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August 2, 2014

That’s the nice way of putting it. It started leaking a couple hours earlier than the typical “bad news on a Friday” release (those are resereved for roughly around 5pm). Titus Howard got the season long suspension.

Pitt lost another key member of its defense Friday when coach Paul Chryst suspended sophomore cornerback Titus Howard for the season. Howard was listed No. 1 on a depth chart Chryst issued last month.

Chryst did not comment on the reason for Howard’s suspension.

Howard, who played on Clairton’s four PIAA and WPIAL Class A championship teams, was an important reserve last season. He played in 11 games and started against Old Dominion on Oct. 19 and Bowling Green in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Dec. 26. Overall, he recorded 21 tackles and two pass breakups.

Don’t even care to speculate. He’s a kid who screwed up. He’s not off the team for good. Howard will be fully reinstated to the team for next year, assuming he does what he should. He will train and practice with the team. He just will not be allowed to play.

There is no pretending that this isn’t a rough loss for the team this year. Especially when facing teams that like to run spread formations.  Howard had pulled ahead of Coles in spring practices. The cornerback position has some talent, but is paper thin and very inexperienced. Pitt may be forced to play true freshmen once again this season — Avonte Maddox and Phillipie Motley. The other possibility is seeing who can be pulled from the rather deep wide receiving corps.

April 30, 2014

Even though Derrick Randall didn’t contribute an overwhelming amount during the conference portion of the season, I did expect that Randall would be a nice cog for 2014-15. If, for no other reason, the lack of experienced depth in the frontcourt. Especially as far as true centers go. The Rutgers transfer had noticeably slimmed down and gotten into very good shape by the end of the year.

That was before he got arrested.

Derrick Randall, one of the former Rutgers basketball players suing the school and former coach Mike Rice, was arrested and charged after a motor vehicle stop early Tuesday morning at Rutgers with driving while intoxicated, use of a controlled dangerous substance and possession of a controlled dangerous substance, Rutgers University Police said.

According to university police, the incident happened at 2:45 a.m. on Avenue E on the Livingston campus — not far from the Louis Brown Athletic Center. Randall recently completed his junior season at the University of Pittsburgh, where he transferred following Rice’s firing after videos surfaced showing the coach mistreating players.

Randall didn’t waste any time after the semester at Pitt ended to go home and visit some old haunts. That didn’t work out so well. There is no information on what the “controlled dangerous substance” was. I assume marijuana, but then I always assume marijuana.

(more…)

December 31, 2013

Let the Countdown Begin

Filed under: Police Blotter,Scandal — Chas @ 6:00 pm

It’s New Year’s Eve. Time for the Pitt tradition unlike any other in college athletics. The annual New Years Eve monitoring of media outlets out of fear of learning that a coach has been arrested.

It’s a rich tradition that dates back to 2010.

I know I have been vigilant ever since that fateful evening.

Happy New Years, everyone.

December 24, 2013

Not Goodbye…

Filed under: Embarrassing,Scandal — Justin @ 12:41 pm

Bad news for Chas everyone. I finally found the incriminating photos he has of me and was able to break free of the virtual shackles that go along with someone owning a picture of you in a speedo. Just kidding, no human being, my wife included, could even look at that picture long enough to consider using it as blackmail. Not that one exists (thankfully).

As I’m sure many of you have noticed, I’m writing for Pitt247 now. A friend introduced me to Greg Croft, the site publisher, and there was mutual interest in me joining the team. I’ll still be here from time to time, but less frequently. I’m very sad to leave. Chas has been a phenomenal benefit to me as a writer not only in helping me improve my craft, but by giving me the platform to get my name out there. If Chas is interested in taking on a new writer, you won’t find anyone more willing to let you express your thoughts without any interference. If he ever edited anything, it was probably to fix a stupid mistake I made.

Merry Christmas to everyone and thanks for listening to my rambling over the past year or so!

November 1, 2013

Cloud Over Ezell Clearing

Filed under: Football,Police Blotter,Scandal — Chas @ 6:13 am

Back when the news was finally reported about Tyrone Ezell facing assault charges, I said I just didn’t know about it. I didn’t know if he should have been suspended. I didn’t know if the accusations were accurate.

Well, the hearing finally took place and charges were all withdrawn. Ezell is now facing a summary harassment count.

Homestead police in August charged Tyrone Ezell, 23, of Munhall, with simple assault, disorderly conduct and harassment after a 21-year-old woman accused him of punching her in the mouth July 30 during a fight also involving his relatives.

