Gov. Corbett: McQueary didn’t ‘meet a moral obligation’

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In all of the mess that has transpired in and around Penn State in the past week or so, there’s one thing Pennsylvania’s attorney general has made clear: Joe Paterno and Mike McQueary did, based on what’s known at this time, what they were legally obligated to do in the eyes of the law.

Whether they met a moral obligation with information they had — McQueary testified to a grand jury that he witnessed former assistant Jerry Sandusky sodomizing a 10-year-old boy and took that information to Paterno, who took it to his boss — has become an overriding subset of the controversy that’s erupted since Sandusky was indicted on 40 counts of sexually abusing eight children last weekend.

The scandal has cost Paterno his job, and left McQueary on administrative leave.  It’s also led to the university launching an investigation that will be undertaken “to determine what failures occurred, who is responsible and what measures are necessary to insure that this never happens at our University again and that those responsible are held fully accountable.”

Speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday morning (see video below), Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett, who was the attorney general when his office began the investigation into the Sandusky allegations in 2009, said that calls from both sides of the political aisle are surfacing to change the existing laws as it pertains to the reporting of abuse, sexual or otherwise, at public institutions such as Penn State.

“We have to make sure the change in the law is one that is effective,” the governor said.

Corbett also spoke on McQueary specifically, saying that while the then-graduate assistant met “the minimum obligation… [he] did not in my opinion meet a moral obligation that all of us would have.”

And Corbett is absolutely correct.  While McQueary and even Paterno may have done what was legally obligated, bare minimum as it was, neither McQueary nor Paterno nor any other Penn State official connected to this whole sad, sordid saga even remotely approached doing what was morally right: intervene immediately and pursue justice for the child that was allegedly raped on their campus, and put a stop to an alleged predatory pedophile who went on to claim, the grand jury said, other children as victims after the alleged 2002 rape.

There’s a legal aspect to this situation as it pertains to the person directly involved in the alleged molestation of children — and those that may have been involved in a cover-up — and then there’s the moral aspect.  We’re guessing civil courts will take care of the latter.

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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.