Vandy rape case declared mistrial

 

 

Screen shot 2015-06-25 at 20.59.59

The Vanderbilt rape case has been declared a mistrial.

The case was thrown out because the jury foreman did not admit that he was once the victim of a sexual assault.

Corey Batey and Brandon Vandenburg had both been accused of crimes of aggravated rape and sexual battery, and were found guilty five months ago on five counts of the former and two counts of the latter.

According to CBS, both players had been waiting sentencing before the revelations took place, which might mean that they avoid decades of jail-time.

The trial, CBS noted, “featured graphic video and photographic evidence showing the unconscious female student being violated in the dorm room“, accusing the players of owning that footage.

Two other players – Jaborian McKenzie and Brandon Banks – are still awaiting whether their cases will be ‘mistrialed’.

Prosecutors have said that the case will be retried. Both Batey and Vandenburg have to wear tracking anklets so police know their whereabouts.

 

BOTTOM LINE: I’m sorry, but I’m too disgusted to go into more detail about this for the time being.

Former Vanderbilt players found guilty of rape

Two former Vanderbilt games have been found guilty of the rape of a student in 2013.

Brandon Vandenburg and Corey Batey were found to have brought the unconscious, unnamed student up to his dorm room after drinking after taking her to their bedroom, where Vandenburg photographed the assault, according to ESPN.

Two other players – Brandon E. Banks and Jaborian McKenzie, are still waiting to be tried.

The news shocked the campus in September 2013….but what has also haunted the campus was the cover-up by other football players of the action. This included star wide receiver Chris Boyd, who was booted for his role in covering up the gang rape. Boyd was given a yearlong probation in return for testifying against the defendants in the case.

The news service added that they are faced decades in jail.

 

Vanderbilt investigated by US Government

Vanderbilt is to be investigated by the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for its handling of possible violations of federal law over the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints.

This should be no surprise to the SEC university’s administration, who is facing new allegations that then-football coach James Franklin tried to persuade a rape victim to be one of a more than 10 girls to become ‘hostesses’ for the university’s recruiting purposes.

The school is one of a number of schools currently under US Government investigation for violating Title IX.

Title IX states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Vanderbilt fans will be pleased to hear that they aren’t the only school under investigation. Sadly, there are a large number of them.

Notable colleges include Ohio State, UNC (Chapel Hill), Cal, Southern Cal, Florida State, Colorado (Boulder), Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Washington State, Indiana as well as Harvard, Princeton and Dartmouth.

The full list can be seen here.

BOTTOM LINE: While we have no clue what powers the authorities can yield in these investigations (and nor have they said anything), it’ll be interesting to see how many SEC schools end up on the lists in the future, especially their fevered recruiting practices. What also will interest us is how a transparent list like this may affect recruiting for female athletes at schools, including cheerleading.

Vanderbilt boots WR Boyd

Vanderbilt has said that it has expelled its second starting wide receiver Chris Boyd in connection with allegations around the rape case at the school earlier this year.

Boyd was accused of helping to cover up the rape of an undisclosed woman at a university dorm in late June.

A warning: This excerpt from a USA Today post will make your stomach turn: “On Friday at a plea hearing for former wide receiver Chris Boyd, Deputy District Attorney General Tom Thurman read details in court that indicated Boyd and two others helped move an unconscious 21-year-old woman from a hallway back into a dorm room after she had been raped. He didn’t name the other individuals, but read a text out loud in which Boyd identified Vanderbilt’s starting quarterback, Austyn Carta-Samuels and tight end Dillon van der Wal, as helping to move her.”

Apparently, the text identifying Vanderbilt’s QB as one of the people helping to move the woman’s body was simply an identification rather than fact.

The DA said: “However, based upon the evidence collected to date, Boyd wrongly identified student Austyn Carta-Samuels as someone who participated in helping move the victim.

