John Urschel Named Best Person in Sports

on October 23, 2013 12:50 PM

 Penn State offensive guard and math wiz John  Urschel has another accolade to add to his many accomplishments: On  Monday, Fox Sports named him Best Person in Sports for “excelling in the classroom and on the field.”

Last year Urschel was selected as  a first team All-Big Ten guard and  was also named a Capital One/CoSIFA Academic All-American in 2012. He  finished his undergraduate degree in mathematics in just three years  while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA. He is now working on  earning his master’s degree and has plans to pursue a PhD after his  football career.

Urschel’s research has been published in the “Celestial Mechanics and  Dynamic Astronomy” journal, and he currently has several more articles  in the works. When he is not on the field he can be found teaching mathematics in classes such as Math 041. He can undoubtedly be considered one of the best student athletes in all of college sports.

While Urschel’s academic accomplishments are nothing to be scoffed  at, his success on the field is equally impressive. He has quickly  excelled as an elite athlete and NFL prospect after making the  decision to play football in ninth-grade. Last season he earned  first-team All-Big Ten honors after starting every game at right guard  and helped Zach Zwinak rush for over 1,000 yards. This year, he’s  continued to be a leader on the team while playing a key role in the  offensive line.

The Reason “We Are”….Penn State”

As SuperFan of the Maize Rage student section at the University of Michigan, I have the opportunity to travel to all of the Michigan football away games and experience what football Saturday means in different parts of the country. This feature will run after each away game this season, detailing the gameday experience for Michigan games outside of Ann Arbor. Previously: UConn.

When Michigan fans travel to different schools to watch the Wolverines play on the road, they regularly have to get used to a much smaller stadium and quieter atmosphere. In Week 4, the Connecticut Huskies broke a Rentschler Field record by packing 42,000 people into the stadium; about 70,000 less than that of a typical Ann Arbor game day.

This weekend was a different story. As the few Wolverine fans trickled into Beaver Stadium they realized that the structure was possibly even more impressive than our very own Big House.

When I first arrived in State College, one of the first things I learned was that this was the biggest game of the season for the Nittany Lions. On Friday night before the game the students were happy to explain their hatred for both Michigan and Ohio State, but it was clear that the night game against the Maize and Blue would be Penn State’s bowl game this year.

Beaver Stadium is an imposing structure, both inside and out (Derick Hutchinson, M&GB)

Not having been to Penn State since the Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky scandal, I wasn’t sure how touchy of a subject it was among the students. Surprisingly, it was basically the butt of all the jokes. Though our little group in maize never brought the scandal up, we did end up discussing it multiple times throughout the weekend. Penn State students want to prove that they have moved on from the nightmare and won’t let it define them.

Instead, they just want to beat Michigan.

While tailgating before the game on Saturday, Penn State fans made it very clear that Michigan was their main target. An enormous homecoming crowd of almost 108,000 couldn’t have included more than a few thousand Michigan fans. It was easy to pick them out because of the famous Penn State white out.

The white out stands for what separates the Penn State game environment from that of Michigan. During a maize out, Michigan Stadium has one maize section where the students stand and a mixed bag of maize and blue throughout the rest of the bowl. Fans don’t put much stock in participating in the game atmosphere but simply want to watch their team win. It’s tradition.

But in Happy Valley every single fan is ready to cheer like crazy for Penn State from the opening kickoff. The white out was breathtaking. Over 100,000 strong were decked out in all white and shaking white pompoms as Bill O’Brien led his team onto the field. This scene was unlike anything our little group of Michigan students had ever experienced, but we had faith that our undefeated Wolverines would quiet things down.

For much of the second half, we were exactly right.

Michigan came out of halftime with a bang, returning a fumble for a touchdown on Penn State’s first offensive play. A quarter later, the Wolverines were ahead by 10 points with six minutes to go and we were enjoying the eerie silence in the enormous stadium.

Though it has a smaller capacity than the Big House, Beaver Stadium is built entirely above ground and is much more intimidating both inside and outside. Second and third decks keep all of the sound in while reaching up much higher than the final rows in Ann Arbor. If you’re wondering how a structure like this can be safe, you aren’t alone.

Penn State’s famous chant is the Zombie Nation cheer, which gets the entire audience involved in jumping and screaming along. Because it was one of the things I was really looking forward to, I asked our host, a senior at Penn State, about Zombie Nation.

“There’s a new rule that we can only do it two times each game,” he told me. “We were doing structural damage to the stadium so they had to limit us.”

Derick (2nd from left) and his crew were impressed by the atmosphere and how welcoming the Penn State fans were (Derick Hutchinson, M&GB)

At the suggestion of damaging a concrete structure like Beaver Stadium I was astonished, but when Penn State came back and tied the game with under a minute remaining in regulation, Zombie Nation blared and the back wall of the stadium was visibly wavering back and forth with the Nittany Lion faithful.

It was the most incredible atmosphere I’ve ever been a part of, and I wasn’t even in an appreciative mood. Four overtimes later Michigan had missed easy kicks and taken costly penalties and Penn State was celebrating an unbelievable win.

Following such an emotional win I expected to be mercilessly harassed by the Penn State students all night, but was surprised when they continued a trend set before the game. While migrating toward the stadium for the game, our little group of Michigan fans was welcomed to Happy Valley countless times. Students, alumni and others went out of their way to walk past us and say good luck.

It was extremely strange. We weren’t sure how we felt about the hospitality because it didn’t feel right, but it was much better than being harassed in Columbus or East Lansing. After the game there were fans that laughed and jeered at us, but the number that told us good game probably outnumbered them.

Even though they always seem to beat Michigan in recent years, and they ended our undefeated season, it’s hard to hate Penn State fans because of how cool they were; both when they were sure they would lose and after they had won.

