2013 QB signee transferring from Mountaineers

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An early enrollee has decided to take an early leave of the West Virginia football program, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting.

Citing Chavas Rawlins‘ high school coach, the paper has confirmed that the quarterback will be transferring from the Mountaineers.  It appears as though the departure of WVU assistant Jake Spavital played a significant role in the player’s departure.

“Everyone at West Virginia was great to him, but as you know he came in right when Jake left,” Monessen (Penn.) high school coach Andy Pacak told the Post-Gazette. “His initial decision was I’m gonna go down there and make the most of it, but that (loss of Spavital) weighed on him a little bit.”

Spavital, WVU’s quarterbacks coach the past two season, left in January for the same job at Texas A&M, plus the additional title of co-offensive coordinator.  Rawlins’ decision also comes a couple of weeks after Clint Trickett transferred in from Florida State and entered the Mountaineers’ quarterback fray.

Rawlins, a three-star member of WVU’s 2013 recruiting class and the only QB signed this year by the Mountaineers, participated in spring practice as an early signee but did not play in the spring game as all of the reps went to Paul Millard and Ford Childress.

“Chavas has been getting reps in practice and slowly we’ve been moving him along, but obviously he’s got a long ways to go,” said head coach Dana Holgorsen after the spring game.

If Rawlins transfers to another FBS school — there’s no early indication as to which direction he might be headed — he would have to sit out the 2013 season but would retain all of his eligibility.

Minnesota gives Fleck 1-year extension, plus raise

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Matt Krohn/USA TODAY Sports
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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

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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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.