BOTTOM LINE: This is an horrific crime, and Boyd – if this is true – deserves to go to jail. On the footballing end, the loss of Boyd will continue to weaken Vanderbilt’s offense – especially with Georgia and Florida still to play. The good news for Vandy fans is that Austyn Carta-Samuels will continue to play.

Anchor Up or Down? 2013 Vanderbilt preview

James Franklin has got the Vanderbilt program in something of a stir. After years in the SEC doldrums after doing nothing since the Jay Cutler years, James Franklin has brought in a new confidence into Nashville, and with it, they’ve reached a bowl in their last two seasons, and more’s the case, are laughing at Tennessee, who’s having a shameful time.

And although Vandy has definitely recruited well – an ESPN ranking of 22 for last year – there’s a dark cloud that’s been brought over the program, and that’s due to a rape that took place in late June this year that has ensared five Vanderbilt players – including four that have been booted off the team (and one who was indicted last week) – including No.2 wide receiver Chris Boyd.

But will the off-season distractions stop Vanderbilt from negotiating the schedule?

LAST SEASON

Vanderbilt had an astonishing season in 2012, going 9-4 – which included a 38-24 Music City Bowl beat-down of NC State and a six-match unbeaten run to end the year. There’s no question that this was a back-loaded schedule, which saw Vanderbilt loses the games it was meant to lose and win the ones it was meant to win – and a lot of them in very convincing fashion. From Vandy fans’ point-of-view, the game of the season had to be the game against Ole Miss, which the Commodores won 27-26 in a stormer of a game.

The heroes last season on the offense were quarterback Jordan Rodgers (2,539 yards, 15 TDs, 5 INTs), running back Zac Stacy (1,141 yards, 10 TDs), wide receiver Jordan Matthews (1,323 yards, 8 TDs).

OFFENSE

Goodbye and thank you for a great career to Jordan Rodgers and Zac Stacy. Rodgers is currently a free agent in the NFL and Stacy is playing for the St Louis Rams. Austyn Carter-Samuels will take on the role of starting QB (he had 208 yards and 1 TD last year), while Matthews and Boyd both return as receivers. Vanderbilt’s rushing game will depend on the partnership of Wesley Tate and Brian Kimbrow, who had nearly 800 yards of rushing work between them.

The biggest problem for Vanderbilt (apart from the obvious replacement of talent), is: Who’s going to replace Matthews if he gets injured and Boyd is suspended or thrown off the team for the event in June? Also, can Carta-Samuels really step up to SEC play, after spending years plying his trade with Wyoming?

DEFENSE

Defense was a real strength for Vandy last year, who ranked 5th in the SEC in yards per game (333.9) and 19th nationally. They kept the scoring down to under 19 points per game, good for 5th in the SEC and 15th. In other words, this was an above-average defense that James Franklin put together. This year they return six starters.

The group’s defensive line is ferocious, with DEs Walker May, Kyle Woestmann and Caleb Azubike, who contributed 13 sacks and 10 tackles for loss between them. And at linebacker, starters Chase Gardham and Karl Butler return, and in the secondary, Andre Hal also comes back to the corner, as do free safety and leading tackler Kenny Ladler and strong safety Javon Marshall.

SCHEDULE

Aug 29 – Ole Miss 
Sept 7 – Austin Peay
Sept 14 – @ South Carolina
Sept 21 – @ UMass (in Gillette Stadium)
Sept 28 – UAB
Oct 5 – Missouri
Oct 19 – Georgia
Oct 26 – @ TAMU
Nov 9 @ Florida
Nov 16 – Kentucky
Nov 23 – @ Tennessee
Nov 30 – Wake Forest

Vandy goes into Opening Night of the college football season against Ole Miss, in a rivalry game that hasn’t had a break since 1945. And although the result is a bit of a toss-up, Vandy should roll Austin Peay, get rolled at South Carolina, and roll UMass and UAB at home and beat Missouri – if Missouri can’t solve their problems at offensive line. We expect Vanderbilt to give Georgia the same sort of test as they did in 2011 (without the fight, hopefully), but to struggle at Kyle Field against Texas A&M, as well as in The Swamp – although in the The Swamp they’ll keep it close because Florida’s offense is so, well, offensive. They should comfortably beat Kentucky and win a close one at Tennessee, before rounding out the season by winning the Battle Of The Rich Private Schools  against Wake Forest.

