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Washington State receives verbal commitment from....an Australian punter?

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Yes. Also, when will Pac-12 athletes be able to workout on campus?

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Good Saturday Coug fans, and welcome to a new world. I’m not talking about Phase 2 (rise up Spokane County!), but rather a new world in which WSU is offering scholarships to punters. From Australia.

That seems to be the case after Australian Nick Haberer announced on Twitter yesterday (or was it today down under?) that he’ll be heading to the northern hemisphere:

Specialists at WSU have often earned their scholarship after they’ve kicked or punted or long-snapped for a few years. Not anymore! Nick Rolovich and his staff are taking a different path.

Australian punters have excelled with the Utah Utes in recent years, and fans of the Cougs probably overlap with fans of the Seattle Seahawks, who currently employ an Australian punter. So there’s a track record, though I’m still weirded out by this—mostly because I always wonder what that scholarship could have done for, say, a linebacker recruit, or someone in the secondary, etc.

And yes, Mike Leach’s staff gave a scholarship to a long snapper last year, so this isn’t just a Nick Rolovich thing.

As for Haberer I hope he has all the success in the world at WSU. It’s always good to have people from other cultures on a team, and he’d be the second Aussie on the team in as many seasons.

In other news......

Oh no

Report: Former Washington State quarterback Ryan Leaf arrested on misdemeanor battery charge | The Spokesman-Review
Ryan Leaf, the former Washington State quarterback and No. 2 overall NFL Draft pick who recovered from substance abuse problems to carve out a career as a color analyst for ESPN, was reportedly arrested Friday in Palm Springs on a misdemeanor domestic battery charge according to TMZ.

The SEC announced Friday that athletes would be able to return to campus training facilities starting June 8. When will the Pac-12 allow athletes to do the same?

The SEC made news yesterday when it announced athletes would be allowed starting June 8 to participate in voluntary in-person workouts on campuses, provided their university allows such gatherings in a safe manner. Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News reports that the Pac-12 is expected to make a similar statement next week.

The Pac-12’s ban on athletes using university facilities for workouts expires at the end of May, and as more areas around the country start to slowly reopen, teams are eager to get back to a somewhat normal schedule, so long as proper health precautions are taken.

What we absolutely don’t want is for the Pac-12 to try and make it “fair” for each school. Whitman County, home to your Washington State Cougars, has more lenient restrictions than King County, home to the Washington Huskies. Oregon Governor Kate Smith has closed college campuses until June 13. So, we could have a situation where WSU is allowed voluntary in-person workouts, while UW and the Oregon schools have to wait a little longer. And that’s OK!

Luckily, Wilner reports that an equitable approach is not expected:

What we expect, in other words, is a staggered approach that is heavy on common sense but potentially low on equity.

We could see limits set on the number of players allowed back at any one time.

We could see Utah, Colorado and the Arizona schools have more players on campus by June 20, for example, than the California schools.

But equity isn’t reasonable, at least not now.

Equity is required for the onset of training camp, not for this first phase — not for the voluntary workouts.

This is all good news and a positive sign for the upcoming football season, as well as other fall sports (the NCAA announced all sports can begin voluntary workouts June 1).

As long as the schools don’t screw it up.

The Pac-12 will host a baseball conference tournament starting in 2021

More good news.

Pac-12 Conference to hold baseball tournament for first time; Scottsdale could serve as host site | Arizona Wildcats Baseball | tucson.com
The Pac-12 had been one of the last leagues without a postseason event; it will continue to play 30 regular-season conference games.

Here’s your weekly dose of Gardner Minshew

More Links

Melbourne’s Nick Haberer, a product of promiment Australian punting program, commits to Washington State | The Spokesman-Review
Haberer made a social media announcement at 4 p.m. Pacific – and 9 a.m. on Saturday in his hometown of Melbourne – thanking Rolovich and special teams coordinator Mike Ghobrial, aloing with John Smith and Natah Chapman, who trained Haberer at the renowned Prokick Australia facility.

Washington State picks up third commitment in four days from Yakima linebacker Ryan Kershaw | The Spokesman-Review
For the third time in four days, Washington State added to its 2021 recruiting class – and added a piece to Jake Dickert’s defense – when the Cougars snagged a commitment from Yakima linebacker Ryan Kershaw on Thursday.

‘We lean on each other. We’re in this together’: Inside the bond between Apple Cup athletic directors Jen Cohen and Pat Chun | The Seattle Times
The day before one of the most memorable Apple Cups in the series' storied history, WSU athletics director Pat Chun hosted UW athletics director Jen Cohen and her family for...

Indianapolis Colts: Details on Dezmon Patmon’s rookie deal
Taking a look at the details of the rookie contract for Indianapolis Colts WR Dezmon Patmon.

Falcons agree to terms with Deone Bucannon
The Falcons’ 2020 offseason has been largely about adding versatility to their defense, and this move is a continuation of that theme