WBEZ | Penn State http://www.wbez.org/tags/penn-state Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en NCAA and Big Ten slam Penn State, vacate Paterno's wins http://www.wbez.org/news/ncaa-and-big-ten-slam-penn-state-vacate-paternos-wins-101104 <p><p>Penn State football was all but leveled Monday by an NCAA ruling that wiped away 14 years of coach Joe Paterno&#39;s victories and imposed a mountain of fines and penalties, crippling a program whose pedophile assistant coach spent uncounted years molesting children, sometimes on university property.</p><p>The sanctions by the governing body of college sports, which capped eight months of turmoil on the central Pennsylvania campus, stopped short of delivering the &quot;death penalty&quot; of shutting down the sport. But the NCAA hit Penn State with $60 million in fines, ordered it out of the postseason for four years, and will cap scholarships at 20 below the normal limit for four years. The school also will be on probation for five years.</p><p>Any current or incoming football players are free to immediately transfer and compete at another school.</p><p>&quot;Football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people,&quot; NCAA President Mark Emmert said as he announced the penalties at a news conference in Indianapolis.</p><p>The sanctions all stem from the case of former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted last month of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years. An investigation commissioned by the school and released July 12 found that Paterno, who died in January, and several other top officials at Penn State stayed quiet about accusations against Sandusky in 1998 and 2001.</p><p>The NCAA ruling holds the entire school community accountable for failing to protect children.</p><p>&quot;Against this backdrop, Penn State accepts the penalties and corrective actions announced today by the NCAA,&quot; Penn State President Rodney Erickson said in a statement. &quot;With today&#39;s announcement and the action it requires of us, the University takes a significant step forward.&quot;</p><p>The Big&nbsp;Ten announced that Penn State would not be allowed to share in the conference&#39;s bowl revenue during the NCAA&#39;s postseason ban, an estimated loss of about $13 million. And the NCAA reserved the right to add additional penalties.</p><p>Emmert fast-tracked penalties rather than go through the usual circuitous series of investigations and hearings. The NCAA said the $60 million is equivalent to the annual gross revenue of the football program. The money must be paid into an endowment for external programs preventing child sexual abuse or assisting victims and may not be used to fund such programs at Penn State.</p><p>&quot;The sanctions needed to reflect our goals of providing cultural change,&quot; Emmert said.</p><p>By vacating 112 Penn State victories from 1998-2011, the sanctions cost Paterno 111 wins. Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden will now hold the top spot in the NCAA record book with 377 major-college wins. Paterno, who was fired days after Sandusky was charged, will be credited with 298 wins.</p><p>The scholarship reductions mean Penn State&#39;s roster will be capped at 65 scholarship players beginning in 2014. The normal scholarship limit for major college football programs is 85. Playing with 20 less is devastating to a program that tries to compete at the highest level of the sport.</p><p>In comparison, the harsh NCAA sanctions placed upon USC several years ago left the Trojans with only 75 scholarships per year over a three-year period.</p><p>The postseason ban is the longest handed out by the NCAA since it gave a four-year ban to Indiana football in 1960.</p><p>Bill O&#39;Brien, who was hired to replace Paterno, now faces the daunting task of building future teams with severe limitations, and trying to keep current players from fleeing to other schools. Star players such as tailback Silas Redd and linebacker Gerald Hodges are now essentially free agents.</p><p>&quot;I knew when I accepted the position that there would be tough times ahead,&quot; O&#39;Brien said. &quot;But I am committed for the long term to Penn State and our student athletes.&quot;</p><p>Players left a team meeting on campus in State College, Pa., without talking to reporters. Penn State&#39;s season starts Sept. 1 at home against Ohio University.</p><p>The sanctions came a day after the school took down the statue of Paterno that stood outside Beaver Stadium and was a rallying point for the coaches&#39; supporters throughout the scandal.</p><p>At a student union on campus, several dozen alumni and students gasped, groaned and whistled as they watched Emmert&#39;s news conference.</p><p>&quot;It was kind of just like a head shaker,&quot; said Matt Bray, an 18-year-old freshman from West Chester, Pa. &quot;You knew it was coming, but it was hard to hear.&quot;</p><p>Emmert had earlier said he had &quot;never seen anything as egregious&quot; as the horrific crimes of Sandusky and the cover-up by Paterno and others at the university, including former Penn State President Graham Spanier and athletic director Tim Curley.</p><p>The Penn State investigation headed by former FBI Director Louis Freeh said school officials kept what they knew from police and other authorities for years, enabling the abuse to go on.