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.