5 Questions: Former OL Tim Freeman

January, 11, 2013
1/11/13
11:00
AM ET
Every week, NittanyNation will pose five questions to a recruit, player, alum or coach about all things Penn State.

This week's subject is Tim Freeman, a PSU offensive tackle from 1985 to 1989. This week's edition of "5 Questions" is slightly different, in that Freeman will answer five questions based around one theme: Gov. Tom Corbett's lawsuit against the NCAA.

Freeman drove from New Jersey last week to stand behind Corbett during the announcement of the lawsuit. The PSU alum, a youth coach, has three children of his own and feels strongly about the sanctions.

NittanyNation: We talked before, and you told me you didn't think the NCAA should have brought these sanctions against Penn State -- so why do you think they chose to do so in the first place?

Tim Freeman: I think there was a huge reaction as a result of children being harmed -- and the reaction was exactly what it should have been, in terms of people being outraged. So I think that's why the NCAA acted the way they did.

But I would say they actually had a tremendous amount to gain. If you have a very powerful institution and one of the members has an issue, that trade organization can gain a significant amount of power they might not have necessarily been delegated. ... I feel strongly this is a criminal matter, and this is a matter that can only be handled by our judicial system. This is not a matter that the NCAA is capable of handling. They don't have the people who are capable of sorting this out.

NN: What do you feel the response by Mark Emmert should have been, and what's your take on the Freeh Report then?

TF: Well, what I would say is we can't say what sanctions PSU should or should not receive until Penn State receives a full and thorough criminal hearing and all of the people that are formally charged have their day in court.

Now, Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz have all been charged and not one of them has had their day in court yet. So we don't know exactly what the university's sort of response to all of these allegations was at the time because they haven't yet had their day in court. The Freeh Report, everybody forgets, people were not under subpoena to participate or answer the Freeh Report inquiries -- so, somebody could have said something untruthful and the fact-gathering process was not done under the same litmus test or scrutiny that criminal proceedings would require.

NN: How hopeful are you that the sanctions can be overturned?

TF: Well, I guess the only thing we have is the truth. I have no idea what the outcome is going to be, but I do feel very strongly that the NCAA did not follow their own processes and procedures. They relied on information that was factually incomplete and incorrect in some spots.

So, if that's my strong opinion, then I feel strongly that this case has a very good chance of these sanctions being overturned. And if I were to pick an affected party that has the wherewithal to go after the NCAA, you really could not think of a better party than the governor of the state.

NN: Some chide Corbett for not going after Jerry Sandusky more when he was in position to do so earlier and then for saying July 23 that PSU should accept the sanctions. Now he's taken on a role where he's viewed as a hero by some PSU fans. So how do you view him?

TF: This is one of the most gray situations that as a 46-year-old man that I have ever seen. I guess I would say this, Jerry Sandusky has been convicted. ... But what we don't understand is that things are not as crystal clear in time as they are in hindsight and neither Joe Paterno nor the university nor the governor had all the information in front of them, and they were trying to put bits and pieces together of a man who was literally beyond reproach in the community.

So I would say people need to understand that things weren't so crystal clear. Back in 1998, when Sandusky's actions were investigated by two or three child welfare organizations, they determined there was no case and nothing happened. So what's anybody supposed to do with that? ... In 2009 I'm not saying he was innocent -- he was guilty -- but all the information wasn't sitting there, staring everyone in the face. ... I can't hold it against anybody that didn't know what Sandusky was doing because I know more than 2,000 lettermen who would all tell you that Sandusky wasn't capable of that -- when, in fact, he was.

NN: What would you say to people who continue to hold a negative view of the university?

TF: I don't really worry about what people think of me as a football player or what people think about Penn State in general. ... If people were to really sit back and look at the facts of the program, the facts of Joe Paterno, they'll see a program that has had some of the highest graduation rates in football -- which includes Harvard and Stanford.

They would see a program where -- I'm not saying people didn't get in trouble -- but you would see a program that the NCAA very publicly used as a model institution. There were never NCAA investigations or allegations in the way that Joe Paterno ran the program. So, for people to have a negative opinion about the program, to me, it's based on not much more than by emotion.

Josh Moyer | email

Penn State/Big Ten reporter

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