</p><p>There had been calls across the nation for Penn State to receive the &quot;death penalty,&quot; and Emmert had not ruled out that possibility as late as last week &mdash; though Penn State did not fit the criteria for it. That punishment is for teams that commit a major violation while already being sanctioned.</p><p>&quot;This case is obviously incredibly unprecedented in every aspect of it,&quot; Emmert said, &quot;as are these actions that we&#39;re taking today.&quot;</p><p>Penn State football under Paterno was built on &mdash; and thrived upon &mdash; the premise that it did things the right way. That it was not a football factory where only wins and losses determined success. Every major college football program tries to send that message, but Penn State built its brand on it.</p><p>Paterno&#39;s &quot;Grand Experiment&quot; was about winning with integrity, graduating players and sending men into the world ready to succeed in life, not just football. But he still won a lot &mdash; a record-setting 409 victories.</p><p>The NCAA had never sanctioned, or seriously investigated Penn State. Few, if any, national powers could make that claim.</p><p>Southern California, Ohio State, Alabama, all have run afoul of the NCAA. Even Notre Dame went on probation for two years after a booster lavished gifts on players in the 1990s.</p><p>The harshest penalty handed down to a football program came in the &#39;80s, when the NCAA shut down SMU&#39;s team for a year. SMU football has never gotten back to the level of success it had before the &quot;death penalty.&quot;</p></p> Mon, 23 Jul 2012 09:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ncaa-and-big-ten-slam-penn-state-vacate-paternos-wins-101104 Penn State's most powerful players failed to protect Sandusky's victims http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/penn-states-most-powerful-players-failed-protect-sanduskys-victims-100850 <p><p>It&rsquo;s hard to believe that anyone would consciously fail to protect children from sexual abuse. But according to a team of independent investigators, that&rsquo;s precisely what Joe Paterno and other officials at Penn State University did. Former FBI director Louis Freeh and his team were asked to <a href="http://i.usatoday.net/news/nation/2012-07-12-penn-state-freeh-report.pdf" target="_blank">assess the university&rsquo;s culpability</a> in the child sex abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted on 45 criminal counts last month.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Joe%20Paterno%20AP.jpg" style="float: left;" title="(AP/file)" />The 267-page report, released Thursday morning, is filled with disturbing details.</div><p>&ldquo;Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky&rsquo;s child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State. The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized,&rdquo; Freeh told the press. Former head coach Joe Paterno, Penn State president Graham Spanier Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley, Freeh added, &ldquo;never demonstrated through actions or words, any concern for the safety and wellbeing of Sandusky&rsquo;s victims&mdash;until after Sandusky&rsquo;s arrest.&rdquo;</p><p>Freeh&rsquo;s team interviewed more than 400 people&mdash;but not JoePa. Paterno died in January at the age of 85, shortly after he was fired amidst the scandal last November. But the coach did say, in a statement, what he told Mike McQueary after the graduate assistant reported seeing Sandusky with a young boy in the team shower in 2001. Paterno told McQueary, &ldquo;You did what had you to do, it is now my job to figure out what we want to do.&rdquo; To which, Freeh asked rhetorically, &ldquo;What was there to figure out?&rdquo;</p><p>Within hours of the report&rsquo;s release, Nike Inc. said that it planned to rename its child care facility, the Joe Paterno Child Development Center. CEO Mark Parker, who defended Paterno at his memorial service, said Thursday, &ldquo;It appears Joe made missteps that led to heartbreaking consequences.&quot;</p><p>Nike is not the first to distance itself from Paterno&mdash;the Big 10 Conference championship trophy was renamed last November. But many say it&rsquo;s not enough. <em>Sun-Times </em>columnist <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/sports/13733985-419/penn-state-deserves-death-penalty-for-football-prison-for-officials.html" target="_blank">Rick Morrisey wrote</a> that the Penn State football program deserves the death penalty. ESPN.com legal analyst and senior writer <a href="http://espn.go.com/espn/commentary/story/_/page/munson-111110a/here-how-penn-state-fix-football-culture" target="_blank">Lester Munson agrees</a>&mdash;but explained to <em>Afternoon Shift</em>, the authority lies with the university&rsquo;s trustees.</p></p> Thu, 12 Jul 2012 15:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/penn-states-most-powerful-players-failed-protect-sanduskys-victims-100850 Sandusky defense rests—but jury still heard from the accused http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/sandusky-defense-rests%E2%80%94-jury-still-heard-accused-100271 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Sandusky%20and%20Amendola%20AP.jpg" title="Jerry Sandusky, right, and his attorney Joe Amendola. (AP/Gene Puskar)" /></div><p>The defense in former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky&rsquo;s sex abuse trial rested its case Wednesday morning without calling its client to testify on his own behalf&mdash;though, the jury had heard from Sandusky, indirectly. The prosecution played audio from a pre-trial interview Sandusky did with Bob Costas on NBC&rsquo;s <a href="http://rockcenter.