Thursday, August 16

Crime and Punishment: How Mark Emmert destroyed Penn State Football without a Scintilla of Evidence

by Thomas Greene - a member of the Freehdom Fighters Group researching the Sandusky Scandal from every angle of which the SMSS website is a member. 
Editor's note: Crime and Punishment is a very well written and thoughtful destruction of the "reasoning" given by the NCAA through Mark Emmert for the Draconian punishment levied on Penn State University for unproved crimes of dubious origin based on the Freeh Fiction. BRB

Our Punishment is THIS BIG
Because we Can 

Mark Emmert as President of the NCAA acted as judge, jury, and executioner in hitting Penn State with the most significant financial and collateral damage sanctions in the history of sports.
The full economic impact of Emmert’s actions will play out over years and will likely be hundreds of millions of dollars of lost economic activity. The long-term non-financial impacts cannot be measured but will grow with time.
Emmert blamed the culture of football and thus made sure his punishment would affect tens of thousands who he judged guilty of creating the culture. He decimated competition intentionally as part of his sentence, an action that is usually viewed as violation of anti trust laws when the economic impacts are substantial to a wide swath of public.
Emmert’s action, outside very narrow quarters, was applauded across the globe. Criticisms were primarily centered on should have been more.
So what was the crime, who committed it, what was the motive, and what is the proof of guilt that resulted in the unprecedented penalties.
According to Mr. Emmert:
What was the crime ?
Failure by Penn Sate “to make the right choice at the right time” regarding a single incident in 1998 and a second in 2001 involving Jerry Sandusky and a child.
What Emmert doesn’t do is define the crime. To do so would have been simple.
1.Tell us what information Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Curley and Paterno had regarding the two incidents.
2. Given that information tell us what each of the four individuals right choices should have been. Obviously, all four have different authority, access to information, and differing choices of options, so please answer the question for each individually, not collectively.
What was the motivation for the crimes…
of not making the right choice at the right time?

This time, Mr. Emmert has clearly provided what he believes to be the motive behind the alleged crime. In his own words (emphasis added):
"What we're trying to do with these sanctions isn't just penalize and punish the school, but help them reshape that culture so that they never say the culture of hero worship or the culture of sport is ever going to overwhelm our values again so that we don't make the right choice at the right time," Emmert told Ley.
"One of the grave dangers stemming from our love of sports is that the sports themselves can become too big to fail, indeed, too big to even challenge," Emmert said. "The result can be an erosion of academic values that are replaced by the value of hero worship and winning at all costs. All involved in intercollegiate athletics must be watchful that programs and individuals do not overwhelm the values of higher education."
Proof of Guilt:
Mr. Emmert, while not articulating what the PSU leaders knew individually or collectively, and not defining what the right choices would have been, simply declares guilt has already been determined.
Emmert cites the Freeh report as evidence of the crime and guilt.
But the Freeh report was not commissioned nor tasked with gathering evidence to determine if the NCAA had jurisdiction nor provide the NCAA with evidence in regard to its charter.
Emmert declares guilt without any due process and jumps into the matter at the penalty phase.
In regard to Paterno, for example, Mr Emmert should say…In 1998 Mr. Paterno was aware of the following facts about Jerry Sandusky…list the facts. Given those facts, Mr. Paterno should have done the following..list what he should have done. Instead Mr. Paterno did the following….list what he actually did or didn’t do. Thus my conclusion that Mr. Paterno failed to make the right choice in 1998. the year I base lined in my punishment phase.
He should have made same case against the others.
And most importantly, he should have heard from the parties that he found guilty before reaching that conclusion.
The Punishment:
If this were a legal matter, the crime would be primary and motivation secondary in meting out punishment. But in this case, the judge (Emmert) doesn’t have jurisdiction based on the crime itself, but solely on the premise that this was a scandal about protecting football and Paterno.
What evidence exists in the Freeh report to support Emmert’s notion of crime (right choice not made, criminals (who didn’t make the choices) and why such choices were not made, and his penalties?
Answer: there is a lot of information in Freeh’s report and the preponderance of evidence either refutes or doesn’t support Emmert’s findings. Note – the Freeh report in this context excludes the opinionated executive summary section. I am referring to hard documents in the report.
This post is continued HERE   
along with this excellent letter from Reed Meyer Phd PSU 93 to the Board of Trustees that fits in nicely with Thomas Greene's fine work

NCAA sanctions: The third option

Sent: Monday, August 13, 2012 7:18 AM
Subject: NCAA sanctions: The third option

Dear members of the Board of Trustees, 

Regarding the present debate over the quality of the Freeh report and whether to formally accept the NCAA sanctions, I have a question.  Why does the Board appear to see the NCAA issue as a choice between only two options: Either to accept the sanctions as they currently stand, or to take a so-called "death penalty"? Is there surely not a third option on the table?  Why is the Board apparently not considering the third option of fighting the NCAA in federal court?  Would Penn State not stand a very good chance of winning such a lawsuit?  One would think that a federal court would be sympathetic to Penn State for several reasons.

