On January 12, 2011, then-Penn State Senior VP of Operations Gary Schultz testified under oath to a State College-area Grand Jury.
(”Idea” during months between ‘98 Sandusky PSU Police report & ‘retirement’)
During the testimony by Schultz, the man who was running the day-to-day operations of Penn State at the time, he characterized what led to Jerry Sandusky’s departure from Penn State:
“I candidly have recollections that Coach Paterno and Jerry had reached a point where Coach Paterno felt it would be best that he make a coaching change.”
On Nov. 5, 2011, the same Grand Jury reported of Victim 4, one of the children Sandusky allegedly sexually abused:
The Penn State football program relocated to the Lasch Football Building in 1999 and that facility had a sauna. Victim 4 reported that after the move, most of the sexual conduct that did not occur in a hotel room occurred in the sauna, as the area is more secluded.
Victim 4 remembers Sandusky being emotionally upset after having a meeting with Joe Paterno in which Paterno told Sandusky he would not be the next head coach at Penn State and which preceded Sandusky’s retirement. Sandusky told Victim 4 not to tell anyone about the meeting. That meeting occurred in May, 1999.
While Sandusky’s “retirement” from Penn State was announced three months later, Paterno allowed Sandusky to coach the entire 1999 season.
The Grand Jury reported that it was during the 1998 and 1999 Penn State football seasons that Sandusky allegedly, repeatedly sexually abused Victim 4 - a child at the time - while representing Penn State on road trips and during overnight stays by the school’s football team at a local hotel before home games:
Victim 4 was listed, along with Sandusky’s wife, as a member of Sandusky’s family party for the 1998 Outback Bowl and the 1999 Alamo Bowl. He traveled to and from both bowl games with the football team and other Penn State staff, coaches and their families, sharing the same accommodations. Victim 4 would frequently stay overnight at Toftrees with Sandusky and the football team prior to home games; Sandusky’s wife was never present at Toftrees when Victim 4 stayed with Sandusky.
This was where the first indecent assaults of Victim 4 occurred. Victim 4 would attend the pregame banquet and sit with Sandusky at the coaches’ table. Victim 4 also accompanied Sandusky to various charity golf outings and would share a hotel room with him on those occasions.
Less than a year before Paterno told Sandusky in 1999 that, “it would be best that he make a coaching change“, Penn State law enforcement filed an exhaustive 130-page police report in which Sandusky confirmed to detectives that he had showered with two boys in the Penn State locker room. As part of the Penn State Police report, Sandusky admitted to the mother of one of the boys - in the presence of two police detectives - that his behavior “was wrong” and that “I wish I were dead.”
Shortly after that report was filed and three months before Paterno reportedly told Sandusky in 1999 that, “it would be best that he make a coaching change“, Neil Rudel of the ALTOONA (PA) MIRROR reported that Paterno had recently proposed that Penn State’s Altoona branch campus start a football program.
With Sandusky as head coach.
In a Jan. 22, 1999, piece titled, “PSU Altoona Explores Football,” school CEO Allen Meadors indicated that the Sandusky-coached football program proposal was Paterno’s idea:
The idea was actually born out of a conversation with Joe Patemo. “He told me it was time for football at Altcona,” Meadors said. “I wouldn’t have even considered it if Joe wasn’t supportive of it.”
“I think it’s a good idea for the community,” Patemo said. “Eventually a lot of our branch campuses will have football, and I think more kids would be willing to stay four years, and it would help applications for admission.
“There are so many kids that really would like to play football and would like to have the Penn State name, and some of these (Division III) schools are so much more expensive than Penn State. It would be an opportunity, and there isn’t a prettier campus in the state than Altoona. The next logical step would be football”
But in a followup story by Rudel in the Mirror on April 9, 2011, then-Penn State Altoona CEO Meadors said he was initially pitched the idea by Sandusky:
“Jerry called me and asked if I would be interested in having a football team at Penn State-Altoona. I said ‘Sure, if we had a way to pay for it.’ He mentioned that he knew a gentleman who might be willing to provide the necessary funds. We visited with the gentleman, but he never committed the money, and a football-team project never got off the ground.”
In Rudel’s 1999 article, Sandusky confirmed that he had “spoken about it” with Paterno and that he would “be interested” in running the startup Penn State-affiliated program if the funds could be raised.
Sandusky has discussed the possibilities of football with Meadors several times and could conceivably envision himself becoming the head coach here.
“If it was possible (to have a program in Altoona), I’d be interested,” Sandusky said. “It would be nice. I think it’s a great idea for Penn State Altoona.”
Just three months later Paterno told Sandusky - as related by PSU VP Schultz to the State College Grand Jury - “it would be best that he make a coaching change.”
After that meeting, a Penn State Altoona football program startup was never discussed again publicly by Paterno, Sandusky or PSU Altoona officials.
At the time of the proposal, Penn State Altoona CEO Meadors told the Mirror in the original, Jan. 22, 1999, article that, “I’m concerned their (Paterno and Sandusky) scope is narrow. They’re mainly looking at Altoona, but it would have to be a much broader view than Altoona.”
Follow Brooks on Twitter or join him on Facebook for real-time updates