Johnson set to begin second spring at Tulane

NEW ORLEANS — The Tulane football team will begin its second spring practice under coach Curtis Johnson when the Green Wave takes the field Wednesday for the first of 15 practices.

With construction of Yulman Stadium under way on campus, the Green Wave will split time at two sites. Weekday practices and two Saturday practices will happen at the New Orleans Saints’ training facilities, and a pair of Saturday practices will happen in March at Tad Gormley Stadium in City Park.

Tulane will practice from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. All practices at the Saints’ training facilities will be closed to media and the public.

However, both Saturday practices at Tad Gormley Stadium will be open.

The Wave’s spring game will happen at 10 a.m. March 9 at Tad Gormley Stadium.

Big Ten

coaches worry about easing recruit rules: Big Ten athletic directors and football coaches said Monday they have reservations about loosened NCAA recruiting rules that would allow unlimited contact between recruiters and high school players.

The NCAA Board of Directors in January approved rulebook revisions that, among other things, remove limits on the number of phone calls and text messages to prospective recruits. The eased restrictions are set to begin July 1.

During their regularly scheduled meeting in Park Ridge, Ill., on Monday, athletic directors and coaches issued a statement expressing “serious concerns whether these proposals, as currently written, are in the best interest of high school student-athletes, their families and their coaches.”

The ADs and coaches also said they “are also concerned about the adverse effect they would have on college coaches, administrators and university resources.”

Utah

Utes hire Erickson as co-
coordinator:
In Salt Lake City, the Utah Utes hired well-traveled Dennis Erickson as co-offensive coordinator Monday.

The 65-year-old Erickson will share the coordinator title with 26-year-old Brian Johnson, a former Utah quarterback.

Erickson won national titles in 1989 and 1991 as coach at Miami. He has been a head coach at six universities — three of them Pac-12 Conference schools.

He is a three-time Pac-12 coach of the year, most recently with Arizona State in 2007 when he led the Sun Devils to a share of the conference title in his first season.

He also coached at Washington State and Oregon State and has a 179-96-1 record over 23 seasons.

The Utes are coming off a 5-7 season in which they finished a disappointing 3-6 in conference play.

Penn State

Nike co-founder blasts Freeh report: Nike co-founder Phil Knight issued a statement blasting the Freeh report’s characterization of Penn State coach Joe Paterno in the child sex abuse scandal involving assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

Following the release last year of former FBI director Louis Freeh’s report, Knight issued a statement saying he was saddened that Paterno apparently made missteps that led to “heartbreaking consequences.”

But Knight now says that he may have jumped to conclusions, after a new report by former U.S. Attorney General and Pennsylvania Gov. Dick Thornburgh that was commissioned by the Paterno family.

In a statement released Monday, Knight called the findings of the Freeh report unjustified and unsubstantiated. He also criticized the NCAA’s subsequent sanctions on Penn State’s football program as unwarranted.