Then PSU BOT Chair Karen Peetz was wrong about Sandusky scandal being a "distant memory" by the time 2014 got here.
In November 2012, then-PSU BOT Chair Karen Peetz, in response to a question about the impact of the Sandusky scandal on finding a new president to replace Rodney Erickson, said ""By the time someone gets here in 2014, it will be just a distant memory."
It's New Year's Day 2014 and it's clear that Peetz got it wrong.
Not only is the scandal not a distant memory, but with the departure of football coach Bill O'Brien, it is quite certain that talk of the scandal, the unwarranted NCAA sanctions, and the fall out at PSU will permeate the airwaves during the period up to and after the selection of PSU's next head coach.
But Peetz's statement was clearly wrong before the recent news about O'Brien broke.
As we have learned, the wheels of justice in Pennsylvania have turned very slowly for former PSU administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, and former President Graham Spanier and interest remains high in the outcome of their criminal trials.
The latest turn in the saga came last week, with the release of former PSU General Counsel Cynthia Baldwin's grand jury testimony and the revelations that she told the judge "she represented the University solely" then sat silently as she heard Graham Spanier state she represented him.
Most legal experts who have weighed in believe that Baldwin's conflict of interest and breach of attorney-client privilege will doom most of the case going forward against the PSU three.
However, the Sandusky scandal was the proverbial bad penny that PSU could never get rid of, mostly because of the ham-handed management of the scandal's aftermath by the BOT and continuing ineptness from it's PR mouthpiece, David LaTorre.
Had the BOT's intention truly been to move forward and put the scandal behind the University as quickly as possible, it would not have hired Louis Freeh to perform a sham investigation then hold a grandstanding press conference to announce the findings. It wasn't until the PSU BOT had used Freeh to wrongly blame Paterno and the football program for enabling Sandusky's crimes and then were complicit with the NCAA to levy near death-penalty sanctions on the football program, that they decided it was time to move forward (and put the scandal behind the University).
As e-mails from the Pennsylvania Department of Education revealed, the PSU BOT Special Investigations Task Force, who hired Freeh, disbanded just days after he issued his factually challenged report. Apparently, the task force never reviewed the report, nor did the BOT. Their desired result was achieved: the truly criminal elements at PSU were not exposed and Freeh reasonably concluded that Paterno and the administrators were enablers of Sandusky's abuse, with their reputations smeared.
In retrospect, the BOT's moving forward might have actually worked had they not decided to lump Paterno in with the administrators. The evidence of Paterno's knowledge of the 1998 incident was practically non-existent and anyone who can read English knew that there was no change to any plans in 2001 based on anything Paterno said.
The railroading of Joe Paterno so obvious (to everyone except the media) that there was no way the PSU alumni were going to move forward until the truth was exposed.
In September 2013, when prosecutor Frank Fina was asked about Paterno's role in covering up Sandusky's crimes, he responded, "I did not find that evidence." Fina's statement confirmed the railroading of Paterno.
Fina's statement also validated the $64,000 question that the alumni continue to ask: "what is so important to keep hidden that the PSU BOT would trash Joe Paterno and his legacy, the University, and the football program, as well as pay nearly $100 million, in order to keep it from being discovered?"
The good news on this first day of 2014 is that PSU alumni, friends, and fans are not the only people who are looking for the answer to that question.
Over the last few weeks of 2013, there was an uptick in interest about the "back stories" of the Sandusky scandal by a handful of journalists. The Federal investigation and the PA Attorney General investigations continue to press forward. And reliable sources indicate that the Spanier defamation case against Louis Freeh may soon go on the offensive.
The Sandusky scandal is far from a "distant memory" and the people who have been part of the offensive against PSU for two years are finally going to be put on the defensive.