Continued HERE 


  1. For the life of me I do not understand why any reputable news organization has not taken the time to review the Freeh report and relay their own conclusions? How has 60 Minutes not jumped all over this? Is this blog so out of touch? Are we in such an insane bizarro world that the sane look to be insane? I know that Temple and other schools are reviewing the report,but only for the recommendations made to the PSU administrators. I guess commenting on the other tidbits would be bad policy. Any thoughts?

  2. "Why is the Board apparently not considering the third option of fighting the NCAA in federal court?"

    You answered this question yourself when you said,

    "Emmert’s action, outside very narrow quarters, was applauded across the globe. Criticisms were primarily centered on should have been more."

    As Ken Frazier said, the BOT rejected the idea of "'appealing' against a backdrop of public opinion which shows that 75% of Americans believe the sanctions were either 'just right' or 'too light'". Ken Frazier also identified the source of this public hostility :

    "While we all love our school, we must remember that many others feel moral outrage over child sexual abuse that rivals or exceeds our outrage about the loss of football scholarships and bowl eligibility."

    Ken Frazier and the other trustees (with a few lamentable exceptions) understand that the biggest problem facing Penn State is not lost scholarships or lost wins or lost bowls or fines or even justice for Joe. Its biggest problem is the 75% negatives coming out of the polls commissioned by the BOT. Penn State cannot thrive long-term in its current form in a nation which is so overwhelmingly hostile to the university.

    Critics of the BOT can talk about public opinion being the product of media bias but public opinion is what it is and the BOT has to deal with it. As the Penn State PR guy explained at the last BOT meeting , there have been three media "waves" so far in the scandal and BOT's failure to acquiesce to the NCAA sanctions would trigger a fourth wave, something which cannot be allowed to happen. If three waves got us to 75% negative, where do you think the fourth wave is going to get us?

    Critics who think that the BOT should demand a hearing from the NCAA or the courts in which it can shred its own Freeh Report and that this will result in the exoneration of Joe and Penn State in the public mind are kidding themselves. The media would treat this defiance as a pro-child abuse "coup" at Penn State. The public reaction will be visceral and that 75% will spike. NCAA football sanctions will be the least of Penn State's problems. The Big Ten presidents will come under intense pressure from their faculties, alumni and state legislatures to sever all ties, academic as well as athletic, with Penn State. The accreditation warning would become a serious threat. There will be calls to put Penn State into some form of custodianship. Long before the courts could act, Penn State would be forced to withdraw its suit or face pariah status.

    1. I generally agree with your post, but making decisions based on public opinion is what got the BOT in the deep mess they find themselves.

    2. The Second Mile should rightfully be in the public position that PSU is in. They are the entity – not PSU- that had a moral and professional duty to investigate the 2001 allegation. Suppose for a second that the day after JS was indicted officials from The Second Mile held a PC to expose their political connections to the Governor and the $3M grant Corbett then gave them after he took office – that would have been very damaging to Corbett. It would have undermined Corbett and his police commissioner attempts to vilify PSU while not saying a word about his political friends with the Second Mile. So instead, the Second Mile stays silent, the Governor makes certain they are not the focus of indictments or public scorn and instead the focus is on PSU and not the Governor’s contributors at the Second Mile.
      Fast forward to the next phase following the indictment and the immediate aftermath as reporters begin to dig a little deeper. What happens? PSU hires the Governor’s guy from Harrisburg (LaTorre) to speak for the University.
      So relative to Tom Corbett, he is the central force behind everything that has happened.

      So is this Unknown Mr LaTorre?

      Actually the 75% is the absolute high water mark for anything outside of Watergate. The backlash against the incessant outrage is building as more and more people are exposed to the obvious shortcomings of the Freeh Fiction and outrageous insanity of the NCAA Sanctions. So come out from behind your "unknown" status and tell us - are you working for Corbett's clones on the BOT or for the Republican establishment in PA?

    3. Dear "Unknown August 16, 2012 3:59 PM",

      You clearly did not read the blog post very carefully, because if you had, you would have noticed that it consisted of material written by two individuals. One person wrote the first bit that you quoted, and the other wrote the second bit, so it was hardly a case of "You answered this question yourself", as you put it.

      It is a nation of people like you -- people unwilling to carefully and logically process the facts put in front of them -- that has put Penn State into this "75% negative" problem that it now faces.

      Websites like the one you are currently reading are trying to fix that problem -- trying to get the masses to learn and understand the facts. Obviously, this is no easy task.

    4. I didn't even know that Corbett was governor of PA until this scandal broke. I know that Cuomo is governor of NY and Brown is governor of CA. That's it.

      Why do you assume that people who do nothing more than point out unpleasant realities must have evil motives? Do you think that it helps matters to believe in the existence of some imaginary pro-Penn State groundswell? Accepting the public's hostility towards Penn State is unpleasant but necessary.

      Are you suggesting that the "high water mark" 75% is good because you think that it's as bad as it can get? Am I supposed to take comfort in that? In any case, it CAN get worse.

