Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was accused of sexual assault last fall, but an investigation ended up with no charges pressed against the Heisman Trophy quarterback. Though Winston escaped criminal charges, a civil case appears to be looming. According to a report published Friday by FOX Sports, the lawyer representing Winston’s accuser has hired two high-profile attorneys specializing in sexual assault and Title IX cases.
According to the report, attorneys John Clune and Baine Kerr will work with Patricia Carroll “to evaluate the conduct of a number of individuals and entities in this matter and assess their civil and criminal liability.” Carroll is the lawyer who has been representing Winston’s accuser. In addition to Winston, the attorneys will review the possibility of pursuing civil action against Florida State University and Tallahassee police. When the investigation concluded there was not evidence to charge Winston last fall, just before the ACC Championship Game, Carroll made it clear her fight was not going to end.
At this time it is unknown if civil action will indeed be pursued. For now the legal team now assembled will review the situation, evidence and various reports to determine if civil action will be appropriate. It is likely a civil lawsuit will be presented.
“After meeting with them,” Carroll said in the FOX Sports report. “I am confident that anyone who has liability in this case will be held accountable and justice will be served for my client at the end of the day.”
It sure sounds as though the legal representation for Winston’s accuser is determined to pursue civil action. So, what does this mean as far as football is concerned?
First, we do not know what the timeline of any civil suit would follow yet so it is difficult to project. According to the Florida State Intercollegiate Athletics Policies and Procedures, any student found to be guilty of sexual harassment could be subject to expulsion from the university. This could be a gray area because Winston has not been charged with any crimes in the legal system and a civil lawsuit does not carry any jail time for being found guilty.
Whatever happens, it will be sure to cast a little bit of a dark cloud over Winston and could potentially hover over the university as a whole, but let’s hold off on too much speculation and legal analysis until a civil lawsuit is filed.
And now we know a little more of the rest of the story, and it’s potentially serious for one member of the USC football program.
Monday night, Clay Helton revealed that Osa Masina has been suspended for his team’s season opener against Alabama this weekend. The head coach gave no specific reason or reasons for the sanctions being placed on the linebacker, although a school official subsequently described it as an unspecified violation of team rules.
However, the FOX affiliate out of Salt Lake City is reporting that Masina, a Utah native, is being investigated over sexual assault allegations. The probe stems from an alleged incident or incidents that allegedly took place over the summer in Salt Lake County.
From the television station’s report:
Cottonwood Heights Police have confirmed the ongoing investigation but have not released details about the alleged crime.
Cottonwood Heights PD, with the help of the Los Angeles Police Dept., served a search warrant last week at a USC practice facility in Los Angeles.
At this point, no charges have been filed. All questions to Masina’s parents were referred to the defense attorney representing their son.
Masina (pictured, left) was a five-star 2015 recruit who was the top-rated player at any position in the state of Utah. He played in 12 games as a true freshman last season and was credited with 25 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss, with the highlight of his first year as a Trojan coming on a fumble return for a touchdown in the season-opening win over Arkansas State.
On the preseason depth chart released a week ago, Masina was listed as a backup to starting inside linebacker Michael Hutchings.
The roller coaster career of Dylan Sumner-Gardner at Boise State is on a downward trajectory yet again.
Tuesday, Boise announced that Sumner-Gardner (pictured, No. 29) has been suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season. According to the school’s release, the suspension stems from the defensive back “failing to meet NCAA football academic eligibility requirements.”
Sumner-Gardner will kiss games against Louisiana-Lafayette, Washington State, Oregon State and Utah State. Provided the current timeline holds, Sumner-Gardner would be eligible to return for the New Mexico game Oct. 7.
After playing in 13 games as a true freshman, Sumner-Gardner started the first four games last year before going down with a season-ending ankle injury. In November he was arrested on a misdemeanor drug charge, then didn’t travel to BSU’s Poinsettia Bowl win over Northern Illinois in late December because of what was described as an unspecified violation of team rules. His status for the upcoming season has been a question mark throughout the offseason.
Sumner-Gardner, a four-star 2014 prospect who was the Broncos’ highest-rated recruit in that class, had been a projected starter at safety; with the junior sidelined, Cameron Hartsfield is listed as the starter instead.
Sadly, a non-football health issue will bring to an end Josh Mabin‘s football-playing career.
On his personal Twitter account, Mabin announced that he will be forced to retire from the sport due to a diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The Mayo Clinic’s website describes the disease as one in which “the heart muscle (myocardium) becomes abnormally thick (hypertrophied),” with the thickened heart muscle making it harder for the heart to pump blood. The condition could cause “problems in the heart’s electrical system, resulting in life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).”
Oklahoma State has yet to publicly address the linebacker’s status with the program moving forward.
It’s likely Mabin will remain on scholarship at OSU, but won’t count against the Cowboys’ 85-man limit.
A four-star 2014 recruit, Mabin was rated as the No. 18 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 54 player at any position in the state of Texas. After redshirting as a true freshman, Mabin played in five games last season. He was credited with four tackles in that limited action.
Mabin was listed as the backup middle linebacker to starter Chad Whitener on the depth chart OSU released last week.
Facing the best quarterback in the country, Auburn will need all hands on deck in the secondary for the opener. Unfortunately for the SEC Tigers, that won’t be the case.
Late last week, Stephen Roberts was arrested following a traffic stop and charged with attempting to elude a police officer and possession of a firearm without a permit. Tuesday, head coach Gus Malzahn confirmed that the defensive back will be suspended for Saturday’s season opener against No. 2 Clemson.
It’s uncertain if Roberts will return for the following Saturday’s game against Arkansas State as Malzahn labeled the suspension “week-to-week.”
Roberts played in 13 games last season, starting the final four games of the year. He was expected to start at one of the safety positions for the Tigers this season.
Both of the charges Roberts is facing are misdemeanors. His first court appearance is currently scheduled for Nov. 17.