NCAA Should Have Done Its Own Investigation


by Dom Cosentino

We told you yesterday how Penn State could have fought the NCAA in court over the sanctions it received earlier this week. Our own Drew Magary has also explained that the NCAA levied the punishment it did to pretty much show the world it’s doing something because what happened was just so horrible and thank heavenswe have the NCAA to assert its moral authority at times like these. But the NCAA relied exclusively on the findings of the Freeh report, and now even a source familiar with Freeh’s investigation is taking the NCAA to task for doing so.

That source talked to the Chronicle of Higher Education and made it clear the Freeh Group was hired by Penn State to do work for a specific purpose that had nothing to with the NCAA:

“That document was not meant to be used as the sole piece, or the large piece, of the NCAA’s decision-making,” a source familiar with the investigation told The Chronicle on Thursday. “It was meant to be a mechanism to help Penn State move forward. To be used otherwise creates an obstacle to the institution changing.”

President Mark Emmert said the NCAA relied on the Freeh report because the depth of its investigation was so vast—more so than any inquiry the NCAA could have conducted. Which is true. But, the source wonders, why couldn’t the Freeh report then be used as a guide to the NCAA’s own specific investigation into, say, what other coaches might have known about Jerry Sandusky’s propensity to shower with boys? The Freeh member also acknowledged that much of the evidence is circumstantial because the Freeh Group was unable to interview Joe Paterno and the two Penn State administrators awaiting trial for perjury—three of the four individuals the Freeh Group said were most responsible for failing to take action to stop Sandusky.

“The sanctions against Penn State were really overwhelming, and no one imagined the report being used to do that,” this person said. “People thought it would help others draw conclusions about what happened and provide a guide for leaders to be able to identify minefields and navigate through them.

Conklin bill to reform Penn State University’s Board of Trustees


Removes voting power from school president, governor

 HARRISBURG, July 27 – State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, today announced plans to introduce legislation which would significantly alter the structure and governance of Penn State University’s Board of Trustees.

Conklin said his legislative reform was prompted by recommendations issued by state Auditor General Jack Wagner in the wake of the child sexual abuse charges brought against former football coach Jerry Sandusky.

“Specifically, Wagner recommended overhauling the manner in which the board of trustees operates to create greater transparency and accountability,” Conklin said. “This is a necessary step to restoring public trust in one of Pennsylvania’s great universities.”

Conklin’s reforms would include, but not be limited to:

·         Amending Penn State’s enabling statute to remove the president of the university as an ex-officio voting member of the board;

·         Prohibiting the president from serving on any standing committee, special committees and subcommittees of the board;

·         Amending Penn State’s enabling statute to make the governor an ex-officio “non-voting” member of the board; and

·         Making the Right-To-Know Law applicable to all four state-related universities.

“It is my belief that the reforms proposed by Auditor General Wagner will be instrumental and effective in eliminating the concentration of power among administrative officials,” Conklin said.  “This will ensure the board of trustees operates in a more cohesive and transparent manner while providing adequate and much-needed oversight.

“The heart-wrenching saga that has unfolded over the Sandusky investigation leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that the system as presently structured has failed,” Conklin said. “It is our obligation to fix it.”

Conklin plans to introduce his legislation when the House returns from summer recess.

 

Two Critical Errors in the Freeh Report


The Patriot News reported at least two instances recorded in the original Freeh report involving former Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley were corrected.

In the initial report, released July 12, Freeh said Curley met with Jerry Sandusky in 1998 after a police report was filed regarding his inappropriate conduct with a boy in the Lasch Football Building showers. Sandusky, was still employed at the time and that incident was investigated by campus police.

Curley had no interaction with Sandusky after that incident, but did instead in 2001, post-Sandusky retirement and after former wide receivers coach Mike McQueary told his superiors he had witnesses another incident of abuse by Sandusky in the showers.

An email exchange between Curley and university counsel Wendell Courtney also was amended, according to the Patriot News and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

This was the Freeh report’s initial account of the email exchange: “Courtney emails Schultz a newspaper story about the Sandusky charges. Schultz replies: “I was never aware that ‘Penn State police investigated inappropriate touching in a shower’ in 1998.”

The corrected exchange: “Courtney emails Schultz a newspaper story about the Sandusky charges and states: “I was never aware that ‘Penn State police investigated inappropriate touching in a shower’ in 1998.”

Courtney said those words, not Schultz, as Freeh initially alleged.

Calling ALL Penn State Lettermen!!


O’Brien is calling all lettermen for a squad meeting on campus next Tuesday

If you know anyone who played football for Penn State, please make sure they get this message!!

