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Free Advice To Schools: Don’t Ask For Outside Reviews On Scandals

As the academic/athletic scandal at North Carolina continues to get worse and worse — and it’s getting worse and worse — a special faculty committee at UNC is now “calling for an independent commission of outside experts” to review the athletics and academics at the school.

Carolina officials, are you NUTS?  If the Penn State scenario has shown us anything it’s that no school should hire an outside party to file a summary report regarding an on-campus scandal ever again.  Ever.  Are you listening, SEC administrators?

Penn State hired a team led by former FBI man Louis Freeh to look into the school’s Jerry Sandusky scandal and then put everything into writing.  Freeh’s team did as instructed.  They researched and read emails.  They drew conclusions and included opinions.  They speculated on some points.  They provided circumstantial evidence on others.

They did not provide a law enforcement investigation into the matter.  Heck, they didn’t even interview a single Penn State coach.

Who says?  On Friday The Chronicle of Higher Eduction cited “a source familiar with the investigation” whom it called “a member of the team” that produced the Freeh report as saying the NCAA was way, way out of bounds in taking that document and using it to batter Penn State:


“That document was not meant to be used as the sole piece, or the large piece, of the NCAA’s decision making.  It was meant to be a mechanism to help Penn State move forward.  To be used otherwise creates an obstacle to the institution changing…

In using this report largely as the basis for their decision, the NCAA could hurt Penn State’s enrollment, recruiting, and outside relationships and partnerships.  If you don’t attract good faculty and research dollars, your institution has no stature…

The report is critical, but nothing is black and white.  No investigation can totally answer all the questions everyone has…

The NCAA took this report and ran with it without further exploration.  If you really wanted to show there was a nexus to cover up, interview the coaches.  See their knowledge and culpability and how far this went…

The sanctions against Penn State were really overwhelming, and no one imagined the report being used to do that.  People thought it would help others draw conclusions about what happened and provide a guide for leaders to be able to identify minefields and navigate through them.

Instead, Emmert took the report and used Penn State’s own resources to do them in.  The institution is made of people, too.  And they don’t deserve this.”


Last week, someone reading this site suggested that my assertion that the Freeh Report not be taken as gospel was “basically akin to Holocaust denial.”  No.  Really.  Holocaust denial.  See?














Well, now none other than someone either on or close to the Freeh group has said that, indeed, it was just one view of events, it was not a full exploration into what Joe Paterno and other coaches knew, and it should not have been taken by the NCAA and used as a de facto investigation.

The lesson in all of this is that no school — again, are you listening, SEC administrators? — should ever hire anyone from outside that school to put anything in writing that the NCAA could grab and use in place it own investigation.  Because the NCAA has now proven it will do just that.  And according to several PSU sources, the NCAA told the school to accept the penalties that were based upon the Freeh Report or get the death penalty.  Mark Emmert denies making that ultimatum, but if you’re North Carolina or any other school would you really want to find out if the NCAA prez would or wouldn’t make such either/or threats?  I think not.

So the quick and easy, sure-thing takeaway of this matter is — whatever you do — do not ask someone else to provide a written summary of what they think went on inside your own school.  To do so is just asking for trouble.  Just ask Penn State officials today.  Or someone close to the Freeh group for that matter.



I am sorry. I see this whole PSU mess differently. I don't really see Paterno and the other powers to be as putting "program and school" first, but protecting themselves. There is evidence that there was claims against Sandusky before '98. There are people that were on record from '92, and now claims from before then. The Clery Act was passed in '91. If there was a claim against Sandusky from '92-98, which there is a good chance, and JoePa helped Sandusky cover it up, then Joepa would be in violation of state and federal laws and looking at jail time. JoePa might have thought he was helping his friend cover up a one time mistake, misunderstanding, false claim, etc. Then in '98 when another claim hit the fan - Sandusky had JoePa trapped. If JoePa turned him in, the Sandusky would have ratted him out and both of them would have gone to jail. If you were 70+ years old, knowing you should only have a few more years left on this earth, would you speak up and spend the rest of those years in jail, losing the fortune that you have built a lifetime building and see your beloved school raked through the mud, or would you try and cover up the mess one more time? We all hope that we would protect the kids, and suffer the fates, but we were not in JoePa's shoes at that moment in time. So in '98 he convinces the Powers to Be to help make the issue go away. JoePa stays out of jail (which he would have faced at that time) and PSU builds a fence around Sandusky to protect him, the kids, and the school. Then in '01 Sandusky strikes again. This time he not only has JoePa, but the school President, AD and many others caught in the cover up. Now it is not JoePa facing jail and losing everything they built, but most of the power structure at the school. Any wonder why Sandusky was able to keep all of those perks that we wonder why? He was blackmailing everyone to protect his turf. While people want to say that they were protecting the program and putting athletics before honor, it just does not ring with me. These men put themselves before the school, program and most importantly the kids. They not only protected Sandusky, but provided him the tools to continue his perverted acts. I have no love loss for PSU, Paterno and the other men that had a chance to stop Sandusky and put their own personal gain and power before the safety of kids. 


