Getty Images

Arrest warrant filed in Nebraska RB Maurice Washington’s revenge-porn case

5 Comments

There’s been another development in the legal matter involving a playing member of the Nebraska football program.

Earlier this week, reports surfaced that California native Maurice Washington is facing charges under that state’s revenge-porn law.  It’s alleged that Washington sent a sexually-explicit 10-second video, recorded two years prior by someone other than the running back, involving an underage female and two other boys to that same female in early March of 2016.

According to the Lincoln Journal Star, an arrest warrant has now been filed for Washington in connection to the case.  The Journal Star writes that “Clarissa Hamilton, the Santa Clara district attorney prosecuting the case, said it could take one to three months for a judge to sign an arrest warrant.” Once that happens, Washington would either be extradited from Nebraska to California or he could turn himself in to authorities.

The DA told the newspaper that the county would have no objection to self-surrender; Washington’s new attorney told the same outlet that his client “would go to California at some point and make a voluntary appearance in the case.”

While Washington didn’t participate in the sex act nor did he record it, he is still facing a felony count of possessing a video or photograph of a person under 18 who is engaging in or simulating sexual conduct and a misdemeanor count of posting a video or photograph of a person engaging in or simulating sexual conduct without consent, leading to the person suffering emotional distress.  Washington had dated the alleged victim prior to the video being recorded.

There’s also some question as to exactly what the NU football program knew about Washington’s situation and when they knew it.

In attempting to contact Washington in late August, the Santa Clara detective investigating the case for the sheriff’s department, Colin Haselbach, spoke to an investigator from the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, Ed Sexton, on Aug. 29 for help.  Sexton subsequently texted Washington, who, when informed that Sexton was a law enforcement official, failed to reply further.

Two weeks later, Sexton, who in the interim had spoken to university police about the case, received a phone call from Jamie Vaughn, NU’s compliance director, who was made aware of Sexton’s interest in talking to Washington by UNL police. Per Vaughn via Haselbach, the football staff was “concerned about Maurice needing a lawyer” in order to speak to Sexton.

A day after Vaughn and Sexton spoke, “Sexton got a call from former Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, who said he was representing the Athletic Department,” the newspaper wrote.  Bruning also represented Washington in the case from the middle of September until Feb. 8.

Bruning has denied the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office’s assertion that he was a representative of the NU athletic department. “I’ve never represented the University of Nebraska as legal counsel, and I’ve never held myself out as doing so,” Bruning said in a statement earlier this week.

Bruning has also denied that he shared details of the case with university officials, athletic department or otherwise; in a statement Monday, the Nebraska athletic department also claimed they were not privy to the details of the case.

“We knew that there [were] some questions and things that the folks in California were asking about — but they weren’t specific,” athletic director Bill Moos said during an interview Wednesday as relayed by the Omaha World-Herald. “I was made aware there were inquiries, but they were not specific. …

“[NU] will cooperate with all of this. We’re not trying to get away with anything.”

Washington is now represented by Lincoln criminal defense attorney John Ball, to whom the player was referred by Bruning.

After some academic uncertainty throughout the offseason, Washington was cleared to join the Cornhuskers football team in early August of last year.  As a true freshman, and despite the legal clouds hanging over him from the start of the season, Washington rushed for 455 yards and three touchdowns, numbers that were both good for third on the team.  His 24 receptions were also third-best, while his 221 receiving yards were fourth.

Mel Tucker hires familiar faces Jay Johnson and Harlon Barnett to Michigan State staff

Getty Images
Leave a comment

What’s old is new again at Michigan State.

Continuing a theme of either having ties to the school or his stint at Colorado, new Spartans head coach Mel Tucker confirmed a pair of hires for the program with some familiar names. Announced a little earlier on Thursday, former Buffs offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Jay Johnson was taking the same role in East Lansing.

“Jay is an experienced play caller and an expert quarterbacks coach,” said Tucker in a release. “He has a very innovative offensive mind. I was with Jay when he was at Georgia and really got to know him well there. He’s had success in the Big Ten before, calling plays at Minnesota. He runs a multiple offense with an emphasis on physicality, and he’s an aggressive play caller.”

Johnson joins OL coach Chris Kapilovic in coming over from Boulder. The former previously was with Tucker as an off-field analyst at Georgia prior to going to CU and served as OC at Southern Miss, Louisiana and Minnesota in recent years.

Perhaps the bigger news for Michigan State fans is the return of another name: Harlon Barnett. A former MSU player, he was a mainstay defensive staff member under ex-head coach Mark Dantonio and was defensive backs coach at the school for over a decade starting in 2007. He was elevated to defensive coordinator from 2015-2017 before taking the same position on Willie Taggart’s staff at Florida State.

