Seastrunk: ‘something was about to go down’ at Oregon


For having been buried in Oregon’s deep running back depth chart, Lache Seastrunk made a lot of headlines within the past six months.

He’s been tied to Complete Scout Services owner Willie Lyles. In what capacity, though, is a currently a subjective debate. But while the NCAA was inquiring about Lyles’ business relationship with the Ducks, Seastrunk moved on. Over the weekend, it was announced that the sophomore would be transferring; yesterday it became official that Baylor was the final destination.

In an interview with 1660 ESPN Central Texas (heads up: the link is only a portion of the interview), Seastrunk confirmed what many had already written in that he was moving back to central Texas to be closer to his grandparents, who are suffering from poor health. But another quote from Seastrunk about his decision to leave Oregon has undoubtedly raised a few eyebrows.

“When I first went there [UO], I felt like God wanted me to be there,” Seastrunk said. “But God also pulls you out of the storm before it happens. So I felt like something was about to go down and God wanted me to get out of there.”

Um, say what now?

Could it be that Seastrunk actually played the part of the Mayans to Oregon’s Doomsday calendar?

Maybe. Maybe not. In fairness to Seastrunk, it just happened to be an ambiguous comment during a rather convenient time period for Oregon. Besides, lots of kids transfer to schools closer to home to be with family members, or to have a better chance at seeing the field.

Those areas check out for Seastrunk; there just also happens to be a $25,000 elephant in the Pacific Northwest that hasn’t quite been cleared up yet.

To clear it up, the NCAA might employ a tactic that could give Seastrunk and the Association what it wants all at the same time. As CBSBryan Fischer points out via Twitter, the NCAA could always give Seastrunk limited immunity and grant him a hardship waiver for immediate eligibility if he answers questions about Oregon and Lyles.

Seastrunk was already working with the NCAA on getting that waiver.

That would be the same limited immunity that could be used on the 14 Miami football players who allegedly received benefits from former booster Nevin Shapiro. Basically, as Dennis Dodds points 0ut, it allows players to become informants.

Yes. Exactly like Matt Damon.

Minnesota gives Fleck 1-year extension, plus raise

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MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota football coach P.J. Fleck had his contract extended Wednesday by an additional year with a $1 million raise in annual salary, after the latest round of big spending by Big Ten rivals.

The new seven-year deal will run through the 2029 season, the university announced without releasing terms. Fleck will now make $6 million per year, a person with knowledge of the contract confirmed. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been finalized.

Last week, Nebraska hired Matt Rhule and Wisconsin hired Luke Fickell to put them in the top tier of head coach compensation in the conference. In terms of average annual value, the 42-year-old Fleck is eighth in the Big Ten behind Michigan State’s Mel Tucker, Ohio State’s Ryan Day, Rhule, Fickell, Penn State’s James Franklin, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz. All seven of those coaches make $7 million or more per season.

The Gophers (8-4) play Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 29. They’re 3-0 in bowl games under Fleck, who was hired away from Western Michigan in 2017.

Minnesota tied for second place in the Big Ten West Division this year, behind Purdue. Fleck is 43-27 overall with the Gophers, including 26-26 in conference play. They’re 0-6 against Iowa and 3-3 against Wisconsin, their primary rivals.

Fleck’s winning percentage is third-best in program history among coaches with 45 games or more, behind Henry Williams (1900-21) and Bernie Bierman (1932-41).

“What P.J. and his staff have done in a short amount of time is remarkable,” athletic director Mark Coyle said in a statement distributed by the university. “He has recruited and developed some of the best student-athletes to ever play at Minnesota and his team continues to excel academically, athletically and socially.”

This is the fifth time in six years on the job that Fleck’s deal has been adjusted to keep up with the competition, as power conference coach contracts these days rarely have less than five years on them at any time. Minnesota extended his deal a year ago, too.

In that iteration of his contract, the termination fees Fleck would owe Minnesota if he were to hop to another program were bumped way up. Those numbers landed at $7 million in 2023, $5 million in 2024, $4 million in 2025 and $3 million in 2026. Details about those figures in the new deal were not immediately available.

Virginia players granted extra year of eligibility

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The NCAA has granted an extra year of eligibility to Virginia players whose eligibility has expired in the aftermath of the slaying of three members of the team, the school confirmed.

Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler were killed last month as they returned to campus from a field trip to see a play in Washington, D.C. A former player at the school, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., is facing three counts of second-degree murder and other charges in the shooting. A fourth player, Mike Hollins, and student Marlee Morgan were injured in the shooting.

Virginia canceled its final two games of the season after the shooting, and the team and university community memorialized the victims in a nearly two-hour service on campus. Team members also traveled to each of the three funerals held for their teammates.