Joe Paterno used email to control of investigation in 2007 football players dispute
Following a 2007 fight off-campus violent dispute concerning several football players, Joe Paterno wrote an email under his own name, from assistant coach Sandi Segursky’s account to former vice president of student affairs Vicky Triponey and Graham B. Spanier.
"I want to make sure everyone understands that the discipline of the players involved will be handled by me as soon as I am comfortable that I know all the facts," stated Joe Paterno.
"This is my understanding as well," Graham B. Spanier wrote back.
Vicky Triponey’s department was looking into the alleged attack by the Penn State football players at that time. She feared that Joe Paterno was trying to draw a line on the Penn State University’s judgment in the case and the police’s investigation of the dispute.
“Thanks for sharing,” responded Vicky Triponey. “I assume he is talking about discipline relative to TEAM rules (note: he does not say that).Obviously discipline relative to the law is up to the police and the courts, and discipline relative to violations of the student code of conduct is the responsibility of Judicial Affairs.”
Vicky Triponey’s was worried about Joe Paterno’s self-proclaimed undisputable authority like verdicts in past incidents that involved disciplinary matters.
“This has not always been clear with Coach Paterno,” said Vicky Triponey, “so we might want to clarify that and encourage him to work with us to find the truth and handle this collaboratively with the police and the university.”
A “letter” allocated the beating incident as the concern of the football department. Vicky Triponey believed that Joe Paterno will get carried away in the disciplinary process, and show a complete disregard for the parameters of the “normal channels” to be appointed for the football players.
Vicky Triponey added, “Can you remind them of police and University responsibility?”
Graham B. Spanier did not pose an immediate reply, but wrote to Joe Paterno on M11 May, informing about the “student-affairs” staff’s jurisdiction to interview the six charged players.
"I appreciate your cooperation in this important matter," Graham B. Spanier wrote to Joe Paterno, "and I trust this comports with your understanding."
Two of the charged players got away with misdemeanors, while four players were suspended (even though none missed out in the games). Joe Paterno also handed out his own punishment to the team that involved mandatory community service and two hours devoted by the football team to clear the stadium after every game.
The emails paint the picture of an authoritative coach much like the one who allegedly influenced Tim Curley’s decision “after giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe,” leave the authorities out of assistant football coach Mike McQueary’s 2001 child abuse complain against Jerry Sandusky.