Morning Briefing: Iowa's Barta issues statement
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Big Ten media days begin Thursday with all 11 coaches appearing at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Joe Tiller will tell fish stories, Joe Paterno will snap off some good one-liners and Tim Brewster will show he has no need for a podium nor a microphone. I'll have a media day primer for you later today, but first here's a look around the league:
- Iowa athletic director Gary Barta issued a statement welcoming a second investigation by the state Board of Regents into the university's handling of an alleged sexual assault involving two former football players and a female student-athlete. Barta said he looks forward to addressing the situation publicly, adding that "most people understand there is more to this story and I look forward to being able to tell it." He did say school officials, including football coach Kirk Ferentz, followed university policy in handling the matter.
- University of Iowa president Sally Mason apologized for not releasing two letters from the mother of the alleged victim to the Board of Regents, but she has found no problems with the way school officials responded to the situation, Gregg Hennigan writes in The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette.
- Will Big Ten media days give Ferentz and his players the chance to focus on football? The Gazette's Marc Morehouse thinks so.
- Ohio State fans still fuming about Carson Palmer's comments should put themselves in his shoes, The Columbus Dispatch's Ken Gordon writes in his blog.
- The Detroit News' Eric Lacy checks in with new Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis, who sees eye-to-eye with football coach Mark Dantonio. Hollis also likens Dantonio's demeanor to that of Ohio State coach Jim Tressel.
- Ohio State has had higher-rated recruiting classes than the 2005 crop, but few groups have become more productive, Chip Minnich writes in Bleacher Report.
- Former Purdue player Kyle Williams had his prison sentence reduced from 31 years to 25 years after being found guilty of attempted rape, battery and criminal confinement in April 2007. A judge Wednesday dismissed one of the criminal confinement charges, citing double jeopardy.
- The buzz for Ohio State-USC already has begun, but there's another marquee nonconference matchup involving a Big Ten team. The Illinois-Missouri game, once the opening act before the two schools' annual basketball clash, sold out Tuesday, soon after tickets went on sale. Illinois also sold out its home game against Ohio State within an hour, and the school is opening five extra rows of seats to accommodate fans for the Iowa and Indiana home games. Man, the Ron Turner era feels like a long time ago.
- The Rashard Mendenhall-Ron Zook spat is hurting the Steelers running back more than the Illinois coach, Brent Parker writes in Bleacher Report. "Coach Zook is saying all the conclusive things, and Rashard Mendenhall is saying all the 'cryptic' things." Hard to argue with that.