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

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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.

Telly Lockette takes job at Florida State as TEs coach

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As Willie Taggart constructs his first coaching staff at Florida State, he’s added yet another familiar face.

Taggart, FSU announced earlier Thursday, has hired Telly Lockette as the Seminoles’ tight ends coach.  Lockette had spent the past three seasons as the running backs coach at Oregon State.

Prior to that, Lockette was a member of Taggart’s coaching staff at USF as running backs coach for two seasons and maintains deep ties to the fertile recruiting soil of South Florida.

“I’ve known Coach Lockette for a long time and am excited he is joining our staff at Florida State,” Taggart said. “He was an important part of my first staff at South Florida and has gained Power 5 experience with his last three seasons in the Pac-12. Coach Lockette is a tremendous recruiter and coach who does a phenomenal job developing student-athletes on and off the field. While we were at South Florida he was the primary recruiter for the Miami area and helped us sign a number of impact players, including Quinton Flowers, Khalid McGee and Deatrick Nichols. His expertise will benefit our current and future Seminoles.”

The job with Taggart at USF was Lockette’s first at any level of college football.  The first 10 years of his coaching career were spent at the high school level, including a five-year stint at Miami Central from 2008-12.

Amidst Arizona State chatter, Texas Tech DC David Gibbs signs contract extension

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Almost without fail, it pays to have your name circulating through the annual churning of the coaching rumor mill.

The latest example is David Gibbs, with the Texas Tech defensive coordinator being rumored as a target for the same job with Herm Edwards at Arizona State over the past few days.  Fast-forward to Thursday night, and Tech announced that it has finalized a new two-year contract extension with Gibbs.  The coordinator is now signed through the 2019 season.

According to the school, Gibbs’ pay will be bumped from $550,000 per year to $650,000.  That number puts Gibbs right in the middle of Big 12 DC pay.

“We are fortunate to have one of the top defensive coordinators in the country in Coach Gibbs,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said in a release. “Since the conclusion of the regular season, finalizing this new contract to keep Coach Gibbs at Texas Tech has been a priority for myself and [athletic director] Kirby [Hocutt]. We look forward to continuing to build one of the nation’s top defenses in the years to come under Coach Gibbs.”

Long a punchline, the Red Raiders’ defense has steadily improved in the three years under Gibbs.  This season, their 27 takeaways led the Big 12 and are the most in a season for the football program since 2008.  They’re also currently seventh in the country with four defensive touchdowns.

With Gibbs back, he’ll have 10 returning starters with which to work next season.

“There isn’t a better person to work for than Kliff Kingsbury, and I’m looking forward to continue building this program with him,” Gibbs said. “There is still plenty of work that needs to be done, but I’m excited about the future of our team.”

RB Justin Crawford to skip West Virginia’s bowl game, begin preparing for NFL draft

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Sometimes the personnel gods giveth, and sometimes the personnel gods taketh away.

Thursday evening, West Virginia announced that quarterback Will Grier will return to Morgantown for the 2018 season.  Not long after, the same football program confirmed that Justin Crawford has decided to eschew playing in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Instead of preparing for Utah in the postseason, the senior running back will instead begin preparations for the 2018 NFL draft.

“Justin has logged a lot of miles and been a key contributor for us the past two seasons,” head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “He made a decision to not play in the bowl game based on what is best for him and his family. He came to West Virginia to further his education and be a featured back in the Big 12 and he accomplished his goals. As he starts his preparation for the NFL Draft, we wish him nothing but the best.”

Crawford has led the Mountaineers in rushing each of the past two seasons.  He’s the first WVU player to post back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons since Noel Devine in 2008-09.

After finishing third in the Big 12 this season with 1,061 yards on the ground, he was named second-team all-conference for the second straight season.  Following the 2016 season, he earned the league’s Newcomer of the Year honor.

SMU graduate assistant GJ Kinne to call plays in Frisco Bowl

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New SMU head coach Sonny Dykes has been busy assembling his staff as he prepares to jump right in the saddle to coach the Mustangs in the Frisco Bowl next week, but he will have one holdover from the previous staff to help call the shots on offense. Graduate assistant GJ Kinne will call the offensive plays for the bowl game, according to Adam Grosbard of The Dallas Morning News.

This would seem to be the most logical choice for Dykes to make in this scenario. Kinne has been working in the SMU system all season long under former head coach Chad Morris, who has moved to Arkansas with a handful of assistants. Having the most experience with the current roster and a better comfort level makes sense to have Kinne take on this responsibility so close to the bowl game. This will be a major promotion for Kinne, the former Tulsa quarterback, even if just for one game.

I certainly trust G.J. It’s going to be fun to give him an opportunity to be highly involved and it’ll be one of those things he remembers for the rest of his life,” Dykes said of the decision to have Kinne calling the offense from above. “When you’re a GA and you get to call a bowl game, it’s a pretty awesome opportunity.”

Just how smoothly this all goes is anyone’s guess. Fortunately, if things go awry, Kinne and Dykes can always just resort to going back to a chuck-it-deep mentality and see what happens.

SMU faces Louisiana Tech in the Frisco Bowl on Dec. 20.