The Graham Spanier Interview

Josh Elliott sat down with the former president of Penn State University after the Sandusky scandal.
3:00 | 09/21/12

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Transcript for The Graham Spanier Interview
Thank you. Joining us. Let's go back to 1995. It's. I would assume a triumphant return. He's due to Penn State it would you had obviously decades long ties to it but. To return there as president. What was that like. I've been on the faculty and in my first administrative positions at Penn State earlier in my career. From 1973 to 1982. -- when I was invited back to be president of 1995. I was thrilled. I considered them and I considered today that to be the best job in American higher education. And it was something of a coming home because. We have a lot of friends there from when we were younger and they were still there and everyone was so welcoming. At the university community -- governing board -- great university. And an opportunity to make a difference something night I think we get over my sixteen years as president was -- something that you. Aspired to when you had moved out of the strict academics and into -- into administration. No not not initially. Planned. When I began to move from the fact -- two administrative ranks as is true of many academics. You think administration is just a temporary diversion and I never really aspired to be -- president -- thought that could happen but. I think as I moved up the administrative ranks and to more -- more senior administrative positions I began to realize it was a possibility. Never did I think it could happen at Penn State because what with the odds be not very good but it -- -- and then. I was thrilled and we had a great run I don't don't regret. Much of what happened during those sixteen years one of them. One of the great and one of the largest research universities. It is. What what sort of Penn State did you arrive -- and 99. Well in 1995 Penn State had already established itself is a major research university. One of the largest in the country and enjoying great success. But we had just entered the Big Ten athletically. Our aspirations became more national and international. Penn State was in good financial shape that could have been in an even better financial shape and it isn't good condition right now in that respect. And there are a lot of opportunities. And so I think with good leadership at the university in with the support of -- tremendous faculty. And good governance system both student governments and governments faculty governance administrative -- And board of trustees governance we were able to make a lot of positive things happen and it isn't fair to say that in 1998. You had full confidence. Then of those beneath you. Oh I think so I think it was -- great support from faculty staff and students but also from alumni from donors. We were at that point in the midst of a major capital campaign which started with the goal of 800 million dollars and we ended up -- one point four billion dollars. From alumni and and other friends of the university so. Was a tremendous amount of support for what we were trying to do their fiercely loyal than -- lines nationwide -- fairness. -- -- in May 1998. Jerry sandusky investigated by -- -- university police. After showering with a young boy on campus. You are then made aware of this. What do you remember. -- about the first time that you were made aware. I remember almost nothing about about that I was not involved in any meetings or discussions. About it. And I have no specific recollection of it now. -- -- understand. Now that. There was an email. That I was copied and one of about 30000 emails a year that I didn't respond to. Just a piece of information think somebody was being interviewed and then there was a follow up email about five weeks later saying the matter had been concluded. So my -- exposure to that was very tangential and of course and a university like Penn State. -- we have 47000. Employees and 96000. Students and at least 30000 emails a year you don't necessarily pay attention to every single issue unless someone comes to you and says it's something we need to talk about to you have somebody else reading your emails as well. Is it possible that they may have just been -- separately. There was an office of president email address that he have and emails that came to that address were read by a staff member and those were forwarded to me if I needed to be who want to see them. -- -- -- I think most emails were coming directly to me about a hundred day on the average and I usually. I read those myself trying to read them always and respond if it needed to respond to the same day. But. My president's cabinet consists of about eighteen people can't get one in two players down. It was perfectly acceptable for people email we had a very open system of communication. So people copied me and all kinds of things. President can't really get involved personally in every single issue. I wanna read in the two emails that you -- -- on the first dated may sixth. Begins. In fact almost mid conversation between Tim Curley and Gary Schultz. That suggesting that those involved know. What is being discussed and whom is being discussed in a reads. The following. Will do. Since we talk tonight I've learned that the public where felt the public where -- welfare people. -- implement that will do. Since we talked tonight I've learned that the public welfare people will contribute the individual. Thursday. Were you then CC on that one out of context because no context was in fact provide it. -- no recollection of knowing anything else about it other than being copied in for that one brief exchange. Would the public -- welfare reference have. It's spark interest when it set off any sort of alarm for you not necessarily. In the course of my career. We've had dozens of employees. Who we have terminated. Employees who have been disciplined for. Criminal acts for. All kinds of issues surrounding sexual discrimination sexual harassment we have. Fired lots of people and we wouldn't -- -- ever. Have hesitated to take action I certainly would have never hesitated to intervene. If it was on my radar screen that it was something that I needed to look into or get involved with that a reference to public welfare people wouldn't have put it on. Wandering -- and not necessarily. A -- roughly a month later June ninth of 1998. This is. The amount that -- -- agency seize upon. They met with Jerry. And