Penn State officials will face perjury charges

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Penn State officials will face perjury charges

From Comcast SportsNetHARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- A judge on Wednesday upheld perjury charges against two Penn State administrators accused of lying to a grand jury that investigated allegations ex-assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused children.Dauphin County Judge Todd Hoover ruled against the motions by former vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley that would have thrown out the count of perjury against each man.The judge did not rule on the other count they each face, failure to properly report suspected child abuse. In that case, the defendants have argued the statute of limitations has expired. The judge said that dismissal request would be ruled on separately.The judge said the claim made by Schultz and Curley that there is insufficient evidence to corroborate the perjury charges will be more appropriately pursued during the trial. He also said prosecutors have given the defendants sufficient information about which parts of their grand jury testimony make up the perjury allegation."Having satisfied the request to specify the statements it will seek to prove as perjurious, we find that the commonwealth need not identify the manner in which it intends to prove the alleged falsity of each statement," the judge wrote.The perjury counts are felonies, while failure to report suspected child abuse is a summary offense, less serious than a misdemeanor.Schultz, the university's former vice president for business and finance, has retired. Curley, the athletic director, is on leave. Their trial is scheduled to begin in Harrisburg with jury selection on Jan. 7. Defense lawyers are seeking to split the criminal cases against them.A spokesman for the attorney general's office declined to comment on Wednesday. A spokeswoman for the defendants' lawyers did not immediately return messages seeking comment.Sandusky, a former Penn State defensive coordinator, was convicted in June on charges he sexually abused 10 boys, some on campus. He remains jailed awaiting sentencing Oct. 9.Eight young men testified against Sandusky, describing a range of abuse they said went from grooming and manipulation to fondling, oral sex and anal rape when they were boys and for some included acts that occurred inside Penn State team showers. One young man testified his muffled screams from the basement of the Sandusky home in State College, where Penn State is based, went unanswered as Sandusky attacked him.The 68-year-old Sandusky maintains his innocence, acknowledging he showered with boys but insisting he never molested them. Given his age and the serious nature of the crimes of which he was convicted, he's likely to receive a sentence that will keep him in prison for life.The abuse scandal touched off by Sandusky's Nov. 5 arrest rocked Penn State, bringing down famed coach Joe Paterno and the university's president and leading the NCAA, college sports' governing body, to levy unprecedented sanctions against the university's football program.Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, hired by university trustees to conduct an investigation into the university's handling of abuse complaints against Sandusky, concluded that Paterno, ousted president Graham Spanier, Curley and Schultz concealed a 2001 allegation against Sandusky to protect Penn State from bad publicity.The late coach's family, as well as Spanier, Curley and Schultz, have hotly disputed Freeh's assertions.

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NBA trade deadline rumors: Sixers-Bulls talking Jahilil Okafor trade

NBA trade deadline rumors: Sixers-Bulls talking Jahilil Okafor trade

The rumors linking Sixers big man Jahlil Okafor and his hometown Chicago Bulls had died down in recent weeks, but with the trade deadline closing in on Thursday afternoon, things appear to be heating up once again.

A new report from Yahoo! Sports says the Bulls have shown increased interest in making a deal.

Okafor, 21, has been the subject of many trade discussions despite being in just his second year in the NBA. Philly has a surplus of frontcourt players and teammate Joel Embiid has passed him on the depth chart.

Chicago continues to be in rumors involving Jimmy Butler, but the two players have not been linked as part of the same potential deal. Forward Taj Gibson is also reportedly available.

Whatever the Bulls do will be pertinent for the Wizards, who could match up with them in the playoffs this year. The Wizards are the No. 3 seed currently while the Bulls are seventh.

[RELATED: Brooks: A Porter trade "wouldn't even be discussed"]

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The Cam Newton/Kirk Cousins debate is ridiculous

The Cam Newton/Kirk Cousins debate is ridiculous

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. In the land of the hot take, the more preposterous and outrageous suggestion gets the buzz. 