The case against Joe Paterno: Weak to non-existent on the current record


Posted on July 26, 2012 by Paul Mirengoff in Sports

After more than 430 interviews and a review of more than 3.5 million documents and other information, the Freeh Report concludes that three emails from other people – former Penn State President Graham Spanier, Athletic Director Timothy Curley, and Senior Vice President Gary Schultz – prove that Mr. Paterno was a co-conspirator in a cover-up. I do not read the evidence in the Freeh Report that way, and I do not believe the conclusions about Mr. Paterno are either warranted or fair.

The claim seems to be that Mr. Paterno knew about a 1998 allegation and did nothing, and that in 2001, when he learned about Mike McQueary’s information, he waited a day before he reported the information to the athletic director (Curley) and the vice president in charge of the University Police (Schultz) and then did nothing else.

First, with respect to the 1998 incident, the Freeh Report says that several authorities promptly investigated and reviewed the matter, including the Department of Public Welfare, the University Police Department, the State College police, and the local district attorney’s office. Freeh Report at 42-47. A “counselor” named John Seasock issued a report that found “no indication of child abuse.” Freeh Report at 42-46. Mr. Seasock interviewed the alleged victim and determined that “there seems to be no incident which could be termed as sexual abuse, nor did there appear to be any sequential pattern of logic and behavior which is usually consistent with adults who have difficulty with sexual abuse of children.” Freeh Report at 44 (quoting Mr. Seasock’s 1998 evaluation of the alleged victim). The Freeh Report adds that Mr. Seasock “couldn’t find any indication of child abuse.” Freeh Report at 45.

The police investigated and “did not question Sandusky at this time,” and the Freeh Report says that “the local District Attorney declined to prosecute Sandusky for his actions.” Freeh Report at 45-46. A “senior administrator” explained that “the case against Sandusky was ‘severely hampered’ by Seasock’s report.” Freeh Report at 46. The University Police also investigatedthe matter and unlike the local police, they interviewed Sandusky. Sandusky claimed “nothing happened” (Freeh Report at 46) and the University Police concluded that “no sexual assault occurred.” Freeh Report at 47.

The only evidence of Mr. Paterno’s involvement is a passing reference in an email from Curley to Spanier and Schultz that says that Curley “touched base with the coach. Keep us posted.” Freeh Report at 20, 48. A second email from Curley to Schultz that says “Coach is anxious to know where it stands.” Freeh Report at 20, 48. There is no other information about Mr. Paterno’s involvement in the incident. In fact, the Freeh Report does not even establish that the references to “Coach” refer to Joe Paterno. The most it can and does say is that “[t]he reference to Coach is believed to be Paterno.” Freeh Report at 49. The Freeh Report cites no evidence to support this assertion, but even if “Coach” refers to Coach Paterno, what do these emails prove? The answer is: nothing. At most, these emails suggest that Mr. Paterno was concerned and wanted to know whether Sandusky was guilty of any wrongdoing.

The Freeh Report concludes that the “record” is “not clear as to how the conclusion of the Sandusky investigation was conveyed to Paterno.” Freeh Report at 51. The Report includes many statements that assert things like “nothing in
the record indicates that Joe Paterno spoke with Sandusky.” See, e.g., Freeh Report at 51. The absence of evidence or information proves only that Mr. Freeh did not find evidence. It does not affirmatively prove anything about Mr. Paterno.

Mr. Paterno explained his actions before he died by saying that “I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the University procedure was. So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have
a little more expertise than I did.” Freeh Report at 77-78. This statement makes perfect sense, and the notion of a football coach supervising a criminal investigation is ridiculous. It is very possible that Curley or Schultz or both
told Mr. Paterno to stay out of the matter; in fact, Schultz should have told him as much. But we don’t know because Schultz and Curley are under indictment and not talking, Paterno is dead, and the Freeh Report did not find any information about this issue.

Much of the case against Mr. Paterno seems to rely on (1) the theory that the Athletic Director, Curley, was JoePa’s “errand boy”; and (2) an email dated February 27, 2001 from Curley to Schultz and Spanier which says that Curley gave the matter “more thought” after “talking it over with Joe” and was “uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps.” Freeh Report at 74-75. But the “errand boy” evidence amounts to a reference by an unidentified “senior Penn State official” (page 75), and what does it prove anyway? That one person viewed Curley as Paterno’s “errand boy”?

There is no evidence that Curley-as-errand-boy covered up because Joe Paterno told him to do so. And the February 27 email at most suggests that Mr. Paterno spoke with Curley. It does not say what Curley and Paterno discussed, and without any explanation from either Curley or Paterno, it is absurd to read into this that Mr. Paterno was the puppet master behind a coverup orchestrated by Curley, Spanier, and Schultz.

Mr. Paterno was a football coach, not an expert in criminal law or investigations, and this notion of him as some kind of omnipotent and omniscient God who callously turned his back on a serial child molester is unsupported by any evidence.

