Curley takes absence, Schultz steps down at Penn State

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For those demanding a thorough house-cleaning at Penn State following one of the hardest-hitting scandals to rock college athletics in years, the process has begun.

The Associated Press has reported that Penn State athletic director Tim Curley (pictured, right) and vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz  have stepped down amid disturbing allegations of sexual abuse of minors involving former football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. 

University President Graham Spanier said late Sunday night that he had received a request from Curley to be placed on administrative leave while he deals with perjury charges against him and Schultz, who is re-retiring. Curley and Schultz were charged with perjury and failure to report suspected sexual abuse of a minor Saturday.

The news of the resignations came after an executive session of Penn State’s Board of Trustees.

Curley and Shultz were mentioned in the grand jury’s indictment of Sandusky following their apparent failure to be forthcoming about a 2002 incident in which they were notified of an instance of sexual abuse by Sandusky with a young boy. From the Patriot-News’ article:

Attorney General Linda Kelly says Curley and Schultz perjured themselves by repeatedly denying,  during the grand jury investigation, that they were told about an incident in 2002 that was reported by a graduate football assistant who walked [in] on Sandusky taking a shower with a young boy.

Kelly said, “rather than reporting the matter to law enforcement, Curley and Schultz agreed that Sandusky would be told he could not bring any Second Mile children into the football building.  That message was also reportedly related to Dr. John Raykovitz at the Second Mile (Past Executive Director and Executive Vice-President and currently the President and CEO of the Second Mile),” the statement says.”

Despite that ban, which was reviewed by Penn State President Graham Spanier, there was no change in Sandusky’s status with the school, no changes to his access to campus, and no charges were brought.

Spanier had released a statement offering his unconditional support of Curley despite the allegations. However,  Spanier was also mentioned in the grand jury’s indictment for signing off on the course of action by Curley and Schultz in response to their knowledge of an incident involving Sandusky and the young boy in a shower of the school’s football building. According to the indictment, the two administrators did not alert authorities over the matter, but rather told Sandusky he was prohibited from bringing any more children from Second Mile, Sandusky’s charity, into the football building.

Curley, Shultz and Sandusky have all claimed innocence in the case. The former two face arraignment Monday.

In a separate statement, Penn State coach Joe Paterno said he was “shocked” and “saddened” by the allegations. From Paterno’s statement:

“If true, the nature and amount of charges made are very shocking to me and all Penn Staters. While I did what I was supposed to with the one charge brought to my attention, like anyone else involved I can’t help but be deeply saddened these matters are alleged to have occurred.”

However, Paterno was mentioned as part of the chain of communication in the allegation against Sandusky with “Victim 2” — the same incident of which Curley and Schultz were reportedly made aware. According to the allegations, a graduate assistant, who is part of Paterno’s coaching staff, informed Paterno that he witnessed an act of sexual abuse between Sandusky and a young boy. Paterno then reportedly turned that information over to Curley. Paterno did not, however, take any further action afterward — after it was known that authorities would not be brought into the situation.

Ethically, Paterno is in deep water too. Curley and Schultz are now the first ones to go in this ever-developing story. It’s hard to imagine they will be the last.

Iowa TE Noah Fant threatened with a gun while at Omaha park

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Iowa tight end Noah Fant’s return home to Omaha, Nebraska for the summer became a lot more newsworthy than he would have liked this week.

According to a local police report, Des Moines TV station 13WHO reports that Fant was approached by a area man on Tuesday night who pointed a handgun at the sophomore football player and told him to leave the area:

Fant left the park and called police.  He initially told them he didn’t want to press charges but said if police were able to find him he would.  He told officers he believed the suspect lived in a house near the park because he’d seen the man before in the area.

As officers were searching the area near the park they spotted a man matching the description provided by Fant run into a home.  Police were able to talk to the man’s mother who convinced him to come to the door.  Officers reported the man, 23-year-old Matthew Trimble, was heavily intoxicated and placed him in the back of their cruiser for their own safety.  Trimble’s mother says her son told her that he had confronted a group he believed to be smoking marijuana in the park.  She agreed to turn over his handgun to officers.  Police say the gun was loaded with one round in the chamber and 11 in the magazine.

Trimble was later charged with one count of Making a Terroristic Threat with a Firearm after Fant identified that he was in fact the one who pulled the gun on him.

