The clock struck twelve for Penn State’s football program Monday morning at 9 AM after NCAA President Mark Emmert announced a series of unprecedented sanctions against the one-time football powerhouse. Tuesday, the bad news continued for Penn State, the athletic department lost a major sponsor and even scarier CNN reported Tuesday Moody’s may downgrade Penn State’s credit rating.
State Farm Insurance announced they would no longer sponsor Penn State football.
"As a result of all the activity that's happening, we decided to pull the sponsorship to continue to show our support for the victims," State Farm spokeswoman Arlene Lester announced. "We have decided to cancel our football sponsorship for the coming season, but will remain sponsors for all the other (Penn State) teams we support."
Lester said State Farm will continue their support of other Penn State teams and remains committed to the NCAA – a loud and clear message from State Farm, that as a company they have no interest whatsoever in being associated with Penn State’s football program.
Moody’s followed State Farm’s announcement putting Penn State on notice for a possible credit downgrade Tuesday, citing continued fallout from the university's child sex abuse scandal and risks posed by ongoing state and federal investigations. Penn State currently holds a credit rating of Aa1, the second highest possible mark, and one that reflects strong student demand and a strong national academic brand.
"The review will assess the potential credit implications of these reports and investigations, which collectively point directly to weaknesses in the university's management and governance practices," Moody's said.
Penn State’s administration announced Monday they had accepted the NCAA ruling and wanted to begin to move forward from the Sandusky tragedy. The same can’t be said for the family of the late Joe Paterno – they continue to question the study conducted by former FBI chief Louis Freeh, which cited Paterno, former Penn State president Graham Spanier, and other top officials for failing to put an end to Sandusky's raping of young boys.
Anthony Lubrano, a member of Penn State’s board of trustee, told USA TODAY Sports like the Paterno family he too is very upset with the actions the NCAA has taken.
"It's really simple: I am frankly outraged as a member of the board of trustees that the university entered into a consent agreement without discussing it with the board in advance of signing," Lubrano said.
"If I'm going to be held accountable, I feel like I should've been part of that process," Lubrano added. "I think it's fair to say that a number of board members are upset. … It really wasn't much of a negotiation (but) everything's negotiable. My view is that we rolled over and played dead. (The board members) want to put Paterno behind them."
In vacating the 111 wins Joe Paterno won between 1998 and 2011 Paterno is no longer college football’s all time winning football coach – he isn’t even the top ten anymore.
"The sanctions announced today by the NCAA defame the legacy and contributions of a great coach and educator without any input from our family or those who knew him best. That the President, the Athletic Director and the Board of Trustees accepted this unprecedented action by the NCAA without requiring a full due process hearing before the Committee on Infractions is an abdication of their responsibilities and a breach of their fiduciary duties to the University and the 500,000 alumni. … This is not a fair or thoughtful action; it is a panicked response to the public's understandable revulsion at what Sandusky did." Paterno’s family said in release.
Joe Paterno was the maker of his own destiny. Louis Freeh’s reputation is second to none. He is a former FBI Director and he served as a judge. Judge Freeh was hired by Penn State, interviewed over 400 people, spending the last eight months investigating the Sandusky scandal. The Paterno family has suggested they are prepared to conduct their own investigation. That sounds a great deal like O.J. Simpson announcing he was going to find the killers of his late wife and Ron Goldman after Simpson was acquitted on the double murder charges.
Fired Penn State President Graham Spanier vilified in the Freeh report released a statement following the NCAA sanctions that related to the Freeh report: "full of factual errors and jumps to conclusions that are untrue and unwarranted. I have identified many errors in the report that pertain to me, which my attorneys will share confidentially with University legal counsel for your records and consideration."
In addition, Spanier wrote: "It is unfathomable and illogical to think that a respected family sociologist and family therapist, someone who personally experienced massive and persistent abuse as a child, someone who devoted a significant portion of his career to the welfare of children and youth … would have knowingly turned a blind eye to any report of child abuse or predatory sexual acts directed at children."
The world we live in is very forgiving, as a society people by their nature are ready to accept that if anyone did something wrong and they’re admitting they did something wrong they’ll begin to move forward from what that person did was wrong.
Penn State’s leadership failure was so complete it seems obscene for the Paterno family to suggest they are ready to conduct their own investigation. It’s understandable Joe Paterno’s family defended their father’s legacy, however that legacy has now been lost and it will never, never return. Joe Paterno was at the center of culture at Penn State that led to unspeakable crimes being committed. Joe Paterno didn’t commit those crimes, but he led a cover-up that could have prevented those crimes. Its time for the Paterno family to show some leadership and accept responsibility for the role Joe Paterno played in Jerry Sandusky’s crimes.
For Sports Business News this is Howard Bloom