my take on the Penn State sanctions

Ok so a lot of people are pissed over what has been handed down by the NCAA over what had happened with the Sandusky case and the Freeh report findings.  People are saying to only punish the people responsible for the things that went wrong.  Well the problem with that is many of the will likely be facing criminal charges and life in prison.  But more so to the point, the football program was punished so severely because of the way it was used to bring children into the “care” of Sandusky.  The children’s lives will never be the same.  In several years, Penn State football will be over these sanctions.  Moral of the story, Penn State got what it deserved.  The NCAA had to make an example of them.  There was no other choice.  

I have every right to be Penn State proud. Do NOT tell me I am a terrible person and support child abuse because I still support my university. That is the most absurd thing I have ever heard. As a Penn State student I am just as horrified and saddened by Sandusky’s actions, if not more so, than those who do not associate with the university. But place blame and condemnation on those who are at fault: Sandusky, Curley, Schultz, Spanier, and Paterno; NOT on the current Penn State community. Please leave us to deal with and rise above this without your unnecessary, rude, and uninformed comments. 

And if you really feel compelled to point fingers at least read the Freeh Report first! You might be taken slightly more seriously if you’re educated. 

To those who are convinced that the Freeh report is the last word on this matter, that is absolutely not the case. Since various investigations and legal cases are still pending, it is highly likely that additional critical information will emerge. With that said, we want to take this opportunity to reiterate that Joe Paterno did not shield Jerry Sandusky from any investigation or review. The 1998 incident was fully and independently investigated by law enforcement officials. The Freeh report confirms this. It is also a matter of record that Joe Paterno promptly and fully reported the 2001 incident to his superiors. It can certainly be asserted that Joe Paterno could have done more. He acknowledged this himself last fall. But to claim that he knowingly, intentionally protected a pedophile is false.
—  A Paterno family statement regarding the Freeh report, which implicated Joe Paterno, the former Penn State coach, in a cover-up of the Jerry Sandusky case. “Mr. Freeh presented his opinions and interpretations as if they were absolute facts,” the family also said. “We believe numerous issues in the report, and his commentary, bear further review.” The full statement is over here.
Lately, I’ve seen many outraged users claiming that because of this scandal, they will boycott Penn State and anything associated with it. In light of this, I’ve 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.
-No need to buy accurately-labeled foods, because the legislation demanding safe, labeled foods was based on PSU’s research.
-If you have a heart attack, refuse a heart pump. It was invented at Penn State.
-Don’t enjoy any ice cream treats. More people have learned to make ice cream at Penn State than anywhere else.
-Demand the removal of the world’s most accurate clock, because Penn State physicists helped improve it. Sure, the clock is integral to global communications, satellite navigation and surveying, and computerized financial transactions worldwide, but you hate Penn State, right?
—  A Facebook friend (probably the only post worth any attention)
Tom Corbett and The Second Mile
Mom: “It’s really not fair to the kids, everyone involved is either dead or in jail.”
Dad: “Or Governor.”

Even though the NCAA is a joke, even though I kind of think the Freeh Report is a conspiracy on par with the JFK assassination, even though I had a very deep affection for Joe Paterno’s curmudgeoness, despite all of those things I think the sanctions that the NCAA handed down were fine. They certainly weren’t fair, every Division 3 college has 20 different conspiracies that someone is withholding to save face. I have worked for two different colleges and I have heard some shit that if Joe Paterno was involved would blow up the University System as we know it. But whatever it’s like Kima said in The Wire “It’s your turn.” Any argument that Penn Staters could have made (and there are legitimate ones) went out the window the second that the new school president signed off on the penalties. Some things are bigger than bowl games.

No bowls for Penn State for 4 years? Why punish the Outback Bowl so harshly?

— SportsPickle (@sportspickle)

July 23, 2012

OK, put all that to bed now, there is nothing I could do about it even if I wanted to and I don’t. But this fucking Tom Corbett guy what the fuck is his problem? (I have tried writing intelligently about this but I can’t, it’s impossible, I have Tom Corbett is the worst OCD. Come on–Please, stop talking about Joe Paterno and start talking about this guy.)

What you should know:

1977: Jerry Sandusky helps to found The Second Mile, a children’s charity.