I hope that Michigan fans can learn from the atmosphere that exists within Beaver Stadium. The students lead the charge, but alumni and casual fans set it apart by participating much more than those around other Big Ten schools. Even the younger fans are fully invested in Penn State football, as we found out when a couple of three-year old girls started the “we are” “Penn State” cheer all by themselves from atop an RV after the game.

While I wouldn’t trade game day in Ann Arbor for anything, I do think that Michigan fans can learn from the commitment in Beaver Stadium. Michigan’s tradition and history set it apart, but there is room to make the Big House even better.

Winning on the road is a great feeling, but losing is definitely the worst. Thankfully, the Penn State faithful were bearable after the game, but I still had a bad taste in my mouth after Michigan blew the 10 point lead.

The first loss is one of the hardest each year, but Michigan won’t have to deal with an atmosphere like Penn State’s for the rest of the season.

Losing is never fun, but witnessing a Penn State night game was an incredible sports experience. Hopefully Team 134 can tighten things up and send us home with more road wins in 2013.

Bob Costas Doubts Paterno Involved in Cover Up

Emmy Award-winning NBC sportscaster Bob Costas said Wednesday concerning the  ongoing investigation of the Jerry Sandusky/Penn State sex scandal, “I don’t buy  the idea that [late head coach Joe Paterno] was actively involved in a  cover-up.”

“There’s a grand jury proceeding that just said there’s enough evidence to  take it to trial, which was no surprise to anybody,” Costas replied. “Spanier,  Curley, and Schultz, the administrators, who will go on trial.”

“But the main figure to the average person,” he continued, “the main figure  is still, other than Sandusky himself, Joe Paterno, who has since passed away.  And I really think that there is now some legitimate doubt.”

“I don’t know where the truth is,” Costas added, “but there’s some  legitimate doubt about the extent of Paterno’s involvement. The pat storyline  became, everybody, Paterno included, knew pretty much what Sandusky was up to.  And they all kind of conspired to cover it up to protect the image of the  football program at Penn State.”

“And you don’t think that’s true?” Leno asked.

“I  think that Paterno was negligent,” answered Costas. “I think he should have  recognized what was going on because the warning signals were there. But, having  read the Freeh report, and then having read some of what’s been put out to  refute it, I don’t buy the idea that he was actively involved in a  cover-up.”



More Than 300 Former Penn State Players, Coaches Support Challenge to NCAA

More than 325 former Penn State football players have joined in support of a recent lawsuit filed against the NCAA.

The Paterno family, members of Penn State’s board of trustees and faculty and former players and coaches filed their suit last month alleging unlawful conduct by the NCAA in sanctioning the athletic department.

The suit seeks to overturn last July’s sanctions, calling the NCAA’s actions an “improper interference in and gross mishandling of a criminal matter that falls far outside the scope of their authority.”

Joe Paterno and the entire Penn State football program have been used as scapegoats in this horrible tragedy,” Masella said in a statement. “When the NCAA neglected to conduct their own investigation, and used the flawed Freeh Report as the judge and jury, they further prevented an opportunity to get to the real truth, and in turn, punished a generation ofPenn State players, students, and supporters who had nothing whatsoever to do with Jerry Sandusky.”

The following players and coaches support the May 30 lawsuit challenging the NCAA sanctions against Penn State.

