Penn State AD charged with perjury, failure to report in Sandusky sex case

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An embarrassing situation for Penn State and one of its former coaches has suddenly taken a very serious turn for at least one current member of the school’s athletic department.

If you recall from Friday, former Nittany Lions assistant Jerry Sandusky, once thought to be the heir apparent to Joe Paterno, was indicted by a grand jury on 40 counts relating to allegations of sexually abusing children.  The indictments came 10 months after several PSU officials, including Paterno and athletic director Tim Curley, were called to testify in front of the grand jury regarding the allegations made against Sandusky, some of which allegedly occurred while Sandusky was on Paterno’s coaching staff.

Now, one of those individuals is facing charges himself.  According to the Associated Press, Curley, along with PSU vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz, have been charged with perjury and failure to report suspected sexual abuse of a minor.

Neither Curley nor Schultz have been arrested, but are expected to turn themselves in to police at some point today.  While Sandusky was indicted yesterday, he wasn’t arrested and placed into custody until today.

Attempts by CFT to get a comment from Penn State regarding this stunning development have been unsuccessful.

Following Sandusky’s retirement, he was given an office in the school’s football building.  It was a 2002 incident, three years after retirement, and Curley/Schultz failing to be forthcoming about it to the grand jury that led to the significant charges the officials are currently facing, according to the Patriot-News:

Attorney General Linda Kelly says Curley and Schultz perjured themselves by repeatedly denying,  during the grand jury investigation, that they were told about an incident in 2002 that was reported by a graduate football assistant who walked [in] on Sandusky taking a shower with a young boy.

Kelly said, “rather than reporting the matter to law enforcement, Curley and Schultz agreed that Sandusky would be told he could not bring any Second Mile children into the football building.  That message was also reportedly related to Dr. John Raykovitz at the Second Mile (Past Executive Director and Executive Vice-President and currently the President and CEO of the Second Mile),” the statement says.”

Despite that ban, which was reviewed by Penn State President Graham Spanier, there was no change in Sandusky’s status with the school, no changes to his access to campus, and no charges were brought.

Another instance of alleged sexual abuse occurred in May of 1998 in a locker room located in the PSU football building and involved the alleged inappropriate contact of a 12-year-old boy by Sandusky.  The assistant would’ve been entering his second-to-last season at the school during the time of that alleged incident; he retired following the 1999 season.  That incident was reported to police, but no charges were filed.

An incident from 1996 — again, while Sandusky was employed by the university and Curley was the AD — was also included in the litany of charges Sandusky’s facing.

Kelly, Pennsylvania’s attorney general, blasted the PSU administration for, in essence, turning a blind eye to an individual the state considers a predator.

“The failure of top university officials to act on reports of Sandusky’s alleged sexual misconduct, even after it was reported to them in graphic detail by an eyewitness, allowed a predator to walk free for years – continuing to target new victims,” Kelly said.

Arkansas moving back to natural grass field at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in 2019

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It’s a new era at Arkansas with Chad Morris and a new athletic director in charge and not even the turf will be spared from seeing changes.

Per the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, the school will be moving to a natural grass field at Reynolds Razorback Stadium instead of replacing their current artificial turf again as it nears the end of its lifespan.

“Let me say my preference is I love natural grass,” Morris told the paper a few months ago. “That’s just me. Maybe that’s just the high school coach in me.

“Worrying about what the next surface out here looks like is irrelevant to me. I just want to get through a practice and get better today. But I prefer, I’m a natural grass type of guy. I love being on a grass field. There’s nothing better than that in college football, or football period.”

Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek confirmed this weekend that the change was being made in Fayetteville after the 2018 season concludes. The current turf was put in back in the Bobby Petrino era in 2009 and will need to be replaced after a decade or so of heavy use.

This will not be the end of Razorbacks playing on turf however, as they will not only see the stuff for games at neutral sites and at other SEC opponents but also when they make their annual trek to War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock — which had turf installed a dozen years ago.

