Report: Winston’s accuser sought $7 million for silence

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Tuesday brought word, by way of the Florida State quarterback’s advisor, that Jameis Winston would be cooperating with the university’s Title IX investigation into allegations that he raped a fellow FSU student in December of 2012.

A day later, another in a long line of explosive allegations in the long-running case has been levied.

In a letter to FSU officials confirming his client would be cooperating with the probe, and reportedly obtained by TMZ.com, advisor David Cornwell claimed that the alleged victim’s lawyer “demanded $7 [million] to settle her client’s claims against FSU and Winston.” Per the alleged Cornwell letter, attorney Patricia Carroll stated that “if we settle, you will never hear from my client or me again — in the press or anywhere.”

“Cornwell says he rejected her offer and 4 days later she went to the media,” the gossip website wrote.

As noted by Warchant.com, it’s not clear when the alleged demand was made. In February of this year, there were reports that “attorneys John Clune and Baine Kerr will work with Patricia Carroll ‘to evaluate the conduct of a number of individuals and entities in this matter and assess their civil and criminal liability.'” In April, an attorney for the alleged victim very publicly accused FSU of halting the Title IX investigation because Winston refused to cooperate; that attorney, though, was Kerr.

In January, however, Carroll said the following during an interview with ABC News.

I want heads to roll,” the attorney said eight months ago. “Absolutely you’re going to see a civil suit. You can not have law enforcement that is not held accountable.

“The family is proceeding, with civil action against the TPD and Jameis Winston. And possibly the university.”

[RELATED: Latest news, analysis on James Winston]

Whether that’s around the time when the alleged extortion demand was made is unknown.

The website also pointed out another aspect of the case that was allegedly highlighted in Cornwell’s letter to the university.

Cornwell also says Carroll claimed her client’s sexual encounter had to be rape, because she would never sleep with a “black boy.” Fact is … the alleged victim’s boyfriend at the time was black. The criminal case fell apart, partly because the alleged victim had semen from 2 different men on her shorts.

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.

“Mr. Winston will cooperate with the Investigation. He looks forward to clearing his name. But Mr. Winston will not walk into a honey trap. The Investigation must be a legitimate investigation,” Cornwell allegedly stated in the letter.

UPDATED 9:36 a.m. ET: PFT‘s Mike Florio has obtained a copy of the letter mentioned originally by TMZ.com.  In Florio’s post, he explains that, while Cornwell labels the $7 million demand as “extortion,” it’s simply business as usual in the civil process.

… it’s common for potential plaintiffs in civil lawsuits to demand cash in exchange for a waiver of potential legal claims and silence. Typically, the first number requested is ridiculously high. The defendant often responds with a number that is ridiculously low, and the two sides chip away at the divide until a deal is either reached, or not.

With no settlement reached, Winston’s accuser continues to push the case against him, with a civil lawsuit apparently inevitable.

Tennessee officially announces addition of USC transfer WR Velus Jones

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The newest member of the Tennessee Vols football team is officially onboard.

Earlier this month, Velus Jones announced on social media that he would be transferring from USC to Tennessee. Two weeks later, the Tennessee Vols football program confirmed the wide receiver’s addition to the roster.

The move continues what’s been a winding, twisting collegiate journey for Jones.

Originally committed to Alabama, Jones flipped to USC… then to Oklahoma… then back to USC before ultimately signing with the Trojans in 2016. In March of 2019, Jones placed his name into the NCAA transfer database. Three months later, however, Jones reversed course and remained with the Trojans.

Jones, a three-star 2016 signee coming out of high school in Alabama, was fourth on the Trojans in receptions (24) and receiving yards (266) as a redshirt sophomore in 2018. He also led the team with a 22.7 yards per kick return average. A year later, though, that production dropped to just 35 yards on six receptions.

For his career thus far, Jones has totaled 347 yards and a touchdown on his 36 catches.  He also scored a rushing touchdown in 2018.  On 82 kick returns spread out over three seasons, he averaged 23.7 per.

As a graduate transfer, Jones will be eligible to play for the Vols in 2020.  The upcoming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.

Auburn announces new three-year deal for DC Kevin Steele

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When it comes to the defensive side of the ball, the Auburn Tigers football program has ensured some continued coaching continuity.  At least for now.

