Testimonies by Paterno, Curley, Schultz read in hearing

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Earlier today, we recapped the testimony by Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary, a key figure in the Jerry Sandusky case who, in 2002, allegedly witnessed an act of sexual abuse by Sandusky on a young boy.

While McQueary’s account of the alleged incident has changed on more than one occasion, the testimonies of former coach Joe Paterno, athletic director Tim Curley and recently retired VP of Business and Finance Gary Schultz (both are facing perjury charges) provided explicit, and very disheartening, information on how the alleged incident was handled by PSU administration. Below is a recap of those testimonies.

(A huge, huge thank you to Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror for the Twitter updates. Follow him at @corygiger)

Paterno’s testimony was read first. The meeting between McQueary and Paterno after McQueary allegedly witnessed the sexual abuse remains one of the more crucial, yet vague, components of this scandal.

“He said he had something that he wanted to discuss. I said come on over to the house,” Paterno said in the testimony. “He had seen a person, not an older but a mature person who was fondling or whatever you might call it.

“It was a sexual nature.”

Okay, so Paterno and McQueary agree that the incident was indeed sexual.

“I didn’t go any further than that,” Paterno said of the conversation. “I did tell Mike, ‘Mike, you did what was right. You told me.'”

But what Paterno said next was the bombshell of the testimony. On what his immediate reaction was after learning of the incident from McQueary:

“I ordinarily would have called people right away, but it was a Saturday morning and I didn’t want to interfere with their weekends.”

Curley, whose testimony would be read next, claimed he was contacted on Sunday, the next day, by Paterno.

“I said, ‘Hey, we’ve got a problem,’ and I explained the problem to him,” Paterno said of his conversation with Curley. “I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Mr. Curley, and I thought he would look into it.

“I do not know of anything else that Jerry would be involved with.”

That was the end of the Paterno testimony; next was Curley.

The athletic director said that he and Schultz went over and met with Paterno following the coach’s meeting with McQueary. Exactly when that meeting was on the timeline wasn’t explicitly stated.

“The individual [McQueary] heard and saw, I guess, two people in the shower,” Curley said of what he was informed. “The individual was uncomfortable.”

Curley then said he met with McQueary.

“I can’t recall the specific conversation with Mike and exactly how he said it,” Curley said. “My recollection was that they were kind of wrestling, there was body contact and they were horsing around.”

When asked if McQueary provided any explicit details, such as if there was any penetration that he witnessed, Curley said “absolutely not.”

Curley and Schultz then shared the information of that meeting to former PSU president Graham Spanier, who, in turn, made the recommendation to report the incident to Second Mile. The Grand Jury’s summary of the Sandusky scandal states that Curley did indeed inform Second Mile CEO Jack Raykovitz of the 2002 incident.

Curley, before reporting what he had heard to Raykovitz, says he met with Sandusky.

“[I] told him that we were uncomfortable with the information,” Curley said.

Sandusky, according to Curley’s testimony, did not initially admit to being in shower with boy, but later admitted that he did.

“I indicated to him… he was not to use our facilities with young people,” Curly testified, also acknowledging that there was no practical way to enforce that “punishment”. “I was the one that came forward to say that this is the appropriate action, that we need to report it to The Second Mile.”

Beyond that, Curley said he did not contact the police — that was his own decision — nor did he attempt to find out the identity of the alleged victim because he didn’t think the incident was sexual in nature (um, read the above paragraph).

“I didn’t think that it was a crime at the time.”

Curley added that he did not know about the 1998 investigation of Sandusky.

“I don’t remember any reports to me that it were sexual in nature,” Curley said.

That was the end of Curley’s testimony. Next was Schultz’s. It was particularly damning and thoroughly depressing.

Schultz testified that doesn’t remember Paterno’s exact words about the shower incident when he met with the coach along with Curley… that it was spoken of “in a very general way… that maybe Jerry might have grabbed the young boy’s genitals.

