Rodney Erickson, the new president of Penn State, is taking questions from concerned alumni this week at a series of townhall-style meetings. Though he's promised a new era of openness and transparency, Erickson displayed plenty of evasiveness and contradiction even before he set out for Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, with a final stop in New York City slated for tonight.
This is what Erickson told a gathering of 650 alumni last night in suburban Philly, according to the AP:
"It grieves me very much when I hear people say 'the Penn State scandal.' This is not Penn State. This is 'the Sandusky scandal,'" he said. "We're not going to let what one individual did destroy the reputation of this university."
Hmm. Yeah. Two longtime Penn State administrators have been charged with perjury in connection with Sandusky's alleged crimes, and Penn State is paying for their defense. Penn State University police had a 100-page report about an allegation against Sandusky in 1998—when he was still on the Penn State football coaching staff—but no one at Penn State did anything about it, nor did anyone at Penn State even seem to know it existed for more than a decade. The former head football coach of Penn State's own testimony indicates he couldn't be bothered to disturb anyone's weekend after one of his subordinates told him he saw a child allegedly being raped in a Penn State football building shower. One month after that, Penn State sold land to Sandusky's charity. And as all that was going on, Penn State's former head football coach, a Penn State trustee, and the chairman of Sandusky's charity were pursuing a $125 million real-estate venture that was the idea of Penn State's former president. Penn State allowed Sandusky to host overnight football camps at Penn State branch campuses as late as 2009. The new Penn State president has said he and "nearly all individuals at the university" were blindsided when the grand jury issued its findings against Sandusky and those two Penn State officials, at least before he wasn't, but don't bother asking him anything else about that. Sandusky himself even watched a Penn State football game from the former Penn State president's box months after the former Penn State president, the former Penn State head football coach, the now-on-leave Penn State athletic director, a Penn State assistant football coach, and another top Penn State administrator testified before the grand jury. And that football game was played just one week before the charges against Sandusky were handed down.
Nope. This scandal has everything to do with Jerry Sandusky and nothing to do with Penn State, or with the people still running the place. Nothing at all.