1995: Tom Corbett was appointed by Gov. Tom Ridge as acting Attorney General for the State of Pennsylvania. A condition of his appointment was that he could not run for reelection in 1996 which is weird but apparently fairly common (wiki’d). This is important because, to be fair, he could not have been in office for the 1998 charge on Sandusky.

1998: Jerry Sandusky is accused of child molestation for the first time and it is investigated by University Police but no charges were filed despite Sandusky admitting he bear-hugged a boy in the shower.

1999: Sandusky “retires” as Defensive Coordinator of Penn State. (Note: I remember how confused everyone was by this decision as it was common knowledge that Sandusky was next in line for Joe’s job.) He maintains his University Status and is allowed on campus with The Second Mile kids.

2004: Tom Corbett is now elected as the Pennsylvania DA

2008: Corbett begins the 2nd investigation of Sandusky, Sandusky informs the Second Mile that he is being investigated.

2009: The Sandusky Grand Jury begins hearing testimony.

2010: Tom Corbett begins his gubernatorial campaign. This is the fucked up part. Corbett accepts a $25,000 dollar donation from The Second Mile. Corbett accepts thousands of dollars of donations from Second Mile board members. The Second Mile board chairman throws a fund raiser for Tom Corbett at his house.

Dramatization of what happened when someone found this out:

That Person: “So Tom, wasn’t it a little dicked up that you took money from the organization that you were investigating at the time?”
Tom Corbett: “UH, NO. Because…no.”
That Person: “Could you expand on that?”
Tom Corbett: “They would have figured it out”
That Person: “The people who already knew that you were investigating them would have found out that they were being investigated? ”
Tom Corbett: “Yeah.”

2011: Now Governor Corbett releases 3 Million dollars (which again, to be fair, was initially approved by Rendell) to the charity to begin construction of The Second Mile Center for Excellence, basically a gymnasium/dormitory/possible rape dungeon. From what I have read Corbett was completely within his rights to withhold this money and actually did for a short period of time.

For a fiscal conservative this guy seems to be pretty bad with money. He had a sure fire way out of spending 3 million dollars so he could look at it or whatever people do with their money and he didn’t take it (25,000 reasons this makes sense). Instead he gave the money to an organization with an obvious lack of institutional control who enabled a sexual predator just like a certain state-run university.

In retrospect it is surreal what the wrongdoings of one man can do to a community, a college, a state. If one year ago someone could have predicted the downfall of Joe Paterno, the most powerful man in the state of Pennsylvania, that person would have been Tom Corbett. Maybe it is time we brought down the 2nd most powerful man in the state.

Fallout from the Freeh Report

This isn’t super fun weekend material, but if you’re sitting around with some free time over the next couple days, here are some of the excellent pieces I’ve read about Penn State, Joe Paterno, and the Freeh Report over the last few days. 

They’re all very well-written, passionate, and eloquent on a very difficult situation. 

