Big Ten

Purdue still waiting for Caleb Swanigan to be cleared by NCAA

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Purdue still waiting for Caleb Swanigan to be cleared by NCAA

Could Purdue be without its biggest recruit ever when the season starts next month?

According to a Monday report by Bleacher Report's Jason King, the NCAA still hasn't cleared freshman Caleb Swanigan to play this season. Head coach Matt Painter later confirmed to King that the process is ongoing.

Purdue begins its season with an exhibition game against Northwestern Ohio on Nov. 8 and plays its first regular-season game against North Carolina A&T on Nov. 13.

[MORE BIG TEN: Big Ten hoops preview: Hill, Nunn need to keep stepping up for Illini]

From King's report:

According to the source, the NCAA is investigating the relationship between Swanigan and Roosevelt Barnes, a Purdue alum who adopted Swanigan in May of 2011, prior to his eighth-grade year.

At the time, Swanigan was 6-foot-2, 360 pounds and living in a homeless shelter in Salt Lake City, Utah. His father, who was battling an extended substance abuse problem, was out of the picture, his mother was jobless and dependent on welfare checks and all five of his older siblings had dropped out of high school before earning their diplomas. Three of them had spent time in jail for charges including armed robbery, assault and theft.

Barnes, who is now Swanigan's legal father, spent the next four years helping Swanigan train in his native Fort Wayne, Indiana, while monitoring his diet and schoolwork. Swanigan now stands 6-foot-9 and weighs 250 pounds.

[MORE BIG TEN: Is this the year Northwestern makes the NCAA tournament?]

After reporting on the situation, King made it clear he felt this was another situation where the NCAA was being unnecessarily restrictive.

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Purdue gear right here]

Swanigan was named Mr. Basketball in the state of Indiana and was ranked by Rivals as the No. 19 player in the Class of 2015, a five-star big man.

Swanigan committed to Purdue after committing then spurning Michigan State this spring.

The addition of Swanigan instantly made Purdue one of the top teams in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers, with a menacing frontcourt of Swanigan, A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas — the latter two both over seven feet tall — and a fleet of defensive-oriented guards, are expected to compete for a conference title this season.

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.