The latest fallacy of a sports debate started when Jordan Rodgers - best known for being Aaron Rodgers' brother and a winner on The Bachelorette  - said he would take Kirk Cousins over Cam Newton while talking on ESPN Radio. Rodgers laid out his reasons, mainly that Cousins is an accurate passer while Newton's game depends to much on athleticism. Rodgers: 

You know what gets figured out? Athleticism. What happened to Robert Griffin? Athleticism. Teams caught up to him. They figured how to scheme him. You know what never gets schemed or what never gets stymied? Going through your reads and completing balls. That is what Kirk Cousins does: completing the last two years 67 and nearly 70 percentage of his throws. Going through your reads, there is always an answer. And if you consistently, from a mental standpoint as a quarterback, go through your reads, you always give your team a chance to win. And I will take consistency, leadership and accuracy over athletic potential any day of the week.

So there's that. Then Tiki Barber decided to get involved. Some highlights from Barber's rant via his radio show:

  • Kirk Cousins will sit in the pocket and find his guy and read a defense and know pre-snap where he’s going to go with the ball, and if something breaks down, then he finds his checkdown back. Those two guys who they had in Washington were fantastic in giving him support in that role, so yeah, of course you take Kirk Cousins over Cam Newton, even though Cam Newton was the MVP.
  • With Cam Newton, you’re getting year-to-year volatility. With Kirk Cousins, you haven’t had that. It’s been pretty consistent.
  • If you’re choosing one and you’re building out for the next five or six years, who are you picking? I think it’s pretty easy to pick Kirk Cousins.

Looking at statistics, the claims of Rodgers and Barber can be validated in some capacity. In six seasons, Newton has only thrown for more than 4,000 yards once in his rookie year. Cousins has done it both years he's been the starter, and nearly went for 5,000 in 2016.

And Cousins completes way more of his passes. The Panthers QB's best completion percentage came in 2013, when he connected on 61.7 percent of his passes. Cousins completed nearly 70 percent of his throws in 2015, and 67 percent in 2016.

Dig a little deeper though, and some things are obvious.

The Panthers run a prehistoric offense, where running the ball is the focus. In 2016, Carolina ran the ball 28 times per game, the 7th most in the NFL. That was actually a significant decrease from 2015, where Carolina ran the ball 33 times per game, by far the most run heavy offense in the NFL. 

The Redskins were on the other end of the spectrum. Washington ran the ball less than 24 times per game in 2016, and ranked 27th out of 32 teams in the NFL in rush attempts. 

Consider that the 'Skins play a pass-first offense, and Carolina does the opposite, and that explains much of the yardage differences. Cousins had nearly 100 more throws in 2016 than Newton, 606 to 510, though the Panthers QB missed two starts. In 2015, when Newton won the MVP and the Panthers went to the Super Bowl, Cousins still threw nearly 50 passes more over the course of the year. 

Another consideration on the stats: Newton goes deep. All the time. Cousins and the Redskins move the ball well, but are not reliant on the vertical passing game like the Panthers. Remember, about halfway through the 2016 season, many stories questioned why the Washington offense was under utilizing DeSean Jackson. That changed as the year progressed, but anybody that watches football recognizes the difference.

Rodgers even provided the context. "Any time you talk about the completion percentage being as high as Kirk’s is, it means he’s consistently getting to his third and fourth read and check-downs. That’s how you have that high percentage."

Oh yeah, Newton is arguably the best running quarterback in NFL history. Deadly in short yardage situations, Cam has 48 rushing TDs in his six-year NFL career. Cousins has shown flashes of good wheels, the touchdown run in Detroit comes to mind, but is nowhere near the runner Newton is. Nobody is. 

All of this is not to talk down Cousins. The Redskins passer has proven to be a worthy NFL starting quarterback, and he could continue to improve over the next half decade. He is smart with the football and quick in his reads. In Washington or elsewhere, Cousins will make a ton of money, and deservedly. 

But ranking Cousins ahead of Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, just seems silly. Rodgers and Barber laid out their reasoning, but in actuality, it's hard to believe. 

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