On Sunday, Mississippi State receivers coach Angelo Mirando abruptly resigned less than two weeks before the Bulldogs’ opener. Yesterday afternoon, the school confirmed that the NCAA has been investigating a “potential recruiting irregularity” at State. Head coach Dan Mullen said: “That’s been going for the last several months. I’m not able to comment on any of that.”
2+2=4, right? Mirando is at the heart of the NCAA’s investigation, correct?
According to Joe Schad of ESPN and John Martin and Kyle Veazey of The Memphis Commercial-Appeal, the NCAA is looking into the recruitment of receiver-turned-defensive back Will Redmond who signed with State in February. The NCAA has been taking a closer look at Memphis in recent months, and the player’s former coach at Memphis East High School has admitted that NCAA official spoke to him.
But Marcus Wimberly wouldn’t detail to The Commercial-Appeal what the NCAA had asked him or if they’d spoken about Redmond at all:
“It was nothing specific. I guess that’s when they were starting in the area. Just general questions.”
Wimberly is the third person connected to Memphis high school football who has admitted to speaking with the NCAA since signing day. (More on this front later.)
But Wimberly did tell ESPN’s Schad that Redmond was part of the conversation:
“I told them as far as I was concerned his recruitment was on the up and up. Who knows what they’re looking for. Will chose his school because he felt most comfortable and it was close to home.”
Schad’s mention of Redmond’s name drew the ire of Mullen, who said that Redmond is still with the team:
“Yeah, he’s practicing. I would try to get a little more reliable source than Joe Schad. (Laughing) I’m supposed to be coaching at State College (Penn State), I guess, right now, too, according to Joe Schad last year. Wasn’t that the case?”
Schad also once authored an ESPN piece that claimed Cam Newton spoke to two MSU recruiters about a pay-for-play plan prior to Newton’s signing with Auburn. In it he wrote that Newton had told one State recruiter that his father, Cecil, had picked AU because “the money was too much.” From there, it didn’t take long for some to suggest that Megan Mullen — the coach’s wife who was very close to Newton — was the person who’d been told “the money was too much.”
So Mullen probably dislikes Schad for more than just job rumors he posted online.
Now Schad reports that Mirando — who claimed he was stepping down because of “unforeseen personal issues” — is involved in the NCAA’s probe. Can you say, “Friction?”
As for the NCAA, spokesperson Stacey Osburn told The Jackson Clarion-Ledger:
“We are nearing the end of this examination, and it is our intent to provide additional details when it is complete.”
MSU also put out an official statement that practically mirrored that of the NCAA:
“Over the last several months, Mississippi State has worked in cooperation with the NCAA to examine a potential recruiting irregularity. We are nearing the end of this examination, and it is our intent to provide additional details when it is complete.”
That’s reason for concern for Bulldog fans. When the NCAA snoops around a program and finds nothing, it usually just goes away. Providing “additional details” suggests the NCAA has found some type of wrongdoing… tiny, small, big, major, etc. What other details would they provide?
Now, back to the three people associated with Memphis high school football who’ve spoken to the NCAA. One of those men is Byron De’Vinner who was Redmond’s 7-on-7 coach. Reportedly, De’Vinner: “questioned the methods and pointed fingers to the staff at Memphis East High who, he said, are directing NCAA investigators to him because they do not like him. He’s also worried about Redmond’s future.”
You’ve heard us talk about De’Vinner on this site recently. Just eight days ago in fact. That’s because he’s also been tied to the Jovon Robinson situation at Auburn. Robinson has been ruled ineligible at AU after a guidance counselor at Memphis Wooddale High School admitted to doctoring his high school transcript.
De’Vinner was contacted by The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal and asked if he had any connection to Mirando, the former MSU assistant. His response? “I don’t even want to talk about all that stuff. I’m sorry.”
But with his phone likely ringing out of control, it appears De’Vinner has tired of being connected to NCAA investigations. He texted several media outlets last night and claimed he would “clear my name and go public.” “I plan to tell the facts,” he texted… stating that he might hold a press conference today or tomorrow.
Meanwhile The Dispatch newspaper of Columbus, Starkville and The Golden Triangle area of Mississippi is reporting:
“…the investigation, at least in part, involves an automobile purchased for MSU freshman defensive back Will Redmond. The Ford Mustang was purchased before Redmond signed with MSU this February from a used car dealership in his hometown of Memphis, Tenn.”
So what do we know for sure?
That the NCAA is probing Memphis. That the names Auburn and Mississippi State are once again being tied to scandals and investigations, as was the case during the Newton fiasco. That Mullen doesn’t like Schad. And that De’Vinner doesn’t like the coaches at Memphis East High School. Or having his own name dragged through the mud.
Got all that?