On Thursday morning, the long-awaited report from Louis Freeh (read the summary here) was finally released. In short, Freeh’s investigation concluded that Joe Paterno and senior officials at Penn State demonstrated “total and consistent disregard … for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims.”
The report discusses at length Paterno’s knowledge of the 1998 shower incident and his decision not to act on this information. In short, Freeh concluded that the football program and administrators chose to avoid negative publicity over stopping Sandusky’s activity.
Now that the information has been disseminated, the next round of debates about the situation, and how it should it be handled from a penalty perspective, begin. Earlier in the process, I had heard and been part of debates where a stance of “it’s a legal issue” were proffered. I battled that notion from the start, citing the fact that the football machine, recruiting and fund-raising had continued unabated despite the fact that administrators were long aware of this situation. The continuity of the program and its coaching staff was a major selling point, that small-town behemoth that would build a huge family/community, an economic powerhouse and a legend. The NCAA has imposed sanctions for tattoos, clothes and myriad other infractions that are far less egregious.
The bottom line is this. How will the NCAA rule when evaluating the facts of the case against its bylaws? Letter of the rules or the spirit?
Mark Emmert has contacted Penn State President Rodney Erickson with specific questions about the University’s conduct during this process. Emmert cites Bylaw 19.01.2 in the close of his letter, a Bylaw that outlines the role of a college institution as teacher and its obligations to its students, and cautions that this Bylaw has been used in previous “major infractions cases.”
Here are fresh columns from two of the best in the business regarding this investigation and how it relates to the bigger picture in college athletics and a summary that appeared on NFL.com.
FOX Sports’ own Jason Whitlock examines the bigger problem (you can say picture if you want).
The latest on the Penn State saga from Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports.