Sidelines: This week in sports – August 28

A few months removed from the final Sidelines of the 2017-2018 production, plenty has gone on in the world of sports. With this being the first addition of Sidelines for this volume of The Brock Press, lets take a look at some of the bigger stories from this summer and preview what’s happening next week in sports.

Recently in college football, multiple Big Ten programs have been in the eye of the public for major investigations into their football programs. At Ohio State, Urban Meyer, after being placed on administrative leave for an investigation into his knowledge of former assistant coach Zach Smith’s domestic violence against his ex-wife, was given a three game suspension and won’t return to the team until after their first game on September 1. During Meyer’s absence through fall camp and the first three games of the season, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day has been and will continue to lead the Buckeyes.

Maryland head coach DJ Durkin has also been placed on administrative leave while the university investigates the culture of the Terrapins football program in relation to the death of Jordan McNair. McNair, a student athlete on the Terrapin football team, was hospitalized after a team workout on May 29, and died just 15 days later. Maryland and Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Rick Court, parted ways in August as Court was one of the most problematic figures in the Terrapin football culture according to former coaches who had worked with him under Durkin. While Durkin is on leave, offensive coordinator Matt Canada is leading the team who will open their season at home against Texas on Sept. 1.

While these programs are struggling with internal issues off the field, other college football programs are learning how to play under new head coaches and new quarterbacks.

It’s still not clear what’s going on in Tuscaloosa with Nick Saban’s powerhouse program. The returning national champions have a quarterback battle going on between Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa — who replaced Hurts in the second half of the national championship to help the Tide take down SEC rival Georgia. Whoever wins the starting job will undoubtedly have a lot of pressure this season, especially with a back-up who will be ready to take over in a moments notice.

Nebraska starts a new era under Scott Frost when they open their season on Sept. 1 at home against Akron, and will have a true freshman quarterback, Adrian Martinez, leading the way. The Huskers disappointed last season, but after leading UCF to an undefeated season last year, there is a lot expected of Frost at his alma mater.

Other programs to watch with new head coaches: Tennessee (Jeremy Pruitt), Ole Miss (Matt Luke was promoted when the interim tag was removed from his title), Dan Mullen (Florida), Willie Taggart (Florida State).

Perhaps two of the biggest news stories from this summer in professional sports were the signings of free agents John Tavares (now a Toronto Maple Leaf), and LeBron James (now a Los Angeles Laker). While James was expected to move on from Cleveland for the second time in his career, Tavares’ future was unclear until the final hour, when he decided to return to his hometown and wear the blue and white for Toronto.

The Raptors also made a big move in trading DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio in exchange for Kwahi Leonard. So, while the Blue Jays aren’t exactly bringing in much of an exciting game this summer, the other major Toronto sports teams have kept things interesting and given fans something to look forward to.

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