NCAA

31 Greatest NCAAF Players in PNW history: No.30 - John Didion

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31 Greatest NCAAF Players in PNW history: No.30 - John Didion

Didion was at the center, pun intended, of the success at the famed 1967 “Giant Killers” of Oregon State University. Didion anchored a tough, hard-nosed OSU offensive line, and twice earned All-America honors. He went on to be drafted by the Washington Redskins in the seventh round of the 1969 NFL Draft.

Didion showed off his athleticism and versatility playing the first two seasons of his NFL career as a linebacker for the Redskins. He was traded to the Saints in 1971 and would move back to the center position. Didion’s quarterback that first year in New Orleans was a then 22-year-old rookie by the name of Archie Manning.

Didion passed away in 2013. He was 66. 

 

Will SEC, others go after Pac-12 players after cancelling season?

Will SEC, others go after Pac-12 players after cancelling season?

Things are happening, and they are happening fast.

On Tuesday, Pac-12 leaders voted unanimously to postpone all sports through the end of the year, the conference announced.

The Pac-12 football season is canceled. At least, for now.

“The health, safety, and well-being of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports has been our number one priority since the start of this current crisis,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott.  “Our student-athletes, fans, staff and all those who love college sports would like to have seen the season played this calendar year as originally planned, and we know how disappointing this is.”

Pac-12 student-athletes will continue to have their scholarships guaranteed due to this cancellation, but one question has been brought up on Twitter and as well on the webinar:

Could other schools from the SEC and ACC recruit Pac-12 players for this season, since their season is now canceled for the year?

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

An interesting question, but ultimately, that is up for the players to decide.

During a webinar involving the Pac-12 leaders Tuesday, ASU Athletic Director Ray Anderson was asked the question on his thoughts on other schools coming to grab student-athletes from the conference.
His answer was blunt and simple:

We will play again, and to the extent that others think there is an opportunity to essentially come and recruit our players then we would say ‘hey, have at it’. We are not going to change what is important to us,  which is protecting our student-athletes, worried about whether others want to come and try and try to entice our student-athletes away. We think out student-athletes will appreciate that we have done what is in their best interests, short, and long term.

This could have some potential of getting shaky if student-athletes decide they want to move on elsewhere for the season.

Conferences like the SEC and ACC are still open and playing this season, but that is still up for debate between those conferences at the moment.

Commissioner of the Pac-12 Larry Scott knows the cancellation of the season is ultimately still up to them.

“Everyone is going to make their independent decisions,” Larry Scott said, towards the end of the webinar. “We certainly respect our colleagues. We have been trying to very collaborative, communicative with our peers across the county, but at the end of the day, our president and chancellors look at what the best interest of  Pac-12 student-athletes. This is uncharted territory,  and this is a very unique year. It will get better in time.”

The NCAA has to ultimately decide if the players are able to have immediate eligibility following the cancellation of their season.

And frankly, the students have a good argument for the NCAA to potentially make that happen with no fall sports now.

Even if immediate eligibility did happen, certainly don’t expect every single player in the Pac-12 to make a move.

In order to accept a transfer, a school must have room in its recruiting class and on its roster. 

By this point in the year, most schools are just about out of the room.  They might find a way to take a player or two if this situation did happen, but you won’t see hundreds of August and September transfers finding their way to the field of play this fall regardless of what the NCAA decides. 

The Pac-12, as well as the Big 10, hopes to resume sports competition in spring 2021, but have not announced any specific plans.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon women’s basketball head coach Kelly Graves].

[Listen to the latest Talkin' Beavers Podcast with host Ron Callan and special guest former Oregon State women's basketball guard Mikayla Pivec].

Big 10 cancels college football, fall sports, Pac-12 expected to follow

Big 10 cancels college football, fall sports, Pac-12 expected to follow

The Big Ten Conference announced Tuesday the postponement of the 2020-21 fall sports season, which includes all regular-season contests and Big Ten Championships and Tournaments, due to ongoing health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Our primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty and staff,” said Morton Schapiro, Chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and Northwestern University President said in a release.

The news comes after days of speculation regarding the viability of a fall sports season, centered mainly around college football. 

In recent days, the Big Sky and MAC cancelled fall sports. So did Division II and Division III schools.

The Pac-12 is expected to follow with the same cancellation announcement.

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in the Big 10’s release. “As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall."

