LaVar Arrington ‘moved to tears’ over Sandusky allegations

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As the fallout from one of the worst — check that, the worst – scandal to ever hit college football continues, former Penn State players who were coached by Jerry Sandusky are struggling to come to grips with the child sex abuse allegations against the once-iconic assistant.

One of those players, LaVar Arrington, also happens to host his own radio show in the Washington D.C.  area.  On Monday, the former All-American linebacker took to the airwaves for what appeared to be one part discussion on the issue, one part therapy session in an attempt to make sense of a senseless crime and a reprehensible coverup.

“I always saw [Sandusky] giving back, I always saw him as being a part of the community, I always saw him working with kids and caring about them,” Arrington said by way of the Patriot-News.

“So when I heard about this information, when all of these allegations hit … it totally, and when I say totally, it totally took me off-guard. I was moved to tears. I looked at my children.”

Arrington’s final season at Penn State was 1999, which coincided with Sandusky’s last year on Joe Paterno‘s coaching staff, retiring after 31 seasons so that he could focus on running the children’s charity he had founded — and allegedly used  to come into contact with his eight victims — two decades prior.  One of Arrington’s teammates was Mike McQueary, who the Patriot-News named as the then-graduate assistant who, per the grand jury’s indictment, witnessed Sandusky engaged in anal sex with a 10-year-old in the shower of the Lasch Football Building in 2002.

While discussing the role of the football program in this mess, Arrington seemed to be struggling with the idea that McQueary, who is currently the Nittany Lions’ wide receivers coach, did nothing in the moment to stop Sandusky’s alleged sexual assault of a minor male.

“I know Mike [McQueary]. Mike was my quarterback,” Arrington said.

 “I know him. So I’m trying to understand, how do you, and again, maybe he felt as though it would be better suited if it came from Coach Paterno. … I’m going to tell you right now, I gotta stop that [assault]. 

 “Even if it’s, ‘Coach [Sandusky], I gotta stop you. …  I gotta take this to Coach Paterno right now’. This is not good, oh my gosh, this is not good.”

Arrington added: “The natural instinct that would kick in, if I saw a child being violated, and I don’t care who they are, I don’t care who the person is that would be doing that. If you’re an adult and you are violating a child, all reputations, all everything, all that goes out the door. 

“If that was Coach Paterno, like, ‘Coach, what are you doing? … You gotta come, you gotta come sit your [butt] down right here, I’m calling the cops’.”

It should be noted that McQueary took the information, after discussing what he had allegedly witnessed with his father, to Paterno, who passed what was he was told by the assistant up the administrative chain of command.

How the administrators, from athletic director Tim Curley all the way up to president Graham Spanier, handled the information is the saddest part of the whole sordid story, outside of the heinous crimes for which Sandusky has been charged.  Why Paterno, one of the most powerful and respected men in the state of Pennsylvania, did not go to the authorities with the information when it became clear his bosses had decided to keep it in house, under the rug, remains unclear.  Why McQueary, as eloquently argued by Arrington, did nothing in the moment to prevent a young boy from being further sodomized is likely only answerable by the assistant himself.

At the very least, individuals from the coaching staff on up through the upper levels of the university were aware that a naked 50-something man was seen in a shower on the university’s campus with a naked 10-year-old boy.  That wasn’t enough to bring the authorities into the loop, especially after a similar on-campus incident of which the administration was aware had taken place in 1998?

“Innocent or not, this is just … it’s just bad,” Arrington said

Paterno will conduct his weekly teleconference with reporters Tuesday, although a release sent out Monday evening by the school stated “that primary focus of the teleconference is to answer questions related to Penn State’s Senior Day game with Nebraska this Saturday.”  Yeah, good luck with that; Paterno will be peppered with questions about the scandal as he’s the face of the university.

And that’s another sad, sordid facet of this embarrassing mess: where is Graham Spanier?  Why is an 84-year-old man the only face of a situation that’s tainted an entire institution?  Where is Spanier’s leadership?  Outside of an stomach-turning statement of unconditional support for Curley and another top school official after they were charged with perjury and failure to report abuse, Spanier has been unavailable, for all intents and purposes in hiding as he allows his head football coach to take the slings and arrows of the local and national media.

Leadership failed those eight victims through their inaction and active coverup — allegedly — nine years ago.  Now, nearly a decade later, that same leadership is failing just as miserably.  Failing the alumni, failing current students and faculty, failing the moral compass on which the university has prided itself all these years.

May no act of ours bring shame
To one heart that loves thy name,
May our lives but swell thy fame,
Dear old State, dear old State. 

That’s the final stanza of the school’s alma mater.  Thanks to Spanier and Curley and the like, an edit is in order.

Drag racing accident leads to arrest for Mississippi State commit

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Mississippi State commit Nathaniel Watson has gotten himself into some legal trouble before his arrival at Mississippi State. Watson, currently a high school senior, was charged with assault first degree and a handful of traffic violations following a traffic accident earlier this month. Another student from Watson’s high school was arrested for reckless endangerment and other traffic violations as well. The two are accused of drag racing.

“The accident occurred after Tyrone Davis, also a student at [Maplesville High School], lined up in front of the school with his vehicle along with Nathaniel Watson’s vehicle for a race, witnesses stated that they lined up side by side and floored it, and both vehicles were squalling their tires and fishtailing up the highway heading into town,” according to an Maplesville Police Department press release (via The Clanton Advertiser). “As the racing vehicles topped a hill, an oncoming car caused Nathaniel Watson Jr. to swerve and lose control striking a power pole, cutting it in half and knocking power out to portions of Maplesville.”