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/11/14/8804779-jerry-sandusky-to-bob-costas-in-exclusive-rock-center-interview-i-shouldnt-have-showered-with-those-kids?lite" target="_blank"><em>Rock Center</em></a>.&nbsp;</p><p>The now-infamous interview did not do Sandusky any favors, most say. In the interview, Jay Paterno&rsquo;s former defensive coordinator said that he was innocent of the charges levied against him, all 51 counts related to the alleged abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period. Sandusky admitted to Costas that he &quot;horsed around&quot; with kids.</p><p>&ldquo;I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them and I have touched their legs without intent of sexual contact,&quot; Sandusky said. He later admitted that he shouldn&#39;t have showered with [those] kids.</p><p>Costas went on to ask Sandusky if he had a sexual attraction to underage boys, Sandusky said, &quot;I enjoy young people. I love to be around them, but no, I&#39;m not sexually attracted to young boys.&quot;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>When the interview originally aired last November, I, like many viewers, watched with a wrenched gut. The pregnant pauses felt like hours. Various iterations of &ldquo;horseplay&rdquo; or &ldquo;horsing around&rdquo; felt like jabs after hearing the phrase from two top Penn State officials when characterizing an allegation of a rape involving Sandusky and a young boy in the Penn State locker room in their testimonies for a grand jury investigation. The officials, former athletic director, Tim Curley, and senior vice president for finance and business, Gary Schultz, stepped down in November.</p><p>As painful as it was to watch the interview, I was distracted as I kept thinking, &ldquo;Why would he do this interview before going to trial? And what attorney, in their right mind, would let him do it?&rdquo; Well, not only did attorney Joseph Amendola allow his client to do the interview&mdash;he joined him! What&rsquo;s more, we learned this week that what many now consider the most damning comments from the Costas interview, were left on the cutting room floor. <em>Sun-Times</em> columnist Joe Cowley <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/sports/13272524-419/why-did-nbc-not-air-the-most-damning-part-of-jerry-sandusky-bob-costas-interview.html" target="_blank">took the peacock network to task</a> for failing to air the entire Sandusky interview. And the unaired portion of the interview went viral this week.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" height="374" id="ep" width="416"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><param name="movie" value="http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/.element/apps/cvp/3.0/swf/cnn_416x234_embed.swf?context=embed&amp;videoId=us/2012/06/19/point-nbc-sandusky-costas-intv-helping-young-people.cnn" /><param name="bgcolor" value="#000000" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" bgcolor="#000000" height="374" src="http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/.element/apps/cvp/3.0/swf/cnn_416x234_embed.swf?context=embed&amp;videoId=us/2012/06/19/point-nbc-sandusky-costas-intv-helping-young-people.cnn" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="416" wmode="transparent"></embed></object></p><p>The effectiveness of Amendola&rsquo;s defense strategy remains to be seen. Though, in retrospect, he may have benefited from a tutoring session with the lead defense attorney for seven-time Cy Young winner, Roger Clemens, who was acquitted on all six charges raised against him in his recently wrapped perjury trial.</p><p>After nearly two months in Washington <a href="http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/8070093/roger-clemens-defense-team-puts-masterful-case-win-perjury-trial-taking-advantage-prosecutors-mistakes" target="_blank">covering the Clemens trial</a>, <em>Afternoon Shift</em> sports contributor and senior writer for ESPN.com Lester Munson breaks down all the courtroom drama.</p></p> Wed, 20 Jun 2012 14:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/sandusky-defense-rests%E2%80%94-jury-still-heard-accused-100271 Unpacking Penn State fallout http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-11/unpacking-penn-state-fallout-93963 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-11/20111108__joe-paterno-110811y~p1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>College football is no stranger to scandal but the situation at Penn State University involving allegations related to the sexual abuse of minors has criminal implications.</p><p>Former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was charged on Nov. 5 with 40 counts related to the sexual abuse of minors.</p><p><em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> discussed the evolving claims with regular sports contributor Cheryl Raye-Stout and espn.com senior writer Lester Munson.</p><p>Raye-Stout spoke with Penn State alums and current Chicago Bears players Anthony Adams and Robbie Gould about the allegations and about playing for coach Paterno.