Jameis Winston may be called as witness at teammates’ disciplinary hearing


The fallout from rape allegations against Jameis Winston (pictured, right) that became public late last year — and the circus his life has become since — continues unabated, with a university disciplinary hearing serving as the latest potential ring for the three-ring, Heisman-winning quarterback.

An attorney for the woman who alleged Winston raped her in December of 2012, John Clune, confirmed to FOXSports.com Monday that Winston is expected to be in attendance at an FSU code of conduct hearing involving a pair of teammates, defensive end Chris Casher and defensive back Ronald Darby (pictured, center), Tuesday morning. Not only will Winston likely be in attendance, but he is expected to be called to testify.

“We’ve been told by the university that he’s going to be called as a witness,” Clune told the website. “We expect him to be called.”

Both Casher and Darby, Winston’s roommates, had previously given sworn affidavits that they had witnessed Winston having sex with the accuser, but swore under oath that they believed the encounter to be consensual. Casher also admitted that he had used a cell phone to tape a portion of the sexual encounter but later deleted it.

Both Casher and Darby — the former expected to be part of the Seminoles’ defensive line rotation in 2014, the latter a starter in FSU’s secondary — could be expelled from FSU for violating the school’s code of conduct, pending the outcome of the hearing.  The pair is officially charged with conduct of sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for another person as well as acts that invade the privacy of another person.  In addition, Casher faces a charge for the videotaping.

In early December of last year, following a three-week investigation, the Florida State’s Attorney office announced that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that the sexual encounter between Winston and the alleged victim was not consensual, and that no charges would be filed against the player. The state’s attorney in charge of that investigation, William Meggs, was highly critical of the Tallahassee Police Department’s investigation into the alleged rape in a New York Times report, a report in which the university subsequently expressed its disappointment.

Earlier this month it was reported that the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights had launched its own investigation into FSU’s handling of the case.  Another attorney for Winston’s accuser blasted the university in April for a Title IX investigation — a requirement under federal law when sexual assault is alleged — that was halted because Winston refused to cooperate.

While Winston did not face criminal charges in connection to the incident, the alleged victim is expected to pursue civil action against him as well as, potentially, FSU and the TPD.

Additionally, as FOXSports.com wrote, “Tuesday’s hearing also could have implications for Winston in relation to the federal probe.

If federal investigators conclude that Florida State administrators did not conduct a proper probe, they will work with school officials to make sure one is conducted. Though Winston would not face criminal charges because Florida prosecutors have already said there was not enough evidence to charge him, it’s possible he could still face discipline from the university, including expulsion.

Winston is coming off a suspension from the FSU baseball team after he received a misdemeanor citation for shoplifting nearly $33 in seafood from a grocery store.  The redshirt sophomore acknowledged in a subsequent apology that he was “in the public spotlight and my conduct needs to be above reproach,” while head coach Jimbo Fisher stated that Winston has to be responsible for his own actions.

Report: Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa’s thumb injury ‘just a sprain’

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It appears Alabama can breathe a sigh of relief on the injury front.

Tuesday, after the reigning national champions had put the finishing touches on its first practice of the spring, Nick Saban confirmed that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had suffered an unspecified injury to the thumb on his LEFT (throwing) hand.  It was expected that the quarterback would travel to Birmingham for further evaluation of the injury.

While there’s been nothing official yet from the football program or head coach, al.com, citing unnamed sources, writes that the injury “is believed to just be a sprain and he should be able to return to practice in at least a limited capacity at some point soon.”

Until then, Jalen Hurts will take the majority of the reps as the Crimson Tide continues its march through their 15 spring practice sessions.

The rising true junior Hurts, who has started every game but one the past two seasons, and the rising true sophomore Tagovailoa, the national championship game hero who replaced Hurts at halftime of the overtime win, are engaged in a competition for the starting job that, barring a post-spring transfer, is expected to extend into summer camp.  That said, most observers outside of the UA football program fully expect Tagovailoa, because of his proficiency in the passing game relative to Hurts, to earn the job at some point before the Tide opens the defense of their title against Louisville in Orlando Sept. 1.

John Calipari takes page out of Nick Saban’s playbook by warning of (rat) poison

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One’s a dot, two’s a line and three’s a trend as the old adage go and it appears rat poison for college players is now a burgeoning trend.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday ahead of Kentucky’s NCAA tournament game against Kansas State, Wildcats coach John Calipari took a page straight out of Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin’s playbook by warning his team of drinking the media “poison” the past few days.

“My challenge is making sure these kids don’t drink that poison. That poison being we have an easy road. There are no easy roads in this tournament,” said Calipari. “If they drink that poison, we’ll be done Thursday. If they don’t drink the poison, it’ll be a dog fight Thursday — let’s see what happens. Sometimes you wonder why they’re (the media) trying to paint that picture with my team — probably because they’re young and they know they don’t know better.”

Ok then.

At least the term Calipari is using isn’t out of thin air given that Saban infamously ranted on his team buying into the media’s discussion of being a good team as “rat poison” last season. For the record though, the rant by the basketball coach was prompted by a question that didn’t at all involve Kentucky having an easy path to the Final Four but was rather about team and individual goals.

It’s not often you think of Saban as a trendsetter but it seems he was certainly ahead of the curve when it came to labeling media talk as poison.

Harbaugh hits primetime again as Michigan announces spring game under the lights

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Jim Harbaugh is already getting a series on Amazon Prime but now the Michigan head coach is also getting the primetime treatment.

The Wolverines announced on Tuesday that the annual spring game would take place under the lights at Michigan Stadium this year and would be televised live in primetime on the Big Ten Network.

Gates will open to the game two hours prior to kickoff and the maize and blue faithful may try to do their best to get to Ann Arbor early because the school is going to screen an episode of the Amazon series  “All or Nothing: The Michigan Wolverines” prior to the game. This will be the second time in three years that the school will go under the lights to play their spring game at night but obviously the first time there’s a documentary series that will be screened prior to the Wolverines taking the field.

The game may be worth tuning in for to see Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson in action with his new team after arriving in the offseason. The NCAA still has not ruled on whether he will be immediately eligible in 2018 but he is expected to go through spring drills with the team either way, starting this week when practices begin on Friday.

After cutting four sports, Eastern Michigan says axing football is not “even an option”

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Prior to the arrival of current head coach Chris Creighton, Eastern Michigan football was annually one of the programs people wondered about at the FBS level due to low attendance, bad records and a gray field being one of the few notable aspects about the program. After all, the Eagles have won just one MAC title in the decades they’ve been in the league and went to only their second ever bowl game back in 2016.

While the fortunes of the team have become more positive in recent seasons, the topic of cutting football altogether or dropping down to the FCS ranks was brought up again in Ypsilanti this week after the school made the decision to cut four sports from the athletic department for budgetary reasons. While some might think EMU could continue slashing and eventually reach the football team, it appears that is thankfully not on the table.

“Football is not being cut,” said athletic director Scott Wetherbee, according to MLive.com. “No. 1, because I had a directive from our board of regents and the president, and we all agree we want to stay in the Mid-American Conference and we want to be a FBS Division I football team.

“It wasn’t even an option to look at that.”

That should settle that.

Wetherbee went on to said that the school receives several million dollars from just being a member of the MAC and having a football team is certainly a key part in remaining in the league. Money is a touchy subject around the university when it comes to athletics as just last year Eastern Michigan students campaigned against a $35 million football facility.

Despite the opposition and the most recent budget cuts though, it seems the school’s leadership is firmly behind Creighton and the Eagles remaining a part of life at EMU.