Today the court of law rebuked the efforts of Freeh, Sporkin, and Sullivan LLP to speed up the defamation lawsuit filed by Graham Spanier. In the nearly two years since the release of the Freeh Report, the conclusions by the group have been heavily challenged in PSU circles, now it is being challenged in the court of law as well. The report, commissioned by PSU, was far from free at a cost of $6.5 million dollars, has turned out to have the legal teeth of a spork, and has undeservedly sullied the reputation of a few good PSU men.
The Freeh report was released at 9 a.m. on July 12th, 2012. Within thirty-one minutes or less, members of the media were already reporting the negative implications found in the report. Thirty one minutes is an astoundingly quick pace to read a 267 page report, soak in the info, and write and publish an article online as Sara Ganim did that day. It makes me wonder if she had ordered a delivery pizza at the same time she began to read the report, and felt the urge to finish writing her story before the pie arrived at her door.
The passing of time has mostly removed the controversy of the IT situation from the court of public opinion. Now the court of law is set to decide whether or not Curly, Schultz, and Spanier actually did anything wrong. Once that is settled, FreehSporkinSullivan will have their chance to defend themselves in the defamation lawsuit filed by Spanier. Should the three accused PSU officials be acquitted, then I think you can put a spork in their defense against Spanier's claim, and with that the Freeh report will be completely debunked. It is also possible that other than Sandusky, the only other three men found guilty of committing a crime surrounding these events will be Freeh, Sporkin, and Sullivan for their defamation against several PSU officials.
It makes me wonder, have we reached a turning point in the impacts felt by the university, players, and supporters of PSU? At major junctures in the history of PSU football, the turning point is not always clear in real time. Are these court challenges the turning point in public opinion?
In recent history the PSU football program has seen a couple of turning points. Late in the 2004 season, with a 2-7 record and Indiana driving to score what would possibly be the winning touchdown, PSU was able to stuff the Indiana run on four straight plays. A great goal-line stand changed the outcome of that season. Running back Chris Taylor of Indiana was turned back three out of four plays, with the qb getting stuffed on the other attempt. PSU's defense held, won the game, and the modern era of PSU football began.
At the time the turning point was not obvious, a 2-7 team makes a stand...so what? They would go on to finish the season with a win against Michigan State. With the arrival of Derrick Williams and Justin King, along with a couple other freshman wide receivers for senior Michael Robinson to throw to the next season, PSU made it to the Orange Bowl, and had a claim to being in the title game. This sounds sort of familiar.
With the IT scandal possibly reaching a turning point in the courts and public opinion, a new coach, a stable of young receivers, are we now entering a new era in PSU football? It's too early to know for sure, but we may be only a couple of months away from the post-IT era. We may have already missed our final bowl season. We may be on the ground floor for another national championship run as we were in late 2004.
In late 2004, with Indiana first and goal from inside the PSU 5, it would have seemed far-fetched that PSU would lose only one more game from that point through the end of the following season. What do you think? Will we look back at this point in time in the near future and realize that the worst was behind us already? Have we dug our heals in, refusing to give one more single inch in this fight?
Is it fathomable to anyone that we may be allowed to play in post-season games this year, and maybe go on to win a big one? Or even THE big one?