Yesterday, the Paterno family released a critique of the Freeh report, which was published last summer as an investigation into Penn State’s actions regarding allegations of child-sex abuse at the hands of longtime defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
The rebuttal attempted to do two things: rebuild Joe Paterno‘s reputation to a pre-Sandusky level, and pick apart the Freeh report’s methodology — the latter of which it did with some degree of success.
On Monday, Nike co-founder Phil Knight released a statement (via) about the rebuttal. Just as we did with Louis Freeh’s response, here is Knight’s statement in its entirety:
Last July I was surprised and saddened by the Freeh Report and the subsequent press conference held by the former FBI Director. In response to the shocking findings, which were so definitively and passionately presented, and based on the reputation of Louis Freeh, I issued a statement which said in part, “According to the investigation, it appears Joe made missteps that led to heartbreaking consequences. I missed that Joe missed it, and I am extremely saddened on this day.”
I made this statement without having read the report in full. When I later took the time to do so, I was surprised to learn that the alarming allegations, which so disturbed the nation, were essentially theories and assertions rather than solid charges backed by solid evidence. On reflection I may have unintentionally contributed to a rush to judgment.
With the release of the report by the King and Spalding law firm, including analysis by former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and former FBI profiler James Clemente, it is clear that the findings of the Freeh Report were unjustified and unsubstantiated. When this tragic story first unfolded Joe cautioned all of us to slow down and carefully gather the facts before jumping to conclusions. We owed it to the victims, he said, to get to the truth. It was counsel we all should have followed. Additionally, The NCAA’s actions are exposed as totally unwarranted. The NCAA acted outside its charter and rendered judgment absent any kind of investigation or judicial hearing. It was simply grandstanding.
And while some may still debate the who, what, when, where, why of this sad case, the clear villain, as Jim Clemente notes, is Jerry Sandusky himself.
Knight spoke at Paterno’s funeral last year, coming to Paterno’s defense over how the longtime Nittany Lions coach handled the Sandusky situation. Upon the release of the Freeh report later that year, Knight backed off his comments.
As some of his pupils move on to greener pastures this weekend, it appears Alabama defensive line coach Bo Davis is on his way out of Tuscaloosa as well.
Andrew Bone and Aaron Suttles of the Tuscaloosa News reported Thursday evening Davis is expected to resign or be fired after the school has opened an inquiry into possible violations on the recruiting trail. The nature of the violations was not revealed, but the NCAA has made “multiple” investigations into the matter and Alabama has opened its own corresponding inquiry.
Davis is a longtime Saban lieutenant, first working under him with the Miami Dolphins, then following him to Tuscaloosa as part of Saban’s original Alabama staff. Davis left for Texas in 2010 and spent a year at USC before returning to the Tide in 2014.
Alabama’s defensive line was nothing short of outstanding last season, providing the bedrock to Saban’s fourth national champion. The Tide led the nation with 52 sacks, ranked fifth with 108 tackles for loss and posted a national-best 75.73 yards per game rushing defense.
Davis’s contract runs through 2017 and pays him $475,000 annually.
It’s no secret that ESPN is the front door to the college sports world, and any league that doesn’t have a foothold on the Worldwide Leader faces a serious uphill climb for coverage. See: Conference USA.
C-USA currently splits its rights between Fox Sports 1, CBS Sports Network and the American Sports Network and, unless you happen to be a fan of one of the league’s 14 teams, you probably didn’t see a game before bowl season. But that could change soon.
The conference’s television deals expire at the end of June, and Harry Minium of the Virginian-Pilot reported ESPN has become a “late but serious bidder” for a portion of the C-USA package.
A change in partners would be well received by C-USA on two fronts. First, it’s ESPN. Second, the conference isn’t raking it in as is. Minium reported Old Dominion has planned for a drop in television revenue of $600,000 to $700,000 this fall — up from the originally anticipated fall of $500,000. And ODU only received $1 million last year to begin with. The drop can be attributed to the exodus of high-wattage programs — Houston, Memphis, East Carolina — to the AAC, allowing Fox and CBS to pay below the agreed amount. Exit fees had subsidized the loss in revenue, but those funds are running dry.
Conference USA declined to comment on the state of the negotiations, but five games have already been moved to weeknights — indicated back-channel negotiations are well under way.
That Old Dominion (and, presumably, other C-USA schools) could make only $300,000 on TV rights from an entire year is, in a word, shocking. In a world where the Big Ten could secure half a billion dollars over six years for half its package, this is a nice reminder that that world isn’t open to everyone.
A little over a week after the end of spring practice, USF has seen its depth at linebacker take a bit of a hit.
Calling it “a hard decision,” Nick Holman took to Twitter Wednesday night to announce that he has decided to transfer out of the Bulls football program and “pursue other opportunities” elsewhere. The linebacker gave no specific reason for his decision to transfer.
Barring something unforeseen, Holman would be forced t sit out the 2016 season if he moves on to another FBS program. He’d then have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.
Holman came to USF as a three-star member of the Bulls’ 2014 recruiting class, rated as the No. 31 player at any position in the state of Alabama. After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Holman played in 11 games in 2015.
The Tampa Bay Times wrote that “Holman led the White team with five tackles in the April 16 Green and White intrasquad game, and was listed as the backup to senior Nigel Harris at weakside linebacker on the post-spring depth chart.”
The SEC had fought hard in pushing the NCAA’s Div. 1 Council to ban the practice of satellite camps, and then continued to push for The Association’s Board of Directors to reaffirm the ban. In the end, though, that conference has taken the “if you can’t beat ’em join ’em” tack.
Shortly after the NCAA confirmed that its Board of Directors had, at least for the foreseeable future, rescinded the ban on coaches taking part in football camps outside of their regions, the SEC confirmed that it will be rescinding its own ban on the practice. That rescinding follows through on the “threat” made last year by the conference that it would, essentially, unleash its football programs on the rest of the country if a ban wasn’t enacted.
The SEC’s lifting of the ban on such camps is not effective immediately; rather, it will take effect May 29. After that date, as outgoing commissioner Mike Slive said in late May last year, “our folks will be free to fan out all over the country and have at it.”
In a statement, Slive’s replacement, Greg Sankey, lamented the lifting of the ban while at the same time reaffirmed that “SEC coaches will be allowed to engage in summer camps as a result of Conference legislation approved during the 2015 SEC Spring Meetings.”
Below is the entirety of Sankey’s statement.
While we are disappointed with the NCAA governance process result, we respect the Board of Directors’ decision and are confident SEC football programs will continue to be highly effective in their recruiting efforts.
“We continue to believe football recruiting is primarily an activity best-focused in high schools during the established recruiting calendar, which has provided opportunities for football prospective student-athletes from all across the country to obtain broad national access and exposure but with appropriate guidance from high school coaches, teachers and advisors that focuses on both their academic and athletic opportunities as they decide where they will play college football.