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Chronicle of Higher Education: Paterno Sent Emails Regarding Disciplinary Issues

by on July 06, 2012 12:25 PM

New emails obtained by the Chronicle of Higher Education indicate former football coach Joe Paterno communicated via email with then-president Graham Spanier regarding disciplinary issues involving his players.

The emails, turned over to the Chronicle by an unnamed source close the Jerry Sandusky investigation, reportedly deal with the 2007 fight involving several football players at Meridian Apartments.

One such email, according to the report, reads: "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." It was sent through his secretary's email account, dated April 7, 2007 and signed "Joe."

Spanier, in response, wrote: "This is my understanding as well."

This would appear to undercut a statement issued by the Paterno family on Saturday in response to a separate CNN report regarding three top Penn State administrators exchanging a series of emails about whether to contact The Second Mile or the state Department of Welfare upon learning of sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky.

According to emails cited by CNN, Paterno discussed the plan with athletic director Tim Curley.

In the statement, family attorney Wick Sollers wrote Paterno never used email — a somewhat quizzical notion indeed.

Vicky Triponey, the vice president of student affairs at the time of the incident, was also copied on the emails and wrote back to ensure Paterno knew her Judicial Affairs office and law officials would play a role in determining discipline as well.

"This has not always been clear with Coach Paterno 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," she wrote, according to the report.

"The challenge here is that the letter suggests that football should handle this and now Coach Paterno is also saying THEY will handle this and makes it look like the normal channels will be ignored for football players.

"Can you remind them of police and University responsibility?"

Six players — safety Anthony Scirrotto, linebackers Jerome Hayes and Tyrell Sales, defensive tackle Chris Baker and cornerbacks Justin King and Lydell Sargeant — were initially charged by police. Only Scirrotto and Baker pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges, while the others had their charges dismissed.

Penn State suspended four players for a summer semester, but none missed games.

Paterno also announced his team would help clean up the stadium the morning after all seven home football games. The players picked up trash in eight of 92 sections of the stadium, and the punishment did not last the entire season.

Nate Mink covers Penn State football and news for He's on Twitter as @MinkNate.
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