Mike McQueary

McQueary to file whistleblower suit against Penn State

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The legal ramifications for Penn State stemming from the Jerry Sandusky child-sex abuse scandal continues six months after the ex-defensive coordinator’s arrest, with another former assistant on Joe Paterno‘s coaching staff setting in motion a lawsuit against the university.

The Centre Daily Times reported Tuesday evening that Mike McQueary has begun the process of filing what’s described by the paper as a whistleblower lawsuit.  The Daily Times wrote that “[t]he attorney for McQueary filed a writ of summons for a civil case in county court today”, which serves as notice to the university that they are being sued.

Because of its designation as a whistleblower lawsuit, the paper notes, McQueary will be seeking damages outside normal arbitration limits.

The specifics of the suit, including the amount of monetary damages McQueary will be seeking, are unclear at this time.

Early last year, McQueary testified in front of a grand jury investigating allegations made against Sandusky by multiple alleged victims who were underage at the time of the sexual assaults, claiming that he witnessed some type of incident involving a naked Sandusky and a naked 10-year-old boy in a Lasch football building shower on the PSU campus in 2002 (more on that date in a bit).

After speaking to his father from a phone in the football building immediately following the alleged assault, McQueary and his dad took the information to Paterno the following day, with then-athletic director Tim Curley, former vice president Gary Schultz — whose job also included serving as head of the campus police department — and former president Graham Spanier also informed of the alleged assault.  How those PSU officials handled the allegations led directly to the firing of Paterno and Spanier, as well as charges against Curley and Schultz.

McQueary was placed on administrative leave shortly after the allegations came to light last November.  The former wide receivers coach remains on the payroll at Penn State, the Patriot-News confirmed.  It had previously been hinted that federal whistleblower laws prevented the university from cutting ties with McQueary.

In other news related to the Sandusky case, which is scheduled to go to trial June 5, and also involving McQueary, the Patriot-News reported this morning that a judge has changed the date of the alleged sexual assault in PSU’s football building that we mentioned above.

According to the paper, the “[c]riminal paperwork in the case against Sandusky no longer says that the alleged crime happened in March 2002. Instead, Judge John Cleland allowed prosecutors to say it happened Feb. 9, 2001.”

McQueary had previously stated he witnessed the incident prior to the start of spring break in 2002.

The attorneys for Curley and Schultz pounced on the change, saying in a statement that “[n]ow, it is clear that Mike McQueary was wrong in so adamantly insisting that the incident happened the Friday before Spring Break in 2002.”  McQueary’s credibility in recalling and recounting the events of that night has already been called into question in the past.

The statement ended with the attorneys claiming one charge against their clients will be dropped on a technicality.

“Whether or not Mr. McQueary’s insistence was the result of faulty memory, or questionable credibility, there is no dispute that the statute of limitations has expired on (the failure to report charge), and it will be dismissed.”

Both men have been charged with failure to report and perjury, the latter stemming from their appearance in front of the grand jury.

An attorney not involved in the litigation told the Associated Press that the change in date should have no impact on the Sandusky case.  Maybe.

“If all the other facts match up to be identical, I think it’s just an error without any harm for the prosecution,” Scranton defense lawyer Joseph D’Andrea told the AP. “However, if there are other inconsistencies, it gives the defense a reason to create some doubt about the credibility, sincerity, honesty and true recollection of what McQueary had to say.”

A gag order has been issued by the judge presiding over the Sandusky case, so neither prosecutors nor defense attorneys will comment on today’s developments.

ECU transfer Kurt Benkert wins Virginia’s starting QB job

In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 East Carolina quarterback Kurt Benkert rolls out to pass during NCAA college football practice in Greenville, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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Four months ago, Kurt Benkert was one the losing end of a quarterback competition at East Carolina.  Fastforward to today, and he’s now the trigger man in a Power Five offense.

First-year Hoos head coach Bronco Mendenhall announced Wednesday that Benkert will start the season opener against Richmond.  Benkert had been involved in a competition that included returning starter Matt Johns and Texas/Arizona transfer Connor Brewer.