On the other hand, the move the NCAA did worries me. I don't have issues with the actual punishments. I have issues with how fast they were handed out, and the appearance of bullying from the NCAA president to accept these penalties or else. What happens is more evidence comes out that is more damning that the Freeh report. The Freeh report is one team's investigation. There are still several trials to come. If more damning evidence comes out, will the NCAA pile on more punishments? What would constitute more punishment? We hope that this is a one of a kind case that will never be repeated on any scope, but where is the line drawn for the NCAA? I would have had no issue with the NCAA doing a starting point punishment like a post season ban for the up coming year and allowing all incoming recruits the chance to change their commitments without sitting out. They could let everyone know that the investigation is on going and more punishments are expected.


As for the death penalty, I don't see the NCAA ever handing it down again. Why? it punishes to many people and programs beyond the actual school. Think about how many business in Happy Valley are built around PSU 7/8 home games a year. Plus what of all the teams on their schedule having to replace a game at the last minute and the costs involved. What if OSU ended up losing a home game. The economic impact in Columbus (or Ann Arbor, Madison, Lincoln, etc.) would run in the 10's of millions of dollars. Why should those towns and economies be punished for a Penn St. matter? Do you think that there would be some major lawsuits against not only PSU, but the NCAA directly? What PSU received is the modern day version of the death penalty. It prevents teams from having to do last minute rescheduling. It will cripple the PSU program for a decade at least. But as a whole, will keep the economies in place and minimize the economic impact that a canceled season would impose on schools and cities that had no part in this mess.


I agree the report was not complete, it is clear especially by the limited amount of reporting on the period of 1995-1998 that there was a lot more they weren't prepared to report about.  Nothing about Tom Bradley, etc.  I am certain the full story is significantly worse than what the Freeh report was able to pull together.  However, I also recognize they tried to get a report that addressed the majority of the issues.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



I think you're probably right that things might have been worse.  The trouble is -- and this is the point of the above story -- if the NCAA is willing to use an outsider's imperfect summary of a situation rather than do it's own investigation, then it makes no sense for a school to have an outsider do an imperfect summary. 


Better the school do its own investigation, then let the NCAA investigate, then go through the tried-and-true prosecution/defense/judgement/appeal process.


Just my take.


Thanks for reading the site,John 


 @John at MrSEC  @JeffreyImm1 And what would be a perfect report? Is report perfection required to act by the NCAA? You've shredded posters who pointed out inconsistencies in NCAA penalties before as homers who ignore the body of evidence and focus too narrowly on a minor procedural point or inconsistencies within the report itself. What's the difference here? Serious question, not a swipe.


I've seen plenty of accusations from lots of quarters that the report "draws conclusions" rather than states facts - which is really just a rehash of the basic philoshical question, "What do we know to be true versus what do we believe to be true," that dates back to, oh, Socrates. Probably earlier than that. At any rate, we "know" when Sandusky suddenly retired (and I remember it - it was a headline shocker). We "know" when he was asked to stop bringing kids to campus. Those are a matter of public record. What conclusions can we draw from those two facts alone? Now, add the court evidence and testimony from the 45 convictions. What conclusions would be reasonable at that point? Now, add the Freeh report. What conclusions are reasonable by this point?


