Big Ten sought “collaboration” with Freeh, NCAA

Published August 28, 2013
Mark Emmert press conference

As Penn State began its investigation into the Sandusky scandal, the Big Ten Conference didn’t want to sit on the sidelines and wait for an invitation to jump into the game.

Alongside the NCAA, the conference sought to immerse itself in Penn State’s internal investigation led by Louis J. Freeh, according to a document recently released in response to a Right-to-Know Law request.

The Dec. 8, 2011 letter from Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany to Penn State President Rodney Erickson asked the university to allow conference attorneys to help investigators find out why reports of child sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky went unreported to authorities in 2001.

“I understand that (Big Ten attorney) John Barrett has been communicating with both the Freeh Group and the NCAA regarding an agreeable process of collaboration on gathering and sharing information,” Delany said. “We expect that the Big Ten will be accorded the same treatment as the NCAA in this collaborative process.”

The letter is consistent with a public statement the conference issued the same day. That statement said the Big Ten wanted its lawyers to “participate” in investigations conducted by the university and the NCAA.

It’s unclear how much access to Freeh’s investigators Penn State granted the two athletic governing bodies. In response to a lawsuit brought by the Paterno family and others, it said the plaintiffs offered no evidence that any contact between the Freeh firm and the NCAA reflected anything other than the execution of a legitimate and proper investigation, which Penn State itself commissioned.” It hasn’t denied that it communicated directly with Freeh.

“The NCAA did not commission the Freeh Report nor had any role in it,” it said in a statement.

But Delaney’s letter suggests the NCAA’s involvement in Penn State’s internal investigation went far beyond simply monitoring its progression from the sidelines.

Paul Kelly, an attorney representing a number of plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the NCAA, recently said the NCAA’s involvement in Freeh’s investigation was substantial.

“We have been informed by knowledgeable sources that there were periodic briefings and exchanges by Freeh’s investigators and the NCAA, and it included instances where the NCAA made certain kind of requests or recommendations as to areas they might want to explore,” Kelly told the Centre Daily Times last month. “There was a certain level of collaboration going on there.”

  • Zenophile

    Impossible. Mr. Delany has been a greatly supportive friend to Penn State during this most trying time. Right?×06-Afternoon-Delight-Animated-gif-Michael-What-No-no-no-no-arrested-development-7915781-300-167.gif

  • Anonymous

    Delany would have committed ritual seppuku if this was tOSFU or Meecheat’em.

  • Anonymous

    Big threw Penn State under the bus, just like the rest of the country. There was no independent investigation by the free group. There were many, many hands in the pie. Hope the truth comes out very soon!

    • Ellen Thomas

      Penn State has benefited the Big Ten far more than it has been appreciated by the Big Ten, and it is time to make the Big Ten show otherwise.

      The new Penn State President and Trustees should do two things once he or she is appointed.

      1. Do not renew Penn State Grants Of Rights (GOR) on Media TV to the Big Ten for 2016.

      2. Announce that those valuable Penn State Grants Of Rights will be put for bid auction by any conference including the Big Ten.

      3. In this way, the ACC, BIG-12, SEC, and BIG TEN will bid on Penn State GOR and in that way Penn State can recover much of the Bowl Money Losses, Fines, and Costs.

      The ACC would use some if not all of Maryland $50 Million+ Exit Fee if they win in court for giving it to Penn State to join the ACC. Penn State would be the biggest school with the biggest budget and program in the ACC that way. The ACC would benefit by having many of their Schools Game sold out by traveling Penn State Alumni within one days drive of all schools except for Miami and FSU.

      The SEC and their network would love to deduct Penn State GOR TV Rights Income from the Big Ten and augment the SEC Network. Penn State TV GOR are very valuable and why the Big Ten wants them to stay in the Big Ten.

      The BIG-12 needs to expand in the Northeast where WVU is too far away and all alone. What better way than to do it by bidding up the GOR for Penn State to join the BIg-12. This could open up further expansion for UConn, UCincy, BYU, and Temple to join the Big-14, all schools closer to Penn State except BYU!

      Finally, this would make the Big Ten match the highest bid of those Conferences and in that way, Penn State is repaid for the Bowl money the big Ten took away, and other costs associated with their contributions on sanctions beyond the NCAA. This could well amount to over $30 to $50 million dollars for Penn State Football.

      The Big Ten would have to meet that number or accept that Maryland and Rutgers Expansions are big mistakes now that Penn State is no longer in the Big Ten and what Schools will sell out those stadiums so far away from Big Ten Schools, except maybe Ohio State?

      Think about it, SEC, ACC, Big-12 would all benefit paying out $30 to $50 million over a series of years to increase their TV Rights and Networks while decreasing the Big Ten’s Network & other TV Contracts of losing Penn State GORs.

      In my opinion, Penn State would dominate the ACC in no time with maybe a challenge from FSU in most years and maybe 1 other Team every year, plus ACC Basketball is wealthy too.

      SEC would be tougher but they would bid up those GOR in an auction.
      The Big-12 would have to make adjustments to accommodate Penn State and 3 other schools but could go after Notre Dame!

      Most important of all, the Big Ten would have to payback Penn State for attacking the Nittany Lions when they were down instead of defending one of their most prized Universities in academics and Money making for Big Ten Sports and Networks.

      Et Tu Big Ten?

  • Carole Vail

    IMO, the Big Ten has always resented Penn State and Joe Paterno and jumped at the chance to smack down the good guys. Schadenfreude, pure and simple.

    • Ellen Thomas

      Agree with Carole, after Penn State joined the Big Ten they were beating both Michigan and Ohio State and in my opinion the Conference moved to protect those two programs feeling threaten by Penn State being just big as them.

      Right after 1995, there were many questionable and obvious terrible Ref Calls that were seen on TV Replay for a number of years. Joe put up with these bad calls for another 5 to 6 years but started complaining publicly, he knew his team was being hosed out of wins. It took a threat by Joe Paterno to either adopt Instant Replay Reviews or Penn State would leave the Big Ten.

      By 2003 the Big Ten did a trial year and the adopted Instant Replay. Even after those Rules were adopted some Refs still ruled against Penn State.

      By that time the Big Ten had tamed Penn State and made it a second tier Program to Michigan and Ohio State like most of the Big Ten remaining Football Programs. The Big Ten has always been about Michigan and Ohio State.

      Yet, it was Joe Paterno that made the mistake of not considering the ACC and just going to the Big Ten, and of course Joe had advantages over Eastern Programs too when his beloved Ref Don Guman used to give wins to Penn State his sons Team, and Joe remained silent on that too as some say he did on Sandusky for years!

      So, in a strange karma way, Joe brought this upon himself before he passed away for his poor judgments and prior silence, (May He Rest In Peace),!

      Now Ohio State under Urban Meyers will be hard to stop their domination like he did at Bowling Green, Utah, and Florida. Michigan will recover too once they fire Brady Hoke. And the Big Ten will remain a Big Two Conference for years to come.

  • Lagnaf

    Talk about Fragging, Emmert,Delaney and Erickson fragged our entire university. When I meet them in hell even the devil will be impressed by the beatdown I will lay upon them. They are nothing but pompous ASS CLOWNS!

    • Ellen Thomas

      Hell? You’re comments are an example of the truth, and you are heading to Heaven, with Joe, just deny the others a drop of water once in awhile!