Big Ten: Jerry Sandusky

Happy Valley not placated by reduction

September, 25, 2013
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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The afterglow of reduced sanctions has faded here in Happy Valley.

Tuesday afternoon classes filled with chatter about the restoration of Penn State scholarships, but the wave of surprise and satisfaction has died down.

Former players, fans and alumni are pleased with the NCAA's most recent move. That much is obvious. But an overwhelming number of people labeled it as simply not good enough. It's cause to smile but not to celebrate.

[+] EnlargeMatt McGloin
AP Photo/Gene J. PuskarFormer Penn State QB Matt McGloin is pleased with the NCAA's decision, but he wants more.
"I was really excited for Coach [Bill] O'Brien and the program, but I was kind of still pissed off because I feel like the NCAA is just taking baby steps toward things," said Stephon Morris, who played cornerback for Penn State last season. "They know they're wrong -- we all know they're wrong -- so why not give us everything we deserve? I feel like they could do more than what they're doing."

The town's opinion of the NCAA hasn't changed. Some students still strolled downtown, backpacks slung over their shoulders, with blue T-shirts that depict the letters "NCAA" with the "C" angled into a hammer and sickle. "National Communist Athletic Association," the shirts read.

Stop a Penn State student, ask about the reduction in sanctions, and you're almost begging to first hear a soliloquy on everything that's wrong with the NCAA and its president, Mark Emmert. Students and fans are quick to say they don't mean to diminish the atrocities of former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky -- but they add he doesn't reflect the university and didn't offer a competitive advantage.

They say the NCAA overstepped into a criminal matter. And a reduction in sanctions is simply a door-prize for being wronged themselves.

"With the scholarships, yeah, I'm happy about it. I'm happy we give out money for kids to play football," said Penn State senior Tyler Bodnar, a meteorology major. "But it seems like they're kind of like, 'Oh we screwed up. We didn't mean to come down that hard.'

"We feel like we're still getting punished for something we had no hand in -- and neither did the players, neither did the coaches, neither did the community."

In the HUB-Robeson Center -- a popular glass-and-brick building where students can dine quickly on cheap pizza, grab a latte and leach off free WiFi -- students read books quietly on the second floor Tuesday evening and again Wednesday afternoon. Some studied on the bustling first floor, while overheard conversations centered on a criminal justice class and dorm-room drama.

The theme of student discussion did not revolve around the NCAA's most recent move, of allowing PSU 75 scholarships next season, as opposed to the original cap of 65, and putting PSU at the full allotment of 85 scholarships by 2016. Four of 10 interviewed students Tuesday evening hadn't even heard of the reduction.

Three thousand miles away, in the confines of Oakland, Calif., Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin was well-aware of the move. McGloin, the former walk-on and O'Brien protege, sat in the Penn State players' lounge last July 23, when Emmert strolled up to the podium on TV and recited the crushing sanctions.

Emmert glanced up from his notes every few moments, without a change in facial expression. At Penn State some players, mostly the freshmen and sophomores with their entire college careers in front of them, just cried. The upperclassmen, McGloin remembered, just seethed with anger and frustration.

"To watch him on TV, you could see it in his face -- how it meant nothing to him to hand all this out. It meant nothing to him," McGloin said Tuesday night. "That's what got guys so frustrated."

The reduction doesn't make up for that day, McGloin continued, but the news of extra scholarships was still something he was pleased with -- even if he wasn't so sure about the NCAA's motive.

"I'm optimistic about the situation and want to say it's the first step toward something great. At least they're doing something about it," he said. "But, at the same time, I'm starting to think that maybe the direction they're heading is, 'Hey, let's give them something small just to shut everybody up and shut these people up so it makes it look like we're doing something.' That's my only concern with it."

Penn State senior Allen Sheffield, president of the group of student campers known as "Nittanyville," understands where McGloin's coming from. Sheffield still remembers mowing the grass, washing laundry and taking out the trash before reclining on his couch last July 23 to watch the sanctions beside his father.

