Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Midsummer Dark Night's Scheme

The Freeher: Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just, do things. The NCAA has plans, the Trustees have plans, the Paterno’s got plans. You know, they’re schemers. Schemers trying to control their worlds. I’m not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how, pathetic, their attempts to control things really are. So, when I say, ah, come here, when I say that you and your football team was nothing personal, you know that I’m telling the truth. 

It’s the schemers that put you where you are, Spanier. You were a schemer, you had plans, and uh, look where that got you. I just did what I do best. I took your plan and I turned it on itself. Look what I did, to Penn State with a few innuendos and a couple of emails. Hm? You know what, you know what I noticed? Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying. If tomorrow I tell the press that like an ex-Florida player gets arrested for murder, or a truckload of academic fraud happened at North Carolina, nobody panics, because it’s all, part of the plan. But when I say that one, little old football coach covered up a scandal when he didn't, well then everyone loses their minds!

In case you are not aware, the tangled web of lawsuits continues . . .

Graham Spanier has filed a notice of intent to bring a defamation lawsuit against Louis Freeh.
Spanier, who has denied the allegations in the report, is suing Freeh and his firm, Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan, for libel/defamation. Spanier is seeking monetary damages and is demanding a jury trial. 

Of course, you're probably already aware that the Paterno family, joined by former players, coaches, faculty members and Board of Trustee members have sued the NCAA to reverse the sanctions.
The suit, to be filed in Common Pleas Court of Centre County, Pa., alleges that the NCAA violated its own rules in meting out penalties in the wake of the child sex abuse case involving former Nittany Lions assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, penalties that were based on an investigative report by former FBI director Louis Freeh.

And recently, Coach O'Brien spoke behind closed doors to the Board of Trustees.
O’Brien addressed the trustees for more than an hour Friday morning behind closed doors during the board’s executive session at the Penn State Fayette branch campus. The presentation’s slides were visible from a hallway through several full-length glass-paned doors into the room where the session was held. 
But, one of the presentation slides had the heading “potential proposal to modify sanctions” and another had a heading concerning the impact of the scholarship reductions that are part of the sanctions. 
Another slide read “Individual lawsuits do not help us!” with the words “do not” underlined and in capital letters.
This latter slide has prompted a surge of Internet speculation drawing lines between those who support O'Brien's decision to reduce the sanctions and "move on:" versus those who still seek the truth, even if sanctions persist.

My Take:

Glass doors?  Seriously?  If that wasn't planned, for the effect that it is having, then I've never been a Penn State fan.

Look.  Bill O'Brien is stepping up to the plate for his team.  His slide about "INDIVIDUAL" lawsuits may not even be referring to the Paterno suit, since there are multiple parties involved.  He is concerned about his team--about giving his current players a level field to play on, to give his team depth so that his players aren't more susceptible to injury, and to enhance recruiting which gives more students a chance to earn a Penn State degree.

None of the players on this team have anything to do with what allegedly happened, and penalizing the program isn't helping a single victim one iota.  The NCAA over-stepped its authority.  The Freeh Report is flawed.  Not a single PSU administrator has yet been convicted of any wrong doing. 

Unlike the Governor's anti-trust suit against the NCAA, there is a better chance that the courts will allow the Paterno suit to proceed, i.e. that the plaintiff's have standing.  While that doesn't mean the NCAA will lose, it does mean that the next phase--discovery--will allow the representing attorneys the opportunity to subpoena NCAA records, which from what I've been told, could open up a significant can of worms.

It is probably true that pending lawsuits against the NCAA would probably deter the organization from reducing any sanctions currently.  But that may be part of the scheme.  The NCAA may be more likely to reduce the sanctions--if certain or all lawsuits are dropped.  Whether intentionally or not, the Paterno Suit actually gives the NCAA some ammunition to continue the sanctions despite the fact that Penn State has behaved and implemented most of the changes recommended by the Gospel According to Freeh.

So what do you think?

Has O'Brien sold out to the move-on proponents, just to make things go away without any regard to the truth?  Or is he just fighting for his team with no political agenda to further?

I lean toward the latter.

1 comment:

Carolyn Todd said...

I think the depth issues have got to make O'Brien concerned about the physical safety of his football players competing week in and week out in Big Ten play, which is especially known for physical challenges and toughness. That is a huge concern of mine as well regarding the scholarship reductions.