Report: Sandusky in President’s Box 2 Mos. Ago

Former Penn State linebacker Brandon Short reported on ESPN Wednesday - via “two independent sources” cited by the ex-Nittany Lion linebacker - that Jerry Sandusky watched the Oct. 29, 2011, football game between Penn State and Illinois at Beaver Stadium from the luxury box of then-Penn State President Graham Spanier.

Rodney Erickson was at March 18, 2011 Penn State Board of Trustees Meeting

(Erickson at meeting where Short reported Trustees first told of Sandusky)

Excerpt of Short’s comments from ESPN’s Outside The Lines program today:

“Two independent sources at the (Penn State) university have confirmed to me that Jerry Sandusky watched the Illinois-Penn State game in the President’s suite with multiple members of the (Penn State) Board of Trustees.”

Short later affirmed to ESPN host Bob Ley that the game he was referencing was the Oct. 29, 2011, Penn State-Illinois game at Beaver Stadium. The Attorney General of Pennsylvania released the Grand Jury presentment detailing dozens of allegations against Sandusky involving the sexual abuse of children on Nov. 5, 2011, less than a week after the Penn State-Illinois game.


Further, Short reported that Spanier, who has since stepped down as PSU President, briefed members of the school’s Board of Trustees on the Grand Jury investigation of Sandusky in New York in March, 2011.

Spanier was contacted by the HARRISBURG PATRIOT-NEWS in March before the newspaper first broke the news of the Grand Jury investigation of Sandusky. Spanier, who was interviewed by the Grand Jury as part of the Sandusky investigation, declined comment to the newspaper at the time.

An official meeting of the Penn State Board of Trustees was held in New York City’s Helmsley Hotel on March 18, 2011.

According to the official minutes of that meeting posted on Penn State’s official website, current Penn State President Rodney Erickson was at the March, 18, 2011, meeting of the school’s Board of Trustees in New York - the same meeting Short reported that the Board was informed by Spanier of the Grand Jury investigation of Sandusky.

Last Saturday Erickson told the HARRISBURG PATRIOT-NEWS he was completely unaware of the Grand Jury investigation of Sandusky until the presentment was released to the public last November:

nearly all individuals at the university, including me, were not aware of any this until we read it in the grand jury presentment, so how would we have known?”

Three days later, yesterday, Erickson told the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE that he first learned of the Grand Jury investigation of Sandusky by reading about it in the CENTRE DAILY TIMES. The newspaper, which serves the State College area, first reported of the Grand Jury investigation of Sandusky on March, 31, 2011.

Yesterday Erickson also told the Post-Gazette that then-Penn State President Graham Spanier briefed the Penn State Board of Trustees about a Grand Jury investigation of Sandusky at a meeting in “May or July.”

Sandusky or anything relating to a Grand Jury investigation involving a person associated with Penn State is not mentioned in the official minutes of the March, May and July official meetings of the Penn State Board of Trustees posted on the school’s official website.

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Big 10: Bans Wrigley Field Endzone For Offense

Monday I posted a series of photos that showed the field configuration for the Saturday game at Wrigley Field between Northwestern and Illinois. After the configuration was revealed, significant concern slowly built throughout the media this week.

Wrigley Field End Zone For Northwestern vs Illinois

(East end zone eliminated from offensive action)

Today the Big Ten addressed that concern, announcing that only one end zone will be used for offense by the teams on Saturday.

Wrigley Field End Zone For Northwestern vs Illinois

(Another angle of the eschewed, east end zone)

Offensive plays will only take place in the direction of the west end zone - facing the Cubs third base dugout. The east end zone will not be used for offense because the right field outfield wall is too close to that end zone’s endline. (Six inches!)

Illinois sports information director Kent Brown said of the decision on WMVP-AM in Chicago: Read more…

Wrigley Field Football Configuration: Fright Lines

Saturday Northwestern will host rival Illinois at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Wrigley Field End Zone For Northwestern vs Illinois

(Don’t act like you’ve never seen goalposts in the bleachers!)

Beyond the Mel Hall right field memorial end zone, there’s literally six inches between the end zone and a thin layer of … something covering the ivy.

Wrigley Field End Zone For Northwestern vs Illinois

The other end zone is located steps away from .. wait for it .. the third base dugout. (Not coincidentally, Jim Frey will serve as back judge for Saturday’s ballgame.)

