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OTL: Penn St. BOT passed on reform in ’04; ommited in Freeh report

Penn State Abuse AP

The Freeh report investigating Penn State’s actions of the Sandusky allegations is over 260 pages long. However, it only briefly explains (pages 97-102) the university board of trustees’ failure ‘to exercise its oversight and reasonable inquiry responsibilities” in 1998 and 2001.

That’s understandable to an extent; the board sponsored the Freeh investigation.

However, according to ESPN’s Outside the Lines, there was another failure by the board in 2004, one that wasn’t mentioned in the Freeh report.

In November, 2004 — the same year former coach Joe Paterno was asked to retire — “seven members of Penn State’s board of trustees proposed sweeping reforms that would strengthen the board’s oversight power of Spanier and other campus leaders, including Paterno” according to documents obtained by OTL.

However, the good-governance proposal was never voted on and former president Graham Spanier, along with former board chairwoman Cynthia Baldwin, passed on the reforms.

You can read the entire story with supporting documents HERE.

Suffice to say, it doesn’t bode well for Penn State. Longtime trustee Joel Myers told OTL that Freeh investigators informed him that if the proposal had been passed, “this [crisis] could have been avoided.” Another trustee added that the decision could be seen as negligence by the university.

“This could increase our liability, possibly by millions.” the trustee said.

Given how the Freeh report reprimanded the board’s actions, especially related to university policy, it’s odd that the failed proposal was not a part of the report. A Freeh spokesperson would not comment to OTL, either.

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36 Responses to “OTL: Penn St. BOT passed on reform in ’04; ommited in Freeh report”
  1. brianbosworthisstonecold says: Jul 17, 2012 11:15 PM

    Now Freeh can be investigated.

  2. dgbk says: Jul 17, 2012 11:37 PM

    there is nothing odd about it. seem like it protected some and bashed others. give the ppl a public figure or figures to hate and hopefully BOT can continue to hide.

    ppl are callin for statues to be torn down like that matters. this issue or scandal is way bigger than that.

  3. latchbeam says: Jul 17, 2012 11:46 PM


  4. phillyphever says: Jul 17, 2012 11:50 PM

    So how long is it gonna be until the Paternos release another BS statement that makes them dumber than they already are?

    BTW, I fully support the elimination of PSU from the NCAA. That and a complete white-washing of the authority the school has right now in favor of outside people who know how to do things right.

  5. dannythebisforbeast says: Jul 17, 2012 11:59 PM

    Wait 5 days later it’s possible that Freeh report was biased in some way. You mean it’s possible that the people that paid him 6 million dollars with the expectation of the equivalent of a slap on the wrist to them.

    Everyone has an agenda. Read between the lines

  6. dannythebisforbeast says: Jul 18, 2012 12:04 AM

    Dgbk. I agree I been thinking that myself everyone focused on a statue. It seems what the media builds up to be important is important. I’ve been reading the report and it seems clear it was intended to prove guilt of the famous 4 and not go any deeper or wider than necessary. Such as current president Erickson was a VP and worked directly with Spanier since 99. if they never talked about Sandusky I would be shocked.

  7. saints97 says: Jul 18, 2012 12:26 AM

    You have to love how delusional Paterno supporters are going to think this means he was really innocent of all charges.

  8. brianbosworthisstonecold says: Jul 18, 2012 1:46 AM

    This reminds me of a movie that had rich people with nothing more to do. 8MM.

  9. bennywisest says: Jul 18, 2012 1:55 AM

    Ben, you couldn’t find anyway to further your Anti- Paterno crusade with this? You are slipping.

  10. deadeye says: Jul 18, 2012 1:55 AM

    Here is a serious question: how much did the Freeh report leave out in an attempt to clear the BoT of as much blame as possible?

  11. billmead1976 says: Jul 18, 2012 2:56 AM

    Newsflash: The Paterno Family issues a statement saying that if JoePa were still alive he had advocated for stronger BOT governance.

