I am happy to report that there’s finally...a lot to report! Things are happening in the sports-world, and there will likely be even bigger news coming later this week when the Big Ten announces its plans for the 2020 season. Until then, keep scrolling for everything you may have missed over the weekend, including some updates on a few of Ohio State’s biggest 2021 commits, the newest plans for fans in the stands, the Pac-12 players’ ultimatum and more.
From around Land-Grant Holy Land...
Meredith Hein, LGHL
In her column this week, Meredith talks all things marketing (which happens to be her day job), including the decline of Notre Dame’s brand over the years. What was once one of the most powerful brands in all of sports, The Fighting Irish have lost significant brand equity in recent years, now living in the shadows of the likes of Ohio State, Alabama, USC, Texas and Oklahoma.
Meredith attributes many reasons to the demise of ND’s brand— the main one being the fact that they’re the odd one out of college football, which has been made especially obvious due to this year’s conference-only scheduling in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Notre Dame has opted to play in the ACC this year, and if they were to remain in the conference indefinitely, Meredith notes that it would give them the opportunity to regain some brand equity by reaching a new audience and by winning some conference titles.
Tia Johnston, LGHL
Ohio State’s quarterback room is full of talent this season. With Justin Fields at the helm and a freshman duo in CJ Stroud and Jack Miller battling each other for the starting job next season, it’s easy to overlook the other QB in the room— Gunnar Hoak, who will likely be playing many a fourth quarter this season.
Gene Ross, LGHL
Lots of recruiting updates in this morning’s State Secrets, including Ohio State’s latest offer to a 2023 athlete, a commitment from the nation’s No. 2 OLB and the five recruits who could be next to commit.
From around the gridiron...
Garrett Stepien, Bucknuts
A new order was signed in Ohio on Aug. 1, which allows sports to continue...sans fans. This applies to the state’s NFL and college football teams, and will remain the case until Gov. DeWine’s state of emergency is no longer in effect.
*pretends to be shocked*
Austin Ward, Lettermen Row
We’ve heard from just about every other Power Five conference regarding their schedules and plans for the upcoming season....except the Big Ten. The B1G’s commissioner, Kevin Warren, hinted that the league would announce on Wednesday whether or not teams can start full practices on Friday (Aug 7) as originally planned, which means it will also need provide the teams with some type of schedule and glimpse into their plans.
Austin lists some other questions that we should get answers to this week, including: Will any Ohio State players opt out? And how will Ryan Day tweak practice schedules/training groups?
Steve Wiltfong, 247Sports
2021 cornerback Jordan Hancock will not be playing his senior season of high school football. Both of his parents are at-risk individuals, and Hancock wants to limit his face-to-face contact with other people so as not to bring home the virus. He has already informed Day of his decision.
Hancock is the No. 4 cornerback and No. 40 prospect overall in the 2021 class.
Adam Prescott, BuckeyesNow
A pair of future Ohio State running backs were selected to the Sports Illustrated All-American Watch List Top 10. TreVeyon Henderson tops the list and Evan Pryor is No. 4.
Henderson is the No. 1 running back in the 2021 class and Pryor is the No. 2 all purpose back.
Doug Lesmerises, cleveland.com
Well for starters, he was a Heisman Trophy candidate last season so....
Lesmerises names a few more valid reasons why the stud Buckeye QB will likely be in the running for the trophy again this season, including the edge he has over Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, and how he compares to past Heisman winners.
Patrick Murphy, Bucknuts
The Ohio State Assistant Director of Player Personnel, Justin Perez, learned this summer that his six-year-old son, Peyton, has been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a blood and bone marrow cancer that affects the white blood cells. The Perez family is now facing more than three years of chemotherapy and hospitalizations for their son.
If you can, please consider donating to their GoFundMe page, where they hope to raise $40,000 to help cover the cost of Peyton’s treatments. You can do so here.
Trey Sermon doubles up.
Ohio State running back Trey Sermon—who wore No. 4 during his three years at Oklahoma—will wear No. 8 as a Buckeye.
From everywhere else...
Let’s check in on the PAC 12.
This is perhaps a watershed moment in college sports. PAC 12 football players are threatening to boycott the season unless their civil rights demands are met, including:— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) August 2, 2020
1. COVID protections
2. revenue sharing for athletes
3. guaranteed scholarshipshttps://t.co/QUVaitr2lH
Over the weekend, a group of Pac-12 football players from multiple schools put a letter in The Players’ Tribune threatening to opt out of fall camp and the 2020 college football season unless a list of demands were met by the conference. The demands included in that list (among many others) are as follows:
- Better health and safety precautions, such as allowing players not to play during the pandemic without losing athletics eligibility or their spot on the roster
- Conference commissioner Larry Scott, administrators, and coaches to voluntarily and drastically reduce excessive pay in order to help preserve existing sports.
- End racial injustice in college sports and society. Players want to form a permanent civic-engagement task force made up of our leaders and experts of their choice to address outstanding issues when it comes to racism.
- Guaranteed medical expense coverage for sports-related medical conditions, including COVID-19 illness, to cover six years after college athletics eligibility ends.
- Fair market pay, rights, and freedoms, including the right to earn money from their name, image and likeness
The group is reported to include hundreds of Pac 12 football players, and while the group realizes that many of these demands will take time to negotiate, the coronavirus-related asks remain the top priority for the group.
In my personal opinion, all of this stuff should have been done a long time ago, and while most of these demands will likely not be granted, I’m happy to see college athletes discovering the power they have over the coaches/directors/commissioners/administrators who profit off of their talents.
John Taylor, NBC Sports
Gotta agree with the first sentence in this article: “This is not a good look for Washington State or first-year head football coach Nick Rolovich. At all.”
I just got off the phone with John Woods, the father of #WSU WR Kassidy Woods, who says Kassidy was told to clean out his locker tomorrow. Woods is technically still on scholarship, but was "released" from the team yesterday, his father says.— Theo Lawson (@TheoLawson_SR) August 2, 2020
According to Taylor, Washington State has not addressed these claims, nor have they even attempted to clarify the allegations which, quite frankly, tells us (and recruits) all we need to know about Rolovich.
Jaylon Thompson, 247Sports
Good news! Former Ohio State defensive tackle Jashon Cornell agreed to his rookie deal with the Detroit Lions after being selected as a seventh-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Cornell recorded 30 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and four sacks last season with Buckeyes.
Bad news! Steelers released J.T. Barrett.
J.T. Barrett waived by the Steelers. https://t.co/Ag0n8ELa1p— Bill Rabinowitz (@brdispatch) August 2, 2020
The Steelers waived the former Buckeye quarterback, along with seven other players on Sunday. Barrett signed to the Steelers’ practice squad last Dec. 24, then signed to a reserve/futures contract six days later.
The Steelers were Barrett’s third NFL organization in his first two seasons.
Odell is skeptical.
Beckham is not expected to opt out of the 2020 season, despite his comments which were from an interview conducted before he reported to training camp and saw the team's facilities. https://t.co/DTDLakZCk6— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 3, 2020
The Pac 12 players aren’t the only ones speaking out about their discomfort playing football this season. In fact, Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. told The Wall Street Journal that he wouldn’t mind not having a season at all. However, it was later reported that his comments were made before seeing the Browns’ facilities and the safety precautions they’ve put in place, and Beckham is now not expected to opt out.