According to new court documents released this week, former NCAA executive committee chair and Oregon State president Ed Ray did not read the Freeh report before sanctioning Penn State’s football program. The report was the primary piece of evidence used by the NCAA to hand down sanctions.
The revelation comes from court documents filed as part of the Paterno lawsuit, Ray admitted to only reading the executive summary and press accounts. From the documents:
Paterno family attorney Wick Sollers: You reviewed the Freeh Report at or about the time it came out, I take it.
Ray: Actually, it was -- I think I did not go through the detailed report until after the agreement was reached. Remember, the report came out on the 12th. I went to Hawaii on, I don't know, the 14th. So, I may have looked at the executive summary when it came out, and certainly read press accounts, but I don't believe I read or was able to download and get a copy of the full report until after I got back, which would have been around the time of the press conference [announcing the Consent Decree], or sometime shortly thereafter.
Sollers: Did not have the Freeh Report sent out to you in Hawaii?
Ray: No. No.
Sollers: Do you recall when you got back--
Ray: So let me be clear about that. When I went to Hawaii, I didn't even know that we were going to be having any conversations about the Freeh Report. So I had no sense that I needed to prep for anything.
We went on either the 14th or the 15th, at this point I can't remember. And then we had this conference call on the 17th. So no, I didn't have the Freeh Report.
And then I came back on, I think the 19th or 20th, traveling from there, probably on the 20th, and then the 21st we had this phone call [approving the Consent Decree]. So I didn't have a lot of time to prep for anything.
"These are extraordinary circumstances," Ray said at a news conference announcing the sanctions. "The executive committee has the authority to act on behalf of the entire association in extraordinary circumstances. And we have chosen to exercise that authority.
The NCAA has been under increasing criticism as of late for its handling of the Sandusky scandal, especially with new information coming to light as part of the lawsuit filed against the NCAA by the Paterno family.
The scrutiny has also prompted a meeting of the Penn State board of trustees to discuss joining a lawsuit filed by state senators set for trial next month. The board is meeting today (January 16) to discuss and vote on a resolution to join the suit, which alleges that the NCAA had no authority to hand down its punishments.