I have resigned from the Penn State Board of Trustees.
For most of the 18 years I served as a Trustee, I was proud to help Penn State grow and achieve its deserved stature, in both academics and athletics, as one of America’s top-rated public Universities.
On November 9th, 2011, I and my fellow Trustees, voted to fire Joe Paterno in a hastily called meeting. We had little advance notice or opportunity to discuss and consider the complex issues we faced. After 61 years of exemplary service, Coach Paterno was given no chance to respond. That was a mistake. I will always regret that my name is attached to that rush to injustice.
Hiring Louis Freeh and the tacit acceptance of his questionable conclusions, without review, along with his broad criticism of our Penn State culture was yet another mistake. In joining the Paterno family and others in their suit against the NCAA, I have distanced myself from the Board on this issue. I am determined to reverse all of the misguided sanctions which were designed to punish a football program without blemish, and were aimed at student-athletes innocent of any wrong-doing.
To my knowledge, this is the first resignation of a Board member since the 2011 debacle for reasons related to that event, but I could be wrong about that. Several have been voted off the Board by Alumni.Over the past two years, concerned Alumni have spoken clearly and forcefully. They have replaced six incumbents with reform-minded Trustees determined to acknowledge and redress errors of judgment with positive actions. Those who believe we can move on without due process for all who have been damaged by unsupported accusations are not acting in Penn State’s best interest.
Message Boards across Nittany Nation are already hailing his decision, describing him as a man of "courage and conviction," and an "honorable man," but "no hero."
Personally, I am happier about his stated reasons, than his actual resignation. The acknowledgement that firing Paterno was a mistake and an injustice, questioning the Freeh Report's validity and "tacit acceptance", and criticizing the "misguided sanctions" of the NCAA which punishes student-athletes who have done nothing wrong are the REAL reasons to cheer this turn of events.
Upon further reading, I discovered that Ira Lubert also resigned, but did not give any public comment as to why. Apparently, Gov. Corbett has already nominated Todd Rucci and Cliff Benson to replace them, pending approval by the legislature. Cliff Benson was on the Board of The Second Mile---yup. Jerry Sandusky's now defunct charity. Imagine that!
As if this soap opera isn't interesting and disturbing enough already, have you heard about the Mike McQueary gambling and sexual abuse revelations! I kid you not! Big Red admits that he gambled on sports, (probably even Penn State games) and he was sexually abused as a child. Hollywood can't make stuff like this up!
It remains to be seen whether this resignation will trigger others. The election this year should be interesting, as incumbent Joel Myers seeks to retain his position. Myers has likened his re-election campaign to a referendum question for alumni: “Do they believe, as I do, that it is time to surge onward, toward a bright future and out of the Sandusky darkness? Or do they support the group calling itself Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, whose eyes seem to look only backward, using counterproductive acrimony and recriminations to continue to churn our collective hurt?”
Apparently Mr. Myers has no ragrets. Not even one letter, or note, delivered to Paterno in the dark of night.
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