Monday, November 4

Ryan Bagwell: In sanctions' wake, three trustees fought, then fell in line

Bagwell uncovers e-mails of Tomalis, Lubert, and Myers expressing dissatisfaction with auspices of PSU agreement with NCAA

When Rodney Erickson accepted the unprecedented sanctions that were forced by the NCAA last year, it’s well known that Joel Myers criticized what he said was an unauthorized signing of the consent decree.
But behind the scenes, one other trustee also railed against the agreement to fellow board members, and another questioned whether the university president lied.
On July 24, 2012, Ira Lubert, one of the board’s wealthiest and most influential members, fired off an angry email to Erickson after the head of the NCAA’s Executive Committee said it never considered the so-called “death penalty.”
Sent from an iPad the morning after Mark Emmert announced the penalties, Lubert complained that Erickson misrepresented the death penalty threat to the board and said Penn State should challenge Ray on his claims.
“l’m very troubled about this representation in light of your explanation to us yesterday that we had no option but to sign this, no negotiation etc!” Lubert wrote in an e-mail to Erickson and other board members. “Again this board is put in the position that we don’t know what we’re doing and that we rush to decisions under the excuse we ‘had no choice.’”


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  2. The fact that this email comes from Jennifer Branstetter makes me highly suspicious. Ms. Branstetter is Gov. Corbett's non-voting representative on the PSU BOT and a member of his senior staff as Secretary of Planning and Policy. However, her primary background is in Public Relations. She worked for a PR firm prior to joining the governor's election campaign and then his administration, she was also deputy press secretary in the Ridge Adminstration, so she definitely has experience with spinning stories for PR purposes.

    And most suspicious, Corbett named her to the PSU BOT 2 days after Paterno was fired on 11/9/11. It seems her role on the BOT was more of helping to manage/manipulate the BOT's public relations to fit more of what the Governor wanted. Would not surprise me in the least if Ms. Branstetter informed the Governor of this dissent within the BOT and he then either bribed them with something, such as seats on the BOT executive committee, or put other pressure on those trustees to fall in line with the rest of them.

    It seems anytime something comes up in this case, you can trace something back to Corbett.

    1. Rums,
      PSU hired Lanny Davis in December to do crisis management and PR. Freeh also hired Kekst as his PR team for the investigation. In April 2012, PSU brought on David "No Comment" LaTorre and Edelman for PR.

      I agree that it is likely that Corbett pressured the dissenters into coming into line with the rest of the BOT lickers.