Wrigley Field End Zone For Northwestern vs Illinois

Below is the sideline down the right field line. Herman Franks-era padding a nice touch.

Wrigley Field End Zone For Northwestern vs Illinois

Let’s hope the players will (somehow) avoid injury in the house that Jack Brickhouse quite obviously built. Read more…

Beating Michigan Is Bad For Your Testicular Health

In case you missed it, Saturday marked the official end of the “Michigan’s already back” storyline for 2009. How else to interpret a 38-13 loss to an Illinois team that hadn’t beaten a I-A team all season long?

Michigan's Jon Ortmann Nut-Punches Illinois' Corey Liuget
(Yeesh.)

Michigan actually led 13-7 and had first-and-goal on Illinois’ 1-yard line in the second half. They failed to capitalize, gave up three touchdowns in the third quarter, then had a chance to bring the game back to a one-score contest early in the fourth. Unfortunately, Tate Forcier fumbled on a sack, Illinois defensive end Corey Liuget recovered, and that is very bad news for you, Mr. Liuget; you’ve made Michigan left tackle Mark Ortmann angry, and Ortmann punches manballs when he’s angry. Video after the break.

Read more…

ABC’s “Modern Family” Includes (Fake) Gay Illini

ABC’s Modern Family is supposed to be funny (we haven’t seen it, because we’re bad at keeping up with any non-sports television - it’s a personality flaw), which is a welcome respite from the lineup of forgettable, canned-laughter-fest sitcoms that usually get trotted out every year by the networks. Brothers, we’re looking straight at you here.

Cameron and Mitchell Modern Family Gay Illini

One of the aspects of the family is that there’s a gay couple involved, since it’s the 21st century and it’s okay to say the “G” word on TV. The “G” word is “gay,” by the way. Not “grundle.” You still can’t say “grundle” on television. We digress. And as it turns out, this week’s episode let it slip that one of the gay characters, Cameron, was a member of the Illinois football team. Illini fans, we’re sure, are thrilled.

Read more…

Zook Fires Back At Meyer Over Frosh Comments

Last Friday, we wrote about Urban Meyer questioning Ron Zook’s reign at Florida, and how horrified the new Gators coach was to learn that during his predecessor’s tenure, freshman players were treated as “non-people“. Hey, you can’t just go around zinging the Zooker without expecting any kind of heated response.

Urban Meyer Ron Zook

Well, you’ll eventually get a heated response. At first, Zook was allegedly amused by Meyer’s comments, even joking that he doubted anyone in Gainesville would even remember who he was. But after having a few hours to think about it, Zook soon changed his tune from amusement to annoyance.

Read more…

Urban Meyer Puts The Ol’ Clown Suit On Ron Zook

Other than a few folks in downstate Illinois, a washed-up NFL QB, and perhaps a certain native Mattoonian writer, it’s hard to find anyone who would admit to being a big Ron Zook fan. At this point in his career, the book on the Zookster is pretty much written - he’s a great recruiter-slash-snake-oil salesman who, when it comes to actually running a major-college football program, is essentially clueless.

Ron Zook, waterskiing

But it’s one thing for the media and fans to bash the guy; it’s quite another for his successor at the University of Florida, Urban Meyer, to do the same. But that’s exactly what Meyer did today. As Zook himself would say, this is “getting better and better.”

Read more…

Jeff George’s Annual Plea For An NFL Roster Spot

It’s a story that happens every year - retired NFL quarterback alerts the media to his intention to consider playing again. The QB’s supporters in the media kick up the “will he or won’t he” rhetoric. Speculation on where he might land abounds. But most people just scoff at all the kerfuffle and wish the guy would just hang ‘em up and go away.

Jeff George June Jones

(Never forget.)

We are, of course, talking about former NFL quarterback Jeff George. Yes, it’s that time of year where the NFL bust with the rocket arm informs the world he’d like another shot at an NFL roster. The only surprising part about it is that the news didn’t come in a Jason Whitlock column.

Read more…

Speed Read: End Of The Road For Chris Chelios?

