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Transcript of Franco Harris-Mark Emmert Exchange in Los Angeles

by on December 14, 2012 4:44 PM

A transcript of the exchange between Franco Harris and NCAA President Mark Emmert at a recent NCAA function in Los Angeles, provided by

Audio of the exchange is provided here.

Franco: The investigation by the state and county agencies found Jerry not guilty in 1998. Concerning 2001, Attorney General Linda Kelly did not tell the truth when she stated that Mike McQueary saw a sexual assault at Penn State in 2001. You know this case went to trial and due process was served. Linda Kellys charge of sexual assault at Penn State in 2001 was thrown out by the jury. Jerry was found not guilty of 2001 sexual assault at Penn State. So in both these cases and these two timeframes, Jerry Sandusky was found not guilty by due process. Mark, how did you find Joe Paterno guilty during these two time frames?

Emmert: Well, first of all, let me clarify the process. So this wasn't, again, doing anything on his own. Because of the unique nature of the Penn State case, we handled the case differently that we have in other cases. And we can talk about, and we don't have a lot of time, why that was, but the decisions that were made were made by Executive Committee and the Division I Board of Directors, with me participating in the course, being an active part of that discussion. That group of people I just described are a group of 20 university presidents from around the United States. They represent a cross section of Division I. This wasn't one guy sitting in his office and deciding here's what I'm going to decide what to do. Thoughtful conversation and deliberation among a group of people...had access to and read the materials...looked thoroughly at the Freeh Report...and the other materials that were available and reached a conclusion.

Secondly, uh, we, in the findings that were delivered and the consent decree that was signed, explicitly didn't find any one individual guilty of anything. We expressly don't mention any one individual. We said expressly that we were reserving the right to pass those judgments in the future after due process works its course. So there's been no comment from me or any official comment from me or the Executive Committee or the Division I board on any of the individuals involved in this except for Jerry Sandusky, whose had due process and was found guilty of those crimes you said he was found innocent of. Uh, and, so the process was not as -- it was much more deliberative and thoughtful than most people realize. The reliance on the Freeh Report was a clearly thoughtful decision and logical decision. When you consider the fact that, as I described, we the NCAA, our investigators don't have anywhere near the authority granted to the Freeh group. The Freeh group was given carte blanche to look anywhere and everywhere inside the university. We would never have had that authority. They were essentially given a blank check for resources, spent six and a half million dollars, interviewed 450 people, read over three million documents and e-mails -- I could have sent my entire team in there for five years and couldn't have gotten anywhere near that level of detailed understanding of what went on there. Everyone on the Executive Committee and Division I board understood that. So, to suggest that we could somehow conduct, and by the way, spend another two years - I see () in the room can understand that and spend another two years debating and discussing what happened at Penn State didn't make sense to anybody involved. When the probability of finding anything in addition to the Freeh Report was zero.

Emmert: So, so, I know this is a point which you and I hope respectfully disagree on.

Franco: (garbled)

Emmert: I happen to love your passion for your university. I happen to understand clearly why you have a commitment and dedication to that program that did so many good things and I can't say I would feel any differently if I were in your shoes. I get all that. We may be, pardon me, made the best, most thoughtful decision that we could out of the situation that no one....felt good about...and that was unprecedented in so many ways. But, but, I want to be clear, we never singled out any individual. People say why did you take Coach Paterno's records away from him? We didn't. We vacated the university's. We didn't vacate yours -- you played in 1998, I guess.

Franco: I graduated in, uh, 1972, but I guess my question was how did you or your Board come to that determination that Joe Paterno or whoever was guilty, when those two circumstances in 1998 did not even involve Penn State and in 2001, the jury found there was not a sexual assault at Penn State. And, and, that's, so my question is...

Emmert: Yeah, uh, you'll have to excuse me, but I want to make sure, as well, the time and I want to get to others, but the short answer is we relied heavily upon the voluminous evidence provided by the Freeh Report. (garbled)

Franco: The report said in 1998 that Penn State was not involved in that.

Emmert: Uh, uh, I read the report multiple times and I'm sure you have, and we'll have to agree to disagree.

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