With eyes on TE Saunders, NCAA to pay second visit to Gamecocks


Here we are, 22 days before the start of the 2010 season, and the specter of NCAA investigations continue to loom over the sport.

The latest update on various NCAA probes concerns South Carolina and their tight end, Weslye Saunders.

Saunders was interviewed by NCAA investigators last month and, according to The State‘s Joseph Person, is preparing for another sit-down.  Person reports that investigators will be in Columbia again this week, possibly as early as Wednesday, and are expected to question the senior for a second time.

The investigation into Saunders is one of the many extensions of the NCAA’s probe into the North Carolina football program, and concerns the various relationships players may or may not have had — or currently have — with agents and/or their associates.

In a statement, USC athletic director Eric Hyman, as he has in the past, said the school would continue to work in tandem with the NCAA.  “Upon any request from the NCAA, we will continue to cooperate and assist in any way we can,” Hyman said.

Earlier today, head coach Steve Spurrier, perhaps armed with the knowledge of the upcoming visit from the NCAA, took a thinly-veiled shot at the reputation of UNC assistant John Blake, whose relationship with agent Gary Wichard has reportedly been of great interest to the NCAA.

Former Navy coach Niumatalolo joins UCLA staff

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LOS ANGELES – Former Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo is joining UCLA’s coaching staff as director of leadership.

The school said in an announcement Friday that Niumatalolo will serve as an advisor to the Bruins’ football staff and players.

Niumatalolo led Navy for 15 years and was the winningest coach in school history at 109-83. The Midshipmen, however, finished with losing records the past three seasons, including 4-8 the past two.

Navy played in 10 bowl games under Niumatalolo. He also was the only coach to win his first eight games in the storied Army-Navy rivalry.

Troy, Jon Sumrall agree to new 4-year contract through 2026

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TROY, Ala. ⁠— Jon Sumrall agreed to a new four-year contract as Troy’s coach after leading the Trojans to a Sun Belt Conference championship and national ranking in his debut season.

The school announced the deal, which runs through 2026, but didn’t release details.

The Trojans went 12-2 and won their final 11 games, second only to national champion Georgia, including the league championship game and the Cure Bowl against UTSA. For the first time, they finished a season ranked, ending up 19th in The Associated Press Top 25.

“When we appointed Coach Sumrall in December 2021, we challenged him to return Troy football to the top of the Sun Belt Conference,” Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. said. “It didn’t take long, as the 2022 season was the best in our FBS history.”

Troy held all 14 of its opponents to under their season average in scoring, beating UTSA 18-12. The Trojans beat Coastal Carolina 45-26 in the Sun Belt title game.

“Last year was an amazing accomplishment for everyone associated with Troy football and was the product of relentless effort from our players and staff, athletic administration and university leaders,” Sumrall said.