Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Failure to Lead

The Board of Trustees has issued a new statement to rationalize cover their asses explain its decision to fire Joe Paterno.  The following is excerpted from the email I received from Penn State (they also address firing Spanier, but in this football blog, who really cares about that):
Our decisions were guided by our obligation as Trustees, always, to put the interests of the University first.

While Coach Paterno did his legal duty by reporting that information the next day, Sunday, March 3, to his immediate superior, the then Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley, the Board reasonably inferred that he did not call police. We determined that his decision to do his minimum legal duty and not to do more to follow up constituted a failure of leadership by Coach Paterno.

The Board spent hours on conference calls between Saturday, Nov. 5, and Tuesday, Nov. 8, discussing appropriate action and our fiduciary responsibility as the Trustees. On Wednesday evening, Nov. 9, we met in person in State College. At about 9 pm, we unanimously made the difficult decision that Coach Paterno's failure of leadership required his removal as football coach.

We are sorry for the unfortunate way we had to deliver the news on the telephone about an hour later to Coach Paterno. However, we saw no better alternative. Because Coach Paterno's home was surrounded by media representatives, photographers and others, we did not believe there was a dignified, private and secure way to send Board representatives to meet with him there. Nor did we believe it would be wise to wait until the next morning, since we believed it was probable that Coach Paterno would hear the news beforehand from other sources, which would be inappropriate.
Why is it that the only two people who actually did anything (Paterno and McQueary) are the only ones being punished (Spanier notwithstanding???)  The attorney generals (Gricar and Corbett) didn't do anything.  Keystone Central didn't do anything--the victim's mother did!  Is it really Joe Paterno's decision to initiate an investigation.  The last time I looked, he was the FOOTBALL COACH.  Most employers don't want employees calling the police until supervisors have been contacted and then letting the higher-ups handle that.  Paterno calling the police would have been a breach of school policy!  And in the end, at the time Paterno was aware, Sandusky was no longer on PSU property and presumably neither was the victim.  Paterno calling the police accomplishes nothing that Curley calling the police would have.

To the best of my knowledge, Tim Curley was not fired.  He is on administrative leave.  How is his failure to lead not worthy of being summarily fired?  Paterno didn't even get the dignity of administrative leave pending an investigation.

I'm so mad I don't know what else to say.  Fortunately, a BWI poster submitted an amusing poll which pretty much sums up a lot of the bull shit here:
What would the smart, successful, and well educated members of the Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees have people believe?

1. The head football coach is the most important and powerful position in the university. It is why we spent two months meticulously interviewing and finding the right candidate, and only two minutes finding the new president.

2. We care, especially about children, because when we heard 1) Child, 2) Sandusky, 3) Sexual Assult, and 4) On Campus, we could not think of a single question to ask.

3. Even though our BOT members are not allowed to talk, we know at least one of our esteemed members would leak the news between when we finished up at 10 pm and the next morning.

4. We really, really, really thought we had all the details because Spanier and Baldwin told us so, even though Spanier was only present for his testimony, Baldwin said she could not divulge details, and no one else's testimony mattered.

5. The $10 million plus we will be spending on this scandal was all necessary and well thought out, in line with our commitment to be responsible stewards of the university.

6. We gave Lanny orders to prioritize the university foremost in his duties, not us.

7. We plan to honor someone who brought such shame to our university that we had to fire him. Head coach emeritus is quite the honor afterall, and completely consistent with our actions.

8. Spanier issued a statement that did not reflect our views, even though when presented with the opportunity to clarify what we believed, we issued nothing.

9. We are very disappointed in the university employees for following university procedures. But if they hadn't followed them, we would have fired them for cause.

10. Even though everyone at the university involved actually took actions and followed up, we didn't think it merited any actions on our part. Our employees exhibited a real failure of leadership.
Number 9 is currently winning after 30 total votes.

Even John "I can't beat Michigan to save my job" Cooper was able to see the situation clearly when he commented--and I paraphrase here--Jim Tressel got fired in Columbus for not reporting a wrong, while Joe Paterno got fired for reporting what he was supposed to report.

The whole angle that PSU covered this up to protect its image is absurd.  Had Curley or Schultz contacted the police, everything would have been fine.  If the police/DA found evidence, then Penn State would look like the hero for bringing the monster to justice.  If they found nothing, then what more could be done?  How would bringing Sandusky to justice in 2002 have negatively impacted PSU or the football program?  Penn State had nothing to hide in 2002.  Sandusky was no longer employed by them.  It doesn't make any sense to cover anything up at that point.

Yes, the LEADER SHIP at the level of the Board of Trustees is a BIG SHIP.  Like the Titanic.

Maybe the next BOT meeting should be held at Olive Garden.


Carolyn Todd said...

Olive Garden? Hmmm...why tarnish that brand with this mess?

Carolyn Todd said...

Ahh...never mind...I just clicked on the link.