OTL: Penn State trustees to appeal sanctions with plans of filing suit

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What do Allen Iverson, Penn State and the NCAA all have in common?

They’re all (still) talking about the game.

Late last week, the family of longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno filed an odd notice to the NCAA — and to point out that a particular letter from the Paterno family was odd is saying something — appealing the sanctions against the program.

The reasons behind the letter were interesting and not completely off-base, but the Penn State sanctions aren’t subject to appeal*, so the move was pointless.

Well, maybe not entirely.

ESPN’s ‘Outside the Lines” reports that at least two Penn State trustees plan to file a similar appeal to the NCAA over the sanctions levied by Association president Mark Emmert. The punishments included a $60 million fine, scholarship loss, bowl ban and probation. The trustees also know they’re going to lose that appeal (re: NCAA sanctions aren’t subject to appeal).

So, they’re reportedly planning to sue.

“Trustees and a person with first-hand knowledge of the discussions said the move is a precursor to a federal lawsuit asking a federal judge to invalidate the sanctions, because trustees expect the NCAA to reject the appeal,” the OTL report states.

Leading the movement is trustee Ryan McCombie, a retired Navy SEAL who joined the board in June. Trustees also reportedly want to determine whether university president Rodney Erickson had the legal authority to sign the consent decree agreeing to the sanctions against the program. Erickson consulted with board chairwoman Karen Peetz and university counsel before making the decision to sign the agreement.

This, of course, comes two weeks after the board met to discuss whether Erickson had that jurisdiction, after which they released the following statement:

The Board finds the punitive sanctions difficult and the process with the NCAA unfortunate. But as we understand it, the alternatives were worse as confirmed by NCAA President Mark Emmert’s recent statement that Penn State was likely facing a multi-year death sentence.

But, here we are again — and on the same day Penn State’s football program tries to move forward without nearly a dozen of its players.

The fact that this continues to be a football issue is absurd when you consider the real situation: one man molested young boys while others did nothing to stop it. But Emmert made it a football issue when he stepped in and punished the program how he did.

The myopic and misplaced priorities by members of the Penn State board and Paterno family are only a reflection of what was presented to them.

(*a note: the Penn State infractions cannot be appealed, not to be confused with general NCAA sanctions, which can.) 

VIDEO: UCF head coach Scott Frost shows off wheels running the option as scout team QB

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In terms of accomplishments as a college football player, few coaches have the resume of Scott Frost.

After all, the now-UCF head coach won a national title back in 1997 with Nebraska and compiled a 24-2 record as a starter with the Cornhuskers. What made him so dangerous? Well, he was the perfect fit for the team’s triple option offense and was one of the best in terms of using his arm and his legs in leading the team to all those wins.

“I love option football,” Frost told the Associated Press “I lived it. I feel like option quarterbacks now are kind of like giant pandas, they only exist in zoos and military academies now.”

That’s particularly relevant this week, as his Knights are set to play Navy on Saturday in a huge AAC matchup that will have an impact on who receives this year’s Group of Five bid. Given how well the boss is at running the option, it seems he decided to put on a helmet and run the scout team offense to better prepare his defense for what they’ll see out of the Midshipmen and signal-caller Zach Abey.

From the looks of things, Frost still has it even if he’s got 20 years on his players.

Ohio State reportedly opting for all-gray alternate uniforms for Penn State game

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Recruiting never stops, even for a blue-blood like Ohio State. That’s one reason why the team is reportedly set to go with an all-gray alternate uniform for the team’s biggest game of the year when Penn State rolls into Columbus.

Team site Eleven Warriors posted that they have obtained images of the retail uniforms the Buckeyes are set to wear, which includes a top that is completely gray with only a sliver of scarlet for the team’s logo on the chest:

OSU opting for alternate uniforms in big games is nothing new for the program under Urban Meyer, especially since a new Nike deal kicked in a while back. They donned some for the Michigan game last season and have worn several versions in other contests. This latest monochrome look, which is still a report and subject to change mind you, still seems a bit bland all things considered.

If nothing else, it could make things very hard for the broadcasters despite all eyes being on the horseshoe for one of the most important Big Ten games of the year.

ESPN apologized to Washington over cupcake stunt during broadcast

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It seems that budding feud between ESPN, Washington and Huskies head coach Chris Petersen is starting to die down just a bit.

ESPN has apologized to the school for a stunt on a broadcast two weeks ago during the Washington-Cal game, in which commentators took the team’s weak non-conference schedule to task and used literal cupcakes to represent the Huskies’ opponents during the first few weeks of the season.

“I felt more like that was such a disrespectful move for the people we play,” athletic director Jen Cohen told the Seattle Times. “For those that do this, we do this because we love the kids. These are somebody’s sons, somebody’s brothers. They’re 18- to 22-year-old kids, and so I was more offended, not for us, as I was for our opponents.

“It was a class act (to apologize), and he made the right call.”

According to the Times, Cohen received a call from Peter Derzis, ESPN’s senior vice president of college sports programming and events, offering the apology.

As nice as the mea culpa was from ESPN, Cohen and Petersen were probably even more elated to hear the news that their October 28 game against UCLA was slated to be televised at 12:30 p.m. PT after an oft-criticized string of night games that made the head coach quite ornery last week. It might not make up for the fact that the team lost to Arizona State on Saturday but there are definitely a few baby steps being taken to repair the relationship between the school and one of the Pac-12’s primary broadcast partners.

Athletic director Tom Jurich officially fired by Louisville board

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It’s official: Tom Jurich is out as Louisville’s athletic director.

The Cardinals board of directors voted 10-3 to oust the embattled AD on Wednesday afternoon, completing a pair of sweeping changes in the department following the growing college basketball scandal that has enveloped the school. Once one of the most powerful people in college athletics, Jurich was fighting to remain in his job ever since he was placed on administrative leave after the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York announced details of a wide-ranging investigation.

Vincent Tyra will continue to serve as acting athletic director until a permanent hire is made.

Perhaps the biggest effect on the football program following Jurich’s ouster is on the contract of Cardinals head coach Bobby Petrino. Notably, his buyout is set to be halved if Jurich was ever fired… which means it could be more likely he leaves the school this offseason for another job. Given potential openings such as Tennessee, it’s not out of the question that the halving of the buyout will come into play for some schools if the dominoes fall in the right way to allow somebody to hire Petrino away.

Oh, and for those wondering, yes that is indeed the Papa John of the pizza chain fame who voted to fire Jurich on Wednesday.