USC’s Josh Shaw speaks publicly about ‘fabrication’ gone wild

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A feel-good story of heroics back in late August quickly unraveled and turned USC’s Josh Shaw into a national punchline.  Lying about saving his nephew from drowning led to an indefinite suspension that has kept the cornerback from playing a single down his senior season.

Shaw had yet to speak publicly about how he became entangled in the fabricating business… until now.

In an interview with Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times, Shaw confirmed that he suffered a pair of high-ankle sprains jumping from the balcony of his girlfriend’s apartment following a loud argument with her.  What preceded the infamous leap was Shaw looking out a window and seeing police cars pulling up to the building, leading him to assume his girlfriend had called the cops.  Shaw said a volatile situation halfway across the country led to a decision that will likely lead to him never playing a down again for the Trojans.

“We were not on good terms when she left, I thought she had somebody call authorities. I was thinking the worst,” he said. “If she did say anything, I’m a black man with dreadlocks, and with everything going on in the country at the time, all that stuff in St. Louis [Ferguson, Mo.] … in my mind, I’m going to leap from the balcony so authorities did not see me.”

Shaw said, as soon as he landed, he knew right away that he was injured, although he feared he shattered both of his legs. Instead of calling head coach Steve Sarkisian, or even his father — “My father is someone with wisdom, my father would have me tell the truth, we would have called Sark that night.” — Shaw called his brother, who came and picked him up. While at his brother’s house, he concocted the story that would prove to be his downfall.

What Shaw didn’t expect is exactly what happened: the story went viral after the school released what they thought were the feel-good details of how the player incurred his injuries. Shaw said he knew things had spiraled out of control when he saw the story being replayed on Sportscenter. Still, he kept up the lie because he “was in way too deep” to back out.

“I didn’t think it could be proved that story was not true,” he said. “My sister [Asia] was having a party … my cousin does have a balcony over his pool…. It involved only myself, my sister, two or three little kids, and my cousin.”

That sister had even came out very publicly in her brother’s defense, “confirming” that her brother had saved her son from drowning.

Reports began to surface, however, that a police report named a “Josh Shaw” in connection to a possible break-in at an apartment just a few miles from USC’s campus at some point between 10 and 11 local time the night of Aug. 23.  That’s around the same time that the USC cornerback with the same name was reportedly in the process of getting hurt while saving a relative.

Shaw, who acknowledged that he likely wouldn’t have fabricated the story if he had known he’d only suffered sprains instead of broken bones, seemed particularly down about flat-out lying to his head coach.

Things got deeper Tuesday morning [Aug. 26], just before Shaw was going to be wheeled out to meet the media at practice. USC officials had started hearing stories from police and other sources about an incident Saturday at the apartment building. Before taking the field, Shaw was asked directly by Coach Steve Sarkisian whether the story was true. He told him yes.

“Sark says, ‘I’m going to take your word for it,’” said Shaw, pursing his lips and looking down. “I regret it greatly… to lie to my head coach, who I greatly respect, that’s tough.”

That Tuesday night, Shaw told his parents the truth of what really happened.  The following morning, he did the same with USC officials.

“My biggest mistake wasn’t jumping from the balcony, it was in not calling my father after I did,” Shaw said. “I would not be sitting with you today if I done so. I tried to keep it from my father, and I will regret that to the day I die.”

Police continue to investigate the domestic incident that preceded the fabrication, although no charges are expected.  Shaw has been back practicing with the team for nearly two months, although he’s yet to play as the police probe continues.

It’s unknown whether Shaw will play in any of the Trojans’ final three regular season games or a bowl game.

CB Tony Butler posts classy, heartfelt goodbye in announcing transfer from Nebraska

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Thanks to a Nebraska football player, we won’t have to go through an entire day without a portal post.  Hurray?

Late this past week, Tony Butler announced in a very classy, heartfelt post on Twitter that he will be entering the NCAA transfer database.  The move would serve as the first step in a departure from the Nebraska football program.

The cornerback could also return to the Nebraska football team if he so desires.

That said, Butler would be leaving the Cornhuskers as a graduate transfer.  The 2020 season will be his final year of collegiate eligibility.

