Report: Paterno family set to counter Freeh report

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Ahead of the airing of Sue Paterno‘s interview with Katie Couric Monday, the family of Joe Paterno will issue a response to a Penn State-commissioned report that ultimately resulted in historic sanctions being slapped on the football program.

Citing a source close to the case, the Centre Daily Times writes that “[t]he family of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno will release a report countering the Freeh Report, which claimed Paterno covered up allegations of child sex abuse against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.”  The family’s report, which is expected to be upwards of 180 pages — the Freeh report was in the neighborhood of 150 pages — will be released and discussed on ESPN’s Outside the Lines program at 9 ET Sunday morning.

Announced in July of last year, the family’s report was compiled by a “prominent national team of experts,” the paper notes.

While the details of what will actually be contained in what’s being called an “extremely comprehensive” report are not known, it’s expected to center on the tactics utilized by the Freeh group, which “conducted over 430 interviews and reviewed over 3.5 million documents” during a probe that began in November of 2011.  Coach Paterno was not one of those interviewed.  Neither was Mike McQueary, the then-grad assistant who witnessed Sandusky raping a young boy in a shower located in the football program’s on-campus building in 2001.  How school officials, including Paterno, handled that incident was a central theme in the Freeh report.

The independent investigation into the Sandusky child-sex scandal, headed by former FBI director Louis Freeh, has come under tremendous fire since its release in July of 2012, six months following Paterno’s death and eight months after Sandusky’s indictment on dozens of charges that led to the legendary coach’s dismissal.  The most damning accusation in the Freeh report alleged that Paterno, along with other top-level university officials, “concealed Sandusky’s activities from the Board of Trustees, the university community and authorities.”

The Paterno family has long maintained their patriarch’s innocence, even as Paterno acknowledged publicly that the Sandusky scandal was “one of the great sorrows of my life… I wish I had done more.”

On the basis of the Freeh report, the NCAA levied significant sanctions against the university last year, including a $60 million fine, stripping dozens of scholarship from the football program as well as a four-year bowl ban.  A federal antitrust lawsuit, headed by governor Tom Corbett, has been filed seeking to have the sanctions reversed, while the NCAA is looking to have the case dismissed.

UPDATED 1:51 p.m. ET: Sue Paterno has penned a letter and sent it to the Penn State lettermen who played under her husband, which can be read in its entirety HERE.  A very big thanks to former Nittany Lions quarterback Michael Robinson (@RealMikeRob) for giving us a heads up to the letter.

Mother’s death forces Purdue RB Evan Anderson to leave team

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Purdue running back Evan Anderson has left the team, head coach Jeff Brohm told Gold and Black.

A member of Purdue’s 2018 signing class, Anderson redshirted last season, then had a proverbial bomb go off in his life that took precedence over football and school.

“His mother passed away,” said Brohm told the site. “That set him back, that hurt him. It hurt all of us. It was a bad situation. We felt for him. He missed a lot of school, he missed a lot of practice. I don’t want to put words into his mouth, but his family situation was important to him. It was a rough, rough semester on him–and understandably so.”

A 3-star recruit, Anderson is a native of Suwanee, Ga. Should he desire to continue his college football career, he figures to be a shoe-in for an NCAA hardship waiver if he transfers closer to home.

In less important matters, Anderson’s departure leaves a hole on Purdue’s running back depth chart. The Boilermakers’ top two running backs were seniors, and their third-leading rusher was wide receiver Rondale Moore. The Boilers’ leading returning rusher is sophomore Alexander Horvath, who carried all of nine times in 2018. Six runners, including two incoming freshmen, will fight for carries in fall camp, but Anderson will not be one of them.

Brock Huard leaving ESPN for Fox

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After 12 years at ESPN, Brock Huard is leaving to become the No. 2 college football analyst for Fox.

The news was first reported by the New York Post, then confirmed by Huard himself on his radio show in Seattle.

“I’m leaving there and getting an opportunity, a huge opportunity, and as big of a bummer as it is leaving ESPN, it’s as huge of a gift and an opportunity to join Fox on their college football broadcasts and join Joe Davis, who I worked with way back when on one of his first games when he filled in for Mark Jones,” Huard said, via Awful Announcing. “And I knew then this dude is talented, really good, they’ve got an incredible crew.”

