NCAA

Cavaliers Report: Moving on from Mike London

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Cavaliers Report: Moving on from Mike London

Virginia 4-8, (3-5) in the ACC

Replacing Mike London: After six seasons as the head coach of the Cavaliers, Mike London resigned on Sunday. London was universally loved by his players and was a very good recruiter, but that never translated to on field success as Virginia went only 27-46 during his tenure. He led the Cavaliers to only one bowl appearance in 2011 and went 0-6 against in-state rival Virginia Tech. That's just not good enough for a Power 5 program.

Though London was given an extension at the end of last season, his fate was really sealed when the 2014 team failed to reach a bowl. That was the best team he had since 2011. With the loss of players like running backs Kevin Parks and Khalek Shepherd and their three best pass rushers from last season Max Valles, Henry Coley and Eli Harold, it was hard to see how this team could have a better season than last year's squad. If that was the expectation, London did not stand a chance.

Here are some potential candidates who could replace London.

The Virginia job offers coaches a Power 5 job in a winnable division, but it also carries certain challenges that other jobs do not. There is a certain standard to which coaches are expected to adhere to when it comes to academics and discipline. If Virginia could find a coach to win eight games every year while graduating most of its players and without any major disciplinary or NCAA issues, I think most Cavalier fans would accept that. That makes the job a little different from others. Finding a new coach, therefore, is about finding the right fit, not just the best candidate available.

According to one report, Mark Richt is set to interview for the job. If athletics director Craig Littlepage can get Richt, that wouldn't be a home run, it would be a grand slam.

Not only was Richt a great coach at Georgia, but the strict discipline with which he ran the program would fall in line with the type of coach UVa is looking for. He was run out of town for winning 9 games a year and dismissing players with discipline issues. That made him persona non grata in the SEC, it would make him the perfect fit at UVa.

The problem for Virginia is that Richt is arguably the best coach on the market and there will be a lot of schools trying to get him. Just how UVa stacks up comparatively to those other programs in Richt's eyes remains to be seen.

In the news

Four Virginia players named to 2015 All-ACC teams: Linebacker Micah Kiser and safety Quin Blanding were named to the first team defense in the All-ACC team selections released on Monday. Both players led the conference in tackles with 117 and 115 respectively. In addition, receiver Canaan Severin was named to the second team offense and running back Taquan Mizzell was named to the third team offense. Ross Burbank, David Dean and Nicholas Conte were named as honorable mentions.

Canady to Senior Bowl: Cornerback Maurice Canady has accepted an invitation to play in this year's Senior Bowl. He had 39 tackles on the season and six pass breakups. He also had a punt return for a touchdown.

RELATED: Maryland Search: Richt says 'about five' schools reached out

Last week's game: 23-20 loss to Virginia Tech

Read the recap of this game here.

The Hoos and Hokies traded punches in a back-and-forth battle, but once again Virginia fell just short of reclaiming the Commonwealth Cup. The first half of this game was hard to watch as both teams were held out of the end zone, but the game broke open in the second half with both teams trading touchdowns. After taking a 23-20 lead late, Virginia Tech sealed the deal when Matt Johns was hit on a throw and intercepted by Chuck Clark.

This game was Virginia's for the taking, but every time the Cavaliers tried to take control, Virginia Tech was able to answer right back. Up 6-3 late in the first half, a failed fake punt gave Virginia Tech the ball in UVa territory and set up the tying field goal. When Albert Reid finally broke free for a 57-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, the Hokies answered back with a 71-yard catch and run by Ryan Malleck. A touchdown grab by Canaan Severin was matched by an Isaiah Ford touchdown on the next drive.

After shutting the Virginia Tech offense down all game long, Virginia suddenly couldn't hang on to take control of the game.

Season review

Offensive MVP: Taquan Mizzell

The offense became completely dependent on Taquan "Smoke" Mizzell in the latter half of the season as he was called upon to establish both the rush and pass attack. Not only did he lead the team in rushing yards, he also led in receptions. The plan going into the season was for T.J. Thorpe to spread the field and allow more room for Canaan Severin. That didn't work. An early-season injury kept Thorpe out the first three games and when he did return, he still was not able to draw away defenders as mush as hoped. Instead, the team began using short passes to Mizzell to try to open up deeper passes. The team's offensive struggles are more of a reflection on the team's lack of weapons than on Mizzell.

Defensive MVP: Michah Kiser

With the loss of their three best pass rushers from last season, someone needed to step up in the pass rush and Micah Kiser did. He led the team with 7.5 sacks on the season. He also led the conference in tackles with 117. In a season in which Virginia struggled to generate any turnovers at all, Kiser also had a forced fumble against a North Carolina team that was very good at protecting the football.

Best win: 42-34 win over Duke

The Syracuse win was thrilling, but considering how bad Syracuse is, its hard to put that win as the team's best of the year. The win over Duke was the most complete game of the season. A late surge by the Blue Devils made it close, but for three quarters the Cavaliers dominated against a pretty good Duke team.