•  Robert Belus
•  Frank Della Penna
•  Charles Chick King
•  Ron Markiewicz
•  Fran “Bucky” Paolone
•  Don Ryan
•  John Jack Urban
•  Dick Anderson
•  Steve Bezna
•  Bob Capretto
•  Jack Curry
•  Alan Delmonaco
•  Gerry Farkas
•  Chuck Franzetta
•  Ed Gabirel
•  Tony Gebicki
•  James Graham
•  Warren Hartenstine
•  Michael Irwin
•  Robert Kline
•  George Kulka
•  John Kulka
•  Jon Lang
•  Ed Lenda
•  Linc Lincoln Lippincott
•  Jim Litterelle
•  Thomas Mairs
•  James McCormick
•  Thomas McGrath
•  Dave McNaughton
•  Donald Miller
•  Hank Oppermann
•  Bill Rettig
•  Dave Rowe
•  Ted Sebastianelli
•  Gary Shaffer
•  Steve Smear
•  Dave Truitt
•  Frank Waresak
•  Chris Weber
•  Walt Addie
•  Russell Albert
•  Kurt Allerman
•  Ferris Atty
•  Jeff Behm
•  David Bland
•  Jeff H. Bleamer
•  Jim Bradley
•  Tom Bradley
•  Richard M. Brown
•  Chuck Burkhart
•  John W. Bush
•  Greg Buttle
•  Robert Campbell
•  Michael Cappelletti
•  Richard F. Caravella
•  Joseph V. Carlozo
•  Charles Chiampi
•  Thomas Greg Christian
•  Craig Coder
•  Ron Coder
•  Mike Conforto
•  F. Len Consalvo
•  Bill Crummy
•  Steven A. Davis
•  Chris Devlin
•  Joe Diange
•  Thomas F. Donchez
•  Rocco English
•  Scott Fitzkee
•  Chuck Fusina
•  Paul Gabel
•  Steve Geise
•  Doneal Gersh
•  Bill Glennon
•  Tony Gordon
•  David F. Graf
•  Mike Guman
•  Brian Hand
•  Franco Harris
•  Scott Hettinger
•  Ron Hileman
•  Ron Hostetler
•  Thomas M. Hull
•  Neil Hutton
•  David W. Klock
•  Bob Knechtel
•  Richard A. Knechtel
•  Joe Lally
•  Philip F. LaPorta
•  John R. Lewchenko
•  Larry J. Ludwig
•  Mark J. Markovich
•  Brian Masella
•  Rich Mauti
•  Richard McClure
•  Lance Mehl
•  D. Scott Mitchell
•  Guy Montecalvo
•  Robert Nagle
•  Daniel F. Natale
•  Richard N. Nichols
•  Thomas Odell
•  Michael A. Orsini M.D.
•  Woody Petchel, Jr.
•  Carlos Quirch
•  Tom Rafferty
•  Joel Ramich
•  John M. Reihner
•  Paul Renaud
•  Robert Rickenbach
•  James E. Rosecrans
•  George SanFilippo
•  Carl Schaukowitch
•  Bernard Shalvey
•  Tom L. Shoemaker
•  Micky Shuler Sr
•  Tom Shuman
•  John Skorupan
•  Steven E. Stilley
•  Donald P. Tarosky
•  Raymond Tesner
•  Gary R. Tyler
•  Alberto Vitiello
•  Marshall Wagner
•  Dan Wallace
•  Alex Wasilov
•  Franklin Frog Williams
•  John Williams
•  Thomas J. Williams
•  Charles Wilson
•  Roger Alexander
•  Michael Arnold
•  Walker Lee Ashley
•  Mark Battaglia
•  Trey Bauer
•  Jeff Bergstrom
•  Todd Blackledge
•  Scott Bouslough
•  Kirk Bowman
•  Don Brinsky
•  Tim Bronish
•  Keith Brown
•  Jeff Brunie
•  Jeff Butya
•  Drew Bycoskie
•  Mark Cherewka
•  Chris Clauss
•  Joel Coles
•  Bill Contz
•  Tom Couch
•  Troy Cromwell
•  Peter Curkendall
•  Rich D’Amico
•  John DePasqua
•  Dwayne Downing
•  Michael Dunlay
•  Thomas Durant
•  Eric Etze
•  Craig Fiedler
•  Tim Freeman
•  Mark Fruehan
•  Brennan Gaertner
•  Mark Galimberti
•  Mike Garrett
•  Gene Gladys
•  Scott Gob
•  Nick Haden
•  Lance Hamilton
•  Albert Harris
•  Greg Hay
•  Stu Helgeson
•  Joseph Hines
•  John Hornyak
•  Randy Huttenberger
•  Timothy Janocko
•  Joe Johns
•  Eddie Johnson
•  Greg Jones
•  Keith Karpinski
•  Ken Kelley
•  Matt Knizner
•  Rich Kuzy
•  Massimo Manca
•  Kirk Martin
•  Carmen Masciantonio
•  Brian McCann
•  Matt McCartin
•  Donald Jay McCormick
•  Shawn McNamara
•  Mike Meade
•  Rob Mikulski
•  Dan Morgan
•  Bob Ontko
•  Aoatoa Polamalu
•  Bobby Polito
•  Ed Pryts
•  Scott Radecic
•  Terry Rakowski
•  Kevin Romango
•  Dwayne Rush
•  Michael Russo
•  Rich Schonewolf
•  John Shaffer
•  Brian Siverling
•  Patrick Slater
•  Rob Smith
•  Pete Speros
•  Joseph Strycharz
•  Mike Suter
•  Tim Sweeney
•  John Walsh
•  Darryl Washington
•  Steve Wisniewski
•  Jeff Woofter
•  Jeff Anderson
•  John Andress
•  Steve Babinchak
•  Michael Barninger
•  Tom Bill
•  Dave Brzenchek
•  Mike Carroll
•  Robert Ceh
•  Kerry Collins
•  Brett Conway
•  Bob Daman
•  Maurice Daniels
•  Daniel Drogan
•  Adam Fahrer
•  Douglas Farren
•  Gerald Filardi
•  Derek Fox
•  Reggie Givens
•  Rudolph Glocker
•  Ryan Grube
•  Shelly Hammonds
•  Jeff Hartings
•  Leonard Humphries
•  Greg Huntington
•  Chad Linnon
•  Rob Luedeke
•  Mike Malinoski
•  Joe Markiewicz
•  Christian Marrone
•  Tony Matesic
•  OJ McDuffie
•  Tom Molnar
•  Joe Nastasi
•  Kevin O’Keefe
•  Brian O’Neal
•  Brandon Palmer
•  Ryan Seese
•  Brandon Short
•  Dave Smith
•  Terry Smith
•  Vincent Stewart
•  Lance Antolick
•  Jason Bisson
•  Mike Blosser
•  Jeremy Boone
•  James Boyd
•  Brian Brozeski
•  Dorian Burton
•  Gino Capone
•  Daryll Clark
•  Brennan Coakley
•  Dan Corrado
•  Jeremiah Davis
•  Steven Delich
•  Larry Federoff
•  Gus Felder
•  Shamar Finney
•  Eric Flohr
•  Joshua Gaines
•  Phil Gardill
•  Nathan Glunt
•  Ryan Gmerek
•  Tom Golarz
•  Andrew Guman
•  Benjamin Gummo
•  Joe Hartings
•  Erik Holt
•  Tom Humphrey
•  Justin Ingram
•  Joe Iorio
•  Cedric Jeffries
•  Bryant Johnson
•  Michael Johnson
•  Bobby Jones
•  Jim Kanuch
•  Brad Karson
•  Ben Lago
•  Kevion Latham
•  Tyler Lenda
•  Mike Lukac
•  Jordan Lyons
•  Nick Marmo
•  Shawn Mayer
•  Anthony Morelli
•  Jordan Norwood
•  Anwar Phillips
•  Andrew Pitz
•  Paul Posluszny
•  Curt Reese
•  Matthew Rice
•  David Royer
•  Bryan Scott
•  Ryan Scott
•  AQ Shipley
•  Mickey Shuler
•  Jonathan Stewart
•  Nick Sukay
•  Tyler Valoczki
•  Casey Williams
•  Thomas Williams
•  Michael Yancich
•  Alan Zemaitis
Coaches and staff
•  Dick Anderson
•  John Bove
•  Booker Brooks
•  Craig Cirbus
•  Don Carlino
•  Raymond J. Horan
•  George Salvaterra