Finally, I've seen numerous references to the Duke lacrosse case from bloggers (can't recall if you used it or not). Yes, a corrupt DA withheld certain evidence and overlooked lots of mitigating circumstances. He was exposed and the case dismissed in a time frame far shorter than this one. The case was always the word of one "victim" against the players. The "record" in that case was always thin and fell apart under scrutiny pretty quickly. The record here is 100x larger and has been vetted again and again by prosecutors, defense lawyers, and the media.


The NCAA and PSU agreed on a course of action. A man who strikes a plea bargain waives his rights to due process. It happens all the time, every day. How is this any different?




 @John at MrSEC  @JeffreyImm1 "Third, you're asking me a question that has zip to do with the point of the above piece.  That's what frustrates me.  I write X... everyone takes it as Y... then asks me about Z.  Still, I'll answer your question."


It might have zip to do with the specific post, but it has much to do with your collective body of work on this issue. Comes from seeing this piece as part of a larger narrative.


"Count me among the few -- and it the seems the few are mainly a minority of media members and legal and NCAA experts..."


Maybe I'm just reading a highly select group of columnists and bloggers, but I would say the ratio of against/for NCAA action in this case has been running 10 to 1. A lot of highly recognizable names rushed out columns in between the leaks Sunday evening and Monday morning's announcement condemning the NCAA's involvement, and then those same names, plus a lot more, rushed out columns condemning the actions Monday afternoon.


I think I'm safe saying that many seem to prefer the NCAA to remain a committee-driven bureaucracy with its hand tied by a dozen cooks in the kitchen. We hate bureaucracy but fear power? Is that the contradiction we can't resolve here (or Washington)?


At any rate, I'm not one of those who thinks the NCAA rushed out to do this to rehabilitate its image or get its name in the papers. I think they saw the weight of evidence, in comparison to what they usually have available, as overwhelming. They've never seen themselves as a court of law or bound to standards of reasonable doubt, despite the constant comparisons in the media (and as an aside, "reasonable" doubt does not mean "beyond a shadow of" doubt). The conclusion that Curly, Shultz and Spanier knew what Sandusky was doing and set him up as the face of child charity is in the "beyond a shadow of doubt" territory as fas as I am concerned. That makes what Joe knew and when relatively unimportant - though I think it's reasonable to conclude he knew what was going on by 1998 at the latest.


At that point, it just comes down to this - are crimes committed to protect an NCAA sports program an NCAA matter or a legal matter? But the phrasing of that question determines the answer - the "or" answers the question for you. "and/or" seems a more appropriate question, and I fall into the "and" camp. But, I understand those who don't. I just don't being characterized as a "lynch mob." I've given this s much thought and consideration as you, but that doesn't give me the right to categorize your position as "knee-jerk."


Enjoy the blog, and I do appreciate the substantive responses you provide to people who ask for them. Kudos.



John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @Bocktean  @JeffreyImm1 


First, no, I have not compared this case to the Duke lacrosse case in any way.  


Second, I have never said that the NCAA "hates" Penn State or has been "out to get Penn State for years" (which is what those fans I've called "homers" have typically done when it comes to their own schools' penalties and what I've "shredded" them for, as you claim).  I said the NCAA knew Americans wanted heads to roll, knew this didn't fall within its own jurisdiction, but acted hastily anyway so as to get applause and look tough for once.  (I've used the quotes on this site from a flabbergasted former head of the NCAA's own Committee on Infractions to show just how outside the lines this was.  You may disagree, but at least one person from inside the NCAA's own enforcement arm thinks the NCAA went down a completely new and different and dangerous road.)


Third, you're asking me a question that has zip to do with the point of the above piece.  That's what frustrates me.  I write X... everyone takes it as Y... then asks me about Z.  Still, I'll answer your question.


If the powers-that-be at Penn State had known that the NCAA would take and use the Freeh Report to batter them as roughly as it did, I'm guessing they would have done an internal probe instead, turned their findings over, let the NCAA do their own investigation, faced charges, faced sentencing, and then chosen whether to appeal or not (probably not because that would've been bad PR either way considering the current mood of the American lynch mob).  That step-by-step process has been the traditional due process followed by the NCAA.  Now, however, NCAA leaders have shown that they will use other people's findings instead of doing their own investigations.  I think that's a dangerous precedent to set.  You may disagree.  While I think schools should absolutely come clean with rules violations and do transparent, solid, self-investigations... I think leaving that up to one outside source -- other than the NCAA -- is a dangerous step.


