Big Ten

Rutgers reportedly fires Kyle Flood and AD Julie Hermann


Rutgers reportedly fires Kyle Flood and AD Julie Hermann

There appears to be sweeping change coming to Rutgers.

According to multiple reports Sunday, Rutgers fired both athletics director Julie Hermann and head football coach Kyle Flood after an extremely turbulent year for the football program and a rocky overall tenure for Hermann.

The Scarlet Knights finished their season at 4-8 Saturday, blowing a big lead in a loss to Maryland. It was the latest poor showing on the field, but it was all the news the team made off the field this season that generated the biggest headlines, all of them negative.

Most notably, Flood was suspended for three games for knowingly violating university rules in contacting and meeting with a professor to secretly attempt to influence the grade of one of his players. An investigation into the situation revealed Flood sent emails to the professor from his personal email account as to avoid any public scrutiny and had a conversation with an academic adviser in which he tried to keep the situation under wraps.

Also this season, five Rutgers players were arrested on the same day, four charged with assault and another charged in connection with a home invasion and burglary. All five players were dismissed moments before the season's first game. Ironically, one of those players was Nadir Barnwell, the player at the center of Flood's scandal.

Later in the season, a walk-on player was arrested and dismissed. Additionally, star wide receiver Leonte Carroo was arrested and charged with simple assault, though that charge was eventually dropped.

All that is important because this was only Flood's first sub-.500 finish to a regular season in his four years at Rutgers. He posted a 27-24 record in those four seasons. He led the Knights to bowl games in 2012, 2013 and 2014, each season playing in a different conference.

Hermann, meanwhile, made multiple public-relations blunders during her tenure, which was just in its third year. Shortly after she was hired, she was involved in a scandal dating back to her time as a volleyball coach at Tennessee, where she was alleged to have mistreated players and assistant coaches. She also infamously told a Rutgers journalism class that it would be great if the Newark Star-Ledger newspaper went out of business.

She can't be judged by the typical standards of failed athletics directors, as she did not hire either of the head coaches who helmed the two major programs under her watch: Flood and men's basketball coach Eddie Jordan. Though wins for those two programs has been in short supply.

Rutgers is in the middle of its second year as a member of the Big Ten Conference.

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


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


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.