Editorial Comment–”We are Penn State, and we want the truth.  We are standing behind our traditions, values, and motto of Success with Honor–Joe Paterno’s “Grand Experiement”  that now graduates more Division 1 Football players than any other University!”–Myke Triebold

Under Emmert, NCAA enforcement division has gone from bad to worse

 NCAA insiders cite meddling from president Mark  Emmert as a major reason the enforcement division is in disarray.

In a comprehensive story in this week’s Sports Illustrated, senior  writers Pete Thamel and Alexander Wolff go inside the Nevin Shapiro case at  Miami and explore how the NCAA mishandled it. Here is some additional  information that doesn’t appear in the story. For the complete magazine story  and to buy a digital version of the issue, go here.

On May 11, 2011, all NCAA employees were required to attend a day-long  meeting that began at the ballroom of the J.W. Marriott near NCAA headquarters  in Indianapolis.

When the employees returned to the NCAA’s offices that day, they found  banners featuring corporate buzzwords like communication, accountability and inclusion had replaced banners of famous  athletes and inspirational quotes. The sidewalks and bridge near NCAA  headquarters featured similar messages.

The day marked the grand rollout of One Team One Future, one of NCAA  president Mark Emmert’s internal initiatives to improve the work culture at the  NCAA.

What unfolded epitomizes Emmert’s two-and-a-half-year NCAA tenure — plenty  of flash with little tangible results. When NCAA employees arrived at their  desks that day, their computer screen savers and phone backdrops were adorned  with One Team One Future logos. But they weren’t quite prepared for the  grand rollout, with Emmert’s introduction coming by a voice-of-God narrator amid  a backdrop of music, strobe lights and video.

“It’s the Jim Carrey movie Yes Man, where he goes to that big  inspirational thing,” says former NCAA investigator Abby Grantstein. “The  culture of the NCAA wasn’t like that before, and you can’t change it in one  day.”

She added that the message was clear: “It was like, ‘Get on the bus or go  home.’”

WOLFF: Nevin Shapiro is still talking from jail

SI spoke with more than 20 current or former NCAA employees about the  troubles of the NCAA enforcement staff for a lengthy story in this week’s Sports Illustrated. A portrait emerged of a department battered by  turnover, afraid of lawsuits and overwhelmed by scandal. One ex-enforcement  official told SI, “The time is ripe to cheat. There’s no policing going on.”

In many interviews with NCAA officials about enforcement, the topic quickly  shifted back to the leadership of Emmert, who is known internally at the NCAA as  the “King Of The Press Conference.” That’s not a compliment.

One of the biggest criticisms of Emmert is his desire to be in the spotlight.  (Emmert declined multiple requests to speak with SI for this story. Spokesman  Bob Williams says Emmert’s increased public profile has been at the request of  the NCAA’s Executive Committee.)

Even one of Emmert’s supporters could come up with few positives for One  Team One Future, calling the rollout “mechanical.” The NCAA employee  compared it to an Apple shareholder meeting. “Some of that may have rubbed  people the wrong way,” the person said. “I think it reflects the approach and  style that Emmert brought to the position, whether that’s good or bad, it’s the  reality of it.”

The reality is that NCAA culture needs to change, as it’s entering a time of  great transition. The enforcement staff is fighting the perception that it’s  meek, and many of its most talented investigators have left the association.

When talking to a dozen college officials to get a pulse on Emmert, many  struggled to answer the question, “What has he actually accomplished so far in  his tenure?” Even the harsh sanctions against Penn State in the wake of the  Jerry Sandusky scandal ($60 million fine, four-year bowl ban and the loss of 40  scholarships over four years) has painted Emmert in a bad light  after he went on a television tour, which some perceived as a victory lap, to  talk about the unprecedented action by the NCAA.

The NCAA has failed to pass most of the initiatives Emmert has trumpeted.  Many agreed with the ideals behind Emmert’s ambitious agenda, including trying  to give scholarship athletes a small amount of money to cover the full cost of  school, and paring down the rulebook. But the lack of results have highlighted  the growing schism between haves and have nots in Division I and further  polarized the athletic directors who feel largely ignored and highlighted how  out-of-touch Emmert is with his constituents. There’s been tremendous turnover  in top-level NCAA jobs under Emmert, to the point where many administrators  complain that they don’t even know who to call at the NCAA anymore. And therein  lies the irony of Emmert’s One Team One Future attempt — ideals like  communication, collaboration and inclusion sound great, but they’re missing  among the membership.

“I’m really concerned,” said one high-ranking college administrator. “There’s  a need for a healthy NCAA. It’s not healthy right now.”

Morale is at an all-time low among the enforcement staff as several respected  veterans — Dave Didion (Auburn), Marcus Wilson (Maryland) and Chance Miller  (South Carolina) — have left for college compliance positions since April. On  Tuesday the department received another huge blow when Rachel Newman-Baker, the  managing director for enforcement, development and investigators, left for a  compliance job at Kentucky. Newman-Baker is the highest ranking member of the  department to leave since enforcement vice president Julie Roe Lach was fired in  February in the wake of missteps in the Miami investigation.

