Zach Barnett

PJ Fleck the latest coach to take a COVID-19 pay cut


PJ Fleck was set to make $4.6 million in 2020. This much we know: That will not be the case. How much the Minnesota head coach will sacrifice remains to be seen.

Fleck held a conference call with reporters on Thursday that left both the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press (see below tweet) with the impression he, along with the head coaches of the Gophers’ men’s and women’s basketball teams, would be furloughed. The Star-Tribune reported Fleck would sit out one week between now and June 30, and one week’s pay would equal a roughly $88,000 pay cut.

However, Minnesota spokesman Paul Rovnak reached out to CFT to state Fleck will not be furloughed, but he will take a voluntary pay cut. The size of that cut was not known at press time.

Either way, Fleck is part of a growing list of college coaches to sacrifice pay as their employer looks to plug holes in its budget.

Heading into his fourth season at Minnesota, Fleck carries a 23-15 record. He led the Gophers to an 11-2 season in 2019, capped by a victory over Auburn in the Outback Bowl and the program’s first AP Top 10 finish since 1962.

Trainer implicated in abuse scandal by former team doctor remains employed by Michigan


Penn State had Jerry Sandusky. Michigan State had Larry Nassar. Ohio State had Richard Strauss. And now, it’s becoming increasingly, sadly clear that Michigan was aware it had a monster of its own in its midst and failed to stop him.

Dan Murphy reported for ESPN on Friday that Michigan’s current head athletic trainer Paul Schmidt knew of and joked about sexual abuse allegedly committed by Wolverines football team doctor Robert Anderson.

According to court documents obtained by Murphy, two anonymous Michigan football players testified that Schmidt and a second employee named “Murph” regularly told players to go see Anderson knowing full well of his reputation.

Anderson, who died in 2008, has been accused of sexually assaulting patients by performing unnecessary rectal exams and “excessive” fondling of patients’ genitals.

“It was always just, like, hey, go see Dr. A. Go drop your drawers. I specifically remember Schmidty’s laugh about it,” one of the players said. “Like I can see him doing it. Murph was a little more quiet. I definitely remember Schmidty laughin’ and cacklin’ about it.”

More than 300 individuals have retained legal representation in regards to Anderson’s alleged abuse, as the University of Michigan, its board of regents and Anderson’s estate brace for a barrage of lawsuits.

“The University of Michigan failed them,” attorney Mick Grewal said in a news release Friday morning. “Failed to protect them, failed to stop an alleged serial predator. We represent and have spoken with over 100 survivors, including professional and collegiate football players, wrestlers, golfers, hockey players, pilots, and people from all walks of life and the pattern is the same. Over the last 4 decades, multiple employees at the University, including Assistant AD Paul Schmidt could have stopped Anderson.”

The Detroit News reported in February that Anderson was fired for sexual abuse by the U of M’s University Health Service in 1979, but continued working for the athletics department for another 24 years.

“The university has confidence in the independent investigation now underway by the WilmerHale law firm,” university spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said Friday morning. “This firm has deep expertise to conduct a thorough and unflinching review of the facts — wherever they may lead.”

In the meantime, Murphy reported that Schmidt remains employed by Michigan. Schmidt has been at Michigan since 1986 and currently carries the title of assistant AD, head athletic trainer and rehabilitation specialist.

Texas leads all state in first-round picks, but Longhorns and Aggies shut out


Thirty-two players were taken in last night’s NFL draft first round, says Captain Obvious. While we know LSU won the night in terms of schools, and the SEC in terms of conferences, the state of Texas was the winner in terms of high-school prospects.

A total of seven players who played their high school ball in the Lone Star State heard their name called last night. They were:

No. 3: Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah, Detroit Lions — Grand Prairie, Texas
No. 17: Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys — Richmond, Texas
No. 20: LSU OLB K'Lavon Chaisson, Jacksonville Jaguars — Houston, Texas
No.  21: TCU WR Jalen Reagor, Philadelphia Eagles — Waxahachie, Texas
No. 23: Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray, Los Angeles Chargers — Missouri City, Texas
No. 27: Texas Tech LB Jordyn Brooks, Seattle Seahawks — Houston, Texas
No. 31: TCU CB Jeff Gladney, Minnesota Vikings — New Boston, Texas

As you’ve no doubt noticed, none of those guys carry Texas or Texas A&M next to their name.

There are reasons for this. As the class of 2017 was making its college decisions, UT was transitioning between Charlie Strong and Tom Herman, and Kevin Sumlin was on his long, slow descent out of College Station.

Texas A&M took a 28-man class that rated 13th in the country, led by 4-star linebacker Anthony Hines and filled with a lot of guys who won’t hear their names called during the draft this year or next. UT signed a 17-man class that placed 25th; 4-star quarterback Sam Ehlinger and 3-star offensive tackle Sam Cosmi will almost certainly be drafted next year.

Okudah was a 5-star prospect who held offers from everyone in the country but was part of a Buckeye exodus joined by 5-star linebacker Baron Browning and 4-star running back JK Dobbins.

Texas was in the hunt for Chaisson down to the end, but the Houston prospect (obviously) picked LSU. Experts said Lamb favored Texas early in the process but Strong was late with an offer.

No one else in the group garnered serious interest from the future first-rounders, to both schools’ regret.