Paterno family to conduct review of Freeh report findings

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There were plans by at least one third-party group to review the Freeh report last week even before its Thursday release, but you had to know this was coming sooner or later.

Per Outside the Lines, the family of former coach Joe Paterno announced in a statement Monday through its lawyer, Wick Sollers, that a “comprehensive review” of the investigation’s findings would be conducted.

“We are dismayed by, and vehemently disagree with, some of the conclusions and assertions and the process by which they were developed by the Freeh Group,” Sollers said. “Mr. Freeh presented his opinions and interpretations as if they were absolute facts. We believe numerous issues in the report, and his commentary, bear further review.”

The statement can be found in its entirety HERE.

The report was 267 pages long, and contained over 430 interviews with current and former Penn State employees. Among other findings, the report concludes that Paterno, along with other high-ranking Penn State officials, knew of a 1998 investigation of former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky related to child sex-abuse (although no charges were ever brought in the case and it was believed by one child psychologist that Sandusky was “grooming” the victim for abuse).

Paterno had previously stated, most notably to the Washington Post, that he was unaware of the ’98 investigation.

The general conclusion of the Freeh report is that Paterno, former president Graham Spanier, former VP Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley, willingly disregarded proper measures of dealing with allegations of child sex-abuse. Spanier has already refuted accusations that he concealed Sandusky’s allegations from authorities through a statement from his attorneys.

Through multiple statements released over the last week, the Paterno family did about all it could to preserve the legacy the former coach spent decades building. Now they’re trying one more measure by challenging the findings, which OTL reports may take months — at least —  to do. The family added it plans “to go beyond the report and identify additional information that should be analyzed” and asks that the investigation preserve all its records.

“The process of reviewing the report and other relevant information is going to be a complicated and time consuming exercise. It took the The Freeh Group roughly seven months to conduct more than 400 interviews and review three million documents. We do not expect or intend to duplicate this effort but we are going to be as thorough as reasonably possible. In the meantime, our attorneys have asked that we not make any further comment on this matter until they are ready to provide an update on their progress,” Sollers said.

But, hey, at least we finally get an impartial look into the Freeh investigation, right?

Lincoln Riley to earn $3.1 million a year as OU head coach

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Lincoln Riley won’t be paid nearly as much as Bob Stoops was as Oklahoma’s head coach, but he’ll earn significantly more than he did as the Sooners’ offensive coordinator.

Oklahoma approved and released Riley’s new deal on Tuesday, a 5-year contract that pays him $3.1 million annually and rises $200,000 a year. Stoops made $5.5 million in his last season, according to USA Today, while Riley earned $900,000 as offensive coordinator.

Perks include 25 hours of private airplane use, not one but two private golf club membership, and bonuses ranging from $25,000 for winning Big 12 coach of the year honors to $250,000 for a national championship.

Riley is 3-0 in his young tenure, already proving himself to be a tremendous bargain for the Sooners.

SEC releases 2018 schedule

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The SEC released its 2018 slate on Tuesday, beginning the weekend of Sept. 1 and running through the SEC Championship on Saturday, Dec. 1. It would be entirely pointless to break down winners and losers of the ’18 slate considering we don’t really even know who’s good yet in 2017 — other than Alabama — and we especially don’t know who will be good in ’18 — other than ‘Bama, of course.

But we can point out some dates that look interesting as we sit here on Tuesday, Sept. 19, the year of our Lord 2017. And, no, intra-divisional games don’t count, since they are played every year.

  • Auburn vs. Washington — Sept. 1 (at Atlanta)
  • Alabama vs. Louisville — Sept. 1 (at Orlando)
  • LSU vs. Miami — Sept. 1 (at Dallas)
  • Tennessee vs. West Virginia (at Charlotte)
  • Clemson at Texas A&M — Sept. 8
  • Vanderbilt at Notre Dame — Sept. 15
  • Florida at Mississippi State — Sept. 29
  • Tennessee at Auburn — Oct. 13

Consult the full schedule here. 

Louisville-Ole Miss 2021 Chick-fil-A Kickoff opener made official

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After reports had signaled it, it’s a done deal.

The “it” in this case is Louisville opening the 2021 season against Ole Miss, with the two programs confirming Tuesday that they will square off in one of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff games that year.  The game will be played at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, although a date and kickoff time are still to be determined.

The 2021 game will mark the first-ever meeting between the football teams.  Each has made one previous appearance in the Kickoff Game, Louisville in 2015 (31-24 loss to Auburn) and Ole Miss in 2014 (35-13 win over Boise State).

“To have the opportunity to play in this game again for the second time is a huge win for our program,” Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said in a statement. “We are honored to be welcomed back by the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, which is a tremendous testament to our loyal fan base, who helped pack the stadium in 2015. Our fans have a great history of traveling, and to have the opportunity to play a great program like Ole Miss in this brand-new facility will certainly be a hot ticket for the fans. Gary Stokan and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl group do a tremendous job with this game and we appreciate them selecting Louisville for what has become the premier game to kick off the season.”

“We are thrilled to once again be part of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff. We always set the goal to end the regular season in Atlanta, so it’s only fitting that’s where we begin it,” Jurich’s Ole Miss counterpart, Ross Bjork, said in his. “With our strong alumni base in Georgia, Rebel Nation will arrive in full force to experience this premier matchup in the nation’s finest new stadium. In addition, the Atlanta market is a key recruiting area for our staff, and this trip offers a tremendous opportunity to compete in front of those prospects.”

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that Alabama and Miami would square off in the other Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game the opening weekend of the 2021 season.

Oregon hopeful leading receiver will be back soon

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There could be some good news on the injury front for Oregon.  Maybe.

Charles Nelson suffered a lower-leg injury in UO’s win over Wyoming in Week 3.  At the time, it was thought that the injury wasn’t as serious as it initially looked.  Monday, Willie Taggart indicated that it wasn’t, although the head coach fell short of declaring the senior wide receiver ready to go for the Pc-12 opener against Arizona State in Week 4.

“Hopefully he’ll be back here soon and be ready to go,” the head coach said according to The Oregonian.

Nelson’s 15 catches for 243 yards are tops on the Ducks through the first three weeks of the 2017 season.  He also has a rushing touchdown on one of his six carries.