I’ve read the comments on the Freeh report by Spanier’s attorneys and this Turkey is here with his ever ready opinions. So, without further ado, let’s go opining.
I don’t see a lot of particularly startling revelations. The report merely captured what we’ve been seeing in other analyses and used some strong language to rebut specific findings and conclusions.
We don’t yet know what Spanier will say; that will come out later today. It’s pretty predictable, though, now that we know what his mouthpieces have written and what he said in the interview with The New Yorker. He’ll say that the 1998 investigation was dismissed by authorities, and later, in 2001, no one mentioned anything sexual. So, barring any off the wall happenings during the ABC interview — which would have leaked out by now — we’re going to hear a reiteration of the same old mantra from the ex-president.
Where does that leave us?
I have to say that if a majority of the board of trustees wanted to put this behind us last week, they’re not going to be swayed by a couple of Philadelphia lawyers and Spanier, whom they probably hoped would just fade away with his Washington consulting job for Homeland Security. (I’d still like to know who arranged that gig for GS — I think it would fill in some blanks.)
The BoT will just stick to its oft stated position of wanting to put the whole thing in the past and keep their Peetzian “laser focus” on the future. They have the votes to do that even in the face of withering excoriation and regardless of what dissenters such as trustees Lubrano and Clemens have to say. After all, the University accepted the Freeh report without question.
Well, how about the NCAA and its sanctions?
Nah, forget it. Emmert has a laser of its own, and it is aimed away from Penn State now. I believe that the NCAA position will continue to be that although the Freeh report contains factual inaccuracies and faulty conclusions, there is nevertheless sufficient “evidence” to prove the basic allegation of lack of institutional oversight. If the pressure on the NCAA is amped up, then Emmert will fall back on the trump card: the children. With the victim card up its sleeve, the NCAA won’t be losing any sleep over this.
What about the vacation of 111 wins?
This Turkey thinks the NCAA can use that as another bargaining chip but only in the direst of circumstances, if the organization is backed up against the wall by negative sentiment from its members and the public. Nevertheless, this was a purely vindictive penalty that is now naked and exposed for what it is. The punishment makes no sense at all given that the 1998 incident was dismissed by authorities. If the NCAA wants to launch a pre-emptive strike, this would be the nuke to hurl. Giving Paterno and his players back their victories would assuage the bitterness of lots of people — for a while.
What about Spanier himself? What does this do for him?
It covers his ass. He might want to work again for some university, but at the very least he wants to avoid prosecution and clear his name.
That having been said, I think this could go even farther than a mere ass shroud. Spanier’s formal rebuttal of the Freeh report appears to this Turkey to be laying the groundwork for a dubious dismissal and defamation suit against Penn State and possibly Freeh, as will his professing utter and complete innocence to a national audience on ABC tonight. In Penn State’s own “Night of the Long Knives,” Spanier and Paterno were summarily relieved of their duties based on a document with more holes in it than all the cheese in Switzerland. Just mull that one over for a little bit.
Just my opinions, folks. I’m sure you have some yourselves. Please let us hear them!