Sunday’ college football roundup: Ex-Northwestern star Venric Mark transferring to Texas A&M

Associated Press

Canyon, Texas — Former Northwestern running back Venric Mark is transferring to West Texas A&M, ESPN reported.

Mark, who was going to be suspended for some of this season for an unspecified violation of team rules, said he wanted to be closer to his mother in Houston.

“This is an hour and a half from my mom,” Mark told the network. “It’s the best fit.”

He declined to elaborate on reasons for his departure outside of citing health issues with his mother and grandmother.

Mark told ESPN he had interest in Football Bowl Subdivision teams, including Baylor, Houston, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Kansas. He said they were willing to apply for an NCAA waiver so he could play this season, but didn’t want to take a chance with his last year of eligibility.

Mark said his degree will be from Northwestern, and that there are no hard feelings between him and Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald.

“There is no bad blood with Northwestern at all,” he said. “Me and Coach Fitz still talk. We are still family.”

West Texas A&M is a Division II team in Canyon, Texas, about 20 miles south of Amarillo.

Mark missed much of last season because of injuries. The NCAA gave him an extra year of eligibility. He finished 2012 with 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns and returned two punts for touchdowns.

Ex-player fights settlement

A former San Diego State football player asked a federal judge to reject the recently proposed $75 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit against the NCAA, saying it unfairly forces athletes who suffered head injuries to forfeit hundreds of millions of dollars in potential damages.

The request, which came in a late Friday filing in federal court in Chicago on behalf of Anthony Nichols, is the first in what’s likely to be a monthslong approval process to raise questions about the deal, under which the NCAA would create a $70 million fund to test thousands of current and former athletes for brain trauma. It also sets aside $5 million for research.

The filing zeroes in on a settlement provision that would require football, hockey, soccer and other contact-sport athletes to give up their rights to seek a single, potentially blockbuster sum in damages as a class. They can sue as individuals, but the filing says most couldn’t afford the legal costs and so won’t.

“The proposed settlement is truly a rarity: a settlement where the class members get nothing but are forced to give up everything,” according to the 28-page court document, submitted by one of Nichols’ attorneys, Jay Edelson. “Injured student athletes will be … left in the dust.”

Nichols, who says he suffered concussions while an offensive lineman for San Diego State from 1989 to 1992, is among tens of thousands of male and female athletes who would be covered by the deal.

The first class-action suit was filed in 2011 in Chicago on behalf of former Eastern Illinois safety Adrian Arrington, and 10 similar head-injury suits were later consolidated into the one that was heard in federal court in Chicago. Arrington’s lawyers took the lead in nearly a year of negotiations with the NCAA before the proposed settlement was announced July 29.

Extra points

True freshman Brad Kaaya won the Miami quarterback job.

Kaaya was announced as the starter Sunday by Miami coach Al Golden. Kaaya edged out transfer Jake Heaps for the Week 1 nod, in a race that became open in the spring when presumed starter Ryan Williams tore a knee ligament.

Miami opens at Louisville on Sept. 1.

... Morgan State University in Maryland says a football player who was hospitalized after a workout two weeks ago has died.

Television station WBFF-TV first reported 18-year-old Marquese Meadow, a freshman defensive lineman, died Sunday.