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Graham Spanier’s priorities

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Dan Wetzel:

There is one instance in the Freeh Commission report where Graham Spanier, the disgraced former Penn State president, said enough is enough. One instance when he slammed down his authoritative fist to protect the welfare of his charges and the reputation of his institution.

It wasn’t against Jerry Sandusky, of course.Graham Spanier, left, allegedly hid Jerry Sandusky’s sex crimes while enforcing arcane rules.

It was December 1997 and Spanier was soon to learn that the longtime Penn State defensive coordinator had been accused of molesting a young boy while showering with him in the Penn State locker room, according to the Freeh report. But Spanier wouldn’t stand up to old Jer, because that wouldn’t be the “humane” way of handling it. Or so he wrote in an email.

No, Sandusky got to keep fondling right under Spanier’s nose for years to come.

That was a pardon not shared by star Penn State running back Curtis Enis and professional sports agent Jeff Nalley, who dared violate the document that directed Spanier’s moral compass, the NCAA rulebook.

Enis was immediately declared ineligible, and cited as a stain on Penn State’s so-called “grand experiment” of creating a healthy balance between academics and athletics. The agent, meanwhile, was reported to the NCAA and the local district attorney, banned from ever setting foot on Penn State’s campus (“persona non grata” Spanier declared), charged with a crime and publicly shamed by the president himself so everyone understood the evil and danger he represented.

“He fooled around with the integrity of the university,” Spanier said at the time, according to the Freeh report. “And I won’t stand for that.”

If fooling around with kids in the showers was something Graham Spanier could apparently stand for, then what was Enis and Nalley’s crime against humanity?

They bought a suit.

It was a nice suit, $325 retail at a Harrisburg clothier. There was a $75 shirt too. Enis was slated to appear on an ESPN awards show and didn’t have anything that nice to wear. The regular season was over and he was about to declare for the NFL. Nalley sprung for the outfit.

Spanier saw it differently. Since Penn State still had one game remaining, essentially an exhibition in the Citrus Bowl, he dropped the hammer. Victim No. 2 of Sandusky’s crimes apparently wouldn’t mean much to the Penn State president, but NCAA Bylaw 12.3 sure did. It’s the rule that prohibits players from receiving “benefits” from agents.

Even if the so-called benefit was appropriate attire for a made-for-television show to celebrate the multibillion-dollar industry Enis helped drive. According to the rule book, though, he couldn’t be provided a nice suit because, well, because people like Graham Spanier said so.

And continue to say so.

Read the whole thing

Also, a nice mea culpa from Rick Reilly:

I hope Penn State loses civil suits until the walls of the accounting office cave in. I hope that Spanier, Schultz and Curley go to prison for perjury. I hope the NCAA gives Penn State the death penalty it most richly deserves. The worst scandal in college football history deserves the worst penalty the NCAA can give. They gave it to SMU for winning without regard for morals. They should give it to Penn State for the same thing. The only difference is, at Penn State they didn’t pay for it with Corvettes. They paid for it with lives.

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