Notre Dame won’t play a Big Ten opponent in 2015, the first time that’s happened in more than 100 years, but the Fighting Irish will play a home game against Boston College at Fenway Park.
Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick released schedules for the next three seasons Friday, saying a goal was to follow the model Jesse Harper started in 1913 when he scheduled games at Army, Penn State and Texas and helped give the Fighting Irish a national following.
“We play coast to coast. Jesse Harper made that decision a hundred years ago. It changed the trajectory of the football program and the university, and we’re not going to stray from it,” Swarbrick said.
The 2014 schedule was released so late because Swarbrick had to make adjustments when the school agreed to play five games a season against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents after joining the league for most sports other than football. That left the Irish with too many games.
The problem was solved when Wake Forest agreed to move its 2014 game to 2015 and Swarbrick made the game against Boston College a Shamrock Series game, in which the Irish play one home game a season at a neutral site.
Swarbrick said that fit in with his goal of playing games in special places. The Irish will face Boston College at the home of the Boston Red Sox — the team Irish Coach Brian Kelly grew up rooting for. The field served as the home field for Boston College for 76 games from 1914 through 1956.
Withers to coach James Madison
James Madison has hired Ohio State assistant coach Everett Withers as its football coach.
Athletic Director Jeff Bourse made the announcement Friday night. He says Withers returned to Ohio and will remain with the Buckeyes through the Orange Bowl against Clemson on Jan. 3 before transitioning full time to the Dukes.
“Everett is a proven winner and has shown his ability to lead,” James Madison Athletic Director Jeff Bourne said in a statement. “The entire committee was incredibly impressed when we met with him.”
Withers has spent two years at Ohio State, helping lead the Buckeyes on a school-record 24-game winning streak and a 24-1 record overall.
SEC fines schools for violations
The Southeastern Conference fined four schools a combined $60,000 for violating league policies during the football season.
Mississippi State and Mississippi were the hardest hit, with each school receiving a $25,000 fine.
Mississippi State was fined for violating the league’s artificial noisemaker policy a second time. The last violation was in 2010. Mississippi State fans have a tradition of bringing cowbells to games, which the league approved, as long as they are used only at approved times.
Ole Miss was fined for violating the league’s field access policy a second time. Fans rushed the field after the school’s 27-24 victory over Louisiana State. The school also violated the policy in 2012.
Auburn and Missouri also were fined $5,000 for a first violation of the field access policy.
Utah has hired former Wyoming coach Dave Christensen as offensive coordinator and demoted Dennis Erickson to running backs coach. … Running back Melvin Gordon will return to Wisconsin for his junior season in 2014. The 1,400-yard rusher said in a statement released by the team Friday that he had room for growth, and that he hoped to get the 19th-ranked Badgers back to the Big Ten title game. … Defensive lineman D.J. Pettway is returning to Alabama 10 months after he was dismissed from the Crimson Tide. Alabama announced Friday that Pettway and fellow East Mississippi Community College defensive lineman Jarran Reed signed with the Tide and will enroll in January. …The University of Rhode Island’s new head football coach is the defensive coordinator from the University of Central Florida. Jim Fleming will be formally introduced at a news conference on campus Monday.