  12. norcalirish says: Jul 18, 2012 3:26 AM

    Perhaps I missed it (haven’t been on much) but I’m surprised nobody has suggested this yet: forget the death penalty—I wonder is there is a way (NCAA says pay up or we boot you) to force PSU to forfeit a percentage (100%?) of their sports profits over a period of time (20 years?) to a victims charity. This solution (if possible) would benefit victims while not punishing the recruits that had nothing to do with the atrocity that went on.

  13. theawesomersfranchise says: Jul 18, 2012 3:42 AM

    Don’t worry norcalirish, those recruits won’t be punished at all. The will be playing football somewhere else.

    Oh and students are camping outside of the statue overnight in an effort to protect it.

    Here’s to hoping someone gets stabbed tonight or tomorrow night because PSU refuses to do the right thing over and over and over.

    But I do get a kick out of PSU apologists now in full “protect the program mode” (btw that’s exactly the typ eof attitude that got your school to this point) and trying the “Don’t punish the kids” angle.

    Ohhh don’t you worry about them, they will be ok. All will get alone to transfer out and gain an extra year of eligibility on top of it.

    I guess we shouldn’t send daddies to jail when they break the law because his innocent kids will suffer. Right? Cause that makes sense.

    No no, PSU football is going to be destroyed in a week or two. 5 year banishment at least. The statue will be ripped down and trashed as well.

    Maybe the school should….you know, respect and honour the victims and get back to teaching young adults someone other than who to become blind ignorant and disgusting idol worshipping subhumans.

    You know, become known for someone other than loving football so much you make excuses for the worst people imaginable.

    Camping outside all night to protect a statue of a monster.

  14. charlescub80 says: Jul 18, 2012 4:02 AM

    Why is there even a death penalty debate? One school gets the death penalty for paying some of its players. Was everyone in the program involved? Another school has kids being raped in their locker room….repeatedly…by a coach… Shouldn’t the common sense question be how long will the ban be?

  15. bigbuckeye76 says: Jul 18, 2012 6:50 AM

    Death penalty..

  16. gmsingh says: Jul 18, 2012 7:12 AM

    It’s amazing to see how far the rabbit hole this story goes. I only hope criminal charges are brought against some of the perpetrators.

  17. ufullpj says: Jul 18, 2012 7:59 AM

    First and foremost, I do not want to make light of a brutal situation. Sandusky is a monster, and those that covered for him? Cowards and monsters both. However, it seems as though there is bias and prejudice in the “Freeh Report”. I’m thinking the NCAA should just hire Jose Canseco to do the investigation. His book was a hell of a lot more accurate than “The Mitchell Report” and cost a lot less to produce….

  18. myopinionisrighterthanyours says: Jul 18, 2012 8:34 AM

    Eventually, at least some heads on the BOT are going to have to roll as well. Not to defend the omission, but perhaps it’s the typical “give them a chance to step out on their own” before they are forced out kind of thing. Unfortunately, you see it all of the time.

  19. moochzilla says: Jul 18, 2012 8:51 AM

    norcar –

    First off, the victims will get their money from the civil suits they file and the out of court settlements they get. And there likely won’t be a figure that PSU can’t / won’t pay to make this PR nightmare go away. Let’s ignore the legal costs involved with fighting the additional victims that come forward now – legitimate and fraudulent.

    As for the football profits, the money is the money – the $50M profit the school clears (which will decline if they are blacked out from TV, which is likely for at least one year) pays for lots of stuff on campus. If you steer the money elsewhere, the school will need to raise tuition and fees or make cuts. Likely they’ll get the taxpayers to foot the bill at the end of the day.

    I like your idea, but it’s mostly feel-good. At the end, the students and the taxpayers are still the ones who will be footing the bill for such an effort.

  20. Ben Kercheval says: Jul 18, 2012 9:00 AM

    “Ben, you couldn’t find anyway to further your Anti- Paterno crusade with this? You are slipping.”

    I’ve been told I was a Paterno supporter. Which is it, people?

  21. moochzilla says: Jul 18, 2012 9:38 AM

    Not sure the headline is correct – the facts were not omitted in the report (pages 97-102 were in fact in there).

    Freeh just didn’t mention them in his press conference.

    Is that right?