BOYCOTT PENN STATE?


by Greg Santucci
Lately, I’ve seen many outraged people claiming that because of this scandal, they will boycott Penn State and anything associated with it. In light of this, and with the help of a few Facebook posts and some research of my own, I compiled a handy list of things to steer clear of if you want to avoid any trace of Penn State: – Don’t use Mac computers. The man who started the Macintosh project got his computer sciences degree at PSU. … -Don’t watch the Olympic Games if you hate Penn State – they’ve got 19 athletes and coaches competing in London this year.
-Skip vaccinating against cervical cancer – the vaccine was developed with research by Penn State’s College of Medicine. -If you have a heart attack, refuse a heart pump. It was invented at Penn State. -Need a pacemaker? Oh! Sorry! The first long-life rechargeable pacemaker was invented at Penn State.
- Play golf? Put down your clubs!!!!! 9 out of every 10 golf courses worldwide use turfgrass varieties developed at Penn State.
-Don’t eat ice cream! Oh crap! In 1892, Penn State established the first collegiate instruction in ice cream manufacturing. More people have learned to make ice cream at Penn State than anywhere else. Even Ben & Jerry took classes at Penn State!
-Don’t want to get pregnant? Uh-oh! Pioneer steroid chemist Russell Marker‘s work at Penn State laid the foundation for the birth control pill.
- Does your baby like to play with Fisher Price toys? THROW THEM OUT! Herman Fisher was a Penn Stater!
-Since Penn State has the world’s largest alumni association and over 700,000 graduates, be sure to avoid just about every business and product you come in contact with on a daily basis because somewhere it’s more than likely that a Penn State graduate (or several) work for and contribute to the making of that product or idea. Ya may have to give up some friends, too!
So…we’re just a football program, right?  You decide!

Did Penn State President Act in the BEST Interest of the University?


From the NY POST

Many alumni and some trustees are incensed over the unprecedented NCAA  penalty — which likely will cripple Penn State’s football team for years to come — and Penn State’s quick acceptance of it.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Wednesday that Gov. Tom Corbett said the  penalties imposed on Penn State “go well beyond” those with responsibility for  the handling of the sex abuse allegations against Sandusky.

“What’s important to note is the kids that are up there right now, whether  they are students or the student-athletes, the members of that team or the  members of any other team, had nothing to do with this. Nothing,” Corbett said.  “And they are the ones that, unfortunately, are bearing the brunt of this. And  that’s what I find difficult.”

A person with knowledge of the trustees’ meeting said earlier Wednesday that  trustees were to discuss whether Erickson had the authority to agree to the  sanctions without first getting the board’s approval. The person was not  authorized to discuss the meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Some trustees had expressed concern that Erickson may have violated a board  rule that says the board must authorize the signing of “contracts, legal  documents, and other obligations.”

The board statement made no reference to the propriety of what Erickson had  done, saying trustees held a discussion but did not take any votes.

“The board finds the punitive sanctions difficult and the process with the  NCAA unfortunate,” the statement said. “But as we understand it, the  alternatives were worse as confirmed by NCAA President Mark Emmert‘s recent  statement that Penn State was likely facing a multi-year death sentence.”

La Torre said Wednesday that Erickson had authority to act without the  approval of the full board.

Please comment!  I would love to send copies of your comments to the Board of Trustees at Penn State!

 

Majority of Pennsylvanians Disagree with Statue Decision


Joe Paterno still has support in Pennsylvania, Public Policy Polling found, but it has declined in the last several months.

Penn State head coach Joe Paterno receives congratulations from university president Graham Spanier and athletic director Tim Curley on Oct. 29, 2011, after the Lions beat Illinois 10-7 giving Paterno his 409th career win, making him the all-time wins leader in Division I football, surpassing former Grambling coach Eddie Robinson. July 23, 2012 the NCAA announced sanctions against Penn State vacating their 1998-2011 season, thus stripping Paterno of 111 wins and dropping him to 12th on the college football wins list. Paterno died January 22nd of lung cancer.

Penn State coach Paterno, who was fired in November over the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal, died in January. He was accused in the university-ordered Freeh Report of helping to cover upthe crimes of Sandusky, his former assistant coach.

PPP found that 45 percent of Pennsylvania voters see Paterno favorably, 37 percent negatively. He was at 51 percent favorable, 28 percent not, in November.

Also, the poll found that 48 percent of state voters disagreed with Penn State’s decision to remove the Paterno statue from outside of Beaver Stadium Sunday morning. Thirty-five percent agreed.

Fifty percent of voters in the state express a favorable opinion of the university as a whole; 31% who see it negatively, the poll said.

PPP surveyed 758 Pennsylvania voters July 21-23. The margin of error for the survey is +/-3.56 percent. This poll was not paid for or authorized by any campaign or political organization. PPP surveys are conducted through automated telephone interviews