In addition to the three names mentioned above, Tucker has also retained Ron Burton and former interim head coach Mike Tressel. Additionally, another former Spartan player, Courtney Hawkins, was named the team’s receivers coach.

Marshall and ECU move 2020 season opener to Week 0 to honor anniversary of 1970 tragedy

Getty Images
Leave a comment

You can add Marshall and East Carolina to the list of upcoming ‘Week 0’ games for the 2020 season after the two schools announced a date change for their matchup this year.

While television played a small role in the shift, the two programs sought an NCAA waiver to play on Saturday, August 29 as a way of honoring the 50th anniversary of the tragic plane crash of Southern Airways Flight 932 that claimed the lives of 75 people. The majority of those killed were part of the Thundering Herd football program who were returning from a game against the Pirates.

“We are grateful to Jon Gilbert and everyone at East Carolina University for their efforts in making this schedule change come to fruition,” Marshall AD Mike Hamrick said in a release. “Our people, our universities and our football programs will forever be linked by the tragedy that occurred 50 years ago. This change will allow a national audience to join us in paying proper respect to the 75.”

The incident was famously recounted in the movie ‘We Are Marshall,’ starring noted football fan (and Texas’ Minister of Culture) Matthew McConaughey.

The two programs have met a total of 15 times over the years and have three additional non-conference games set between 2021 and 2025.

Mike Leach and Nick Saban together highlight 2020 SEC Media Days schedule

Getty Images
Leave a comment

 

Set your calendars for this summer because the SEC preseason bonanza is set to be even more anticipated than it usually is.

The conference office in Birmingham announced the schedule for their annual Media Days event and all eyes in the college football world will be on it in 2020 with the addition of new coaches at a handful of the league’s schools.

The College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta will play host to the festivities, which annually mark the official end of the long offseason and the beginning of a new season for the sport.

2020 SEC FOOTBALL MEDIA DAYS SCHEDULE

MONDAY, July 13

Florida – Dan Mullen

LSU – Ed Orgeron

Missouri – Eliah Drinkwitz 

TUESDAY, July 14

Georgia – Kirby Smart

Kentucky – Mark Stoops

Ole Miss – Lane Kiffin

Vanderbilt – Derek Mason

WEDNESDAY, July 15

Alabama – Nick Saban

Arkansas –  Sam Pittman

Mississippi State – Mike Leach

Tennessee – Jeremy Pruitt

THURSDAY, July 16

Auburn – Gus Malzahn

South Carolina – Will Muschamp

Texas A&M – Jimbo Fisher

The highlight this year has to be Wednesday’s session that includes Saban answering questions about missing out on the College Football Playoff last year and the arrival of Leach to the throngs of media in the South at his first major appearance for Mississippi State. Having new Arkansas coach Pittman separating the two makes for a real murderer’s row of coaches that can give some quotes.

Don’t discount the day prior either with both Smart and Kiffin headlining things. The latter is no stranger to the event from his brief time at Tennessee too. Reigning national champion LSU and their newly rich head coach will also help kick things off on Monday. Player names will be announced later as well.

SEC Media Days is always quite the event in its own right. Adding in these new personalties to the already established names should make things even more exciting.

July can’t get here fast enough.

NCAA cites Pat Narduzzi, Pitt football for violations

Getty Images
2 Comments

The NCAA announced Thursday that they’ve hit Pitt with several penalties related to violations for both their football and men’s basketball programs.

While hoops is the primary focus of the case, head coach Pat Narduzzi and the folks on the gridiron were not left untouched. Though the Panthers were certainly not hammered, they did receive a little more than a slap on the wrist as a result of some minor violations.

At the heart of the matter? Some coaches who were coaching when they were not supposed to be:

According to the agreement, the head football coach instructed or was present at the practice facility when three former quality control staff members performed coaching duties, resulting in the program exceeding the allowable number of permissible coaches. The university conducted adequate spot checks of the program, but the agreement said the violations were undetected in part due to the program’s practice of playing music to indicate when outside parties were present at the practice facility. Football quality control staff members reported that they would make sure they were not near student-athletes when hearing the music.

We’re guessing the fact that they had a scheme sophisticated enough to be changing music when people came in to the building during practice is why there were Level II penalties in the case instead of something even more under the radar. 

As a result, Narduzzi was hit with a show-cause order that will see him miss two days of practices in during the team’s upcoming preseason camp in August. He also already missed one week of off-campus recruiting prior to the most recent signing day. 

The program is also being forced to cut the number of coaches they have for a few hours and days during the spring.

All in all, nothing that will hamper the upcoming 2020 campaign that much but still more than just sending the coaches to a compliance meeting as you often see in similar cases. Pitt holds their annual Blue-Gold spring game on April 11 and begins the season on Sept. 5 against Miami (OH) at Heinz Field.