Luckily Fant (or anyone else) was not injured in the incident and everything eventually played out somewhat peacefully. The Omaha native caught nine passes for 70 yards and one touchdown last season for the Hawkeyes and is expected to return to the team later on.

School officials did not release a statement on the incident involving Fant but did tell Landof10 that they were looking into the matter as of Thursday evening.

Northwestern WR Solomon Vault reportedly set to miss 2017 season after surgery

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Northwestern’s task of replacing the Big Ten’s leading receiver from a year ago appeared to take a hit on Friday.

InsideNU reports that wide receiver Solomon Vault will miss the upcoming 2017 season after undergoing “lower body surgery” and will now take a redshirt for the year.

The speedy pass-catcher had 15 receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns last season for the Wildcats and was expected to step up and see a big increase in targets with all-Big Ten receiver Austin Carr off to the NFL. In addition to his duties catching passes from Clayton Thorson, Vault was also Northwestern’s first choice at kick returner after scoring a whopping five touchdowns on returns in the past three years.

Assuming that Vault does indeed take 2017 off, he’ll have just one year left to play in 2018 as a redshirt senior.

The school has not yet confirmed the report about Vault but it certainly seems that the Wildcats’ special teams are set to take a hit going forward if he even misses part of the upcoming campaign for the program. It was already going to be difficult to replace so much production at receiver too and this bit of news will only server to reinforce that point as Northwestern enters their summer workout programs in the next few weeks.

LSU coaches set to learn DL Arden Key’s status for 2017 next week

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LSU is all set to learn whether or not they’ll have the services of one of the nation’s best pass rushers for the 2017 season.

That’s according to Tigers defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, who told reporters on Thursday that the coaching staff should learn defensive lineman Arden Key‘s status for the season next week.

“Arden’s been around, so I’ve seen Arden,” Aranda said, according to AL.com. “Arden’s looking good. We get back together next week with a full staff. … I anticipate at that time that we’ll hear about Arden’s direction and where he’s going and whether he’ll be with us or not.

“I’m very hopeful that he will be.”

Key announced back in February that he would be stepping away from the program this spring “for personal reasons.” It’s been vague as to what those reasons really are or if the edge rusher would even return to the field for LSU in 2017, but it appears we’ll know either way fairly soon. Key himself tweeted last month that he would not be sitting out his upcoming junior year — leading to speculation that he would indeed be back in the lineup for the Tigers.

Aranda’s comments also seem to indicate things moving in that direction but LSU fans and the rest of the opponents on the schedule will apparently have to wait another week in order to get confirmation on Key’s status for the upcoming season.

Lane Kiffin reportedly bringing Jim Harbaugh and Tennessee coaches to work FAU summer camp

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The calendar is just about ready to flip over to June and with that date change comes time to kick off plenty of summer camps for high school recruits around the country.

While all eyes will be on major outings such as USC’s annual Rising Stars Camp or Florida’s Friday Night Lights, there may be a smaller school’s camp that will draw just as much attention. The one in question? Well of course it would be Lane Kiffin’s first summer camp at Florida Atlantic.

While the draw of Kiffin alone is enough to elicit some higher than normal interest, the list of coaches tagging along for the Owls’ June 5th camp is even more eyebrow-raising than that of the hosts. Namely that includes Jim Harbaugh (and the rest of the Michigan staff per the Sun-Sentinelalong with a few familiar faces from the Tennessee staff, among others.

Yes, that’s right, Kiffin’s old employer is all set to buddy up with the ex-Vols coach down in Boca according to a report from FAUOwlAccess.com.

Given recent limits put on satellite camps by the NCAA, it certainly makes plenty of sense for schools like Michigan and Tennessee to send their staffs to work camps at places like FAU given the latter’s close proximity to so many top recruits. Likewise, it’s pretty understandable to see Kiffin bring in some even bigger names to his first summer camp in order to draw attention to the program he took over in the offseason.

Still, it should be more than a little interesting for many fans in the Volunteer State to see a few Tennessee coaches working alongside the man many blame for their program’s slide in recent years. It’s been several years (and coaching stops) since Kiffin left Knoxville so perhaps next month we’ll find out if time really does heal all wounds.

To the surprise of nobody though, FAU hasn’t even played a game under their new head coach and the Owls are already making waves and finding plenty of time in the national spotlight.