Rashaan Evans’ dad fires back at those trying to ‘crucify’ his son, family

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Since Rashaan Evans, an Auburn High School product, spurned his hometown school for hated rival Alabama on signing day, the five-star 2014 Tide signee has been the object of mean-spirited — and worse — treatment from shunned and jilted Tiger fans.

The linebacker revealed as much during an interview Monday, claiming that AU fans have called for a boycott of his family’s Corner Market store in Auburn while also tossing out the kindergarten-like “I hope you tear an ACL” card.  A day later, Evans’ father has added to the disturbing narrative.

Taking aim specifically at the Wild West that is Internet message boards as well as social media in an interview with al.com, Alan Evans boiled down the treatment of his son specifically and his family in general to one simple question: “how would you feel if this were your child?” Of course, in a perfect world those responsible for such juvenile behavior toward Evans’ son would be incapable of procreating, but his overall point is understood.

The elder Evans also called it “shocking and hurtful” that some in the community in which he lives would encourage a boycott of his business, an act that threatens to have “a negative impact on our livelihood.”

While understanding “that people in this state take football very seriously and that’s part of what makes it exciting,” the level of backlash against his son’s decision and the viciousness involved has taken the father by surprise.

“It’s kind of disturbing to know that it’s such a thin line between love and hate,” Alan said. “A couple weeks ago before he made his decision, Auburn was handing him the keys to the kingdom when they thought he was a lock. Now they want to crucify Rashaan and his family because he wanted to do what he thought was best for him and his future.”

Evans did, though, toss the ultimate dagger in the general direction of the AU fan base.

“I’m so glad that where thousands of Auburn fans have thrown my family away and ridiculed and scandalized our name, called us everything but a child of God, thousands of Alabama fans have embraced us and welcomed us to the Capstone. They have called us and let us know personally that they stand behind Rashaan and his family and awaiting his arrival to the University of Alabama.”

[/tosses mic]
[/climbs to top rope]
[/chugs beer]

(Photo credit: Rivals.com)

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.