Your example of a plea bargain is correct, sort of.  The NCAA came in with what amounted to a police report and threatened a multi-year death penalty to the school which would have wiped out a town full of innocent business people who count on Penn State football games for revenue.  The school's president claims he had to negotiate them down.  




But the NCAA has never -- to my knowledge -- gone that route before.  And this police report wasn't put together by the NCAA's police.


In my view, it would be like the state of Nebraska taking a report filed by Joe Citizen -- not Nebraska's own state law enforcement officers -- and bargaining a plea with a suspect based on the work of Mr. Citizen.  Whether the suspect agreed to let Mr. Citizen's report take the place of a police report or not would be irrelevant.  People make dumb decisions every day.  The suspect still would not have gotten the same due process as every other alleged criminal in the Nebraska court system (someone calls cops, cops make arrest, cops file report, suspect takes a plea bargain or goes to court based on cops' report.)


The NCAA had never done this before.  People inside the NCAA have SAID the body has never done this, so there's no arguing it's a new precedent.  Count me among the few -- and it the seems the few are mainly a minority of media members and legal and NCAA experts -- who think this is a bad road to be going down.


That is my take.  As for the above post, I stand by the fact that after seeing how the NCAA is now more than happy to cut-corners rather than investigate violations on it's own... I think any school would be crazy to have an outside group give some sort of summary that doesn't include interviews with coaches or is based in part on connect-the-dot assumptions.


Yes, an NCAA investigative report could be flawed as well.  That's why the NCAA has one committee handle the penalties and a separate committee handle appeals.  In this case, there were no checks and balances.  Mark Emmert was judge, jury and executioner.  Louis Freeh's team was used as the cop (even though someone close to that group has said that's not what their mission was in the first place).


I'm no fan of the NCAA.  I think Alabama and Florida State had football wins stripped when multiple sports were involved in violations just because football penalties hurt more.  That's not fair.  I think the case against Southern Cal was based -- for the most part -- on the claims of one man who's testimony would not have likely held up in court.  That's not fair.


But I don't believe the NCAA hates Alabama, Florida State or Southern Cal.  I don't think they were out to get 'em.  I just think it's flawed in some cases.  But at least its flaws followed a standard procedure.  Now it seems there's a new type of flaw that can be used whenever the NCAA feels like it.  That's not good.


Just my take.  Thanks for reading,John 




I agree with this viewpoint. There is no doubting that these over the top sanctions will hurt no one but the remaining students and faculty of this institution. All the ones jumping on board with these sanctions need to get real and fast. The NCAA set a precidence last week with these sanctions. They had no place to do so, reason? There is no one left on campus to punish. The guilty are either in prison or awaiting trials of thier own. Just punishements for the crimes will be dolled out accordingly. This report, was taken, an used against them. I can't say much because I have not read the report. I can say if the NCAA wants to react upon reports like this, it should be done in a fair manner. There should be hearings to work through a report like this, not a few peoples opinion or interpritation of it, then taking a knee jerk reaction because the NCAA feels it needs to save face. Is this not why we have trials in this country? If every crime was punishable by a police report, we'd have more jail space than homes in this country.


 @John at MrSEC You're a horrible human being and the bane of all of our existence. Please quit spouting forth your OPINIONS and FORCING use to read and agree with you.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



Who told you you could stop reading my opinions and leave a comment?  Get back to reading!  In the meantime, I'll get back to sharpening my horns and pitchfork.


Thanks for reading,


RoadTrip 1 Like



At the risk of being thrown under the bus for what I think I will still give you my thoughts. To join the NCAA is voluntary. A school does not have to go that route. They do to gain prominence and monetary rewards (hopefully). They do so having attorneys review the rules and keeping them abreast of the changes and their impact on the school.The due process you speak of exists only within the organization and its rules unless they conflict with federal or state laws. That is not at issue in this case. As a result the rule book is written with areas open to interpretation for good reasons much of the time. In this case nobody could foresee a pedophile being a coach doing his ugly deeds inside the facilities with full knowledge of university officials and the head coach; who then allow the offender continued access to the facilities and cover up the offenses over a period of 14 years. An organization of its type can amend its procedures and rules at any time as long as it follows its own rules and applicable laws in doing so. The NCAA did that. So the action Emmert took against PSU is "legal".