In case you hadn’t noticed, and after these many years it’s okay if you hadn’t, Chris Chelios has been around forever. For-eh-vur. The 47-year-old has literally spent a majority of his life as a player in the NHL, breaking into the league with Montreal during the 1983-84 season. Yeah, back when “Jump” was the hot new sound from Van Halen. That’s how long dude’s been around.

Chris Chelios Weightlifting
(Of course he stuck around this long because of hard work. What did you expect? Prayer?)

And while injuries and the unrelenting assault of time on an aging man’s body have kept Chelios from the legendary Gordie Howe’s all-time record in games played and other marks of longetivity, Chelios is still a colossal freak of nature. Look no further than at (it bears repeating) the age of 47, Chelios is finally being released by the Detroit Red Wings. As the DETROIT NEWS reports, though, he still might not be done:

General manager Ken Holland met with Chelios Monday afternoon and, as expected, gave him the news Chelios will not be re-signed.

“It was kind of understood last summer, after Cheli signed, that the 2008-09 season would be the last one for Cheli as a Red Wing,” said Holland, noting the need for the Wings to bring in younger players. “He wants to play another season and I believe he can still play.”

Perhaps Chelios has a year or two left in him as a swan song in Chicago, or maybe he wants to see if he can hit 50 in an NHL uniform, a stunning accomplishment that really has zero bearing on the world at large. Don’t get us wrong, most guys don’t make it to 30 in the league, much less tack two more entire decades on the odometer, but at no point is Chelios ever going to be a catalyst for great things anymore.

Which is fine, of course. Guys stick around in professional athletics for a few years too many on a regular basis, and few (if any) have earned the privilege as much as Chelios. It’s just that at this point, the list of teams who might pick him up are those who really don’t even need the help to begin with.

Speaking of Chris Chelios (WARNING: this segue makes no sense), let’s talk about women fighting each other. You might remember last week where Cris “Cyborg” Santos choked out a reporter who foolishly questioned her ability to finish a submission move against a fighter, y’know, like how real men do. Well, being that Santos is going to fight SbB favorite Gina Carano in Carano’s post-EliteXC return to the Octagon, one display of lady-on-gentleman brutality can’t go unreturned before the fight, right? Right:

Nighty nighty, talker man. The question isn’t where are you, as Santos’ victim asked when he came back to Earth, but what are you: that would be lucky as hell, lucky that someone strong enough to turn the lights out with such ease also possesses the capacity for mercy, which is pretty much the only thing that has saved your brain’s regular functions.

If ladychoking is the next salvo fired in the War on Equality, then so be it, because strong women are clearly capable of winning that fight against weak men. And sure, a man can still probably choke out a woman, but anyone willing to make that case, even hypothetically, probably isn’t someone worth your time in conversation. Avoid accordingly.

Last, speaking of choking, let’s talk about USC. In the wake of Tim Floyd’s shame-splattered resignation and allegations of selective rule enforcement in the case of Reggie Bush, former Heisman hero and current athletic director Mike Garrett demands to be judged by his record and his legacy. For example, he hired Pete Carroll. Also, he hired, um… uh…

Pete Carroll USC Song Girls
(The Song Girls aren’t really hired, per se, so that doesn’t count. The white-haired guy in the middle does, though.)

Turns out, as the LOS ANGELES TIMES points out, he doesn’t exactly have a track record of success to fall back on, despite his boasts. So while Carroll’s hire is to Garrett as the Emancipation Proclamation is to Abraham Lincoln (seriously, Abe, what else did you accomplish, other than monopolizing the top hat?*), the rest of the resume seems to be, ahem, lacking. The worst hire, in retrospect, seems to be Floyd, who may have crippled the Trojans’ basketball program for years to come in order to secure one year of service from O.J. Mayo. And let’s hope that mistake doesn’t happen again…

Who’s the next big star from O.J. Mayo’s family?

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So above all else, Garrett’s resume suggests that success is but a random decision away, a call to be made by livestock choosing to address one of several piles of food, each festooned with a different logo. Blew it on that up-and-coming coach from Southwestern State back in 2003? Hey, what can you do; Ernie the Carnivorous Pheasant clearly indicated he was due by way of which chum pile he devoured, and in any case, we saved the $12 million a barely-competent would have demanded over those same six years.