“With Rachel gone,” another ex-NCAA staffer said, “there’s really only two  investigators (Angie Cretors and LuAnn Humphrey) left with experience in major  football and basketball cases.”

Last week, interim director of enforcement Jonathan Duncan told SI: “It’s  been a tough time for the enforcement staff.”

One of the driving forces of the enforcement exodus came from seeing how  Emmert’s office handled the Miami debacle. The NCAA knew about the issues  regarding the financial arrangement between Nevin Shapiro’s lawyer and  investigator Ameen Najjar for months, but Emmert’s remarks to the press — “a  shocking affair” — came off as if he’d just been informed that morning and  needed to express his outrage publicly.

Many staffers felt like Lach was the scapegoat, as the 52-page external report shows she directed Najjar’s request  through the proper channels. Jim Isch, the No. 2 behind Emmert at the NCAA, also  knew of the arrangement and offered financial support, but he faced no  repercussions. No logical explanation of that disconnect was provided.

How the NCAA handled Tom Hosty didn’t help either; weeks after Hosty was  demoted from managing director to director of enforcement, Isch informed the  staff of the demotion at a meeting and walked out as jaws dropped to the floor.

“They know if the s— hits the fan, they’re not going to be backed up by  anyone,” said one ex-investigator.

As the NCAA moves forward, the reality of Emmert’s future is tricky. “When  you get to the position Mark is in right now,” said another college  administrator, “it’s how and when you are leaving, not if.”

That’s easy to say, but that pace of change in both academia and in the NCAA  is unbearably slow. As one former staffer said of NCAA business: “You realize  that it takes 100 internal emails for you to get the one e-mail that says  nothing.”

Academia is arguably worse, as the average search for a college president  takes a year. There are few groups of powerful people more collectively risk  averse than college presidents, who when deciding on whether to blow their nose  insist on forming a sub-committee to dissect proper tissue texture. In other  words, getting a group of college presidents together to make a bold move like  firing Emmert is highly unlikely. Emmert could realize he’s in an untenable  position and jump to another job, but that isn’t likely either (he reportedly  makes $1.6 million per year).

It should be noted that Emmert does have supporters, particularly among  Pac-12 presidents, as he came to office from Washington. He helped hire Pac-12  commissioner Larry Scott and counts Oregon State’s Ed Ray among his closest  confidants.

But elsewhere, Emmert’s support is tepid at best. He proved helpless during  realignment, has been overwhelmed by constant scandal and has been unable to get  his reform measures through the muddled NCAA governance structure.

Even worse, public perception of the NCAA under Emmert is at an all-time low.  (This stinging USA Today story that exposed Emmert’s  messy handling of a large-scale construction project while at UConn didn’t help  Emmert’s reputation.) The mass exodus of talented employees speak much louder  than his corporate buzzwords. And that’s something that can’t be changed with  flashy lights or new screen

Trustees Respond to Criticism of Lawsuit

Recently, a fellow member of the Penn State Board of Trustees, Keith Eckel, wrote an editorial in which he criticized a “well-funded and highly vocal constituency” that, in his view, has employed a “burn it all to the ground” approach to the business of the university.

While it is not entirely clear who Mr. Eckel is referring to in expressing his views, as the five current Trustees who recently joined a legal action against the NCAA and its President, Mark Emmert, we feel obliged to respond.

We as trustees support the governance changes and improvements that were recommended by Louis Freeh in his report, are being implemented at Penn State, and monitored by Senator George Mitchell.


Institutions must grow and adapt to changing times and challenging circumstances and we are proud to be part of that effort at Penn State.  We certainly do not subscribe to the “burn it the ground” approach of which Mr. Eckel speaks in his piece.

Our issue, and the reason we have joined others from the Penn State community in the recently filed legal action, is the complete failure of due process afforded Penn State by the NCAA.

Under its own constitution and bylaws, the Association owed Penn State certain fundamental rights and the adherence to rules and procedures designed to provide fairness to a member institution.  These rights were not only due to the University, but to intended beneficiaries of the membership agreement, including student-athletes, coaches, faculty and administrators.

In discharging our legal and fiduciary responsibilities as trustees, it is not incompatible that we may challenge and seek relief from the unprecedented and unlawful actions of the NCAA, and at the same time embrace the governance improvements that have arisen therefrom.

It comes down a distinction between the flawed and unsupported factual findings contained in the Freeh Report leading to the rushed imposition of crippling sanctions against Penn State — which we do not accept, and the Freeh Report’s recommendations for improved governance, leading to an enhanced environment for learning and academic pursuits at this great institution — which we enthusiastically accept and support.

Al Clemens

Peter A. Khoury

Anthony P. Lubrano

Ryan J. McCombie

Adam J. Taliaferro

Paterno Family to File Lawsuit against the NCAA

Representatives of the family of late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno tonight are expected to announce a lawsuit against the NCAA filed on behalf of the Paterno family and Penn State, according to a report in The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News.

The announcement will come on Bob Costas’ “Costas Tonight” show on the NBC Sports Network after the Red Wings-Blackhawks hockey game. Paterno family attorney Wick Sollers, former Pennsylvania Gov. Dick Thornburgh and Paterno family spokesman Dan McGinn are expected to appear on the show, an NBC spokesman told The Patriot-News. Costas also reportedly will discuss the Freeh report and question its validity on the show. Thornburgh, the former U.S. attorney general, contributed to the Paterno family’s review of the Freeh report.
The Paterno family lawsuit comes after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA about the severe sanctions imposed on Penn State and its football program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. Corbett will learn in the next few weeks whether his lawsuit will be allowed to continue.
A Pennsylvania state senator also has filed a lawsuit against the NCAA seeking to keep all proceeds from the $60 million fine imposed on the university within the state for use.
The university itself is not involved in any of the lawsuits. Penn State signed a consent decree last summer accepting the NCAA sanctions on the school and the football program.

