Another well produced animation showing the anatomy of a cover-up at Penn State. Thanks to Joe for the pointer.
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!
Oh, yeah. The more the football culture changes, the more it remains the same. The hypocrites at the NCAA really outdid themselves with their mandate to change the dreaded football culture at Penn State.
“Still, six coaches on a private jet provided by a car-dealer booster and a desire to helicopter a seventh off a cruise ship: this is how the NCAA is changing Penn State’s, and America’s, ‘football culture.'” —Mark Wogenrich, themorningcall.com
Sure, Emmert exacted sanctions upon the Nittany Lions that would somewhat force a lessened role for football in relation to academics, but in doing so, gave other schools the impetus to take a quantum leap in fortifying their own football cultures, which are growing like bacteria in a Petri dish.
Illinois sent a cadre of coaches to State College to let it be known that Illinois would provide a safe haven for any PSU player who wanted to transfer. Meanwhile USC, still on probation, unleashed its entire arsenal in pursuit of one player: Silas Redd. Big donors, private jets, emergency meetings — they spared no expense. The staid, conservative folks in State College never knew what hit them.
Mark Wogenrich of Nittany Lines provides details of the USC pursuit game, which was all legal under the sacrosanct NCAA rules.
Players are leaving Penn State to advance their careers, not because Penn State has sanctions against it. Well, that’s what Former Nittany Lion wide receiver Graham Zug Tweeted, anyhow. Not much of a difference there. The sanctions make these guys less visible to the honchos at “the next level”, and the sanctions also enable them to transfer to more visible (read “winning”) programs with impunity. I can say a lot about team spirit and sticking together, but these young guys have a life they’re just starting, and they must make decisions now that will affect them over the next 50 years. It’s easy to sit on one’s ass and pontificate about them being traitors, but we all have to look out for our own interests sometime!
Practice begins Monday, so the transfers are likely to abate for a while. At the end of this most interesting season, we’ll undoubtedly be touching on this subject again. A major exodus of experienced talent with remaining football eligibility could be forthcoming at that point.
But I digress, as usual.
A Sunday article by Ivey DeJesus of the Patriot-News asks the big question: Does the university’s football culture need to change? The Freeh report demanded it, as you know, and the NCAA in the personage of president Mark Emmert reiterated that demand. But DeJesus writes:
A change agent for a university like Penn State and others like Tennessee, Alabama and Michigan, where football is pre-eminent, is more likely to be a streak of losing seasons and the loss of football luster, as opposed to dictates from independent authorities.
That’s right. There’ll be no revolutionary changes if the guys on the field do their job and the coaches do theirs. That’s what they’re hired to do. (The coaches, anyway. *bites tongue*) However, at this juncture for Penn State, the NCAA has created an epic fail scenario for the football team for perhaps up to a decade. Will the students, alumni, and fans weather the storm and come out stronger, or will their actions (i.e., half-filling the 108,000 capacity stadium) dictate that the program be formally de-emphasized?