Paterno family condemns ‘leaking of selective emails’

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Even with a jury of his peers convicting Jerry Sandusky more than a week ago of being a serial pedophile, the scandal that’s dominated headlines in and out of the world of college football since last November shows no signs of slowing down.  At all.

As Ben wrote late last week, a CNN report detailed new emails exchanged among PSU administrators in 2001 suggesting there was a planned cover-up for Sandusky beginning 16 days after former Nittany Lions assistant coach Mike McQueary allegedly saw Sandusky in the showers of an on-campus facility with a young boy.

The leak of emails and other information related to what looks, walks and talks like a coverup at the highest level of the Penn State administration has continued to erode the legacy of several former school officials, including iconic ex-head coach Joe Paterno.  It was intimated in those emails obtained by CNN through unknown sources that Paterno had knowledge of the decision to not report the allegations made against Sandusky to authorities outside the university.

In response to that report the family of the deceased coach released a statement stressing that “Paterno warned against a rush to judgment in this case” and he “testified truthfully, to the best of his recollection,” referring to the coach’s eight-minute appearance in front of a grand jury early last year.

Three days later, the family has released another statement, condemning the “the leaking of selective emails over the last few days” and “calling on the Freeh Group and the Attorney General’s office to immediately release all emails and records they have related to this case.”

Here’s the statement, in its entirety.

With the leaking of selective emails over the last few days, it is clear that someone in a position of authority is not interested in a fair or thorough investigation. To be clear, the Paterno family does not know the source or sources of these leaks.  The question that needs to be asked is why this breach of confidentiality, which seeks to preempt the Freeh report and undermine the courts, is not being objected to or otherwise addressed by those in a position of authority. It should not be the responsibility of the Paterno family to call for an honest, independent investigation. Given the seriousness and complexity of this case, everyone should be demanding the full truth, not just carefully selected excerpts of certain emails.

Releasing these emails in this way is not intended to inform the discussion but to smear former Penn State officials, including Joe Paterno. The truth is Joe Paterno reported the 2001 incident promptly and fully. He was interviewed by the Grand Jury for a total of 8 minutes and told the truth to the best of his recollection. He was never interviewed by the University. He was not afforded due process and his story was never fully told.  And he was never allowed to see the files and records that are now in question. In spite of these facts, however, numerous pundits and critics are exploiting these disconnected and distorted records to attack Joe Paterno.

Accordingly, the Paterno family today is calling on the Freeh Group and the Attorney General’s office to immediately release all emails and records they have related to this case. The public should not have to try and piece together a story from a few records that have been selected in a calculated way to manipulate public opinion. Joe Paterno didn’t fear the truth, he sought the truth. His guidance to his family and his advisors was to pursue the full truth.  This is the course we have followed for 9 months. It is the course we will follow to the end.

The Freeh Group is headed by former FBI director Louis Freeh and is charged with conducting the school’s independent internal investigation into the scandal.  The full report is expected to be released later this year.

Sandusky was convicted last month  on 45 count relating to the sexual abuse of 10 children over a 15-year period, some of which occurred on the Penn State campus and in the football building’s locker room and/or showers.

The school is bracing itself for a slew of civil lawsuits that have already been or will be filed in the not-too-distant future.

BYU wearing special patch in honor of LaVell Edwards

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BYU got the summer media day fun started on Friday with their football media day. BYU tends to pull out all the stops on its media day with coach and player interviews, alumni returning, and a handful of announcements about the future of the program. In addition to news about their relationship with ESPN, BYU also announced the football team will be sporting a patch this season in honor of the late LaVell Edwards.

In addition to players wearing the patch on their jerseys, BYU coaches will also wear the patch on their sleeves.

Edwards passed away in December at the age of 86. The BYU coaching legend spent 29 seasons on the sidelines in Provo and accumulated 257 wins along the way. Among those was a national championship season in 1984, which remains the most recent national championship to be claimed by a program not currently in a power conference. Edwards took 22 BYU teams to a bowl game.