Bob Costas to Revisit Freeh Report on Wednesday


By Ben Jones

Bob Costas will give Louis Freeh and his independent investigation of Penn State and the Jerry Sandusky scandal another look Wednesday night Vice President of Communications Adam Freifeld told, Tuesday.

“(The Freeh Report) will be the focus of Costas Tonight tomorrow at 11pm ET following hockey on NBCSN.” Freifeld said.

The Freeh Report, headed by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, was commissioned by Penn State’s Board of Trustees to investigate former University officials and former head coach Joe Paterno’s role in the handling of allegations of child sexual abuse against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

“The most saddening finding by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims,” the Freeh Commission report reads. “The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.”

While in large part the Freeh Report was accepted as the most accurate picture of the Penn State scandal, growing numbers of people beyond the Penn State community have begun to question some of Freeh’s assumptions and conclusions.

The Paterno family released a response to the Freeh Report this past February.

Currently Freeh is facing criticism following the release of a report in a case involving Universal Entertainment Corporation.

“The Freeh report’s “factual findings and inferences lack objectivity and lack factual support,” Former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said to the Wall Stree Journal. “Freeh’s law firm “viewed itself as an advocate first and an impartial investigator second” in preparing the Freeh report. Freeh and his colleagues “cherry-picked evidence and stretched to reach conclusions that would be helpful to the Wynn Resorts Board.”

Costas conducted an interview with Sandusky in early November of 2011 on NBC’s Rock Center and has been one of many voices throughout the lengthy unfolding of the Penn State scandal. Freifeld would not comment on the exact nature of the programming slated for Wednesday night.

The program is scheduled to air following Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Detroit Redwings and Chicago Blackhawks. That game is slated for an 8:00 p.m. start.

Bringing Down a Legend: How an “Independent” Grand Jury Ended Joe Paterno’s Career

