Gerald "Jerry" Sandusky

The curious case of a 2012 recruit and Jerry Sandusky

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Of all the stories that have surfaced in the week since the grand jury’s presentment of a 40-count indictment on Jerry Sandusky, this one is right up there with the most mind-boggling.

In an interview with WYFF-TV in Greenville, South Carolina high school linebacker Adam Ah Ching claims that Sandusky visited him earlier this year during spring football drills.  That alleged visit from Sandusky came months after the Greer High School senior claimed to have received recruiting letters from Penn State, presumably from Mike McQueary, the Nittany Lions wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator who is now on paid administrative leave.

“[Sandusky] came to my last spring game going into my senior season. He liked how I moved, laterally, and how gifted I am,” Ah Ching said in regards to the man who was charged with sexually abusing eight children a week ago today.

Ah Ching’s high school coach, Will Young, told the TV station that “he is not aware anyone representing Penn State attended a spring game.” On his Twitter account Friday evening, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review‘s Joe Starkey tweeted that “Greer H.S. athletic director Travis Perry strongly denies that Sandusky was ever at Adam Ah Ching’s practice or games.”  The station writes Ah Ching stands by his story, that Sandusky was in the stands for the spring game at his high school.

Penn State has not returned emails requesting comment on what official or unofficial involvement, if any, Sandusky may have had with this recruit specifically or recruiting in general over the past several years.

The Associated Press subsequently reported that “Sandusky attended a football camp for Polynesian players in Utah over the summer and urged all in attendance to play for Paterno.”  Ah Ching was in attendance at that camp, which included coaches from 30 universities representing, among other conferences, the ACC, Big East and Pac-12.

Ah Ching said during the TV interview that after the scandal broke, he scratched the Nittany Lions off the list of schools he’s considering — he’s reportedly received offers from BYU, Colorado, Georgia Tech, Oregon State, UCLA, and Utah — and added that other recruits are doing the same (which is not necessarily the recruiting reality, incidentally).

“It’s very devastating to have a top-tiered program and have them drop like that,” said Ah Ching. “That really did play a big impact on where I wanted to go.”

For his part, Ah Ching’s father agrees with what his son thinks is a decision to take Penn State out of consideration.

“Do you want to be associated with the mess that’s still going to come down the road here?” Otto Ah Ching said during the interview.

It should be noted that we can find no information that Ah Ching was being recruited, heavily or otherwise, by Penn State other than recruiting letters, with that information coming from the player himself.  It should be further noted that there is no credible evidence whatsoever that any contact Sandusky may have had with Ah Ching came under the direction of the Nittany Lions football program.

Sandusky wrapping himself in the Penn State name, though, would not exactly qualify as a shocking development given his emeritus status at the university since leaving the football program in an an official capacity in the late nineties.

The State of Pennsylvania’s investigation into Sandusky’s alleged rapes of multiple children, including at least one that occurred on the campus, began in 2009.  School officials, including then-head coach Joe Paterno and in-limbo athletic director Tim Curley, testified in front of a grand jury in January regarding the allegations.

Sandusky had maintained an office in the Lasch football building and use of any facility on the Penn State campus since his retirement in 1999.  Three days after his arrest, it was reported that he was seen working out in the football facility’s weight room multiple times in the week leading up to the multi-count indictment.  He was finally banned from the campus after being charged.

In 2007, five years after being witnessed by McQueary sodomizing a 10-year-old boy, Sandusky was “selected to be the featured speaker at the commencement ceremony for Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development”, Starkey was quoted as relaying during a radio interview this week.

(Tip O’ the Cap: Charleston City PaperSportsByBrooks)

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.