Report: Sandusky worked out at Penn State last week

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In March of this year, it was reported that former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was the subject of a grand jury investigation regarding the alleged sexual abuse of minors, including at least one incident that occurred on campus.  Head coach Joe Paterno, athletic director Tim Curley and other Penn State officials were called to testify in front of that grand jury in January, so they were certainly aware of the allegations swirling around Sandusky.

In 1998, a year before Sandusky retired from Paterno’s staff, the university was made aware of a shower incident involving Sandusky and a 12-year old boy in the Lasch Building, home to the Nittany Lions football program.

Unbelievably, and despite the school’s knowledge of numerous allegations involving the coach both during and after his time with the program, Sandusky still maintained a presence on the campus as late as last week.  According to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports, and citing multiple sources within the program, Sandusky “work[ed] out multiple times in the team’s weight room just last week.”

The school has subsequently banned Sandusky from the campus.

Last Friday, a state grand jury handed down a 40-count indictment of Sandusky, with the charges ranging from felony involuntary deviate sexual intercourse of someone under 16 to indecent assault of someone under 16.  A day later, Curley as well as another high-ranking school official were charged with perjury and failure to report suspected abuse.

Curley “placed himself” on administrative leave last night, while the other official, vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz, “retired”.

Curley and Schultz might not be the last school officials to feel the legal heat, either.  At a press conference held Monday afternoon to address the scandal that’s rocked Happy Valley to its very core, Pennsylvania attorney general Linda Kelly was asked if Paterno is a target of law enforcement.

“He’s been cooperative with the investigators in this,” she said. “He’s not regarded as a target at this point.”

When asked the same question about president Graham Spanier, Kelly would not comment because of the ongoing investigation.

Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett said Monday he will attend a special meeting of the the school’s Board of Trustees Friday.  Corbett gave a “no comment” when asked if he would ask for Spanier’s resignation at the meeting.

(Photo credit: AP)

Minnesota gives Fleck 1-year extension, plus raise

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Matt Krohn/USA TODAY Sports
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MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota football coach P.J. Fleck had his contract extended Wednesday by an additional year with a $1 million raise in annual salary, after the latest round of big spending by Big Ten rivals.

The new seven-year deal will run through the 2029 season, the university announced without releasing terms. Fleck will now make $6 million per year, a person with knowledge of the contract confirmed. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been finalized.

Last week, Nebraska hired Matt Rhule and Wisconsin hired Luke Fickell to put them in the top tier of head coach compensation in the conference. In terms of average annual value, the 42-year-old Fleck is eighth in the Big Ten behind Michigan State’s Mel Tucker, Ohio State’s Ryan Day, Rhule, Fickell, Penn State’s James Franklin, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz. All seven of those coaches make $7 million or more per season.

The Gophers (8-4) play Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 29. They’re 3-0 in bowl games under Fleck, who was hired away from Western Michigan in 2017.

Minnesota tied for second place in the Big Ten West Division this year, behind Purdue. Fleck is 43-27 overall with the Gophers, including 26-26 in conference play. They’re 0-6 against Iowa and 3-3 against Wisconsin, their primary rivals.

Fleck’s winning percentage is third-best in program history among coaches with 45 games or more, behind Henry Williams (1900-21) and Bernie Bierman (1932-41).

“What P.J. and his staff have done in a short amount of time is remarkable,” athletic director Mark Coyle said in a statement distributed by the university. “He has recruited and developed some of the best student-athletes to ever play at Minnesota and his team continues to excel academically, athletically and socially.”

This is the fifth time in six years on the job that Fleck’s deal has been adjusted to keep up with the competition, as power conference coach contracts these days rarely have less than five years on them at any time. Minnesota extended his deal a year ago, too.

In that iteration of his contract, the termination fees Fleck would owe Minnesota if he were to hop to another program were bumped way up. Those numbers landed at $7 million in 2023, $5 million in 2024, $4 million in 2025 and $3 million in 2026. Details about those figures in the new deal were not immediately available.

Virginia players granted extra year of eligibility

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The NCAA has granted an extra year of eligibility to Virginia players whose eligibility has expired in the aftermath of the slaying of three members of the team, the school confirmed.

Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler were killed last month as they returned to campus from a field trip to see a play in Washington, D.C. A former player at the school, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., is facing three counts of second-degree murder and other charges in the shooting. A fourth player, Mike Hollins, and student Marlee Morgan were injured in the shooting.

Virginia canceled its final two games of the season after the shooting, and the team and university community memorialized the victims in a nearly two-hour service on campus. Team members also traveled to each of the three funerals held for their teammates.