  • Buzz Bissinger, “Ban Penn State Football!Bissinger has written very angrily about the scandal since November, and he argues here that the program needs to take a year off even while he acknowledges that such a thing won’t happen unless the NCAA gets involved - and even then it’s questionable.
  • Dennis Dodd, “Let Freeh’s damning report ring - King Football needs to answer for sins” - Dodd takes Bissinger’s words a step further. It’s not just Penn State football culture that’s at fault; it’s the college football culture in general that gives too much power and influence to the people who win football games, at the expense of almost everything else. 
  • Mark Schlabach, “Penn State deserves NCAA Wrath” - The ESPN College football writer points out that a number of programs are currently under sanctions for various infractions - and none of those begin to come close to the utter “lack of institutional control” (or, if you prefer, excess of institutional control and appalling lack of sanity and morality) that was present at Penn State. 
  • Pete Fiutak, “Penn State: Tear It All Down” - When Fiutak says “tear it all down,” he means it in the most literal sense. Get rid of the Joe Paterno statue. Get rid of the Lasch building that was the scene of many of these crimes. Hell, go so far as to raze Beaver Stadium, discard the iconic navy and white, and start over. 
  • Zac Wassink, “Reaction to the Freeh Report and What it Means for Paterno Legacy and Penn State Football” - Surprisingly, many people including PSU alumni agree with some, if not all, of Fiutak’s demands. Many of us grew up watching the legendary Joe Paterno and respecting him for his success and longevity as a coach. It was tough to learn that not only was he not the man we all thought, he was much worse than we ever could have imagined. That reaction is compounded among Penn State alumni, and Wassink’s piece gives us a glimpse of how they’re feeling (hurt, betrayed, sad, disgusted) and what they think should happen next (take the JoePa statue down and yes, even ban the program for a few seasons). What Penn State needs right now are more clear thinkers like Wassink.
  • David Jones, “Joe Paterno fans must accept that he was flawed” - Jones covered Penn State for 20+ years, and a few weeks ago, before the Freeh report was released, he wrote that Paterno fans, and Penn State fans, have to “begin to deal with the man’s dark side.” Jones saw Paterno’s ambition firsthand, and the same qualities that made him a successful coach for so long ultimately led to his downfall. 
  • Sally Jenkins, “Joe Paterno, at the end, showed more interest in his legacy than Sandusky’s victims” - Joe Paterno’s final interview was with Jenkins, and the story that came from it painted a picture of the legend as a frail old man, interested in setting the story straight. Now that the Freeh report revealed that Paterno lied, to the grand jury and to Jenkins, to save himself, she’s produced another well-written piece. This time, you can feel her fury between the lines.
  • Jo Becker, “Paterno Won Sweeter Deal Even as Scandal Played Out” - If there was any doubt that Paterno was looking after his own interests at the expense of Sandusky’s victims, today’s New York Times story about his contract/retirement negotiations around the time of the grand jury investigation in 2011 make it painfully clear. 

The most senior officials at Penn State had shown a “total and consistent disregard” for the welfare of children, had worked together to actively conceal Mr. Sandusky’s assaults, and had done so for one central reason: fear of bad publicity. That publicity, Mr. Freeh said Thursday, would have hurt the nationally ranked football program, Mr. Paterno’s reputation as a coach of high principles, the Penn State “brand” and the university’s ability to raise money as one of the most respected public institutions in the country.

“They said the university would circle around it,” Mr. Freeh said of the employees. “It was like going against the president of the United States. If that’s the culture on the bottom, then God help the culture at the top.”

I’m not sure if you heard, but all of that talk last year about Penn State not realizing the extent of Sandusky’s crimes was utter horse shit.  The Freeh Report, issued yesterday, implicated Paterno and other administrators in actively ignoring Sandusky’s repeated and numerous sexual assault of minors.
The Freeh Report on The Pennsylvania State University.

The independent report by Louis Freeh and his law firm, Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, LLP, into the facts and circumstances of the actions of The Pennsylvania State University surrounding the child abuse committed by a former employee, Gerald A. Sandusky.

From CNN:

In a statement released along with the 267-page report, Louis Freeh, the former FBI director and federal judge who spearheaded the review, blasted several top former officials at the school, accusing them of forging an agreement to conceal Sandusky’s attacks.

“There are more red flags here than you can count,” said Freeh, who added that the abuse occurred just “steps away” from where Paterno worked in the university’s Lasch Building.

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

He went on to name four former school officials – former President Graham Spanier, former Vice President Gary Schultz, Paterno, and former athletic director Tim Curley – saying they “never demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky’s victims until after Sandusky’s arrest.”

I wonder how all of those Paterno/Penn State apologists are feeling today? Also, fuck everyone that was at that bullshit rally for Paterno and fuck the legacy of Joe Paterno.

The Freeh Report

My twitter feed is currently full of stuff on the Freeh report into the whole Sandusky child abuse mess and the role others at Penn State had in covering it all up.

I think the thing that strikes me most is the following comment:

It is the duty of adults to protect children.

It makes me sad as a human being that the investigators actually find it necessary to explicitly state that. That should just be a given.

These guys were adults. Working in an educational institution. It makes me sick.

