Vacated Victory #3

On September 19, 1998 #8 ranked Penn State traveled to Pittsburgh as 26 point favorites. A capacity crowd of 56,743 filled Pitt Stadium for the intra-state rivalry and CBS broadcast the game nationally at 3:30 in the afternoon. The Panthers gave the Lions all they could handle and the game wasn’t decided until Pittsburgh natives LaVar Arrington and Brandon Short sacked quarterback Matt Lytle on three consecutive plays to secure a 20-13 victory.

The NCAA says this game never happened.

On September 12, 1998, 96,291 fans filled Beaver Stadium for a noon kickoff as #9 ranked Penn State hosted Bowling Green. The game, televised on ESPN, was never in doubt from the first play, a 77 yard touchdown run by tailback Cordell Mitchell. Penn State won 48-3, making Joe Paterno only the 6th man in college football history to reach 300 wins. The 71-year-old Coach was doused in Gatorade as the crowd chanted Joe-Pa-Ter-No!
The NCAA says this game never happened.

Today we are launching our new series that takes a look at each of the 112 wins vacated by the NCAA.

Vacated Victory #1
On September 5, 1998, #21 ranked Southern Miss came to play #13 ranked Penn State. 96,617 fans were in attendance at Beaver Stadium for the 3:30 game nationally televised on ABC. Linebacker U, led by Juniors LaVar Arrington and Brandon Short held the Golden Eagles to two field goals and won 34-6.

The NCAA says this game never happened.

In response to Judge Leete’s ruling in early January denying the NCAA’s preliminary objections to the claims filed on behalf of ourselves, certain members of the Penn State faculty, former football coaches and players, and the Paterno family,  we have filed an amended complaint with the court today.

The amended complaint differs from the original complaint in two primary respects.

First, in the January ruling, the court ordered the breach of contract claims dismissed without prejudice to amend, accepting the NCAA’s argument that Penn State has an interest in the claims and, therefore, that the claims cannot be litigated without the university’s participation in the litigation. Accordingly, the amended complaint adds Penn State as a “nominal defendant” on the contract claim only.  To be clear, the plaintiffs do not seek any monetary damages or other relief from Penn State, nor do we ask that the court order Penn State to take any action.  We ask only for a declaration that the plaintiffs have rights under the NCAA rules that were violated, and that the Consent Decree imposed by the NCAA be declared null and void.  Our claim is now, and always has been, against the NCAA.

Second, the amended complaint also responds to the Court’s request for more detailed allegations regarding the lost job opportunities suffered by Coach Jay Paterno and Coach Bill Kenney as a result of the Consent Decree imposed by the NCAA and the statements made by the NCAA in relation to the decree. These coaches are well respected in their field and would have had numerous job opportunities had not the NCAA falsely accused them of wrongdoing. The amended complaint describes the interest that other universities, NFL teams and sports networks expressed in the two coaches prior to the imposition of the consent decree.

We were very encouraged by the Court’s ruling in January. This lawsuit is extremely important to everyone who wants to know the truth about the unlawful mishandling of the Sandusky matter by the NCAA.  In short order we expect to gain access to the documents and records in this case and begin deposing the key parties.  We welcome the opportunity to explore the record in a full, fair and transparent manner.

SIMMONS: … We couldn’t have a sports czar? Why not try it?

GLADWELL: It has to happen! Let me give you another argument for the czar, which is that he could finally put the NCAA in its place. I’m actually still angry about the way the NCAA treated Penn State after the Jerry Sandusky scandal. (And by the way, please call it the Jerry Sandusky scandal, not the Joe Paterno scandal. The person who molested young boys was Jerry Sandusky.) Now, I’ve written, in The New Yorker, about how we falsely assume that catching child molesters is really straightforward, and that anyone who has a child molester in their midst must be guilty of some kind of cover-up.

That’s nonsense. The skilled ones, and Jerry Sandusky was very skilled, are consummate con men. So I tend to be a good deal more forgiving of Paterno than most. There’s a reason why clinical psychologists receive extensive training, and that’s because spotting predatory behavior requires extensive training. (If you doubt this, just spend an afternoon in the library reading the psychological literature on child molesters. It will chill you to the bone. Many go for years without being caught, because child molesters are really good at concealing their crimes.) But let’s leave that question aside for a moment and just consider the technical question here.