I hear you questioning the wisdom on the NCAA acting in the manner it did. If I misinterpret the gist of your statements on this issue then ignore. Some in the media seem to indicate that no NCAA rules were violated so the punishment did not fit the crime. Then everyone blows off the ethics and lack of institutional control issues with the explanation that the acts committed by Sandusky have nothing to do with NCAA rules or in gaining an unfair advantage. Bad argument. If the head coach and university officials are involved in felonies - aiding and abetting and then covering up the crimes - they are in violation of the ethics rules. They knew felonies were being committed and continued to provide the venue for them to occur with direct control over it - then when confronted with it covered it up repeatedly. That is gaining an unfair advantage as well as violating the ethics rules for coaches committing a felony. Had the crimes been reported and dealt with by the court system PSU would have been damaged by unhappy fans and donors. Recruiting would have suffered. There would have been money issues and JoePa's legacy would have been hurt. Kind of like it is now - just a dozen years too late. Death circumvents legal proceedings obviously. But in a voluntarily joined organization those in power make the final decision regardless of due process under the law. If PSU did not agree with the decision they could use the court system to challenge the ruling asserting the NCAA operated under rules that were in conflict with laws. They did not because they knew what the price would be in the public eye and because they knew what Freeh's group uncovered was damning to their position. There might have been more criminal actions that would have been uncovered in a full scale investigation by law enforcement instead of what happened with Freeh. Pretty big risk they chose to avoid.  


Now you are visibly upset that the "evidence" used by the voluntarily joined organization was not evidence at all. I beg to differ. Investigators do not always interview "witnesses" or those associated with the venue of multiple crimes. In privately authorized investigations the investigator is given the duties, methods, and responsibilities of the contracted work. That is a negotiated, two way street. To establish credibility PSU officials chose Freeh. I do not know, but am willing to speculate that Freeh had conditions under which he agreed to take the contract. Obviously one of the stipulations was that they would report the unvarnished truth as they perceived it and let the chips fall where they may. PSU obviously accepted those conditions. They obviously also understood the ramifications. The BOT is a highly educated, successful group of individuals that I believe knew the downside risk for doing so. Freeh's organization did not have to look far to find the damning evidence. They knew people tell lies and talk around the truth, especially those that have been involved in a culture that had been led astray but idol worship and "pretend" values. They found most everything they needed in the school's internal documentation and the criminal case against Sandusky. Case closed.


Finally you use this as a warning to all schools that if they go this route the NCAA will use it against them as applicable. Perhaps, just a thought, it was what many at PSU wanted to have happen to restore the culture of the institution to one of learning first, before sports? The perverse culture at PSU was obviously corrupted by power, ego and money. Some folks may have thought it was time for the pendulum to swing back toward different values. To do so required a meat cleaver instead of a scalpel at PSU.  At other institutions it may be the later over the former. There is obvious concern at UNC that the culture is fostering things that are unwanted. Third party investigation may be what is needed to fix it. That is a UNC BOT call to make and they will determine the scope of the endeavor if it occurs.


You have sounded the alarm. Maybe that will be enough for all of the SEC members to rethink their priorities before it is too late. Doubt that it will though. The thought of having the ugly past exposed should be enough to get folks to do things right. But those deep in the mire rarely see what's down the road. They are too busy getting theirs now to care.


I enjoy your show and this website. Thanks for the work you put into it. Be kind to your posters even when they don't deserve it.    



John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator 1 Like





If you go back and read the comments on this site over the past few months, you'll find that plenty of people have disagreed with me on various topics.  Many of those disagreements have gone unanswered because everyone has a right to their opinion.  Some were answered with an, "I disagree, but I get your point, and thanks for reading."


The only times I've not been "kind" to the posters is when the posters weren't "kind" to me or when they tried to put words in my mouth.  In this day and age, the comments under a story sway how people read the actual story.  So I will always try to make it clear when someone's misinterpreting, or worse, intentionally misrepresenting what I've written (if I catch it).


