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.