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.

Michigan State, Washington round out future schedules with Utah State

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Needing to fill a single spot in some future schedules, both Michigan State and Washington have come calling to the Mountain West for an opponent. Utah State was happy to oblige.

Michigan State will host Utah State on September 1, 2018. The Aggies will travel to Washington on September 19, 2020. For their travels, Utah State will collect $2.9 million between the two games, according to FBScheduels.com ($1.4 million from Michigan State, $1.5 million from Washington).

The Big Ten and Pac-12 each use nine-game conference schedules, leaving three spots open for non-conference games. The Big Ten requires all conference members schedule one game per season against another power conference opponent (the Pac-12 has no such requirement of its members at this time), although exceptions are made. Utah State, as a member of the Mountain West Conference, would not satisfy that requirement for the Big Ten, but the Spartans already have a road game against Arizona State (Pac-12) on the schedule in 2018. Michigan State and Arizona State will play again in 2019 in East Lansing. Michigan State also has future power conference matchups with Notre Dame (2017, 2026, 2027) and Miami (2020, 2021). Michigan State will also play BYU in 2020 in Provo.

Washington has future power conference matchups with Rutgers (2017), Auburn (2018, in Atlanta), and Michigan (2020, 2021). The Huskies will also face Mountain West Competition from Fresno State (2017), Hawaii (2019), and Nevada (2027).

Utah State will face power conference opponents on the road in 2017 (Wisconsin, Wake Forest), 2018 (Michigan State), 2019 (Wake Forest, LSU), 2020 (Washington), and 2021 (Washington State). Utah State will also host Washington State in 2020 as part of a home-and-home deal. Utah State also has an annual series against BYU running through 2020.

Old Dominion hopes to “hit the ground running” on new stadium project

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Some fans of the Old Dominion football program may be getting a little impatient with the progress (or lack of) in the development of the football stadium, but Old Dominion athletic director Wood Selig says things are coming along nicely and progress will start to be seen soon enough.

“Once we get the architects engaged, we’ll figure out what $55 million will buy in 2019 dollars,” Selig said, according to The Virginian-Pilot. “Then we’ll have an idea for how much additional money needs to be raised to support the project.”

Old Dominion is planning on tearing down Foreman Field at the end of the 2018 season and rebuild it with modern seating and amenities. The $55 million project remained on the books in the Virginia budget in February, allowing the university to move ahead with their plans. The first step is finding an architect to take on the job.

Because Old Dominion’s football stadium is among the smallest in the nation and will remain so even after the rebuild and renovations, the entire project is expected to move fairly swiftly once the work actually begins. Old Dominion isn’t building a grand football palace, so any concerns over the lack of updates on the stadium should be calmed.

If nothing else, the concerns raised about the lack of updates on the stadium renovations may just mean Old Dominion has some eager fans excited about the future of the program.

Baylor interim president to Texas senators: “We were not trying to cover up what happened at Baylor”

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Texas senators are taking aim at Baylor University and are hoping to persuade the university to be more open and transparent despite being a private university.

Baylor interim president David Garland faced criticism from senators during a hearing with the Senate Higher Education Committee on Wednesday regarding the coverup of rape accusations found throughout the football program in recent years.

“We were not trying to cover up what happened at Baylor,” Garland said to the committee. Unfortunately for Garland, that was far from enough to sway the senators on the committee from playing nice with him and Baylor University.

I’m sorry, but I don’t buy that for a minute,” Senator Kel Seliger replied, according to The Texas Tribune. “I don’t buy that for a minute. I think that is exactly what was going on.”

The exchange between the interim president at Baylor and the senator came during a hearing regarding a state bill that requires any school receiving more than $5 million in Tuition Equalization Grants from the state to comply with open records and open meetings laws in the state of Texas. Baylor, being a private university, believes it should not have to comply with the bill, which would open up the doors to more information regarding Baylor’s handling of vile accusations within its university and athletics department.

The exchange comes a day after Baylor moved to dismiss a lawsuit claiming 52 rapes over a three-year period occurred at the university.

If you thought the ugliness around the Baylor situation was going to be limited to athletics, you thought wrong. This is clearly a state-wide concern and battle now. And things are always bigger in Texas, right?

A&M-UCLA opener in 2017 moved from Saturday to Sunday

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Grab your calendars as there’s been a change to your opening(ish) weekend college football agenda.

Texas A&M road trip to UCLA is one of a handful of high-profile games that will help launch the 2017 season Labor Day weekend.  The game, which will be played at the famed Rose Bowl, had been originally scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 2.  However, it was announced Wednesday that the game will be pushed back to Sunday, Sept. 3.

The game will kick off at either 7:30 or 8 p.m. ET, with the actual time being determined at a later date.

This year’s game will serve as the back-end of a home-and-home series between the two schools.  The Aggies claimed a 31-24 win over the Bruins in overtime last season in College Station.

The 2017 season will actually commence the weekend of Aug. 26 with five games featuring FBS teams, including Stanford against Rice in Australia and Colorado State opening their new on-campus stadium against Oregon State.  The first full weekend kicks off the following Thursday — Ohio State-Indiana highlights that day’s lean slate — and continues with a handful of games the next day — hello Colorado-Colorado State, Washington-Rutgers and Utah State-Wisconsin among others.

The first full Saturday features the likes of Alabama-Florida State, Florida-Michigan, West Virginia-Virginia Tech, LSU-BYU, Louisville-Purdue, Cal-North Carolina, Maryland-Texas and South Carolina-North Carolina State squaring off Sept. 2.

A&M-UCLA is the only Sunday game, while Tennessee and Georgia Tech will close out the weekend at the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta Labor Day night that Monday.