What Happens to Penn State Football?

Louis Freeh (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
First, go here and view the Freeh Report. This the full 267-page report of former FBI director Louis Freeh's month-long investigation of the Sandusky sex abuse scandal at Penn State.

Here's the crux of the report:
Four of the most powerful people at The Pennsylvania State University - President Graham B. Spanier, Senior Vice President - Finance and Business, Gary C Schultz, Athletic Director Timothy M. Curley, and Head Football Coach Joseph V. Paterno failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade. These men concealed Sandusky's activities from the Board of Trustees, the University community and authorities. They exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky's victims by failing to inquire as to their safety and well-being, especially by not attempting to determine the identity of the child who Sandusky assaulted in the Lasch Building in 2001. Further, they exposed this child to additional harm by alerting Sandusky, who was the only one who knew the child's identity, of what McQueary saw in the shower on the night of February 9, 2001.
Don't listen to people like Matt Millen who can't seem to see the forest through the trees in this report. There's nothing confusing about this. The findings are spelled out as clear as day. The authorities at Penn State, including Paterno, knew they had a sexual predator in their football program in 1998, chose to keep him around with little more than a verbal warning. Once Sandusky demonstrated that the warning was insufficient deterrent from inappropriate behavior in 2001, they did nothing to stop him or help his victims. In fact, they deliberately tried to cover it up.

This is a horrible situation for everyone involved, especially the victims. It makes you sick the more you think about it. I hesitate to try and draw any conclusions about possible penalties the football program could eventually face. Sandusky is in jail for good, Paterno is dead, the AD was fired and is awaiting trial, the university president was forced to resign and the senior VP is awaiting trial as well. So as far as the primary people involved, I think what's done is done...or is at least about to be.

But what's the long term damage? How do you penalize a program for this? The term "Lack of Institutional Control" sounds as if it would be appropriately applied here, but the rule is spelled out pretty clearly that insufficient monitoring of non-compliance of NCAA rules will lead to such a charge. There is no NCAA rule against what Penn State officials did. But these crimes may transcend NCAA rules.

[Via an AP story]
With the report now complete, the NCAA said Penn State now must address four key questions concerning "institutional control and ethics policies," as outlined in a letter sent to the school last fall.

"Penn State's response to the letter will inform our next steps, including whether or not to take further action," said Bob Williams, the NCAA's vice president of communications. "We expect Penn State's continued cooperation in our examination of these issues."

The U.S. Department of Education is examining whether the school violated the Clery Act, which requires reporting of certain crimes on campus, including ones of a sexual nature. The report said Penn State's "awareness and interest" in Clery Act compliance was "significantly lacking."

Only one form used to report such crimes was completed on campus from 2007 through 2011, according to the Freeh findings. And no record exists of Paterno, Curley or assistant coach Mike McQueary reporting that McQueary saw Sandusky in a shower with a boy in 2001, as they would be obligated to do under the Clery Act.
This is only going to get worse as it gets drawn out. And when the NCAA Committee on Infractions gets involved (just ask Ohio State), it gets drawn out.

So, to answer the question posed in the title of this post – I have no idea.

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