Michigan suspends best OL for season opener

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Michigan will be down one offensive lineman for the season opener against Appalachian State. The Wolverines have suspended Graham Glasgow for a violation of team expectations.

“Each of our young men understands the standard we expect of them,” Michigan head coach Brady Hoke said in a written statement, according to MLive.com. “It’s one that represents this great program and university, as well as their family and teammates. When their actions don’t reflect that standard, it’s very disappointing, and we must hold them accountable for their decision while helping them learn a valuable life lesson.”

As noted by MLive.com, just last week Hoke said Glasgow was probably Michigan’s best offensive lineman.

The stability of the offensive line at Michigan is not to be overlooked. The line had their struggles in 2013 and is in need of improving this upcoming season if the Wolverines are supposed to make any sort of run to a potential Big Ten division championship and a spot in the Big Ten championship game. Not having Graham for the remainder of the spring and the season opener may not come off as  abig deal, considering the timing and the opponent, but Graham was a full time starter in 2013 and expected to be a lock starter for 2014 as well. That Will Likely remain the case once he returns.

For now, Michigan will get a chance to give a few more reps to other linemen, so the experience now can be a benefit of a bad situation. Look for junior Jack Miller and redshirt freshman Patrick Kugler to get some of those extra reps for the remainder of the spring practice and in camp leading up to the season opener against Appalachian State.

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

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.