NU/Coach Tom Osborne & LJS Still “Don’t Get” Penn State’s Message

July 13, 2012


WASHINGTON, D.C. (exclusive) by Ivy Harper

NO public college program in the country more closely parallels Penn State than NU. Fact. Another fact: articles about NU in the Lincoln Journal Star (LJS) normally have “Discussion” sections headlining each story except in cases where the article is about an alleged crime and the matter has not yet been resolved in court.

Otherwise – unlike the Omaha World-Herald (OWH) that “monitors each and every Comment” that comes into the paper – the LJS has had an “open” door, so to speak, according to LJS staffers.

Until the results of Louis Freeh’s Penn State inquiry came in. The LJS decides to run an article wherein Coach Tom Osborne puts the best possible “spin” on Penn State; however, LJS readers are not “allowed” to “Comment” which just shows that Colleges still don’t “get” that the message from Penn State is: stop circling the wagons in order to thwart “bad publicity” from wrong-doing and misdeeds on campus whether they be physical/sexual/academic or financial. It always comes back to haunt Colleges in the end. Always.

There’s only one reason that the LJS would disallow “Comments” after the Osborne/Penn State story and that is to prevent LJS readers – many of whom are upset about facets of NU’s athletic program – from making “negative” Comments about NU. In other words, the LJS/NU in tandem are making sure sure that NU does not get any “bad publicity” spillover from Penn State.  All you have to do at NU is to substitute “academic/financial” for “physical/sexual” and you’ve got the same situation: widespread “cover-ups” on everything from NELNET/NU to the whole UNO “bogus ban” leak three weeks before the 2010 Congressional election. Admittedly, NU’s transgressions – while unlawful – come in at lower scale than Penn State. Nonetheless, misdeeds and wrongdoings are still misdeeds and wrongdoings.

The fact that – after reading the Penn State investigative findings – Coach Tom Osborne could still make this statement: “When you look at Joe in totality, he did things the right way in his football program. To my knowledge, he never cheated.”

Paterno CHEATED scores of young men of their CHILDHOOD. That is the ultimate “cheating.”  For Osborne to say that Paterno “did the things the right way” is flat-out false. Paterno – clearly – did not do “things” the right way. Osborne should not have uttered A SINGLE WORD in defense of Paterno or Penn State. Nada. Nothing.

USA Today Columnist Christine Brennan wrote yesterday that soon college programs will go back to business as usual; she thinks other places where Football is King are not getting the message. Sorry to say that, perhaps, Coach Osborne’s words show she’s right.

Here’s a reprint of Brennan’s insightful column:

Brennan: No reason to believe PSU will act now

By Christine Brennan, USA TODAY

Knowing what we know now, yellow crime-scene tape should have been wrapped around the entire Penn State football complex because of what Jerry Sandusky was doing inside it, with the knowledge of the late Joe Paterno and others.

  • The Freeh report — off the investigation into Penn State's reaction to the Jerry Sandusky scandal — is scheduled for release Thursday morning.By Mara Ticcino, US PresswireThe Freeh report — off the investigation into Penn State’s reaction to the Jerry Sandusky scandal — is scheduled for release Thursday morning.

The Freeh report — off the investigation into Penn State’s reaction to the Jerry Sandusky scandal — is scheduled for release Thursday morning.

On Thursday morning, the Louis Freeh report investigating Penn State’s response to the Sandusky child sex abuse scandal will be released, and it should demand a complete housecleaning of everyone in a position of power at Penn State during the Sandusky years, including the school’s entire board of trustees. If Freeh doesn’t do that, his report will have failed. The atrocities that turned into convictions against Sandusky are that horrifying.

But will Freeh do it? His investigation has been called “independent,” but he is being paid by Penn State to conduct it. So how much can we trust this report?

What’s more, a column by Paterno mysteriously surfaced Wednesday, nearly six months after his death. In it, the former Penn State coach said, “I feel compelled to say, in no uncertain terms, that this is not a football scandal.”

Of course Paterno would say that. And of course he would be wrong. This is completely and totally a football scandal, because he built his program to be untouchable, and the university let him do so. It is a tragedy that will be linked with Penn State for generations, because Paterno failed miserably as a leader, educator and human being. He was the man with the real power to stop the sexual abuse of young boys in his locker room. Yet he did not do it.

