Federal hearings on Penn State called for by Sen. Casey


Last week, a spokesperson for U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan confirmed that the agency is looking into whether federal laws were violated when Penn State officials failed to act on allegations of the sexual abuse of a child in 2002.

That review came at the behest of Patrick Meehan, a Republican representative to the House whose district includes State College.  Now, a senator from the state is seeking the involvement of his contemporaries as well.

In a letter to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania (pictured) called for Senate hearings into how federal laws may or may not apply to the child-sex abuse scandal, and what can be done at the federal level to prevent something similar from happening in the future.

“The serious nature of these allegations and the evidence on the public record of failure to report by individuals at Penn State warrants an immediate review of the relationship between federal and state reporting requirements on child abuse and neglect under (the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act),” Casey said. “Additionally, the hearing should explore the need to support educational and training requirements for people who come into contact with children to recognize abuse and neglect.”

MSNBC.com notes that Pennsylvania is not one of the 18 states that require all adults to report suspected child abuse.  In the Democratic Senator’s letter, directed to committee chair Barbara Mikulski and ranking committee member Richard Burr, Casey wrote that he was hoping legislation will be drafted that will “ensure that all adults recognize their legal responsibility to report suspected child abuse.”  Casey added that he hopes the legislation “will be introduced in the days ahead.”

Additionally, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce may conduct its own investigation into the scandal at Penn State once Duncan’s department concludes its probe into the matter.

“The committee is monitoring the situation at Penn State carefully and will assess the need for Congressional action after the Department of Education concludes its investigation into the matter,” spokeswoman Alexandra Sollberger told the Patriot-News.

The state of Pennsylvania conducted an investigation into allegations that former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually abused at least eight boys over a 15-year period that began in 1994, and the grand jury returned a 40-count indictment against the alleged pedophile earlier this month.  Investigations at the state and federal level are ongoing, and as many as a dozen more alleged victims have come forward in the past 10 days.

In an interview Monday night, Sandusky once again professed his innocence, as well as buried himself further in the court of public opinion.

NCAA grants South Alabama TE Andrew Reinkemeyer a sixth season

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South Alabama recently received some positive news on the personnel front.

A USA spokesperson (for the university, not the country) confirmed to al.com that Andrew Reinkemeyer has been granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA. The tight end will use that additional season of eligibility, his last, to play for the Jaguars in 2018.

The decision to grant Reinkemeyer an extra season of eligibility was seemingly a no-brainer.

As a true sophomore at a Kansas junior college, Reinkemeyer suffered an injury in the 2015 season opener and didn’t play again that year. After transferring to USA, Reinkemeyer missed the entire 2016 season because of the torn Achilles tendon that cost him most of the previous season at the JUCO.

Finally healthy last season, Reinkemeyer caught 10 passes for 75 yards for the Sun Belt Conference program. He was the leading receiver amongst Jaguars tight ends in 2017.

North Carolina formally announces hiring of ex-Tennessee RBs coach Robert Gillespie

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The latest addition to Larry Fedora‘s North Carolina coaching staff has been confirmed.

Following up on reports that surfaced earlier this month. UNC announced Wednesday that Fedora has hired Robert Gillespie. While not confirmed by the football program in the release, it’s expected Gillespie will serve as the Tar Heels running backs coach, a position he’s held for most of his coaching career.

“We are excited to welcome Robert and his family to Chapel Hill,” Fedora said in a statement. “He has a well-earned reputation as a great offensive coach and recruiter, and he has a wealth of experience working with running backs at a very high level. We are happy to have him join our staff as we get into the bulk of spring practice.”

Gillespie fills the hole created by the departure of Gunter Brewer, who left as the Tar Heels’ wide receivers coach for a job with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month. It’s expected that Luke Paschall, currently the running backs coach, will assume Brewer’s role with receivers.

Gillespie, a former Florida running back, spent the past five seasons as the running backs coach at Tennessee. He was originally retained by new UT head coach Jeremy Pruitt before parting ways with the football program shortly after National Signing Day.

In addition to UT, Gillespie has spent time on coaching staffs at South Carolina (2006-08), Oklahoma State (2009-10) and West Virginia (2011-12). He was the running backs coach at each of those stops.

Report: Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa’s thumb injury ‘just a sprain’

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It appears Alabama can breathe a sigh of relief on the injury front.

Tuesday, after the reigning national champions had put the finishing touches on its first practice of the spring, Nick Saban confirmed that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had suffered an unspecified injury to the thumb on his LEFT (throwing) hand.  It was expected that the quarterback would travel to Birmingham for further evaluation of the injury.

While there’s been nothing official yet from the football program or head coach, al.com, citing unnamed sources, writes that the injury “is believed to just be a sprain and he should be able to return to practice in at least a limited capacity at some point soon.”

Until then, Jalen Hurts will take the majority of the reps as the Crimson Tide continues its march through their 15 spring practice sessions.

The rising true junior Hurts, who has started every game but one the past two seasons, and the rising true sophomore Tagovailoa, the national championship game hero who replaced Hurts at halftime of the overtime win, are engaged in a competition for the starting job that, barring a post-spring transfer, is expected to extend into summer camp.  That said, most observers outside of the UA football program fully expect Tagovailoa, because of his proficiency in the passing game relative to Hurts, to earn the job at some point before the Tide opens the defense of their title against Louisville in Orlando Sept. 1.

John Calipari takes page out of Nick Saban’s playbook by warning of (rat) poison

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One’s a dot, two’s a line and three’s a trend as the old adage go and it appears rat poison for college players is now a burgeoning trend.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday ahead of Kentucky’s NCAA tournament game against Kansas State, Wildcats coach John Calipari took a page straight out of Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin’s playbook by warning his team of drinking the media “poison” the past few days.

“My challenge is making sure these kids don’t drink that poison. That poison being we have an easy road. There are no easy roads in this tournament,” said Calipari. “If they drink that poison, we’ll be done Thursday. If they don’t drink the poison, it’ll be a dog fight Thursday — let’s see what happens. Sometimes you wonder why they’re (the media) trying to paint that picture with my team — probably because they’re young and they know they don’t know better.”

Ok then.

At least the term Calipari is using isn’t out of thin air given that Saban infamously ranted on his team buying into the media’s discussion of being a good team as “rat poison” last season. For the record though, the rant by the basketball coach was prompted by a question that didn’t at all involve Kentucky having an easy path to the Final Four but was rather about team and individual goals.

It’s not often you think of Saban as a trendsetter but it seems he was certainly ahead of the curve when it came to labeling media talk as poison.