Updated: Freeh report investigating PSU’s actions in Sandusky case released

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Following multiple email leaks and lots of anticipation, the internal investigation into the role of Penn State’s administrators in the Jerry Sandusky case has finally been made public.

The Freeh report concludes an initiative that began in November of last year in the weeks following the first report of the Sandusky scandal and was headed by former FBI director Louis Freeh. 

Here is the LINK to the entire the Freeh report and here’s a LINK to the opening statements (Note: if one or both the sites are down, it’s because of high traffic. Check back later). We’ll have more updates coming both in this post and throughout the day.

  • Investigators conducted over 430 interviews and reviewed over 3.5 million documents in the process.
  • The report claims the most important documents in the investigation came between 1998 and 2001 and were identified as emails sent among president Graham Spanier, VP Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley. Not coincidentally, all three declined interviews on advice of their counsel. Additionally, the Attorney General asked that former assistant coach Mike McQueary not be interviewed.
  • The findings corroborate the Grand Jury indictment of Sandusky. There was no “attempt to investigate, to identify Victim 2, or to protect that child or any others from similar conduct” except for instances of re-occurrence. Spanier, Schultz, Curley and Joe Paterno “concealed Sandusky’s activities from the Board of Trustees, the university community and authorities.”
  • Those four also knew of the 1998 investigation of Sandusky and did nothing. In 1999, when Sandusky retired, he was allowed to “continue to work with young people through Penn State.”
    • On May 3, Sandusky assaults Victim 6 in the Lasch Building shower. Between May 4 and May 30, Curley, Spanier and Schultz are made awareof subsequent investigation. “Behavior — at best inappropriate @ worst sexual improprieties… Is this opening Pandora’s Box?… Other children?” 
    • Curley then says he “touches base” with Paterno. He emails Schultz, Spanier: “Anything new in this department? Coach is anxious to know where it stands.” 
    • There is a BOT meeting on May 15. Spanier does not notify the board of the ongoing investigation of Sandusky. 
    • After officers meet with Sandusky in June of 1998 — charges were not brought from Victim 6 allegations — Schultz emails Curley and Spanier that he thinks “the matter has been appropriately investigated.” 
    • Sandusky notifies Curley in 1998 that he is considering retirement. Paterno “gives him the option to continue to coach as long as he was the [head] coach.” Sandusky then assaults Victim 4 during the 1999 Alamo Bowl. 
  • From the Victim 2 incident of 2001, in which McQueary walked in on Sandusky and a young boy in the showers:
    • After hearing of the incident from Paterno, Curley, Spanier and Schultz were prepared to execute an action plan that included informing the board chairman of Sandusky’s charity, The Second Mile, and child welfare services. That plan changes after Curley speaks with Paterno. This occurs between Feb. 27-28, 2001.
    • March 16, 2001: BOT meeting. Spanier, again, does not inform the board of the Sandusky incident.
    • August, 2001: Sandusky assaults Victim 5 in the showers of the Lasch building after being told not to bring children into athletic facilities.
  • From 2011 in the months leading up to the release of the Grand Jury indictment of Sandusky:
    • Spanier informs the BOT of the investigation in May, but downplays it. In response, the board asks limited questions. The subject is not brought up again by either side until the Grand Jury testimonies are released.
  • Pages 39-54 document the 1998 investigation of Sandusky. Page 47 begins the involvement of university officials.
    • Schultz already knew of the incident before a May 4 meeting on it, though it is unclear how he obtained the information. In confidential notes from the meeting, Schultz writes the acts were “not criminal.” It’s unclear if Schultz derived that conclusion himself or not. Once the matter was considered closed, no further action was taken by any officials. Curley briefed Paterno on the situation, but it’s unclear as to how the details were relayed.
  • The incident in 2000 where a janitor saw Sandusky assaulting a boy in the shower (page 65):
    • Two janitor saw Sandusky in the showers of the Lasch building doing something one said “he would never forget.” The two consulted a third janitor and the topic of bringing authorities into the matter was discussed. However, the first janitor (Janitor A) said “no, they’ll get rid of all of us.” The second janitor (Janitor B) concurred to investigators. “Paterno… had so much power. If he wanted to get rid of someone, I would have been gone,” they said.
    • Pages 68-79 review the actions by Penn State officials following the McQueary allegation. Curley is called an errand boy” for Paterno and “loyal to a fault.”
  • Pages 89-96 review Penn State’s reaction to criminal charges brought against Sandusky, Schultz and Curley. PSU communication member says some on the staff were “sheep” for Spanier, who pushed for “unconditional support” of Curley. However, confidence in Spanier’s ability to lead comes under fire in the following weeks; the board states the choice to fire him was easy, while firing Paterno was not.
    • On October 29, 2011 in a game vs. Illinois, Sandusky was seen in Nittany Lion Club. It was in that year that, for the first time, Sandusky’s name was taken off the school’s annual invitation list for season football games.
  • Page 97 reviews the findings on PSU’s Board of Trustees, who failed to inquire reasonably into Sandusky allegations in 1998 and 2001.
  • Page 110 claims that PSU officials and Paterno violated the law by not reporting the 2001 incident of abuse between Sandusky and Victim 2. Beginning on 112, the Clery Act, which PSU officials should have followed, is explained in detail.
  • Page 120 of the report reviews the university’s policy on child protection. Recommendations for change are made on page 127.
    • An interesting note: there is, according the report, an “over-emphasis on the ‘Penn State way'” as an approach to decision-making.
  • Documents and emails are made available just after halfway down the report.