As for not turning the other cheek with smart aleck, ugly, insulting comments... I'm not likely to change my tune any time soon.  If someone thinks they can anonymously post nasty comments about me or this site in a box that I provide for them under a story that I've provided them for free, well, they should be ready to receive the same treatment in return.


Gregg Doyel, for one, has made a career out of being ugly with his readers.  That's certainly not my goal.  I'd prefer to have a small group of well-educated readers who don't write things like "you sound like a high school girl" when they disagree with something.  Unfortunately, the bigger we've gotten, the uglier the comments have become.  And if someone writes something so ridiculous that it borders on the offensive -- like the insane "Holocaust denial" comment quoted above -- I'll have no problem pointing it out for all to see.


Thanks for reading the site.


I disagree with your view on this topic, but there's nothing wrong with that.  People can and do disagree with me on here all the time.  Disagreeing doesn't bother me.


I just get snippy with those snip me first.




 @John at MrSEC

Thanks for your response, John. I can understand your viewpoint about the "tough" guys that sit behind a computer and say junk to attack others. Most would run from confrontation in person and are living out their anger and fear with a keyboard. My response to you is more from the no or gentle answers work better against hate. I don't understand why people would come on your site and treat you with disrespect. It's your site and your forum. I find it very interesting and admire the hard work you put into it to bring information to the fan base. I also admire that you built the show from ground zero to the success it has been. I have successfully built a ground zero business to success before and I know how hard it is and the toil it takes on you personally and from a family time perspective.  


I read/post on other sports sites. They range from silly to horrible - not much on the good side. You have to read through hundreds of posts on single threads to maybe find one good piece of information or good analysis that helps you. I am hated or ignored a some because I don't go with the crowd, good or bad. I don't do silly very well and I prefer an honest, educated discussion on subjects. When I have insight that might be helpful if accepted, then I offer it. Would love to see that here more. You might have to tighten down more and boot some of the haters off from time to time. Maybe you already do and I just have not noticed it. Will try to watch for it in the future.


Having sat on Boards and run businesses I have dealt with some of the dumbest situations I could ever imagine. Some I handled well and some I did not.  I know most Board members of organizations are honest in their desire to serve. Frequently they are deceived or manipulated by those running things or in the know. I am not naive enough to believe it is not all about the money with many. The desire to change PSU is not all pure from a motive standpoint. Some ugly politics at the state and local level is involved. But I know from a lifetime of living that God places people in power that are not all cleaned up sometimes to accomplish his perfect will. For PSU and UNC to return to prominence and leadership in their industry probably requires some ugly exposure of past sins even if the motives of those handling it are not pure. That time may be coming for the dirty in the SEC at some point.


I will shut now and enjoy the scenery until something moves me to respond. Again, thanks and keep up the good work!  




I agree with you, but have three items to explore further.... (1) "Hurricane of common sense"! That is fantastic prose resulting in some incredible imagery. Regardless of the nonsense in the rest of the post - that was great. (2) I don't understand why we had to get where we are today to reach the same conclusion in your piece - Penn State admins should have known this could happen. (3) Penn State didn't get their moneys worth if people writing the Freeh report actually could not  "imagine the report being used to do that." COME ON! I smell someone fibbing.




It is very difficult for those in power (Boards) at any institution when a scandal breaks to resist the calls for an "independent" investigation. There just is zero credibility with the public when an institution investigates itself or hires its long-time business associates to conduct the investigation. Just look at all th etimes the opposing party in Congress demands a "special counsel" to investigate.


This is especially difficult when a public funded institution is involved.


Your advise is right on the money --- but, I'm afraid --- not politically doable.


My bet right now is North Carolina will, in fact, hire an independent party to perform an investigation. Hopefully their Board will ensure whatever report is published has only facts and no "recommendations" to improve controls going forward.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



In the history of the NCAA -- until last week -- that's exactly how cases were handled.  School X either turns itself in or is accused of rules violations.  The school is sent a letter of allegations and given time to prepare a defense.  The school provides the defense and then the NCAA makes a ruling and hands down penalties.  There is also an appeals process.  The system was set up to mimic our own court system -- and it became more and more like our court system the more people complained about the NCAA having too much power and too much bias.  


So for a school to have an outside party do an independent investigation and provide a summary of NCAA violations is indeed what's outside the norm.  It cost Penn State -- whether it should have or not is up to the individual reader -- but it definitely cost them.


