There are a pair of college sports stories that are front and center today and they originate 3,000 miles apart.

Let’s start in New Jersey where Rutgers has pulled the plug on football coach Chris Ash four games into his fourth season on the banks of the old Raritan.  There’s no way to spin it  Ash’s tenure was a complete and utter failure.  He was an assistant at Ohio State and the thought was he would use that position to change the game at Rutgers.

The problem as it’s always been at RU is recruiting and it’s rather simple.  When Ash was with the Buckeyes blue-chip high school standouts anxiously awaited offers from the school, especially in the Midwest.  However in New Jersey the best athletes are more impressed with offers from out of state and Ash was just another coach trying to get their commitment.

So for now the birthplace of college football has turned to Nunzio Campanile who basically gets an 8-game trial as interim coach.  Just two years ago he was coaching high school football and while he comes from North Jersey football royalty he takes over a team that has lost its first two Big Ten games by the combined score of 82-0.

Now that Ash is gone athletic director Pat Hobbs is the man on the hot seat and Monday at a press conference he said the plan is to have the next head coach in place by the end of November.  It sounds like Campanile has a chance to get the gig, especially if Rutgers can come up with some wins in the next five weeks when they play weaker competition.

Unfortunately their final three games are against Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State and that stretch is likely to be pretty ugly.  Of course many Rutgers fans are hoping unemployed former coach Greg Schiano returns as a conquering hero but his departure was not a very smooth one. Time will tell.

Now let’s head to California where Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a law that will allow athletes at state universities to hire agents and make money from endorsements in direct opposition to NCAA by-laws.  The law will allow athletes to earn money from their images, names or likenesses although it does not go into effect until 2023.

The NCAA implored Newsom to veto the bill, saying it “would erase the critical distinction between college and professional athletes.”  That to me is BS however they do make a point in that California universities would have an unfair recruiting advantage which could cause the NCAA to bar them from competition.

While California is the first state to pass such a law and you can be sure others will begin debate in the near future.  This is one to watch over the next few years.


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