Tuesday, December 30

2014 Brings More Truth & Reason to Look Forward to 2015

Ray Blehar

Now that 2015 is almost here, Karen Peetz's statement about the scandal being a distant memory when the new President arrives couldn't have been more wrong.  2014 brought much good news in the fight for the truth.  Here are the highlights and a brief look ahead to 2015.

January 2014:  "Cram Down" Lie Exposed

rare video of then PSU President Rod Erickson revealed that PSU and the NCAA negotiated the eventual NCAA sanctions - not that the sanctions were forced by a Death Penalty ultimatum.  

The release of documents related to the Corman v. NCAA case in late 2014 confirmed the story.  In addition,  Corman related documents confirmed that PSU allowed the NCAA (and the Big Ten) to participate in the Freeh investigation.  The latter was also covered in the January 2014 post.  

What was news to many about the NCAA and PSU's collaboration on the NCAA penalties in the Fall of 2014 shouldn't have been news to readers of this blog.

February: PSU Announces New President

Barron:  Not the first choice to be the next
 President of PSU...but serving puppet role well
February of 2014 brought with it the announcement of PSU's new President -- Eric Barron.  

Prior to Barron's selection, the PSU BOT's top choice, Dr. David R. Smith of the State University of New York, was forced to resign from his position at SUNY amid revelations that he had been padding his salary with unauthorized payments from vendors.  Based on the PSU BOT's history of conflicts of interests, it was likely that the bad publicity surrounding Smith's actions -  not the actions themselves - forced the BOT to reconsider its choice.

As we have learned over the past year, the selection of Eric Barron was a continuation of the BOT's post-11/9/11 practice of selecting weak, puppet Presidents to ensure that Board could manipulate all public relations emanating from PSU

March: Clemens Resigns, Admits BOT Mistakes 

Clemens: Bashed BOT
actions while  resigning
Steven Fink wrote "A Crack in the Wall...Finally" with regard to former BOT member Al Clemens' resignation in March 2014.  While resigning, Clemens admitted the mistakes of the Board in the firing of Paterno and in its failure to take issue with the conclusions of the Freeh Report.  Part of Clemens' statement follows:

On November 9th, 2011, I and my fellow Trustees, voted to fire Joe Paterno in a hastily called meeting. We had little advance notice or opportunity to discuss and consider the complex issues we faced. After 61 years of exemplary service, Coach Paterno was given no chance to respond. That was a mistake. I will always regret that my name is attached to that rush to injustice.

Hiring Louis Freeh and the tacit acceptance of his questionable conclusions, without review, along with his broad criticism of our Penn State culture was yet another mistake. In joining the Paterno family and others in their suit against the NCAA, I have distanced myself from the Board on this issue. I am determined to reverse all of the misguided sanctions which were designed to punish a football program without blemish, and were aimed at student-athletes innocent of any wrong-doing.

Unsealed Documents Hammer Baldwin, Feudale
Baldwin's reprehensible actions remain
under review by Judge Hoover.
March 2014 also marked the unsealing of the transcripts of Spanier's grand jury testimony. The unsealed documents from the Spanier testimony revealed that former PSU General Counsel Cynthia Baldwin and then Supervisory Grand Jury Judge Barry Feudale had tricked Spanier into believing Baldwin was representing him.   It was also revealed that Baldwin had not been complying with grand jury subpoenas.  

As for Feudale, he was removed from this post in July 2013 by PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane.  Feudale displayed questionable behavior in brandishing a knife in Strawberry Square and for sending demeaning emails about former PA AG Linda Kelly.

April/May: PS4RS Candidates Sweep Election

April brought with it the announcement of the alumni-elected trustee candidates for the May 2014 elections.  

Two of the three sitting trustees (Arnelle and Alexander) stepped aside, while then 33 year veteran trustee Joel N. Myers decided to run for yet another term.  Myers, who first attacked the NCAA for its heavy handedness in sanctioning PSU, became subdued around the same time PSU renewed Accuweather's contract with the University.  He then turned his attacks on the alumni group PS4RS.

In May, Myers went down in defeat to PS4RS-endorsed candidates Bob Jubelirer, Alice Pope, and Al Lord.   The newly elected trustees would join with the previously elected group of Anthony Lubrano, Bill Oldsey, Barbara Doran, Ted Brown, Adam Taliaferro, and Ryan McCombie to ratchet up the fight for the truth and to restore PSU's well-deserved reputation as a school that did things the right way, academically and athletically.