By Brian Gallini
Entering the 2011 collegiate football season, Joseph Vincent “Joe” Paterno was the longest tenured head football coach in the nation, the winningest coach in Penn State and major college football history, and his current Nittany Lion squad was enjoying another standout season.  That fall, things changed for him almost overnight.
On November 5, 2011, Pennsylvania State Police arrested Jerry Sandusky, an ex-assistant defensive coach to Joe Paterno, for sexually abusing eight boys. The arrest followed what Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly called a “widereaching grand jury investigation,” the results of which—contained in a grand jury presentment—became publicly available on the same day Sandusky was arrested.  Although the presentment was replete with horrific sexual abuse allegations related specifically to Sandusky, it also included a handful of “facts” relevant to Paterno. In general, the presentment described inappropriate sexual contact between Sandusky and eight young boys.
When describing an incident on March 1, 2002, between Sandusky and “victim 2,” the presentment indicated that a “graduate assistant” (later identified as Mike McQueary) witnessed Sandusky showering with “a naked boy . . . whose age he estimated to be ten years old, with his hands up against the wall, being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked  Sandusky.” The next day, according to the presentment, the graduate assistant “telephoned Paterno and went to Paterno’s home, where he reported what he had seen.” Paterno responded by calling Penn State’s athletic director at his home the next day to report “that the graduate assistant had seen Jerry Sandusky in the Lasch Building showers fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy.”
A media frenzy erupted immediately after the report came out.  News about the so-called “Penn State scandal” was all over every major newspaper in the nation and occupied time on almost every major network and cable news station for days. Alongside the  understandable public outcry surrounding Sandusky’s horrid alleged behavior lingered some basic questions about Joe Paterno: how much did he know about Sandusky’s conduct and, correspondingly, when did he know it?
On November 7, Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly clarified that Paterno was not the subject of the state’s criminal investigation into how the school handled the allegations against Sandusky. That, however, did not satisfy the court of public opinion. Sensing the end of his career was perhaps near, and seeking to unilaterally decide the date of his retirement, Paterno announced on the morning of November 9 that he would retire at the end of the 2011 season.
The University’s Board of Trustees ignored Paterno’s announcement and dismissed him, effective immediately, that same evening.
 The University community reacted violently to the news of Paterno’s firing. Paterno tried to calm supporters who had gathered outside his home shortly after news of his firing became public by telling them “we still have things to do.” He was wrong. Just sixty-four days later, Paterno died on January 22, 2012, at the age of eighty-five due to metastatic small cell carcinoma of the lung.
Paterno’s downfall began with the investigative grand jury naming Paterno in the presentment targeted toward Sandusky. But Paterno was denied the opportunity to legally respond—there existed no venue for him to file any kind of response or seek to strike portions of the Sandusky presentment. In federal court and many state courts, strict secrecy rules governing grand jury activity would likely have ensured that Paterno would never have had to respond —publicly or legally—to a presentment issued by an investigating grand jury that investigated someone else.
Secrecy rules aside, federal grand jury targets, defendants, and/or witnesses never have to respond to grand jury presentments because presentments have been disallowed in the federal criminal justice system since 1946.  Federal courts also disallow so-called grand jury reports—documents that, historically speaking, report on matters of public concern or the conduct of public officials.  But a gap in the Supreme Court’s grand jury jurisprudence promotes inconsistency in the treatment of grand jury documents, secrecy rules, and uninvestigated third parties. The Supreme Court’s historic emphasis on the grand jury’s independence is to blame. Indeed, the Court’s long-held characterization of the grand jury as a body “acting independently of either prosecuting attorney or judge” promotes and allows for the extreme position taken by Pennsylvania’s statutory scheme. Pennsylvania continues to authorize both presentments and reports but, in doing so, does not regulate with precision what and who is permissibly included in those documents. Its failure to do so allows the grand jury to name anyone, such as an uninvestigated third party like Paterno, in a presentment or report without correspondingly providing that third party with the ability to defend himself meaningfully. 
Accordingly, this Article argues that the Supreme Court’s current view of the grand jury allowed a Pennsylvania investigative grandjury to needlessly and unfairly include Paterno, practically accusing him of a crime. An important job of the grand jury is to investigate crimes,  but by naming Paterno in the Sandusky presentment it implicitly said that Paterno committed a crime without having gone through the appropriate steps to establish probable cause that he did commit a crime. Any grand jury that names an uninvestigated person in a presentment or report subverts the grand jury’s investigative purpose and abuses the grand jury system. Just as problematic, the Sandusky document immediately became public. Releasing that document to the public undermines the factfinding mission that is central to our jury system. Indeed, allowing the public to view sensitive grand jury documents—untested by a proof beyond a reasonable doubt standard—harms the reputation of any named third party and unduly prejudices the suspect’s potential jury pool.  Finally, it inappropriately allows for a trial by media that can ensnare third parties, like Joe Paterno, who are not the subject of the grand jury’s investigation. Paterno’s involvement may certainly have become public absent his being named in the Sandusky presentment, but a grand jury investigation into someone else—in this case Sandusky—should have no role in that eventuality. It may likewise be the case that what appeared in the Sandusky presentment about Paterno is absolutely true. Indeed, Paterno may well have protected a child molester for a decade for the most selfish of reasons—but his personal guilt is not the point. Paterno’s story simply makes for an outstanding illustration of the Supreme Court’s problematic view of the grand jury as an independent body. The absence of consistent regulation over that body, a byproduct of the Supreme Court’s approach, allowed a grand jury presentment investigating one person to improperly accuse an uninvestigated third party of impropriety.
But at least Sandusky had his day in court. Paterno will not. Paterno is a private third party who was not under investigation and is thus historically not properly included in either the presentment of someone else, or the subject of a separate grand jury report. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s decision to make the Sandusky presentment public ignores that history and, in doing so, denies to Paterno the opportunity to defend his name, his reputation, or what he did—or did not do—during Sandusky’s tenure on his staff, leading up to Sandusky’s retirement, and following Sandusky’s retirement. Paterno’s inability to do so has nothing to do with the fact that he is dead. Even assuming that Paterno had not died from lung cancer, there exists no meaningful legal proceeding in Pennsylvania that would allow him to distance himself from the grand jury’s investigation into Sandusky. Even if such a proceeding existed, it’s unlikely the public would forget about his inclusion in Sandusky’s investigation.
After all, the public reaction to Sandusky’s acquittal on involuntary deviate sexual intercourse against victim two (the same victim who McQueary allegedly saw in the shower with Sandusky) has hardly cleared Paterno’s name—though it was Paterno’s handling of the story related to victim two that led to his firing. Part of the collective problem, of course, stems from the manner in which the Sandusky presentment was written. Emblazoned with Findings of Fact at the top of the page, the media at large took it as precisely as that—some members of the media even went so far as to assume the document constituted an indictment against Sandusky. Thus, the average reader of the media’s subsequent stories about Sandusky, let alone the average lawyer, likely had no idea about the difference between a “presentment” and an “indictment.” And why would they—the Sandusky presentment was not even labeled as such; the document omitted a title page and announced itself immediately with its “findings of fact” label. The public likely has no idea that those findings were not the product of an adversary proceeding.
The totality of the Sandusky investigation perfectly illustrates why federal grand jury practice has, as discussed above, all but eliminated the grand jury’s presentment and reporting abilities. Its doing so “should not be mourned.”  Federal grand jury practice “properly reflect[s] an unwillingness to allow an ex parte, unaccountable body to inflict damage on reputations and careers.” Several states have followed suit by, for example,  restricting the filing of grand jury reports that single out individuals,  requiring that such reports follow procedural safeguards, or at least providing the named individual with the opportunity to challenge the report’s contents.  But state practice is not constitutionally obligated to follow any particular procedural approach. Accordingly, the more central problem is the perhaps unintended consequence of the Supreme Court’s thematic emphasis on the grand jury being an “independent” body that is not “textually assigned” to anybranch of government.
The idea that the investigative grand jury in Pennsylvania is truly “independent” seems difficult to reconcile with the fact that it cannot operate without either the prosecutor, or a supervising judge. Paterno’s story so compellingly demonstrates these collective problems because of the consequences of the Sandusky investigation to him: (1) he believed he would die without football, and (2) the Sandusky investigative grand jury took football from him—whether intentionally or not. As to the first point, Paterno never had interest in retirement. In an interview for The New York Times in 1997, Paterno, then age seventy, said, “I don’t want to retire. Too many people quit their jobs too early and don’t know what to do with themselves.” CBS sportscaster Brent Musburger said over a decade later in 2008 that his friend, Paterno, was haunted by Bear Bryant’s death. Bryant, of course, was the legendary coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team from 1958-82, who retired in 1982 and died from a massive heart attack just twenty-nine days later. Musburger added the following: “[Paterno] is a man that doesn’t fish, doesn’t play golf . . . he has no other interest other than his family and football[.] And he’s just afraid what would happen with the rest of his life if he walks away from it.” Paterno was apparently even more direct with current Nittany Lion, Donovan Smith; Paterno told him “I’m afraid to stop coaching because I’ll die.” Although some contend that Paterno died from a broken heart, others suggest that medical evidence supports the idea that the grief he experienced as a result of the Sandusky investigation and his firing hastened Paterno’s passing. According to a recent study, grief experienced from loss—as in, for example, a job—can increase the risk of a heart attack “21-fold.” One national expert on aging said that in Paterno’s case specifically, his firing could have accelerated his death: “[w]hen you feel that you’ve lost your place in this world, death is never far behind[.]” And, more basically, “coexisting conditions such as high psychological stress, depression and major changes in a life event are all associated with increased mortality.” Regardless of the accuracy of the medical evidence, the point of this Article remains the same: all of this started with an “independent” grand jury investigating Sandusky that named Paterno in a presentment related only to Sandusky. Doing so was gratuitous, superfluous, and denied to Paterno the opportunity to explain what he did, or did not do, about Sandusky’s criminal behavior. Pennsylvania, floating in a sea of other states with differing approaches to grand jury practice, allows the investigative grand jury to issue a presentment, a document long ago described by a New York appellate court as follows:
A presentment is a foul blow. It wins the importance of a judicial document, yet it lacks its principal attributes—the right to answer and to appeal. It accuses but furnishes no forum for a denial. No one knows upon what evidence the findings are based. An indictment may be challenged—even defeated. The presentment is immune. It is like the “hit and run” motorist. Before application can be made to suppress it, it is the subject of public gossip. The damage is done. The injury it may unjustly inflict may never be healed.
I hope they’re not going to judge me on how many games I won or lost . . . I hope they judge me on some other things, the impact we’ve had on people’s lives. Some have been good and, obviously, some have not been so good. But I hope the overall picture is that we have done some good for people.  At the time, of course, no one knew that Penn State would fire Paterno after its Board of Trustees concluded that Paterno exemplified a “failure of leadership” by failing to do more after being told that his former assistant coach anally raped a young boy. Commentators no doubt will continue to debate whether Paterno did, in fact, do “enough” when told about Sandusky. But, while that debate remains unresolved, what is clear is that a grand jury document unrelated to Paterno should not have been the cause of his termination. When the Sandusky grand jury’s Findings of Fact became public, the court of public opinion took that document as precisely that: fact. Problematically, however, grand jury proceedings are not governed by a proof beyond a reasonable doubt standard and, moreover, Paterno was not under investigation. The possibility that a criminally innocent third party could be ensnared by the grand jury investigation of someone else is precisely why the Supreme Court should provide more grand jury regulatory guidance and abandon the modernly inapplicable notion that the grand jury is “independent