Some extra links to consider while you keep the horse off the launchpad…

  • J.R. Smith and Eddy Curry were apparently webcasting online as they were pulled over for the all-too-common D.W.B., as INSIDE HOOPS reports. No charges were filed and no video seems to exist, which is precisely why you’re reading about it here and not blaring at the top of a morning post. [UPDATE: Smith’s unequivocally calling bullfeathers on the story, though it seems so oddly specific we’re not sure why they would make any of that up.]
  • OPPOSITE DAY: The worst GM in at least the last 30 years, Steve Phillips, is allowed to make assertions about baseball that go routinely unchallenged. This is like giving Karl Rove his own political column… oh wait.
  • A word to Texas baseball coach Augie Garrido: there are many, many opportunities for somebody to make self-deprecating jokes to the press. A recent DUI arrest and your mugshot, for example would probably not be the best opportunity to do so. Just something to keep in mind going forw–well, I see we’re too late.
  • Joakim Noah will join Mickael Pietrus and Jean-Shaquille L’Oneal (we made up the last one, of course, but not the first two) on the French national team for upcoming international play. Vince Carter was seem chuckling, sizing up Noah’s dimensions, and dialing his time machine back to 2000. It’s been a while since he abused a giant Frenchman, you see, and these desires just never seem to go away after you indulge them once.

  • Tony Hawk got to visit the White House, then skateboard through it. And you know what? You can do the exact same thing if you spend 20 years getting famous for being better at one thing than anyone else in the world, and no, we’re not talking about what you do three times a day whenever the wife’s not around. In that case, practice makes pervert. Now pull up your pants and keep reading.
  • No, University of Illinois, Ron Santo was not trying to get into med school (not as anything but a discount-level test dummy; get some toes, then we can talk full price).
  • Bet you don’t know who just beat out Jason Jennings for the franchise lead for most victories. Did you guess Aaron Cook? Well, you probably cheated.
  • Some eight-grader does a flip and throws the basketball in a hoop from almost a full court. This is actually less related to competitive basketball than dunk contests, which we didn’t even think was possible.

(What’s next, trying to shoot it out of a cannon into a hoop? What does this have to do with actual basketball? God, we’re old.)

*We’re addressing him in the first person because we have it on good authority that Abe Lincoln and other dead Presidents read SbB with astonishing regularity in the afterworld. Heaven has great wi-fi. Which seems appropriate, if you think about it; how good could heaven really be if the wireless sucked?

Speed Read: A Very Sane Start To March Madness

If the early games in the NCAA Tournament on Thursday were kind of a bust (except for the Memphis vs. Cal State Northridge game; sorry, no love for the “scrappy underdogs” - way to blow it, Matadors!), then the late games were … marginally more exciting. There was an actual upset, with No. 12 Western Kentucky taking down No. 5 Illinois, 76-72.

Western Kentucky celebrates win over Illinois

But then again, most experts were predicting that Western Kentucky would win this game ahead of time, due to the loss of the Illini’s starting point guard Chester Frazier with a broken hand, and the return of Hilltopper’s mascot from a broken right … orange blobby thing.

Western Kentucky mascot

No, the late games were more notable for the near misses than the upsets. Take No. 6 UCLA, which almost fell apart completely against Virginia Commonwealth, nearly blowing a 10-point halftime lead and having the ball in the hands of Rams star Eric Maynor with time expiring and a chance to win the game. (Not the person you want with the ball if you’re UCLA - just ask Duke) Fortunately for the Bruins, Darren Collison came to the rescue, forcing a hurried, off-balance miss from Maynor to hold on to a 65-64 win.

Darren Collison of UCLA and Eric Maynor of VCU

Speaking of blowing a lead … poor American. Just like their namesake economy, their 14-point second half lead against Villanova went into a deep recession, and there was no bailout package coming from the government. Playing in front of a partisan Philadelphia crowd (thanks, seeding committee!), the No. 3 Wildcats rallied later to survive a scare from the No. 14 Eagles, 80-67.

(Note to American University: nice try in attempting to gain our sympathy with your name: the American Eagles. Why don’t you just call yourself the American Heroes Who Died On 9/11 Who Will Weep In Heaven If You Root Against Us? It’s about as subtle.)