When due process goes away, it's a very dangerous thing.


Thanks for reading,John 


John- agree with you 100% when we are talking about pure NCAA athletic violations. No question.


This violation was much different (in my opinion). When you get child sexual abuse involved and the CEO and a  Vice President of the entire institution are charged with lying about the sexual abuse as part of a cover-up, it becomes a much much much hotter issue and there is absolutely no way an internal investigation would fly with either the general public or Penn. state legislators.


Athletic violations are one thing, horrible felony's committed by university employees and then covered up by CEO's and vive president's is a whole new ball game.


Just my opinion.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



Fair enough.  But I see your point in a totally different way.  "Athletic violations are one thing, horrible felonies, etc" means -- in my view -- that this was a legal issue, not an NCAA issue.  The NCAA was set up to deal with athletic violations, not horrible felonies.  By making this an NCAA issue, there's a new question that will arise anytime someone does something illegal or immoral... and I don't think the NCAA is prepared to deal with that.


Example: Bobby Petrino not only had an affair -- that's no one's business but his and his family's, by the way -- but he hired his mistress.  More importantly, he got AD Jeff Long to call the human resources department and fast track that hire rather than going through proper affirmative action protocols.  Petrino was fired, but should the NCAA step in and ask about Long and the Arkansas' HR department?


That's not the same as child rape by ANY stretch of the imagination.  But if the NCAA's going to get into right and wrong rather than specific rulebook violations -- and not generic ethics clauses -- then it's certainly worth considering whether Arkansas should be looked at.


Here's another one -- in 1995, 41 Tennessee athletes rang up a total of $26,000 on a stolen university phone card.  Two athletes were suspended for their full seasons.  That's it.  In this new environment, would the NCAA be obliged to step in and deal with a legal issue involving a whopping 41 athletes at one school?


And here's another one -- What if Sandusky had only raped one child?  Would one be different than many?  What if he'd had sex with a 17-year-old girl and committed statutory rape?  What if he'd raped an adult woman or man?


If the answer is "anything involving innocent children," then what if Sandusky had just stolen lollypops?


The NCAA is now involved in all of this and they'll be the ones that will now decide where the line gets drawn.  There's a reason a former chair of the NCAA's own Committee on Infractions sounded spooked by this action.


One last note... what if someone recants?  Remember, ESPN jumped all over Syracuse for similar accusations made against a basketball aide.  The assistant was fired.  But since then, one of his accusers has admitted to lying.  Another says he was asked to lie.


What if -- after the fact -- the Sandusky conviction comes undone because people later change their stories?  Not likely, of course, but if it happened, Sandusky might be let out of jail early.  Penn State -- because the NCAA got involved in a criminal matter -- could never get back the recruits and players and bowl games it had lost.


These are murky waters.  Emotional people don't always make great decisions.  During WWII this country rounded up Japanese-Americans and put them in internment camps.  History shows that was a HORRIBLE mistake.  But at the time, angry/spooked folks were fine with it.


The NCAA didn't need to go down this road.  The people who committed the crimes and covered-up are out of work -- with more to come -- and they're facing jail.  The NCAA got involved just because it wanted to say, "Hey, look, we got involved and we hate child rapists, too."  


So do I, but I'm not taking justice into my own hands.


But again, the point of the particular post above was whether or not a school should hire an outsider to write up a summary... or go through the traditional NCAA process, complete with checks and balances, charges, a defense, a ruling, and an appeals process.


Thanks, as always, for reading,



Should the Freeh report have been used by the NCAA? Should it have been used in concert with evidence compiled by the criminal investigations? Should media statements given by JoePa count? What about grand jury testimony leaks? Or should the NCAA have ignored all of that record and done its own investigation?


Fascinating law school or journalism class questions. Not sure how they apply here.


I think the UNC faculty WANTS to blow up the athletic culture on campus. They were voting to pull UNC out of the NCAA 20 years ago, and they haven't stopped trying since. They see it a blow for academic integrity, and they feel that UNC still pulls enough weight that such a blow will resonate across the academic world coast to coast.


