The ex pres has refuted multiple claims fron the Freeh report.
The Penn State storm that started to brew yesterday following the Express-Times report on Board of Trustees' anger with Rodney Erickson's handling of the sanctions ultimately ended how we thought it would; much ado about nothing. Or, rather, much ado about something, just not something they were willing to get involved in.
At first the issue seemed to solid. The Board requires the school president to get his major moves, you know, like accepting NCAA sanctions that will hobble the football team, approved. As we saw Monday, Erickson did no such thing when he decided to settle with the NCAA, arriving at the vacated wins, postseason ban, scholarship reductions and fines as the answer to their cover-up problem. Onward State reported that several Board members, including Anthony Lubrano and former player Adam Taliaffero, questioned whether Erickson violated Standing Order IV
It would appear he most certainly did. The Board, with that in hand, had the power to make something happen. It seemed, even if just for a second, that they were looking to take the fight to the NCAA, through their own president.
Maybe they would combat the notion that the NCAA should not have absolute power to go off protocol and hand down penalties without their own investigation and findings. Maybe they would combat the very idea that the NCAA could even truly rule in a case that did not directly involve extra benefits, competition and/or eligibility. Maybe, just maybe, they were gearing up to fight the piling on by the NCAA, an organization that just took credit for a no-brainer win.
However, that would not be the case. Once Erickson let them know about the four-year death penalty that the NCAA threatened him with, if he didn't submit to their will, ESPN reported; the Board of Trustees fell in line.
Just like Erickson did just days before them
Every athlete who ever played a sport at Penn State — and 90 percent earned degrees — will now watch his football team on TV and hear every telecast from now until eternity begin with a recap of this tragedy. Forget about the losses on the field and in the record book, the football players among those athletes have had their emotional records expunged, too. My husband's closest friend is one of those men, and he makes no excuses for his old coach. None. He is a tough guy, but Monday he was howling in grief.
Football coach Joe Paterno is dead. The two administrators who face perjury charges for lying to the grand jury should go to jail, and they may. A member of the board of trustees who kept his colleagues in the dark resigned in disgrace, and more should do the same. Former president Graham Spanier was fired, but he probably should have been indicted.
But what of the athletes, the students, the faculty and the alumni who had no part in the crimes or the cover-up?
I keep thinking of the scene at the conclusion of Franco Zeffirelli's "Romeo and Juliet," in which the Prince of Verona stands over the bodies of the children who died as the result of the intransigence of the adults.
"All are punished," he thunders. "All are punished."
Rodney A. Erickson is president of Penn State University.
Since the news about Jerry Sandusky broke last fall, the most challenging chapter in Penn State’s history has unfolded in the glare of the national spotlight. Those of us in leadership roles at Penn State have faced questions for which there is no playbook. I have spent many nights — and many more with our leadership team — considering the actions we must take to ensure that this university endures as an institution of which we can all be proud and one that learns from the past to be a brighter light for the future.
I knew when I accepted the position of president in November — and the Board of Trustees strongly agreed — that, for Penn State to move forward, we would need to uncover and expose the full scope of the university’s knowledge of Sandusky’s actions. We could not wait for courts to bring evidence to light. So, knowing that we would need to accept accountability for whatever was discovered, the board asked former FBI director Louis Freeh to lead an independent investigation.
The Freeh report revealed that those in positions of authority had failed to protect children. The Board of Trustees and my administration have accepted responsibility for this breakdown of leadership.
Since the report was published, accepting responsibility has come to take on an additional meaning. This week the NCAA imposed unprecedented penalties on the university. These include a $60 million fine, the loss of football scholarships, a ban on postseason play and the forfeiture of all wins between 1998 and 2011. Many have questioned how I could agree to such sanctions. Let me be clear that I did not suggest this punishment, and I do not take its repercussions lightly. But I believe that the alternative — a multi-year ban on football — would have been far more detrimental to the healing process of our students and alumni.
With this penalty, it is true that all of us in some way now shoulder the burden for the wrongdoings of others. Students, faculty, staff and alumni who had no involvement, or even knowledge of who Jerry Sandusky was, now share in the responsibility of leaders who failed. To many, it is simply unfair.
I think, however, that acceptance of this responsibility will be essential to our ability to lay a new foundation and integral to the long-term character of our institution. In the face of this adversity, I am proud of the many students, faculty and alumni who have banded together with grace, humility and determination.
In a larger sense, the past year’s events have brought into focus the pain experienced by victims as well as the insidious crime of child sexual abuse. We owe it to them, and it is our social responsibility, to make the prevention of child sexual abuse a part of our university’s mission of teaching, research and service. We have already begun to mobilize our university community to support and work with organizations that prevent and detect child abuse and help victims recover. We have established the Center for the Protection of Children at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, and national experts are scheduled to gather on our campus in October for a two-day conference about the many facets of child sexual abuse. We have partnered with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center to expand public awareness, provide training for our employees and advise us on future initiatives.