BOTTOM LINE: We expect them to go 7-5, but this will be very dependent on what happens to Boyd, the development of Carter-Samuels, and if Jordan Matthews can continue the same incredible season as he had in 2012. So in other words, a lot of moving parts. But that’s a bowl game for Vanderbilt fans, and that’ll suit them nicely.

Vanderbilt starting WR indicted in rape case

Vanderbilt starting wide receiver Chris Boyd has been indicted in the rape case that has shaken the Vanderbilt football program, according to the Tennessean.

Boyd, who had 50 receptions for 774 yards and 5 TD in the 2014 season, has been suspended by head coach James Franklin, has been charged with trying to cover up the assault, which happened on June 23rd.

The release said: “Boyd, 21, is charged with one felony count of being an accessory after the fact. He is essentially accused of taking part in an attempted cover up of the sexual assault through his advice to certain defendants who were indicted last week. Boyd’s representatives have been made aware of the indictment. He is expected to surrender.

A report by CBS Sports.com said that this is a felony count.

The release added that Criminal Court Judge Steve Dozier set Boyd’s bond at $25,000.

Vanderbilt said: “Today the Davidson County District Attorney charged Chris Boyd, a member of the Vanderbilt football team, with accessory after the fact related to the incident that occurred in a Vanderbilt residence hall June 23. The charges follow those announced Aug. 9 stemming from the same incident. All of these allegations, including those brought today, are deeply troubling, and we take them very seriously.

Pursuant to the athletic department conduct policy, Mr. Boyd has been suspended from the football team, pending further review.

We continue to respect that at this point in the criminal justice process no determination of guilt has been made.  We continue to cooperate closely with the District Attorney’s office and Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.”

 

Another two defendants – Miles Joseph Finley, 19, of Bermuda Dunes, California, and Joseph Dominick Quinzio, 20, of Palm Desert, California – who were friends of Brandon Vandenburg – were also indicted for tampering with evidence.

Rape Case: ‘Vanderbilt Four’ identified

Vanderbilt has released the names of the four Commodores players booted off the team in an investigation of a sexual assault.

They are: Freshmen Tip McKenzie, Corey Batey and Brandon Banks. The fourth was transfer from junior college – tight end Brandon Vandenburg.

All four players would have contributed to the team, says Vanderbilt blog ‘Anchor of Gold‘ – although Vandenburg – rated one of the country’s best juco tight ends – was the only potential starter.

The alleged incident happened in a dorm room earlier this year, and is currently being investigated by the Sex Crimes Unit.

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin – who is bound to get questions asked about this when he takes the podium during the SEC Media Days, had this to say in a statement: “For student athletes at Vanderbilt, it is a privilege, not a right, to be a part of the program. My coaching staff and I make sure every member of our team understands that. We insist on high standards of personal responsibility and integrity, and there are consequences when those standards are not met. 

“In dealing with this matter, the Commodores football team will continue to hold itself to the same high standards of responsibility and integrity Vanderbilt demands of all of our students. 

“We are cooperating fully with the Nashville Police Department and have pledged not to say or do anything that could interfere with its work or compromise the rights of anyone involved. We have not prejudged anyone’s guilt or innocence.

 

SEC Preseason Preview: Will Vanderbilt continue moving on up?