A former employee of Penn State University is suspected of molesting children. He is arrested and charged by the authorities. The university has a set of internal procedures designed to deal with those kinds of criminal activities, and to apportion responsibility for those school officials who acted negligently. The legal system in the state of Pennsylvania also has a set of laws and procedures, in both the civil and criminal arenas, to deal with crimes of this nature. Both acted. That’s the way the system is supposed to work. So what does the NCAA do? It jumps in and levies a series of harsh sanctions against the Penn State football program. Can someone tell me where the NCAA found the authority to do that? The NCAA, in its simplest form, is a cartel designed to exploit amateur arbitrage: That is, to profit on the spread between the cost of minimal-wage athletic labor and the value of television sports contracts. Or something like that. Reasonable minds can differ. What they are not is a body with any standing to weigh in on criminal matters concerning university employees that have already been dealt with by the appropriate authorities — merely because the employee in question happens to have once been connected to a sports program. This is crazy! If a bank discovers that one of its tellers is molesting children, the FDIC doesn’t suspend the bank’s charter and punish every other employee and customer of the bank! Now, I’m not the only one to think this. I’ve spoken to lots of legal experts who said exactly the same thing. So why does the NCAA get away with this kind of aggressive over-reaching? Because for some reason, when it comes to many of the bigger questions raised by sports, we all shut down our brains. Bring on the czar! By the way, is anyone still reading at this point?

Excerpted from: Grantland

Gladwell vs. Simmons V

The evolution of celebrity and the PED debate highlight another illuminating email exchange between Malcolm Gladwell and Bill Simmons

By Bill Simmons and Malcolm Gladwell on December 13, 2013

NOVEMBER 20, 2013 —- Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship (PS4RS), the grassroots watchdog group that has been critical of the Penn State Board Trustees’ handling of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, applauds a first step towards board reform, in the form of legislation proposed this morning by Senators John Yudichak (D) and Jake Corman (R).

“Considering this is the first major attempt to change the charter in more than 60 years, this is a step in the right direction,” said PS4RS spokesperson Maribeth Roman Schmidt. “We applaud the senators and we also applaud the many alumni who have donated their time to evaluate the board composition of comparable universities and offer recommendations for Penn State.”

“In conjunction with the PS4RS mission of replacing the nine alumni-elected trustees (three each year), we support board reform,” Schmidt continued. “This is a good and necessary first step, and we look forward to working with state legislators to further strengthen these reforms with the goal of bringing much-needed transparency to Penn State governance.”

Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, with more than 20,000 members, was formed in November 2011 to effect positive change within the Penn State University Board of Trustees. Since the organization’s inception, 13 of 32 Penn State trustees have either been replaced through alumni elections or have resigned. It is the non-negotiable mission of PS4RS to remove or replace all of the trustees who were at the helm in November 2011.

“They must be held accountable for their blatant ignorance of the Sandusky grand jury proceedings; their knee-jerk scapegoating of a valued employee upon its release; their inexcusable commissioning of the biased Freeh Report; their lack of defense of the Penn State culture; their acceptance of the NCAA sanctions; and their premature settling with Sandusky victims before the accused Penn State administrators have had an opportunity to explain their actions in court,” Schmidt said. “The overall feeling is that the trustees do not represent the best interests of Penn State; that they are far more concerned with their personal self interests. We’re thankful today that the Pennsylvania legislature is stepping in to change how they operate.”

Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship will endorse three candidates for the upcoming 2014 Board of Trustees election. For further information on PS4RS, please visit http://www.PS4RS.org, email ps4rsinfo@ps4rs.org, or go to http://www.facebook.com/PS4RS. Follow PS4RS on Twitter at @PS4RS.

Dear Dr. Myers:

I find it interesting that you begin what appears to be the start of a campaign for re-election with an all-out assault on PS4RS. Before I continue, let me say that I do not speak for PS4RS and am not one of the “mystery leaders” whom you assail. “Who are these people?” is among the most condescending and offensive comments I have yet seen in this sorry evolution that began with the Sandusky charges.

