Tom Corbett is not the person to be challenging the NCAA on PSU sanctions


Before July, 2012, there was essentially one looming question to the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State: how could a serial pedophile be allowed to prey on his victims for years using the university’s athletic facilities without being stopped? That is what the Freeh Report, created by PSU, attempted to answer.

Then, on July 23, the NCAA, and specifically president Mark Emmert, added a new dimension to the Penn State story by introducing unprecedented steps to punish the football program swiftly and severely. Penn State was fined $60 million from the NCAA, subjected to a four-year bowl ban and stripped of dozens of scholarships over that same time period.

By doing so, Emmert and the Association warped a criminal case into a  football one, and the focus of the Sandusky scandal has been wrongly shifted to whether or not 1) Penn State deserved the sanctions and 2) the NCAA stepped outside its jurisdiction. The NCAA’s involvement alone was met with mixed reviews; the decision to bypass the normal investigative script to come up with a consent decree was criticized more heavily.

If anybody’s visited CFT long enough, you know I’ve been one of those critics. The attention should have been, and should still be, on the victims, bringing those who could have done more and failed to do so to justice — Penn State president Graham Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley are currently awaiting a preliminary hearing next week on charges related to the Sandusky scandal; Sandusky has been sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison for his crimes — and making sweeping changes to ensure nothing like this ever happens at Penn State again.

The NCAA not only made the Sandusky case about itself, but bent the interpretation of its own rulebook rhetoric to the point of breaking in the process. So I have no problem with the NCAA being challenged for taking action in a case larger than what the organization was capable of handling.

But that task should not come from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett. 

Never mind the obvious political grandstanding. That’s way too obvious to merit a response. What Corbett is doing is not only hypocritical, but laughable. Recall this quote from Corbett following the NCAA’s sanctions against Penn State:

“The appalling actions of a few people have brought us once again into the national spotlight. We have taken a monster off the streets and while we will never be able to repair the injury done to these children, we must repair the damage to this university.

“Part of that corrective process is to accept the serious penalties imposed today by the NCAA on Penn State University and its football program.”

Five months later, Corbett’s leading a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA and it stinks something fierce.

But the real problem is that Corbett is waist deep (or higher) in the muck of the Sandusky scandal. He’s been accused of dragging his feet in the Sandusky case while serving as Pennsylvania’s attorney general until 2011. It was also Corbett who approved a $3 million grant for the Second Mile, Sandusky’s charity. Sandusky used the charity for years to target his victims and Corbett’s tenure as AG suggests he was aware of some fishiness.

Then, there’s the lawsuit itself, which you can view HERE. If the complaint was filed with only the intent of keeping PSU’s $60 million fine with in-state organizations, then Corbett might have some footing. An attempt to toss the sanctions against Penn State because the NCAA violated antitrust laws could be much harder to prove and could take a long time to do so. The fact is that Penn State signed the consent decree last summer and could still agree to the sanctions moving forward. It should be noted again that Penn State is not involved in this lawsuit.

NCAA expert John Infante, whom we cite often when it comes to matters related to the NCAA, feels the suit will be resolved quickly.

Corbett may have a case against the NCAA, but all current signs point to the contrary. If anything, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania vs. the NCAA may serve as a future example of how to deal with the NCAA at a university level if it ever decides to pursue sanctions in a similar fashion again.

Former Navy LB Caleb King killed in fighter jet crash

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A routine U.S. Navy training flight that ended in tragedy had a college football connection.

Earlier this week, two Navy aviators were killed when a fighter jet crashed off the coast of Key West, Florida, this past Wednesday.  Those who lost their lives were, according to the Associated Press, Lt. Cmdr. James Brice Johnson and Lt. Caleb Nathaniel King, who served in the “Blacklions” of Strike Fighter Squadron Two One Three (VFA-213).  Johnson was the pilot of the aircraft.

“[T]he aircraft crashed on final approach to Boca Chica Field following a training mission,” wrote.  While details are scant at the moment, below is from that website’s report:

The crash happened around 4:30 p.m., Hecht said. Both pilots onboard the Super Hornet ejected, he said. Initially, Hecht said a search-and-rescue effort for the aircrew was still ongoing around 6 PM, but later he said the pilots were recovered within minutes and taken by ambulance to the medical center.

An eyewitness, Barbie Wilson, told the crash “looked like something out of a movie.”

Wilson, who lives on the back side of the air station, said she stopped to watch an F/A-18 flying overhead, as she often does, and was shocked to see what appeared to be a massive malfunction in midair.

“Literally, the wings went vertical, and there was a fireball, and it just literally dropped out of the sky,” Wilson said.

