College football notes: Holiday Bowl faces potential shakeup

Minnesota players boycotting football activities
Minnesota wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky flanked by quarterback Mitch Leidner, left, and tight end Duke Anyanwu, with the rest of the team standing behind them, read a statement on behalf of the players on Dec. 15.
(Jeff Wheeler / Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Replacing Minnesota in the Holiday Bowl on short notice would be a logistical nightmare, from rounding up players who have already gone home for the holidays to figuring out how to feed them once they are in California. 

Minnesota players are boycotting team activities in protest over the university’s decision to suspend 10 players for its upcoming Holiday Bowl appearance against Washington State after an internal school investigation into an alleged sexual assault. No criminal charges were filed in the case. 

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler released a statement Friday saying that the players would remain suspended and the school planned to let bowl organizers know “soon” if the team would be participating. 

If not, the Holiday Bowl committee will have to act quickly to find a replacement. The game is set to be played Dec. 27 and the teams were scheduled to arrive in San Diego on Dec. 22 for a few days of preparation and bowl-related activities. 


Northern Illinois, from the Mid-American Conference, appears likely to get the first call. The Huskies are at the top of the list of five to seven teams that would be bowl eligible based on their Academic Progress Rating, according to NCAA rules. 


Suspended USC football player Osa Masina pleaded not guilty to charges that he sexually assaulted a friend who passed out after a summertime party in his home state of Utah. ...

LSU running back Leonard Fournette will sit out the Tigers’ matchup with No. 15 Louisville in the Citrus Bowl, a decision that ends his highlight-filled collegiate career. Fournette portrayed the decision to rest his injured ankle as a mutual one made in consultation with Coach Ed Orgeron. ...

Purdue trustees have approved a six-year contract for incoming football Coach Jeff Brohm. The board’s action pays Brohm $3.3 million in 2017. ...


Oregon formally announced that Colorado defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt will join Ducks head Coach Willie Taggart’s staff in the same capacity. ...

Mississippi Coach Hugh Freeze has hired new offensive and defensive coordinators in an effort to overhaul his program following a disappointing 5-7 season. The school announced that Phil Longo was picked to run the offense. Wesley McGriff returns to Ole Miss to be the defensive coordinator following four seasons away — including one at Auburn and three with the New Orleans Saints. ...

Indiana State football Coach Mike Sanford resigned to pursue what Athletic Director Sherard Clinkscales called a “special career opportunity.” There have been reports that he will join his son, also named Mike, at Western Kentucky. 

Get our daily Sports Report newsletter