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Former Penn State Executive Asks Judge to Kill Corman Subpoena

by on November 24, 2014 2:50 PM

A former Penn State administrator is fighting a subpoena asking for her testimony in Sen. Jake Corman's lawsuit against the NCAA.

In legal documents filed Monday, lawyers for Vicky Triponey ask the courts to quash the subpoena ordering her to appear for a deposition.

Triponey served as Penn State Vice President of Student Affairs until she resigned in September of 2007. According to published reports, Triponey was critical of the culture at Penn State, and complained that the football program was too powerful.

In a 2012 interview with CNN Triponey is quoted as saying, "I am very troubled by the manipulative, disrespectful, uncivil and abusive behavior of our football coach. .... It is quite shocking what this man -- who is idolized by people everywhere -- is teaching our students."

In her filing, Triponey says she has no information about any aspect of the Sandusky scandal and subsequent investigation. "Dr. Triponey has no material information, nor has she had any relevant communications regarding the consent decree, sanctions, agreements or any of the events described by the parties ...," it states in her motion.

The motion claims "subjecting Dr. Triponey to deposition in this matter will constitute and cause such unreasonable annoyance, oppression and burden and expense" that Triponey must request a protective order to quash the subpoena.

Corman's lawsuit is an attempt to force the NCAA to comply with terms of the Endowment Act. That legislation requires that the $60 million fine the NCAA slapped on Penn State be spent on child sex abuse prevention programs inside Pennsylvania. The NCAA argues the law is unconstitutional and has filed its own lawsuit in federal court.

Corman's lawsuit is set for trial in January, at which time the courts may determine whether the consent decree Penn State signed with the NCAA is a valid contract. The consent decree paved the way for the NCAA to impose harsh sanctions on the university's football program, including that $60 million fine, a ban on bowl game appearances, a loss of scholarships and the vacating of 111 wins under former head coach Joe Paterno.

In her court motion, Triponey reveals that she was interviewed on March 10, 2012 as part of the Freeh investigation. That investigation culminated with the release of the Freeh Report, which said senior Penn State administrators tried to cover up the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Triponey says the Freeh investigators she spoke with limited their questioning to her experiences as the head of student affairs and did not include any questions about the parties in Corman's lawsuit.

In an affidavit,  Triponey says she had "NO interaction with any of the key leaders involved" in the consent decree and "have never even met the Board of Trustees leaders involved... "

However, Triponey does reveal that she was hired by NCAA President Mark Emmert to serve as Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Connecticut in 1998. Emmert was chancellor at UConn at that time.

Triponey says she sent an email to the Emmert's office following the November 2011 indictments of former Penn State administrators, "congratulating him on his public remarks regarding the Penn State situation."

That email says in part, " ...as you can imagine, the last several years have been painful and quite lonely at times...but I wanted to offer if I can be of assistance in any way as you look at the Penn State mess, please do not hesitate to call on me. Unfortunately I know all too well what people are capable of doing when immersed in a toxic culture."

Also in her affidavit, Triponey says she is not mentioned by name in the Freeh Report. However, the motion says a footnote in the Freeh Report that quotes "a former University official responsible for the disciplinary process" is most likely her.

That footnote says, "Some individuals interviewed identified the handling of a student disciplinary matter in 2007 as an example of Paterno's excessive influence at the University. The April 2007 incident involved a fight at an off‐campus apartment in which several individuals were severely injured by Penn State football players.

"The former University official responsible for the student disciplinary process, who the Special Investigative Counsel interviewed, perceived pressure from the Athletics Department, and particularly the football program, to treat players in ways that would maintain their ability to play sports, including during the 2007 incident. ... When the Student Affairs Office ("SAO") sanctioned the players involved, the sanctions were subsequently reduced by Spanier to enable players to participate in football practice. ...

"A senior staff member in the SAO advised that this office handles over 4,000 cases a year of off‐campus student conduct violations. ... In all of the cases he has managed over the years, this incident and one other involving a football player were the only incidents in which issued sanctions were reduced."

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Steve Bauer was the Managing Editor of StateCollege.com. Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy.
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