The Next Chapter in the Penn State Story That Never Ends

Submitted by bluebyyou on November 1st, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Graham Spanier has been charged with a series of crimes and Curley and Schultz face new charges.


"Spanier was charged with perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected abuse and conspiracy. Curley and Schultz face new charges of endangering the welfare of children, obstruction and conspiracy."…

A horrible situation that will be with us for a while.  I'd guess at least a year or two until the legal phase is completed.



November 1st, 2012 at 5:28 PM ^

The NCAA isn't going to impose any additonal sanctions on the Penn State football program as a result of these indictments.  The Penn State fanbase will continue their mass-denial that their devotion to Paterno was an enabling factor in how this whole scandal played out.  The Paternos will continue to claim their father's innocence and non-culpability in this matter, reinforced by the Penn State's fanbase devotion to the memory of their beloved football coach.

So from the perspective of how this affect Michigan football:

  1. Penn State is going to suck and be easy pickings for the next several years
  2. Penn State fans will continue to exhibit a complete lack of contrition with regards to the scandal, and instead find some kind of faux nobility in their punishment.
  3. We'll continue to find their attitude infuriating.

Basically, nothing to see here.


November 1st, 2012 at 2:45 PM ^

all charged with crimes relating to the cover-up, I can't help but wonder if Paterno himself would be looking at any type of charges if he were still alive. Him and McQueary are the only other two with "direct" knowledge, for whatever that might be worth.


November 1st, 2012 at 3:54 PM ^

Paterno's death might be the only thing that saved whatever reputation he had left.  While he certainly was under intense scrutiny for his actions, he still had a sizable fanbase who were "behind" him.  However, if he had lived, imagine seeing Paterno being carted off in handcuffs or wearing prison orange. Very weird, but with that old man scowl he often had, he might of actually fit the part. 


November 1st, 2012 at 4:05 PM ^

a few minutes after I posted that, and they asked their legal analyst the same question. My guess from his tone of voice and his verbatim answer ("very difficult" to charge with conspiracy) makes me think that the police and the DA might have threatened Paterno with something to secure his testimony and cooperation, but they probably wouldn't have gone through the trouble to indict him with anything.

Then again, PA politics on the matter have to be incredibly messed up right now and anything might have happened. One point of interest is that he wasn't named a co-conspirator in the presentment, at least according to ESPN's guy (which he then implied might come up in the other trials).


November 1st, 2012 at 2:56 PM ^

these charges tend to further make me believe that this whole unbelievable affair was best left to the legal system.  I shed no tears for PSU serving its severe probation, but I still wonder how it helps.  Paying a kid to play for your team (cash, tats or cars), keeping them in practice for too long, fudging their grades...none of this is illegal....that's why we need NCAA enforcement.  Abusing children falls way outside the bounds of what the clowns at the NCAA should be doling out punishment for and no NCAA punishment comes close to what Sandusky and his enablers should/will receive.


November 1st, 2012 at 3:28 PM ^

think the crimes were covered up to protect the football program.  The initial non-disclosure was due to denial, actual disbelief, individual character deficits and institutional ineptitude.  The long-term non-disclosure was due to the participants understanding the seriousness of the initial non-disclosure and not wanting to face the personal and legal consequences of failing to disclose in the first place.  I can almost guarantee that protecting the football program was not part of the equation.  I don't know if Sandusky was close with any of these guys, thus, I could not argue if the argument was made that they were protecting Sandusky,  the acts had nothing to do with the football program.  Initial disclosure to appropriate authorties of what McQuerrry had witnessed would have resulted in short term bad ink for the program, but would not have evidenced any wrongdoing on behalf of the athletic department/football team.  Sandusky would have been fired, imprisoned, and Penn State would have taken the field the next year without any sanctions.  The "protecting the football program" angle does not make sense.  They were protecting their own asses.

the unsilent m…

November 1st, 2012 at 4:10 PM ^

At some point there was a moment of reflection for all of those involved, whether immediately after the witnessed incidents or longer.  At that time, the witnesses, to a man, weighed all of the factors.  The only time that they would have feared for their own asses was the moment after they weighed the factors and decided against disclosure; only then did it become a "cover-up".  One of the likely factors in the determination against disclosure was the fate of the "program", because up until that point they were in no personal danger of trouble.


November 1st, 2012 at 4:26 PM ^

agree that these guys did not want to be "mixed up in anything" in a generic sense, but the idea that their love for Penn State football and so forth was a motivating factor I just don't buy.  Possibly fear that damage to the football team could damage them individually, I could buy that, but not in the "compettitive advantage" sense that is referenced below. 

I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that not one Penn State recruit from 1998 - 2012 made their commitment to Penn State due to the lack of child sex abuse scandal.  Just does not have the same ring as a new Escalade or a bag of cash.  These men acted inexplicably and in a disgusting fashion, it just has nothing to do with Football, and there is nothing Emmert can say to convince me otherwise.


