Arrington

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.

Northwestern remembers Randy Walker 10 years after his passing

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Ten years ago Wednesday, the college football world was rocked by the unexpected and sudden loss of Northwestern coach Randy Walker.

The athletics department produced a touching video tribute to the man who suffered a heart attack at the age of 52, seven years into his tenure in Evanston.

Walker’s death unexpectedly thrust a young former Wildcats linebacker named Pat Fitzgerald into the head coach’s chair.

“I would prefer to be toasting to his longevity right now,” Fitzgerald says in the video.

Walker posted a 37-45 mark at Northwestern, including a surprising 8-4 campaign in 2000.

That followed a successful nine-year run at Miami University, the southwest Ohio school where he was a player.

Report: Ole Miss violations laid out to NCAA by stepfather of Laremy Tunsil

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The Mississippi football program might not find out its NCAA fate very soon, but the rest of the world learned more specifics regarding the accusations the Rebels face Wednesday.

Sports Illustrated published the results of its investigation, including specific allegations levied by a man in the process of getting a divorce from the mother of star offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil.

Lindsey Miller detailed several potentially serious violations involving Tunsil and his family, and SI was able to view some of the information he says he turned over to the NCAA during extensive interviews.

The NCAA’s Notice of Allegations is consistent with Miller’s claims in numerous places, including 12 occasions of free lodging that totaled $2,253. Miller says he told the NCAA those nights were arranged by boosters he met through [Mississippi DL coach Chris] Kiffin, but the NCAA never found that link. Kiffin’s name appears 13 times in the Notice of Allegations, but none of those prove he set Miller up with boosters.

Tunsil was part of a surprisingly star-studded recruiting class in 2013, but head coach Hugh Freeze has consistently defended his program against accusations his recruiting success was thanks to illegal methods.

Freeze, who took over as coach in December 2011, may minimize the NCAA’s case, but nine of the 13 football allegations relate to his tenure there. (Four allegations, including fraudulent ACT scores, occurred under former coach Houston Nutt.) There are four Level I violations under Freeze and a significant Level II failure to monitor charge in which the NCAA says the athletic department and football program failed to monitor Tunsil driving three different loaner cars between August 2014 and June 2015. (That latter allegation is the one Ole Miss is disputing.)

Perhaps complicating matters is the fact Miller went to the NCAA only after having a fallout with Tunsil and his mother, Desiree Polingo, during the summer of 2015.

Polingo denied Miller’s accusations via a statement to SI, and in another statement a lawyer for Tunsil told SI, “You have to consider the source.”

Mississippi has already admitted to 12 of the 13 allegations and self-imposed penalties, but it remains to be seen if the NCAA Committee on Infractions will find the punishment sufficient or more is added.

The full SI story goes into deeper detail about the situations facing not only Ole Miss athletics but also the NCAA enforcement model itself.

NCAA announces common-sense change to bowl selection process

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 26:  Andy Janovich #35 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers jumps over Jayon Brown #12 of the UCLA Bruins during the Foster Farms Bowl at Levi's Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The NCAA Division I council announced 5-7 teams will still have a chance to make a bowl this fall.

They will have to wait until all of the 6-6 teams have been picked, though.

The common sense rule tweak was announced Wednesday.

Nebraska, Minnesota and San Jose State all made bowls last season despite finishing the regular season 5-7, and coincidentally they all won.

In a statement, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who serves as chair of the football oversight committee, said the postseason selection process “makes sense and is fair to the schools and the bowls.”

APR scores will continue to be used to designate which 5-7 teams are eligible to take up the bowl slots left available after all of the 6-6 teams have been selected.

After swelling to 41 games last season, the postseason is not set to expand again until at least the 2020 season as a result of a moratorium on the certification of new bowls was established by the council in April.

NCAA inquires about additional Sandusky victims from Penn State lawsuit

BELLEFONTE, PA - OCTOBER 09: Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky (C) leaves the Centre County Courthouse after being sentenced in his child sex abuse case on October 9, 2012 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. The 68-year-old Sandusky was sentenced to at least 30 years and not more that 60 years in prison for his conviction in June on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, including while he was the defensive coordinator for the Penn State college football team. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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Penn State and Joe Paterno‘s family have already done their part to return the tragic Jerry Sandusky saga to the news this year.

Now the NCAA apparently wants to join in.

The Centre Daily Times reports the college sports governing body has requested information regarding two men allegedly victimized by Sandusky, a long-time Penn State assistant coach, in the 1970s.

Their stories came to light in a court filing from a lawsuit involving Penn State and an insurer. The school tried to collect on a policy to help pay settlements it reached with more than 30 individuals who accused Sandusky of sexually abusing them.

The university tried to recoup money for those settlements from liability insurer Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association, but PMA challenged that in court. The two men’s cases were revealed in an order by Philadelphia Judge Gary Glazer that referenced their cases, years earlier than the 10 Sandusky was convicted of in 2012. One said he told Paterno.

The CDT story does not give any indication the NCAA might want to revisit the sanctions that were handed down in 2012.

Rather, it is looking for defense fodder in a defamation lawsuit filed by the family of Paterno, the legendary Nittany Lions head coach

The estate claims the college sports oversight group defamed the man who helmed the program from 1966 until his firing in 2011 after the Sandusky story broke.

A key point is the NCAA’s acceptance of the findings of the Freeh report, the university-commissioned investigation of the Sandusky scandal, which placed blame on four Penn State leaders, including Paterno, who died six months before it was released. The NCAA then levied historic sanctions on the university, including stripping 110 wins from the Nittany Lions, dropping Paterno from first place in the leaderboard for most wins by a Division 1 coach.

But in new documents, the NCAA says it needs the information about the two claimants to refute the estate’s defamation claims.

Sandusky was convicted in 2012, and some of the sanctions Penn State agreed to accept from the NCAA were gradually lifted in the following years.

While Sandusky reportedly continues to work on getting his convictions overturned, it’s not hard to imagine Sandusky’s victims and plenty of members of the Penn State community would prefer to move on from the tragedy — allowing both time to heal in whatever way is possible.

The same can most likely be said of current coach James Franklin, who took the job two-plus years ago after coach Bill O’Brien endured the brunt of the storm and maintained solid recruiting despite the sanctions.

During the spring, Franklin told CBSSports.com, “This is really year one for us in a lot of ways,” citing a return to having close to a full allotment of scholarships.