I have to agree with Flop. The report needs to be included in the discussion. We should understand the strengths and weaknesses of the report, but we can't just ignore the information in it.
The Freeh report is a 'joke"? Talk about denial. The former head of the FBI probably knows how to do a complete investigation at this point in his career. He probably also knows how to do a report including the essentials and discarding the irrelevant. What is a joke is the folks who simply refuse to accept his conclusions because they damage JoPa and some other bigshots in the PSU community. Apparently neither the administration at PSU, nor the NCAA nor the Big 10 thought that the report was a joke, judging from what they've done since it came out.
One of the big drawbacks to the report, and this was openly addressed by Freeh in his press release, is that they did not interview Curley, Schultz, or Paterno. Curley and Schultz and in the midst of working through their perjury charges, and also may face additional charges (or legal penalty?) related to their non-disclosure of what is required by the Clery Act. Paterno, as we know, died before he could be interviewed.
It is highly unusual for legal action to be taken without interviewing the three most important people, and the three would are being declared "most guilty" in the case. As Flop and I talked about, it can't be taken as a complete document. With that understanding, it is difficult to give full acceptance of the opinions/conclusions drawn. On the other hand, I think virtually everyone accepts that the information within the document is likely accurate.
As for the Board accepting it - they had no choice. They have blown every public action and statement since day one. Honestly, it would have been hard for them to do a worse job if they planed it in advance. Any perceived hint of denial or comment that the report might not be the full story, would have resulted in a tidal wave of public backlash. Their only choice was to roll over and take the report and then the NCAA sanctions. Right or wrong, appropriate or not.
So, getting back to your comment, I agree, it is not a joke. But even Freeh says it is not a complete investigation. I find it interesting that he (and his group) were so willing to provide such strong conclusions given the admitted, unavoidable, and very important, gaps in the investigation.
I find it sad that our society puts more emphasis on the timing of the response than the accuracy. I don't think any further harm would have been done had they waited for the two trials to conclude, include the information that came out in those, and interview Curley and Schultz as well. This is kind of like a judge saying, "well, we have run out of time for this trial. The defendant will not be able to present his case. We're going to go ahead and convict and sentence him." No one would accept that as being appropriate.
Penn State fans can officially not see the forest for the trees. The minutia of a couple of people not being interviewed is not important. There was more than enough evidence to make a report free of bias. It's hard to see the big picture when your right in the middle of it. Maybe it's time to take a few steps back for a more broad perspective.
"Believed to be"? A $6 million dollar investigation into what was the biggest story in the country for weeks, and an attack on a man's credibility, grand jury testimony and public statements on one of the two most crucial assertions the Freeh Report makes and it's based on "believed to be"? Why doesn't he know?.Why didn't he find out?
There is no fact in Freeh's written report that shows that the conclusion of the Sandusky investigation was ever conveyed to Paterno. He just says it. He just wants you to take his word for it. But he has no proof. Which may be why Freeh says, oops, he cant find any evidence of how it was done. If you're going to accuse someone of lying to a grand jury and lying in public statements you better have the goods to prove it. Freeh has, by his own admission, nothing.And he also ignores the fact that if Paterno did know the results, he would have been told there was no abuse by Sandusky.Which blows Freeh's entire premise out of the water.
This entire report could be cut to pieces by a 3rd year law student with one glaring example after another where Freeh draws conclusions without facts, makes statements about facts not in evidence and chooses to ignore anything that is in conflict with his premise.
As for Freeh himself, the Board of Trustees who has botched every possible decison from the beginning couldnt have made a worse decision in choosing Freeh to do the investigation. As pointed out here the other day, Freeh had the reputation in Washington DC of being a political hack.
Louis Freeh missed Robert Hannsen being the biggest spy in U.S. history under his watch with the FBI. Here is the irony. During eight years of his tenure as the FBI director, Robert Hannsen, the worst spy in the history of the United States, went unnoticed and wasn't caught for fifteen years, eight of those being on Louis Freeh's direction. And Hannsen's office was just a few feet down the hall from Freeh's office. Great job hiring a "title" but next time, read the resume'.
He was excoriated by former Republican governor Tom Kane as Chairman of the 911 Commission who tore Freeh to shreds for his incompetence as FBI director in his handling of terrorist related intelligence prior to 911. And as recently as April of 2012, appearing before a congressional committee, Freeh was battered by the committee investigating the bankruptcy of MF Global for which Freeh and his group were overseeing, for Freeh's refusal to turn over relevant documents to federal regulators.
All indications were that the Freeh Report was going to be the product of a political hack. And the report did not disappoint.
There is not one corroborating piece of evidence, no phone records to indicate a second conversation between Paterno and Curley took place, no office or appointment logs to show Paterno met with Curley a second time. not one witness to a second meeting interviewed or cited. Nothing. Just Freeh deciding to use an email email as "proof" of his own unsubstantiated conclusions which also happens to run contrary to every shred of evidence, testimony, grand jury testimony and public statement that does exist.
And just to put a fine point on it, ESPN Magazine's senior writer, Dan Van Nata did report a few days before the release of the report that a source, probably in Freeh's own group, who had seen all the emails told him that this email from Curley to Spanier was in the source's words, "definitely taken out of context" and "chosen to put everyone in the worst possible light".
The bottom line with this email is that Freeh intentionally distorts and mischaracterizes it. And if you have to distort and misrepresent evidence to make your case, you have no case. This is the media taking it's wrecking ball scandal driven frenzy to use the Freeh report to create a to a foregone conclusion.