But the NCAA is done with this case. UNC presented enough of the Nyang'Oro evidence to the NCAA - and forced out both Butch and Nyang'Oro the moment it became clear they were still running their scam in the middle of an NCAA investigation - that the NCAA can plausibly say they have layered it into the mix. And UNC already had an independent investigation turn over all the leaves with respect to Blake.


UNC can and will do an independent investigation, the NCAA will praise them for it, and everyone will blast them for hypocrisy, since they crushed PSU with the help of the Freeh report.


Which is all procedural myopia ignoring that one school covered and enabled a child rapist for so many years that NO amount of procedural transparency was going save the day.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



What a shock... the first responses all ignore the point of my story.


Nowhere does it say cover up.  Nowhere does it say the school shouldn't do their own investigation, turn that over to the NCAA, and then let the NCAA do its own investigation -- as had been the due process of the NCAA for 60 years until last week.


Instead, I simply wrote that schools shouldn't hire some outsider to come in and do a summary that the NCAA can grab and use INSTEAD of an investigation.


I'm for due process.  If folks don't grasp that -- or refuse to read that -- or are against due process, well, then the problem's with you.


There are multiple angles to this Penn State thing.  Sooner or later one of them will impact an SEC school in some way.  I'm not going to ignore the story.  


Sorry if that ruffles feathers, but I'd appreciate people actually commenting on what was written and not what they THINK was implied.



Gomezaaaa 1 Like

 @John at MrSEC Here's what you wrote:  "If the Penn State scenario has shown us anything it’s that no school should hire an outside party to file a summary report regarding an on-campus scandal ever again.  Ever. "  This is what I disagree with.   

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



Okay.  Fair enough.


I'm a believer in the process of self-reporting, following by NCAA investigation, followed by school defense, followed by final judgement.  Just like in the justice system.  If a cop arrests you, you get a trial.  An outside witness or expert can give testimony, but that testimony doesn't take the place of a trial.


But we all have a different takes.


I just don't like it when folks try to state that my take is something that it isn't.


Thanks for reading,John 

sojourner 1 Like

this is the kind of advise i'd expect from somebody in a striped suit.  this may seem quaint, but i still admire integrity.  after reading this column, i feel an urge to take a shower.

Scott Heizman
Scott Heizman 2 Like


Why don't you give the whole PSU thing a rest? You sound like a high school girl, taking offense because someone disagreed with your PSU hand holding. You can slice it, dice it, and do anything you want to do with the Freeh Report. Bottom line is, the emails show that Paterno and the rest of the top brass KNEW that had a child rapist in their midst and ignored it to protect the reputation of the football program. THAT IS ALL THE EVIDENCE THE NCAA NEEDED! For you to keep defending them makes me seriously question your judgement. Maybe you can write another article and whine about this email. Or maybe you could cut bait and quit down this sad road. 


A thorough and accurate investigation is exactly what needs to happen at UNC.  Transparency, especially at state funded institutions like PSU and UNC, is what keeps problems from happening in the first place.  If Joe Pa and the rest of those guys at Penn State knew from the beginning that all they said and did would see the light of day, they would have turned Sandusky over to the cops at the first hint of a problem. And there would be no scandal.  And there wouldn't have been further child abuse.  It is exactly this kind of turning a blind eye to problems that causes more problems.  If the NCAA doesn't act fairly with a the evidence of an investigation, that is a completely separate issue.  That is an NCAA issue.

Joey Zaza
Joey Zaza

Hyman Dean Smith Roth says:  "There was this kid I grew up with; he was younger than me. Sorta looked up to me, you know. We did our first work together, worked our way out of the street. Things were good, we made the most of it. During UCLA's run, we ran the four corners... won a lot of games, too... As much as anyone, I loved him and trusted him. Later on he had an idea to build a basketball program while cutting lots of corners ethically and academically. That kid's name was Roy Williams, and the program he invented was UNC-Chapel Hill. This was a great man, a man of vision and guts. And there isn't even a plaque, or a signpost or a statue of him on campus! Someone in the NCAA put a bullet through his eye. No one knows who gave the order. When I heard it, I wasn't angry; I knew Roy, I knew he was head-strong, talking loud, saying stupid things. So when he turned up dead, I let it go. And I said to myself, this is the business we've chosen; I didn't ask who gave the order, because it had nothing to do with business!

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