King (pictured, left) was a linebacker for the Midshipmen football team from 2009-11.  He played in 38 games during his time at the military academy.

“Our hearts and deepest condolences go out to the entire King family,” Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo said in a statement. “We lost a dear brother and warrior. The entire Navy Football Brotherhood mourns the passing of a great American. We love you Caleb!”

Temple’s on-campus stadium plans stall after city council meeting

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The dream of Temple football playing in an on-campus stadium appears as though it’s on hold after a Philadelphia city council meeting got heated once again and resulted in the pulling of support by a key local leader.

Per KYW 1060, City Council President Darrell Clarke told the radio station that he would not support the reported $125 million project at a meeting earlier this week. Though the university leadership remains focused on making the new stadium happen eventually, the dwindling support from those in the community have basically stalled the effort and puts into question where the team will play football in 2020 and beyond.

Protestors against the stadium being built already interrupted a town hall meeting on the project last week.

“We do not feel that a 35,000 seat stadium fits in a residential block,” said Reverend Bill Moore, who is part several local groups pushing to ax the project.

Temple had signed an extension on their lease with nearby Lincoln Financial Field (the home of the Philadelphia Eagles) but that agreement runs only through the 2019 season. The hope had been to get the new on-campus stadium built by the time the 2020 campaign rolled around but that is looking increasingly unlikely as local residents — and now city council members — become more and more vocal in their opposition to the project.

The university has not issued a formal statement on their next steps after this latest setback but at least the team itself is moving forward as usual with spring football already under the way in Philly.

Study says War Memorial Stadium needs millions in upgrades to remain in use for Arkansas games in Little Rock

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Just like an old house, older stadiums require tons of money to keep them up to date. Those in the state of Arkansas are very aware of that when it comes to War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports that a study commissioned by the state has found that roughly $17 million worth of repairs, maintenance work and improvements are needed at War Memorial if the 70 year old venue wants to remain in operation. The timeline for such changes were listed as anywhere from three years for “critical” issues to five years for other items, which come as part of a whopping $160,000 study from Conventions Sport & Leisure International LLC.

The millions of dollars of work required is notable because the Fayetteville-based Razorbacks have annually played a game at the stadium in Little Rock dating back to 1948. The team will not only host their first spring game under new coach Chad Morris at the venue but will also play Ole Miss in Little Rock during the upcoming season. That contest is the last scheduled game for Arkansas at War Memorial however as the contract to hold games there is expiring in 2018.

It remains to be seen what the next steps are for UA football, the state and the venue are. Even prior to this most recent study being commissioned, the Razorbacks were looking to have as much as $10 million worth of work done at the stadium to meet their own requirements and those of the SEC in general for conference play.

“Discussions are continuing” Kevin Trainor, associate athletics director at Arkansas, said in an emailed statement to the paper.

Could this be the last we see of the Razorbacks in Little Rock? Given the history between the city, stadium and team it would seem doubtful but somebody’s got to pay for renovations and it may be a while before anybody ponies up the cash needed to get the venerable old building up to date.

Sean McDonough on leaving Monday Night Football: College football is more fun

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While we’re not exactly formal media critics here at CFTalk, you really don’t have to have too much experience watching television to know that ESPN’s Sean McDonough calling Monday Night Football the past two years was a bit of a round peg in a square hole. The veteran play-by-play man has called a lot of major sporting events over the years but was known to most prior to his NFL stint as one of the regular voices on the college football circuit after all.

McDonough is just now starting to open up about his departure from MNF and is perhaps not surprisingly excited at the prospect of returning to the college level, which he insists was his decision. Awful Announcing passes along an interview he did with Boston area radio program The Kirk & Callahan Show this week and let’s just say that McDonough confirms what we already know about which sport is better if you’re picking between the NFL and college football.

“I say that after a lot of reflection and mostly a lot of belief that, ultimately, what is the most important thing in life is to be happy,” McDonough said. “As much as it was a great honor to be the voice of ‘Monday Night Football’ –– and you guys know me well enough, and certainly a lot of my friends and family do –– it wasn’t a tremendous amount of fun the last two years. When I took my ego out of it, when the conversation about a reboot of MNF came up, when I took the ego part of it out, and rationalized it, I really could be fine with  not being the voice of MNF, then it became easy. I love college football. For me, it’s more fun, and that’s a personal taste.”

Amen Sean, amen.

While it is great news that CFB is getting back McDonough, the sport’s gain is tempered by the loss of fellow play-by-play man Joe Tessitore, who will be taking over in the MNF booth calling games. Something says that the esteemed JoeTess will do a great job calling NFL games every Monday night but will, like McDonough, come to miss the excitement, wild endings and colorful presentation that happens at the college level every Saturday.