Why a statue of him remains on campus is a question everyone, especially devoted Penn State alums, should ask.

Since Paterno was fired, and others were let go or put on leave, there has been a stunning (and revolting) inclination by the university to embrace the status quo.

For instance, most of us think disgraced President Graham Spanier is gone from Penn State, but he’s still a tenured faculty member there.

The board of trustees, which reprehensibly ignored warnings about the severity of the Sandusky charges months before they were made public, is still intact.

And, eschewing even a modicum of class or dignity, the school accepted a bowl bid after last season when it more properly should have shut down the football program for at least a year to show it was serious about the Sandusky scandal. Over the years, many universities have willingly given up bowl games for transgressions far less egregious. But let’s not forget: They are Penn State.

Knowing all this, it’s hard not to be cynical about what happens next. No matter what Freeh announces, recent history tells us that the alleged leaders of Penn State will spend the rest of their lives trying to avoid doing anything about it.

Here’s the Lincoln Journal Star’s Osborne/Penn State story:

Osborne sees a positive amid Penn State ugliness

Story (This is where the word “Discussion” normally is place)

By STEVEN M. SIPPLE / Lincoln Journal Star | Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2012 11:30 pm

University of Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne addresses the media at Memorial Stadium on Friday, March, 9, 2012. (JACOB HANNAH / Lincoln Journal Star)

Key findings of the Penn St. investigation

Key findings and recommendations of the investigation into the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal led by former federal judge and ex-FBI director Louis Freeh.


* Penn State officials including coach Joe Paterno and university President Graham Spanier concealed information of Sandusky’s activities from authorities and the public to avoid bad publicity.

* Paterno, Spanier, Vice President Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley “empowered Sandusky to attract potential victims” by failing to restrict his access to the university despite receiving two reports of illicit sexual contact involving him and children.

* Spanier failed in his duties as president by not informing the board of trustees about the allegations against Sandusky and the subsequent grand jury investigation.

* Once aware of the grand jury investigation, the trustees failed in their duty to the university by not pressing Spanier for details about Sandusky’s situation.

Full Story

Through the ugliness and evil of the Penn State child sexual-abuse scandal, Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne sees at least one positive aspect.

“I think most everyone in the United States is more aware of how important it is to not cover up, to not turn your head, when something — particularly something affecting children — is going on,” Osborne said Thursday.

Osborne was reached by the Journal Star soon after former FBI director Louis Freeh released a scathing report that accused former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and other top PSU officials of hushing up child sex-abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky more than a decade ago for fear of negative publicity.

Osborne, a longtime friend of Paterno, read a summary of the report, saying it “pretty clearly implicated people in leadership at Penn State who didn’t react in an appropriate way.

“I think a great many universities and athletic departments already have done quite a bit proactively to make sure everyone is aware of what should be done if they witness something illegal or damaging to young people,” Osborne said.

He said he has discussed the topic with his staff.

“I think our board of regents and (university) administration certainly are very aware and trying to make sure there are adequate safeguards and procedures in place to make sure things would be handled differently here,” Osborne said.

He said horrible occurrences such as the situation at Penn State can happen in a variety of forms, which can make it challenging for people to recognize the problem and ultimately “do the right thing” in reporting it.

Although Freeh’s report said Paterno concealed critical facts about Sandusky, Osborne still considers Paterno a friend. Paterno died in January at age 85.

“Obviously, it would appear from the Freeh report that Joe made some mistakes, as did several others,” Osborne said. “But I don’t think you — at least I don’t –(judge) a person’s life based on some events that weren’t what they should’ve been.

“When you look at Joe in totality, he did things the right way in his football program. To my knowledge, he never cheated. He always emphasized academics and character with his players. And he certainly had a long period of excellence on the field.

“Those things will always be part of Joe’s legacy. Unfortunately, this (his handling of the Sandusky situation) will be part of it, too.”

Osborne said his initial reaction to Freeh’s report was sadness.

“Several young men have had their lives changed forever,” Osborne said. “That’s unfortunate. There is no legal decision nor amount of money that will ever completely make that right.”

He said he feels sadness for the entire Penn State community and college athletics in general.

“Many people who had nothing to do with this particular incident still somehow are affected by the fallout,” he said.

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