Some will still find it hard to imagine a new chapter in Penn State’s history, to see beyond a football program without postseason play or the story of a school that fell from a pedestal. I urge the skeptics to look harder and see what I see today: an institution that will emerge stronger than ever before, one that will be made great not because of the reputations of a few but because of the resolve, compassion and talents of many. From the headlines alone, it would be forgivable — though wrong — to think that Penn State is little more than an ordinary university with a tradition of athletic success. More than 150 years of tremendous accomplishments in teaching, research and service suggest otherwise. Penn State graduates are among the most successful leaders in science, engineering, medicine, public policy, the arts and business. Many were the first in their families to go to college. They came and still come from near and far — and they continue to succeed.
So as I look ahead, I see a university that ultimately prevails. I see a community that has learned from this experience in the most painful and personal of ways — a story that is more than just our story but that of humanity in all its fallibility. Irrevocably changed by the lessons of the past, the community joins together to become a passionate voice for the victims of child sexual abuse and for the courage in each of us to stand up to protect society’s most vulnerable.
Franco Harris and two other former Penn State football players say the report about Penn State's handling of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal ''is highly flawed, and factually insufficient.''
Harris, Rudy Glocker and Christian Marrone sent to other Penn State alumni an email and letter criticizing the Freeh report that they plan publish in The Wall Street Journal and other large publications.
The email and letter were obtained by The Associated Press on Friday.
The players claim there was a rush to judgment by the media, the board of trustees, university officials and the NCAA after the blistering report was released two weeks ago.
The report compiled by a team led by former FBI director Louis Freeh accuses school officials, including late coach Joe Paterno, of covering up the abuse to avoid bad publicity.
''A grave injustice has occurred over these past two weeks that began with the issuance of the Freeh report,'' the email states. ''After much review, it's clear the report is highly flawed, and factually insufficient. Yet, the media, the Board of Trustees, University officials and the NCAA, seem to have read only the conclusions and not the content of the report and have failed to question the report's evidentiary basis or lack thereof - they have rushed to judgment. As a result, OUR program has been brutally harmed and our Coach has been completely tarnished.'
A member of the team that produced a 267-page report condemning the response of Pennsylvania State University's leaders to a serial child molester believes that the NCAA's use of that document was insufficient to justify the punishment it handed the university this week.
"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."
The NCAA's approach is not sitting well with the source close to Mr. Freeh's staff.
"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.
"Instead, Emmert took the report and used Penn State's own resources to do them in," the person said. "The institution is made of people, too. And they don't deserve this."
This goes waaay beyond shaving points or fixing spreads
Franco Harris is impartial and unbiased? Yeah, sure ...
NCAA president Dr. Mark Emmert said Monday in the press conference to announce sanctions against Penn State that the punishment could be revisited.
What first-year coachBill O'Brien heard: There's a chance some or all of the penalties the program faces for the next four seasons could be repealed or lessened.
"When I'm watching the Mark Emmert press conference, I think, isn't that what he said?," O'Brien said Friday. "He said 'come in and revisit.' Now that could go either way. That could be if we're not dotting our I's and crossing our T's that could go either way. But, if we're behaving properly and being compliant...."
Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) and former 2012 GOP presidential hopeful doesn't think the Freeh report tells the whole truth on the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
In a radio interview conducted by Dallas-Ft. Worth’s KSKY 660 AM Friday, Santorum did not go into specifics, but criticized the Freeh Report, which investigated the cover up of Sandusky's crimes.
"My concern with the Freeh report... a lot of the conclusions in the Freeh report aren’t matched by the evidence that they presented," Santorum said.
Santorum attended Pennsylvania State University for his undergraduate studies, serving as chairman of the university's College Republicans chapter and graduating in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts with honors in political science. He then completed a one-year Master of Business Administration program at the University of Pittsburgh's Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, graduating in 1981.
At Penn State, Santorum joined the Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity. In his senior yearbook photo, Santorum is seen with bushy hair, a full beard, jeans, and pipe.
In 1986, Santorum received a Juris Doctor with honors from the Dickinson School of Law.
Santorum first became actively involved in politics in the 1970s through volunteering for Senator John Heinz, a Republican from Pennsylvania. Additionally, while working on his law degree, Santorum was an administrative assistant to Republican state senator Doyle Corman, serving as director of the Pennsylvania Senate's local government committee from 1981 to 1984, then director of its transportation committee.
After graduating, Santorum was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar and practiced law for four years at the Pittsburgh law firm Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, now known as K&L Gates. As an associate, he successfully lobbied on behalf of the World Wrestling Federation to deregulate professional wrestling, arguing that it should be exempt from federal anabolic steroid regulations because it was entertainment, not a sport. Santorum left private law practice after being elected to the House of Representatives in 1990.
The Penn State Alumni Association and football coach Bill O’Brien went on the offensive Friday, one day after an alumni group formed in response to the Jerry Sandusky scandal came out with a study bashing the Freeh Report, the NCAA and university trustees.
In a mass email, Alumni Association Executive Director Roger Williams and the officers of the 169,200-member association said they share many criticisms others have made following the NCAA’s unprecedented sanctions against Penn State.