  22. dkhhuey says: Jul 18, 2012 10:16 AM

    @Ben – you could pull a Romney and say you were pro Joe before you were anti Joe

  23. geo1113 says: Jul 18, 2012 10:29 AM

    Longtime trustee Joel Myers told OTL that Freeh investigators informed him that if the proposal had been passed, “this [crisis] could have been avoided.


    This is not true. The crisis had already happened. All it means it is could have (and IMO with very small likelihood) detected sooner and the BOT would not have been blindsided thus giving them the ability to manage the situation.

  24. dgbk says: Jul 18, 2012 11:18 AM

    did u hope someone get stabbed?? because penn state ” wont do the right thing.” smh …. how about lets hope no one else get hurt by the horrible acts sandusky did and others covered up.

  25. dannythebisforbeast says: Jul 18, 2012 12:22 PM

    Moochzilla you are most likely correct.

    Freeh used the press conference to push the agenda

    It is also in the report when Sandusky negotiated his retirement package in 1999 that Paterno said NO to Sanduskys request that he be allowed to conduct 2nd mile activities on campus. Spanier decided to say OK anyway.

  26. dannythebisforbeast says: Jul 18, 2012 12:23 PM

    ^^^ also that fact was in fine print, not in big bold type like most of the report

  27. Deb says: Jul 18, 2012 1:23 PM

    Ben Kercheval says:

    “Ben, you couldn’t find anyway to further your Anti- Paterno crusade with this? You are slipping.”

    I’ve been told I was a Paterno supporter. Which is it, people?
    Longtime CBS newsman Charles Osgood once said that if you’re biased, half the people will think you’re objective. But if you’re objective, everyone will think you’re biased.

  28. Deb says: Jul 18, 2012 1:25 PM

    Heard on the news this a.m. the NCAA has said it hasn’t ruled out the Death Penalty. And in other news, Penn State is still deliberating the fate of its statue. Meanwhile, someone rented a plane to fly over campus trailing a banner that said “If you don’t take down the statue we will.”

    They’re kinda slow for one of the best educational institutions in the country.

  29. frank booth says: Jul 18, 2012 3:56 PM

    dkhhuey says:
    Jul 18, 2012 10:16 AM
    @Ben – you could pull a Romney and say you were pro Joe before you were anti Joe
    Or, you could pull an Obama, lie about a law not being a tax, and then have it confirmed as legal because it is a tax.

  30. Deb says: Jul 18, 2012 4:23 PM

    Can you people please take your politics to a political blog?

  31. Deb says: Jul 18, 2012 4:24 PM

    Wow … apparently we have a lot of pro-statue people on this site. I just don’t get it.

  32. moochzilla says: Jul 18, 2012 5:12 PM

    Deb – that is an awesome quote.

    This is going to get political when someone starts looking into what Tom Corbett did and didn’t do when he was AG.

    I will never believe that the timing of all this, right after Paterno got the record, was coincidence.

  33. Deb says: Jul 18, 2012 6:10 PM

    @moochzilla …

    As long as they leave out the national politics :)

    Never thought about the timing. Sad to say I’m cynical enough to now wonder if that’s possible. This is far from over, and if the board members think their only worry is deciding the fate of that statue, they are living in a fool’s paradise. When the story first broke, I posted that the financial repercussions would be enormous and they could end up getting the Death Penalty. I’ll be shocked if that doesn’t happen.

  34. abrellbama says: Jul 18, 2012 6:12 PM

    I have said from day one that some of the BOT members have to have known about the incidents and what was going on. They need to wipe out the entire BOT’s (with exception of governor because he has to oversee the board) and start over with new BOT’s.

  35. norcalirish says: Jul 19, 2012 12:34 AM

    moochzilla— point taken, just trying to think of win/wins here in such an awful mess. My thoughts were that if the NCAA was gonna hit PS football with the death penalty the $$$ would vanish and EVERYBODY (innocent business owners, the town, fans, players, Big10, etc) loses. But, if there were a way to take their profits and redistribute them to the victims and national charities at least some good would come of the situation. Anyways.

    I am honestly surprised that the statue hasn’t come down yet though. And fans protecting it? Hadn’t heard that yet, but it makes sense…in my somewhat extensive travels around the country PSU fans are the worst that I’ve encountered, no lie. (I REALLY wanted to rank usc fans as the worst [they get number two] but I had to be truthful).

