Nov 12, 2014 02:36 PM EST
Louis Freeh's Independent Penn State Report Was not Entirely Independent
Newly obtained documents show that the firm Penn State University hired to conduct an independent investigation into Jerry Sandusky's child sex crimes may not have been independent.
ESPN's "Outside the Lines" (OTL) reported obtaining court documents Tuesday that indicate former FBI director Louis Freeh's exhaustive report, which was supposed to be entirely independent, got its blueprint from the NCAA. The NCAA then used Freeh's to levy arguably the most severe sanctions in the history of the college athletics governing body.
Penn State hired Freeh's firm in Nov. 2011 just after Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant coach on the football team, was arrested on 40 counts of child molestation. OTL found that Freeh's investigation intersected with the NCAA about two weeks after it began, with the latter's president Mark Emmert requesting a phone call with the former.
Then in Dec., Freeh met NCAA general counsel Donald Remy and several other officials. That correspondence lasted about a month.
Freeh released his report on July 12, 2012 and the NCAA fined Penn State $60 million, took away scholarships for four years, banned the football team from attending a bowl game for the same period and vacated all 211 wins accumulated from 1998 to 2011.
Pennsylvania state Sen. Jake Corman and state treasurer Rob McCord recently filed a lawsuit challenging the massive fine. Filed with the suit, ESPN previously reported, were a series of emails dated between the Freeh Report release and the sanctions that revealed doubts NCAA officials had regarding the historic punishments.
"Clearly the more we dig into this, the more troubling it gets," Corman told OTL. "There clearly is a significant amount of communication between Freeh and the NCAA that goes way beyond merely providing information. I'd call it coordination. ... Clearly, Freeh went way past his mandate. He was the enforcement person for the NCAA. That's what it looks like. I don't know how you can look at it any other way. It's almost like the NCAA hired him to do their enforcement investigation on Penn State.
"At a minimum, it is inappropriate. At a maximum, these were two parties working together to get an outcome that was predetermined."
The fine and the vacated wins are the only sanctions that have not been lessened by the NCAA and Penn State was ruled eligible for the postseason this year and will have all scholarships restored for next season. What's more is the school has found permanent replacements for the administrators and football staff connected to scandal that took place three years ago.
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