The shock, anger and potpourri of emotions didn't wane because of a recent NCAA announcement. One student felt it was as if a company cheated them out of $1 million and then tossed them a $100,000 settlement. Of course they're still angry. Of course they think that's not enough.

Nittany Nation took to social media to express their surprise and contentment over the restoration of scholarships. But that happiness had about the same shelf life as milk left out in the sun.

"Twitter tells everything," Sheffield said Wednesday afternoon. "My timeline from the first couple hours was just like boom-boom-boom. And then, later on, no one's really talking about it."

Some fans are still organizing and calling for the Board of Trustees to resign. Cars are still cruising through the downtown with "409" bumper stickers -- a nod to Joe Paterno's 409 wins, 111 of which were vacated as part of the sanctions. And message board posters are still questioning the validity of points made in the Freeh Report.

Happy Valley lived up to its namesake for a few hours Tuesday. But now it's as if the reduction never happened. The community isn't happy -- and might not be until Emmert can say there's no culture problem or the sanctions are erased.

"What they've given us is great and all," McGloin said. "But I guess I'd have to agree with Steph [Stephon Morris]. It's just not enough yet."
Penn State is getting closer to settling the legal claims made by the alleged victims of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Penn State's board of trustees has authorized approximately $60 million in payments to the men who say they were abused by Sandusky. Sources tell the newspaper that Penn State has agreements in principle to settle about 25 of the approximately 30 claims brought against the university. Penn State on Friday announced it had reached tentative settlements but didn't provide specifics on how many cases had been settled or dollar amounts.

Sandusky, Penn State's longtime defensive coordinator under Joe Paterno, is serving 30-60 years in prison after being convicted last summer on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.

From the WSJ:
The university has reached agreements in principle to settle about 25 out of some 30 claims, and settlements are expected to be finalized within the next month, the people said. It is unclear what will happen to the remaining claims, including at least one in which the plaintiff has filed a civil lawsuit against the university.

Attorneys for the men have declined to say how much money they were individually seeking, but people familiar with the process said amounts would vary and be determined in part by the nature of the abuse, whether it occurred on Penn State's campus and over what length of time.

The university doesn't plan to comment on the settlements until all are final, which could be happening soon.

Big Ten lunchtime links

January, 25, 2013
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I love nothing!
Sorry we didn't post this yesterday, but it was a busy day full of New Year's Day bowl games. Anyway, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is expected to file suit against the NCAA Wednesday over the harsh sanctions levied at Penn State for its role in the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal.

The Republican governor has a news conference scheduled for later Wednesday on the Penn State campus to announce the filing in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg. The Associated Press reports that it will be an antitrust lawsuit.

SI.com's Pete Thamel first reported this story and wrote that Penn State itself will not be a party to the lawsuit. That makes sense, because the school has worked alongside of and cooperated with the NCAA.

Will this suit gain any traction, and will it lead to the lessening of sanctions against the Nittany Lions? It's hard to see how that will happen since Penn State leaders signed off on the NCAA action. This smells more like politics. Pennsylvania has a new attorney general about to take office who promised in her campaign to investigate state prosecutors' role in the Sandusky scandal. Corbett was the attorney general before becoming governor in January 2011.

We'll have more on this story as it develops. With this and Bill O'Brien's apparent courtship from NFL teams, it's a busy week at Penn State.

Video: Friday Four Downs

November, 2, 2012
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Brian Bennett examines four pressing issues as the Big Ten heads into Week 10.

Sandusky sentenced to 30 to 60 years

October, 9, 2012
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Former Penn State assistant Jerry Sandusky was sentenced Tuesday to at least 30 years and no more than 60 years on child sex-abuse charges. Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of child sexual abuse in June.

The sentence means that Sandusky, who is 68, will likely live out the rest of his days behind bars.

Sandusky has maintained his innocence and did so again during the sentencing hearing. He spoke for about 15 minutes, echoing most of what he had said Monday. Three of Sandusky's victims read statements, and a statement was read from the mother of another victim.

Judge John Cleland told Sandusky that his repeated denials of guilt "make you dangerous." Sandusky's lawyer said he plans to appeal the conviction.