A passenger in Watson’s vehicle suffered a crushed femur, fractured pelvis, a broken right arm and internal injuries. Neither vehicle involved in the accident was insured. Watson currently awaits a date in court in a county court. There has been no update or comment from Mississippi State’s football program or head coach Joe Moorehead about Watson or his status with the football program at this time.

Watson signed with Mississippi State on February 7. The wide receiver and two-sport athlete signed with Mississippi State over Auburn.

NCAA rule prevents Penn State football players from participating in THON activity

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This weekend is the annual THON dance marathon at Penn State, which has traditionally done wonders in racking up donations to help fight pediatric cancer. This year, however, the NCAA rulebook is getting in the way of one of the events members of Penn State’s football team typically participate in.

A message from Penn State informed media members there would be no media availability for football players at the THON event at the Lasch Building due to an NCAA rule regarding time restrictions in the offseason.

“We were informed this afternoon that due to the NCAA Time Management regulations, our current student-athletes are not permitted to participate in the THON event at the Lasch Building nor conduct media interviews [today] as it is a mandatory day off for the team,” a statement from Penn State Associate Director of Athletic Communications Kris Petersen said.

Members of Penn State’s football team have typically spent part of the day interacting with kids benefitting from THON’s mission, but that has tended to overlap with offseason days already scheduled through the athletics department for the football program. Because this was a scheduled day off for the football program, players are not permitted to take part in any organized activity while representing the football team. Although, one wonders just how far the NCAA would have been willing to challenge Penn State on this infraction in the event there was a conflict.

Players on the team can still participate and appear at the main event in the Bryce Jordan Center, and a couple already have along with head coach James Franklin.

Georgia football coaches all getting well-deserved raises

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File this one under stories that should have been expected from a mile away. The football staff at Georgia, following up on an SEC title and appearance in the College Football Playoff national championship game, are getting bumps in pay. As a whole, the assistant coaching staff under head coach Kirby Smart will be paid roughly $2 million more than the staff received a year ago, according to a report from Seth Emerson of Dawg Nation.

Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker will see the biggest pay raise with of $900,000 to bump his total pay up to $1.5 million. That would make him one of the top assistant coaches in assistant coaching salaries. Based off last year’s USA Today salary database, Tucker would be the fifth highest-paid assistant coach, and that may even be higher now given some of the offseason changes in the assistant coaching pool. Last year, four assistant coaches received a total pay of at least $1.5 million, and three of them were in the SEC (LSU’s Dave Arranda and Matt Canada, and Texas A&M’s John Chavis; Clemson’s Brent Venables was the outlier).

Keeping in line with another growing trend when it comes to power conference programs and how much money is budgeted for the football staff, Georgia will give strength and conditioning coordinator Scott Sinclair a $150,000 raise from his previous contract of $300,000.

What has not been finalized, publicly at least, is what the future holds for the contract of Smart. After a wildly successful season, Smart is expected to receive a raise as well as Georgia continues to build something special under his leadership after just two seasons. Smart was paid a base salary of $3.75 million last year, according to USA Today’s salary database, which made him the 9th highest-paid coach in the SEC in 2017. That is fair, considering Smart was a first-time head coach and other coaches in the conference had more head coaching experience, but Smart has quickly proven himself among his peers in the conference and is likely to move up the SEC coaching salary ranking quite quickly. Nick Saban (Alabama) and now Jimbo Fisher (Texas A&M) may still be on another playing field in terms of salary, but Smart should manage to move up closer to the high-end of the SEC salary spectrum.

Purdue raises $388,000 in beer and wine sales at football games

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Around the nation, college football attendance took a downward trend, but the Big Ten was the rare conference to see an increase in attendance. At Purdue, not only did more fans attend games in the first season under new head coach Jeff Brohm, but Purdue saw a revenue surplus fueled by the expanded sale of alcoholic beverages at football games.

According to The Journal & Courier, Purdue athletic department recorded $567,000 in gross revenue, of which $388,000 was generated from the sale of beer and wine last fall at football games in Ross-Ade Stadium. It was the first time alcohol sales had been expanded to the entire football stadium, as opposed to limited offerings in premium sections of the stadium.

“In general, it was very positive and it added to the game day experience. Fans responded to it,” athletic director Mike Bobinski said. “We’ve talked to our concessionaire group (Levy Restaurants) about how we can improve the operation so we don’t create bottlenecks and long lines that cause people to miss extended periods of the game. It was a really good start.”

The success of expanded alcoholic beverages at football games at Purdue continues a growing trend of alcoholic sales at athletic events around the country and will only help to encourage other schools to explore similar options if they have not already. Ten schools in the Big Ten already offer alcohol sales to fans at football games, but Purdue is just one of four to currently offer the sales throughout the majority of their football stadium.

The games that saw the most amount of money spent on alcohol at a Purdue home football game were the Michigan and Indiana games, with $88,341 and $98,223 spent on alcohol, respectively. Bottoms up, indeed.

The other chunk of revenue that helped pad Purdue’s budget sheet was a season-opening game in Indianapolis against Louisville. The game was played in Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Indianapolis Colts, and each school received a check for $805,267.