Thursday, September 12

Testimony of Belcher, Corro, and Cook Provide Basis to Repeal NCAA Sanctions

Similar to the NCAA's case against the University of Miami (Fla.), evidence obtained to sanction PSU was improperly obtained through a criminal investigation, violating NCAA rules. 

Ray Blehar

I've read most of the media reports on the latest Paterno legal filing and I'm not at all surprised that the media skipped one of its most significant passages.  The passage is on page 16 and tells you everything you need to know about the rush to injustice by the PSU BOT, Freeh, and the NCAA. 

As the passage states, the NCAA knew  that the Freeh Report would be discredited rather quickly, but what the Paterno legal filing didn't address (as it was outside the scope of justifying legal standing) was the most fatal flaw of the Freeh Report --  which was recently revealed at the Preliminary Hearings of Curley, Schultz, and Spanier. 

The Fatal Flaw

The fatal flaw of the Freeh Report and the NCAA Sanctions against Penn State is that the evidence used to condemn PSU officials by Louis Freeh  was obtained through the criminal investigative process (via subpoena) and therefore was off limits (at that point) for use by the NCAA.

Former PSU employee Kimberly Belcher and PSU IT Department employee John Corro both testified that they provided the critical evidence used to sanction PSU - the "secret file" of Schultz and the e-mail evidence, respectively - to the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General in response to subpoenas

Belcher's and Corro's testimony contradict the statements of "independent" investigator Louis Freeh, who stated that his investigators had "made independent discovery of the e-mail evidence" and that their finding of the Schultz file was a matter of "skill and luck."

During his press conference, Freeh sheepishly alluded that the Schultz file was obtained in conjunction with the Attorney General's investigation.  However, we now know that the Schultz file was first provided to the OAG by Schultz, then a copy of it by Belcher, in April 2012.  All references to the Schultz file in the Freeh Report are marked 5-1-2012,  indicating receipt from the OAG in May.  This proves that Freeh lied about finding the file in conjunction with the OAG.

The bottom line is that the evidence used in the NCAA case against PSU was improperly obtained and should not have been used for the purposes of the NCAA sanctions.  In effect, the PSU case has now become much like the NCAA case against the University of Miami (Fla.), in which the NCAA reported itself for violating its own procedures.

NCAA Missteps 

In January 2013, the NCAA made this statement in its press release about the Miami (Fla.) case (my emphasis added):

The NCAA national office has uncovered an issue of improper conduct within its enforcement program that occurred during the University of Miami investigation. Former NCAA enforcement staff members worked with the criminal defense attorney for Nevin Shapiro to improperly obtain informationfor the purposes of the NCAA investigation through a bankruptcy proceeding that did not involve the NCAA.

As it does not have subpoena power, the NCAA does not have the authority to compel testimony through procedures outside of its enforcement program. Through bankruptcy proceedings, enforcement staff gained information for the investigation that would not have been accessible otherwise."I have been vocal in the past regarding the need for integrity by NCAA member schools, athletics administrators, coaches, and student-athletes," said Association President Mark Emmert. "That same commitment to integrity applies to all of us in the NCAA national office."

Clearly, the OAG investigation and prosecution of Gerald A. (Jerry) Sandusky did not involve the NCAA, thus it was improper for the NCAA to access evidence from an ongoing criminal investigation.  And as e-mails obtained by PSU alumnus, Ryan Bagwell, revealed that the Freeh group was working hand-in-hand with the investigators, who provided them with the access.

Ironically, Kimberly Belcher's refusal to cooperate with Freeh's group in turning over the Schultz file could be one of the more important developments of the case.  Had Belcher turned the files over the Freeh voluntarily, the evidence would not have been tainted.

