–Bill Levinson B.S. ‘78
To Penn State Trustees, copy to Alumni Association and Coach O’Brien, and to Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship
November 8, 2011: we had a scandal involving Jerry Sandusky, and to a lesser degree Tim Curley and Gary Schultz (whose guilt is very open to doubt, and less believable in light of the Freeh Report’s actual contents)
July 23, 2012: Penn State’s reputation is now ruined, and it will lose millions of dollars in revenue from postseason football games.
The blame for this rests of course with the Freeh Group’s irresponsible, poorly researched, and quite possibly defamatory press release and conclusions, but Trustee Karen Peetz opened the door to the NCAA’s equally irresponsible (in violation of its own rules and operating procedures) action by accepting Freeh’s conclusions publicly without any apparent thorough effort to review them. She said, in fact, that the Trustees had “begun” to review them. President Erickson also seems to have publicly accepted the conclusions without a diligent review.
If the Trustees had done their jobs, they would have realized that the Freeh Group has an established track record of incomplete investigative workmanship (e.g. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1265466-ex-fifa-presidential-candidate-has-ban-annulled-and-how-it-connects-to-penn-st). There is plenty wrong with its conclusions, and the Trustees would know that if they had done their jobs.
You have also done a major disservice to Coach O’Brien. I sent him an E-mail yesterday to the effect that, when he joined Penn State, he had in my opinion accepted a job from an unreliable and untrustworthy employer as shown by the Board’s treatment of Coach Paterno. Now Coach O’Brien will be unable to participate in post-season games thanks to the Trustees’ dereliction of duty (public acceptance of Freeh’s conclusions without much if any visible effort to assess their foundations) that opened the door to the NCAA’s actions, and he will have to work under the cloud of being under NCAA sanctions because of the Board’s actions and inactions. The young men who joined Penn State on the assumption that they were going to play for one of the most reputable (academically as well as athletically) teams in the country also have a right to know how their so-called Trustees and University President ruined a major part of their college experience for them.
If the Trustees and President Erickson fail to challenge the NCAA over these sanctions, it will further underscore their lack of fitness to lead Penn State. I guarantee you that if I have my way, we alumni will take matters into our own hands and do your jobs for you if we can identify any legal avenue by which to sue the NCAA.