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NCAA nearly suspended OU assistant over tweets

NCAA nearly suspended OU assistant over tweets

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Twitter messages sent to high school players in February violated NCAA rules and nearly resulted in a one-game suspension for Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Among the documents released to the AP this week under Oklahoma's Open Records Act were letters between university compliance staff and members of the NCAA's rules enforcement staff concerning the fallout from Norvell's use of Twitter.

The NCAA initially wanted to suspend Norvell for one game but the university successfully appealed. Oklahoma learned of the NCAA's decision not to suspend Norvell on Dec. 4, about a month before the Cotton Bowl game between the 12th-ranked Sooners and No. 10 Texas A&M.

Oklahoma has had a series of major NCAA violations in recent years and is still on probation for the latest case involving ex-men's basketball assistant coach Oronde Taliaferro. Previous cases involved the football team and ex-basketball coach Kelvin Sampson.

In this case, Norvell sent nine Twitter messages on Feb. 21 to six prospects who were high school juniors, according to a university letter sent May 14 to Chris Strobel, the NCAA's director of secondary enforcement.

``Norvell had intended the tweets to be direct messages; however, upon sending the messages, he instantly realized he had selected the incorrect messaging option and inadvertently posted the messages as public tweets,'' according to the letter from Jason Leonard, Oklahoma's executive director for athletics compliance, and Connie Dillon, the university's faculty athletics representative.

Six of the tweets contained what OU deemed to be ``written offers of financial aid to juniors, which was prior to the permissible date in which an institution can provide written offers of aid to prospects.''

Norvell immediately reported the violation and ``further indicated that he understood `written offer' to be offers made through traditional general correspondence'' pursuant to NCAA rules, the OU letter said. ``Norvell did not realize that something as impersonal as a direct message could or would be considered a written offer of financial aid pursuant to NCAA rule.''

OU also said Norvell sent a letter to the six prospects, telling them he had violated an NCAA rule and rescinding the offer, although he said in those letters that Oklahoma still would recruit them. The university required Norvell to attend a 2012 NCAA rules seminar and banned the football staff from sending general correspondence and electronic correspondence for two weeks to the six prospects.

The university said it also provided specific rules education to its entire football staff pertaining to written offers of financial aid, electronic correspondence and the use of social media during the recruiting process.

In a Sept. 25 letter, Renee Gomila, the NCAA's associate director of enforcement for secondary infractions, said while the NCAA agreed with the university that Norvell's violation should be classified as secondary - as opposed to major - Norvell should be suspended for one game and the university should reduce the remaining number of in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts with the prospects by two.

Gomila said that similar future violations ``may result in the head coach being suspended from all coaching-related activities'' for at least one game.

The university filed its appeal of Norvell's suspension on Oct. 23, citing similar cases at Iowa, Clemson, Mississippi, Memphis and Tennessee. The university called the suspension ``inappropriate, excessive and not supported by case precedent (institutions with like penalties).''

In a Dec. 5 response, Strobel said the NCAA enforcement staff had ``reevaluated'' the case and set aside Gomila's recommendation. The letter did not give a reason for the NCAA's change of heart.

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Is Adrian Peterson a good fit with the Redskins?

Is Adrian Peterson a good fit with the Redskins?

Adrian Peterson is one of the best running backs in NFL history.

But is he the best running back for the Redskins right now?

The Redskins signed Peterson, 33 years old and a 12-year NFL veteran, to a one-year contract. They have been hit with injuries at the running back position, most notably the loss of second-round pick Derrius Guice for the season with a torn ACL. They didn’t make any moves when that diagnosis was announced a week and a half ago. But they lost two more backs to short-term injuries last Thursday and they decided that now is the time to go out and get somebody.

Is the need for a running back really there? Rob Kelley was the starter for the last half of the 2016 season and for seven games last year before a variety of ailments sent him to injured reserve. Samaje Perine became the starter after that and while he struggled at time he also showed growth potential.

Kelley is 25 and Perine is 22. In the absence of Guice, they could develop and when Guice returns next year the team would have a good stable of young running backs.

But now, Peterson is in the picture. We don’t yet know what his role will be, but they did not sign him to be the back who is inactive on game days. He will get some carries and that will take work away from Perine and Kelley.

Now, if Peterson is more productive than either of the two younger backs then that is a worthwhile swap. But what does he have left in the tank at age 33?

Last year, playing for the Saints and Cardinals he gained 529 yards on 156 carries, a very pedestrian average of 3.4 years per carry. That is very similar to the production of Perine, who had 175 carries for 603 yards, a 3.4 average. In his two years in the NFL, Kelley has averaged 3.9 yards per carry.

By signing Peterson, however, the Redskins are hoping that Peterson has one more big year, or at least a medium year by his standards, left in him. After all, it was just in 2015 that he led the NFL in rushing for the third time in his career as he ran for 1,485 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per carry. The Redskins would be delighted if he could get half of that total.

Any free agent signing can only be evaluated when the contract details are available. We only know that it’s a one-year deal and according to some reports he did not get any money guaranteed at signing. That seems to be a team friendly deal, but we will have to see what might kick in if he is on the Week 1 roster.

As with everything else, time will tell if this move works out. If the money is right, it’s a low risk transaction with some possible upside for Washington.

Back during minicamp while talking about how quickly Alex Smith would have to get up to speed with the offense, Jay Gruden said that the Redskins are not in a rebuilding mode and that they need to win now. After the trade for Smith, the Peterson signing is another indication that patience may be wearing thin.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

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Former MVP Adrian Peterson signing with Redskins amid mounting RB injuries

Former MVP Adrian Peterson signing with Redskins amid mounting RB injuries


The Redskins agreed to terms with free agent running back Adrian Peterson, per multiple reports and confirmed by NBC Sports Washington.

Washington added Peterson as their running back group took a number of hits this preseason. Rookie Derrius Guice was lost for the year in the preseason opener, while Byron Marshall, Martez Carter and Samaje Perine got hurt in the second preseason game against the Jets.

Peterson is a huge name. He’s likely headed for the Hall of Fame when his career ends, and he’s one of only a handful of rushers to gain more than 2,000 yards in a season.

His best seasons came with the Vikings, but Peterson hasn’t delivered top flight results since 2015.

If he’s healthy and ready to go, Peterson could be a tremendous steal for the Redskins. There is no way to know until he suits up in the preseason, which could happen as soon as this Friday night against Denver.

On the roster, Washington has Rob Kelley, Kapri Bibbs and Chris Thompson available at running back. At his best, Peterson is significantly better than that group.

Will the Redskins get Peterson at his best?

That’s the big question. And with two preseason games remaining, he will get the chance to prove it.

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