A lot of people are very excited about the Vanderbilt Commodores this year. After all, they’ve been making a lot of noise on the recruiting front lately, and James Franklin put together a team that doesn’t just give up – hence why they lost four desperately close games (one in overtime), and this could be a season when Vandy puts together a winning regular season record for the first time in a decade. People are saying that they could upset South Carolina on the first game of the season…

Anyway…

LAST YEAR

Vanderbilt fans may have celebrated going bowling, but really, it could have been so much more than that if they hadn’t broken their fans’ hearts over and over again. Georgia was given the scare of its life at Vanderbilt Stadium, they led Arkansas 28-20 and were on the Razorbacks’ one before their offense’s fumble went back nearly 100 yards for a Hogs score and a huge heartbreak, and a fierce rally at Florida came just five points short. Oh, and they lost to the hated Tennessee – a team itself in the doldrums – in overtime.

On the brighter side of life, Vanderbilt made its bowl game by hammering Wake Forest 41-7 on the road, and had SEC victories over Ole Miss and Kentucky – its best conference record since 2009 (although that’s not saying much!).

Tim Fugger and Casey Hayward were both drafted into the NFL in April.

JORDAN RODGERS….THE NEXT AARON RODGERS?

Just because Jordan Rodgers is Aaron Rodgers’ brother, we’ll go as far as saying that we don’t think he’ll be the next Aaron – or the next Jay Cutler, for that matter (Cutler was a stud at Vandy, for those of you who don’t remember). Rodgers took over the team from Larry Smith and played well enough against Georgia to take the starting job. He finished the half-season he started with 1,500 yards and 9 TDs – although he also had 10 INTs. Rodgers will face competition with new transfer Austyn Carta-Samuels, but this could be a year where we throws for at least 2,500 yards – although this will be a lot less if he can’t keep the interception number down.

His wide receiving options – Jordan Matthews and Chris Boyd – had great 2011s and will both be troubling opposition secondaries this year.

DEEPER AT RUNNING BACK?

It’s hard not to like Zac Stacy, who broke Vandy’s single season rushing record with 1,193 yards (and 14 TDs). Check out the highlight of him carrying Kentucky defenders on his back en route to the end-zone! And with Warren Norman, Jerron Seymour, and Wesley Tate now in the backfield, Vanderbilt’s going to have options in the backfield – which can only be good for Franklin and his coaching staff.

WHAT COULD HURT VANDY OFFENSIVELY… 

Is a shallow offensive line, with worries about the team’s depth despite four starters coming back (although one –  Ryan Seymour – has been injured for a while).

WHILE AT DEFENSE…

Let’s be honest, the graduation of the SEC’s top tackler for the last four years – to law school – Chris Marve (LB), is going to be massive. As coaches have found out through the decades, replacing a top defender is a tough, tough business. Marve will be one of those difficult to be replaced. And they also look safety Sean Richardson and cornerback Casey Hayward, who were the team’s second and third best tacklers last year.

However, there is good news. A ‘starting duo’ returns in the secondary in the form of Trey Wilson (CB) and Javon Marshall (SS) in the secondary, and there is a defensive line with quite a few starts under its belt, other than Fugger.

THE 2012 SCHEDULE

August 30 SOUTH CAROLINA

September 8 at Northwestern

September 15 PRESBYTERIAN

September 22 at Georgia

October 6 at Missouri

October 13 FLORIDA

October 20 AUBURN

October 27 UMASS

November 3 at Kentucky

November 10 at Ole Miss

November 17 TENNESSEE

November 24 at Wake Forest

BOTTOM LINE: Vanderbilt hasn’t got the easiest of schedules. While we expect them to beat Presbyterian, UMass and win road games at Kentucky and Ole Miss, the rest of the season is simply up-in-the air. They’ve got to hope that South Carolina starts slowly on the first game of the season, and we worry that their four game stretch against Georgia, Florida, Auburn and Missouri (not in that order) may not yield a victory. The games at home to Tennessee and at Wake Forest will prove pivotal to Vandy’s chances of a bowl game…. and we think that they’ve make it, with a 6-6 record.


SEC Preseason Preview: Can Missouri Roar In The East?

