At least one member of Penn State’s Board of Trustees has had second thoughts about how the board handled the decision to remove Joe Paterno as head coach at Penn State in November 2011. Al Clemens, who will be replaced on the board as a governor-appointed representative, issued a statement Friday explaining his regrets about the way Paterno was handled after the shocking revelations of the Jerry Sandusky scandal were revealed.
Paterno was ousted from his position of head coach of the football program on November 9, 2011. The decision was made swiftly by the board of trustees at Penn State, perhaps feeling the pressure to make a decision to take action against those tied to the Sandusky scandal in some capacity. Graham Spanier was also removed from his position as president of the university.
“On November 9, 2011, I and my fellow Trustees, voted to fire Joe Paterno in a hastily called meeting,” Clemens said in his statement on Friday. “We had little advance notice or opportunity to discuss and consider the complex issues we faced. After 61 years of exemplary service, Coach Paterno was given no chance to respond. That was a mistake. I will always regret that my name is attached to that rush to injustice.”
Paterno was fired with a simple phone call after being handed an envelope with a phone number to call was handed to him at his home.
In the heat of the moment, there was great media and national pressure for the school to make a statement by forcing Paterno out. Pterno had reportedly not done enough in responding to acts of sexual abuse being committed by his former assistant coach, Sandusky, on Penn State property. Paterno has said publicly he would step down at the end of the season hours before the board brought an end to his reign as head coach.
“We thought that because of the difficulties that engulfed our university, and they are grave, that it is necessary to make a change in the leadership to set a course for a new direction,” said John Surma Jr., the vice chairman of the board, said at the time.
Devaughn Cooper had been expected to be one of Arizona’s breakout players this coming season after an impressive spring. Unfortunately for both the player and the program, that won’t be the case.
The Wildcats released their updated roster Friday and, somewhat surprisingly, Cooper’s name wasn’t on it. It’s unclear what exactly the circumstances were surrounding the wide receiver’s departure, although one report had it taking place earlier this month.
Cooper was a three-star 2016 recruit, and only three players in the Wildcats’ class were rated higher than the California high school product.
After sitting out the 2016 opener, Cooper played the next two weeks in wins over Grambling and Hawaii. His first career catch, for 15 yards, came in the latter game; unfortunately, an injury in the same game sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
Cooper received a medical redshirt for 2016.
Three of the Wildcats’ top receivers from a year ago are no longer with the football program because of expired eligibility. Given the dearth of experienced returning talent, players such as Cooper were expected to play major roles in making up for the lost production.
Shun Brown, who led the team in receiving yards (521) and yards per catch (18.0) last season, is Rich Rodriguez‘s top returning receiver. He was also tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns with three and second in receptions with 29.
From the swamp to the bayou, the war on the media apparently knows no bounds.
The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that Ed Orgeron has significantly reversed the openness of the program and completely shut out media access to LSU’s preseason camp this year, blocking an outside look into the Tigers’ practice for the first time.
“The complete closure of camp practices could be a first ever for the school, and LSU appears to be the only program in the Southeastern Conference to have done so,” the paper said. “All other schools plan or have allowed reporters into practice for at least one day of drills, according to camp schedules obtained by The Advocate.”
Players are set to report to camp on Sunday, with the team’s first practice the following day. LSU provided a statement that said the school will provide video and photos of practice each day but each will obviously be vary controlled in terms of content.
The restrictive new policies with the media are quite the reversal for Orgeron, who once coached in front of hundreds of fans and media members while an assistant under Pete Carroll at USC and later opened up practices to reporters in Los Angeles as interim head coach of the Trojans. Even during his first head coaching stop at fellow SEC school Ole Miss, the raspy-voiced cajun held open practices early during his tenure in Oxford.
Sadly closed practices are becoming all the norm in college football and after previously being much more open than Les Miles was the past few years, Orgeron appears to be joining the trend and giving the boot to the media at LSU’s practices.
Ole Miss can take solace that in the fact that their news dump was blown off most front pages in the state by far more important news dumps from elsewhere in the country but the Rebels still made plenty of noise on Friday.
First, the school released the names of the vast majority of the boosters involved in the school’s on-going NCAA infractions case. Ole Miss has previously redacted most of the names in the two Notices of Allegations sent to the school by the enforcement staff. Following a court case related to the matter and numerous squabbles with various parties, the state ethics commission eventually told the university to release the names.
Per the Jackson Clarion-Ledger:
“Those names were revealed Friday when the university released its two Notice of Allegations and published all but two of the booster names. There were 14 boosters involved included in the Notice of Allegations and they were tied to more than half of Ole Miss’ 15 Level I violations. The football program itself faces 21 alleged violations.”
While the release of such information alone would have made for a busy Friday, there was still plenty more to check off in Oxford.
The school also announced the hiring of a new offensive line coach in Jack Bicknell Jr. to fill the vacancy left when Matt Luke was promoted to head coach in the wake of Hugh Freeze’s resignation. Bicknell has been coaching offensive line in the NFL since 2009 with four different franchises but is no stranger to the college game having been the former head coach at Louisiana Tech. He also had two stints as a coach at Boston College in addition to a stop at New Hampshire.
Perhaps most notably, Bicknell played for the Eagles back in the mid-80’s under his father of the same name and is best known for being the center for Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie.
Coastal Carolina will transition to the FBS level this season but will unfortunately have to do so without their head coach.
Yahoo! Sports first reported the news on Friday that Chanticleers coach Joe Moglia will miss the upcoming 2017 season, as recent health issues will force him to take a five-month medical sabbatical.
“For three years now, I have had a bronchial asthmatic reaction to allergies, which causes inflammation around my lungs. The inflammation restricts the lungs, which could create a serious breathing problem,” Moglia said in a statement released by the school. “I want to be clear: I do not have a disease and I am in no danger, but I do need to get this addressed. Dr. David DeCenzo, the president of CCU, has offered me a medical sabbatical for the next five months, which I’m going to take.
“The doctors and I are confident that this will take care of the problem, and I will be 100% ready to go by the end of the season.”
Mogila had precautionary surgery on his trachea last week that caused him to miss Sun Belt Media Day but it appears he will still need some added time to recover.
The 68-year-old former financial CEO turned head coach has led Coastal Carolina since 2012 and gone 51-15 at the school, all at the FCS level. Associate head coach and offensive coordinator Jamey Chadwell took Mogila’s place at media day last week and was named the interim head coach for the rest of the 2017 season.
The Chanticleers open the season on September 2nd against UMass.