EDGY's Western Illinois Leathernecks Grade: C
Western Illinois head coach Charlie Fisher was able to ink 24 names to his 2017 recruiting class, with five names calling the Illinois home. Western Illinois decided to go the variety pack route with this class, signing four defensive linemen but then spreading the class out over several positions.
Headliner Of The In-State Class?
Western Illinois was able to add some strong names on the offensive line. Galesburg offensive linemen Matt Ricketts, Simeon offensive linemen Fawaz Atoola (6-foot-4, 286 pounds) along with Montini Catholic Michael Ross (6-foot-2, 305 pounds). Ricketts was a four-year contributor and a three-year starter at Galesburg along with being an All-State player. Ross played both offensive and defensive line for Montini and showed well in college one-day camps. Ayoola has great size and length and is a a lean 286-pounder who will add more strength in Macomb.
The One Who Got Away?
Western Illinois was in on several in-state names. The Leathernecks had a very good shot with Freeport LB Zeke Vandenburgh, who also made an official visit to WIU. Vendenburgh ended up signing with Illinois State.
Final Thoughts on the Western Illinois Leathernecks Recruiting Class:
Western Illinois and head coach Charlie Fisher are looking to break out of the always rough Missouri Valley Conference "middle of the pack." The Leathernecks didn't finish well last season, losing four of their last five games to finish 6-5 overall and also missed a shot at the FCS playoff bid. However, WIU has also been a consistent winner over the past few seasons. This WIU Class of 2017 recruiting class does a good job of adding more depth to the roster and developing a few promising freshmen here.
Bulls rookie guard Coby White has talent, an infectious smile and an afro that makes him stand out on the court. It’s a fair bet he could have made some money off his likeness while he played at North Carolina if the rules allowed it.
The NCAA is taking steps towards allowing its athletes to do so, but there’s still a long way to go in the process. The organization’s Board of Governors unanimously voted to start the process. That vote moves things to the NCAA’s three divisions “to consider updates to relevant bylaws and policies,” as it was worded in the NCAA's press release.
“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Michael V. Drake, the chair of the board and president of Ohio State. “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”
The board asked each division (Division I, Division II, Division III) to make any new rules immediately and no later than January 2021.
It’s important to note that none of the changes are final, or even imminent. It’s still relevant that the NCAA is going through the process at all, after being so strongly in favor of amateurism across the board for its student-athletes.
The potential changes would not allow for compensation based on performance or participation in a sport. Of course, the natural grey area is that higher performing athletes will be more marketable so they would be compensated on performance indirectly.
This comes after California passed legislation to allow college athletes to receive endorsement/sponsorship money and other states are pursuing similar.
This is still far from being official or finalized, but it will continue to be a major story in college sports over the next couple years.
The DePaul men's basketball team has been placed on three-year probation and head coach Dave Leitao has been suspended three games for the 2019-20 season, the NCAA announced on Tuesday.
The program was found guilty of "failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance while Leitao did not "prevent violations from occurring in his program."
A Division I Committee on Infractions panel concluded that a "former DePaul associate head coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he knowingly directed the former assistant director of basketball operations to provide impermissible recruiting benefits to a recruit."
The NCAA found that three coaches knew about the situation but failed to report the infractions. DePaul will vacate all wins earned while the ineligible player competed and suffer recruiting restrictions. They were also fined $5,000 plus 1% of the men's basketball program budget.
In 2019, DePaul had their first winning season since 2007 by going 19-17.