PSU Assists NCAA, Pepper Hamilton in Stonewalling
The PSU Administration continued
to stonewall on Freeh documents

On May 19th, Paterno, Et Al made its arguments for discovery of the 3.5 million documents allegedly used by Louis Freeh to construct his work of fiction known as the Freeh Report.  

Penn State sided with the NCAA, Freeh, and Pepper Hamilton to fight release of this information, knowing that discovery of those documents would ultimately bring us closer to the truth.  

As it turned out, the Corman v. NCAA case beat the Paterno's to the punch and the release of NCAA emails revealed PSU's collusion in sanctioning its student-athletes and damaging the reputation of the Penn State community.

June: Moulton Investigation Concludes"Inexcusable" Delays

Just about one year after I released Report 3 regarding the Sandusky criminal investigation and prosecution, Special Deputy Attorney General Geoffrey Moulton released his report.  Moulton's report repeated a number of findings in my report, most notably the failure to establish a multi-disciplinary investigative team and the failure to obtain timely search warrants.  

In another striking similarity, he Moulton report charged the PA State Police and former OAG officials with "inexcusable" delays in charging Sandusky.  At the press conference announcing the report, AG Kane stated that at least two children suffered abuse while the investigation lagged.

The report also stated the Governor Corbett provided little to no guidance to the investigation.  It appeared the only direct evidence of Corbett's involvement in the case was when he took  credit for the arrest and conviction of Sandusky.

July: Lord Petitions BOT to "Complete" the Freeh Investigation

Newly elected BOT member, Al Lord, presented a motion for PSU to reopen and complete the investigation, citing credible criticisms of the report and the process for reaching the NCAA Consent Decree.

Lord's motion:  Complete
the Freeh investigation
Proposed resolution, re the July 12, 2012 report of the special investigative council issued by Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP. Whereas certain conclusions of the Freeh Report have damaged the reputations of Penn State, certain of its former officials and its Board of Trustees, whereas the Freeh report is acknowledged by the NCAA to have formed part of the basis for the Consent Decree the NCAA imposed on Penn State, whereas certain conclusions of the NCAA investigation have caused financial and reputational damage to Penn State, certain of its former officials and to its Board of Trustees, whereas the Board of Trustees accepted the Freeh Report and the conclusion stated therein, on the basis that the Freeh Report was accurate, complete and the product of a comprehensive investigation, whereas the Board of Trustees accepted the NCAA investigative findings on the same basis, whereas the Board of Trustees believed the NCAA adhered to its own charter and bylaws, and was authorized by those documents to impose each of the various punishments in the Consent Decree and on that basis the Board of Trustees endorsed the Consent Decree. 

Whereas, in the nearly two years since the Freeh Report was issued, credible criticisms of the Freeh Report have emerged, whereas in the nearly two years since the NCAA Consent Decree was imposed credible criticisms of the process by which the NCAA adopted the investigative findings in the Freeh Report, credible criticisms of the manner in which the NCAA adhered to its own charter, and bylaws in imposing punishments on Penn State have emerged, whereas the Board of Trustees have come to question the accuracy and completeness of the Freeh Report, and has come to believe that it may not be conclusive in all material respects, and whereas the board believes it is imperative to fully investigate all matters not fully addressed by the Freeh investigative team, that is the end of the whereases. 

Therefore, be it resolved that the Board of Trustees shall immediately undertake to identify those matters not fully investigated by Freeh and complete the investigation of such matters. 

Lord's motion was seconded, but eventually tabled due to pending legal matters regarding the case.  It would not be the last time the BOT would utilize the "pending legal matters" argument as an excuse for inaction.

August:  BOT looks for pat on back while standing behind NCAA

The 11/9/11 trustees and their "Praetorian Guard" (a.k.a., the Gang of 19) passed a resolution on August 13th that it would not provide input to a proposed settlement in the Corman v. NCAA lawsuit.  In doing so, the gang rejected another resolution by the Alumni-trustees that would have made voiding the NCAA Consent Decree and the associated penalties part of the settlement agreement.  The Gang also rejected a proposal by the alumni to remove two sentences from their resolution regarding compliance with the NCAA Consent Decree.  Those sentences follow:

 Specifically, the Board would support a settlement in which the University, acting
through its President, pursuant to his duly authorized and delegated authority under the
University’s governing documents, agrees that the $60 million fine would be paid to the
Commonwealth in compliance with the Act and with the Consent Decree for distribution
in Pennsylvania for the benefit of Pennsylvania children. For the past two years, the
University, with appropriate vigor, has complied with the terms of the Consent Decree,
and the University remains committed to full compliance with the Consent Decree as
amended from time to time.

