Updated: Graham Spanier faces eight total charges, including felonies

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To date, the only high-ranking Penn State officials to face charges in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal were former Vice President Gary Schultz and soon-to-be former athletic director Tim Curley. If multiple reports Thursday morning turn out to be true, you can add one more important individual to that list.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported early Thursday morning that former PSU president Graham Spanier is expected to be formally hit with perjury and obstruction of justice charges today. Pennsylvania State Attorney General Linda Kelly is expected to make the announcement. There has been no comment from Spanier or his legal representation. Penn State is still paying Spanier’s legal costs.

NBC News was one of several outlets to confirm the story later this morning. If the reports turn out to be true, the charges will come almost one year exactly after the Grand Jury indictment of Sandusky was released, detailing graphic and horrifying acts of child-sex abuse spanning back to the 1990’s. Spanier, along with  longtime coach Joe Paterno, was fired shortly thereafter.

Sandusky, a former Penn State defensive coordinator under Paterno, was found guilty on 45 counts of child-sex abuse over the summer and has been sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison. He has since been moved to a facility for death row inmates and is currently requesting a new trial.

Spanier was one of a handful of key Penn State officials mentioned in the Freeh report, which documented the university’s response to Sandusky’s actions. Spanier was originally planning to sue his former employer over access to emails from 1998-2004 in preparation for Freeh investigators, though that suit was later dropped. In an August interview with ABC Nightly News, Spanier pleaded ignorance to any knowledge of Sandusky’s pedophilia.

I wish in hindsight I would have known more about Jerry Sandusky and his terrible, terrible hidden past so I could have intervened,” Spanier said. “I didn’t conjure up… anything more than throwing water or snapping towels… It’s not in my nature to go around thinking the worst in people.”

Spanier added that the Freeh report was biased and that emails exchanged among PSU admins were taken out of context.

Curley and Schultz are also facing perjury charges related to the case. Their trial is set to start this January.

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Updated 11:45 p.m. ET: As expected, Spanier has been formally charged in his case. The former Penn State president faces eight charges in all. The felony charges include perjury, endangering welfare of children and conspiracy. All are third-degree felonies. Spanier’s misdemeanor charges include one count of obstruction of the administration of law, one count of conspiracy and one count of failure to report.

Here’s the LINK to the document containing Spanier’s charges.

Additionally, Schultz and Curley face additional charges, including felony obstruction, endangerment and conspiracy. Those charges are added to the perjury and failure to report a crime charges the two are already facing.

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.

Antonio Callaway among Gators reportedly set to face felony charges

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If one report is accurate, things are about to get very real for a couple of members of the Florida football team.

Citing unnamed sources, thereadoptional.com reported overnight that “Antonio Callaway, Jordan Smith, and one other player are likely to be arrested on charges of felony grand theft, with the possibility of further misdemeanor charges being tagged on, according to a lawyer representing one of the players.” That trio is part of the group of nine Gator football players who have been indefinitely suspended in connection to the misuse of scholarship money in general and, specifically, for making improper charges on their student debit cards at the school bookstore and then selling those items for cash.  The Read Optional has further added that the players then claimed that the debit cards had been stolen.

In addition to Callaway, a junior wide receiver, and Smith, a redshirt freshman defensive lineman, the other suspended players include junior defensive end Keivonnis Davis, sophomore defensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones, freshman linebacker James Houston, freshman linebacker Ventrell Miller, junior running back Jordan Scarlett, freshman offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort and redshirt freshman wide receiver Rick Wells.

Charges against the three players, one of whom is unnamed, are expected to be filed later on this week, next week at the latest.  It’s also expected that the other six players will be arrested as well.

Restitution for the debit card scheme has already been made, the website noted.

The off-field trouble for the football program doesn’t end there, however, as The Read Optional is also reporting that a separate investigation into players using stolen credit cards is underway.  From the website:

This morning, we reported that several players were also being investigated in a separate credit card fraud case being run in conjunction by the Gainesville Police Department and the University of Florida Police Department.

Both police departments uncovered the stolen credit card details from the same victim while operating its own individual investigations — the GPD into Jordan Smith paying his rent with stolen credit card details; and the UFPD into the student debit card scheme, an investigation that broadened over time.

The investigation into the stolen credit card information is ongoing, with other student-athletes to be interviewed on Wednesday.

All nine players remain indefinitely suspended from the football program and, based on this report, they will remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Baker Mayfield, what derailed Sooners’ 2014 season? ‘I blame Katy Perry’

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Well, that explains it.

Oklahoma began the 2014 season a perfect 4-0 and was ranked fourth in the country before heading into Fort Worth for a showdown with No. 25 TCU. ESPN‘s College GameDay was in Oxford for the huge Alabama-Ole Miss matchup, with Katy Perry serving as that weekend’s epic guest picker.

At one point during the show, the pop singer famously — or infamously if you’re an OU fan — very seductively hit on Trevor Knight, telling the Sooners’ starting quarterback to “call her.”

Knight waited four months before publicly acknowledging the offer. Coincidentally or not, OU, including the 37-33 loss to TCU, went on to finish out the 2014 season on a 4-5 skid, including a 40-6 pasting at the hands of Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Knight missed three of those nine games because of injury, throwing nine interceptions in the six games he did play in after throwing three in his first four pre-Perry flirtation.

Monday, Baker Mayfield, the Sooners’ current starting quarterback who was a transfer from Texas Tech during that 2014 season, was asked what OU’s downfall that year was.

I blame Katy Perry,” the 2017 Heisman front-runner said.

Way to go Katy. Or Trevor, for not immediately following up with a call and triggering the jinx that killed OU’s season.

That said, I’m fairly certain neither the call for action or the inaction to the call for a call had anything to do with the Sooners’ collapse that season.  A defense that gave up more than 30 points in each of the losses, as well as once in one of the wins, though, is certainly a prime and more realistic suspect when it comes to laying blame for the collapse.

One final note: Katy Perry is easily Top 3 when it comes to all-time GameDay guest pickers.  And that’s not up for debate.

Nation’s No. 1 recruit in 2015 granted release from Auburn

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One of the top players in the Class of 2015 will reportedly ply his football wares elsewhere.

As reported by 247Sports.com‘s Brandon Marcello and subsequently confirmed by al.com, Byron Cowart requested a release from his Auburn scholarship at some point Monday.  Tuesday morning, the former reported, that release was granted.

There’s no word yet on what stipulations were attached to the release, or the reasons behind the original request.

Regardless of the why, there’s little doubt the defensive lineman’s on-field play failed to live up to his recruiting pedigree.

A consensus five-star signee, Cowart was rated by Rivals.com as the No. 1 player in the Class of 2014 while 247Sports.com had Florida product as the No. 3 player overall on its composite board.  In 26 career games, Cowart was credited with 15 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.  He was one of four Tigers arrested for marijuana possession in May of last year.

This past spring, Cowart was moved from end to tackle in an attempt to jumpstart his career.  In three games at his new position this season, he had three tackles and half a tackle for loss in three games.