</p><p>“I think the biggest part is it made you become a better man,” Bears kicker Robbie Gould began. “Obviously being on time for things, making sure that you’re responsible for doing whatever homework or assignments or projects or helping your teammates out; being held accountable for things that you do, obviously is something that we all learned from him. Obviously we became better people and better athletes by attending Penn State and that’s why you go there,” Gould added.</p><p>Gould’s teammate Adams’ expressed shock by the details in the grand jury’s report.</p><p>“You can’t make sense out of this stuff. I mean, 23-page, you know, that report… it’s hard to read that,” Adams tried to explain.</p><p>Raye-Stout told <em>Eight Forty-Eight's</em> Alison Cuddy that players’ reactions changed throughout the week—at first, she said, Adams thought it was just “allegations and innuendos” but after he read the indictment, the allegations took on a new shape and he became quite distraught.</p><p>The Big Ten powerhouse continued to crumble throughout the week. Head coach Joe Paterno was fired Wednesday for failing to do more to stop Sandusky.</p><p>Munson reported that there were three investigations underway: One by Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Linda Kelly, who filed the criminal charges against Sandusky; a second by the Department of Education, which is led by Secretary Arne Duncan, who Munson said was “outraged” by what he had learned about Penn State and the coaching staff; and a third investigation by the University’s Board of Trustees.</p><p>The Trustees have been under considerable pressure from the Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett, who began the investigation more than two years ago while serving as the state’s attorney general.&nbsp;</p><p>Both Munson and Raye-Stout said that they had never seen anything like this in years of covering sports. In his 22 years reporting on scandals and legal issues in sports, Munson said there have been times when, as a journalist, there was some satisfaction and happiness in covering a scandal—but that this was no such an occasion and referred to the reports of the alleged abuse thus far as, “disgusting, repulsive and abhorrent.”</p><p>Unfortunately, Munson added, he was afraid there could be more abuse allegations to come.</p><p>As to whether the NCAA might pursue the matter, Munson said it has no jurisdiction. But, he expected that Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany would exercise his authority in some way. In a statement, Delany offered sympathy for the alleged victims and their families and added that there would be no comment or conclusions drawn until the grand jury and the university’s Board of Trustees’ Special Committee finished their respective investigations of the circumstances that gave rise to the grand jury report.</p><p>The elephant in the room, Raye-Stout explained, was the fact that college sports remained a multi-billion dollar industry which creates power and desire to cover up any malfeasance so sports can continue to profit.</p><p>Munson wrote a column Friday in response to the fallout wherein he suggested that for Penn State to recover, it should cancel football for the next two years and start over. He echoed Raye-Stout’s point and said that the money involved in college sports skews everything, adding that it distorts the balance between academics and sports and is the root cause for the many bizarre things that happen in college sports. Munson noted that his employer, ESPN, pays billions of dollars for college sports making the media giant a part of the problem as well.</p><p>As additional alleged victims come forward, they will be debriefed by Pennsylvania authorities.</p><p>“We must also watch,” Munson said, “as Sandusky prepares his defense—is he going to dig in and defend this or is he going to plead guilty and take his punishment and make a bargain with the prosecutors? All of this, we have, on the horizon,” Munson finished.</p></p> Fri, 11 Nov 2011 16:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-11/unpacking-penn-state-fallout-93963 Chicago Bears react to Joe Paterno firing http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-bears-react-joe-paterno-firing-93947 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-10/6320302576_baa118d035.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some Chicago Bears are reacting to the firing of long-time Penn State Head football coach Joe Paterno.</p><p>Paterno was fired from the position Wednesday night amid a child sex abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.</p><p>Bears' defensive Tackle Anthony Adams played for Penn State from 1999 to 2002. He said firing Paterno was fair.</p><p>"That's what we were based off of," said Adams, referring to the high standard he said Paterno held his players. "That's why we say 'We are Penn State.' We do things different. We hold ourselves to a higher standard anyway, so yeah it's fair."</p><p>Paterno has been criticized for not reporting to police after a graduate assistant coach reported witnessing Sandusky molesting a young boy. Sandusky is charged with sexually assaulting eight boys over a 15-year period.</p><p>Paterno is not being included in the criminal investigation into the school's failure to report the alleged sex abuses.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 10 Nov 2011 21:50:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-bears-react-joe-paterno-firing-93947