Worst loss: 34-27 loss to Notre Dame

Unfortunately there's no shortage of candidates for this one. The Boise State loss was a complete beat down by a team that didn't turn out to be as good as the Boise State teams of the past, but there was nothing more deflating than the way Virginia lost to Notre Dame. Just ask this guy. A coach and a program in desperate need of a signature win came tantalizingly against the Irish. No one in Charlottesville would have cared that it came against Notre Dame's backup quarterback. Instead, it didn't come at all as Will Fuller got behind the defense for a late touchdown to steal it away from the Hoos.

Coach prediction: Mike Sanford

It's hard to see Virginia somehow managing to snag the best coach on the market in Richt, especially with the Miami job open. Virginia would be a much better fit than Miami, but a call from one's alma mater can be hard to ignore. Besides Richt, Sanford looks to be the best fit and, considering he was born in Virginia, I think there could be some interest. I also believe, however, that Sanford has higher aspirations and as the offensive coordinator at Notre Dame, there's no need to reach for a job like UVa if he doesn't want it. He can afford to wait for the right job to come along. If he's not interested, then we are looking at someone like Greg Schiano who would beg a solid hire even if he's an unpopular one. If Mack Brown emerges as a serious candidate, then things have really gone bad in the coaching search, but I don't expect them to get that far or that desperate.

MORE VIRGINIA NEWS: Virginia knocks off Ohio State 64-58

What you need to know about the unprecedented NCAA basketball rules changes

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USA TODAY Sports

What you need to know about the unprecedented NCAA basketball rules changes

On Wednesday afternoon, the NCAA made a major announcement some twenty years in the making.

The NCAA announced plans to take major action to clean up and reorganize the college basketball recruiting and draft structure, on the platform of promoting integrity and strengthening accountability.

The unveiling of the action plan is in response to the suggestions made by the Condoleezza Rice-led Commission on Basketball, a governing body of 14 educators, government officials and former administrators whose goal was to address and find solutions to the major fundamental issues plaguing college basketball. 

The recommendations the NCAA will implement is as follows (You can read the entire plan right here):

Recruiting and Draft Changes:

— College basketball players will be able to participate in the NBA Draft and return to school if undrafted, pending further action from the NBA and NBPA.

— Division I programs will be required to pay for tuition, fees, and books for men's and women's college basketball player who leave school and return to the same school to earn their degree.

— High school basketball recruits and college players tabbed as "Elite" by USA Basketball will be allowed agent representation if the agent is NCAA-certified.

— High school basketball recruits will be allowed to make more frequent campus visits paid for by the school. The visits will be allowed to take place at the start of the summer before their junior year.

— Four open days in April will be added to the Spring recruiting calendar.

— College coaches will be allowed to attend recruiting events during the last two weekends in June, pending approval from the National High School Federations.

— College coaches will also be allowed to attend an additional weekend event in July as well as the NBPA Top 100 camp in June. 

What does it mean?

Well for starters, the NCAA is only allowing high school seniors what have been deemed "elite" by USA Basketball will be allowed to hire agents. What about someone like R.J. Barrett, Duke-bound No. 1 overall recruit in the Class of 2018? Barrett is a native of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, and despite playing high school basketball for Montverde Academy in Florida, is not part of the USA Basketball program. Therefore, under the new NCAA rule, the top high school recruit would not be able to sign an agent because he does not participate with USA Basketball. 

The NCAA's implementations are a step in the right direction but still are yet to lack real substance. 

The high school players deemed "elite" enough to hire agents are unlikely to ever play in college, and the college players deemed "elite" enough to hire agents are historically unlikely to return to school. What this means is that the news of players being able to hire agents is more noise than signal.

Allowing undrafted players to return to school is an incredible change that is both pro-athlete and pro-education. But in only allowing that to players who attend the NBA Combine undercuts the rule change in totality. In most cases, players who attend the NBA Combine but go undrafted get an opportunity to participate in the NBA Summer League. 

In fact, if the rules were in place for the 2018 NBA Draft, only six of the players who went undrafted would be able to return to school: Arizona's Rawle Alkins and Allonzo Trier, Duke's Trevon Duval, Kansas' Malik Newman, UNLV's Brandon McCoy, and former Louisville commit Brian Bowen. 

More window-dressing, less real change.

NCAA Enforcement Changes:

— Administrators charged with investigating and resolving NCAA cases can accept established information from courts of law, government agency, an accrediting body or university-authorized commissions. 

— Schools and the NCAA will be allowed to work together toward a resolution on matters, reducing legal fees and minimizing drawn-out disputes.

— The NCAA intends to impose stronger penalties, including longer postseason bans, longer head coach suspension and increased recruiting restrictions. 

— The NCAA will appoint two independent groups to oversee the investigation and resolution of cases defined as "complex." Multiple parties will be able to request that a case is deemed "complex."

— Athletic administrators, as well as school presidents and chancellor, will be contractually obligated to comply with any investigation into their program or athletic department.

What does it mean?

This biggest revelation is that the NCAA is opening itself up to working with outside agencies to establish information. In short, the NCAA will be able to use information gathered by an entity like the FBI for a case without having to do the investigating itself.