In rejecting the proposal which would have served the best interests of PSU, trustee Kathleen Casey commented that the NCAA and Senator George Mitchell were considered "clients" of PSU.

Kathleen Casey: NCAA, Mitchell are "clients."
" I think that if the removal of this language is to suggest that we would be backing away from the continued commitment to full compliance with the consent agreement, I think that'd be a horrible message to send, at a time when, again, they're looking at the prospects of additional relief and this relief is not efemoral (sic). This is real, I don't disagree with, I understand very deeply the, the issues that have been raised about some of the alumni. The search for truth and the desire for so greater accounting. What I'd also say though, I can't believe that would result in a statement today that we are disavowing our continued commitment to the clients."

In essence, Ms. Casey stated she understood the issues of the 600,000 alumni, but they are nothing more than  cattle. The persons the BOT needed to please were George Mitchell and Mark Emmert.  The Gang expected its "clients" would give them a few pats on the back for continuing their deception about "fixing" the PSU culture (and also throw some crumbs to the football team for its "improved" integrity!). 

But the true bottom line was that the Gang of 19 wanted a settlement to be reached between the NCAA and Corman so that discovery would have been circumvented and, as a result, another avenue for finding out the real story behind the NCAA Consent Decree would be shut off.   As we know now, it didn't turn out that way and Corman has blown the lid off the negotiations between the NCAA and PSU.

September:  NCAA & Mitchell Collusion Exposed 

According to the orders of Judge Covey, the NCAA was to complete discovery for the Corman case on September 8th.  Instead of complying with the judge's order, the NCAA motioned to withdraw from the case on that date.  However, the news of the NCAA's withdraw barely made a ripple in the news that day.  

NCAA's 2014 same day sanctions reduction
exposed Mitchell's lack of independence
Instead, Senator George Mitchell made headlines with his release of his second annual progress report on PSU's compliance with the (phony) Athletics Integrity Agreement (AIA) and his recommendation to reduce sanctions. That was followed by more headlines that the NCAA announced that PSU's sanctions of a post-season bowl ban and scholarship reductions would be dropped. The NCAA's quick action confirmed that Mitchell was nothing more than a paid hack for the NCAA.

According to an email released in the Corman lawsuit, the NCAA had Mitchell lined up as the AIA monitor on July 23rd, 2012 and had already listed his duties.  It delayed until August 1st to announce Mitchell as monitor.

Much like with the Freeh Report, the NCAA didn't care what was written in Mitchell's report or if any of it was true.  It had already decided to use the publicity surrounding the reduction of sanctions to deflect attention away from its other problems related to the Corman case.  

Mitchell's prior recommendation to reduce sanctions came on September 6, 2013.  The NCAA followed with a decision  by its Executive Committee to reduce the sanctions on September 24th -- approximately three weeks later.  This delay provided the appearance that Mitchell was working independently from the NCAA, but the rationale for sanctions reductions was very similar.  The NCAA was facing calls for changes at the top from the media for botching the Miami (Fla) investigation, academic scandals at UNC and Auburn, and its overreach at PSU.

October: Porngate Snags Sandusky Investigator, Other OAG Officials

Feathers: Former Sandusky agent
lost his new job over Porngate
On October 15th, former OAG Supervisory Agent, Randy Feathers, who supervised the Sandusky investigation, resigned his position on the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and parole.  Feathers' resignation letter identified his role in the Sandusky investigation, which up until that point had rarely, if ever, been mentioned by the media.

Glenn Parno, referred to in the press as the Deputy Chief Counsel with the Department of Environmental Protection, also was forced to step down.  He was in the approval chain of the Sandusky presentment while an employee of the OAG.

Another OAG official snagged in the scandal was Richard Sheetz, who the media referred to as a former OAG official and member of the Lancaster County DA's office.  Email evidence revealed that as an OAG official, Sheetz was also in the approval chain of the Sandusky grand jury presentment and made some interesting remarks about then OAG prosecutor, Jonelle Eshbach.

Sheetz and Parno both forced out as a result of the scandal.

Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan, who had over 300 pornographic emails on his computer, was asked by PA NOW to step down from his position.  Noonan's behavior was defended by Governor Tom Corbett.  Noonan's failure to step aside and Corbett's refusal to make it happen were the height of hypocrisy, as both men invoked charges of a lack of morals against PSU officials.

