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.”

TE Jordan Wilson to transfer from UCLA

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UCLA redshirt junior Jordan Wilson has announced he is leaving the Bruins. In a post on his Twitter account on Friday afternoon, Wilson announced he is entering the transfer portal with the intent of finishing up his collegiate career with some other program.

“[I’d] like to announce that I will be entering the transfer portal, graduating at the end of the Spring quarter, and playing my final year of eligibility somewhere else,” Wilson announced in a statement on his Twitter account.

The decision of Wilson to leave UCLA comes at an unfortunate time for the Bruins. Wilson was likely to be a starter at tight end for UCLA in the fall. Wilson is the third tight end to leave UCLA this offseason. Devin Asiasi previously made the decision to declare for the NFL draft a year early. Matt Lynch also stepped into the transfer portal. Now, UCLA has a wide-open competition for playing time at the tight end spot beginning this spring.

Wilson caught seven passes for 72 yards for UCLA in 2019. He will leave UCLA having caught 25 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns in the past three seasons. As a graduate transfer, Wilson will be eligible to play his final year of eligibility anywhere he ends up this fall.

USC nabs Todd Orlando from Texas Tech

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USC has a new defensive coordinator. The Trojans announced on Friday the school has officially hired Todd Orlando to fill the role of defensive coordinator. Orlando joins USC after coaching the past three seasons at Texas.

Orlando actually joined the Texas Tech program after being let go by Texas following staff changes with the Longhorns. Despite landing a job with the Red Raiders, Orlando remained a top target for USC head coach Clay Helton.

“We are excited to have Todd join our Trojan football program,” Helton said in a released statement. “He is an experienced and successful defensive coordinator who has made an impact everywhere he has coached. He brings a passion, energy, toughness and discipline to his coaching and those characteristics were evident in our discussions. His defensive system poses an extreme challenge to offenses.”

Orlando replaces Clancy Pendergast, who was let go by Helton amid USC’s own staff changes after a down 2019 season. As previously mentioned (HERE), Orlando actually had worse defensive numbers compared to what Pendergast coached with USC last season. However, a contrast of playing styles and offensive outputs between the schedule Texas faced in 2019 (including games against LSU and Oklahoma) and what USC faced could lead to some skewed figures.

Orlando’s first test as a defensive coordinator will be a monster. USC opens the 2020 season in Arlington, Texas against Alabama.

Cal loses assistant Gerald Alexander to NFL job

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Cal assistant coach Gerald Alexander is leaving to coach with the Miami Dolphins. Alexander confirmed in a message posted on his Twitter account he is heading to the NFL for a coaching opportunity. Multiple reports have confirmed it will be with the Miami Dolphins.

Alexander thanked Cal head coach Justin Wilcox for the opportunity to be a part of Wilcox’s first coaching staff at Cal.

Alexander joined the Cal program in 2017 and spent the past three seasons as a defensive backs coach for the program. He has played a role in helping to coach one of the better defensive teams in the Pac-12. He previously coached at Montana State, Indiana State and with Chris Peterssen at Washington. Alexander played for Petersen at Boise State.

This will mark a return to the NFL for Alexander. He previously played in the league for five seasons with the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers, and, appropriately enough, the Miami Dolphins. Alexander was a second-round draft pick of Detroit in 2007.

Tulane officially adds Oklahoma State transfer LB Kevin Henry

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One of the nearly dozen Oklahoma State football players who entered the transfer portal this cycle has found a new collegiate home.

Thursday, Tulane announced that Kevin Henry has officially been added to the program’s roster.  As the linebacker left the Oklahoma State football team as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play for the AAC team immediately in 2020.

The upcoming season will serve as Henry’s final year of eligibility.  Henry had previously been awarded a sixth season from the NCAA after taking a redshirt as a true freshman and then missing all but one game of 2017 because of a torn ACL.

A three-star member of the Oklahoma State football Class of 2015, Henry was rated as the No. 25 safety in the country.  He was also the No. 20 player regardless of position in the state of Louisiana.  Only one signee on the defensive side of the ball in OSU’s class that year, defensive tackle Darrion Daniels, was rated higher than Henry.

Daniels, incidentally, ultimately finished up his collegiate playing career at Nebraska after transferring to the Cornhuskers in December of 2018.

During his time in Stillwater, Henry played in a total of 36 games, including a dozen appearances this past season.  He started one of those three-dozen games, Oklahoma State football’s Liberty Bowl win over Missouri following the 2018 regular season.

In those appearances, Daniels was credited with 51 tackles, two tackles for loss, one interception, one forced fumble, one quarterback hit and one pass defensed.