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Tuesday, 22 January 2013 06:00

Location of Paterno statue a mystery

STATE COLLEGE, Pa., Jan. 22 (UPI) -- The location of Penn State's statue of Joe Paterno, removed from the campus six months after his death, remains a mystery on the first anniversary of his death.

The 900-pound bronze statue became a makeshift memorial to Paterno, but was removed on the morning of July 22 with jackhammers and a forklift. School officials feared it would become a lightning rod for protest after Paterno was implicated in a coverup of child sexual abuse by former assistant football coach, and convicted pedophile, Jerry Sandusky. Since the removal the questions about the statue's whereabouts have not stopped, the (State College, Pa.) Centre Daily Times reported Tuesday.

Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers, asked for comment Monday, only said, "The statue is in a safe, undisclosed location," and Penn State historian Lou Prato remarked, "I just get asked about it as if I'm supposed to know."

Not even Angelo Di Maria, the sculptor of the work, knows where his work is.

"It's a big secret as to the location," he said. As the artist, any piece of work I do becomes a part of me. It feels like part of me is missing," but he does not question the motivation for the removal.

"The scope of the crime is so horrible. I have to put my art on the back burner," Di Maria said. "This thing is all about the children, the victims. That's the priority. That healing has to happen. I can deal with the loss of the statue."
Tuesday, 22 January 2013 08:43

Community remembers Paterno a year later

STATE COLLEGE, Pa., Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Joe Paterno's legacy has changed in the year since his death, but State College, Pa., has not forgotten him, residents say.

Paterno, longtime Penn State football coach, was fired in the first days of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, and died two months later.

His likeness still greets patrons at Legends, a hotel restaurant. Bumper stickers with his initials, or "409", for the number of his victories before they were vacated by the NCAA from his lifetime record, can be seen on cars. A candlelight vigil will be held in his honor, marking his death. His supporters remain, the State College, Pa., Centre Daily Times said Tuesday.

Stephanie Ansalone, a 2005 Penn State graduate, said in an email to the newspaper her brother invited Paterno to his high school graduation, and received a hand-written letter of regret that Paterno could not attend the ceremonies, with added good wishes for the future.

"It enabled us to make a connection with Joe we'll always remember and about which we will always smile."

Later this week a documentary on Paterno, "The Joe We Know," will be screened in a local theater.
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 00:26

Teo admits lying about online girlfriend

NEW YORK, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o told Katie Couric he briefly lied to the public about his online girlfriend after he learned she was a hoax.

Te'o, 21, gave an exclusive interview to ABC's Couric about the story that surfaced last month, saying he had been tricked into believing his online girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, had died of cancer.

"You stuck to the script. And you knew that something was amiss, Manti," Couric said.

"Katie, put yourself in my situation. I, my whole world told me she died on Sept. 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on Sept. 12," said Te'o, who finished second in the voting for the 2012 Heisman Trophy.

Te'o's father, Brian, who joined the interview along with his wife, tearfully defended his son.

"People can speculate about what they think he is," Brian Te'o said. "I've known him 21 years of his life, And he's not a liar. He's a kid."

Diane O'Meara, the young woman whose photographs were used in the fake Twitter account of Te'o's online girlfriend said she knew nothing about the creation of Lennay Kekua.

"I've never met Manti Te'o in my entire life," she said on NBC's "Today" show Tuesday. "I've never spoken with him. I've never exchanged words with him."

She said she had received an apology from Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, 22, a former high school acquaintance who used her pictures, the day the hoax story broke on Deadspin.com.

Tuiasosopo has not publicly admitted involvement in the hoax.
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 04:53

College football recruits visit strip club

MIAMI, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Florida International University football coach Ron Turner's problems include a visit by potential recruits to a strip club, escorted by student-athlete hosts.

The incoming coach at the Miami college ordered the Twitter accounts of players Demarkus Perkins and Isame Faciane shut down after an entry by Perkins Sunday morning read, "The recruit was 2funny at strip club tonight."

FIU's official rules regarding visiting recruits, and their hosts, prohibit hosts from entertaining "the prospective student-athlete by attending a gentlemen's club or providing an opportunity for a sexual encounter."

The names of the recruits in the incident were not reported. Perkins and Faciane are still in school and still on the team, The Miami Herald reported Wednesday, but Turner refused to discuss any further disciplinary action.

"Moving forward, I'll be able to do a better job of picking hosts," Turner said. "Obviously, a couple didn't do the right job. That's not something that's acceptable."
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 07:03

Alleged hoaxer says he loves Teo

NEW YORK, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The alleged mastermind behind the Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, said in an ABC interview he was in love with the Notre Dame standout.

Dr. Phil McGraw said he and Tuiasosopo watched Te'o's interview Jan. 24 with ABC News' Katie Couric on Jan. 24 and then sat down for their own interview. ABC said the interview will be broadcast Thursday and Friday.