An additional layer that almost certainly played a key factor into the decision was the recent insurgence of student-athlete unity groups, which vocalized their desire to play, but also demanded greater medical protections and assurances, as well as revenue sharing. Those lists of demands created a giant impasse into an already complicated situation and may have led to the season’s eventual demise. 

The move to cancel sports, but allow colleges to re-open to students was quickly pointed out and criticized, too. 

Still, the Big 10 hopes for spring football, but will lean on medical experts and governmental authorities to gather additional information, evaluate emerging data and technologies, and monitor developments regarding the pandemic and will make their decision based on player the health, safety and wellness. 

Pac-12 leaders schedule call with #WeAreUnited group over 2020 season

Pac-12 leaders schedule call with #WeAreUnited group over 2020 season

A group of conference players and Pac-12 leaders have agreed to schedule a call about the players potentially boycotting the 2020 season.

On Wednesday, an email was sent out to the #WeAreUnited group where commissioner Larry Scott proposed a Zoom call at 8 p.m. PT Thursday to discuss the athletes’ list of demands.

Those lists of demands were revealed over the weekend in a public unveiling.

The call would include Scott, ASU athletic director Ray Anderson, Utah athletic director Mark Harlan and Pac-12 assistant commissioner Chris Merino, the league’s liaison to student-athlete groups.

The group’s demands are as reasonable as asking the league to form a permanent civic engagement task force for social injustice issues and as aggressive as asking Scott to take a pay cut and demanding the league distribute 50% of each sport's conference revenue among athletes.

Last Wednesday, players and virus-related demands were met when the NCAA announced a series of health and safety requirements for schools and conferences implemented during the 2020 season.

In those demands, the NCAA is requiring all schools to cover athlete expenses related to COVID-19 and to honor all scholarships for players who opt out of the season. The association is also banning all liability waivers that schools were requiring athletes to sign. 

Scotts plans to, on Thursday, send the group the most updated health and safety guidelines and protocols by the Pac-12 Medical Advisory Committee.

Several Pac-12 players have voiced their public support for the movement while also announcing that they plan to play this season if the demands are met or not.

The call between the Pac-12 leaders and players could be monumental in college football history with players and athletic administrators coming together and negotiating terms of safety on all fronts.

We will see how the call turns out when it wraps up later tonight.

An open letter from a former Penn State player after closing doors to fans

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An open letter from a former Penn State player after closing doors to fans

Dear College Football fans,

What strange times we are living in 2020, isn’t it?

With COVID-19 still spreading throughout the United States and the world, the sports world has taken extra precautions in order to make sure players and fans are safe.  

The MLS, MLBNBA and now NFL are back into somewhat of a regular rotation, which provides somehow of a normalcy to the uncertain world. 

But, things are anything but normal. 

Sadly, there is one thing missing at sports events, which sucks the life right out of it-- the fans.

And now, COVID-19 is affecting something near and dear to my heart.

According to ABC 27, Penn State University, my alma mater, announced there will be no fans in attendance at fall sporting events.

Yes, that includes football.

It's a tough pill to swallow.  

Some schools, like Ohio State, have planned for 20% capacity, with additional safety precautions implemented.

When over 100,000 people are there to watch football together, there's nothing like it-- the energy, the excitement, the camaraderie.  

And in a place like State College besides, there isn't much else to do, if we're being honest. 

It’s a college football town and it's all anyone cares about.

From a local standpoint, the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers have yet to put into place gameday fan attendance guidelines. We know there will be no tailgating, at the very least.

The outlook for large sporting events – such as football games – is continuing to develop. The health and safety of our student-athletes and the broader campus community are the biggest factors we must consider. I do think it is unlikely that we’ll be able to pack Autzen Stadium this fall like we normally would, but the final decision on our game-day experience will be dictated by state and local health authorities. We’ll provide details as soon as they’re available. - University of Oregon President Michael Schill

The Pac-12 has adjusted is a conference-only schedule, which will start at the end of September. 

But, it still feels like things are subject to change.  Will the Pac-12 decide to follow Penn State's lead and go with ‘no fans’ this football season?

From a former D1 football player, speaking on behalf of other College football players, it will feel really weird not to have fans there.

Fans are just as important as the game-plan players prepare for the entire week leading up to games on Saturdays.

Those crucial 3rd down moments when fans are desperately needed to be as loud as they possibly can-- It helps.

Fans are just as part of the organization as players and what drives them to play better. Players and fans feed off each other. 

Players at Penn State and across the nation are hurting, they're anxious. It has led to player unity groups for both the Pac-12 and Big 10. Players want their voices heard. 

