Abuse victims see inequity in payouts at 2 Michigan schools

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Two former University of Michigan football stars who stand to receive as much as $500,000 each through the school’s sexual abuse settlement with more than 1,000 students say the per-victim payouts should be much higher, pointing to a similar case at rival Michigan State.

Dwight Hicks and Jon Vaughn, both former NFL players, told The Associated Press that the $490 million settlement the Ann Arbor school announced this week is another example of Black victims receiving less than white victims in big-money payouts. The majority of the claimants in the settlement are Black men, said John Manly, an attorney involved in the case.

Although the victims of the school’s former sports doctor Robert Anderson are expected to receive between $400,000 and $500,000, the victims of Larry Nassar – who sexually assaulted gymnasts at Michigan State University – averaged $1.2 million in payouts.

“The differences: One, they were women. Two, they were white,” said Hicks, 65, who attended Michigan from 1974-78 and spent eight seasons in the NFL with Indianapolis and San Francisco.

He said the fact that there was a smaller pool of victims, about 300, in Michigan State’s $500 million settlement in 2018, “I don’t feel we should get less. This is the damage that was done to us and perpetrated on us as Black men.”

“At the end of the day, none of this is fair,” Vaughn told The Associated Press on Friday.

A 2018 report says insurance companies and courts rely on testimony of economic experts’ calculation of damages using wage tables, and that data often is based on the race, ethnicity and gender of the person filing the lawsuit, according to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Blacks, Latinos and Hispanics and women of all races typically earn less than white men, meaning damages awarded often are less than what white men would receive, the report said.

Law firms involved in the Anderson litigation have not shared the racial breakdown of their clients, said attorney Jamie White, who added that about 93% of the 78 or so Anderson clients his firm represents are Black.

Anderson, in his roles as director of the university’s Health Service and a physician for football and other athletic teams, has been accused by former students and student-athletes of molesting them during routine physicals or other visits. The abuse occurred throughout Anderson’s 37-year career at the university, a law firm hired by the school said in a report released last spring.

Anderson retired in 2003. He died in 2008.

Nassar, who also worked as a sports doctor for USA Gymnastics, pleaded guilty in 2018 to molesting women and girls under the guise of treatment. He also was caught with child pornography. He is serving three prison sentences that Will Likely keep him locked up for life.

None of the 332 initial individuals represented by his firm in the Nassar case were Black, White said, adding that all were white and only one was a man.

“It’s not unheard of that men are discounted, so to speak, when it comes to these sorts of cases,” he said. “We have to appreciate the University of Michigan coming forward and doing what they did. There were a lot of claimants. The numbers are difficult, but on its face it is what it is. We’ve got $1.2 million for young, Caucasian women and we have an average of $460,000 for the majority of these African American men.”

Vaughn, 51, lives in Texas, but has been spending time since October in a camper outside the home of the University of Michigan’s president as a way of protesting the school’s handling of the Anderson case. He said he was given 50 prostate exams by Anderson during his two years at the University of Michigan.

“There’s a myriad of reasons or facts in this case that are different than Nassar,” he said. “I should have never had my first prostate exam at 18 and should not have had 49 more.”

What each will receive in the settlement is not the major reason why they spoke up about Anderson, White added.

“They’re older and many of them are accomplished,” he said. “This was not about money for the vast majority of them. They really just felt they needed to voice-up and have some accountability.”

But – as student athletes – they were younger and had much more at stake, White said.

“They were there to practice. They were there to go to school and they had a lot to lose,” White said. “They were there and their one job was to play football, and if they strayed from that path in any way, shape or form they (believed they) were disposable.”

White said the money from the University of Michigan settlement will not be distributed equally among Anderson’s victims and that there is an allocation process that will be overseen by a retired federal judge.

A spokesman for the University of Michigan told the AP Friday that the school and attorneys hired by the Anderson claimants agreed “this was a fair settlement” and that the university will have no role in how the money is divided.

Florida shakes up secondary after dismal game at Tennessee

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Billy Napier is shaking up his secondary after the Gators allowed 349 yards passing – including 247 of those on eight plays – in a loss at Tennessee.

Safety Trey Dean, a fifth-year senior who has started 32 games and played in 54, is out with what Florida is calling a “lower leg injury.” But no one would be surprised if Napier was quietly benching Dean after he made two mental errors against the Volunteers that resulted in 70- and 45-yard gains and set up touchdowns.

Freshman Kamari Wilson will replace Dean and make his first college start Sunday against Eastern Washington.

