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Vandy Rape Case Not Going Away; Prosecutor (A Tennessee Fan) Says He’s Not Protecting The Dores’ QB

investigationIt’s a story that both Vanderbilt officials and fans must be praying will finally come to an end.  But thanks to a new report on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” last summer’s rape case is back in the headlines.

Four Vanderbilt football players — since booted from the team — stand accused of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery for a sexual assault in a Vandy dorm last June.  One of those players also faces charges of unlawful photography and tampering with evidence.  All four have pled not guilty, though one is now open to a plea deal, according to his attorney.

A fifth Commodore player — receiver Chris Boyd — was also dismissed from the team when he admitted to helping cover up the rape as part of his own plea bargain.

During Boyd’s plea hearing in September, texts from the former receiver were read aloud in court.  One of them identified now-injured Vandy quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels as having taken part in the cover up.  Boyd’s message said: “me Carta and Vanderwal and Vandenburg helped us move her out of the hallway.”  The unconscious girl was lying in the hall of a Vanderbilt dorm when she was moved by the group of players.

Dillon van der Wal is a Vanderbilt tight end.  Brandon Vandenburg was one of the four players dismissed from the team after being charged with taking part in the rape.

Van der Wal has one catch on the season.  Carta-Samuels was injured in the Georgia game and missed last week’s game at Texas A&M.

Continuing with the back story, four days after Boyd’s hearing the Davidson Country DA’s office said: “based upon the evidence collected to date, Boyd wrongly identified student Austyn Carta-Samuels as someone who participated in helping move the victim.  Carta-Samuels and Dillon van der Wal are both listed as witnesses in the rape case against four former Vanderbilt students.  Van der Wal and another student were involved in moving the victim from the hall to a dorm room, but that act alone does not constitute a crime.”

Confused yet?  Well, so is just about everyone else.

How or why would Boyd — a receiver — misidentify Carta-Samuels — a teammate and his quarterback?  Why is Carta-Samuels listed as a witness if he was not involved?  Why so much focus on Carta-Samuels when another player — van der Wal — is still on the team after helping to move the victim?

Those issues and a “possible coverup” were the focus of this piece from “Anderson Cooper 360.”

Asked point blank in the report if the DA’s office is protecting Carta-Samuels, Deputy District Attorney General Tom Thurman laughed off the idea before saying, “Matter of fact, I’m a Tennessee fan so I wouldn’t be protecting a Vanderbilt quarterback.”

Thurman also said that he believes he knows how/why Boyd sent his “incorrect” text.  He said that information will eventually come out during the trials of the four ex-Commodores accused of rape.

Until then, the DA’s decision to maintain secrecy in this case — specifically with regards to Carta-Samuels’ possible involvement — will only ensure that the story won’t go away and that questions will continue to be asked.

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Refs From Georgia / Vandy Game Could Face Discipline

Those who watched Saturday’s Georgia/Vanderbilt game likely walked away scratching their heads over the NCAA’s new targeting rule.  Twice the officials on hand seemed to be off-base with regards to the spirit of the rule.

At the very least.

Example One: Bulldog linebacker Ramik Wilson made a clean shoulder-to-chest hit on Vandy receiver Jonathan Krause yet was flagged for 15 yards and ejected for targeting.  The booth official “un-ejected” Wilson upon replay review, but 15 yards were still marched off against the Dawgs:

 

Ramik Wilson lays Big Hit on Vanderbilt Receiver

 

Example Two: Georgia defensive end Ray Drew was flagged for targeting and ejected for what appears to be an accidental helmet bump of VU quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels’ facemask:

 

Georgia's Ray Drew Ejected On Worst Targeting Call Ever

 

Ask a dozen refs if “intent” has anything to do with the NCAA’s new targeting rule and you’ll get a dozen answers.  The fact of the matter seems pretty simple from this front… if the rule is to be called “targeting,” intent has to be present.  You don’t accidentally “target” someone.