Earlier Wednesday, Auburn announced that defensive coordinator Kevin Steele has agreed to a new three-year contract.  The new deal would keep Steele on The Plains through the 2022 season.

The financial particulars of the new pact have not yet been released.  In 2019, the 61-year-old Steele took in $1.9 million in total pay according to USA Today‘s coaching salary database.  That figure placed him third in the SEC and fourth nationally.

“Kevin has done a fantastic job with our defense the last four years making it one of the best in the country,” Auburn Tigers football head coach Gus Malzahn said in a statement. “This will provide great stability and leadership for our defense in the future. I’m appreciative of Kevin’s hard work.”

In December of 2015, Steele was hired as Auburn’s defensive coordinator.  Prior to that, he held the same job at LSU.

From the school’s release:

During Steele’s tenure as defensive coordinator the last four years, Auburn’s defense has ranked in the top 20 nationally in scoring defense. Auburn is one of only five FBS programs to hold opponents under 20 points per game in each of the last four seasons.

This past season, Auburn was sixth in the SEC and 17th nationally in giving up 19.5 points per game.  In total defense, the Tigers were seventh in the conference and 28th in the country as they allowed 337 yards per game.

Five Virginia Tech players, including three WRs, enter transfer portal in one day

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When it comes to the portal world, the Virginia Tech football program won the day.  Congrats?

As of this posting, three Virginia Tech football players announced on Twitter Wednesday that they have entered the NCAA transfer database.  Two of those entries are wide receivers — redshirt junior Hezekiah Grimsley (HERE) and true freshman Jacoby Pinckney (HERE) — to go along with running back Caleb Steward (HERE).

On top of that social-media attrition, it has been confirmed that yet another receiver, redshirt junior Phil Patterson, is in the portal.  As is defensive back Khalil Ladler, bringing the one-day total of Virginia Tech football players considering a transfer to five.

Five.  In one day.  The same day the program began winter workouts, it should be noted.

The trio of receivers in the portal actually pushes that group to four overall.  Earlier this month, Damon Hazelton signaled his intention to leave Blacksburg as well.

As for the recently-departed receiving corps particulars:

  • Grimsley — 53 career catches for 691 yards, three touchdowns. Stat line of 10-170-2 in 2019.
  • Patterson — 27 career catches for 269 yards, two touchdowns. Sta line of 6-72-1 in 2019.
  • Pinckney — Four-star 2019 signee who took a redshirt as a true freshman.  He was the No. 3 player regardless of position in the state of South Carolina.

As a redshirt freshman this past season, Steward ran for 85 yards on 19 carries.  Coming out of high school, Steward was a three-star 2018 signee.  He was rated as the No. 74 running back in the country and the No. 196 player at any position in the state of Florida.

A redshirt junior, Ladler played in 13 games each of the past three seasons.  During his time with the Hokies, the Georgia native was credited with 96 tackles, 6½ tackles for loss, five pass breakups, five passes defensed, three forced fumbles and two fumbles recovered.

Boise State, Mountain West release joint statement

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The developing situation between Boise State and the Mountain West Conference has taken yet another twist.

Earlier this month, the MWC announced a new six-year television deal that would significantly increase the annual revenue for league members.  The only problem?  MWC commissioner Craig Thompson stated earlier this month that Boise State’s sweetheart arrangement that allowed it to receive broadcast revenue above and beyond what other league members receive — originally part of a deal to remain in the conference after briefly going to the Big East during realignment’s heyday — would be coming to an end when this new deal expired.

That was apparently news to Boise State, which stated Tuesday that the university was “weighing our options to move forward.” One of those options, apparently, was the legal one as it was reported earlier Wednesday that Boise State filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against the MWC.

Two hours or so after those reports emerged, a “joint statement” from Boise State and the Mountain West addressed the latest development.

Last week, Boise State filed a complaint regarding media rights against the Mountain West Conference; however, that action alone does not formally begin a lawsuit. The University and the Mountain West are currently in discussions in hopes of bringing this matter to a resolution without litigation.

In the agreement that allowed Boise State to return to the MWC after the Big East flirtation, the university was to receive an additional $2 million in conference revenue annually.