“The allegations came across as not that serious,” continued Schultz. “There was no indication that it was [criminal]… Not all inappropriate conduct is criminal.

“I can imagine instances where an adult man would be in a shower with young boys.”

When asked if he thought it was criminal for a man to grab a boy’s genitals, Schultz replied “I don’t know.”

When asked to describe the definition of sexual conduct, Schultz replied “I don’t know.”

However, Schultz agreed that with the assessment that no adult male should grab the genitals of a young boy.

“I don’t recall him telling us what he observed specifically.” said Schultz of McQueary’s description of the alleged incident (although the term “horsing around” was thrown around quite a bit).  Schultz added that no one went back to McQueary and asked for specifics.

Schultz, like Curley, was asked about the 1998 investigation of Sandusky. However, unlike Curley, Schultz claimed to have a recollection of at least some information involving the case.

“I thought it had some basis of inappropriate behavior but without any specifics at all,” Schultz said.

Schultz did not meet with Sandusky over any of the alleged incidents, nor did he seek out the 1998 report after hearing about the 2002 incident.

“I had the impression that Tim did follow through [with Child Protective Services]” on making sure Sandusky couldn’t bring kids to football facilities. “The incident in 2002, again, I recall that it was also turned over to the same agency for investigation” as ’98 case.

“As far as I know the university asked the other agency to follow up, as they did in ’98.”

Schultz added that he agreed with Curley’s recommendation for how things should be handled after hearing about 2002 incident, and like Curley, did not attempt to discover the identity of Victim 2.

When asked if there was anything strange about Sandusky retirement, Schultz replied “No, I candidly have recollections that Coach Paterno and Jerry had reached a point where Coach Paterno felt it was necessary to make a coaching change.”

NCAA considering changing transfer rules

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The NCAA’s Division I Council Transfer Working Group on Wednesday unleashed a set of suggestions that could either radically change or slightly tweak the way transfers are handled in college sports’ highest level.

Let’s start with the (possible) radical changes. The working group is considering a suggestion that would make all transfers immediately eligible, provided they hit certain academic benchmarks:

Establishing uniform transfer rules — which would require everyone to follow the same rules regardless of the sport they play — was a topic that the group agrees will likely take longer to resolve. While most members agreed the concept of uniformity would be positive, what the specific rules would be is less clear.

Members discussed two models: One model would require every transfer student to sit out a year to acclimate to a new school; the other would allow all transfers to play immediately provided they present academic credentials that predict graduation at the new institution.

Walking back from that, the working group did recommend changing the transfer process to where players seeking new destinations would no longer need their former school’s approval. Considering the NCAA formally argues its athletes are merely students, and there is no limit on normal students receiving financial aid upon transferring to a new institution, this change should pass without a word to the contrary. But, you know, the NCAA is the NCAA.

Group members believe financial aid should not be tied to whether a school grants permission to contact. They want to know if others in the membership feel the same way. The group also agreed that enhancements should be made to the formal process students use to notify a school of their desire to transfer. The group will seek input from the membership on appropriate enhancements.

To curb a possible spike in transfers, the working group suggested upping penalties for coaches caught tampering with scholarship athletes at other schools.

The group expressed interest in increasing the consequences for coaches who break recruiting rules to seek out undergraduate and potential graduate students. The working group will ask the Committee on Infractions and enforcement staff to review the concept and provide feedback.

Finally, the working group suggested adding academic accountability to the graduate transfer market by either making graduate transfers count against the 85-man scholarship limit for two years or tweaking the APR formula to up the impact graduate transfers’ academic progress has in the system.

One potential approach could be to require that the financial aid provided to graduate students count against a team’s scholarship limit for two years, regardless of whether the graduate student stays for two years or leaves when their eligibility is complete.

Another concept for increasing that accountability is through the Academic Progress Rate calculation, specifically the eligibility and retention points for which a student would be held accountable as they pursue a graduate degree. The Committee on Academics discussed the calculation and the working group plans to continue conversations on the topic.