  36. dadsource says: Jul 20, 2012 10:13 AM

    The shame, embarrassment, humiliation, anger, disbelief, and chaos that comes now with being a Penn State grad are almost more than I can bear. Living in the South with the great SEC here, when Penn State was having down years, I would at least be able to say “I never have to apologize for being a Penn State fan”. No major violations, no sanctions, no NCAA probes, squeaky clean. Shoot, when a player skipped class, Joe knew about it and he was off the team. If a player slacked academically, he was off the team until the grades were back up. If a player got in ANY trouble, he was off the team. Joe was SOOOO adamant about this, he didn’t want anything to bring shame to the program. And it was never about Joe- it was about the University. He always put the University first, academics, character, then football.

    He lived in a modest house that wouldn’t even fit my family. He turned down NFL jobs, gave millions back to the University, and was regarded as a Saint. All those years of building up that kind of reputation is why Joe gets the benefit of the doubt from the PSU faithful. If he knew what was going on with Sandusky, we feel for SURE he would have punched him in the face! Right?

    White helmets, jerseys with no names, black shoes, and hard-nosed football. No retired numbers ever. PSU football.

    The Sandusky issue caught everyone off guard. It went from denial to anger to shock to outrage. The fact that it fell on Joe’s head and that the media and public were so quick to vilify/crucify the man when WE knew his history dealing with discipline issues was outrageous to us. Skip a class? Off the team. Fail a final? Off the team. Accept a suit from an agent to go to the Heisman ceremony? No bowl game for you. Surely Joe either didn’t know or there was more to this story.

    Sadly now, it appears our beloved leader DID know, and chose silence. He did report to those who should have done something, but we don’t know there response or how they handled it. Joe did what he was supposed to do, but knowing the sensitivity of this situation, he was morally obligated to do more. I honestly think he was a little senile/naive on the subject, and just couldn’t understand/get his head around the perversion of it all…..

    Joe Paterno made Penn State football, and defined a nation when it came to character, ethics, and doing things the right way. Unfortunately, when it came time to make the most important call of his career, he fumbled, and hoped it would go away. It did not, and we’ve seen the biggest fall from grace in the history of man.

    Penn State fans are devastated, torn, hurt, angered, outraged, and are going through an internal struggle the likes of which no other college program will ever see. Are we mad at Joe. Yes! Disappointed, devastated, shoot- words don’t exist that cover the gamut of emotions that I’ve gone through over the past year.

    What needs to happen now? Leadership, accountability, and change. Punish the people involved. The former AD, President, Compliance Director, and the Trustees must go to jail. The University needs to become a leader in making sure this never happens again. And the somber tone that exists now at the University has to be reflected somehow. Tear the statue down? I don’t know, let’s let it stay awhile and revisit. But Paterno’s name is on EVERYTHING there, the library, the ice cream, murals…..shoot- you don’t erase the man. But it needs an asterix.

    All that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men to stand around and do nothing…..

    Why Joe?

    Let the guilty get punished, but let the students, athletes, and alumni, who are NOT guilty carry on to rebuild the reputation of this fine university. For we did nothing, and punishing us does nothing to affect those criminals who hijacked our great name in the guise of saving their own arses.

    This burns Penn Staters across the world, and we’ll never be the same, and rightly so. We’ll still cheer our football team, but I’d rather go 5-6 and do things the right way than protect a predator.

    Accountability, PSU. Let Tim Curley, Graham Spanier, and the BOT hang. But leave us out of it. We’re through being pushed around. We’re a proud bunch, and have done nothing wrong. It’s time to clear our good name and let the guilty pay. Justice must be served. But not at the hands of the innocent. Joe ‘got his’ by his absolute humiliation and suffering, then dying quickly from cancer. The world will never know his true involvement or complicity in this, so we’ll all have to make up our own minds. I will choose this: I will remember the good that Joe Paterno has done, but forever with an asterix, and the far-reaching consequences of his lack of action will rumble the earth deeper and longer than his accomplishments ever will…..

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