Homestead Cpl. Jeffrey Luptak said today the court told him he could file a summary offense against Mr. Ezell, his father, Albert, and their two accusers.

The elder Mr. Ezell, whose similar charges also were withdrawn Wednesday, now too faces the same harassment charge. Cpl. Luptak said he didn’t cite the accusers today, though, because he doesn’t have a complainant or victim.

Basically, we will not know. The family dispute appears to be settled. The police are portraying it as not having anyone willing to testify, not an issue of lack of evidence — such as medical records. But, once more, we don’t know. The only reality right now is that Ezell is mostly without worry of any significant criminal charges.

Ezell is also disputing this summary harassment as well, for what that is worth.

October 4, 2013

Briefly On Ezell

Filed under: Football,Police Blotter,Scandal — Chas @ 7:48 pm

Just because, it seems that I should at least say something….

I don’t know.

It’s not like the details from the charges filed based on the complaint make this any clearer. I know what Tyrone Ezell is accused of doing, but there is nothing reported as to what he said happened, other than claiming innocence on the charges.

This is a domestic dispute that will be a he-said/she-said. The police arrived afterwards so they only see the aftermath and the statements taken from the involved parties.

Nothing about this is neat and tidy. I doubt the hearing — if/when it finally happens — will clear this up any more than the allegations in the complaint.

I think Coach Paul Chryst adopted the wait-and-see on this matter for the simple reason that it is too messed-up to draw a clean conclusion. Do you suspend him because he was with his father to confront the person believed to have assaulted his sister, and it all went south? Do you even let him play if he is alleged to have punched a woman in the face in the midst of this?

The only thing that has me truly surprised is that this has been unknown and unreported for over two months.

August 26, 2013

I would like to hope this is not as bad as it looks, but it probably is.

Officers arrested Jovani Chappel, 25, about 1:30 p.m. after police spotted him sitting on the front porch of a home in the 5000 block of Lytle Street in Hazelwood, Pittsburgh police major crimes unit Lt. Kevin Kraus said.

Police went to the PNC Bank branch in the 4300 block of Murray Avenue in Greenfield about 10:40 a.m.

Lt. Kraus said a masked robber threatened the tellers with a gun, although it was not immediately clear if the tellers actually spotted one.

The robber hopped over the counter and took cash from several of the tellers’ drawers and then got into a car and drove away, police said.

A witness noted the license plate and gave it to police, who tracked it to Mr. Chappel’s girlfriend’s home in the 5100 block of Blair Street, Lt. Kraus said.

Members of the SWAT team surrounded the house and searched it and a few other homes in the area this morning, only to discover that Mr. Chappel was not there.

Officers found him sitting on the front porch of a home about two block away, on Lytle Street, about 1:30 p.m. It was not immediately clear what connection, if any, he had to that home.

Lt. Kraus said police were taking Mr. Chappel to the bureau’s North Side headquarters for questioning this afternoon and expect to charge him with robbery.

I’m setting the bar low, but I guess I would have thought anyone who graduated from Pitt would have been smart enough not to drive a getaway car with easily identifiable and traceable plates. Guess not.

August 23, 2013

Chapman Dismissed

Filed under: Embarrassing,Football,Scandal — Justin @ 10:51 am

Pitt officials have announced that Tra’Von Chapman has been dismissed from the program. In essence: he’s gone, never coming back. We can debate endlessly over this decision, but the call came all the way from the top: Chancellor Nordenberg. (more…)

August 20, 2013

Chapman’s Decision Time Coming

Filed under: Football,Players,Scandal — Chas @ 5:16 pm

The fact that Tra’von Chapman’s status has been up in the air all month hasn’t been a big surprise. It isn’t an easy decision. It also isn’t a big surprise that a decision has to be made some time this week. With classes starting on Monday, all sides need resolution.

The only surprise is that the fate of Chapman is not in Head Coach Paul Chryst’s hands this time. It is in the hands of Chancellor Mark Nordenberg.

“I am waiting on the call sometime (Tuesday or Wednesday) to see what the outcome is going to be,” he said.

Coach Paul Chryst said Tuesday afternoon no determination has been reached in Chapman’s case.

Chapman has been suspended from the team and unable to attend classes since he was arrested in April for assaulting a former girlfriend in Kent, Ohio. He pleaded guilty and served a three-day jail term last month.