Here’s a quick tip for you: Missouri will scare the heck out of the SEC East – especially when they play teams at night in Farot Field. Remember: This is a team that’s beaten No.1s in the past on home turf (Ohio State and Oklahoma in a monster night games in front of a rabid, unforgiving crowd) and really, really wants the chance to do more damage in the future. I spoke to a buddy at Georgia about his team’s chances and he said: “We’re scared. Missouri aren’t going to take any prisoners and our guys certainly picked a time to get thrown off the team and eat hash brownies”. I think we could echo that.

But anyway, this is Missouri’s preseason preview. And if you don’t like it, you’re welcome to call me stupid….or words that effect.

What happened last season?

The Tigers lost one of the best games early on in the season when they lost at Arizona State on a stunning Friday night in front of a raucous crowd, adding more fuel to the fire that if you wanted a great game of college football, you HAD to make sure that Joe Tessitore was commentating. That game apart, the biggest thing that Tigers really did was to gain headlines for their coach, Gary Pinkel, who was arrested for drunk driving in a stupid move towards the end of the season. Really, though, the 8-5 Tigers won the easy games on their schedule and lost the hard ones (although they ensured they would be a part of the RGIII story by losing 42-39 at Baylor).

And in the draft, tight end Michael Egnew was the only player from Missouri selected. He was chosen by the Miami Dolphins, where apparently he’s struggling at fall camp.

Is James Franklin OK?

The big question on ALL Mizzou fans’ lips is: Will dual threat quarterback James Franklin be OK to start the season? The Tigers had better hope so. Last season Franklin was sensational, passing for over 2,800 yards and rushing for another 980, and he was responsible for 36 touchdowns. Unfortunately, he injured his throwing shoulder and despite Pinkel’s- and his own – insistence that he’ll be ready for the home opener against Southeastern Louisiana, a lot of people are worried.

Otherwise, if you didn’t know the name Corbin Berkstresser, you should start looking up his YouTube highlights….just in case.

Bring me your receivers….

T.J. Moe brought the house down at the recent SEC Media Days with his non-stop patter of one-liners, which immediately put him in the reporters’ good books (the words “refreshing” and “fantastic” were two quotes that came to mind from the writers who were tired of goddawful boring press conferences), and he can catch a ball too (649 yards and 4 TDs last season). He’ll team up with the No.1 recruit in the country Dorial Green-Beckham (who apparently Pinkel is already seeing improvement in), who’s 6 ft 6 and is going to scare the beejesus out of any safety or cornerback – if he makes the plays properly. Although some people believe that DJB isn’t going to be the B.I.G. this year, yours truly will be LMFAO if that’s the case. Truly, we think he’s something special. And there’s also receiver L’Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas to give Franklin options, too – which he’ll need against SEC defenses.

And running the ball?

With a knee injury to Henry Josey, who ran for 1,168 and 9 TDs last season putting the star running back out for the year, a lot of pressure is going to be Kendiall Lawrence (566 yards, 5 TDs) and Marcus Murphy to produce. Pinkel’s going to worry – as well he should – about giving more of the running game to Franklin – especially with Franklin’s shoulder which will be tested against Georgia (less so about SE Louisiana, we believe). In other words, Josey’s injury is going to really, really hurt an offense that ranked ninth in the nation in rushing last year.

On the other side of the ball…

Defensively, Missouri did what almost all Big XII teams did last season…..not play very well. The Tigers ranked 44th overall for points against, giving up 23.5 pts per game. There are going to be a lot of eyes on Sheldon Richardson and Shane Ray – the latter whom Phil Steele has called a “great speed rusher” in his 2012 preview. The Tigers have got an experienced linebacking corps in Andrew Wilson, Zavier Gooden and Wil Ebner, which they hope will be able to stop the likes of Eddie Lacy and other speedy SEC running backs.