This year has been rollercoaster, which we can all agree on. 

But, here we are.

Players will miss you. Cheer loudly from home. 

And, as always, when you're out and about, please wear a mask.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Warner

NCAA issues more guidelines to help ease return to fall sports

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NCAA issues more guidelines to help ease return to fall sports

Will we get fall sports in 2020? It will certainly be tough, but the NCAA hopes they can get it done. 

On Thursday the NCAA issued an updated set of guidelines to help safely ease teams back onto the field of play.

Some of the recommendations include:

  • Daily self-health checks.
  • The appropriate use of face coverings and social distancing during training, competition, and outside of athletics.
  • Testing strategies for all athletics activities, including pre-season, regular season and post-season.
  • Testing and results within 72 hours of competition in high contact risk sports.
  • Member schools must adhere to public health standards set by their local communities.   

“When we made the extremely difficult decision to cancel last spring’s championships it was because there was simply no way to conduct them safely,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert in the official statement. “This document lays out the advice of health care professionals as to how to resume college sports if we can achieve an environment where COVID-19 rates are manageable. Today, sadly, the data point in the wrong direction. If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic.”

Added Brian Hainline, the NCAA chief medical officer, “Any recommendation on a pathway toward a safe return to sport will depend on the national trajectory of COVID-19 spread... The idea of sport resocialization is predicated on a scenario of reduced or flattened infection rates.”

Many leagues have already taken measures to help protect athletes, such as the Pac-12 playing a conference only schedule to help eliminate cross country travel. 

However, COVID-19 numbers continue to increase around the country, and despite the NCAA's best efforts, there is still a chance we may not see sports in the fall. 

Pac-12 announces commissioner Larry Scott has tested positive for COVID-19

Pac-12 announces commissioner Larry Scott has tested positive for COVID-19

Just hours after the Pac-12 announced that conference-only schedules will be played for fall sports, including football, just as the Big Ten has done, the conference then announced that its commissioner, Larry Scott, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

After experiencing mild flu-like symptoms late this week and out of an abundance of caution, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott was tested for COVID-19. The test for Commissioner Scott came back positive, and as a result he is self-quarantining at the direction of his physician. Commissioner Scott is continuing to carry on his duties remotely as normal. -- The Pac-12 announced Friday evening  

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

Scott is 55 years old. It was in July of 2009 that he took over as the commissioner of the conference after serving as the chairman and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association. 

During Scott’s tenure as Pac-12 commissioner, the conference expanded from 10 members to 12 in 2011 and also added an annual championship game in football that year.

As for the upcoming Pac-12 football schedule, Oregon’s AD Rob Mullens says the conference’s plan is to announce details on the updated schedules no later than July 31.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and former Oregon Track & Field star and Olympian Galen Rupp].

Details surrounding the Pac-12 to allowing voluntary in-person workouts

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Details surrounding the Pac-12 to allowing voluntary in-person workouts

It seems like it has been forever since we last saw our favorite athletes hit their respective fields of play, but that could be changing soon. 

The Pac-12 announced on Tuesday that the conference would allow athletes to participate in voluntary, in-person workouts on campus starting on June 15th.

It's the first step in getting sports back up and running throughout the conference 

“The Pac-12 is committed to the well-being of our student-athletes, and the decision to allow for voluntary workouts, subject to a determination by each school, is guided by the advice of our medical experts and will be supported by the detailed protocols established by our medical advisory committee in concert with our campus’ own safety guidelines,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott in a press release.  “As states have either already opened or begin to open up access to parks, gyms and other training facilities, student-athletes should have the option at this time to be in, what for many, will be a much safer environment on campus, where they can have access to the best available health, well-being and training support.”

In allowing for the return to workouts, the Pac-12 laid out recommendations on how to welcome athletes back and get the ball rolling.

In order to return to the athletic facility, athletes will have to:

  • Complete a pre-participation evaluation
  • Must be fever and symptom-free. 
  • Have laboratory testing
  • Staff and Athletes will have proper health education and setting of expectations, including hygiene
  • Must wear face covering at all times. 

 

Athletes and staff will also have to have tier temperature checked prior to entering team facilities.

According to the press release, "Each university will develop its own health and safety plan consistent with the committee’s recommendations along with relevant state and local public health guidance."

The number one priority is keeping athletes safe and healthy, and with the guidelines put in place the conference feels it can do so.

