[Update, Wednesday, 1.45pm: Two additional items for the bitter-ender file. ESPN reports that a handful of former Penn State football players will appeal the sanctions, in part on grounds (you guessed it!) that elements of the Freeh Report were “clearly erroneous.” The letter offers no guidance on how, or in what manner, the findings were “clearly erroneous.”
In addition to his communication with the NCAA, renegade trustee McCombie, meanwhile, has also penned a letter to his fellow trustees, asking them (“for the glory,” as he ended his missive) to join his anti-accountability crusade. “I do not do this,” wrote he, “seeking a predetermined result nor do I claim to know what the final answers will be.”
That would be the same Trustee McCombie who told the NCAA that he did know what the final answers would be--namely, that the Freeh Report “contains findings and conclusions that are contrary to the evidence and/or unsupported by credible evidence.” Whether his fellow trustees will respond to a colleague who plays so fast and loose with the truth remains to be seen.]
In our WSJ op-ed, Stuart and I noted that—thanks largely to the Freeh Report—Penn State had responded to administrative failure far more effectively than had Duke handled its response to the lacrosse case. Yet, we argued, a potential problem remained, in which “Penn State may be doomed to follow Duke's unfortunate example. Duke's appeasing of its faculty extremists symbolized its failed response to the lacrosse case. Penn State, similarly, has shown little willingness to deal with its bitter-enders—those among the campus community who prefer to hide their eyes and ears from the evidence and cling to the belief that the late Coach Joe Paterno was somehow mistreated. Such views exist even among the board of trustees, two of whose recently elected members, Anthony Lubrano and Ryan McCombie, campaigned on a platform demanding that the board apologize to the Paterno family.”
As will become evident in a thorough and impartial review, the NCAA acted hastily and without any regard for due process. Furthermore, the NCAA and Penn State’s Board Chair and President entirely ignored the fact that the Freeh Report, on which these extraordinary penalties are based, is deeply flawed because it is incomplete [in unidentified ways], rife with [unidentified, it seems] unsupported opinions and unquestionably [at least, it seems, according to the Paternos] one-sided. [emphasis added]
The NCAA decree is fundamentally unfair in that the Freeh Report, on which it is predicated, contains findings and conclusions that are contrary to the evidence and/or unsupported by credible evidence [in ways that, it seems, must remain unidentified]. The Report failed to consider evidence or afford certain [unidentified, it seems] individuals an opportunity to be heard, failed to acknowledge the absence of [unidentified, it seems] important and material evidence, and reached [unidentified, it seems] conclusions based on assumption, conjecture, and misplaced characterizations that are contrary to the [unidentified, it seems] available facts and evidence.