our program but none more than important than assistant coach Kenya Hunter, who did an excellent job of helping to get him into our program.

"Isaac is a great kid, a serious student and has immense talent for basketball. I love his demeanor and his versatility for the game. The sky is the limit for his potential. I can’t wait to get him healthy and to start working with him."

Normally, the NCAA would require any transferring player to sit out two semesters before playing again, which would make him eligible to play midway through the 2017-18 season.

But according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman, Copeland applied for a medical hardship waiver with the NCAA before picking Nebraska. Should the NCAA grant the waiver for the full 2016-17 season, it would effectively count as his sit-out year and he could start the 2017-18 season with the Huskers.

More good news for Nebraska, which is off to a 3-1 start to Big Ten play this season.

Illinois came close to adding Divison I hockey team before coronavirus spread

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NBC Sports Chicago

Illinois came close to adding Divison I hockey team before coronavirus spread

After trying to add a Division I men's ice hockey program at the University of Illinois for nearly three years, the school was finally close. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit.

The Chicago Tribune reported Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman told media on Monday that the university was forced to "hit the pause button" on the hopes and dreams of alums, sports fans and young hockey players with midwest ties. 

“Clearly with everything that’s changed here in the last six weeks, it makes sense for us to hit the — at least the short-term — pause button on that project while we wait and let things unfold in the weeks and months ahead,” Whitman said.

According to Whitman, U of I was about a month away from forming the program before the pandemic changed things.

The state of Illinois produces the fourth-most college hockey players but has no Division I hockey team yet. 

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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.