Similarly, had Freeh's group gone through the process of actually obtaining the e-mail evidence from PSU's systems, instead of having it handed to them by the OAG, it too could have been used "legally" by the NCAA.   In addition,  John Corro and Cook both testified to doing the key word searches to find the information related to the McQueary, Schultz, Curley, Spanier, Paterno, and Sandusky.  Therefore, Freeh's statement of reviewing 3.5 million e-mails and documents to find the critical information is also likely false.

In summary, the phony/sham investigation done by Louis Freeh has done the opposite as it was intended.  Instead of providing the evidence to support the dismissal of PSU officials and to support the NCAA sanctions, it has contaminated it.

And you can smell the stench for's coming from Indianapolis, New York, and Old Main.


  1. There is no legal basis to repeal sanctions because PSU asked for them. The fact there's a consent decree was intentional to shield PSU from any pressure for legal action.

    1. LOL!

      PSU didn't ask for the sanctions, that's evident from the NCAA's legal filings.

      The Consent Decree was put in place to shield the NCAA, not PSU, from legal action. Obviously, it didn't work, as Corman and the PA state government's suit against the NCAA is going forward.

      Come back when you have some facts.

    2. Hey I'm on your side here.

      But would you really think the NCAA would submit legal filings saying "PSU asked for the sanction?"

      Emmert's ego wouldn't let that happen.

    3. Emmert and the NCAA's legal filings go as far as to say that PSU signed the Consent Decree to avoid the "death penalty."

      I tend to agree with you that Erickson was more than willing to sign, and I suspect he may have even put harsher penalties on the table. I sometimes think that Erickson may have requested the "death penalty," but the reality is that his handlers on the BOT would have never let him go that far.

      I suspect the Consent Decree idea originated with Ken Frazier.

  2. Hi Ray -

    How do we know that the NCAA was in a hurry to get their sanctions in place before the Freeh Report was discredited?

    And, do we know why the NCAA wanted to sanction Penn State? I mean, if they knew the Freeh report was going to be discredited, then they knew that there was actually NO reason to sanction Penn State. But they did anyway.

    wtf??? and why would Erickson go along?

    seriously, my tin hat conspiracy theory is seeming more realistic as time goes on!

    Thanks Ray, you are so very very awesome. I want my first edition of your book SIGNED, you know :)

    1. Dolly,
      I have to believe that any educated person (and the NCAA Executive Committee is full of those types) who read the Freeh Report knew it was a piece of crap. Any of the people sitting on that Committee would have flatly rejected that report if it was handed to them as a Doctoral dissertation. My God, the Appendices are numbered 2, 3, 5, 6, and 10. Seriously?

      And the reason for that was the NCAA put pressure on Freeh to get the report done in advance of the 2012 football season (it was originally planned for release in the Fall). The NCAA didn't want this looming over the season and being talked about all year while PSU was playing games.

      The NCAA and Erickson came up with the Consent Decree in hopes of "protecting" the punishment when the Freeh Report went belly up. Of course, their main strategy was to use the Consent Decree as the basis to get people to "move forward." That is, since PSU signed away their appeal rights, they hoped the alumni would give up and accept the punishment. The BOT even co-opted BOB to tell people to move forward.

      None of that "moving forward" crap worked.

      Now, the NCAA is trying with all its might to use the Consent Decree (and Erickson's acquiesence) as a means of never having to answer for the now discredited Freeh Report.

    2. Ray...You are LIVING PROOF of what I said all along...We went to PSU so we could receive the BEST education in the world and now that education is coming back to bite the BOT and Fraudney in the a$$...If you need ANY help in ANY way, you know how to find me...*stands for ovation and watches others follow my lead*...

    3. Ray, I still don't understand why the NCAA would (or even could) rush sanctions against any of their universities before accusations were addressed legally. Of course, this is where Erickson's consent provided them cover. But prior to a consent, wouldn't there be legal recourse to demand a cease and desist? I.e., upstream from a consent decree, surely the NCAA has some legal constraints on what it can do???