November 1st, 2012 at 5:00 PM ^

First, I'm not sure that Joe Paterno distinguished the well-being of Penn St. football from his own well-being, for good and for bad.  PSU's legacy was his legacy. 

Second, I just don't agree that you can say that recruits committed due to a lack of a child abuse scandal.  I agree that they presumably weren't thinking in those terms, but most people don't think about the absence of those things until that absence is gone, i.e., until the thing that was absent is present.  The association of "Penn St." and "child sex abuse" could have been damaging to recruiting, and what Paterno and co. did had a sort of logic to it if what you cared most about was protecting the football program, though (as I said above) it was a bad decision even if that was all that you cared about. 

I didn't neg you btw.


November 1st, 2012 at 8:14 PM ^

know you didn't.  I remember having a discussion on the board about this with you a few months ago.  I am not bothered at all by your position and the points that you make, and my own points are certainly debatable.  I just feel like the NCAA really did not consider what their involvement and the position they took meant for the future of their enforcement policies.  Their decision was an indictment of the entire college football culture, but they set an example against a program that was not an offender with regard to the actions they typically penalize, and with regard to actions that will in all likelihood never be duplicated.  These men were going to be arrested, imprisoned, and bankrupted regardless of what the NCAA did, and all the NCAA did was penalized MORE KIDS for the cowardly actions of a few men.  Upon actually unemotional scrunity, the NCAA's actions in this matter do not make sense.  (But it is not clear cut, and this entire event can and will be studied at high levels of organization management and interpersonal communication - it is truly the Challenger disaster of college athletics) 

Ali G Bomaye

November 2nd, 2012 at 1:13 PM ^

This was a particularly heinous crime, and covering it up almost certianly was done with the intention of protecting the football program.  But I can't think of another instance in which the NCAA punished a school for criminal behavior of its administrators/coaches when the behavior didn't directly relate to the school's sports teams.  The NCAA isn't punishing Arkansas for having its then-coach give a false report to police when he was motorcycling with his mistress, then trying to cover it up - so why here?  (note: not saying the crimes are comparable in significance)

I can't think of a single positive impact the NCAA's sanctions on Penn State will have.  Are they trying to show PSU and other schools that they shouldn't harbor and enable pedophiles?  I think they probably already got that message.  Unlike sanctions stemming from shady recruiting practices, these sanctions aren't necessary to send a message, because the courts have already done that.  At some point, the NCAA has to let the legal authorities deal with criminal behavior and focus its sanctions on the actual teams and competition.


November 1st, 2012 at 4:05 PM ^

while they (undeniably and horribly) put football before abused children, the NCAA is not here to enforce laws that aren't on their books.  Coaches and administrators looked the other way while another coach committed crimes.  They should (and hopefully will) be punished for it.  If Sandusky was writing bad checks and Curly got wind of it and ignored it should the PSU football program pay a price?  No players took benefits or acted in a way that broke rules. 

I see and respect the opposing side of this argument, but I think the nature of the crimes skewed the viewpoints for many of us.

As for your "sigh..." enough already.


November 1st, 2012 at 4:18 PM ^

It is hard to imagine they gained any advantage by not reporting it, and certainly not an "ongoing" advantage. Had they reported in 2001 or just stopped Sandusky from having any access to PSU facilities, teams, and players after the 1998 incident it would have almost certainly been a minor blip on the screen and may have been used as further evidence that PSU does things the right way no matter the consequence, their big selling point under Paterno.

As evidence we need look no further then Syracuse basketball. Their situation is very similar to what PSU would have looked like had they done the right thing. What has happened to Syracuse? A month or two of bad press, but no real downfall in recruiting and I don't think anyone expects them to suddenly fall of the face of the planet in terms of their on court performance.

Now that said, I have no problems with the sanctions. Ultimately the football team was used to help enable a child abuuser to gain access too young children and take advantage of them. The administration and head coach had some knowledge this was taking place. When your football program is being used as an access point for a child molester to gain access to young boys, the program should not just go on as usual. No other organization would be able to just move forward freely and the same should be true for a sports team.

Mr Miggle

November 1st, 2012 at 5:21 PM ^

are making the wrong point. Rather than only consider what damage would have befallen their program by reporting Sandusky in 2001, think about what the cost to their program would have been if they did the right thing and reported what they knew in 2010 or at various points in between. While it's probably true that they gained little from the coverup initially, as time went on the cost of reporting was going up. They were no longer just avoiding bad publicity due to Sandusky's acts, but the fallout from their own inaction or coverup. During most of their coverup they would likely have perceived the advantage that the football program gained from not reporting was substantial. Of course, that was probably not their only motivation. Perhaps worse, they were also committed to continuing their coverup, even if they learned of new assaults.  