concluded there was no criminal behavior and the matter was closed as an investigation. He referring to Jerry was a little emotional and expressed concern as to how this might have adversely -- the child. I think the matter has been appropriately investigated. And I hope it is now behind us and when you get an email referring to Jerry. With phrases. Criminal behavior investigation. Appropriately investigated. This doesn't show up on your radar -- We have at Penn State. Perhaps 2000. Incidents. A year. Where people are charged with various crimes students minor incidents. But also faculty and staff and visitors to campus. I do not get involved in police matters -- always had a very hands off attitude. And issues pertaining to people were dealt with by the police by human resource -- or -- supervisors. In various areas of the university. I can tell you this and this is very important for people to know about me. Never in my time. As president of Penn State did I ever ever wants receive a report from any one. That suggested. That Jerry C -- -- was involved in any child abuse -- any sexual abuse. In any criminal act and if it. Is unthinkable. It should be unthinkable for people who know me and how I operate that. I would never turn my back on the welfare. Of the child neophyte but doesn't -- -- just I would never turn my back on child. But doesn't this suggest that no I don't know that there was an investigation that had to happen to -- determined there was no criminal behavior committed by Jerry. That doesn't suggest that. At least this had just there had something had happened that needed investigate. It's not clear from that -- you know -- is and secondly. When you get an email at the end of the day. Along with maybe fifty other emails you're dealing with late at night that says that something has been looked into and the matter is closed -- They wouldn't necessarily -- a reason for you to stick your nose into it when you have other people at the university who are handling such matters and men like. Carrie Schulz and Tim Curley to -- through this was that discussion between the two of Lincoln you're succeed. Later. Gary Schultz is notes reveal. With regard to this instant instance that was investigated. And -- a quote from his notes. Behavior at best inappropriate. At worst sexual improprieties. Also quote at minimum poor judgment and quote. He also wonders privately is this opening a pandora's box. And asked the question other children. Do you call ever. Having care racial to mention any of this with regard to this investigation -- you -- What he had. Well would be speculating if he had. And my awareness level would have been greater and given my background. Given my academic background with children youth and families. Have my own personal background is a victim. Serious child abuse him in my youth it would have -- course raise my antenna higher. I wish now in retrospect. That I had known more because that would have given us the opportunity to intervene. The idea that we would not do so to avoid that bad publicity. Is ridiculous. We have bad publicity every day when you have the university with tens of thousands of people. Somebody does something stupid every day and there is going to be bad publicity we did not shy away from bad publicity. We confronted it head on. So the answer even though it's it's very hypothetical of course it would have -- there -- -- -- in retrospect knowing what we know now. In 2012. I wish we all would have known more then then we did at the time why do you think he didn't mention. I've known him. Is that in and of itself a failure to deal. With this instance let alone the others. -- know you have people throughout the university. Who. Are responsible for different areas of the university. And so you have a campus police department you have supervisors. You have Deans of colleges you have administrators. With different areas of responsibility. You can't expect everybody up the chain of command to get involved in every issue. But this is at -- sexual improprieties. Involving a child and he refers to a pandora's box. Which suggests something. That would in fact come to fruition something exponentially more for a -- and -- he failed to discuss it with you at any time. I don't want to be in a position to criticize. Tim Curley and Gary Schultz for how they may have handled the matter they will have their day in court. I have tremendous confidence in those individuals. And I had no reason ever and still don't today to believe. That they weren't always as open and honest with me is as they needed to be -- and should be. But should may have told you that. They were handling the matter. But shouldn't they -- -- us. As I said not necessarily I think I answer that question. Curley also. Replied. To the emails that you were -- -- and made it. Made mention the Joseph Paterno was aware. Of this do you remember you remember that -- member Joseph Paterno being Luc dehaene on on this since that. In. Refuting the free report which -- lawyers did. They paint Jerry sandusky. Is a master manipulator. But. Wasn't he in fact. Caught time and again. And in fact just managed to continually slip through the cracks. What Jerry sandusky. Did. He is not only criminals. But it violates. Every imaginable. Principle of human decency. To take children. As victims. What what he has done is it's unforgivable. He's. Affected the lives not only of his victims and their families. So many other people he's damaged the reputation of the university. And the community. Certainly I don't see how I could ever forgive him. Now upon learning what what he has done. My heart goes out. To -- to the victims in this. Terrible terrible situation. Protecting children should be our utmost priority. And if any of us I believe had known that any children and wrists were risk we would have surely -- -- -- But. Again -- -- notes suggest that they did now. And that it was certainly more follow to be done in 1998. These -- two men that you expressed unconditional support for. Your first statement the press. Do you still support them unconditionally. I can't speak for Gary -- when he to. Those notes and what he was thinking so that has to wait the adjudication. Of their trial. I did support them and I consider them to be among two of the most honest and decent colleagues. Who I have ever had and so I just to make this all the more shocking than data mission. -- years you're making a number of of assumptions and I just don't want to do that. I don't know. I'm I'm