“In 2016, I came here as an 18-year-old kid lost and looking for a home.  Nebraska, you became my home and brought me in with open arms,” Butler wrote. “This place became very special. …

“Nebraska, you have done an incredible job at helping a lost boy become a man.  My family and I are forever grateful for this opportunity.”

A three-star 2016 signee, Butler was rated as the No. 22 player regardless of position in the state of Ohio.  He took a redshirt as a true freshman.

The past three seasons, Butler played in 27 games.  Four of those appearances came in 2019, which was likely the trigger for the decision to transfer.  Most of the games played came on special teams.

Butler is the third player to leave the Nebraska football program in a week.

Linebacker Pernell Jefferson, a three-star 2016 signee, entered the portal Wednesday.  Days before that, offensive lineman John Raridon decided to retire from football to pursue a career in architecture.

Five-star Penn State WR Justin Shorter tweets transfer to Florida

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The Florida Gators football program is the latest to benefit from Ye Olde Transfer Portal.

In late November, Justin Shorter took the initial step in transferring from Penn State by entering the NCAA database.  Two months to the day later, the wide receiver took to Twitter to announce that he has committed to continuing his collegiate playing career as part of the Florida Gators football team.

As of yet, UF has not announced Shorter’s addition to the roster.

A five-star member of the Nittany Lions’ 2018 recruiting class, Shorter was rated as the No. 1 receiver in the country; the No. 1 player at any position in the state of New Jersey; and the No. 8 recruit overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  Only defensive end Micah Parsons was rated higher than Shorter in Franklin’s class that year.

Limited to four games as a true freshman in large part because of injuries, Shorter caught three passes for 20 yards in 2018.  In 11 games this season, Shorter caught 12 passes for 137 yards.

Barring the unexpected, Shorter will have to sit out the 2020 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws.  He would then have two seasons of eligibility beginning in 2021.

World of college football reacts to tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant, 13-year-old daughter in helicopter crash

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As is the case across the entire world of sports, college football is reacting to the devastating news involving Kobe Bryant.

Sunday morning, Bryant was one of nine people killed — initial reports had the number at five — in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on his way to a travel basketball event.  The former NBA superstar, who retired from the sport following the 2015-16 season, was 41.

Adding to the devastation, one of Bryant’s daughters, who was also a player on her father’s travel basketball team, 13-year-old Gianna Maria Bryant, was killed in the crash as well.

Kobe and Gianna are survived by wife/mother Vanessa and three daughters/sisters.  The oldest is 17, the youngest will turn one in June.

In the hours after the heartbreaking news was confirmed, the world of college football mourned the passing of Kobe Bryant. Below is just a sampling.

 

Georgia state rep. proposes pay-for-play legislation with a twist that will make no one happy

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Ever since California’s SB 206 passed last September, more than a dozen states followed with their own versions of the Golden State’s Fair Pay to Play Act, to go along with a number of concurrent pushes in Washington. No matter your stance on the pay-for-play issue or what side of the political aisle you sit on, it seems we can all agree that politicians are not the people to solve this issue, and yet the NCAA kept dragging its feet, and dragging its feet, and draaaaggging its feeetttt and, well, here we are. And Sandra Scott‘s bill a large reason why.

Scott, a state representative in Georgia (D-Rex) has introduced HB 766, a type of compromise bill that will make no one happy.

The appeal, at least from the outside, of California’s SB 206, is that it would allow college athletes to capitalize on their popularity during the lifetime of that popularity while costing the school very little money, since the money would come from third-parties.

Scott’s bill does neither. In fact, it goes out of its way to do the opposite.

According to HB 766, Georgia would require its schools to set aside a third of all monies earned in postseason play into an escrow account, which would then be given to players upon graduation.

Read for yourself below.

To recap, Scott’s bill would cost the schools millions of dollars and also shut out a lot of the players who generate those millions. Why should, say, Jake Fromm be barred from having a hand in the money he produced for Georgia just because he went pro?

In short, Scott’s (well-meaning) bill would anger both schools and athletes while continuing the overly paternalistic attitudes adults have adopted toward college athletes that applies to no other demographic in college sports.