LaVar Arrington ‘moved to tears’ over Sandusky allegations

48 Comments

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.

Iowa LB Aaron Mends to miss extended time with injury

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Talk about a hard-luck story.

After never starting a game at Iowa, Aaron Mends (pictured, blocking punt) had earned a starting job at outside linebacker during practice this spring.  With football being the cruel mistress that it can be at times, the Hawkeyes announced Friday night that Mends “will miss an extended period of time due to injury.” The program offered no details as to the specific nature of the injury, although it’s believed to involve the knee.

According to the school’s release, the fifth-year senior suffered the injury during the final week of Iowa’s spring drills.

Mends was a three-star member of the Hawkeyes’ 2014 recruiting class.  He was the highest-rated linebacker in Iowa’s class that year.

After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Mends has played in 38 games the past three seasons.  A baker’s dozen of those appearances came during the 2017 season.

Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, James Franklin and Clay Helton among 15 CFB coaches attending NFL Draft

Getty Images
1 Comment

We’re less than a week away from former college players officially finding out their new homes with the start of the 2018 NFL Draft and the excitement is palpable no matter if you’re a Cleveland Browns fan or somebody who dons the cardinal and gold of USC.

Naturally this is a big deal for the players’ former programs as well and their recent head coaches will be taking full advantage of the marketing opportunity to future recruits by stopping by the draft itself at AT&T Stadium for the festivities. The NFL released a list of 14 college football coaches and one recent one on Friday as being confirmed to attend the event and there are a few notable names beyond the big ones we’re used to seeing every year:

In addition, Stanford head coach David Shaw will serve as a draft analyst on NFL Network for a seventh year in a row and even ESPN’s College GameDay is getting involved with a pregame show outside the stadium they are quite familiar with from big games over the years.

Georgia DB Mark Webb tears meniscus in practice but expected back before fall camp

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Georgia’s injury luck this spring isn’t getting much better as the defending SEC champions move toward their annual G-Day spring game over the weekend.

Head coach Kirby Smart confirmed with reporters after Thursday’s practice that sophomore defensive back Mark Webb suffered a knee injury earlier in the week and tore his meniscus. He already had the knee scoped and is expected back before fall camp after the rather minor procedure.

Webb originally landed in Athens as a wideout but made the move to the secondary just as the season was getting going. He appeared in 13 games in 2017, mostly on special teams, but was expected to challenge for one of the starting spots at cornerback heading into the upcoming campaign.

The absence of Webb in the lineup for the final week of spring adds to a growing list of injuries for the team during practice as they do a little bit of roster building toward the future. Receiver Michael Chigbu’s career may be over due to lingering injuries and defensive back Divaad Wilson tore his ACL not long after enrolling this semester.

Safe to say that G-Day on Saturday might not be as physical as Smart and the coaching staff would otherwise like as a result of trying to keep the team healthy as they prepare to head into a big offseason.

Old Dominion announces remodel, expansion plans for S.B. Ballard Stadium

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Old Dominion is making sure the first word in the school’s name is not the first thing you think of when you are playing against the Monarchs, joining a long list of their FBS peers with some significant upgrades for their home venue over the coming years. In plans approved this week by the university, ODU released renderings and an updated timeline on a $65 million remodel of S.B. Ballard Stadium that is set to begin as soon as this summer.

“We are excited to begin Phase 1 reconstruction,” said Greg DuBois, the school’s vice president for administration and finance. “Fan comfort and high-quality amenities are the primary focus of this phase. The project will help us create the type of game-day experience fans want and will set us up for future expansions.”

The stadium, some 81-years-old, will undergo a nearly complete teardown over the next two years in order to transform the place most know as Foreman Field. Both the east and west stands will be demolished and rebuilt, complete with new seating and a new press box. There will naturally be more restrooms and concession stands as part of the plan that includes plenty more bells and whistles for the Conference USA program. Seating is expected to grow beyond 21,000 or so capacity the current venue seats.

While construction will get started in the coming months, the bulk of activity will take place after the 2018 campaign is wrapped up at home and before kickoff of the opener in 2019. The Virginian-Pilot reports that funding will not utilize state funds but that the school is requesting that the legislature approve an added $10 million to the cost structure as a result of rising prices beyond the original $55 million forecasted.

2018 will be just the 10th season for the Monarchs (and fifth in FBS) since the football program was reinstated and it goes without saying that the new digs will be some of the nicest in CUSA when all is said and done. Few programs have been able to successfully navigate the transition as well as ODU has and it seems an updated stadium in the near future is the reward for head coach Bobby Wilder and others in Norfolk.