DOE reportedly investigating Florida State’s handling of Winston case


It seems like there is non-stop news coming out of Tallahassee today, and we have not even touched on the viral discussions about a new logo. As we learned earlier in the day, courtesy of a report by Deadspin, Florida State conducted an investigation into Heisman Trophy quarterback Jameis Winston and the alleged sexual assault he had been accused of from December 2012. Having not found any evidence to slap any punishment on the quarterback, Winston was looking to be in the clear. That may be true, but now the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is opening up another investigation into how Florida State University handled the entire incident.

The federal investigation will review how the university handled not only the Winston accusation, but all sexual abuse incidents and accusations over the past three years, according to a report by FOX Sports. It would seem the federal investigation will want to compare and contrast how Winston’s alleged incident was handled compared to that of a non-football player.

“We’re gratified by these developments,” said Baine Kerr, one of the attorneys for a woman who alleged that Winston raped her at an off-campus apartment in December 2012. A state investigation conducted last year concluded there was not enough evidence to pursue charges of sexual assault against Winston. That decision came days before Winston led Florida State to a victory in the ACC Championship Game against Duke. Soon after that Winston was named the Heisman Trophy winner for 2013 and he went on to lead the Seminoles to the BCS Championship in January.

The Florida State investigation that was conducted found no evidence to slap any university punishments on Winston, but it did result in university charges for Chris Casher and Ronald Darby. Both of those players could be facing expulsion for their ties and actions related to the Winston case.

The university declined to comment in specifics in a statement to USA Today, but said that “generally speaking, students at any time have the right to avail themselves of the Student Code of Conduct, which sets high expectations for the university community and provides a way to adjudicate grievances. The Code of Conduct imposes no time limits on when an aggrieved student may file a complaint or when new information can be considered. The university evaluates all information it receives and acts on it when appropriate.”

Earlier in the day, in a completely unrelated incident, former Seminole Ira Denson was slapped with an extra charge related to a shooting incident from December involving teammate Mario Pender.

It’ been a long day in Tallahassee.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian
1 Comment

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.