November: Evidence Shows NCAA Consent Decree Was Illegal

While the Corman case won't make its way to a courtroom until February 2014, the NCAA's dubious claims of attorney-client privilege led to the release of sample emails that revealed much about the process by which the NCAA and PSU arrived at the "illegal" Consent Decree.

 NCAA penalized PSU knowing there
was no evidence to support  a LOIC
Early emails revealed the NCAA knew it didn't have the authority to punish PSU and that some on the NCAA staff believed penalties would not survive a review by the Committee on Infractions.   Little did those staff members realize that Emmert, Remy, Erickson, and others at the top of their respective organizations had already decided to circumvent the traditional infractions process in order to penalize the PSU football program.   The top brass knew that the COI's review of the Freeh Report would have found no evidence of a Lack of Institutional Control.  In other words, there was no repeating pattern of NCAA violations as a result of any alleged misconduct by PSU officials.

Despite the statements of Gene Marsh, Rod Erickson, Steven Dunham, and Frank Guadagnino, then PSU-President Rod Erickson did not have authority to obligate the $60 million in fine money or to enter into an agreement with the NCAA without a vote of the PSU Board of Trustees.  Erickson's lack of authority to do so was clearly stated in the Standing Orders of the Board of Trustees. 


"(e) Authorization to borrow money; authorization of persons to sign checks,contracts, legal documents, andother obligations, and to endorse, sell,or assign securities."

Finally, the NCAA did not act in good faith when it penalized PSU based strictly on Erickson's admission that the Freeh Report findings concluded there was a lack of institutional control.  As I wrote here, the Freeh Report's contents actually undermined the Key Findings used to show a LOIC in the NCAA Consent Decree.

December: Boycott May Be Death Knell for Old Guard Trustees

To culminate another year of poor decisions by the unaccountable members of the Board of Trustees, current Board Chairman Keith Masser engineered a boycott of the December 15th special meeting called by the Alumni-elected trustees.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the rationale for PSU to change its position as a co-defendant in the Corman v. NCAA case to becoming a plaintiff.  

Masser, understanding that the only reason for PSU to remain a co-defendant was its slim hope that the truth about the PSU scandal would not be fully revealed, urged other trustees not to attend.  The boycott was successful, as only student trustee Allison Goldstein bucked Masser's request and joined the Alumni-elected trustees.  

Senator John Yudichak noted that Masser's actions violated the spirit of the University By-Law and state laws.  To wit:

Masser: Boycott could be end of the line
for unaccountable trustees
Regrettably, as a result of Chairman Keith Masser’s unprecedented move to prevent a quorum from being present, you are not able to vote on the resolution. Separate from the merits of the resolution, which I fully support, the egregious actions of Chairman Masser point to a disturbing trend by the board majority to contravene the spirit of University bylaws and to stubbornly ignore long-standing state laws that prescribe membership on the Penn State Board of Trustees.

More specifically, the boycott by Masser violated Standing Order V. GOVERNANCE OF THE UNIVERSITY, 1. (d) Expectations of Membership (iv):

Prepare diligently, attend faithfully, and participate constructively in all Board of Trustees meetings and related activities by reading the agenda and supporting materials;

Of all the bad decisions made by the PSU BOT which kept children in danger, cost the school its reputation and millions of dollars, and penalized innocent student athletes, it is likely that the boycott by Masser and the others may finally be the straw that broke the camel's back and leads to their eventual ouster.

Looking Forward to 2015

Expect the NCAA to continue its losing streak in litigation and for the NCAA Consent Decree to be declared invalid as a result of the Corman lawsuit.  As I noted above, neither the NCAA nor Erickson had the authority to enter into an agreement fining/penalizing PSU. Penn State's vacated football wins will be restored and Mark Emmert will face pressure to step down  as President of the NCAA.

The Corman and Paterno cases, as well as efforts by Ryan Bagwell and other truth seekers continue, more evidence will be uncovered that will show collusion between top PSU officials, Freeh investigators, and PA government officials.   As a result, the Pennsylvania legislature may heed the call of trustee Al Lord and open up its own investigation into PSU's response to the Sandusky scandal.  

We also can look forward to the alumni trustees report on their review of the Freeh Report.  Conversely, you can expect nothing worthwhile to come out of President Barron's review of the report.

