That's according to what former Nittany Lions linebacker Brandon Short said during an appearance Wednesday afternoon on ESPN's Outside the Lines (audio above). Citing what he called "two independent sources," Short said Jerry Sandusky watched Penn State defeat Illinois from the box that belonged to Graham Spanier, who has since resigned as Penn State's president in the wake of the Sandusky scandal. And later Wednesday, the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, citing sources of its own, confirmed what Short said. To which the Patriot-News added:
A source close to the Penn State board of trustees told The Patriot-News that Sandusky was seen in the president's box that day and later went to the Nitttany Lion Club.
The source, who requested anonymity out of fear of jeopardizing business relationships, also told The Patriot-News that [Tim] Curley [the athletic director at the time] originally did not want to give Sandusky tickets to the game, but Sandusky's wife, Dottie, was so insistent that he eventually relented.
The Illinois-Penn State game, which resulted in Joe Paterno's record-setting 409th career victory, was played Oct. 29 at Beaver Stadium. Six days later, on Nov. 4, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office released the summary of a grand jury's findings charging Sandusky with 40 counts of child sexual abuse against eight children—figures that have since grown to 52 counts against 10 children, with additional possible victims reported to have come forward with new allegations. And one day after that, two administrators—Curley, who's now on leave, and senior vice president for business and finance Gary Schultz, who has since resigned—were charged with perjury for allegedly lying to the grand jury about what they knew. Note that the Patriot-News's source says it was Curley who issued Sandusky and his wife their tickets.
Why does it matter that Sandusky was hobnobbing in Spanier's stadium suite just before he was indicted? Well, several university officials—Paterno, Spanier, Curley, Schultz, assistant coach Mike McQueary, to name those mentioned in court papers—had already testified in front of the grand jury that was investigating Sandusky. And Spanier, according to his replacement, Rodney Erickson, had briefed the school's Board of Trustees about the existence of the grand jury's investigation months before the inquiry's findings were made public. Short even referenced this briefing in his above OTL comments, saying it happened in March; Erickson, in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, estimated it to be May or July, while adding that he wasn't present for it.
Erickson's admission that Spanier had addressed the Sandusky matter with the board also contradicts what Erickson said Saturday, when he was questioned by reporters about why the university seemed blindsided by the reality of Sandusky's indictment. At first, Erickson tried to say he and other school officials knew nothing. He then said he was aware of an isolated case in Clinton County. He then denied he had read any of the numerous reports over several months about the existence of the investigation done by the Patriot-News (video of Erickson's performance can be found here). Finally, in that Post-Gazette interview, published Wednesday, Erickson admitted he had in fact read a news report about the Sandusky case prior to November. And this, in the words of the Post-Gazette, was how Erickson characterized what he read:
He did not inquire further, noting the only new allegations seemed to have no connection to Penn State and were against a retired employee he did not know still had access to campus.
Jerry Sandusky sat in president's box at Beaver Stadium for Joe Paterno's 409th victory, sources say [Patriot-News]
PSU president says trustees were briefed months before Sandusky arrest [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
Report: Sandusky in President's Box 2 Mos. Ago [Sports By Brooks]