And cornerbacks-wise, we’re always in the mood for a good-news story from the secondary (after having so many bad news ones with Tyrann Mathieu), so E.J. Gaines might be it. He’s one of the country’s best at breaking up passes (he had 16 last year).

The 2012 schedule

September 1 SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA

September 8 GEORGIA

September 15 ARIZONA STATE

September 22 at South Carolina

September 29 at UCF

October 6 VANDERBILT

October 13 ALABAMA

October 27 KENTUCKY

November 3 at Florida

November 10 at Tennessee

November 17 SYRACUSE

November 24 at Texas A&M

Run-down: Missouri jumps into the SEC in the second game of the season with Georgia, who many believe will reach their second straight National Championship Game. Farot Field at night is somewhere frightening to play – hence why the Tigers have got a 47-14 record there over the last 10 years. This is the game where we’ll see how good Missouri is – especially against a Georgia team which could still be finding their feet post-Crowell and suspensions to some of their best defensive players. However, Missouri’s not a great traveller, and we can see the Tigers losing at South Carolina before finding their feet against UCF and Vanderbilt. The games against Alabama, but the home game against Kentucky and trips to new SEC East rivals Florida and Tennessee could decide whether Missouri will go to a bowl game this year – because we see them beating Syracuse on their last home date of the season. Oh, and mark Nov 24 at Kyle Field against Texas A&M in your diary – particularly if both teams have got to fight it out for bowl eligibility.

PREDICTION: Despite the up-and-comingness of UCF, we expect Missouri to go 3-0 in its non-conference games this year. We also expect the Tigers to beat Kentucky and Vanderbilt, who they have at home. But can they beat Georgia? Or Alabama? Or turn around last season’s dreadful away record (they went 1-4) and win one out of Florida, Tennessee or South Carolina? We think the Tigers are going to end up 5-7, with a ‘shot in the dark’  loss at Texas A&M (that’s because we predicted they would lose in A&M’s preview). This won’t be bad news for Pinkel in his first season in the SEC, but Tigers boosters will definitely try to make sure this won’t become a theme.

 

 

SEC Meetings: What to Expect From Media Days 2-3

A few months after the SEC Meetings in Florida, we’re getting a play-off in college football – and it’s all to the SEC’s advantage, because if that group is going to sit and talk about ALL schedules – not just non-conference schedules – then it’s going to be SEC all the way.

So anyway, here’s what we expect the coaches to talk about at the SEC Media Days from now on in (sorry about missing Mssrs Pinkel, Spurrier, Franklin and Sumlin, but we’ve been away (but you will be caught up on what they said).

We expect:

  • Nick Saban to talk about Alabama’s recruiting, re-tooling after another National Championship, and of course – as happens every year – oversigning. And how Auburn’s trees are recovering after being poisoned by Harvey Updyke.
  • Hugh Freeze on how he’s going to help making the going-to-the-game experience more fun that simply partying on The Grove, and expect him to mention Jesus once or twice. As well as Michael Oher.
  • Dan Mullen on what Mississippi State is going to do to challenge for the SEC West and life after Vick Ballard.
  • Gene Chizik on what in the heck happened with Michael Dyer, and how Auburn’s recovering from the shootings which killed two former Auburn players. Oh, and maybe how the Auburn trees are.
  • Joker Phillips on how Kentucky’s going to replace Anthony Davis and the rest of Big Blue and all other manner of questions pertaining to Kentucky basketball. Oh, and nothing really about football.
  • John L. Smith on whether he’ll be riding motorbikes into work, or talking to workers at Arkansas. And if he’s got any change to the offensive gameplan post-Petrino.

We also read the SEC’s note to James Franklin before he took the podium on Day 1. It read: JAMES FRANKLIN WILL NOT MENTION HOW HE RECRUITS AT VANDERBILT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES (after last time), but of course, he’s welcome to mention how the Commodores are going to progress this year, and Vandy’s excellent start to recruiting.

 Page 1 of 2  1  2 »