    5. No it cannot get any worse without totally destroying the BOT and the political hierarchy in PA which may be a good thing leading the Feds to step in and do a real investigation that may well be underway already.
      The best thing now is to go all the way and root out every truth. If you think the TRUTH is worse then so be it.
      I know for certain that we are having a positive effect in getting people to question the Freeh Fiction and the NCAA sanctions based on it.
      This is far from over and we will do our best to keep it alive and active in the search for the real truth and justice wherever that leads.
      You really should get familiar with PA politics and the players. Corbett may well be at the bottom of all of this along with several others. Read the LAMBS and WOLVES link under the SMSS Links list to the right

    6. PSU is being held culpable for shortcomings from the 1998 dropped investigation. The DPW had access to a report that warned about pedophelia, but closed the case within a month???? How is that not a question for anybody? Has this agencies practices been audited?

      It is outrageous that that this entire thing has become about PSU. And it is outrageous that nobody is standing up for the good of the university and the good that is in the university.

      I do feel like this is bizarro world. We are not extremists; we are not fringe; we are not outcasts. ANYBODY would want to know the whole truth before being persecuted. Why is that hard to understand?

      So the Freeh report satisfies those that only care about the story or the headline. Sorry, I have more invested in just letting it go because that's what people want. The guilty don't fight back. I am not guilty for this. Yet now I have to actually think about if I want to put on PSU gear for fear of a confrontation? That is not OK.

      Give us due process. Let the facts fall where they may.

    7. Dear "Unknown",

      What exactly are you (and, presumably, the BoT members) worried about? Are you worried about the negative reputation rising from 75% to, say, 80% or 85%? News flash: A university's reputation is ALREADY deep in the gutter, when you have 75% of people thinking that a university deserves a crippling punishment or worse, when there's no evidence that the university in question actually did anything wrong. Seriously, when the reputation level is that low, protesting the sanctions is not going to convert all that many people from the "friendly" camp to the "hater" camp. At this point, about the only thing that can make the public outcry significantly worse is if Penn State were to announce new classes that teach people how to commit child abuse. We've seen what happens every time the BoT rolls over and takes its beating: Public opinion gets WORSE, not better. It's time to break that pattern and stand up for the university. Public opinion can only get better, since it certainly cannot get much worse.

      (Look at the Syracuse situation. At the very beginning, their administration got out in front of the story, and stated that they were going to stand behind their head coach, and to let due process play out. Can you guess what happened? Syracuse didn't take much of a hit in public opinion.)

    8. If pointing out a reality recognized by even most of Joe's staunchest supporters and the way in which it circumscribes the options available to the BOT makes me the governor's "clone" or minion or lackey or whatever, so be it.

      If someone believes that there is an untapped reservoir of goodwill towards PSU somewhere out there, I disagree. I don't think that they're anybody's clone. I just disagree.

      Clearly, we might be in a better position if back in November, the BOT had suspended (not fired) everyone involved and reserved comment until the courts finished their work. This is what most schools would have done. But the BOT didn't do that and there's no going back. We are where we are.

      Things certainly could get worse. So far the academic side of the university seems to be unscathed. As far as I know, there hasn't been any increase in transcript requests from current students or declines in applications or corporate recruiting. I've read no report that PSU professors are encountering hostility in their dealings with other universities. From an academic standpoint, PSU seems still to be in good shape.

    9. Check out the user comments at the end of this article:

      Most of the comments are vilifying Penn State FOR HOSTING A NATIONAL CHILD SEX-ABUSE CONFERENCE, as part of a "commitment to becoming a leader in the research, prevention and treatment of child abuse".

      This is an example of what I'm talking about. Penn State gets ridicule for something that, to a rational, impartial mind, could only be construed as a positive thing. Penn State gets attacked, NO MATTER WHAT PENN STATE DOES. It simply cannot make things significantly worse by taking a different tactic, and standing up for itself. Of course, the PSU leadership should have taken that approach from the very beginning, and then the University would not have been facing the situation it sees now.

  3. Basically this has been a PR nightmare from the start. Maybe going forward all PSU spokespersons have a 'script' that talks about the high standards and accomplishments of the school. It would also not hurt to mention the high graduation rates and all americans from all PSU sports. How about calling out major news organizations that have blatant errors? You need to get ahead of the story and control the message.
    The next wave is going to be the media stories showing the first home football game and all the fans cheering the team. It will be 'LOOK THEY STILL DON'T GET IT'. I'm sure the media is going to find the lamest student and show his/her quotes. This will be a national story.

    I find it amazing that none of the trustees or big boosters in high places can not call in a favor to a media outlet and run a national story on Freeh's spotty history and some of the larger issues with his report.

    1. The trustees are in on the railroading job of Paterno and PSU football....the alumni association (boosters) are dutifully "moving on" -- doing as they were told.

      There is a small, but strong, group who is going to fight until we find the truth. Eventually, the media will catch on.

  4. I tried posting this morning, but I don't see it. I think this post captures all of my worries and concerns about how this has been handled by PSU. It is materially damaging to current students, alumni, staff, etc.

    I think the alumni could bring a class action suit against the BoT.