West Virginia President on old Big 12 expansion craze: “It was a little bit messy”

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E. Gordon Gee is one of college athletics’ most recognizable figures, which isn’t exactly what you typically say about school leaders like him. The West Virginia President known for his trademark bow tie (and who has never shied away from an interview or a quip he didn’t like) is on the cusp of his first set of spring meetings in the conference as the new chairman of the Big 12 board of directors.

Speaking to the Dallas Morning News about a range of issues around the league prior to meeting in Dallas, Gee seems to have come around on conference expansion from a few years ago and thinks it not only could have been handled better, but it probably shouldn’t be done in the first place because being the smallest Power Five league has its advantages too.

“I’m not certain it was the best way to do it,” Gee told the paper. “It was a little bit messy — and I was part of the mess.

“Intimacy gives us an opportunity to do something that a lot of other places can’t do… We’ll play to our strengths. We’re small, but we can be very aggressive in positioning ourselves uniquely.”

I’m sure the folks at places like Houston and BYU would agree the entire process was messy but will certainly disagree with Gee about the Big 12 sticking with just 10 members. It certainly sounds as though the issue has been put to bed for the foreseeable future but if the merry-go-round gets going once again, at least we know that the process everybody goes through will be a lot different.

College Football Hall of Fame adds title sponsor

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The College Football Hall of Fame is no longer the College Football Hall of Fame. Well, it is, but it isn’t.

It’s still a massive museum dedicated to honoring our nation’s greatest sport, but it will no longer be known by that name. The Atlanta-based Hall has added a title sponsor, and it’s the same corporation that sponsors everything else college football within Atlanta, from the Peach Bowl to Paul Johnson‘s sock drawer (presumably) — Chick-fil-A.

The new name and logo was unveiled Thursday.

As of press time, there was no word on if the first 100,000 CFT readers will receive a free 12-pack of nuggets upon entry.

Report: Cannabis oil not the reason C.J. Harris denied walk-on opportunity at Auburn

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A major brouhaha broke out on social media last last week when it was reported that C.J. Harris was denied by the NCAA an opportunity to walk-on at Auburn because of his prescription for cannabis oil, which he uses to prevent epileptic seizures. Harris claims to be seizure free since January 2017 thanks to the medication.

“After Auburn coaches and staff took a second look at his medical records, they told Harris’ father Curtis that his son could not compete in NCAA athletics while he was taking cannabis oil,” reported WGXA-TV, which broke the story.

“You’re taking something away from a kid who’s worked so hard in his life to get there,” Curtis Harris, the player’s father, said. “And you’re just taking it away because he’s taking a medication that’s helping with his disability.”

But according to Brandon Marcello of Auburn Undercover, the story is more complicated than that. A source told Marcello that it was Auburn’s doctors, and not NCAA rules, that will prevent Harris from suiting up for the Tigers. Writes Marcello:

Auburn’s team physician did not clear Harris due to the pre-existing medical conditions, a source close to the Auburn football program said. The Auburn medical staff was concerned about the epilepsy and wanted to protect his well being in a full-contact sport that could lead to head trauma, the source said.

That information will not stop people from ripping on the NCAA, however, largely because it’s fun to rip on the NCAA.

But the Harris situation is a flashpoint in a larger cultural issue. Public opinion on marijuana is changing — 61 percent of Americans believe it should be legal, according to a Pew Research poll in January, an increase from 57 percent in 2017 and a massive leap from the 31 percent who thought the same in 2000 — and cannabis is already legal for purchase on a medical basis in 29 states. And the opinion of Auburn’s doctors doesn’t change the fact Harris would still be ineligible under current NCAA rules.

However, the NCAA’s Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports has discussed “medical marijuana and CBD products at recent meetings” and will do so again at its next gathering in June, according to SB Nation. The Harris situation — and the subsequent public reaction — should be a a topic of conversation.