Cornerback Jaydon Hill will join Wilson in the starting lineup. Hill, a third-year sophomore, will make his first start since 2020. He missed the 2021 season with a torn knee ligament. He impressed Napier and his new staff in the spring but sat out preseason camp with another knee injury.

Hill will replace sophomore Avery Helm, who also struggled against the Vols.

“You talk about what he’s been through from an injury perspective,” Napier said following practice Wednesday. “Jaydon was one of the better players that we had on our team in spring practice. I was very impressed . It’s no surprise to me. He showed pretty quickly here that he’s very capable. I’m excited to watch him play.”

Georgia transfer Jalen Kimber, a former five-star recruit, is now listed as a third-team cornerback. Kimber played just 11 snaps in Knoxville a week after he returned an interception for a touchdown in a 31-28 win against South Florida.

“I like to say we try to eliminate the bad football,” Napier said. “Talking about mental errors, misalignments, poor communication, bad fundamentals and techniques, bad decision-making within the play. … We have a laundry list of things that we need to eliminate each week.

“Last week’s game, I thought we were really close, but there’s 12 or 15 plays in the game where Florida is beating Florida. We’ve got a smart group here. I think they’re very aware of what the issues are, and I think they’re working hard to address those issues.”

Pac-12 looking stronger at top after early-season losses

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When Oregon got throttled by top-ranked Georgia and Utah lost at Florida, it appeared as though the Pac-12 was headed toward another College Football Playoff miss.

One week into the season and two of the conference’s top teams had already failed big early tests.

Flash forward three weeks and it seems the Pac-12 might be in good shape after all.

The Ducks and Utes bounced back with big wins and the top of the conference looks strong, with four teams in the top 15 for the first time since 2016.

It’s still early, but the Pac-12 is putting itself in position to get a team through to the CFP for the first time since Washington in 2016-17.

A look at how the top of the Pac-12 is stacking up headed into the first weekend of October:

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

The No. 6 Trojans (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) seem to have quickly returned to glory in their first season under Lincoln Riley. The former Oklahoma coach brought quarterback Caleb Williams with him to Southern California and they have thrived through the first four games.

Williams has thrown for 1,054 yards and nine touchdowns, adding 100 yards and two more scores rushing. USC’s defense has been opportunistic, leading the nation with 11 interceptions while tied for the lead with 14 takeaways.

The Trojans survived a scare against scrappy Oregon State over the weekend to start 4-0 for the first time since 2012. USC has to play at Utah on Oct. 15, but avoids Washington and Oregon this season.

UTAH

The 12th-ranked Utes opened the season with a tough road loss at The Swamp in Florida, but have won three straight lopsided games.

Outside of a costly interception late against the Gators, quarterback Cam Rising has been sharp, throwing for 954 yards and 10 TDs. Utah (3-1, 1-0) has a physical defense and is third in the FBS, allowing 132.8 yards passing per game.

The Utes also have a veteran team that won the Pac-12 championship last season. The bad news: tight end Brant Kuithe, their leading receiver, is out for the season with a knee injury.

Utah plays Oregon State this weekend and has tough games against USC and Oregon still on the schedule.

OREGON

The Ducks’ playoff chances took an immediate hit with a 49-3 loss to reigning national champion Georgia in their opener.

No. 13 Oregon (3-1, 1-0) bounced back with a decisive win over a good BYU team and outlasted previously undefeated Washington State 44-41 last week.

The Ducks were no match for the Bulldogs in any aspect – few teams are – but have averaged 51.6 points the past three games. Oregon’s biggest weakness is its pass defense. The Ducks are allowing 72.5% of passes to be completed, third worst in the country.

Oregon’s biggest tests left in the season will come in back to back games against Washington and Utah.

WASHINGTON

The Huskies have made a quick turnaround in their first season under coach Kalen DeBoer.

Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has been superb now that he’s healthy, throwing for an FBS-best 1,388 yards and 12 TDs with one interception. No. 15 Washington (4-0, 1-0) picked up a solid home win against Michigan State and has 15 sacks this season, including eight against Stanford last week.

The Huskies play their first road game at undefeated UCLA on Saturday and have to face Oregon on Nov. 12.

UCLA

After winning at Colorado for the first time since 2014 last Saturday, the Bruins (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) have their longest winning streak since winning the first eight games in 2005.

UCLA had a hard time getting past South Alabama and opened its Pac-12 schedule with a win against the struggling Buffaloes.

The Bruins will find out how good they are over the next three weeks, a brutal stretch that includes home games against Washington and Utah before heading to Eugene to play the Ducks on Oct. 22.