The PA Judiciary will continue to kick the can down the road in the pending criminal trials of Curley, Schultz, and Spanier.  Expect Judge Hoover to forward the decisions surrounding Cynthia Baldwin's dual representation of PSU and the defendants to the PA Supreme Court.

The federal investigation into the Sandusky scandal will continue, but it is unlikely that charges will be filed in 2015.  As one PA OAG official noted with regard to another recent probe,  "Every door we've opened has led to two or three other doors."  Similar events have transpired in the Federal investigation.

More progress will be made in the quest to reform Pennsylvania's failing child protection system.  Child welfare advocates will press new Governor Tom Wolf to establish an Office of Child Advocate or some other instrument to provide for independent oversight of the Department of Human Services (formerly DPW).  

With the possible 2015 release of The Ballad of Richard Jewell, which will star Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, there will be an opportunity to take advantage of the public's heightened awareness of the damage done when the media makes false allegations against individuals to advance a story.  Look for truth seekers to turn the movie into a positive for PSU and a big negative for the Harrisburg Patriot News.

Happy New Year!


  1. A very insightful column Ray! I congratulate you on compiling some very interesting facts. My take away is that 2015 looks to be a very interesting year in the fight for the truth. I hope you are right and the consent decree will be found to be invalid. That should expose the complicity of the old guard BoT members and it is hard to see how Keith Masser can survive as BoT chair. I see that Senator Yudichak plans to introduce legislation to remake the BoT in a "radically different" way than in previous proposals.


    It will be interesting to see if that initiative makes any headway.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Steve,
      Thanks for the kind words and the link to the article on Yudichak's intention to introduce radical reforms.

      With Wolf being sworn in as Governor this January, the power structure is going to change in Harrisburg and at University Park.

  2. Nice summary of 2014 events. One significant event that would probably be worth including was Governor Corbett's election loss and his admission after the election that the Trustees made a mistake in firing Paterno. Corbett also said 'I'm not so sure it was clear to him [Paterno]" that Sandusky was abusing boys in 2001.

    I hope you are right about more of the truth being revealed in 2015 but I wouldn't be surprised if the NCAA settles at the last minute to avoid more embarrassing revelations and court losses in the Corman and Paterno lawsuits. It would easy for the NCAA to blame it all on Freeh's inaccurate report. The NCAA has a habit of settling when a court loss appears likely.

    1. Tim,
      The NCAA has already backpedaled on the Freeh Report, stating that PSU accepted the report's findings and making no claims that they did the same. That said, the NCAA cannot get past the fact that it used Key Findings of the report in the Consent Decree, which pretty much shows in black and white they agreed with the findings.

      The NCAA has tried on numerous occasions to circumvent the case against the NCAA Consent Decree ever seeing the inside of a court room. Their motion to withdraw from the case was denied by Judge Covey and the case will be heard.

    2. Tim,
      Forgot to mention that I had contemplated including the Corbett defeat in the line-up, but it really was overshadowed by the Corman lawsuit. The impact of Corbett's defeat is dependent upon how fast Wolf acts to replace Corbett's appointees on the BOT.


    3. Reply to Tim Berton from STEVEN FINK.

      "I am on record as having said and written that at no time did the board have anyone advising them who had actual crisis management experience. I am familiar with the law firms and public relations firms retained by the board, and I stand by my statement. Just putting the words "crisis management" on a business card does not make one an expert in the field."

  3. GREAT job you do...Keep up the fight for the truth!!!...

  4. Ray, what is the relevance, beside none, of the "termination and suspension" clause of the NCAA that Jonathan M. Jacobs keeps blowing out of his backside?

    1. John,
      You are correct. JJ is talking out his backside about the "termination OR suspension" clause, which is nowhere to be found in the NCAA rules.

      The closest thing to a termination clause is here:

      However, as the NCAA rules clearly state, a coach's misconduct, lack of morals, dishonesty, or unethical behavior must be associated with NCAA violations.

      The NCAA has yet to cite a specific violation or an individual at PSU who committed the violation.

    2. Actually, it is the NCAA Constitution, Termination or Suspension.

    3. JJ,
      And how would that be relevant if neither PSU, Freeh, or the NCAA cited a rule violation? It is strikingly similar to the OAG citing PA CS 23 6319 (i.e., the penalties for failure to report) but never citing the alleged law that was broken (6311).

      The consent decree never makes mention of a "lack of institutional control" because the NCAA knows it cannot make that case. It mentions "lack of institutional integrity," for which there is ABSOLUTELY NO evidentiary support.