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.

Former LSU QB Brandon Harris announces commitment to UNC

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Former LSU quarterback Brandon Harris has found himself a new home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Harris announced via Facebook and Twitter he has chosen to commit to North Carolina.

“Obviously, it has been an important time for me, looking for a great situation and another opportunity to grow as a young man and as a student as well as a football player,” Harris said in his statement. “After my [official] visit this weekend to the University of North Carolina, I’m going to get that opportunity. With that being said, I’m fully committed to UNC this upcoming year and I look forward to the opportunity to play for coach [Larry Fedora] and UNC.”

Harris will be eligible to play for UNC immediately this fall after graduating from LSU this summer, and the timing may not be better for Harris. UNC is losing its starting quarterback (Mitch Trubisky) to the NFL and has a wide open spot to fill in the starting lineup as a result. But the job will not automatically go to Harris upon his arrival at UNC after missing out on spring practices at North Carolina.

Harris played in just four games last season, in which he passed for 139 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. Since the season-opener against Wisconsin, Harris was reduced to backup duty and did not play in any of LSU’s seven final games of the 2016 season, including the bowl game against Louisville. Harris announced his decision to transfer in February, which was pretty much expected given how last season played out amid a coaching change.

Report: Foot injury puts Georgia WR Riley Ridley on sideline for spring

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Georgia wide receiver Riley Ridley has not been practicing this spring, but it has nothing to do with his offseason misdemeanor from a couple of weeks ago. Instead, a foot injury appears to have sidelined Ridley for the spring.

According to a report from Gridiron Now, Ridley has been out due to the foot injury. When the foot injury occurred is not reported. Even if his foot was not injured, it remains unknown if Ridley would be participating int he spring, at least at this point. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has said Ridley will be internally disciplined for his misdemeanor pot possession from earlier this month.

“He’ll receive discipline,” Smart said. “We are very disappointed in his decision. We do not condone that behavior. I think Riley is going to learn a valuable lesson from this mistake.”

When Ridley may be available again remains unknown, as does what exactly the punishment to him will be from Smart. A one-game suspension is the expected result for Ridley according to the university’s student-athlete handbook.

USF DB Hassan Childs in stable condition after overnight shooting incident

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USF defensive back Hassan Childs was injured in a shooting incident overnight. Fortunately, Childs is currently said to be in stable condition, according to USF.

“We are deeply concerned that an incident occurred overnight in which one of our guys, Hassan Childs, was injured in a shooting,” a statement from USF head coach Charlie Strong said. “Thankfully, Hassan is in stable condition and being well cared for, and no one else was injured. There is an ongoing investigation of the incident and we are in the process of gathering further information.”

The shooting took place off campus, but details about the incident have not been reported.

Childs played in eight games for the Bulls last year. He recorded 16 tackles and returned two punts for three yards in a backup role.

Turner Field on schedule to be ready for Georgia State season opener

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The Atlanta Braves opened the doors to their brand new baseball stadium over the weekend to fans as the baseball team gets ready to open the 2017 season in their new digs. Meanwhile, at the old home of the Braves, Georgia State University is moving along according to schedule in downsizing and renovating Turner Field to serve as the permanent home of the football program. So far, so good, as the university fully anticipates the stadium will be ready to go for the season opener on August 31 against Tennessee State.

The job that’s being done is incredible,” Athletic Director Charlie Cobb told 11Alive. “Each and every time I walk in, I see something new being done.”

Renovation and construction at Turner Field got started in February. The entire project will be done in phases as the university plans to develop around thew football stadium for an expanding university. As far as the stadium goes, the seating capacity will be retrofitted to hold a capacity of 23,000 fans. That will be the first phase of the master plan, with a second phase to complete building the rest of the stadium and add additional seating for fans.

“We plan on doing some unique things capturing the history of the stadium, but also creating a football facility that speaks to Georgia State,” Cobb said. “One of the stories we want to tell is the fact that it went from being an Olympic venue, to the home of the Braves, and now to the home of Georgia State. I think we can write that third chapter.”

Georgia State previously played its home games in the Georgia Dome, the now former home of the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL. The Falcons are also moving into a new football stadium this season. The Falcons’ new home at Mercedes-Benz Stadium will also welcome some college football action to the stadium this season with the annual Chick-fil-A Kickoff will move to the new stadium from the Georgia Dome. This year’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff features Alabama and Florida State on September 2 and Georgia Tech and Tennessee on September 4. The SEC Championship Game and the Peach Bowl will also be hosted in the new stadium and the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship Game will be played there on January 8, 2018.

Georgia State may have their new home, but perhaps one day they will get to play in the new stadium too.