Irish eye 4 football players in academic probe


Irish eye 4 football players in academic probe

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame football players KeiVarae Russell, DaVaris Daniels, Ishaq Williams and Kendall Moore are being held out of practice while the school investigates what it is calling "suspected academic dishonesty."

The school announced Friday it has notified the NCAA about the inquiry. Because of potential violations, the four players can't compete until the conclusion of the investigation and the university honor code process.

The Fighting Irish open the season against Rice on Aug. 30.

The Rev. John Jenkins, the university president, said during a news conference that no student has been judged responsible for "academic dishonesty."

"Nobody has been dismissed," Jenkins said.

All were expected to be key contributors this season, coach Brian Kelly's fifth at Notre Dame.

"We have great confidence in Brian and his staff," Jenkins said. "They have been nothing but supportive."

Russell, a junior, starts at cornerback. Daniels, a junior, is the team leading returning receiver. Williams, a senior, was expected to be a big part of the defensive line. Moore, a senior, is backup at linebacker.

Athletic director Jack Swarbrick said the players have not been suspended. He said they remain grant-in-aid students and have access to athletic facilities and resources.

Jenkins said evidence students had submitted papers and homework that had been written for them by others was initially detected at the end of the summer session. The case was then referred to the compliance office on July 29.

"If the suspected improprieties are proven, we will use the experience to reinforce among our students the importance of honesty in all that they do. We are also examining ways of better conveying to students that they can avail themselves of legitimate academic assistance without resorting to cheating," Jenkins said.

Jenkins said the school would vacate victories if it is determined players have been ineligible during past competition. All four were members of the 2012 team that played for the BCS national championship.

The investigation is the latest in a series for the Irish in the past 15 months involving academics, starting with starting quarterback Everett Golson in May 2013. He was suspended for the fall 2013 semester what he called poor academic judgment.

Jerian Grant, the leading scorer on the basketball team at the time, was suspended in December for the spring semester for an academic violation. Daniels was suspended two weeks later for the spring semester and was recently reinstated.

Temple men's basketball adds two players to 2016-17 roster

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Temple men's basketball adds two players to 2016-17 roster

Temple men’s basketball coach Fran Dunphy announced that the team has added two players to its 2016-17 roster. 

The Owls were set to introduce the two new transfers, junior’s Isaiah Lewis and Steve Leonard, Thursday night at the Liacouras Center at the team’s Cherry and White Night. 

Lewis comes to Temple after playing for Casper College in Wyoming last season, where he averaged 5.5 points and 2.2 assists per game. Before his stint at Casper College, the 6-4 guard also played at Lee Junior College in Texas, and averaged 10.0 points and 4.7 assists per game.

Leonard, a 6-6 guard from Collegeville, Pa., played two seasons at Ursinus College. He averaged 5.6 points over 43 games during his career at Ursinus. 

Mike McQueary wins defamation suit vs. Penn State, awarded $7.3 million

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Mike McQueary wins defamation suit vs. Penn State, awarded $7.3 million

Updated: 7:10 p.m.

BELLEFONTE, Pa. — A jury awarded a former Penn State assistant football coach $7.3 million in damages Thursday, finding the university defamed him after it became public that his testimony helped prosecutors charge Jerry Sandusky with child molestation.

Jurors deliberated for about four hours in Mike McQueary's defamation and misrepresentation suit.

Judge Thomas Gavin still must decide McQueary's whistleblower claim that he was treated unfairly as the school suspended him from coaching duties, placed him on paid administrative leave, barred him from team facilities and then did not renew his contract shortly after he testified at Sandusky's 2012 trial.

McQueary remained stoic as the verdict was read, and he and his lawyers made no comment as they left the courthouse.

A Penn State spokesman said the university would not comment on the case and the jury's decision until a final decision is rendered on all counts.

McQueary had been seeking more than $4 million in lost wages and other damages, saying he was defamed by a statement the school president released the day Sandusky was charged, retaliated against for helping with the Sandusky investigation and misled by school administrators.

Sandusky, a former defensive coach at Penn State, was convicted in 2012 of sexual abuse of 10 boys and is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence. He maintains his innocence.

"He should not have been the scapegoat," lawyer Elliot Strokoff said of McQueary, speaking to jurors.

In closing arguments earlier Thursday, Penn State attorney Nancy Conrad emphasized McQueary had said he was damaged by public criticism that he did not to go to police or child welfare authorities when he saw Sandusky sexually abusing a boy in a team shower in 2001. Instead he reported it the next day to then-head coach Joe Paterno.

"Mr. McQueary was not damaged by any action of the university," Conrad argued. "Mr. McQueary, as he testified and as he recognized, if he was harmed, was harmed by national media and public opinion."

McQueary testified he has not been able to find work, either in coaching or elsewhere, but Conrad blamed that on an inadequate network of contacts and the lack of a national reputation.

McQueary was not allowed to coach in the school's first game after Paterno was fired, a home loss to Nebraska.

"That sends a very clear signal to those in your network that the university doesn't want you to be supported," Strokoff said. "`Stay away, you're a nonperson.'"

Penn State has argued it put McQueary on leave out of safety concerns, as threats were fielded by the university.

Strokoff said there was no evidence of multiple death threats against his client and called McQueary's treatment outrageous.

Jurors awarded McQueary $1.15 million on the defamation claim and $1.15 million on the misrepresentation allegation that two administrators lied to him when they said they took his report of Sandusky seriously and would respond appropriately. They also awarded $5 million in punitive damages.

Conrad insisted the university did take steps to inform McQueary about the actions they were taking, which included telling Sandusky to stop bringing children into team facilities and meeting with Sandusky and an official from the children's welfare charity he founded.

"No one told Mr. McQueary, `You cannot go to the police,'" Conrad said.

The defamation claim involved a statement issued by then-Penn State President Graham Spanier expressing support for the two administrators when they were charged with perjury in for allegedly lying about what McQueary told them in the weeks after the 2001 incident.

A state appeals court earlier this year dismissed the perjury charges against the administrators, former Athletic Director Tim Curley and former Vice President Gary Schultz. But Curley, Schultz and Spanier still await trial in Harrisburg on charges of failure to properly report suspected child abuse and endangering the welfare of children.

Strokoff said Spanier's statement could have led people to conclude McQueary was a liar.