Testimonies by Paterno, Curley, Schultz read in hearing

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Earlier today, we recapped the testimony by Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary, a key figure in the Jerry Sandusky case who, in 2002, allegedly witnessed an act of sexual abuse by Sandusky on a young boy.

While McQueary’s account of the alleged incident has changed on more than one occasion, the testimonies of former coach Joe Paterno, athletic director Tim Curley and recently retired VP of Business and Finance Gary Schultz (both are facing perjury charges) provided explicit, and very disheartening, information on how the alleged incident was handled by PSU administration. Below is a recap of those testimonies.

(A huge, huge thank you to Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror for the Twitter updates. Follow him at @corygiger)

Paterno’s testimony was read first. The meeting between McQueary and Paterno after McQueary allegedly witnessed the sexual abuse remains one of the more crucial, yet vague, components of this scandal.

“He said he had something that he wanted to discuss. I said come on over to the house,” Paterno said in the testimony. “He had seen a person, not an older but a mature person who was fondling or whatever you might call it.

“It was a sexual nature.”

Okay, so Paterno and McQueary agree that the incident was indeed sexual.

“I didn’t go any further than that,” Paterno said of the conversation. “I did tell Mike, ‘Mike, you did what was right. You told me.'”

But what Paterno said next was the bombshell of the testimony. On what his immediate reaction was after learning of the incident from McQueary:

“I ordinarily would have called people right away, but it was a Saturday morning and I didn’t want to interfere with their weekends.”

Curley, whose testimony would be read next, claimed he was contacted on Sunday, the next day, by Paterno.

“I said, ‘Hey, we’ve got a problem,’ and I explained the problem to him,” Paterno said of his conversation with Curley. “I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Mr. Curley, and I thought he would look into it.

“I do not know of anything else that Jerry would be involved with.”

That was the end of the Paterno testimony; next was Curley.

The athletic director said that he and Schultz went over and met with Paterno following the coach’s meeting with McQueary. Exactly when that meeting was on the timeline wasn’t explicitly stated.

“The individual [McQueary] heard and saw, I guess, two people in the shower,” Curley said of what he was informed. “The individual was uncomfortable.”

Curley then said he met with McQueary.

“I can’t recall the specific conversation with Mike and exactly how he said it,” Curley said. “My recollection was that they were kind of wrestling, there was body contact and they were horsing around.”

When asked if McQueary provided any explicit details, such as if there was any penetration that he witnessed, Curley said “absolutely not.”

Curley and Schultz then shared the information of that meeting to former PSU president Graham Spanier, who, in turn, made the recommendation to report the incident to Second Mile. The Grand Jury’s summary of the Sandusky scandal states that Curley did indeed inform Second Mile CEO Jack Raykovitz of the 2002 incident.

Curley, before reporting what he had heard to Raykovitz, says he met with Sandusky.

“[I] told him that we were uncomfortable with the information,” Curley said.

Sandusky, according to Curley’s testimony, did not initially admit to being in shower with boy, but later admitted that he did.

“I indicated to him… he was not to use our facilities with young people,” Curly testified, also acknowledging that there was no practical way to enforce that “punishment”. “I was the one that came forward to say that this is the appropriate action, that we need to report it to The Second Mile.”

Beyond that, Curley said he did not contact the police — that was his own decision — nor did he attempt to find out the identity of the alleged victim because he didn’t think the incident was sexual in nature (um, read the above paragraph).

“I didn’t think that it was a crime at the time.”

Curley added that he did not know about the 1998 investigation of Sandusky.

“I don’t remember any reports to me that it were sexual in nature,” Curley said.

That was the end of Curley’s testimony. Next was Schultz’s. It was particularly damning and thoroughly depressing.

Schultz testified that doesn’t remember Paterno’s exact words about the shower incident when he met with the coach along with Curley… that it was spoken of “in a very general way… that maybe Jerry might have grabbed the young boy’s genitals.

“The allegations came across as not that serious,” continued Schultz. “There was no indication that it was [criminal]… Not all inappropriate conduct is criminal.

