Report: DNA ties Winston to alleged victim

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A sample of Jameis Winston‘s DNA has tied the Florida State quarterback to the woman who had filed a complaint of sexual assault last December, ESPN.com‘s Mark Schlabach reported very early Thursday morning.

An analysis of the sample, which Winston recently provided to law enforcement, was completed Tuesday by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the results of which showed that the odds the DNA came from someone other than Winston to be one in 2.2 trillion.  Winston’s sample matched the DNA found in the alleged victim’s underwear, which was obtained via a sexual assault kit after she filed a complaint with the Tallahassee Police Department.

As of Thursday morning, ESPN is the only media entity reporting on the results of the DNA analysis.

In a statement released Wednesday, the alleged victim’s family named Winston as “the perpetrator” in what they described as a rape; the fact that Winston’s DNA is tied to the alleged victim does not prove sexual assault, only that there was some type of physical interaction between the two at some point prior to the rape kit being taken.

The statement had also blasted the TPD for failing to obtain a sample of Winston’s DNA at the time of their investigation into the Dec. 7 complaint.

That case, which was considered “open-inactive” because it was claimed the alleged victim stopped cooperating with authorities, was forwarded 11 months later to the Florida state’s attorney’s office, which has reopened the investigation.  It’s unclear at this point how the DNA report will impact the pace of the probe or when a final decision on whether to charge Winston, or anyone else for that matter, with felony sexual assault.

Until then, the controversy and possible charges — charges that likely wouldn’t be filed until next week at the earliest — will continue to hang over the head of a young man who is considered the Heisman front-runner and leads the No. 2 team in the country — and the head of the alleged victim.

“I’m not stupid,” state’s attorney Willie Meggs told Schlabach prior to the DNA report. “It is a young man whose life is in a fish bowl right now. I think about that. There’s also a young girl whose life has been turned upside down and her life will never be the same, either. We look at it and say, ‘Which one of those is most important?’ Both. It is a search for the truth and the truth is kind of elusive sometimes.”

CFT has reached out to Meggs’ office for comment but has not yet received a response.

UPDATED 10:02 a.m. ET: The attorney representing Winston, Tim Jansen, confirmed to the Tallahassee Democrat that his client had “voluntarily submitted to a DNA test,” although he did not specify when that sample was taken.  Jansen added that he has not seen a copy of the DNA report.

Utah evaluating potential upgrades to Rice-Eccles Stadium

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It may be hard to believe, but Utah has just completed its sixth year in the Pac-12. Now, after benefitting from an increased conference revenue compared to their days in the Mountain West Conference, Utah appears to be ready to dig in and explore the possibility of expanding Rice-Eccles Stadium.

The University of Utah announced today the school is putting together a feasibility study to expand the south end zone of Rice-Eccles Stadium. Among the details to figure out include how much it may cost, who it will be funded and whether or not there is a market for such an expansion in the first place. Given the move to the Pac-12 a little more than half a decade ago and the success of making the transition with a more attractive regular season schedule, it stands to reason there is potential for a stadium expansion to take advantage of.

“Understanding the market, costs and feasibility will help us better prepare for the future of the stadium,” said President David W. Pershing in a released statement. “There’s still much work to be done before taking steps toward renovation. We have to know if the market will support this kind of expansion.”

Rice-Eccles Stadium opened its doors in 1998 after a complete rebuild of the original stadium structure that was Rice Stadium. One of the only portions of the stadium that was left largely untouched between the transition of the stadium was the south end zone. This is where Utah wants to explore renovation plans for the most part. If the hypothetical project goes through, Utah will rebuild the locker rooms, equipment storage and media rooms as well as medical treatment areas. Of course, the school will also evaluate possibilities for luxury seating for fans and donors and concession area upgrades. Among those fan amenities under consideration is connecting the east and west concourses.

Rice-Eccles Stadium currently has a listed seating capacity of 45,807. It has a sellout streak of 38 games, with 35 going above the official maximum capacity, according to Utah Athletics.

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.