Huard (right) will replace Brady Quinn, who join’s Fox’s revamped pre-game show, which now features Reggie Bush and Urban Meyer alongside Rob Stone and Matt Leinart, in addition to Quinn.

The former Washington quarterback worked alongside play-by-play man Bob Wischusen and sideline reporter Allison Williams on ESPN’s No. 5 crew. Florida’s win over Michigan in the Peach Bowl will now mark Huard’s final game at ESPN.

Fox revealed at its upfront presentation to advertisers that it will put its top games in the noon ET window, a clear attempt to build off its beefed-up pre-game show and to avoid fierce competition with CBS’s SEC package at 3:30 ET and ABC’s Saturday Night Football at 6:30 ET. This means Fox’s No. 1 crew of Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt will spend most, if not all, of their time in Big Ten and Big 12 country, so it stands to reason Huard will spend much of his fall on his native West Coast doing Pac-12 games later in the day.

Auburn adds graduate transfer WR from FCS ranks

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Auburn has bolstered its 2019 class with an intriguing prospect. The nature of college sports doesn’t typically allow players to earn the title of journeyman, but if one did it would be the newest Tiger, Zach Farrar.

A product of powerhouse Southlake Carroll High School in Texas, Farrar signed with Oklahoma as part of the Sooners’ class of 2016. He lasted one season in Norman, a redshirt year, then spent the 2017 campaign at Gulf Coast Community College in Mississippi, where he snagged 11 passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns on the season. That led him to Youngstown State, where as a redshirt sophomore he caught 20 balls for 303 yards and one touchdown. Farrar showed out against the best competition he faced, hauling in six balls for 135 yards in a 52-17 loss to West Virginia last season.

Now he’s on the move again, to his fourth college in as many years. This time, Farrar thinks he’ll stick around.

“I really like how the coaches drew everything up for me,” Farrar told Auburn Sports. “They showed me where I would fit in and how they have an immediate need at that position.”

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Farrar figures to work in the mix immediately at outside receiver. He’ll work to replace the 35 catches Darius Slayton left behind when he declared for the NFL draft.

Farrar will have two seasons to play immediately for the Tigers.

Attorney: Dozens of former Buckeye football players among ex-Ohio State team physician’s victims

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An attorney preparing a lawsuit against Ohio State says that most of his 50 clients victimized by former Buckeye team Dr. Richard Strauss were former Buckeye football players.

Dayton-based attorney Michael Wright told the Associated Press some of his clients, all of whom remain anonymous at this time, went on to play in the NFL. “Clearly they had good relationships with the university, and they believe the university will either retaliate or significantly distance themselves from these athletes,” Wright said.

Strauss’ abuse of Ohio State athletes has been in the news lately, but his actions have been primarily focused on the Buckeyes’ wrestling program. Former wrestler Mike DiSabato met with Ohio State in March 2018 to discuss the abuse he says he and other athletes suffered at Strauss’ hands, prompting the school to hire the Seattle-based Perkins Coie law firm. That firm released a 232-page report on Friday that found Strauss abused at least 177 male students; the report made one specific reference to football, and said three former football players were interviewed.

“We find that University personnel had knowledge of Strauss’ sexually abusive treatment of male student-patients as early as 1979, but the complaints about Strauss’ conduct were not elevated beyond the Athletics Department of Student Health until 1996,” the report stated.

Strauss worked for Ohio State from 1979 through 1998. He committed suicide in 2005.

“Although a weight has been lifted off my back, I am deeply saddened to hear and relive the stories of so many others who suffered similar abuse by Dr. Strauss while Ohio State turned a blind eye,” DiSabato’s said in a statement.

Part of the reason the public discourse has centered on Ohio State’s wrestling program is because Jim Jordan, a U.S. Representative from Ohio’s fourth district, served as an assistant coach for the Buckeyes’ wrestling team from 1987 through ’95. Jordan maintains he knew nothing of Strauss’ actions.

But Wright’s lawsuit could broaden the scope and discussion of Strauss’ abuse and Ohio State’s knowledge therein, particularly if any of the victims come forward. Wright told the AP he plans to file his lawsuit late next week.