"Here we have a young man that fell deeply, romantically in love," Dr. Phil McGraw told NBC's "Today." "I asked him straight up, 'Was this a romantic relationship with you?' And he says yes. I said, 'Are you then therefore gay?' And he said, 'When you put it that way, yes.' And then he caught himself and said, 'I am confused.'"
Monday, 04 February 2013 05:27

Georgias Richt recovering from surgery

ATHENS, Ga., Feb. 4 (UPI) -- University of Georgia football Coach Mark Richt was recovering from weekend hip surgery Monday, days before national signing day, officials said.

The surgery was performed Saturday at a hospital in Athens, Ga.

Richt, 53, had said he would wait to have the surgery until after Wednesday, which is the day nationwide for high school athletes to indicate what college they will play for, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Sunday.

Why Richt changed his mind isn't clear, the report said.

The coach indicated this past season he had been in considerable pain for some time from a swing-set accident 30 years ago.

NCAA recruiting rules do not allow coaching staffs to contact potential players from Sunday until signing day this week.
Tuesday, 05 February 2013 08:02

Fiesta Bowl seeks to stay non-profit

PHOENIX, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- The former top executive of the Fiesta Bowl owes $75,509 in back taxes on items he charged to the non-profit that puts on the marquee college football game.

John Junker, fired in March 2011 for allegedly using the non-profit's money to pay for strip club and golf outings and to illegally reimburse employees for political donations, pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges in 2012 and is awaiting sentencing. The Arizona Republic of Phoenix said he faces a short federal prison stint or probation.

The Fiesta Bowl made the tax disclosures as part of its bid to remain a tax-exempt non-profit. The Fiesta Bowl's contract with the Bowl Championship Series runs out in 2014, when college football is scheduled to move to a six-team playoff format. If the Fiesta Bowl wants to host one of those games -- and continue to draw the tens of millions of dollars in economic impact to Arizona -- it will need to sign on again to host one of the playoff games.

Junker, who made $618,000 as chief executive officer of the Fiesta Bowl, making him the highest paid BCS official prior to his dismissal, allegedly used money from the non-profit to lead a lavish lifestyle and curry favor with politicians. A federal investigation revealed he authorized payments to Fiesta Bowl employees to reimburse them for donations to various politicians, which is illegal.

Officials said changes have been made in the management structure to prevent any future incidents of fraud of misuse of the non-profit's money.

"The bowl has done literally everything it could have done over the last two years to deal with all the problems of the prior management and to make all the proper fixes and changes to position itself as a fully compliant and proper tax-reporting, non-profit organization," said Nathan Hochman, a bowl attorney and former head of the U.S. Department of Justice's Tax Division.
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 00:13

Maine extends football coachs contract

ORONO, Maine, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Jack Cosgrove, already the school record-holder for most football coaching wins, won a contract extension from the University of Maine.

The school announced Cosgrove agreed to a three-year contract extension, which ties him to Maine through June 2016.

"Jack has done a terrific job as the leader of the Black Bear football team," Athletic Director Steve Abbott said. "He thrives on the intense competition and rivalries in the Colonial Athletic Association and is committed to continuing to build upon the team's success."

Cosgrove, 56, played quarterback for Maine (1974-77) and has been on the football coaching staff nearly every season since. He has been head coach since 1993.

The Black Bears' 5-6 record last season pushed his career mark to 111-118. The win total is a Maine record.

The Black Bears have been to the NCAA playoffs four times, most recently in 2011, under Cosgrove and the team won CAA titles in 2001 and 2002.
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 01:38

Man gets five years in tailgate death

COLUMBIA, S.C., Feb. 6 (UPI) -- A judge in South Carolina sentenced an Alabama football fan to five years in prison for the 2010 death of University of a South Carolina fan.

Allen Martin Gasque, 20, a University of South Carolina booster from Marion, S.C, died when he was run over by a pickup truck driven by a friend after being punched to the ground by Curtis Simms, 27, The State, Columbia, S.C., reported Wednesday.

The altercation occurred in a tailgating area not long after an Alabama-South Carolina football game.

Witnesses said both men had been drinking.

Judge Diane Goodstein sentenced Simms, of Columbia, to 10 years in prison but suspended the term to five years with three additional years of probation.

A jury found him guilty of breach of the peace of a high and aggravated nature, a seldom-used common law charge that carries a maximum 10-year sentence.

"I want to apologize to Mr. and Mrs. Gasque for the loss of their son," Simms said before sentencing.
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 10:21

Ole Miss lands top recruit Nkemdiche

LOGANVILLE, Ga., Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Top-rated high school recruit Robert Nkemdiche, a defensive end from Loganville, Ga., announced Wednesday on National Signing Day he's going to Mississippi.

The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Nkemdiche, 18, made the announcement during a news conference at Grayson High School. His brother, Denzel, is a sophomore linebacker for Ole Miss.

Offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil of Lake City, Fla., and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell of Crete, Ill., also committed to the Rebels Wednesday.

Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III of Tampa, Fla., the No. 2-rated high school player in the nation, signed with Florida, which was judged to have the third-best recruiting class this season behind two-time defending national champion Alabama and Ohio State.

(C) 2013 Copyrights Theodore Myles