This is a major step in the right direction for the NCAA but also provides the governing body with great power.

In addition, the NCAA will force the school administrators to "commit contractually to full cooperation in the investigations and infractions process."

What this means is that the NCAA is attempting to implement the power of subpoena, by proxy. That is a major step toward the NCAA wielding great power in investigations and enforcement.

The Wednesday news has the potential to be an industry-changer, but there is a cadre of unresolved issues and questions that went unanswered.

If you were hoping the NCAA rectified its past mistakes and turned the model of amateur athletics on its head, you will have to keep the faith. 

Yes, the changes being implemented are good for the sport. But nothing the NCAA announced will eliminate the widespread college basketball issues exposed by the FBI investigation. 

Ohio State's Meyer put on leave, investigation opened

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Ohio State's Meyer put on leave, investigation opened

Urban Meyer's job appears to be in jeopardy.

Ohio State placed Meyer, one of the most successful coaches in college football history, on paid administrative leave Wednesday while it investigates claims that his wife knew about allegations of domestic violence against an assistant coach years before the staff member was fired last week.

Courtney Smith gave an interview to Stadium and provided text messages to former ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy between her and Shelley Meyer in 2015 and with the wives of other Buckeyes coaches. Courtney Smith also provided threatening texts she said came from her ex-husband, former Ohio State assistant Zach Smith.

"Shelley said she was going to have to tell Urban," Courtney Smith told Stadium. "I said: `That's fine, you should tell Urban.'"

Zach Smith was fired last week after an Ohio court granted a domestic violence protective order to Courtney Smith.

Meyer is heading into his seventh season at Ohio State, where he is 73-8 with a national title in 2014 and two Big Ten Conference championships. Shelley Meyer is a registered nurse and is employed as an instructor at Ohio State. Both Meyer and his wife could be in violation of Ohio State's Title IX sexual misconduct policy on reporting allegations of domestic violence against university employees.

Violation of university's policy could result in Meyer being fired with cause by the university, according to provisions placed in his contract when it was extended by two years in April. The new deal runs through 2022 and increases Meyer's salary to $7.6 million in 2018, with annual six percent raises for the bulk of his compensation.

Hours after Courtney Smith's interview was posted online Wednesday, Ohio State announced in a short news release it was conducting an investigation into the allegations and Meyer was being placed on leave.

Offensive coordinator Ryan Day will serve as acting head coach for the Buckeyes, expected to be one of the top teams in the nation again this season. Ohio State's first preseason practice is scheduled for Friday. The season starts Sept. 1 with a game against Oregon State in Columbus, Ohio.

Meyer said in a statement he and athletic director Gene Smith agreed that his being on leave was best for the investigation.

"This allows the team to conduct training camp with minimal distraction. I eagerly look forward to the resolution of this matter." Meyer said.

Zach Smith was charged in May with misdemeanor criminal trespass. At the time of the charge, Zach Smith's attorney said Courtney Smith had accused him of driving to her apartment after she told him they would meet elsewhere so he could drop off their son. Zach Smith pleaded not guilty last month. A hearing has been scheduled for Friday.

Zach Smith was also accused of aggravated battery on his then-pregnant wife in 2009 while he was a graduate assistant on Meyer's staff at Florida. The charge was dropped because of insufficient evidence. Urban Meyer brought Smith, the grandson of late Buckeyes coach Earle Bruce, to Ohio State in 2012. Meyer worked for Bruce and considers him a mentor.

Two police reports filed in 2015 in Ohio's Powell County, after the Smiths separated in June of that year, accused Zach Smith of abuse. Charges were never filed.

At Big Ten media days, Meyer said he knew of the incident in 2009 and that he and Shelley Meyer addressed it with the Smiths. He was also asked about the 2015 incident alleged by Courtney Smith.

"I can't say it didn't happen because I wasn't there," he replied. "I was never told about anything and nothing ever came to light. I've never had a conversation about it. I know nothing about it. First I heard about that was last night. No, and I asked some people back at the office to call and say what happened and they came back and said they know nothing about it."

The Smiths divorced in 2016.

Meyer is on the short list of most accomplished coaches in college football history, with three national championships and an .851 winning percentage in 16 seasons at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and now Ohio State, the team he grew up rooting for in Northeast Ohio.

Meyer won national championships with Florida in 2006 and '08, but his teams also had more than two dozen players get into trouble with the law. He resigned twice at Florida, citing health reasons. First in 2009 season after the Gators lost the Southeastern Conference championship game while trying to repeat as national champs. He changed his mind soon after and coached another season. The Gators went 8-5 and this time he stepped down for good.

Meyer was out of coaching for a season, but was hired by Ohio State in November 2011 to replace Jim Tressel, who was fired before that season for lying to the NCAA and University of about rules violation committed by some of his players.

Since returning to coaching, Meyer's program has been one of the most dominant in college football and his players and coaches have mostly stayed out of major trouble.

Meyer did face some criticism in 2013 for allowing running back Carlos Hyde to return to the team after he was charged with striking a woman in a bar. The case was dropped by police when the woman chose not to pursue charges, but Hyde was suspended three games by Ohio State.