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2 Pa. reps want NCAA to restore PSU scholarships

2 Pa. reps want NCAA to restore PSU scholarships

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) Two Pennsylvania congressmen want the NCAA to restore football scholarships taken away from Penn State, saying in a letter Monday those sanctions unfairly punish innocent student-athletes for the child sex abuse scandal involving retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

In the letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert, U.S. Reps. Charlie Dent and Glenn Thompson wrote that taking away up to 40 scholarships harmed players who had nothing to do with the scandal that engulfed the university in 2011.

``I want to make it clear to the NCAA who they are really hurting with this scholarship reduction. It's not Jerry Sandusky and it's not the university,'' Dent said in a statement. ``They are hurting young people who are completely innocent of anything relating to the Sandusky situation and who through no fault of their own are being denied a chance to get a great education.''

A spokeswoman for college sports' governing body said the NCAA would respond directly to Dent instead of through the media. A Penn State spokesman declined comment.

The NCAA sanctions limit Penn State's recruiting classes to no more than 15 signees a year for four years, starting with the 2013 class to be formally finalized next week. Most teams can sign 25.

Sanctions also include a four-year postseason ban that began for the 2012 season and a $60 million fine.

If his request to restore scholarships is denied, the congressmen asked Emmert to deduct from the fine an amount equal to 40 scholarships so the school can use it instead to supply access to academic programs.

In announcing sanctions last July, Emmert drew the ire of some fans and alumni after the NCAA denounced the school for ``perpetuating a `football-first' culture that ultimately enabled serial child sexual abuse to occur.''

Penn State historically has had high graduation rates for athletes. Dent cited in his letter NCAA data released last year showing the football team had a record graduation rate of 91 percent, which was tied with Rutgers for seventh best among major college programs. The major college average was 68 percent.

Dent said the statistics showed Penn State places education ahead of football.

``Thus, arbitrarily eliminating 40 scholarships to Penn State is undeniably and inexcusably punitive to young people'' not involved with the scandal, he said.

The sanctions have also drawn criticism from Gov. Tom Corbett, who as attorney general headed the office that investigated Sandusky and won his conviction under his successor, Linda Kelly. Corbett has filed a federal anti-trust lawsuit against the NCAA and state Sen. Jake Corman has filed a legal challenge over the allocation of the fine money.

The NCAA has come under increased scrutiny of late, and not just for its response to the Sandusky scandal. The organization faces about a half-dozen lawsuits that could reshape how it does business.

The NCAA also announced last week that its enforcement staff had botched a high-profile investigation of the University of Miami. While Dent said he didn't know all the details of the Miami case, ``it certainly should give hope to those concerned about how Penn State was mistreated.''

Dent, in a phone interview, said he was hopeful there would be a congressional hearing on the NCAA.

The first day that high school seniors can formally sign with their college choices is Feb. 6. However, Penn State already has five recruits who enrolled early, for the spring semester that started this month, and their scholarships can count against the 2012 allotment which does not fall under sanctions.

That means the incoming scholarship freshman class for the football team this fall may have more than 15 members anyway.

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Follow Genaro Armas athttp://twitter.com/GArmasAP

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Game 60: Capitals vs. Lightning Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 60: Capitals vs. Lightning Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Lightning will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Lightning game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-LIGHTNING GAME?

The Capitals (34-18-7) take on the Lightning (39-17-3) Tuesday, February 20 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Washington.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-LIGHTNING GAME ON?

The Capitals-Lightning game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Lightning
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-LIGHTNING GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Lightning game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Taylor Chorney

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-LIGHTNING GAME?

The Capitals-Lightning game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).

CAPITALS-LIGHTNING OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Need to Know: Redskins' Junior Galette will be a valued free agent

Need to Know: Redskins' Junior Galette will be a valued free agent

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 20, 22 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

Galette to be a valued free agent

Originally published 12/13/17

Like the Redskins, the Broncos are no longer relevant in 2017. Both teams’ fan bases have started to look towards the coming offseason.

To give their readers what they want, the Denver Post published an article by Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus that discussed some of the top pending free agents who have done the most to increase their values in the past year. There were two Redskins named, one you would expect to see on such a list and one that might surprise some people.

Kirk Cousins is at the top of the list. “The Washington signal-caller is grading as a top-10 quarterback (82.8), and soon he’ll have the long-term contract of one,” Renner wrote. “Only this time its value will be exponentially higher than any one he would have signed back when he first became a free agent in 2016.”

But the surprising name is that of Junior Galette. After missing the last two seasons with two torn Achilles tendons, he played this year on a one-year, $800,000 deal. And while he hasn’t been on fire in the sack department with just two on the year, he has been getting pressure on the passer.

“He’s accumulated the 27th-highest pass-rushing grade of any edge defender this season, but in only 264 snaps,” wrote Renner. “At 29 years of age, it’s doubtful he ever gets back to the level of the contract that he once had on the table with New Orleans. With how he’s played this season though, some pass-rush-needy team will pay handsomely for his services.”

One team that could be considered to be pass rush needy is the Redskins. Preston Smith is the starter and supposedly one of the Redskins’ top pass rushers. But in 100 fewer pass rush snaps this year, Galette has only three fewer quarterback hits than Smith and six more hurries.

And after missing those two seasons, Galette has remained healthy. Although he was limited with a hamstring during much of the preseason, he has not missed a practice or appeared on an injury report this year.

But would the Redskins be willing to pay him “handsomely”? Perhaps a good comp would be Connor Barwin, who moved from the Eagles to the Rams this past offseason at the age of 31. He had five sacks in Philly in 2016. That got him a one-year deal worth $3.5 million.

Barwin likely will have more sacks on his ledger going into free agency so let’s say Galette could command around $3 million. Perhaps he could offer Washington a bit of a hometown discount and agree to something in the $2.75 million range. If that is the case, the Redskins would be smart to keep him around for another year.

Plenty of things could alter the equation. If Galette gets hot in the last three games and posts a few more sacks his price could rise. With Smith and Ryan Kerrigan both back next year, perhaps Galette will want to go somewhere that he might get more playing time.

The details need to be sorted out but don’t be surprised if Galette gets a lot of attention in free agency, as much as teams need pass rush, and if the Redskins have to make a very tough decision about how much he is worth.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 9
—NFL Draft (4/26) 65
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 201