At this point it may just be small workouts, but as the old saying goes, "You have to walk before you can run." 

This is just the first small step toward the return of live sports. 

Be sure to get caught up with your favorite teams by downloading the latest podcast from NBCSNW.

A college athlete endorsing Rolex? NCAA about to usher in a new era

A college athlete endorsing Rolex? NCAA about to usher in a new era

The NCAA’s announcement today about athletes being allowed to profit from their image, name or likeness is going to change college sports dramatically, whether you like it or not.

Competitive balance, a critical element to any competition, is likely going to disappear.

The teams you watch every week on national television will become even more dominant because of the exposure they get. And the players on those teams will likely be the ones landing the big-time endorsements -- which will lead their colleges to being able to continually recruit the best players, because it’s where they can go to make the most money.

That goes for football and basketball, maybe even some of the other sports if high-profile, Olympic athletes are involved.

Imagine football programs such as Alabama, LSU, Clemson and Notre Dame players -- maybe someday even USC players, because of market size -- being allowed to have personal endorsements.

They could become rich even before they enter the pros.

How is a kid playing at Oregon State or Washington State going to be able to make any money endorsing big-ticket items? He or she might get a local burger chain, but not McDonald’s or Burger King, where the big money will be. And yes, I'm sure Duck fans are thinking about Nike endorsement deals for their players, but I'd be surprised if the NCAA doesn't exclude sneaker and apparel companies with connections to colleges from those deals.

The real money isn't in selling autographed pictures or making appearances at some retail store.

Someday will we be seeing college football’s next Joe Burrow endorsing Porsche? Or Rolex? And getting those products for free?

This could possibly even drain some of the ad dollars the schools themselves have been earning, as it goes to athletes rather than the institutions.

I know, it sounds crazy, but college sports have gotten out of hand over the years and I wouldn’t be surprised if this opens the floodgates.

College basketball is quickly going to have to adjust to the idea that high school kids heading to the G-League rather than college will become more common -- even endorsement deals can’t match those G-League stipends.

College basketball has been on life support for years and could be near death with the NBA now funneling high-school players to its G-League. Will people still watch college basketball if all the superstars head straight to the pros? In some hotbeds, yes. But the sport is going to have to be marketed much better than it is now to make that happen nationally.

And the NCAA enforcement division is weak. Violations will probably be rampant. There aren’t enough investigators to do the job now, let alone in the future. The media has always been the investigators, uncovering violations for the NCAA.

It’s going to be great for the athletes, but chaos for the NCAA.

2020 NFL Draft Profile: Portland State TE Charlie Taumoepeau

2020 NFL Draft Profile: Portland State TE Charlie Taumoepeau

Charlie Taumoepeau

Position: Tight end
Year: Senior
Hometown: Federal Way, Washington

Measurables: 

Height: 6’2"

Weight: 240 pounds

Hands: 9 1/2"

Arm: 32 1/4"

NFL Combine results: 

40 Yard Dash: 4.75 seconds

Bench press: 18 reps

Vertical jump: 36.5 inches

Broad jump: 121 inches

3 Cone Drill: 7.0 seconds

20 Yard Shuttle: 4.27 seconds 

Overview

Taumoepeau is one of the most successful tight ends to ever come out of Portland State. For a second-straight season, he was given All-American honors from STATS. This comes just one year after Taumoepeau was named consensus All-American Second-Team.

Taumoepeau caught 36 passes for 474 yards and two touchdowns in 2019 despite missing two games. He capped off his collegiate career with the Vikings with 117 catches, 1,876 yards and 11 touchdowns and was Portland State’s top receiver during his tenure.

The 6-3, 245-pounder earned first team All-Big Sky Conference honors in November for the second season in a row.

Taumoepeau appeared in the Reese's Senior Bowl All-Star Game in January. Scouts were reportedly worried about his athleticism coming into the week’s practices, which continue to be a legitimate concern heading into the draft.

Draft projections

He is currently projected to go undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft, despite mock drafts listing him in the 4th and 5th rounds last fall.

Taumoepeau received an overall prospect grade of 5.54 from NFL.com, which means he could likely be an end of roster or practice squad player in the NFL. 

NFL comparison:

Evan Engram

Strengths

- Versatile player
- Prowess in the passing game
- Consistent

Weaknesses
- Needs to improve overall strength
- Blocking
- Limited speed and quickness
- Technique in the run game

Social media workouts

Taumoepeau has been preparing for April’s draft at Ford Sports Performance.