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Maryland reacts to latest FBI investigation reports

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Maryland reacts to latest FBI investigation reports

The world of college basketball has been on high alert since last fall when reports first surfaced of a longterm FBI investigation into the worst-kept secret in sports: college athletes being paid to play.

News surrounding the scandal died down after the inital wave of arrests, but Yahoo! Sports released a warning of sorts recently and followed it up on Friday by naming players (both past and present) for the first time. There were dozens of programs and players implicated, including Maryland's Diamond Stone.

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon released the following statement Friday afternoon.

"Late last night we were alerted of a report associating one of our former student-athletes with an agent. We are extremely disappointed, and we will fully cooperate with any investigation. I do not have a relationship with Andy Miller or anyone from his agency, and at no time have I ever had a conversation with Andy Miller or his agency regarding any Maryland basketball player. We remain steadfast in upholding a program of integrity that reflects the values of our University community."

Stone played for the Terps during the 2015-16 season, after which he left for the NBA. That Terps team was highly-ranked entering the season but ended up losing in the Sweet 16 to top-seeded Kansas.

RELATED: DIAMOND STONE ADMITS TO 'MISTAKES' DURING FRESHMAN YEAR AT MARYLAND

Andy Miller is the agent whose financial records were used to implicate so many players in the Yahoo! Sports report. It's no surprise that Turgeon would deny having a relationship with Miller regarding any of his players, but the question remains: What does this mean for Maryland basketball?

You can be sure that Turgeon will be meeting with both past and current assistant coaches Friday to confirm they have not had any involvement with Andy Miller. He'll also certainly be meeting with higher-ups at Maryland, as they try to cover their bases. 

That said, it seems unlikely Maryland would take an action as drastic as firing Turgeon over these allegations. There has been no evidence released so far that implies Turgeon had any knowledge of Stone's actions. Barring further information coming to light, it seems as though this is a case of Stone developing a relationship with Miller's agency separately from Maryland.

Some of the more vocal members of Maryland's fan base would like to think Turgeon is on the hot seat. The truth is, given his long-term contract and the current state of Maryland's finances, it's not currently feasible to fire him and expect to afford a more accomplished coach. Though if further reports indicate Turgeon was complicit, then all bets are off.

It remains possible the NCAA will impose punishments on the schools involved with this scandal, in the form of reduced scholarships, postseason bans, or worse. But that's likely off the table until further evidence comes out regarding how much schools and coaches actually knew. It is a near-certainty that some schools were in cahoots with Miller and other agents; the problem is identifying which schools were intentionally breaking the rules, and which were simply unaware. Ultimately, however, some degree of responsibility falls on the head coach.

For now, the biggest worry on the minds of Maryland fans should be vacated wins. If Diamond Stone was ineligible, then it's possible the victories Maryland recorded during the 2015-16 season will be erased from the record books. Unfortunately, this could include their run to the Sweet 16, which was the program's first in more than a decade.

Given the expectations surrounding the team during Stone's year in College Park, his tenure could already be considered a disappointment. Losing those wins would further dampen the memories fans have from that season.

On the bright side, at least the Terps didn't have a Final Four run to lose.

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Maryland moves up to No. 7 in new AP poll

Maryland moves up to No. 7 in new AP poll

Baylor and Kansas just keep winning, setting up a monumental showdown Saturday between the top-ranked Bears and No. 3 Jayhawks that could help decide not only the Big 12 title but the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament.

The two teams were separated once again by Gonzaga in the latest college basketball poll from The Associated Press on Monday. The Bears (23-1) had 48 first-place votes from the 63-member media panel, while the Bulldogs (26-1) had 14 first-place nods and the Jayhawks (22-3) had the only remaining first-place vote.

"The best we could be right now is being the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament. We're No. 2," said Kansas coach Bill Self, whose team beat West Virginia and Oklahoma last week. "The reason we're not No. 1 is Baylor beat us on our home floor. They deserve it. I'm not looking at it like we haven't done as well as our record because we're in second place. I'm looking at it like we played pretty good that day and got beat by a better team, and now we have a chance to get them back."

The Bears and Jayhawks both have business to handle before they collide on Saturday, though. Kansas got a visit from Iowa State to Allen Fieldhouse on Monday night while Baylor will be visiting Oklahoma on Tuesday night.

If both win, it would set up one of the biggest games in the history of the Ferrell Center.

"I think it's a tribute to the players, their belief," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "We've been operating under joy ... (and) focusing one game at a time and we'll keep doing that."

San Diego State (26-0) remained the nation's last unbeaten team and was No. 4 in the latest poll, while Dayton (23-2) climbed one spot to fifth after wins over Rhode Island and Massachusetts and a rough week for then-No. 5 Louisville.

"I told our team, `Let's get greedy. Let's play for perfection,'" Aztecs coach Brian Dutcher said. "If we're this close, we might as well play for a perfect regular season. ... Let's do something special."

That's exactly what the Flyers are trying to do, too.

"We're trying to win a national championship," Dayton guard Jalen Crutcher said. "We feel like that there's no team in the country we can't beat. We feel like we can go and win a national championship, and we talk about that a lot."