    4. Becky (rdk),
      Look at how this played out. PSU hired Gene Marsh one week before the NCAA came down on PSU with sanctions. Gene Marsh - who negotiated for our "friends," Ohio State and Alabama....

      Marsh spent two years haggling on the Alabama case, from start to finish. Where was PSU's representation through this fiasco? Oh, that's right, the BOT hired Louis Freeh to "help" us. And, Ken "Vioxx" Frazier was the brilliant legal mind behind this travesty of justice.

      Don't forget we had the lawyers from Reed Smith also "helping" PSU. They sat in on the trials and obviously didn't do anything in defense of PSU with the information they heard there.

      As you know, the NCAA did not abide by any of its own rules due to the "tragic" circumstances (i.e., hysteria) about this case. In other words, don't waste the opportunity a crisis (or scandal) provides.

    5. So, in essence, the PSU BoT "consented" to guilt prior to the allegations of such being addressed legally. And I suppose they have the authority to do this.

      So in some sense, "PSU" DID ask to be sanctioned. And quickly. Perhaps to avoid bad publicity. Hey, this sounds familiar! What a sad and sorry mess.

    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    7. (I removed the above because I couldn't edit it).

      So the NCAA gave Penn State sanctions, KNOWING full well that Penn State didn't do anything to warrant sanctions.

      Penn State signed a consent decree with the NCAA so that those sanctions would stick, even when proof came out that Penn state had done nothing to warrant the sanctions.

      Did the sanctions / agreement with the NCAA have to do with the BOT's hatred of the football program? as a means to bring the football program to heel?

      Is it a red herring, to point things in a completely different direction?

      I mean really, wtf?!

      thanks Ray

    8. Yes. The whole Sandusky scandal is a giant diversion. PSU didn't want anyone "looking under the hood." They accepted blame and hoped we'd move on.

      Didn't work.

      No moving forward.

      People are looking under the hood.

    9. So what in tarnation is worth 49 million in legal fees, and a 60 million dollar fine? plus the 6 million for the fact freeh report,that they pay willingly...

      thanks Ray, (the man with the really bright light for looking under hoods and in dark corners!)

    10. @Dolly. It's not their money. Whatever it is the BoT is covering up, it's not costing them a single thin red dime to do so. It's all the university's money, i.e., it's all perfectly freeh to the BoT. With that in mind you can bet there's no amount of (other people's) money they're willing to spend to propagate their cover-up.

    11. good point! I'd bet it would be a terribly different story if each of the 11/9 BOT had to pony up a percentage of the price! LOL

  3. "I have to believe that any educated person (and the NCAA Executive Committee is full of those types) who read the Freeh Report knew it was a piece of crap." I disagree about that. On the whole, people, even with PhD's, can not reason at all Isaac Newton had many screwball beliefs..

    It pains me that the University Presidents did not read the Freeh report, or could not understand it at all. The NCAA is the agent of the Universities and should be policed by the Universities. The Presidents, picked for political correction are an abomination.

    I have come across some writings on the satanic cult hysteria of a few years ago. Fantastic yarns were believed by sober juries because "children couldn't make it up". The Sandusky jurors let pass "my lawyer is to help with media". I suppose they did not see the $60,000,000 onslaught by those fancy-pants con men folka and the opportunistic "victims."

    How can somebody abet the life time imprisonment of a man who showed kindness to so many just for a GOD DAMN Jeep? .

  4. Another great series of observations Ray. It just makes us yearn all the more to know what that center of gravity is that will eventually answer all the 'whys'.

  5. Ray

    If you have got it right then there may by repercussions on the Spanier, etal Consipiracy of Silence case.

    Both FREEH and the OAG created the impression that the secret file evidence route was FREEH to OAG to further investigation to charges of Conspiracy of Silence. Yet your analysis shows the exact reverse flow of information.

