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Criminal cases made Pa. AG hand over NCAA suit

Criminal cases made Pa. AG hand over NCAA suit

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) Pennsylvania's attorney general said she granted Gov. Tom Corbett the authority to file a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA because the litigation could present a conflict of interest as her office prosecutes three Penn State administrators.

Attorney General Linda Kelly told The Associated Press on Thursday that ``an actual conflict of interest could, and likely would, arise if this office were involved in both cases.''

Her office is prosecuting Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz and Tim Curley on charges of endangering the welfare of children, obstruction, conspiracy, failure to report suspected child abuse and perjury. Prosecutors claim they illegally covered up complaints and suspicions about Sandusky, a former defensive coordinator who was convicted last summer of 45 counts of child sexual abuse, including attacks inside campus facilities.

Corbett sued the NCAA in federal court on Wednesday, saying a set of penalties imposed against Penn State over its handling of the matter should be thrown out on antitrust grounds. The school agreed to a $60 million fine, a four-year ban on post-season play, a reduction in scholarships and the elimination of more than 100 wins under former coach Joe Paterno.

The size and scope of the criminal case made it ``untenable'' for the attorney general's office to sue the NCAA, Kelly said.

``Given the serious nature of both these cases, keeping these matters separate is the best course of action for the people of Pennsylvania,'' she said.

The NCAA has called Corbett's lawsuit meritless and an affront to the victims of Sandusky, who is now serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence for abuse of 10 boys over 15 years.

Spanier, forced out as president last year after Sandusky's arrest, remains a faculty member but is on paid leave. Curley is serving out the last year of his contract as athletic director, also on leave. Schultz, the school's vice president for business and finance, has retired.

All three have said they are innocent.

Under state law, the attorney general pursues and defends lawsuits involving most state agencies, but can delegate that power for reasons of efficiency or if it is otherwise deemed to be in the best interests of the state.

Kelly said her office received a request from Corbett's lawyer James D. Schultz on Friday, Dec. 14, for permission to sue the NCAA. Her office granted it three days later, she said. That authority, signed by the chief of her litigation section, can be terminated or amended by the attorney general's office, and it does not cover any appeals.

Kelly, a Republican, was nominated two years ago by Corbett, who left the office midterm after being elected governor.

Her decision drew criticism Thursday from a suburban Philadelphia politician who is considering a run against Corbett in the 2014 GOP primary. Bruce Castor, a Montgomery County commissioner and former district attorney, said the lawsuit appeared to be filed in a rush because Kelly's successor, Democrat Kathleen Kane, is scheduled to be sworn in Jan. 15.

``I can't imagine any circumstances where I would have given up a case of this importance from my office,'' Castor said. ``It would be exciting. It would be challenging. It would be headline-grabbing. It would have all of the elements that I used to think made a case worthwhile of handling, if not by myself, with my staff.''

Kane did not respond to a message seeking comment left Thursday for Charlie Lyons, a top aide in her transition.

Walter Cohen, who spent nearly seven years in the attorney general's office, including a year as the attorney general, said he doubted Kane will want to take the case back.

``She's going to be handed a lot of stuff that happened under Linda Kelly, including the Curley and Schultz and Spanier prosecutions,'' Cohen said. ``That itself is a lot to do.''

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John Wall takes another step in rehab, facing teammates in practice

John Wall takes another step in rehab, facing teammates in practice

WASHINGTON -- The steady progress continues for John Wall in his rehab from a ruptured left Achilles tendon, as the Wizards point guard is now facing teammates in 4-on-4 drills at practice.

Head coach Scott Brooks described the games as "controlled," noting they were not full-speed or with contact and featured a 10-second shot clock. But that remains a notable step in his road back after he had previously been playing mostly against player development coaches.

"He practiced for the whole practice. He looked great," Brooks said. "There is still a ways to go. But his energy, his enthusiasm, his strength [looks good]. His shot looks better."

Wall, 29, hasn't played in a game since Dec. 26 of 2018. He had surgery on his Achilles on Feb. 12, 2019. He is currently over 11 months into what is typically an 11-to-15 month recovery.

Brooks, though, makes a point to couch positive updates about Wall with patience. The team has indicated he may not play at all this season.

"I don't know if he plays this year," Brooks said. "We can be patient and we're going to be patient because we need him to be right for a lot of years. This is his career and we know how serious that injury is. He's taking it serious."

Part of the equation is the financial commitment the Wizards have made in Wall. He is due roughly $131.5 million over the next three seasons. They want to make sure he is good to go not just for this year, but that he can be effective for the remainder of his contract.

According to Brooks, even having Wall back to this level has added some positive energy to the Wizards' organization.

"I know the excitement is around because he's around and he's looking [good]," Brooks said. "When he comes back, he's going to be the John Wall we all love."

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Houston QB D'Eriq King reportedly transfers to Miami over Maryland

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Houston QB D'Eriq King reportedly transfers to Miami over Maryland

Just one week after announcing that he had entered the NCAA transfer portal, University of Houston QB D'Eriq King has reportedly chosen Miami over Maryland.

The Athletic's Hurricanes beat writer Manny Navarro reports that King has informed Canes coaches of his decision and intent to start classes Tuesday, Jan. 21. 

At the same time, Mark Berman of Fox26 reported that King has not made a final decision but did indeed like Miami.

 

King was scheduled to visit Miami Friday night and Maryland on Saturday, but Jeff Ermann of InsideMDSports reports that King may have cancelled his visit to second-year head coach Mike Locksley and company last minute after liking Miami. Berman reports that King is still "planning" on visiting College Park.

The Terps struggled to finish 3-9 with Josh Jackson and Tyrell Pigrome under center, combining for 16 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. Under first-year head coach Manny Diaz, Miami went 6-7 over 2019.

King redshirted this season after playing the maximum four games allowed under new NCAA rules in order to preserve eligibility and transfer for  his senior season. In those four games, King tallied 663 passing yards and six touchdowns. 

The sought-after QB is also just one of three in FBS history that have recorded at least 35 passing touchdowns and 13 rushing touchdowns in a single season.

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