July 30, 2013

Now What About Tra’von

Filed under: Football,Police Blotter,Scandal — Chas @ 7:21 am

In something of a surprise the Trav’on Chapman case has resulted in some real jail time stemming from a guilty plea.

Former Kent Roosevelt star quarterback and University of Pittsburgh freshman Tra’Von Chapman pled guilty to a charge of attempted assault on Monday afternoon in Portage County Municipal Court.

Judge Barbara Oswick accepted the plea and ordered Chapman to spend three days in jail, pay a $200 fine, 40 hours of community service and must report to adult probation Aug. 2. Judge also issued a no-contact order, which prohibits Chapman from speaking to the victim or her family.

“Attempted assault” is a class 4 misdemeanor — the lowest classification for misdemeanors in Ohio. That’s why I was surprised a first-time offender would get any jail time. Technically the the judge can order jail time but it is also for no more than 30 days under the Ohio Revised Code (Sec. 2929.24(A)(4)). But, according to the stories, Chapman was sentenced to 90 days with 87 suspended.

Of course, Chapman was also ordered to fulfill 40 hours of community service and it seems the court suspended 20 of that by his working 20 hours with his old high school football team this summer. So, yeah. I really shouldn’t think too much about the details of the sentencing.

The question for Pitt fans is that there becomes the question of what happens to Chapman at Pitt.Will he be allowed to return? Is he dismissed from the team and school?

The facts remain that even the “attempted assault” happened. That it was committed towards a woman.

A “suspension” of a full year would seem like a possibility. The issue would be whether that would really be a true consequence. Chapman was already headed for a redshirt season. If he was completely barred from practicing and working with the team that would give it some teeth. He would be another year behind at that point with a more likely chance that Voytik would have the starting job in hand — possibly for three years. But it still is a question of whether that is sufficient.

Is it simply black-and-white that he must be dismissed? It would be easier for Pitt and Paul Chryst to do that. It sets a clear line. There wouldn’t be a lot of debate. Not much of a public explanation would be needed on that path.

But eventually letting him return? That would be hard. That would be something requiring a public explanation. There can’t be hiding behind vague statements and pretending to hide behind privacy laws.

It’s one thing to completely ignore/avoid/refuse to answer questions about Rushel Shell and his desire to transfer then trying to come back. That is annoying and frustrating from the sense that we are curious and would like to know.

This is something else. This absolutely would need an explanation. Words with real thoughts behind them rather than platitudes and spin. And it would have to come from Chryst. Not from the AD. Not from anyone in the administration. This is Chryst’s football team. It would be his decision to bring him back. He would have to stand in front of people and actually explain the decision and reasons behind it.

Is he willing to do that? I don’t know. He’s not comfortable in front of a crowd. He certainly likes to guard his words carefully. Chryst was able to avoid even bothering with a “no comment” last night because he was in transit from his trip to Bristol, Connecticut for ESPN media appearances.

He can’t avoid it too much longer, and it is assured that he will want/have to make a decision and public comment this week. No way he wants this to be hanging over everyone’s head when training camp begins next week.

Justin, what positions do you see real competition for starting jobs and/or significant playing time for some backups?

Comment by rayhpgh 08.01.13 @ 11:50 am

Saw Coach Calipari at the Pirate game last night on TV. He was with the guy that runs the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Summer leagues.
Nice to see Coach Cal in town.

Comment by Pitt.Dan83 08.01.13 @ 11:53 am

Caw, coaches frequently say that teams improve the most between Game 1 and 2, and next between Game 2 & 3. In college FB, with no pre-season (not even scrimmages against other teams) there is a very steep learning curve especially with new starters … and the veteran team usually have a decided advantage.

Pitt’s defense got decidedly better after the 2nd game last year (although they struggled vs speed — Lousiville and Miss St)

This is why that if we have a chance of playing FSU close, it would be the opener since they have to replace so many.

Comment by wbb 08.01.13 @ 12:03 pm

Q&A session it is! I’ll start now.

Comment by Justin 08.01.13 @ 12:16 pm

Phil Steele’s mag is good.

Information overload though.

Heard him on College Sports Network on Sirius radio. He was on for an hour.

They would say a team, say, Colorado State, he would know who their linebackers were, who the back ups were.

Must have taked about 20 or 30 teams. The guys were absolutely amazed, he had no briefcase with him, not even his own magazine.

Like I said though, more like hardcore info.

Not something you really sit and peruse with a beer in the lazy boy.

At least for me. I like the other ones with just some general information.

Comment by Dan 08.01.13 @ 12:16 pm

His mag may have some mistakes I would imagine too.

Just saying, I was taken aback when I listened to him. I thought, “this guys a college football junkie, he’s not distributing the work, he’s definitely hands on”.

I mean, someone would mention Georgia Tech’s running game, and he would say, “well, they averaged about 195 yds per game last year, they did lose a tackle and guard, but they have two soph’s coming right in”.

And about my Georgia Tech comment above, he knew all of their friggin’ names, including the back ups.

He’s got to be college football 24/7, eat, drink and sleep it.

Comment by Dan 08.01.13 @ 12:27 pm

@EMel, concerning your question on what’s the status of our depth in the running game after we go beyond our top two RBs. I’m high on this guy from McDowell HS, James Conner in this incoming Freshman class. This is a kid with the size to be the kind of running back that Pitt hasn’t had for DECADES. At 6’4″ and 235lbs he still has quickness.
Conner only really played running back just last year and totally blew the lid off! His stats for the season were 1,680yds on just 115 carries. If you’re not good with numbers that is 14.5yds/carry and that produced 21 rushing TDs. He added another 4 TDs through the air.

This kid was a sleeper, since he changed positions his senior year to the RB position. Watch his game video against State College HS on a slick field and tell me that he doesn’t look like a man amoungst boys in that game!

link to

I expect to see him on the field this season.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.01.13 @ 12:37 pm

wbb – I remember seasons when Pitt played patsies for four games, looked like hell, then got pushed around by a big school (Big Ten, Big East). Then Pitt played much better, less missed tackles, less dropped balls, better o-line play. It’s like Pitt forgot how to push people around in the off season and only remembered how after they got pushed around. I wish Pitt could remember how to be a bully without having to be reminded every fall. I also always wondered what those other schools did in practice that they never forgot how to push other teams around. Pitt might lose to FSU but I bet Pitt won’t get pushed around by NM or Duke.

Comment by Caw Miller 08.01.13 @ 1:05 pm

On the thread of away game tickets: ordered extra tickets for the Tech game. Looking forward to watching my two alma maters fight it out on the Flats. It’s Tech’s homecoming weekend. Looking forward to this game.

Hail to Pitt!

Comment by MariettaMike 08.01.13 @ 1:24 pm

Comment by Justin 08.01.13 @ 3:01 pm

I’m gonna wear my “Free Chapman” hat and post it on Twitter.

Comment by Panther Pride 08.01.13 @ 6:55 pm

Agree in principle that Pitt has been slow starting. Some of that occurs from a lack of star leadership. If the Pitt team put 14 4 stars out there, the talent usually wins, but Pitt hasn’t put that type of talent out there consistently and as such, the talent becomes balanced against a lesser named opponent. Once the talent is equal, the team that wants it more and worked harder in the off-season typically wins. The primadonna 4 stars didn’t show up to lead and play. This is one reason I like the recruiting of kids that want to be here, are extremely smart, and actually have some talent that can be coached….up!

I will take the opposite approach on Chapman, well because the blog allows it. Look, every kid, 17, 18, 19 and 20, makes mistakes. Mistakes come in all shapes and sizes. Having had clients who were abusive towards each other physically, and yes, physical abuse comes from both the male and female, this incident could be as simple as a young man and young girl, trying to learn how to have a relationship. Chapman has learned a most serious lesson here.

As a coach, Paul Chryst has a teaching opportunity to one kid and a whole team. PC should allow Chapman to stay, suspend him for the entire season (redshirt year) and his first two games of his RS Freshman year. We have to look at the totality of the circumstances when making judgments. Although I abhor the event as reported and would be livid if it was my daughter, there are always two sides to each story. As a father of a daughter I would have handled this with Chapman, one on one…in private. There was no report that said he just came up and pulled her hair for no reason. For all we know, this was the first time that each of them were in a hostile situation and just didn’t know how to handle or diffuse it properly. Look how many adults still can’t!!

Take it outside of football. Would a college student be dismissed from college for this type of offense? NO! They would be on probation from the student disciplinary committee. Why? Because everyone gets a second chance, regardless of status at a university. This isn’t being soft and for all those believing this would be a PR nightmare, you have no idea about how this works at major universities, let alone at Pitt. That is a hogwash statement. Pitt generates very little national PR as it is. We are not on that level so don’t go confusing us with the likes of Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC, etc. Sorry for the rant, but the decision is easy in my mind.

No PR nightmare at PSU if you want a case study. Applications are not down. Enrollment is not down. Endowment is not down. Quite the contrary. Have they lost a couple hundred million in the process, yes, but it is just money and they may only end up paying about 100M from their own pockets.

PSU will be hit with the largest Cleary Act violation fine in the history of DOJ penalties. I expect that to be around $6M at a max of $27.5k per violation.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 08.01.13 @ 7:18 pm

@DR. Tom: Thanks for the link on the Conner kid. When they landed him i was impressed with the numbers he put up, but was not aware that was his 1st year at RB or was that big. Hope the coaches don’t think he’s “too big” to be a RB and give him a chance there…Starting to really get excited now as the calender has switched to August, one month away from that HUGE Labor Day showdown. Hail To Pitt!!

Comment by pap76 08.02.13 @ 3:15 pm

Does anyone know if there has ever been a case of a kid serving actual jail time and remaining on a team? Sure there has been, but no particular case comes to mind. Such a sad situation with Chapman. i was so impressed with everything about this kid prior to this incident…

Comment by pap76 08.02.13 @ 3:19 pm

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