Now if we can just keep getting BYU to stick to that lighter shade of blue as their main home uniform, we’ll be in great shape.

Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks found guilty of rape

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Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks was convicted by a jury on Friday for rape of a female Vanderbilt student. Following 15 hours of jury deliberations, the verdict of guilty on one count of aggravated rape and one count of aggravated sexual battery was in.

”He’s shocked but understands that this is only the first part of this process, there’s a lot more to do from here on,” Banks’ lawyer, Mark Scruggs, said after the verdict. ”We have some really good issues to raise.”

Part of Banks’ defense was built on succumbing to peer pressure, suggesting he feared he may be beaten up by teammates if he did not participate in the scandalous activity. The jury, having reviewed videos and photos from the incident, some of which were shot by Banks, determined that was not a viable defense.

”Making fun of another person is not right, but we know it happens,” Assistant District Attorney Roger Moore said in closing arguments, according to the Associated Press. ”But it doesn’t give you a legal defense to commit a crime, particularly not an aggravated rape, an aggravated sexual battery. I mean if that’s the case, then we’d have the ‘football team defense.”’

Banks will serve a minimum of 15 years in prison. One count of aggravated rape has a minimum sentence of 15 years.

Other former Vanderbilt players had previously been convicted for their roles in the 2013 rape. Cory Batey was found guilty of aggravated rape and sentenced to 15-25 years in prison in April 2016. Brandon Vandenbeurg was found guilty and sentenced to 17 years in prison.

California’s state-funded travel ban to discriminating states raises mild football scheduling concerns

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The state of California is banning state-funded travel to the states of Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, and South Dakota. Those states are added to the previous state-funded travel bans that included Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee due to what California lawmakers say are laws that allow for discrimination against gay and transgender people.

So what does this have to do with college football? My colleague, Bryan, notes this latest decision from the state means scheduling any potential road games for a handful of schools just got a tad trickier.

This development poses a couple of issues for some California schools to address moving forward.

San Jose State is the school affected by this latest news right off the bat. San Jose State has a road game scheduled at Texas on September 9 this season. San Jose State may have to rely on some of that guaranteed money from Texas to cover the expenses, which would put a dent in the total takeaway from playing the game in the first place.

Cal is also scheduled to play at North Carolina on September 2. Cal also plays at TCU in 2021 and at Auburn in 2024. If the ban is still in operation at those times, then Cal will have to budget ahead of time to tackle the expenses. UCLA will play at Memphis on September 19.

The state-funded travel ban to these states may not be an issue for the postseason, as bowl game expenses tend to be carried by the conference and their revenue shares.

Fresno State has a road game at Texas A&M scheduled in 2020. San Diego State has no future scheduling hassles to worry about for the time being.

When ‘physically, mentally ready,’ door wide open for Keyshawn Johnson Jr.’s return to Nebraska

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Keyshawn Johnson Jr. has yet to play a down for Nebraska, but, if it’s up to Mike Riley, he will at some point down the road.

Earlier this month, the son of former USC great Keyshawn Johnson was cited for marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.  This past week, the younger Johnson decided to take a leave of absence, with his father stating that his son needed some time to “mature” and will not play for the Cornhuskers in 2017.

Left open at the time was the question of whether Johnson Jr. would ever play for the ‘Huskers, period.  Friday, Riley left the door wide open for a return.

“We’re disappointed that he’s not here with us right now today,” the head coach said according to the Lincoln Journal-Star. “I think there’s kind of a wellness factor for Keyshawn going home. We talked to him about the possibility of maybe enrolling part time and taking care of his progress toward his degree, and also getting in great shape.

“And we opened the door for return, which is just kind of left open that we’ll deal with at the time that he is physically and mentally ready to do that.”

A three-star 2017 signee who was an early enrollee and participated in spring practice, the younger Johnson had been expected to be an immediate contributor for the Cornhuskers this season.