But then again, we said all summer that this rule would be a no-win scenario for officials, coaches and players, none of whom seem to view the rule in the same way.  And you can toss in the booth officials as well, as they’ve overturned too many ejections to count.

Quite naturally, Georgia’s Mark Richt and AD Greg McGarity have spoken with SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw and “other league administrators” about the two targeting calls that went against them in Saturday’s 31-27 loss.  McGarity told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Chip Towers (one of the SEC’s best reporters, by the way) that UGA follows “protocol” and “conversations that the AD or coach have with the league office are confidential and always verbal.”

Towers points out that SEC officials have their work reviewed on a regular basis.  If the SEC and Shaw come to believe the officials in Nashville last weekend erred, those men could face disciplinary action.  They could be suspended.  They could be let go at the end of the season.  Or they could be passed over when it comes to bowl assignments.

Unfortunately, most officials would probably tell you that they didn’t want the targeting rule changed in the first place.  It’s just another bang-bang judgement call for refs to make, only this one has greater consequences thanks to the ejection portion of the rule.

The idea behind the rule — no head-hunting, player safety — is a sound one.  The wording of the rule is lacking.  The execution has been worse.

We suggest now — as we did last summer — that the NCAA adopt two separate rules to cover this helmet-to-helmet issue.

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Vanderbilt Wide Receiver Chris Boyd Dismissed From Team

mrsec-breaking-newsVanderbilt has dismissed wide receiver Chris Boyd from the football team.  Here’s the statement from the university:

 

Vanderbilt’s athletic administration, in conjunction with its head football coach, today dismissed Chris Boyd from the university’s football team and athletic program. The action came after an ongoing review that included information disclosed during a hearing Sept. 13 in Davidson County Criminal Court.

The review concluded that Mr. Boyd’s admitted actions are clearly inconsistent with the high standards of behavior expected of our student-athletes.

 

Charged with a felony accessory after the fact in a campus rape case, Boyd cut a deal with prosecutors last week that gave him a misdemeanor charge that can be wiped from his record in a year.  He also has to testify against four ex-teammates.

Four ex-Vanderbilt players are accused of raping an unconscious female student in June.   At the hearing last week, deputy district attorney general  Tom Thurman said in court that Boyd, Vanderbilt tight end Dillon van der Wal and starting quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels carried the partially nude woman from a hallway where she had been dumped back into the room of one of the men prosecutors say sexually assaulted her.

Boyd had 50 catches for 774 yards for Vanderiblt last season.

Update: Prosecutors now say Carta-Samuels was “misidentified” as having been on the scene after the attack. According to a spokeswoman for the DA’s Office, “based upon the evidence collected to date, Boyd wrongly identified student Austyn Carta-Samuels as someone who participated in helping move the victim.”

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Vandy Wide Receiver Chris Boyd Pleads Guilty To Misdemeanor Charge

mrsec-breaking-newsVanderbilt wide receiver Chris Boyd, charged with a felony accessory after the fact in a rape case, has cut a deal with prosecutors that gives him a misdemeanor charge that can be wiped from his record.

The Tennessean says Boyd pleaded guilty to “criminal intent” to being an accessory after the fact.  He’ll be placed on probation for 11 months and 29 days.  If he completes it, his record will be cleared.  As part of the deal, he agreed to testify against four former teammates. At issue was video evidence of the alleged sexual assault.

Four ex-Vanderbilt players are accused of raping an unconscious female student in June.  In court today, a prosecutor mentioned that cocaine might have been involved the night of the rape.  Boyd’s name was not connected to cocaine use.

Prosecutor Tom Thurman said one of the four ex-players asked Boyd for help the night of the incident and that Boyd, Vanderbilt quarterback Austyn Carta Samuels and Vanderbilt tight end Dillon van der Wal helped move the alleged victim.

A Vanderbilt spokeswoman says Boyd will remain suspended from the team pending further review.  He remains on scholarship.

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SEC Headlines 4/9/13

headlines-tue1. An All-Kouandjio left side of the offensive line could be a reality for Alabama this fall.

