Michigan Stadium tunnel will widen without portable seating

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan Stadium’s lone tunnel – the site of altercations between players as they enter and exit the field – will be a little wider next season.

The school confirmed that it will remove a portable section of seats from the front of the tunnel to give players, coaches and staff members more room to enter and exit the football field.

Previously, fans were close enough to touch coaches and players as one spectator did last season with Michigan State’s Mel Tucker well before the postgame altercation between Spartans and Wolverines players that led to suspensions and criminal charges.

A total of 45 portable seats will be lost and enough standing-room only tickets are expected to be added in the stadium to keep its capacity at 107,601.

“This decision was made after a thorough review for the health and wellness of everyone who uses the tunnel to get on and off the field,” Michigan spokesman Kurt Svoboda said.

The Big Ten fined Michigan State $100,000 for its role in the stadium tunnel altercations and reprimanded Michigan for failing to “provide adequate protection for personnel of both home and visiting teams when entering and leaving playing arenas,” per conference policy.

Penn State coach James Franklin said in October that there should be a policy in place to prevent teams from heading to the locker rooms at the same time and suggested the need for some sort of buffer to separate them.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh bristled, saying Franklin acted as a “ringleader” when a lot of heated words were exchanged and Wolverines players reportedly said Nittany Lions players threw peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at them.

For the final two games of the season, Michigan did keep players and coaches from Nebraska and Illinois separate from the Wolverines in the tunnel.

The University of Michigan Board of Regents approved the athletic department’s request last year to name the tunnel after former coach Lloyd Carr, who led the program to its last national championship in 1997.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.