Former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and former senior administrator Gary Schultz are scheduled to go on trial for perjury on Jan. 7.
We'll hear from Jerry Sandusky in court Tuesday, but on the eve of his sentencing for 45 counts of child sexual abuse, the former Penn State assistant coach released an audio clip from jail Monday night, proclaiming his innocence and denouncing his accusers.

Penn State's student radio station obtained the three-minute audio clip and aired it just after 6 p.m. ET. Sandusky begins by saying, "I'm responding to the worst loss of my life." He then laments what he believes was not having a fair opportunity to prepare for trial, says his wife, Dottie, has been his only sex partner and says the first accuser, who he describes as "a dramatic, veteran accuser and always sought attention," started the allegations and "a well-orchestrated effort" that included the media, Penn State, investigators, attorneys jumped in. He said he lost his case because of "speculation and stories."

"They could take away my life, they could make me out as a monster, they can treat me as a monster, but they can't take away my heart," Sandusky says. "In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged, disgusting acts."

Sandusky didn't testify during his trial in June.

Former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky will be sentenced Tuesday on 45 counts of child sex abuse and is expected to address the court and maintain his innocence, according to his lawyer.

From the Associated Press:
Nobody else is expected to speak on Sandusky's behalf during the sentencing hearing Tuesday in Bellefonte, defense attorney Joe Amendola said.

"What I anticipate he'll say is that he's innocent," Amendola said outside the courthouse.

The attorney said others, including Sandusky's wife, have submitted letters on his behalf and that Dottie Sandusky stands by her husband and will attend the sentencing.

"He's going to fight for a new trial," Amendola said. He said "the important thing" about sentencing for the defense "is it starts the appellate process."

Sandusky likely will receive a life sentence for his crimes, as many of the counts carry minimum sentences of 5-10 years. He has been held in a county jail since his June 22 conviction.

Mike McQueary sues Penn State

October, 2, 2012
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video

Former Penn State football assistant coach Mike McQueary has filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against the university, seeking millions of dollars in damages for what he believes is defamation and misrepresentation.

McQueary, who saw former Penn State assistant Jerry Sandusky in the shower with a young boy in 2001 and reported it to former head coach Joe Paterno, claims that statements made by former Penn State president Graham Spanier after the scandal broke in November harmed his reputation. The lawsuit states Spanier told athletic staff after the scandal broke that he supported athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz, who had been charged with perjury and failing to report child abuse.

From the Associated Press:
"Spanier's statements have irreparably harmed (McQueary's) reputation for honesty and integrity, and have irreparably harmed (his) ability to earn a living, especially in his chosen profession of coaching football," the lawsuit said.

Messages left for Spanier and his lawyer on Tuesday were not immediately returned.

The lawsuit said McQueary learned his contract was not being renewed, meaning he was no longer a university employee, from a news conference held in July by the university's new president, Rodney Erickson. He said his salary last year was $140,000 and his future earnings as a coach would amount to at least $4 million.

McQueary's lawsuit hardly comes as a surprise, as his career options in football seemingly have been limited or completely eliminated by the scandal. The former Penn State quarterback and wide receivers coach testified in Sandusky's child sex abuse trial in June.

Video: Penn State reports Sandusky costs

September, 5, 2012
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Michele Steele talks to Senior Counselor for APCO Worldwide, Vada Manager, regarding Penn State's handling of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Video: Rooting for Penn State

August, 31, 2012
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Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless discuss if they will root for Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Video: Victims' stories impacted jurors

August, 27, 2012
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Outside The Lines reporter Kelly Naqi talks with two jurors from the Sandusky trial about their experience, and the effect it continues to have on their lives.
More excerpts from Joe Posnanski's authorized biography, Paterno, are coming to light. The latest one covers what the book describes as a rocky relationship between Joe Paterno and his former longtime defensive coordinator, convicted child sex abuser Jerry Sandusky.

The Patriot-News reports on the relevant passages from the book, which divulges that Paterno had written what the family called a "Why I Hate Jerry Sandusky" memo in 1993.