    If that is correct (assuming the witnesses say they only shared the information with the OAG by subpoena and not independently to FREEH) than the OAG violated the Grand Jury secrecy rules and FINA etal should be held in Contempt of Court as provided by PA Grand Jury rules. If the OAG argues that they shared the information with FREEH in furtherance of their investigation, (hard to believe they had a legitimate investigative need to share all the details including the files themselves) then they may well have made FREEH agents of the government and when FREEH revealed the information, then he too was in contempt of court, which a Judge would know, and might cause him to hesitate while trying to come up with a response to a reporters question.

    Would be interesting to have the prosecutors and investigators explaining their records for Contempt of Court during the Conspiracy of Silence trials!

    1. Mike,
      You are correct. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the Freeh investigators turned the e-mails over to the OAG, when in fact it was the opposite.

      From the article:
      Investigators hired by the university to unravel the case unearthed the series of e-mails between Spanier and Curley and Schultz, who already have been indicted on perjury charges in the case.

      The e-mails, which the investigators turned over to the Attorney General's Office, led the prosecution to change a key date in the allegation made by Mike McQueary, a former assistant football coach who was then a graduate assistant. McQueary's account of Sandusky raping a boy in a campus shower initially was reported as having occurred in 2002. The e-mails, however, showed that the incident happened in 2001, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

    2. What's even more disturbing is the OAG deliberate withholding of information in this case. According to their own expert, the e-mails were turned over in March/April 2011. Thus, they knew the date of the McQueary incident but withheld it from discover (Sandusky believed the incident was in 2001). This article, the court filing, and the preliminary hearing testimony proves the OAG was lying to the public about what it knew and when it knew it.

      Here's more from the Inquirer.
      But the Attorney General's Office in a court filing in Dauphin County on Monday acknowledged the e-mails and cited them as evidence that perjury charges against Schultz should not be quashed.

      "The commonwealth has come into possession of computer data . . . in the form of e-mails between Schultz, Curley, and others that contradict their testimony before the grand jury," the filing said.

      The first filing for the perjury charges (particulars) was filed in March 2012. Had to be based on e-mail evidence to be able to make some of the charges. Also, the charges could have come from the "secret file" - which means the OAG had it before Schultz or Belcher provided it (meaning they got it from Baldwin). If the latter is true, this is criminal conspiracy.

    3. Should be more specific when I say criminal conspiracy. The OAG lying about Freeh discovering and giving them the information was done to support the obstruction of justice charges against C/S/S. If they said Freeh found the files and e-mails, which the Conspiracy of Silence says, then they have a case for obstruction. But as it actually happened,there was no obstruction. PSU turned over everything.

  6. Ray,

    While I usually agree with you, I'm having difficulty understanding your argument in this one.

    The N☭AA's collection of "evidence" (using the term loosely) is more indirect here than in the Miami case. Wouldn't the N☭AA claim that (1) they were acting on evidence collected by someone else (Penn State, via Freeh), and (2) they were using evidence already published and made public knowledge by someone else (Penn State, via Freeh)? It seems a far cry from the N☭AA's own investigators digging up the dirt.

    I hope you're right, though.

  7. I'll answer your question with a question.

    Why would Freeh lie about his "independent" discovery of this evidence?

  8. I would like to pose a question to everyone participating in this thread: How is our federal government allowing Louis Freeh to run his "business" that falsely implicates innocent people as stand-ins for the guilty parties that pay him to do so? Is this not obstruction of justice?

    1. We can only hope that our work here contributes to Mr. Freeh going "out of business" in the near future.

  9. Ray,

    I have been following this blog from day one. My observation is that your posts here and on your twitter account seem to be getting more direct and on point. Your responses also appear to me to be taking a more forceful no-nonsense approach then in the past. I am hoping that this means that you are so sure of your information, knowing what you do, but a little frustrated that it has not been unleashed yet.

    1. I am very confident about the truth coming out from Kane's and the Fed's investigations and the truth lines up with the evidence I have.

      It's just a matter of time before they reveal it...but I can't predict when that is going to happen.