Switzer: Everyone on PSU staff had to know

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Switzer: Everyone on PSU staff had to know

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. More than 30 years ago, former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno claimed he would never retire from coaching because he didnt want to leave college football to the Jackie Sherrills and Barry Switzers of the world.

Paterno ultimately apologized to Barry Switzer, the former coach for the University of Oklahoma and the Dallas Cowboys, but it appears as if Switzer is having the last laugh.

Interviewed by reporters in Oklahoma about the scandal at Penn State, Switzer says that as soon as he saw TV footage of Paterno on his front lawn leading an impromptu pep rally, I knew that it would come to this.

They did the right thing at the university, Switzer told The Daily Oklahoman. The university had to do this, and it was the right thing to do.

Switzer also expressed doubt that Paterno did not know about the accusations against his former top assistant, Jerry Sandusky. For as much time as big-time college coaches spend with their staffs, there are very few secrets.

Having been in this profession a long time and knowing how close coaching staffs are, I knew that this was a secret that was kept secret, Switzer said. Everyone on that staff had to have known, the ones that had been around a long time.

Switzer said the scandal at Penn State is part of a larger epidemic at universities where the size and power of certain sports programs becomes so great that it becomes bigger than the school it represents. Penn State, despite its reputation, was not immune.

I'll tell you how it happens it's the American sports phenomenon, Switzer said. I've seen it happen all my life. We've made coaches and players and athletes more than what we are. It's what happens in American sports. Because of that, they've gotten away with more than they should have.

These students the other night, I watched em Occupy State College, and I thought, They don't understand. If they stopped and thought about how many people were involved and knew this and did nothing, they just haven't lived long enough. And what they've done is try to support somebody the university can't support.

Switzer was the head football coach at Oklahoma for 16 years where he won three national championships. He resigned before the 1989 season when the school was placed on probation for three years for recruiting violations, including two years where it could not make any TV appearances. However, what led to Switzers ouster at Oklahoma was out-of-control players. Before the 89 season, players were accused of rape, a shooting and selling cocaine to an undercover FBI agent.

Clearly, Switzer knows what its like to be run off campus.

In the meantime, Switzer jumped to the Dallas Cowboys where he coached the team to a victory in Super Bowl XXX.

Interestingly, Switzers comments are eerily similar to words Paterno once spoke about a man who fell from grace and was forced out of the job he loved Richard Nixon.

A devout Republican, who famously introduced President George H.W. Bush at the 1988 GOP Convention, Paterno was friendly with every Republican president from Nixon to George W. Bush. As the story goes, Nixon, a diehard football fan, loved to chat with Paterno about football whenever he had the chance.

But at the 1973 commencement address at Penn State, as it became clear that Nixon was involved in the Watergate cover up, Paterno said of the President, How could Nixon know so little about Watergate and so much about football?

In 2011 it has been asked how Paterno could know so little about what was going on within the walls of his football program.

E-mail John Finger at jfinger@comcastsportsnet.com.

Baylor to fire football coach Briles, re-assign president

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Baylor to fire football coach Briles, re-assign president

WACO, Texas -- Baylor University's board of regents said Thursday that it will fire football coach Art Briles and re-assign university President Kenneth Starr amid questions over the school's handling of sexual assault complaints against players.

The nation's largest Baptist university said in a statement Thursday that it had suspended Briles "with intent to terminate." Starr will leave the position of president on May 31, but the school says he will serve as chancellor.

The university also placed athletic director Ian McCaw on probation.

Baylor asked a law firm last year to conduct a review of its handling of sexual assault cases following allegations that the football program mishandled several cases of players attacking women.

The university's statement said the review revealed "a fundamental failure."

Baylor has faced increasing criticism in recent months for its handling of reports of rape and other violent incidents involving football players and students. One victim has sued the university, saying it was deliberately indifferent to her allegations against a former player who was eventually convicted of sexually assaulting her.

Starr ordered an investigation last year but has been mostly silent amid mounting criticism over the school's handling of the complaints, which erupted under his leadership. He took over as the university's president in 2010, about a decade after the former prosecutor investigated former President Clinton's sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewisnky.