"In it Paterno complained that Sandusky had stopped recruiting, seemed constantly distracted, had lost his energy for coaching, and was more interested in his charity, The Second Mile. "He would gripe about Jerry all the time," one family member said."

Of course, Sandusky retired in 1999, one year after he was investigated by police for showering with a young boy. Many have wondered if the two were related, though the Freeh Report found no link. The Freeh Report did conclude that Paterno knew about the 1998 investigation.

Posnanski writes:

"The general media takeaway from this email chain was that Paterno had convinced Curley to back off reporting Sandusky and to handle this in-house. Others familiar with the emails believed instead that Paterno had demanded they confront Sandusky."

Posnanski also asked Paterno if he considered calling the police after being told by Mike McQueary in 2002 that McQueary had witnessed Sandusky in a Penn State shower with a young boy.

"To be honest with you, I didn't," Paterno responded. "This isn't my field. I didn't know what to do. I had not seen anything. Jerry didn't work for me anymore. I didn't have anything to do with him. I tried to look through the Penn State guidelines to see what I was supposed to do. It said that I was supposed to call Tim [Curley]. So I did."

Argue away.

Video: Trustees support PSU president

August, 13, 2012
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Penn State's board of trustees voiced its support for university president Rodney Erickson and will comply with sanctions handed down by NCAA.
Joe Paterno's family has just issued the legal equivalent of a Hail Mary pass.

The Paterno family, through attorney Wick Sollers, sent a letter of appeal Friday to the NCAA, requesting an open hearing on the sanctions handed down to Penn State as a result of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
"This matter may be the most important disciplinary action in the history of the NCAA, and it has been handled in a fundamentally inappropriate and unprecedented manner," Sollers wrote in the letter to the NCAA's Infractions Appeal Committee. "To severely punish a University and its community and to condemn a great educator, philanthropist and coach without any public review or hearing is unfair on its face and a violation of NCAA guidelines."

They have a point about the unprecedented nature of how the NCAA chose to punish the school, an argument that many have made. But if the Paternos truly believe this appeal will gain any traction in Indianapolis, then they are delusional. If they believe they are the ones to restore Penn State football back to its pre-Sandusky status, they are living on another planet.

[+] EnlargeMark Emmert
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesNCAA president Mark Emmert announced sanctions against Penn State's football program July 23.
The family argues that it has the right to file an appeal because Paterno is an "involved individual," according to NCAA rules. Well, OK. But the only real sanctions against Joe Paterno were the vacating of his wins. There is zero chance that the NCAA would overturn that decision. But even if it ignored all previous precedent and restored those wins, who really cares in the grand scheme of things?

Beyond that, Paterno's name is about as radioactive as it gets right now in the halls of the NCAA. There will be no sympathy for his reputation at this time, and that probably won't change unless new information comes to light.

The letter also seems to ignore the fact that Penn State accepted the NCAA sanctions and agreed to not have any kind of hearing on the matter. Or that the school accepted as fact the findings of the Freeh report, which it had itself commissioned and paid for.

Yet the Paternos apparently think their letter of appeal can get the NCAA to consider changing the sanctions against a school whose leadership agreed to the penalties, simply because the family of one of the main figures responsible for the sanctions doesn't think it was fair?

Yeah, um, good luck with that one.

Indeed, the NCAA rightly batted away the appeal late Friday. But, ESPN.com's Don Van Natta Jr. writes, the Paternos could use that denial as the basis to sue the NCAA. So perhaps this is just legal wrangling. But what, really, will the Paternos seek to gain by any kind of lawsuit? I'm no lawyer, but most people have heard the phrase "you can't defame the dead." The Paternos don't seem to have any standing to fight the sanctions against the football program since they are not currently associated with it. So all I could see them angling for is the restoration of wins. Which, again, would be pointless and wildly tone deaf, given all that has gone on in the program.

We get that the Paternos are upset and want to defend JoePa's honor. Fine. Try to find some evidence that disputes the Freeh report. But actions like these only make them look like they're grasping at straws.

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