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Benkert came to the Cavaliers as a graduate transfer, but is not a one-year stop-gap as he has two years of eligibility remaining.

Named the Pirates’ starter in early August of 2015, Benkert sustained a right knee injury a couple of weeks later that knocked him out for the entire season.  Blake Kemp took over and kept a stranglehold on the starting job through spring practice this year, triggering Benkert’s decision to move on.

Benkert has attempted 10 passes in his collegiate career, all in 2014.

In starting all 12 games for the Cavaliers last season, Johns’ 2,810 passing yards were third in school history while his 20 touchdowns were tied for fourth.  His 17 interceptions, though, were the most of any FBS quarterback in 2015.

Cassius Peat granted release by Mich. St., appears headed to JUCO

COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 15:  A Michigan State Spartans helmet on the bench during a college football game against the Maryland Terrapins at Byrd Stadium on November 15, 2014 in College Park, Maryland.  The Spartans won 37-15.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
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Earlier this month, Mark Dantonio stated that Michigan State was giving Cassius Peat “an opportunity to work on his academics and get himself in order” as his status with the program was “in flux.”

A week or so later?  He gone.

MSU confirmed Wednesday that Peat has been granted a release from his scholarship and will transfer from the Spartans.  And, in fact, the defensive lineman may have already found a new home, one at the junior college level.

Peat, initially a UCLA commit, was a three-star 2015 recruit who was rated as the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Arizona.  He took a redshirt as a true freshman, and had been listed as the No. tackle heading into summer camp.

However, according to mlive.com, Peat did not report for camp amidst his academic issues.

Ex-Oregon St. DB goes home to LaTech as grad transfer

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Running back Justin Davis #22 of the USC Trojans is defended by safety Cyril Noland-Lewis #17 of the Oregon State Beavers in the second half at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 27, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. USC defeated Oregon State 35-10.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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A week after transferring from Oregon State, Cyril Noland-Lewis has found a new home that happens to also double as his hometown.

The Ruston News Star, among others, has reported that Noland-Lewis is transferring into the Louisiana Tech football program.  As he is coming to Tech as a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play for the Bulldogs in 2016, his final season of eligibility.

The defensive back, who went to high school in Ruston, was at the Bulldogs’ practice Tuesday as Tech continues preparations for the season opener Sept. 3 against Arkansas.

Noland-Lewis started 10 games for the Beavers last season.  Six of those starts came as a safety, the others as the nickel corner.  OSU moved Noland-Lewis to cornerback this offseason, where he ultimately found himself buried on the depth chart in summer camp.

The 6-0, 198-pound fifth-year senior, who began his OSU career as a linebacker, played in a total of 37 games during his time in Corvallis.

Tyler Rodgers, NMSU’s starting QB, arrested on battery charge

BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Tyler Rogers #18 of the New Mexico State Aggies drops back to pass against the LSU Tigers during the first quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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It’s not been a good day for a couple of starting quarterbacks at Group of Five programs.

The Las Cruces Sun-News has reported that New Mexico State’s Tyler Rogers turned himself in last Friday on a warrant that had been issued for him Aug. 14.  The junior was booked on one count of misdemeanor charge of battery against a household member.

The alleged victim is Rogers’ girlfriend. A verbal altercation at a party allegedly turned physical in a vehicle later on. When police arrived, the woman, who was initially crying, “downplayed the incident and said that it wasn’t really anything and that the altercation did not get physical and didn’t consider Mr. Rogers grabbing her arm as being a physical altercation.”

The woman decided against completing a domestic violence supplement report, and, according to the Sun-News, it’s unclear if the woman is cooperating with police.

“I was very disappointed in hearing the news but we are in the information gathering stage,” NMSU athletic director Mario Moccia said in a statement. “These are allegations that we take very seriously and we look forward to getting as much detail as possible so the university can be informed and the athletic department can make an informed decision moving forward.”

Because “it is a misdemeanor, there isn’t a suspension coming forth right now,” head coach Doug Martin said.

Rogers has started 15 games the past two seasons for the Aggies.