The Chronicle of Higher Education published a Sandusky related story on Sunday which heretofore escaped this Turkey’s attention. I can understand why not much has been made of it, because its details are sketchy. The article, written by Brad Wolverton, begins with the following paragraph:
Top Pennsylvania State University officials held a three-hour meeting to discuss Jerry Sandusky in 2001 over concerns about the former coach’s behavior with a boy in the football showers. A law-firm billing record from that conversation describes a “report of suspected child abuse,” according to a person with knowledge of an independent investigation into the matter.
Next to that paragraph were pictures of Curley and Schultz.
Wolverton wrote nothing else about who attended the meeting or which law firm was involved. Perhaps the pictures suggested that Schultz and Curley were involved, but Wolverton never gets around to saying so. Thus, the first paragraph, quoted above, was the only new information for most of us.
The remainder of the article merely provides background information that is well known, including the leaked emails, the non-reporting of the incident, and even an unrelated story about Joe Paterno taking charge of a disciplinary issue in the past, much to the chagrin of then VP of Student Affairs, Vicky Triponey.
In that 2007 incident, six members of the football team invaded an apartment and beat up people inside. Paterno and Triponey differed in their ideas about how discipline should be meted out. Joe, as usual, did it his way, even having a text message sent out to all the players warning them not to respond to Student Affairs’ inquiry about the incident or they would risk being thrown off the team. Ms. Triponey resigned that year, citing “philosophical differences.”
This story is well known, and nothing about Joe Paterno grabbing power where the team was involved would turn many heads. The Chronicle included it to corroborate whatever point it was trying to make, of which I’m still not certain.
If the point is that Joe had total control of the football program, trumping even university administrators, then big surprise! If the point is that Spanier and his top-level administrators consulted counsel about the Sandusky situation, then we can only draw the conclusion that high level Penn State operatives were worried about what would happen in the event that they skirted the law to try to handle the matter internally.
In the latter case, this Turkey would have loved to have been a fly on the wall. I do hope that further details of that meeting emerge, although it might well be that only billing records are still available. (If I ran the law firm involved, I would make damn sure that all the damning evidence was shredded and burned, lest it all blow up in the face of the firm and its lawyers, as the advice to circumvent the law would be a serious ethics violation.)
I hope that all of these loose ends will be tied up in the Freeh report.