“The plan is to have me back,” Chapman said. “I want to come back. Coach Chryst and everyone else want me back. Mr. (Steve) Pederson (athletic director) is presenting the case to the chancellor and the chancellor is going to decide.”

Chapman, a four-star freshman quarterback, graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in December and enrolled in Pitt a month later.

For those that think this is a slam dunk either way, I have my doubts. And it has little to do with his recruiting rank.

(more…)

August 8, 2013

Todd Thomas Hates Me

Filed under: Chryst,Football,Players,Scandal — Justin @ 6:00 pm

I joked yesterday in the comments section of the thread about Thomas quitting that Thomas must hate me because the news came out right after I posted my column on the offensive line. Well, lo and behold right as I put the finishing touches on the column below, it’s announced he’s coming back.

The column still has some use so I edited it just to go over the players who have left since the spring and why. Sure, the Thomas situation spurred it, but it’s still good to look at all of it. I obviously know that it’s purely coincidence, but it’s fun to joke about. We Pitt fans need to laugh a little at times.

(more…)

August 5, 2013

And Now Suspensions

Filed under: Football,Players,Scandal,Suspension — Chas @ 10:40 am

Fire up the outrage. Suspensions are announced and unresolved.

Ronald Jones:Suspended for entire season for “violation of team rules.”

K.K. Mosley-Smith:Suspended for entire season following the happenings at his shared apartment.

Tra’von Chapman:Still indefinitely suspended as no decision has been made.

I expect Chapman will also be suspended for the full season. Perhaps without being allowed to practice with the team.

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.

(more…)

June 13, 2013

Okay, this seems to be a procedural snafu, but it put a scare into me when I saw the headline screaming of failing to appear for a hearing.

Two men who were members of the University of Pittsburgh football team when police said they were caught with drug paraphernalia failed to appear in court for their preliminary hearings this morning.

One of them, Khanyin Mosley-Smith, 21, came to city court later this afternoon with a letter confirming that he had performed community service and will have his charge dismissed, according to Mike Manko, a spokesman for the Allegheny County district attorney’s office.

The other, Eric Williams, 20, did not show and was held for trial in Common Pleas Court, Mr. Manko said.

So missing the hearing, not a big deal since the matter was all resolved. No real harm or foul there.

Whether he gets back on the squad this year — or next — is still an open question. He is still suspended indefinitely.

April 30, 2013

Tuesdays are a bad day right now. The schedule has me away from a computer from the time I take the kids to school until sometime after I get the kids to bed.

Seems I missed a few things.

The unsurprising first. A couple players dismissed from the team in light of recent activities at their apartment.

Juniors Drew Carswell and Eric Williams are now gone from the team. The third player suspended in the incident, Khaynin Mosley-Smith, remains suspended indefinitely.

“We have strict and clear standards regarding these types of behaviors,” Chryst said in a statement released on Friday afternoon. “What has occurred with these three young men does not represent the standards of our program or university.”

I don’t know why Mosley-Smith was not dismissed from the team. It doesn’t mean he won’t be, but his status may be a little more gray. I have a speculation, but I don’t know if it is so.

(more…)

April 27, 2013

The situation with Khaynin Mosley-Smith, Eric Williams and Drew Carswell, is not as bad as it could be. But it really isn’t good. I won’t be surprised if all three never play again for Pitt. I also won’t be shocked if two of the three get reinstated by the start of camp in August.

To say they made some bad choices is putting it mildly.

Police had been conducting an ongoing investigation in South Oakland and bought 20 stamp bags of heroin for $185 on Thursday night outside a house on Juliet Street from a man identified as Darnell Reed-Young, 22, according to a criminal complaint.

Police obtained a search warrant for the house, and as they prepared to enter, a man identified as Khaynin Mosley-Smith, 21, left the house.

Mosley-Smith, a member of the Pitt football team, told police that he lived there.

When police searched the home early Friday, they found drug packaging material and paraphernalia. Also inside were Pitt players Eric Williams, 20, and Andrew Carswell, 21. Police found a digital scale with white residue in Carswell’s bedroom.

Police charged the three football players by summons with prohibited acts.

Reed-Young admitted selling the heroin to a detective, police said, and all three Pitt players live in the home. He was taken to the Allegheny County Jail and faces several drug-related charges, including possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

Do I think the three were shooting up or dealing? No. Do I think they were knowingly allowing someone who was dealing, do it from their place? Yes.

(more…)

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