A.J. Brown powers Ole Miss to Egg Bowl win over No. 15 Mississippi State

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No. 14 Mississippi State lost their quarterback, lost the game, lost the Egg Bowl trophy and lost a year’s worth of rivalry trash talk in one fell swoop on a chilly Thanksgiving evening at home. To add insult to injury, they lost all that at the hands of a Starkville native to boot as star receiver A.J. Brown powered Ole Miss to their sweetest victory of the year over their in-state rivals 31-28.

The Rebels needed just three plays and 39 seconds to open the scoring in what was perhaps the team’s best all-around game in several weeks, showing no signs of any tryptophan-induced sluggishness following a traditional turkey day meal. Brown finished the game with 167 yards receiving and a 77 yard touchdown to cap off a terrific return to his hometown in opposing colors, while tailback Jordan Wilkins also chipped in with another 110 yards and two scores on the ground to pace the offense.

The old Landshark defense also made an appearance, with the second worst team in all of FBS when it came to forcing turnovers managing to secure a whopping five turnovers and three sacks.

While the loss was undoubtedly disappointing for the Bulldogs, most of the team’s attention was on their star quarterback, Nick Fitzgerald. He entered the game on the verge of another 2,000 yard passing/1,000 yard rushing season but was tackled awkwardly on a three yard run early in the first quarter. Replays showed his ankle to be facing a much different direction than it should as part of a gruesome scene and the signal-caller was carted off to the team’s medical facilities shortly thereafter amid a raucous applause from fans on both sides.

Fitzgerald later returned to the sidelines to cheer on his teammates but it certainly appears that his promising season is over as Mississippi State turns their attention to a bowl game in the coming weeks.

Stepping in at quarterback was freshman Keytaon Thompson, who was much more of a threat with his legs than his arm until a few late drives. He finished the night with 195 yards, a touchdown, an interception and a team-high 121 yards rushing (with another score) in relief. Tailback Aeris Williams managed to rack up 82 yards and a score but faced a stacked line of scrimmage at every turn given the injury to his veteran teammate.

While the injury to Fitzgerald overshadowed the game, the backdrop of Ole Miss’ NCAA infractions case loomed large over the rivalry as much as the game itself. The two schools’ fan bases have been quite chippy and MSU linebacker Leo Lewis — a central figure in the case — was kept in check to the tune of two tackles and a half a sack as the Rebels didn’t attack him like some thought they would.

Perhaps more pressing to some Bulldogs fans is if that was the last Egg Bowl they would see with head coach Dan Mullen patrolling the sidelines. His name has been linked to openings at Florida, Tennessee, Nebraska and others in the past few weeks and there is a growing expectation that the most successful coach in school history could have just donned the maroon and white for the final time in a loss.

That’s of no concern across the way as interim coach Matt Luke did a good job rallying the team to their sixth win of the season. The Rebels are not bowl eligible as part of self-imposed sanctions but the satisfaction of beating their rivals probably takes the sting out of that fact just a little bit, especially with a Starkville native like Brown leading the way on Thursday night.

Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald suffers gruesome ankle injury to spoil first half of the Egg Bowl

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The Egg Bowl has returned to Thanksgiving but the game hasn’t gone quite as planned for No. 14 Mississippi State, as they trail Ole Miss 10-6 after a low-scoring first half of play thanks to a shocking injury that brought both sides of the heated rivalry to their feet in unison.

That came early in the first quarter when Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald was tackled after a three-yard run, suffering a gruesome ankle injury in the process that saw his foot point in a direction it certainly wasn’t supposed to. He was put in an air cast and carted off the field to perform x-rays immediately afterward and needless to say will not return to the game.

The productive signal-caller was just 1-of-5 passing with an interception and 16 yards rushing when he went down with the injury. Fitzgerald was approaching the 2,000 yard passing and 1,000 yard rushing marks for the season heading into the game and received plenty of support from his fellow football players around the SEC and beyond after suffering such a horrific-looking injury that appears to knock him out for the rest of 2017.

Freshman Keytaon Thompson replaced Fitzgerald behind center and went 3-of-5 passing for 32 yards and an interception. He’s known for his running ability at this stage and did manage a team-high 65 yards on the ground, including a 32 yard scamper. Running back Aeris Williams was fairly limited facing a stacked box against a new quarterback and ran for 41 yards in the half as turnovers (three of them) really hampered MSU in the half.

With Ole Miss ineligible for postseason play even if they won on Thursday night, it was not at all surprising to see the Rebels play better than they have in a long time. The team needed just three plays and 39 seconds on their opening possession to find the end zone and were punching far above their weight defensively too. Wide receiver A.J. Brown was the big play threat once again for the offense, with five catches and 90 yards after just a half of play. In the process, he set a new school single-season record for receiving yards and joined kicker Greg Wunderlich (all-time school leader in FG’s) in the record books for the visitors as they look to  get a little bit of payback for last year’s 55-20 loss in Oxford.

The two programs have split the last six meetings in the hotly contested Egg Bowl rivalry and both appear locked into another close one after a half of play. It’s too bad that an injury to an all-SEC player had to spoil things early on but both the Bulldogs and the Rebels will have to put that behind them as they emerge from the locker room hoping to secure a win after years worth of bad blood.

Odell Beckham Jr. gifts LSU players recently unveiled custom shoes ahead of regular season finale

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LSU has produced plenty of NFL stars in recent years but few identify with the Tigers quite like New York Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr. does. The Baton Rouge native recently released his first “lifestyle” shoe with Nike last week and has been hitting the press circuit almost as hard as the rehab room as a result to showcase the new kicks.

Not one to forget where he went to school and blossomed into a first round pick, Beckham filmed a video for LSU’s football team this week and really gave the Tigers something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving by giving every player on the team a version of the shoe to wear when they’re suiting up in cleats.

The color isn’t quite a true match for LSU gold but it’s certainly pretty close and even comes with the longitude and latitude of Baton Rouge inscribed. You can probably bet that the team will be wearing them to Tiger Stadium prior to taking on Texas A&M on Saturday in the regular season finale for both sides.

Wisconsin breaking out the plaid in battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe against Minnesota

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No. 5 Wisconsin continues to play for an undefeated record and hold out hopes of making it into the College Football Playoff this week but the Badgers are also chasing something pretty important too when they take on Minnesota on Saturday: Paul Bunyan’s Axe. One of the best rivalry trophies in the sport has resided in Madison for the past 13 years but might carry on bigger implications given what’s at stake for the visitors when they arrive in Minneapolis, especially facing off against a Gophers team hoping to make it to a bowl game with another win.

Paul Chryst and company aren’t just treating this as any other Big Ten game however and teaming up with Under Armour to go well beyond ludicrous… and all the way to plaid. Well, “lumberjack plaid” to be precise, as the accents on their uniforms, gloves and shoes will all have a different spin on their normal colors.

While it’s a subtle difference, it is a pretty slick look for the Badgers as they take on their rivals. No word yet on what P.J. Fleck and the home team will break out in response but hopefully they rise to the occasion that the Axe commands.