Not having trouble advancing was No. 2 Oklahoma, who trounced No. 15 Morgan State 82-57 behind 28 points and 13 rebounds from star Blake Griffin. However, Griffin did have one moment of problems: specifically, when the Bears’ back-up center Ameer Ali decided to practice his armbar takedown on Griffin after they got tangled up together:

It should go without saying that Ali was ejected, and then immediately escorted to St. Louis for the NCAA Wrestling Championships. Ali says the whole incident was unintentional and “a misunderstanding,” which I would only believe if I was Billy Packer and he was a Duke player who just shattered Tyler Hansbrough’s face.

(Not only has Griffin had to deal with this and sustaining a concussion a few weeks ago, but remember the cheap shot he received from USC’s Leonard Washington at the start of the year as well. Either Griffin in such a pacifist than he makes Gahndi look like Genghis Khan or he’s going to snap and pummel someone to death with his sneaker by the end of the tournament. Maybe this explains why he feels the need to lash out at society by peeing in bushes.)

For those of you who are part of the 80 percent of American males who managed to come down with a 48-hour bug starting yesterday morning, your slate of games today look good enough to help you cope with your “debilitating illness”. There are several games that have “Upset Special” written all over them, which probably means that the games will go chalk all day.

In other sports news from last night you might have missed as you polished up your…ahem…resume for a Rhode Island strip club’s job fair:

  • Martin Brodeur might be the winningest goalkeeper in NHL history, but the CBC reports that he might be the losingest ex-husband in the history of hockey: an appeals court ordered him to pay $500,000 a year in alimony to his ex-wife Melanie DuBois until 2020.
  • Martin Brodeur

  • It might be a sport played by drunk men with pot bellies, mullets and porn mustaches, but damn it, you must respect the rules of etiquette in bowling! The SACRAMENTO BEE reports that a dispute about who had right of way to bowl turned into a brawl at a Rocklin, CA, bowling alley featuring one man knocking out another man’s tooth with a bowling ball. <RUN FUNCTION TO READER: INSERT “BIG LEBOWSKI” JOKE HERE>
  • BUGS & CRANKS is focusing their considerable hatred on Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo, and his decision to spend Spring Training living on a houseboat. Apparently, if there was ever a movie made about Arroyo’s life, it would star Matthew McConaughy. And it would probably suck, but your significant other would drag you to it because he’s so “dreamy” and “laid back.”
  • Your semifinals for the World Baseball Classic are set (yes, that’s still going on) after Japan’s 6-2 victory over Korea. The defending champion Japanese will take on the U.S. in one game on Saturday at Dodger Stadium, while Korea faces off against Venezuela.
  • Speaking of the WBC and your apparent apathy to it, LARRY BROWN SPORTS says that Red Sox slugger Kevin Youklis is very upset with American fans for not showing up to the team’s games at the World Baseball Classic. This means you, Joe Six-Pack: even if you’ve lost your job, your house is being repossessed and your kids are being forced to share the same pair of shoes, that’s no excuse for not coughing up $45 a person for cheap seats.
  • How about a hearty welcome to the MLS for the Seattle Sounders, as Drew Carey’s expansion team drubbed New York Red Bull 3-0 in the team’s inaugural game. But I don’t care how many games this “new” Sounders team wins: I doubt they’ve have a music video of their highlights as cool as this collection of highlights from the NASL team in 1975 set to “The Hustle”:

  • I know he’s only been on the job for a couple of months, but here’s a friendly bit of advice to President Barack Obama: it’s probably not a good idea to make jokes about the Special Olympics, as the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR says you did on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” last night.
  • I guess they are teaching Hawaii Warrior football players to not quit on a play, but this is ridiculous: the HONOLULU ADVERTISER says that cornerback JoPierre Davis was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting the same female student twice within a four month period, and then knocking her unconscious at a nightclub. Big surprise: this isn’t his first run-in with the law.
  • While we wait to find out what athletes named come up as clients in the Houston prostitution ring, the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER has news of another brewing scandal: a secret, late-night warehouse that offered sex, drugs and high-stakes card games to its clients. When the club was raided, at least one former NFL player was there, and other athletes are said to be “frequent patrons.”
  • Yawn: another day, another LeBron James triple-double, going for 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. His feat led the Cavaliers to a 97-92 overtime victory over Portland as Cleveland tied an NBA record by committing only two turnovers - and one was at the end of overtime.

Which team has the most fans at Dodger Stadium for the World Baseball Classic this weekend?

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