Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, April 17, 2014

Can?t get enough college player union talk? Good. Here?s more: David Jones of talked to a law professor about Northwestern?s fight to unionize. Long story short: expect a long battle. Jones writes that ?many hoops remain through which the process must jump before we see college athletic unions at even the private institutional level, let alone for public universities such as Penn State. Even if NU players vote to unionize, there certainly will be appeals.?

The NCAA and schools may try to defuse some of the issues that unions may rally around. To wit: The NCAA?s recent decision to allow unlimited meals and snacks. By the way: NU players will vote on April 25.


Three Big Ten teams still are toiling in spring drills. One is Michigan State, where defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi is looking to replace six starters in Darqueze Dennard, Max Bullough, Denicos Allen, Isaiah Lewis, Tyler Hoover and Micajah Reynolds. And, Narduzzi is frank in his recent assessment: He wants better effort. I have to think in the end, all will be well in East Lansing with this unit. It?s MSU ? it?s Narduzzi ? c?mon.

[ MORE: Read all of our Spring Football coverage from around the Big Ten ]

I guess I didn?t realize that Michigan?s Caris LeVert was even considering turning pro. But, in case you were wondering, he says he?s coming back next season.


The late-signing period has begun for schools, as a flurry of letters-of-intent were submitted yesterday. Nebraska coach Tim Miles wanted to find a true point guard for this recruiting class. Well, it looks like he found one in Tarin Smith.

Yes, the Huskers already have Benny Parker and Tai Webster at the point, but Smith may be better than both.


Here is one last look at the Penn State spring game in roundtable format.

One interesting observation: The Penn State offense looks to have many more wrinkles than it did under Bill O?Brien. To that end, the Wildcat formation shown by James Franklin in the spring game caused a stir. How will it be used in the fall? Franklin isn?t saying.

So, that should make things fun, right?


Lost amid the winter thaw, spring football chatter and anticipation for the fall is Iowa?s Brandon Scherff. Is he the top blocker in the Big Ten? Is he the top blocker in America? It?s time to start some Outland Trophy hype for the big fella. Iowa o-line coach Brian Ferentz is all in, as you would imagine.

?I?d put him in the same category as Riley (Reiff), Marshal (Yanda), Bryan Bulaga, another guy who?s a Super Bowl champion,? Brian Ferentz said. ?I?d put him in the same category as Robert Gallery, Bruce Nelson, Eric Steinbach. Guys like that have paved the way. How does he compare to every one of those guys? I don?t know. They?re all really good. I?d take them all. I?d put him in the conversation. I think that?s fair.

?Now, he?s got to live up to all this. I would just throw that disclaimer out there. That?s part of the challenge that he has right now.?


The Richard Pitino-to-Tennessee rumors persist. ESPN's Jeff Goodman reported on Wednesday afternoon that Pitino is on Tennessee's "short list" for replacing Cuonzo Martin, who bolted for Cal on Tuesday. Minnesota Athletic Director Norwood Teague said on a Minnesota radio show that Pitino is not interested in the job. Pitino could not be reached for comment on whether Tennessee has reached out.

And, so, the dance continues.


Purdue A.D. Morgan Burke has done many good things in his tenure when it comes to facilities. Up next: a proposed overhaul of the south end zone of Ross-Ade Stadium.

And just because I can, here is a cool video of Ohio State slam master Sam Thompson. You?re welcome.



Now there is a shock.

Oh, really

If you build it, he will stay, right?

Now, it?s time for Purdue to actually do something. No more words. Just action, please.


About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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