Dear Penn State Alumni and Friends:
As the Trustees elected by Penn State’s alumni, we are pleased to inform you that Board of Trustees Chairman Keith Masser has scheduled a very important meeting of all the Trustees for Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 8:30 AM.
As it was originally scheduled by Chairman Masser, it was only to be available to the public via conference call. To promote transparency, we’ve made special arrangements for you to join us in person. We’ve reserved Deans Hall I at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center, and encourage you to demonstrate your interest in setting the record straight regarding our great University.
As you likely know, on April 9, 2014, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court of Appeals issued an important ruling which questioned the validity of the NCAA Consent Decree imposed on Penn State in July 2012. The trial court set expedited deadlines for discovery, depositions and the trial. The NCAA recognizes the obvious danger inherent in the Court’s ruling and has moved quickly to seek a settlement.
The rush in the Freeh Report in 2012—and the Consent Decree that blindly relied on it brought tragic consequences. The Freeh firm and the NCAA created that rush, but only because the Board was intimidated by them and allowed them full control. Now, once again, the NCAA is trying to create a false sense of urgency to end its litigation risk. Not this time. We must control our input on the content and timing of the settlement discussions.
There has been no substantive consideration of these issues by the full Board. The Legal Subcommittee says it has discussed the matter, but their meeting on the subject was closed to non-members. Wednesday will be our first opportunity for full Board consideration.
The Court added Penn State as a party to the lawsuit to ensure that the University’s rights are protected in settlement discussions. Your elected Trustees seek to do just that. We urge a settlement with the NCAA that not only resolves the NCAA’s issues with the Commonwealth, but also resolve the University’s issues with the NCAA. Any such settlement agreement must terminate the Consent Decree and all sanctions, acknowledge the NCAA’s responsibility for its errors, and return all funds to the University. We have prepared a more comprehensive summary of conditions for settlement which we may introduce at Wednesday’s meeting if appropriate.
Neither Chairman Masser nor the Legal Subcommittee has shared an agenda for this Wednesday’s meeting with the elected trustees. As a result, we are a bit in the dark about its proceedings. General Counsel Steve Dunham negotiated Penn State’s surrender to the NCAA in the July 2012 Consent Decree deliberations and he is once again positioned himself to manage the negotiations that are already underway. Mr. Dunham is also keeping Wednesday’s proceedings secret from us. More troubling we have observed that key players on the Legal Subcommittee and in Board leadership appear to be more sympathetic to the NCAA’s dilemma and less ambitious than elected trustees about restoring Penn State to its pre-Consent Decree culture and excellence.
So, Wednesday looks to be informative and lively. We encourage you to join us and lend your voices to ours.
Edward B. Brown Barbara L. Doran Hon. Robert C. Jubelirer
Albert L. Lord Anthony P. Lubrano Ryan J. McCombie
William F. Oldsey Alice W. Pope, PhD Adam J. Taliaferro