I have been a Facebook member of PS4RS since a single upset alumna started the page in December of 2011 and have been proud to see its membership swell. I can tell you that “We are…Penn State” in all its dimensions: we range in age, profession, economic level. Many of us are alumni or Penn State parents. Some, like me, claim multiple alumni in our families: myself, my daughter, my son, their father, their grandfather—six degrees and three generations among us. Some of us are rabid football fans and others are not. We are scientists and technologists, teachers, nurses, bankers, doctors, lawyers, homemakers. We are entrepreneurs and factory workers. We are artists and writers and musicians. We are your next-door neighbors, not just in Pennsylvania but also probably in all 50 states. What we share is a deep love for Penn State, horror at the mess the 2011 Board has made, and a commitment to finding the truth and setting things right. We are buoyed on by people with the courage to stand up and buck the odds without fear of reprisal: Franco and Dana Harris, Anthony Lubrano, Barbara Doran, Ryan McCombie, Bill Oldsey, Adam Taliaferro, Ted Brown, the Lettermen who have spoken out, those who are party to the NCAA lawsuit, and, of course, the Paterno family. Further, I can assure you that there is nothing secret about the PS4RS leadership: Maribeth Roman Schmidt, Christian Marrone, Elizabeth Morgan, Michelle Murosky-Davis, Spencer Niles, and Dan Wallace. Dig a little deeper on the Web page or the Facebook page and you will find it. You will also find it in the archives of PS4RS news, which I’m sure Mr. Latorre monitors and maintains for you.

We have 61 years of evidence, including countless individuals whom he coached and inspired and cared about, that Joe Paterno never did anything worthy of the treatment he received. And we are appalled that not a single Board member spoke up. Instead, you who sat on the Board in 2011 behaved like sheep and have continued to do so, flip-flopping publicly on one circumstance or issue after another. You fired Joe; you didn’t fire Joe. You accepted the Freeh report; you didn’t accept the Freeh report. Cynthia Baldwin represented Curley and Schultz; she didn’t represent them (a legal horror show if I ever saw one). You spent millions on consultants to repair the damage and in the end have only made it worse. (This is a field I know something about, and I have never seen worse crisis management in my career.) You may have personally spoken out on the NCAA sanctions, but the Board NEVER defended the university. You continue to throw away money on poorly written surveys (I know something about market research, too), and you want to spend millions more to “rebrand” a university that doesn’t need rebranding—Joe did more to brand us as an academically excellent institution than most of you could ever hope to.

PS4RS as an organization has never made any of the accusations you cite. With all due respect, perhaps you are feeling a bit defensive and uncomfortable about your inaction during the last two years. Again, while I do not speak for PS4RS, I completely support the goal of unseating the 2011 board. I also support more rigorous term limitation without grandfathering, more board members elected by alumni rather than through political appointment, an end to voting memberships for the sitting Governor and President of the University, and open records that make the University more accountable to the taxpayers of the Commonwealth. Others in PS4RS and the other Penn State Facebook groups I belong to (at least four others) may share my opinions or feel differently. While I do not feel compelled to defend any of them for what in my estimation is their good work or their positions, I am proud of my membership in each and especially proud of the good people that I and others like me have elected to the Board to provide a sorely needed new generation of leadership.

Like many of my fellow alumni who are in pain over this situation, I have served on the boards of a number of nonprofit organizations. I have also worked with nonprofit boards in a professional capacity and with several institutions of higher learning as well. A board that governs the way it should doesn’t roll over and play dead, Dr. Myers. Nor does it hide. Nor does it obfuscate or make weak excuses. A board that governs the way it should is open and accountable; it listens and embraces—not stifles—dissent or discourse. The 2011 Board members, in short, continue to flunk all of the tests. You and your colleagues have made our amazing and beloved university a laughing stock, Dr. Myers.

Let me be crystal clear and point out again that I speak for no group or constituency; thse opinions are mine alone. Your expression of entitlement outrages me. Why on earth should anyone, even the best of Board members, be able to serve 11 terms? This sense of entitlement is part of what is wrong not just with Penn State, but also with our entire nation. You are a generous donor—I get that—but so are many others. You had your chance, and you blew it. Whether I vote for the people PS4RS endorses or not (note that some of the new alumni board members were NOT endorsed by PS4RS—thus your claim of hijacking is absurd), I will never vote to re-elect you. Write all the letters you want; spend all the money you want to get re-elected—I can’t imagine that anyone but your cronies would.

Sincerely,

Angela G. Bell, (’69, English)
Mechanicsburg PA

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