Former players blast Penn State leadership
A group of former football players sharply criticized Penn State University’s Board of Trustees Friday, with one saying the board “wreaked havoc” in its handling of the Sandusky scandal.
The trustees were in Hershey for a regular board meeting. During the public comment period, five former players addressed the board.
“Your moral failure is cataclysmic,” said Philip LaPorta.
The players criticized the Freeh report, which was commissioned by Penn State leadership in the wake of the Sandusky scandal in an effort to figure out who knew what and how the university could improve its oversight.
Some players also called on trustees to resign and said they would like to see the NCAA sanctions against Penn State lifted.
Over the summer, the NCAA cited the Freeh report in its decision to levy a $60 million fine, to institute a multi-season ban on bowl games, and reduce the number of scholarships among other sanctions.
Trustee Ken Frazier defended the Freeh report, saying the ongoing debate over it is damaging efforts to move forward.
“We cannot put our heads in the sand and pretend that children were not hurt or that documents do not exist,” said Frazier. “I just think that we have to be careful that we don’t go down a rat hole and spend (time) endlessly trying to rewrite history or relive history.”
LaPorta spoke directly to Frazier, saying the board moved too quickly the day the Freeh report was released in an effort to satisfy the 24-hour news cycle.
“Where does that leave you in your failure of leadership? And oh by the way, if there’s a black hole, we better get into it. And, we better find the rat that’s down the hole,” said LaPorta.
Joe Paterno’s family released its own report last month.
The players at Friday’s meeting all wore stickers saying they were part of the “Grand Experiment,” Paterno’s effort to bring athletics and academics together at Penn State during his decades at the university.
“You have asked all of us to move forward as if the questions of fairness and truth have been settled,” former player Thomas Dunchez told the board.
Trustee Anthony Lubrano said he wanted Judge Louis Freeh to meet with trustees to answer questions and address what he feels are shortcomings in the report.
“Absolutely, positively, I want to move forward. But, I can’t in good conscience move forward at this time. It’s just not possible for me,” said Lubrano.