Mammoth bones unearthed in end zone of OSU’s Resar Stadium

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Here’s something you normally don’t hear every day. Or ever, actually.

Construction crews are in the midst of an expansion project, which began shortly after the end of the 2015 season, at Oregon State’s Resar Stadium. Monday, those crews were digging in the north end zone of the stadium when they stumbled across what’s believed to be the femur from a woolly mammoth. Additionally, the bones of several other extinct mammals were found.

Mammoth bonesThe area where the bones were found is believed to have been a bog or marsh around the time mammoths roamed the area 10,000-plus years ago. An Oregon State professor of anthropology said in a school release that “[a]nimals who were sick would often go to a body of water and die there, so it’s not unusual to find a group of bones like this;” given the Beavers’ 115th-ranked scoring offense in 2015, that visual of what led to the end zone find is more than apropos.

As for construction, work in that area of the stadium has been temporarily halted as the school’s anthropology department further investigates the site of the find. Because no human remains or human artifacts have been found, it’s not considered an archaeological site and therefore the site is not subject to regulations that would halt work for a significant period of time.

As it stands now, the project manager stated that the delay in construction because of the find has been minimal.

The Valley Football Center expansion and renovation project is still expected to be completed prior to the start of the 2016 season.

(Photo credit: Oregon State University)

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.