“I can imagine instances where an adult man would be in a shower with young boys.”

When asked if he thought it was criminal for a man to grab a boy’s genitals, Schultz replied “I don’t know.”

When asked to describe the definition of sexual conduct, Schultz replied “I don’t know.”

However, Schultz agreed that with the assessment that no adult male should grab the genitals of a young boy.

“I don’t recall him telling us what he observed specifically.” said Schultz of McQueary’s description of the alleged incident (although the term “horsing around” was thrown around quite a bit).  Schultz added that no one went back to McQueary and asked for specifics.

Schultz, like Curley, was asked about the 1998 investigation of Sandusky. However, unlike Curley, Schultz claimed to have a recollection of at least some information involving the case.

“I thought it had some basis of inappropriate behavior but without any specifics at all,” Schultz said.

Schultz did not meet with Sandusky over any of the alleged incidents, nor did he seek out the 1998 report after hearing about the 2002 incident.

“I had the impression that Tim did follow through [with Child Protective Services]” on making sure Sandusky couldn’t bring kids to football facilities. “The incident in 2002, again, I recall that it was also turned over to the same agency for investigation” as ’98 case.

“As far as I know the university asked the other agency to follow up, as they did in ’98.”

Schultz added that he agreed with Curley’s recommendation for how things should be handled after hearing about 2002 incident, and like Curley, did not attempt to discover the identity of Victim 2.

When asked if there was anything strange about Sandusky retirement, Schultz replied “No, I candidly have recollections that Coach Paterno and Jerry had reached a point where Coach Paterno felt it was necessary to make a coaching change.”

Florida State names James Blackman starting QB over Wisconsin transfer Alex Hornibrook

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In this case, the transfer pastures weren’t any greener for a signal-caller — two, actually — who moved on from his first college football home.

Alex Hornibrook left Wisconsin this offseason and ultimately landed at Florida State as a graduate transfer.  Jordan Travis took his leave of Louisville earlier this year and ended up transferring to FSU; Travis was ultimately granted an immediate-eligibility waiver.

With those twin under-center developments, Willie Taggart and the Seminoles navigated a three-headed quarterback competition during the spring and on into summer camp: Hornibrook, Travis and one-time starter James Blackman.  Sunday night, FSU announced that Blackman is its QB1 heading into the opener against Boise State this coming Saturday night.

The naming of Blackman as the starter continues what’s been a roller coaster ride for the redshirt sophomore.

Blackman, who himself placed his name into the transfer portal earlier this year before undergoing a change of heart, started most of the 2017 season due to an injury to starter Deondre Francois, who regained the job in 2018 only to be dismissed from the football program in February of this year.

Blackman was a three-star member of FSU’s 2017 recruiting class. After Francois went down with what turned out to be a season-ending injury in the opener that year, Blackman started the remaining 12 games as a true freshman.  Francois returned as the starter for the vast majority of the 2018 season, missing one game in early November because of a concussion.  Blackman started the lone game Francois didn’t, throwing for 421 yards and four touchdowns in a loss to NC State.

In that initial season in 2017, Blackman completed almost 60 percent of his 297 passes for 2,230 yards, 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.  He was able to take a redshirt for this past season despite playing in four games.

Hornibrook, who battled concussion issues the latter half of the 2018 season but was cleared for winter workouts in January, spent the past three seasons as the Badgers’ starting quarterback.  In games in which Hornibrook started during that span, Wisconsin went 26-6.

In 35 career games played with the Badgers, Hornibrook passed for 5,438 yards, 47 touchdowns and 33 interceptions.

This coming season is Hornibrook’s final year of eligibility.

Travis, whose older brother played baseball at FSU a few years ago, was a three-star member of the Cardinals’ 2018 recruiting class, rated as the No. 25 dual-threat quarterback in the country.  As a true freshman this past season, Jackson completed four-of-nine passes for 71 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Because he played in four or fewer games this past year, he took a redshirt for the 2018 season.