Syracuse is a poor comparison. The charges there always looked shaky and have been refuted. The school was never implicated in a coverup..There probably is no good example to use. That's a good thing, even though it makes our arguments more speculative.  


November 1st, 2012 at 10:43 PM ^

Why 2010? Paterno and company knew in 2001 and arguably in 1998. 2010 is really no different than 2011, which they are being punished for. And let's be really honest, while an extreme black mark, it did not affect the team or recruiting until the sanctions were handed down. I just don't see any evidence that they would have been worse on the field if this came out. And had they done the right thing when they first knew there clearly would have been no affect.

Mr Miggle

November 2nd, 2012 at 9:29 AM ^

1) You are incorrect that it did not affect recruiting before the sanctions came down. Don't you remember all the complaining about Urban poaching their decommitments like Armani Reeves? Their 2012 class took a big hit.

2) For a program that heavily sold its tradition and pristine reputation in recruiting, it would be illogical for this scandal not to hurt. While their 2013 class was off to a strong start, that does not mean it had no effect. I would argue that replacing Paterno with a new, high energy coach gave their recruiting a big push. It was long overdue for football reasons and their recruiting should have been even better without the scandal.

3) You might notice that I talked about the damage they would perceive to be done to the program. I imagine that they feared the damage would have been worse than we might think now. Weren't many of us surprised at how well they recruited pre-sanctions? Similarly, while we look back and say nothing much would have happened if they had turned in Sandusky in 2001, they probably didn't see it that way. There would have been some difficult questions to answer about the access Sandusky was given after the 1998 allegations. It's very possible they knew more about Sandusky's history than has come out. Was he really there for 30+ years before his first offense?

4) Who is to say the NCAA wouldn't have acted even if PSU had belatedly reported Sandusky some time between 2001 and 2011?


November 1st, 2012 at 3:42 PM ^

I'm sure many people would like to put this whole Penn State episode away but it maybe still worth following even on this board because the outcome may affect how college athletics are overseen on all campuses.

Once what happened with college athletics was first the head coach's problem, then the athletic director's but it is clear now that everyone upto and including the president can be considered. The NCAA recently announced that they were extending the reach of penalties so that assistant coaches could no longer be the easy scapegoats for violations and be tossed in as a sacrificial lamb to halt an investigation - their head coaches and other oversight personnel would all share in the penalties.

No place has a monopoly on bad events or good events. But the places with few bad events usually acknowledge that they can occur and don't pretend they are impossible. That willingness to acknowledge and think about that possibility is the first important step in ensuring that it won't happen.


November 1st, 2012 at 3:48 PM ^

"The only downside for us is if the message isn't `heard' and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it," Spanier wrote in 2001. "The approach you outline is humane and a reasonable way to proceed."

Wow. You would never know that this is the same Graham Spanier who was a founding editor of the "Journal Of Family Issues" and, until recent events, a respected family therapist. When Spanier's involvement in the coverup was made known, it just amazed me that a man whose work in academia included finding ways to help the very people he would aid in coldly hurting could abandon his reputation so nonchalantly in these e-mails. That being said, this seems to indicate more evidence of a "cult of personality" around that program, if even people in a position to fire and report those involved were too afraid to proactively stop it then. By doing nothing, he helped a predator destroy more lives.  


November 1st, 2012 at 5:39 PM ^

And didn't he, not a month ago, come out publicly on ESPN or ABC and deny any involvement or wrong-doing? That email is damning - he must have known it was out there. It's hard to fathom how he - or any guilty person for that matter - can continually publicly deny their guilt. It's pretty shameful that Sandusky is appealing his verdict as well,  costing his victims more pain and the taxpayers' of his state money. The human condition is confounding. 

French West Indian

November 2nd, 2012 at 2:43 PM ^

...that finds the Penn State scandal interesting should really take a look at the Franklin scandal in Nebraska.  I just finished reading Nick Bryant's book, The Franklin Scandal:  A Story of Powerbrokers, Child Abuse & Betrayal and it has some mind-blowing stuff that will really cause you to look at the Penn State ordeal from some different angles.

I'm not defending Spanier but a statement like this, for example...

"These charges are the work of a vindictive and politically motivated governor working through an unelected attorney general ... whom he appointed to do his bidding," the four defense lawyers wrote."

...take on a different light after you've learned a bit about how these cover-ups work.

Oh, and there is also an unaired Discovery channel documentary film about the Franklin scandal for those who'd rather watch TV than read a book.  Here's a link to it on youtube:

At any rate, I think that there is probably a lot more going on with the Penn State scandal than most people in the general public realize and it really in the interest of every decent citizen to keep pursing the truth here.