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.

Report: Arizona lineman Zach Hemmila’s death caused by toxic mix of prescription drugs

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 03:  Arizona Wildcats helmets display the #65 to honor offensive lineman Zach Hemmila who passed away in the off-season before the college football game against the Brigham Young Cougars at University of Phoenix Stadium on September 3, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Nearly two months after his tragic passing, a cause of death for Zach Hemmila has been confirmed.

Based on the autopsy report filed by the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, the Arizona Republic is reporting that the 22-year-old Hemmila’s death was the result of the combined toxic effects of two different prescription drugs. The two drugs, the Republic noted, were oxymorphone, an opiate painkiller, and alprazolam, an anxiety medication.

From the newspaper’s report:

Chewing tobacco was found in Hemmila’s mouth, according to the autopsy report. No intact pills were discovered in his gastrointestinal system. His lungs were “markedly congested,” per the report.

Hemmila passed away either very late on the night of Aug. 7 or early in the morning Aug. 8. A cousin discovered Hemmila’s body at the Arizona offensive lineman’s residence.

His death has officially been ruled an accident.

“Arizona Athletics continues to mourn the passing of Zach Hemmila,” a statement from the university said in response to the report. “We will honor the family’s request for privacy and support them in any way we can.”

Hemmila started six games last season. He was slated to start at center for the Wildcats this season.

The Wildcats will continue to wear a sticker the No. 65 to honor Hemmila for the remainder of the season.

LSU reinstates suspended starting D-lineman, but Leonard Fournette a game-day decision vs. Mizzou

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 03:  Chikwe Obasih #34 of the Wisconsin Badgers tackles Leonard Fournette #7 of the LSU Tigers during the second half at Lambeau Field on September 3, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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LSU received some good news and not so good news ahead of its first game without Les Miles on the sidelines in more than a decade.

On the latter news front, star running back Leonard Fournette is listed as a game-day decision for Saturday’s contest against Missouri because of a lingering ankle issue.  The All-American initially injured the ankle during a mid-August summer camp practice; then aggravated it against Wisconsin in the opener; sat out the Week 2 game against an FCS foe; and then aggravated it again in Week 4 against Auburn.

After leading the country in yards per game last season with nearly 163 yards per game, Fournette is currently 10th at 128.7. That total still tops the SEC.

On a more positive tip for the Tigers, interim head coach Ed Orgeron confirmed that starting defensive lineman Davon Godchaux has been reinstated to the program and will be permitted to practice with his teammates.  Whether he plays this Saturday remains to be seen.  Godchaux had been arrested on a pair of charges stemming from a domestic incident over the weekend, but the prosecutor in the case announced Tuesday that he would not be filing formal charges.

Godchaux has started all four games this season (26 in his career) and is fifth on the team in tackles.

Anthem-kneeling Cornhusker invited to meet with Nebraska governor

Neb. Gov. Pete Ricketts, left, and former Gov. Kay Orr unveil the state road projects that have been designated as major priorities over the next few years at a news conference in Lincoln, Neb., Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Three playing members of the Nebraska football program who knelt in protest during the playing of the national anthem Saturday faced significant — and some racially-charged — criticism for their actions, including one NU regent who wants the players removed from the program.  The state’s governor, Pete Ricketts (pictured, right), was highly critical as well.

“Generations of men and women have died to give them that right to protest,” Ricketts said. “I think the way they chose to protest was disgraceful and disrespectful.”

One of the NU kneelers, senior linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey, took to Twitter to ask the governor to met with him and discuss the issues that led he and his teammates, freshmen Mohamed Barry and DaiShon Neal, to kneel in protest.

Late Tuesday night, Ricketts responded.

Imagine that, discussion, not rhetoric, on both sides of an issue. What a revolutionary concept.

Jimbo Fisher: ‘I love FSU. I plan on being here for a long time’

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 28:  Head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Florida State Seminoles signals to his players during the game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
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In the eyes of some, Jimbo Fisher left the door open for a departure from Florida State in his first public comments since LSU fired Les Miles.

I’m not talking about LSU. No I haven’t [had contact with the Tigers] and I’m not talking about it,” the head coach said Monday.

Two days later, Fisher, one of the wagering favorites to replace Miles, attempted to slam the door on a potential departure, although some will see his “plan on” qualifier as leaving the door propped open yet again.

“I love this university. I plan on being here for a long time,” Fisher said during Wednesday’s ACC coaches’ teleconference. “I love Florida State, and that’s all I’m saying. I’ll talk about myself and Florida State.

“Anything else is clutter, and does not concern me, and is not involving me.”

Fisher spent seven seasons (2000-2006) as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at LSU before leaving for the same jobs — and the added title of head coach in waiting — at FSU.  Taking over for Bobby Bowden following the 2009 season, Fisher has guided the Seminoles to a 71-15 record in six-plus seasons, with 2013 ending with a national championship.

Last year as speculation centered on Miles’ tenuous status, Fisher was mentioned as a potential candidate then as well.  In fact, some reports had Fisher “intermediaries” in talks with LSU, although, obviously, nothing ever came of it if it indeed actually happened.