The football team, whose players were at the center of the upheaval, enjoyed unprecedented success under Briles' tenure, including two Big 12 championships in the last three years. That success brought a financial windfall, and in 2014, Baylor opened a new, $250-million on-campus football stadium. But Briles' program has also been criticized for recruiting or accepting transfer players without regard to the harm they might cause fellow students.

Starr rode the waves of the program's success, and often ran on the football field with Baylor students in pregame ceremonies. But as investigations began into the school's handling of sexual assault allegations against players, Starr provided only brief comments, even as criticism of the school mounted.

In a February statement issued by university, Starr said "our hearts break for those whose lives are impacted by execrable acts of sexual violence." And at a prayer breakfast last month, Starr told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "I am in favor of transparency. Stand up, take your medicine if you made a mistake."

Baylor's Board of Regents was recently briefed by a law firm hired to investigate how the school responded to assault incidents, and the school on Thursday released a summary of its findings. Starr initiated the review in 2015, after former football player Sam Ukwuachu was convicted of sexually assaulting a female soccer player.

Ukwuachu, who was convicted in 2015, transferred to Baylor after he was dismissed from Boise State. Ukwuachu's former girlfriend testified during his rape trial in Texas that he had struck and choked her when he attended Boise State.

Ukwuachu's former coach, Chris Peterson, now the coach at Washington, said he "thoroughly apprised" Briles about the circumstances of Ukuwachu's dismissal. Briles disputed that account, saying he talked with Peterson and there was no mention of the incident.

The school is also facing a federal lawsuit from a former student claiming the school was "deliberately indifferent" to rape allegations levied at a former football player Tevin Elliott, who was convicted in 2014 of sexually assaulting the woman.

The uproar following Ukwuachu's conviction caused Baylor to initiate the review by the Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton, and to announce a $5 million effort to improve efforts on how it responds to sexual assault, including adding another investigator and more staff.

But the Ukwuachu case was just the start of months of revelations of football players being involved in violent incidents with little or no repercussions. At least seven other woman have publicly come forward to say the school ignored their sexual assault allegations.

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Josh Hart discusses NBA draft process, returning to Villanova

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Josh Hart discusses NBA draft process, returning to Villanova

Josh Hart said the decision wasn’t easy.

But he’s happy with it.

After withdrawing his name from the NBA draft to return to school (see story), Hart is excited to focus on Villanova, graduation and then the NBA dream.

“I love the school, I love the teachers, the student body, the support, my teammates that we have coming back,” the 6-foot-5 guard said Wednesday on Comcast SportsNet’s Philly Sports Talk. “So it was a tough one and I just thought at the end of the day, I think going back for my senior year would be in the best interest of my parents and myself.”

As a junior, Hart helped Villanova win its second national championship in program history by leading the Wildcats in scoring with 15.5 points per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the field.

Hart received plenty of feedback from NBA teams. He said shooting and ball handling are what he hopes to improve.

As far as his draft stock …

“There were teams interested maybe in the first [round], and then there were teams that said they would take me in the second,” Hart said. “But there’s a whole month before the draft, a lot of teams didn’t know exactly what they were doing with their picks — whether they were trying to trade up for a pick, trying to trade down, trying to trade a pick for a player. Several teams said that they would take me.”

For more from Hart on the draft and Villanova, watch the video above.

Delaware hires Martin Ingelsby as new head basketball coach

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Delaware hires Martin Ingelsby as new head basketball coach

Delaware has its new head basketball coach in Martin Ingelsby.

Ingelsby, a native of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, comes from Notre Dame, where he played from 1997-2001 and coached for 13 seasons, seven as an assistant.

Ingelsby played his high school ball at Archbishop Carroll and is the son of Tom Ingelsby, who played for Villanova from 1970-73.

Delaware is coming off a 7-23 season and 2-16 mark in CAA play, which led to the firing of head coach Monte Ross.

The Blue Hens, who announced the hire Tuesday, will formally introduce Ingelsby in a press conference Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Bob Carpenter Center Auditorium.