Calamity averted: Washington State flag’s College GameDay streak reaches 225 straight

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Courtesy of some expected common sense, a potential national nightmare was averted earlier this weekend.

Along with Lee Corso, one of the constants you can count on seeing when you turn on ESPN‘s College GameDay Saturday mornings during the football season is the Washington State flag flying somewhere in the crowd, regardless of from where the show originates.  Ol’ Crimson first appeared around the GameDay set in Austin on Oct. 4, 2003, and has made it to every show since, a streak of 224 straight appearances.

Unfortunately, there was some serious concern earlier this month that the streak wouldn’t make it to 225.

ESPN announced Aug. 13 that College GameDay would set up camp and televise its popular pregame show from Walt Disney World ahead of the Week 0 Florida-Miami matchup at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium Aug. 24.  In a cruel and potentially streak-ending twist, the Magic Kingdom’s rules prohibit, among other things, flags from being flown on the Walt Disney World Resort Property.

All was right with the world in the end, though, as Ol’ Crimson was indeed front and center ahead of what would turn out to be a Gators win over the Hurricanes as, not surprisingly, Disney bent its rules regarding not only flags but signs as well.

From the Spokesman-Review:

Hey, look at this,” ESPN’s Rece Davis said as the flag was shown. “Look who made it into the Magic Kingdom.”

“The streak’s alive,” Kirk Herbstreit said.

“I want to point out, too, the streak is legit and authentic,” Davis added. “Now, we’ll cooperate with our friends, but Washington State has to do its part and they have.”

Herbstreit chimed in: “They’ve made big efforts throughout this streak and they made another one today.”

“Congrats to the Cougs,” ESPN’s Desmond Howard said.

Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick doesn’t sense momentum for CFB Playoff expansion

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We’re at the dawn of a new season in college football but for a lot of folks, the upcoming campaign is a lot more about the ending than the beginning. We’re talking of course about the thing that dominates the debate in the sport for much of the fall: the College Football Playoff.

Though it seems like we’re stuck at four teams in the postseason event for the foreseeable future, expansion of the playoff is a topic that seems like a never ending well. Most want it, but few in power seem to be pushing for it.

That point was reiterated this week by Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick. The leader of a program who made last year’s edition of the final four and one of the more powerful people in college athletics recently told the South Bend Tribune that he doesn’t see a move to six or eight teams in the event anytime soon.

I don’t want to speculate on that. I don’t sense a lot of momentum,” Swarbrick said. “But again, this is a group of individuals who cares about college football and think about it all the time. And so that’s all you want, a process where people are always talking about how to make the game better. But I don’t sense any particular momentum for change right now.”

If anybody would have some insight into the thought process regarding expansion, it’s bound to be Swarbrick — who sits on the CFP Management Committee and has his school president on the overarching CFP Board of Managers.

Perhaps something will change by 2025 when the postseason contract comes up with ESPN but until then, get used to four teams.

Missouri AD Jim Sterk is even more mad about NCAA penalties after Mississippi State case

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At some point in the distant future, Missouri fans, coaches, players and administrators will forget about the sanctions that the NCAA handed out to their football program.

That day is not today however.

Hot on the heels of Friday’s decision by the NCAA to slap the wrist of Mississippi State over a somewhat similar academic fraud case, Tigers AD Jim Sterk is telling anybody who will listen just how wronged his school was in the wake of what happened at his SEC rival.

“We believe that the penalties imposed in the recently decided and factually similar case (at Mississippi State) further illustrate that the penalties imposed on Mizzou were excessive and inconsistent with previous case precedent,” Sterk told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. We have never wavered from our stance or the merits of our appeal and remain hopeful it will be successful.”

The Tigers are hopeful that an appeal will be decided in the fairly near future and, obviously, that it will be a favorable ruling.

There are a handful of differences between Mizzou’s and the Bulldogs’ cases and enough to make comparing them apples to oranges despite being under the broad umbrella of academic fraud. We’ll see what ultimately ends up happening but something says that short of a complete reversal, Tigers fans and others sporting the gold and black won’t be happy with the NCAA for a long, long time.