“We take serious issue with the way that investigative and regulatory bodies have mischaracterized Penn State culture,” they wrote.
But unlike Penn Staters for Responsive Stewardship — which is calling for rejection of the Freeh Report, the resignation of all trustees and a reorganization of the board — the Alumni Association urged its members to focus on supporting the school, reaching out to students and attending Penn State football games.
Former FBI Director Louis Freeh’s firm investigated the Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal at the request of Penn State trustees.
O’Brien, the football coach tasked with rebuilding the Penn State program in the wake of NCAA sanctions over the school’s handling of the scandal, echoed the Alumni Association’s sentiments Friday at a Big Ten Media Day panel in Chicago.
“I expect fans to come out. Stop arguing. Stop worrying about NCAA sanctions, arguing about what the Freeh Report said. Get going and accept the changes, embrace them and get ready to support this football team,” O’Brien said.
University President Rodney Erickson is expected to discuss the issue when he appears on CBS’s “Face the Nation” at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
Athletic Director Dave Joyner said he’s not worried about filling Beaver Stadium’s 107,000 seats this fall.
“I’m getting a lot of emails from people saying, ‘We’re going to buy a lot of tickets. We’re going to buy more tickets than we were normally going to buy.’ ... There’s a lot of excitement out there,” Joyner said.
It's not anything that will cause Franco Harris to race through the streets to declare vindication, nor will this bit of news lead the NCAA to reexamine the sanctions it handed down and say, "Oops!" But the Freeh Group, which had issued the devastating investigative report on Penn State's handling of the Jerry Sandusky matter, has acknowledged some factual errors.
The errors were noted in an "Errata Sheet" posted today recently on the Freeh Group's website. And Sara Ganim (who else?) noticed them today. A few typos are corrected, but there are also two significant points of fact that will certainly be relevant during the upcoming trials of Penn State's on-leave athletic director Tim Curley and former senior vice president for business and finance Gary Schultz, both of whom are charged with perjury and failure to report abuse.
The original Freeh report states that Curley met with Sandusky in 1998, after campus police and state child welfare authorities launched an investigation that resulted in no criminal charges. Today's correction notes that that meeting actually took place in 2001.
In two different instances, the original report cites an email from Wendell Courtney, the university's lawyer, to Schultz, in which it says Schultz wrote, "I was never aware that ‘Penn State police investigated inappropriate touching in a shower' in 1998." Today's correction says it was Courtney, not Schultz, who made that comment.
For years, the NCAA operated in the catacombs, revealing about as much of itself as Hoover's FBI. The NCAA was also once ruled a monopoly by the Supreme Court, which is the reason it lost control of Division I football.
The NCAA this week become more dictatorial — they claim it's only temporary! — when the organizational body gave Emmert unprecedented power to expedite an unprecedented case. It then bypassed due process to move swiftly and harshly against Penn State.
Machiavelli would have applauded.
What exactly, though, hath the NCAA wrought? Time will decide whether it sufficiently crippled Penn State, or mobilized it. Did it spare the school the "death penalty" and a TV ban to protect its own fiduciary interests?
Football-crazed powers not killed by the NCAA tend to defy it. Miami and Alabama won national titles within a decade of so-called "punitive" sanctions. USC is poised to compete for a national title in the third year of major probation.
Penn State CoachBill O'Brien, on a conference call this week, outlined a potential artery weakness in the NCAA's actions.
"They let us play football, and let us be on TV," O'Brien said. "We can play football in a beautiful stadium in front of passionate fans. … I understand we can't go to a bowl game, I really do. But how many bowl games are played in front of 108,000 fans … we play six or seven bowl games a year right here."
Because it balked at putting Penn State out of business, the NCAA is in the unique position of actually needing one of its member institutions to fail. It also set the bar for egregiousness lower than the booster payouts that led to Southern Methodist's "death penalty" in 1987.
The NCAA meted out to Penn State one more year of probation than it gave Caltech.
What if Penn State doesn't fail? Are there unintended consequences we have not yet contemplated? Might one of those be the wholesale, unseemly poaching of Nittany Lions players?
The answers await us all.
The man who once ran with the bulls in Pamplona has no intention of backing down to Freeh, according to Peter Vaira, Spanier's Philadelphia lawyer.
"At no time during my presidency did anyone ever report to me that Jerry Sandusky was observed abusing a child or youth or engaged in a sexual act with a child or youth," Spanier wrote. "This conclusion should have been abundantly clear to Mr. Freeh and his colleagues who interviewed me for five hours before their report was finished and interrogated scores of employees about me. Yet the report is full of factual errors and jumps to conclusions that are untrue and unwarranted".
"My reputation has been profoundly damaged," Spanier wrote in his July 23 letter to trustees. "In light of my 26 years of service to Penn State, my contributions as president for more than 16 years, and my continuing service even after I left the presidency, I would ask to have an audience with representatives of the board to answer any questions you might have."
Spanier doesn't know whether he will get to make his defense before the Penn State trustees, or be forced to do it before a jury.