“I am thrilled with the great progress made this week, and I’m confident we can move forward with some initial concepts for consideration in this year’s legislative cycle,” South Dakota State AD and working group chair Justin Sell said in a statement. “We are working toward academics-based, data-driven decisions that benefit student-athletes, teams and schools.”

Any changes proposed by the working group are merely suggestions. The earliest any proposals could be voted on would be April 2018.

Michigan WR Grant Perry pleads guilty to felony resisting of a police officer

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Michigan wide receiver Grant Perry on Wednesday pleaded guilty to resisting of a police officer in a Lansing, Mich., court, according to the Lansing State Journal. The charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

Perry also pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of assault and battery, but did so to avoid two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and one alcohol charge.

The case stemmed from an October incident in which Perry was accused of groping a female outside an East Lansing bar. (The Wolverines were off that weekend.) A Michigan State student said Perry “started licking his lips and smiling and pushing his chest up against her chest” before groping her.

Police were called to the scene, and Perry attempted to escape.

“When (police) arrived on scene, we tried to grab onto him, and we had to chase him,” East Lansing P.D. spokesman Lt. Scott Wriggelsworth said at the time. “In the midst of that fracas, one of our officers suffered a minor hand injury.”

Prosecutor Christina Johnson said Wednesday she has not ruled out sentencing Perry under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, which, pending Perry’s completion of certain requirements, would wipe Wednesday’s conviction from his record by his 24th birthday.

In the meantime, Perry has been suspended by Michigan but has since resumed practicing with the team. Jim Harbaugh has said Perry will not play for the Wolverines until his case is resolved, which it will be by the time Michigan opens the season against Florida on Sept. 2. Sentencing for the case is set for Aug. 2.

Eastern Michigan extends Chris Creighton through 2022

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Eastern Michigan has extended head coach Chris Creighton through 2022, the school has announced.

“I feel as though we have made progress all the way through,” Creighton said in a statement. “The vision of making the football program a real source of pride for the department, the university, the alumni, we are making progress, but that vision has not been realized yet.

“So I’m really excited about our program and the Championship Building Plan. There is a lot of momentum going on right now.”

Creighton is 10-27 in three seasons as the Eagles’ head coach, but that mark obscures the progress EMU made in his third season. After starting 3-21, Eastern Michigan rocketed to a 7-6 mark in 2016 with a Bahamas Bowl trip, the school’s first postseason appearance since 1987.

The new deal raises Creighton’s base salary by 2.5 percent, according to MLive. He made a total of $434,840 in 2016, according to the USA Today coaching salary database.

Beer sales approved for Marshall home football games

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Let the beer taps start flowing at the next home Marshall football game. The University announced today that beer sales at Joan C. Edwards Stadium have been approved by the Board of Governors starting this fall.

This is the latest decision in an evolving stance on alcohol sales at Marshall. Last year, the school began expanding the sale of alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine from the Big Green Room to chairback seating. Now, the majority of fans attending a football game in Huntington will be able to purchase alcohol. The expanded alcohol sales plan will help to build the infrastructure of Marshall’s facilities moving forward.

“This is a continuation of our goal to provide more amenities for our fan base that makes attending Marshall Football games a more enjoyable experience,” Director of Athletics Mike Hamrick said in a released statement. “We have played a lot of winning football in our stadium over the past five years and we have great opponents such as Pittsburgh, Boise State, North Carolina State, and Navy just to name a few over the next five years, and it is imperative that the investment in our fan experience matches our football brand.”

Marshall will keep some sections of the football stadium free of alcohol for those fans who wish not to be near the booze-loaded fans.

The announcement was coupled with some other stadium news regarding the future renovation plans for the football stadium. Construction on the west side of the stadium should be completed by August, in time for the start of the 2017 college football season. The southwest side of the stadium will have a new retail location for fans.