Louis Freeh and Company–At it Again–Biased, Non Factual!

Does any of this sound familiar?? At least the Board of Trustees knew who to hire to cover THEIR Butts–even if it meant throwing Penn State and Joe Paterno and State College under the bus. The Board of Trustees was interested in ONE Thing–keeping themselves protected at the expense of everyone else. Failure of their fiduciary duties and so much more!!

Universal Entertainment Corporation announced that Judge Michael Chertoff, the former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary, has issued an assessment castigating last year’s report by Former FBI Director Louis J. Freehconcerning the affairs of Japanese gaming entrepreneur Kazuo Okada and his
affiliated companies. According to Judge Chertoff, the Freeh report was”structurally deficient, one-sided, and seemingly advocacy-driven.” Moreover, its conclusions, “simply are not credible.” Instead, Judge Chertoff found
Freeh’s report to be “deeply flawed” and “lack[ing] basic indicia of a credible
Freeh’s report was prepared on February 18, 2012 at the behest of Wynn Resorts, Limited. At the direction of Steve Wynn, Wynn Resorts turned around and used the report that same day to rationalize the forcible redemption of 24,549,222 shares of Wynn Resorts held by Aruze USA, Inc., a company whose ultimate majority owner is Mr. Okada. At the time, Aruze USA was the largest single shareholder in Wynn Resorts, owning close to 20% of Wynn Resorts’ outstanding stock.

Although Aruze USA’s shareholdings had a market value of at least 2.7 billion U.S. dollars at the time, Wynn Resorts provided Aruze USA with just a non-transferrable, fully subordinated, $1.9 billion, ten-year note in exchange. Wynn Resorts’ stock price rose $6.71, or 5.9%, per share the next day, providing tremendous financial gains to Steve Wynn and the other Wynn Resorts Directors who had just stripped Aruze USA of its shareholdings based on the Freeh report.

Statement from Kazuo Okada

In response to the independent analysis provided by Judge Chertoff, Universal Entertainment founder and Chairman Kazuo Okada said, “This confirms what I have maintained since the day the Freeh report was issued and the Wynn Board moved to strip us of our stake in a company we helped found — that the Freeh report was prepared carelessly and improperly, and contains a number of clear errors. It’s obvious that this biased report was part of Steve Wynn’s campaign to eliminate me as a rival to his power within Wynn Resorts.’”

According to the summary, the Freeh report’s most significant shortcomings include:

   -- Timing that implies that Wynn Resorts commissioned the report for a clear 
      purpose: to justify ousting Mr. Okada from the Board and redeeming Aruze 
      USA's 20 percent stake in the company at a substantial discount; 

   -- Consistently pairing grave and far-reaching conclusions with scant and 
      unreliable supporting evidence and incomplete investigation and analysis, 
      including broadly alleging a "practice and pattern" of Foreign Corrupt 
      Practices Act (FCPA) violations without sufficient detail to meaningfully 
      evaluate these incidents; 

   -- Reaching legal conclusions through deficient legal analysis, including 
      asserting a bad faith, possibly criminal violation of Philippine law 
      while ignoring key aspects of the legal analysis Wynn Resorts 
      commissioned from a local law firm; and, 

   -- Failing to provide any meaningful explanation of its process and citing 
      documents that are of dubious provenance or otherwise unreliable, as well 
      as relying on potentially biased interviewees.
Excerpted from the Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2013