Legal counsel representing the group PS4RS (Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship) sent the attached letter to the NCAA last night.
The undersigned is counsel to Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship ("PS4RS"), a group of over
5,000 individuals affiliated with Pennsylvania State University (the "University") as alumni, students,
benefactors, and friends. This email is in relation to your proposed announcement of "unprecedented"
sanctions against the University in connection with certain criminal actions of a former Assistant Football
Coach and tenured professor emeritus at the University.
Time and space prevent me from outlining that which you already know - your organization is wholly
without power to sanction the University for the events related to the above. It is beyond comprehension
how the NCAA can possibly believe it has the power to control events that do not violate NCAA rules,
nor how the NCAA can issue punishment without ever even launching an investigation in accordance
with your own rules. However, we can, at this point, agree to disagree on that issue, though you can be
most certain that the issue will be addressed.
The immediate issue relates to the concept of imposing sanctions on the University based, in whole or in
part, upon the findings of an internal investigation commissioned by the University's Board of Trustees
("BoT") and conducted by the private law firm of Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan ("FSS"). The investigation
culminated in a 267 page report (the "FSS Report") which was issued on July 12, 2012.
My client has engaged our firm to conduct a comprehensive review of the FSS Report. While we have
only begun our work, upon even a cursory review, we have determined that the FSS Report is fraught
with factual and legal errors, filled with opinions and unsupported conclusions, and, in a word, faulty. To
rely on such a report to issue punishment of any kind would be beyond reckless.
Lest you be misled by the frenzied media reports, the FSS Report, and the individuals who were paid to
conduct it, are far from infallible. In this regard, I would refer you to the recent decision of the Court of
Arbitration for Sport in connection with an alleged election bribery case involving a former FIFA
presidential candidate. In its decision, that Court lifted a lifetime ban on the individual based, in part,
upon the fact that that an internal investigation by FSS on behalf of FIFA, which led to the ban, was "not
complete or comprehensive enough to fill the gaps in the record." These same concerns, and more, are
most certainly present here.
On behalf of my client, I urge you to reconsider your position. Knee-jerk reactions based upon faulty and
incomplete information have been the hallmark of the events that have transpired at the University over
the last 8 months. The FSS Report is less than 10 days old, and the 2 other University employees charged
with crimes have not even had their day in Court. Should the NCAA move forward tomorrow, whether
with the concurrence of the University's administrators or not, you will add yet another sad chapter in a
saga that simply has not been fully reviewed and, unfortunately, your actions will set in motion litigation
that could be avoided if appropriate consideration is given to the actual facts.
Please be guided accordingly.
Robert J. Tribeck, Esquire
Rhoads & Sinon LLP