At no time in the more than 16 years of his presidency at Penn State was Dr. Spanier told of an incident involving Jerry Sandusky that described child abuse, sexual misconduct or criminality of any kind.
—  A statement from the lawyers for former Penn State president Graham Spanier • Insisting that, contrary to recently leaked info suggesting a conscious plan not to report Jerry Sandusky for child sexual abuse, Spanier never knew of Sandusky’s offenses. Spanier’s Penn State emails now figure centrally in this argument — it was excerpts from them which that appeared to implicate him, and he’s now mounting a legal challenge to force the university to hand the emails over to him. According to his attorneys, “Selected leaks, without the full context, are distorting the public record and creating a false picture.” The hotly-anticipated report on Penn State officials’ conduct regarding Sandusky, investigated by former FBI director Louis Freeh, is set to be released this Thursday morning. source (viafollow)
I just want to scream..

“I ALREADY KNEW MY SCHOOL AND MOST SCHOOLS HAVE A SHITTY RAPE CULTURE!!!!”. I’ve been a sexual assault and general feminist advocate at Penn State for almost three years now. I wrote a sexual assault speech two years ago about poor Clery reporting. DO YOU SEE IT NOW, WORLD?! Do you get rape culture now? Are rape jokes still funny now? Are misogynist sports cultures still king now? Is Joe Paterno still a good guy now?

Hypocrisy of the NCAA is stunning

By Bradley J. Mitchell, Published: August 2, 2012

Top college football programs circle Penn State’s outstanding players, trying to convince them to leave State College in the wake of the NCAA’s harsh punishment….

How did we get to this place?Because of the rush to get to the “breaking news” of the Freeh report, hard facts — and the lack of them — were overlooked by news outlets large and small, and the report’s conclusions were reported as fact. Very few reporters or media commentators appear to have given the report even a cursory glance before spinning their narrative to millions of people. And that inaccurate narrative continues to this day.

Failure occurred when the board of trustees unequivocally accepted Freeh’s in-house investigation as the final word. But the Freeh report was flawed from the start because criminal investigations were occurring at the same time. As a result, Freeh was unable to speak with any actual witnesses or people most relevant to the case, much less anyone under oath. He relied instead on third-party notes and emails written by others; he had no ability to grant immunity; he could not issue subpoenas; and he did not interview Joe Paterno.

Freeh’s report alleged a certain “culture” at Penn State.This conclusion, like so many in the report, is not substantiated. It suggested this culture led to a cover-up of Sandusky’s crimes. And it asserted that a football program with one of the highest graduation rates in the country and without a single NCAA infraction in its history, allowed academics to take a back seat.

The unquestioning acceptance of Freeh’s conclusions led to the next failure of leadership: accepting through a consent decree the most hypocritical NCAA sanctions ever imposed….

 The NCAA has a public image problem, and getting involved with matters best left to criminal and civil courts is a bizarre way of asserting relevance in college sports.

The hypocrisy is stunning. These sanctions punish the innocent, not the guilty. How will taking scholarships away from student-athletes who were in kindergarten when Sandusky last coached at Penn State help protect children?

Contrary to the media narrative, it was never all about winning….

Bradley J. Mitchell, a Penn State and Harvard alumnus, served on the White House staff of President George H.W. Bush. He lives in State College.

Read Mitchell’s full column here:


Fallout from the Freeh Report.

This morning, the now infamous Freeh Report, was released. The report concluded a independent investigation by Louis Freeh into the Sandusky child-molesting case at Penn State University.

After spending most of my morning reading this 267-page report, there’s not a lot left to say. The only words that come to mind are: Sickening, sad, pathetic, unbelievable.

Sickening to believe a man is sick enough to molest dozens of young innocent boys for a little bit over a decade and not show the slightest sign of remorse for his actions.

It’s sad that all these boys were deprived of one of the most important part of your life that is your childhood.

Pathetic. The only word you can use to describe Joe Paterno’s and Penn State’s AD and President attempt to try to cover up what this men did. As mentioned in the Freeh Report, Joe Paterno knew about this since 1988. And why is it that this wasn’t stopped until 2011?

Unbelievable. That this occurred in one of the most prestigious institutions in the country. Just as unbelievable that Joe Paterno went from being remembered as one of the best Coaches in College Football and a Hall Of Famer to to being remembered as the one of the man involved in the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

There is still more left to come. The NCAA is still waiting to see how Penn State responds to the Freeh report to act.
But something that should be done immediately is the removal of the Joe Paterno statue at State College. At this point, there’s nothing left to say. The Freeh report said it all and more. It confirmed all of our fears about this case.