Since Gov. Corbett’s failed re-election campaign, much has been said (rightly so) about his duplicity and hypocrisy regarding the firing of coach Joe Paterno.
Unfortunately, far less attention has been given to Corbett’s admitted role in the forced retirement of former Penn State president Graham Spanier that same day.
Corbett’s well-documented motivation (ESPN The Magazine, 2012) was his longstanding grudge against Spanier, whom he inaccurately thought had supported a Corbett political rival. He also seems to have resented Spanier’s vocal opposition to the governor’s efforts to slash higher-education funding.
Like Paterno, Spanier was not indicted by the grand jury but was fired in a panicked effort to appease the media frenzy and public outrage related to the Jerry Sandusky case.
But perhaps Corbett wasn’t finished with Spanier.
A year later, just before Corbett appointee Attorney General Linda Kelly left office, she filed obstruction of justice charges against the former president.
With the release of NCAA internal emails admitting they “bluffed” frightened Penn State trustees into accepting outrageous sanctions, it is tempting to wonder what might have been if Corbett and the trustees hadn’t behaved so rashly.
It is reasonable to assume that Spanier, with 20 years experience working with the NCAA, would have known they did not have jurisdiction and would not have caved to the bluff.
For the past three years, Penn State might have benefited from the steady leadership of one of the most accomplished and effective presidents in its long history.
Boca Raton, Fla.