Sports, Thrill of Victory

Around the SEC: Several teams facing setbacks prior to football season

Jovon Robinson has been dismissed by Gus Malzahn at Auburn. PHOTO BY GREG MCWILLIAMS/ICON SPORTSWIRE

Some comings and goings of key football players highlight this week’s Around the SEC segment.

Sterk named AD at Missouri

After losing athletic director Mack Rhoades to Baylor, and then going through a succession of interim ADs, Missouri recovered quite nicely by hiring Jim Sterk away from the same position at San Diego State.

In Sterk’s tenure, which started in 2010, the Aztecs became a regular in the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, and enter this football season as the clear favorite in the Mountain West’s West Division.

Just this past May, Sterk was named the AD of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. 

Missouri has named Jim Sterk as its new athletic director. PHOTO COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI

Missouri has named Jim Sterk as its new athletic director. PHOTO COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI

The hire would seem to be a solid one anyway, but for a school with so much instability—Missouri still lacks a permanent president after Tim Wolfe resigned during the campus’s racial crisis last year—UM seems to have made out fairly well here.

Starting Auburn running back Jovon Robinson dismissed

The day before its fall camp opened, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn announced that the Tigers may be without their best offensive player, running back Jovon Robinson, who was kicked off the team according to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy for “missing classes and meetings and for his ‘continued inattention to detail in everything.’”

That’s a damaging blow to the Auburn roster. Peyton Barber, last year’s starter for the first half of the season, declared for the NFL (and subsequently went un-drafted), while Robinson’s presumed backup, Roc Thomas, transferred to Jacksonville State.

Sophomore Kerryon Johnson, who rushed 52 times for 208 yards and three scores last year, presumably gets the first crack at replacing Robinson. However, he also missed the spring with shoulder surgery. 

Chandler Cox and Kam Martin, a 2016 Baylor signee who was released from his scholarship there after coach Art Briles was dismissed earlier in the summer, are also in the picture. 

Antonio Callaway back at Florida—sort of

The star sophomore receiver is practicing in Gainesville, but also found himself the subject of a student conduct hearing. Callaway is accused of assaulting a female last December, and the hearing was held Aug. 5. Findings have not been released. 

But now, the University of Florida itself is under as much scrutiny as Callaway. 

UF appointed Jake Schnikel to oversee what is a Title IX case. The alleged victim and her counsel didn’t attend the hearing in protest after learning that Schnikel, though once a trustee of the UF law school, is also an active booster of Gator basketball and football.

Receiver Antonio Callaway awaits the outcome of a student conduct hearing. PHOTO COURTESY USA TODAY

Receiver Antonio Callaway awaits the outcome of a student conduct hearing. PHOTO COURTESY USA TODAY

UF has been rightfully roasted in the media for this, as it violates not only common sense, but also the federal government’s Office of Civil Rights’ guidelines, which state, “… a school’s investigation and hearing processes cannot be equitable unless they are impartial.”

Callaway, UF’s leading receiver in 2015, has been practicing with the second team recently, according to Landon Watnick of, but also hasn’t been fully reinstated.

Florida’s depth at receiver has taken a big hit; freshman wideouts Tyrie Cleveland and Rick Wells were expected to help the Gators this year, but were implicated in a BB gun incident a few weeks back and aren’t practicing. 

Vandy’s Jelks done for the season—again

Vanderbilt offensive lineman Andrew Jelks, who missed all of 2015 with an injury suffered in fall camp, faces the same fate in 2016. Jelks, the team’s starting left tackle in 2014, started fall camp at right tackle and may well have wound up at center. 

Coach Derek Mason also announced on Thursday that third-team quarterback Shawn Stankavage was also done for the year with injury.

Here’s a look at what that means for Vanderbilt heading into the season.