Ole Miss adds transfer RB Bentley, LB Coleman

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OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi has added two more transfers to its roster with the addition of SMU running back Ulysses Bentley IV and TCU linebacker Khari Coleman.

The school announced the latest transfers on the first day of spring practice. The Rebels are expected to have 16 Division I transfers going through spring with the team.

“With the portal and all the new guys, it’s pretty exciting to go out there and look at all the new guys that used to be basically high school guys that were a long ways away” Lane Kiffin said. “Now you’ve got guys that have already played and should have significant roles. It’s pretty exciting.”

Bentley was a two-time All-American Athletic Conference pick at SMU, who was co-rookie of the year as a redshirt freshman in 2020. He was second on the team last season with 610 yards and four touchdowns on 96 carries. That included a 153-yard performance against TCU.

Bentley led the league with 913 rushing yards in a 10-game 2020 season, setting an SMU freshman record with 11 touchdowns. Ole Miss must replace its top three running backs and had already added Zach Evans from TCU to the backfield.

Coleman started 13 games in two seasons with TCU, mainly at defensive end. He finished last season with 19 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks after missing the first three games with an injury.

Like Bentley, Coleman had a big freshman season. He ranked second in the Big 12 and seventh nationally with 15 tackles for loss, tops nationally among freshmen. Coleman was the league’s Co-Defensive Freshman of the Year.

The Rebels produced the program’s first 10-win regular season in 2021.

USC transfer Jaxson Dart, a former five-star prospect, is among the candidates to replace quarterback Matt Corral.

Minnesota football players’ discrimination lawsuit dismissed

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MINNEAPOLIS — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by nine former University of Minnesota football players who were accused of sexual assault in 2016 in a case that roiled the school’s football program.

The lawsuit against the school claimed that the players faced emotional distress and financial damage after being falsely accused of being sex offenders. The players, who were identified in the lawsuit as John Does, sought unspecified damages for willful and malicious discrimination.

A woman alleged up to a dozen football players raped her or watched and cheered at an off-campus party in 2016. None of the players were ever charged.

The university found that 10 football players committed sexual misconduct. Five of them were expelled or suspended for violating student conduct codes, and the others were cleared on appeal.

In their lawsuit, the players alleged that the woman initiated the sexual encounters with players and an underage recruit.

U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank dismissed the lawsuit last week, saying the former players did not prove any of their claims, including allegations of bias by university investigators or pressure from Athletic Director Mark Coyle and former President Eric Kaler, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

David Madgett, an attorney for the players, said Tuesday that they are considering an appeal but have to determine if it makes sense financially and in terms of letting the former players get on with their lives. He said it was disappointing that the outcome was determined by the judge’s version of events and not decided by a jury.

“It’s disappointing to see disputes decided in this way,” Madgett said. “That’s the way things are decided more and more these days. … It’s disappointing you don’t get your day in court.”

When the allegations became public in 2016, players threatened to boycott the team’s trip to the Holiday Bowl. But after a graphic report of the investigation was released, the players agreed to play in the game.

University of Minnesota spokesman Jake Ricker said the school appreciated the judge’s decision affirming the actions taken in the case. He said the university would continue its work focusing on sexual misconduct awareness, prevention and response.

Frank dismissed the lawsuit in 2019, but an appeals court reinstated part of it in 2021 and returned it to Frank.

The players, all of whom are Black, also initially claimed racial discrimination, but that claim was previously dismissed.

The only remaining claim alleged Title IX gender discrimination. The former players noted that they never faced criminal charges, but Frank’s ruling said that “is certainly not evidence of a judicial adjudication or that plaintiffs ‘were proven innocent.'”

The men also claimed that an investigator for the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action used “manipulative tactics” with them in interviews and that their accuser helped draft the report. The players also alleged that “prior failed investigations motivated” the the school to punish them.

Frank said all the claims were unsupported by the evidence and “no reasonable jury could find that the University disciplined plaintiffs on the basis of sex.”

Michigan State player who swung helmet gets probation

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A Michigan State football player who swung his helmet at a Michigan player in a stadium tunnel expressed regret Tuesday and said he’s “just looking forward to wuppin’ some maize and blue” on the field.

Khary Crump, a defensive back, was sentenced to probation. He was one of seven Michigan State players charged in a skirmish that followed a loss at Michigan Stadium on Oct. 29.

Crump was the only Spartan facing a felony, but that charge was dismissed in an agreement to plead guilty to misdemeanors. His record will be scrubbed clean if he stays out of trouble while on probation.

“Unfortunately, an exchange of words (took place), I felt attacked and unfortunately I did what I did,” Crump said of the tunnel altercation involving Michigan’s Gemon Green. “I’m not proud of that. I’m looking forward to moving forward.”

Crump was suspended by coach Mel Tucker. In addition, the Big Ten has suspended him for eight games in 2023.

“I had difficulties trying to stomach my actions … on that fateful day, but it happened. I can’t take it back,” Crump told MLive.com after the court hearing. “Honestly, I’m just looking forward to wuppin’ some maize and blue in the future — on the football field, of course.”

At least four other players charged with misdemeanors Will Likely have their cases dismissed in exchange for community service and other conditions. The cases against two others are pending.