FSU reopens Title IX probe into Jameis Winston rape allegations

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In  April of this year the attorney for the woman who claims to have been sexually assaulted by Jameis Winston two years ago called for Florida State to reopen its Title IX investigation into the incident, which was closed because the star quarterback refused to answer questions.

A few months later, however — and just as FSU kicked off its title defense — the federally-mandated probe is back on.

Another attorney for the accuser, John Clune, confirmed to both the Tampa Bay Times and USA Today that Florida State has restarted its Title IX investigation into the allegations by, finally, speaking to his client.  The meeting, which took place early last month, was the first time school officials had spoken to the alleged victim.

USA Today wrote that “Clune said the lengthy interview with his client gave FSU more information than it previously had from the Tallahassee police department investigation.” Based on their interaction with the school recently, the accuser’s legal team “expect[s] that there will be code of conduct charges that will be brought” against Winston.

“There’s no basis not to bring those charges now,” Clune added.

If found to be in violation of FSU’s code of conduct. Winston could face punitive measures that range from expulsion from school all the way down to probation and a verbal reprimand. The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights mandates that Title IX investigations should take no longer than 60 days.

It’s unclear if FSU officials have spoken to Winston since reopening the investigation, although that seems doubtful.  It’s also unclear whether any type of punishment, if a code of conduct charge is levied, for Winston would be announced before the end of the 2014 season.

The burden of proof related to a Title IX investigation is much lower than in a criminal proceeding, though, as USA Today states that “if Winston did face code of conduct charges from the university, a decision regarding responsibility would be made based on a ‘preponderance of the evidence’ standard, in accordance with federal guidelines.”

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 earlier this week, a report in which the university subsequently expressed its disappointment.  The Tallahassee PD subsequently revised its policies when it came to handling sexual assault complaints in the wake of intense criticism it received.

In April it was reported that the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has launched its own investigation into FSU’s handling of the case.  At least for now, Clune is satisfied in the about-face FSU officials have made since.

“They assured us that the Title IX process was going to move forward,” the attorney said. “The interview went pretty well. I think it was a positive experience, and everyone felt like the university was taking it very seriously.”

Neither Winston nor his attorney have publicly addressed this latest development. In a response to the reports, the school simply stated that “[w]hile we cannot comment on any individual case, in general, complainants control the timing in our process.”

Feleipe Franks transfers from Florida to Arkansas

Former Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks will transfer to Arkansas and be eligible to play in the fall.
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Former Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks has made his transfer decision. He will be an Arkansas Razorback.

Franks is a grad transfer, which will make him eligible for Arkansas this fall. Even better for Arkansas is Franks will be enrolled in classes and be available to work out with his new team this spring. That means Franks will get a chance to go through a full spring practice schedule for his new program under brand new head coach Sam Pittman. Arkansas will also get its first spring practice in with new offensive coordinator Kendall Briles. It should go without much saying the Arkansas offense will have a new look in 2020.

A starting job may not yet be guaranteed for Franks at Arkansas, but he will be the most experienced option available. If Franks gels well with his new team this spring, that starting job may quickly become his to lose, if it is not considered that already. Franks is coming back from a season-ending ankle injury.

Arkansas will certainly be getting an experienced passer. Ranks passed for 4,593 yards and 38 touchdowns during his time at Florida, which included some time as the starter for the Gators. Franks also made a visit to Kansas while evaluating his options since deciding he would move on from Gainesville.

Bo Pelini heading back to LSU? It could be in play, per report

Could Bo Pelini be heading back to LSU?
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LSU needs a defensive coordinator, and Bo Pelini could potentially be the answer. According to a report from Football Scoop, the one-time LSU defensive coordinator could be a leading candidate for the job in Baton Rouge.

Given his defensive track record, Pelini and LSU could be a solid match, and it has certainly worked out well before. Pelini was LSU’s defensive coordinator from 2005 through 20078 before he was given the opportunity to be a head coach at Nebraska. The Cornhuskers were coached by Pelini from 2008 through 2014 with a handful of appearances in the Big 12 and Big Ten championship game, although with no conference title to show for it.

Pelini was let go as head coach at Nebraska after the 2014 season. He has been the head coach at Youngstown State since 2015. After a few disappointing seasons, a chance to jump back to the FBS, and to do so with the defending national champions, could be a good move for Pelini. If LSU and Pelini see eye-to-eye, then this could be as good a replacement at defensive coordinator as LSU could have asked for.

LSU has a vacancy at defensive coordinator after Dave Arranda accepted an opportunity to be the new head coach at Baylor following LSU’s national championship run.

Rutgers adds another Big Ten transfer with former Wolverine Michael Dwumfour

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New Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano has been tapping the transfer portal to help build the roster in his first year back with the Scarlet Knights. On Monday, Rutgers added another Big Ten transfer to the program with the addition of defensive tackle Michael Dwumfour. Dwumfour transfers to Rutgers from Michigan.

Schiano confirmed the latest addition to the program on his Twitter account.

Dwumfour will be a graduate transfer, so he will be eligible right away for Rutgers this upcoming season. Dwumfour played 33 games for the Wolverines, including 10 game sin 2019 with four starts. He will provide an instant upgrade to the Rutgers defensive line depth and should be thrown right into the mix for a starting job this fall.

Notably, Dwumfour is a New Jersey native. Schiano’s hiring at Rutgers has certainly had a bit of an initial impact in luring some of the state’s and regional recruits on the transfer market. Earlier this month, Rutgers welcomed Brooklyn, New York product and former Wisconsin wide receiver Aron Cruickshank (HERE).

Miami gets its QB with ex-Houston dual-threat D’Eriq King as grad transfer

Former Houston quarterback D'Eriq King is heading to Miami.
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A day later, D’Eriq King is officially committed to the Miami Hurricanes. King brought his transfer process to a close on Monday afternoon with an announcement he is indeed committed to Miami. King shared the news with his followers on Twitter.

On Sunday, it was initially reported by Manny Navarro of The Athletic that King was scheduled to enroll and begin classes at Miami this week. Classes at Miami begin Tuesday. However, a quote of King relayed by a Houston-based media report shortly afterward quoted King as saying he had made no final decision and was still weighing some possible options. Other options were said to include Arkansas, LSU, and Maryland.

Miami was reported early on as a possible landing spot for King, along with Arkansas. Ole Miss had also been mentioned as an option early on. King initially started his transfer process by opting to redshirt the remainder of the 2019 season after a rough start to the year for the Cougars. He said at the time he had every intent on returning to the program in 2020, but his sudden announcement during the national championship game last week made it evident he was moving on. And now, of course, he has.

King appeared in just four games for Houston last season. In those four games, King passed for 663 yards and six touchdowns with two interceptions. The dual-threat quarterback also rushed for 313 yards and six touchdowns before redshirting the remainder of the 2019 season. In 11 game sin 2018, King passed for 2,982 yards and 36 touchdowns and rushed for 674 yards and 14 touchdowns. King is certainly a quality talent that will add to the Miami offense and inject some new life into the program. With the right help around him, King could help make Miami an ACC Coastal contender in 2020.

King will be eligible for Miami in 2020 as a graduate transfer.