2. Dee Hart was back practicing with Alabama’s running backs on Monday. He spent eight practices at cornerback.

3. Auburn’s running backs are still adjusting to Gus Malzahn’s new (to them) offense.

4. Auburn’s offense will feature plenty of power, according to the Tigers’ defensive coordinator.

5. On the flip side, Auburn’s coaches have a better understanding of their personnel halfway through spring practice.

6. The Times-Picayune has a question: “Who is Les Miles’ best assistant coach hire?

7. Several Mississippi State players rested following Saturday’s scrimmage. That meant more reps for others.

8. Mississippi State is still learning the complexity of its defense.

9. Sophomore defensive end Channing Ward is still getting comfortable in his first spring at Ole Miss.

10. Many people paid their respects Monday to former Texas A&M Aggie Jack Pardee, who passed away on April 1.

11. What’s wrong with spring games? Pat Dooley tackles that question among other items.

12. Georgia’s offense should still be strong despite on off-performance in the final spring scrimmage.

13. Kentucky’s defensive coordinator sees plenty of potential in their new tandem of defensive ends.

14. LSU’s Zach Mettenberger and Missouri’s James Franklin are two quarterbacks on the hot, per Steven Lassan.

15. Did Florida fix its offensive line this spring? Barrett Sallee examines.

16. Tennessee’s Jordan McRae and Jarnell Stokes have applied for an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee.

17. Texas A&M had a great season in 2012. But the Aggies still have to climb over Alabama and LSU in the SEC West.

18. Phil Steele’s preseason No. 1 team in the country: Alabama.

Extras

19. Louisville raised the bar in the Bluegrass State with its national championship on Monday night.

20. Kevin Ware was able to cut down the nets with his teammates on Monday.

21. Here’s a look at the five biggest moments from Louisville’s national title win.

22.  While folks in Louisville are putting on championship t-shirts today, at least one guy in Lexington is removing his pants.  Illegally.

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Wow Evening Headlines 9/18/2012

Florida – Tennessee the most viewed college football game of the weekend
Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones is back at practice and expects to play when the fifth-ranked Bulldogs host Vanderbilt on Saturday.
South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw will start Saturday against Missouri
Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson “extremely optimistic” he will play this weekend against Rutgers
Interim Arkansas coach John L. Smith on his critics: “I don’t listen to that crap.”
Austyn Carta-Samuels will likely start at QB for Vanderbilt this weekend
The SEC’s third-tier television network with ESPN is reportedly closing in on the final stages of development.
Get all your SEC news from MrSEC.com and twitter.com/mrsec

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WOW Headlines 9/18/12

Les Miles wants police to find the person who made a bomb threat on LSU’s campus and “make him pay a price.”
Interim Arkansas coach John L. Smith on his critics: “I don’t listen to that crap.”
Razorback QB Tyler Wilson believes he will play against Rutgers after missing a game and a half with a concussion
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel defended QB James Franklin’s toughness…
After admitting that he’d refused a painkilling shot into shoulder that would have allowed him to play last Saturday
Tennessee coach Derek Dooley says QB Tyler Bray doesn’t “shut it down” when the Vols fall behind
Austyn Carta-Samuels will likely start at QB for Vanderbilt this weekend
Kentucky coach Joker Phillips reminds fans that “We’ve got 72 freshmen and sophomores in this program.”
Get all your SEC news from MrSEC.com and twitter.com/mrsec

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SEC Headlines – 6/16/11 Part One

1.  The NCAA says 22 football programs made money in 2009-10, eight more than the previous year.  (But remember, books can be cooked.)

2.  Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com ranks John Calipari and Billy Donovan among the best hoops coaches in the country… for their age.

3.  Former Wyoming quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels is transferring to Vanderbilt…

4.  But quarterback Charlie Goro is transferring out and will play safety at South Dakota instead.

5.  Some of Tennessee’s new basketball players had so-so performances in a Knoxville summer league yesterday.

6.  Meanwhile, it’s time for UT’s former four-star recruits to start playing up to their hype.

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