The Cardinals lost to Georgia Tech and Clemson to plummet all the way to No. 11, but they weren't the only ranked team to lose to an unranked foe on Saturday. Auburn fell at Missouri, Seton Hall lost to Providence, Butler lost at Georgetown, Illinois lost at Rutgers, Houston fell at SMU, Texas Tech fell at Oklahoma State and LSU was beaten on the road by Alabama.

Throw in then-No. 14 West Virginia's loss to Baylor and nine ranked teams were beaten. Eight lost to unranked opponents, the most in a single day this season.

"This week wasn't a good week for us," Louisville coach Chris Mack said. "The teams we're playing are too together and we're not right now. It's unfortunate, but it happens sometimes and my job is to keep our team on course and get better."

IN AND OUT

BYU climbed into the poll at No. 23 after wins over Loyola Marymount and San Diego, and now faces Santa Clara on Thursday night before a showdown with the second-ranked Zags. The Cougars were followed by Arizona at No. 24 and Ohio State at No. 25, two teams that were in the poll earlier this season before dropping out.

Illinois plummeted out of the poll after losing to Michigan State and Rutgers. Texas Tech also dropped out along with LSU, which lost at Alabama during a brutal Saturday for the nation's Top 25 teams.

CLIMBING AND FALLING

Creighton made the biggest leap this week, rising from No. 23 to 15th after beating then-No. 10 Seton Hall and DePaul. Penn State moved up four spots to crack the top 10 at No. 9, while Oregon climbed from No. 17 to 14 and Kentucky moved up two spots to round out the top 10.

Louisville's weak week culminated in a drop of six places to No. 11, while Seton Hall also absorbed a pair of losses and fell to No. 16. West Virginia lost to Baylor and Kansas but was only penalized three places and remained No. 17.

MID-MAJOR WATCH

There are some intriguing mid-major programs poised to enter the Top 25 if there's another week of upsets. Stephen F. Austin quietly improved to 22-3 and is one of the first teams out, while Northern Iowa (22-4), Utah State (21-7) and Rhode Island (19-6) are getting plenty of love from voters as March begins to bear down on the college basketball season.

Here is the full AP poll: 

1. Baylor (23-1) 
2. Gonzaga (26-1)   
3. Kansas (22-3)    
4. San Diego State (26-0)   
5. Dayton (23-2)   
6. Duke (22-3)     
7. Maryland (21-4)   
8. Florida State (21-4)
9. Penn State (20-5)    
10. Kentucky (20-5)    
11. Louisville (21-5)   
12. Villanova (19-6)    
13. Auburn (22-3)    
14. Oregon (20-6)        
15. Creighton (20-6)      
16. Seton Hall (18-7)    
17. West Virginia (18-7)     
18. Colorado (20-6)       
19. Marquette (17-7)    
20. Iowa (18-8)    
21. Butler (19-7)    
22. Houston (20-6)        
23. BYU (21-7)        
24. Arizona (18-7)        
25. Ohio State (17-8)       

Others receiving votes:
Texas Tech 92, Michigan State 87, Michigan 83, LSU 55, Rhode Island 39, Virginia 32, Cincinnati 14, Stephen F. Austin 14, Illinois 12, Northern Iowa 9, Utah State 8, Rutgers 6, Florida 6, East Tennessee State 5, Saint Mary's 4, Tulsa 3, Richmond 3, SMU 2, New Mexico State 2, Wright State 1, Arizona State 1

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Darryll Pines named Wallace Loh's replacement as Maryland president

Darryll Pines named Wallace Loh's replacement as Maryland president

Darryll J. Pines, PhD,  was named University of Maryland, College Park's newest president on Wednesday, succeeding Wallace D. Loh, who announced his planned retirement in 2018 following the death of Terps football player Jordan McNair.

Pines is a dean and professor at Maryland, first arriving at the university in 1995 as an assistant professor. He’ll begin his tenure as the 34th president at College Park on July 1.

“I’ve known him as an outstanding teacher, a dedicated mentor, a brilliant researcher, and an extraordinary leader,” University System of Maryland chancellor Jay A. Perman, MD said of Pines in a statement. “It’s fitting -- and gratifying -- that UMD will be led by a member of its own family, by someone who knows so well its people and programs, its considerable strengths and enormous potential.”

Loh had been president since November 2010 but in October 2018 announced his eventual retirement after the football program drew criticism for allegations of abuse and the circumstances surrounding the death of the 19-year-old McNair.

That same day in October, the University System of Maryland Board of Regents decided that football coach DJ Durkin would return from the August leave of absence he had been placed on. Against the board’s wishes, Loh fired Durkin the next day. Maryland hired Mike Locksley as its new coach later that year.

Loh initially was supposed to remain as president only until the end of the 2019 school year, but it was later announced he would stay on through June 2020 while the university searched for a successor. Officials believed his continued leadership in the wake of the football scandal would help with athletic reforms among other things.

“I’m deeply grateful to UMD President Wallace D. Loh, PhD, JD, for his decade of exceptional service to the university, for his committed work in moving UMD into the top tier of the nation’s public research universities, and for positioning the institution for still greater success to come,” Perman said in his statement.

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