just asking him he made these notes and they didn't share his thoughts didn't didn't sorts -- to the best human I think some of the things you're asking about him and other. Reporters have as well. Is based on. A very. Literal reading of a few words. In a few emails. And I can't provide. The whole context -- because I don't know it so it's not my place to be speculating. About what other people were thinking what they were talking about and about the decisions that they made so that do you think that would that needs further context to understand what it is his notes that he talked with regard to -- all I can tell you about is what I know. And what I know. Is that I never. Received a report. Or had any suggestion. That -- thing was occurring with Jerry sandusky. That. Comports to what we now know about him and his crimes. Going back again and -- you mentioned the reputation and certainly the public perception here. What do you make. The idea. It. A lot of people have a really hard time believing that in 1998. A trusted lieutenant yours. Making notes. Wondering. About sexual improprieties at worst involving children wondering if -- pandora's box might open. Just simply don't believe that there's no there isn't any way that you couldn't have now -- that it wasn't discussed. Well in 1998. My understanding now is that that matter was turned over to the police. To the department of public welfare into the district attorney and their conclusion was that. Nothing had taken place that merited any further action. So. That is the conclusion and I understand what happened -- him in 1998. Million public perception as well one 202. -- send -- his retirement fifteen. Why did he retired in the past year knowledge. Well there was one meeting in which Joseph Paterno and Tim Curley the athletic director. Came to my office. And Joseph indicated that he. Felt that had there'd been problems with the defense. The football program of the last couple years. He felt that it was time for change he was ready for a new defensive coordinator. He did not think at that point does he had in prior years the -- sandusky would be a likely successor for him. -- he mentioned that Jerry sandusky was spending not a lot more of his time with his charity the second mile. And he felt it was about time for a change. I remember saying to show. That. And it's a decision he needed to make that I would be supportive he needed talked it through with -- He wasn't in a hurry to do so and indeed -- state for the following season. -- that was the scope of the discussion it was very much about the football program and how was operating. You provided him America stacks and why -- that. Well has been not always been my philosophies that. Emeritus status should be granted to -- serving university employees. That we should be generous with that so what the request was made of course I approved it. Some of it's been called on usual a lump sum payment of -- 160000. Dollars. Why did you -- that. Well that was negotiated I think it was equivalent probably 21 year's salary. At that time Penn State didn't have contracts when we might have been the only major. School with major athletic program. That did not have. Contracts with our assistant football coaches so it was our policy instead -- -- generously. If they were concluding -- years of service now that policy has been. Made more formal and coaches when their finishing up get a payment like that on the accident. Also an agreement -- Penn -- would both work collaborative Lee with a second mile charity and provide Jerry a lifetime use of facilities -- facilities. Funeral whose idea that wasn't that his request -- was that I was not involved in the in those negotiations side I'm -- the document came over my desk at some point but I think that was decided done with the athletic director. And going I had this one thing about 1990. I also want to ask. Voted no. Criminal behavior was -- of occurred an investigation was closed. Why was Jerry sandusky not banned from bringing. Boys into the locker room at that point. Well as you just said nothing was. Well he did nothing was found no no criminal behavior. Was set -- open but. Did you. We feel comfortable. Letting -- here you're making an assumption of I was involved in discussions that I was not involved in. So -- no -- were you involved in not at all banning one way or another the banning -- the not. They're people who look at the package that he was given. And. Suppose it is the same people who believe. That. Surely something had to -- been known at that point that CNET packages some sort of -- Does that bother you that that can be seen -- what bothers me that people would think that's how we operate at Penn State. We operated Penn State. With the utmost. Integrity and a system of -- values every decision I made it certainly is president of Penn State came from. Deep -- values. Doing the right thing. Making decisions that are fair and honest and we hope we -- in the best interest of of the university in -- and and the people involved. So I can't control what other people think or motives that they they read into -- -- decisions I can only tell you. -- hit in the most honest and open -- what I know and and what I believe. Hand I think most people associated with the university would tell you is that. We they would never violate. Are our principles and and our morals. In dealing with the nation we're always trying to do the right thing I had absolutely no tolerance. For people who broke lives. For people who didn't operate ethically. And -- we have a long record. As I said disciplining people and arresting people. Even if if they committed crimes -- they misused or purchasing -- if they embezzled money if they engaged in. Sexual harassment or sexual discrimination. And many of these decisions that we had to make were tough decisions. That didn't get adverse publicity for the university. And that him in some cases got some. Some alumni and donors and and sports fans unhappy with us but you always have to try to make the right decision but it. So you got -- all the people misusing their their cards for instance. But you would not have -- -- involved in an investigation which public. The department of public welfare -- I didn't get involved in those decisions I'm saying we at the university in the administrative hierarchy. Were. Were operating from a set of principles and no of course I didn't get involved in many of those -- -- you mentioned and it has something that's been frequently touched on in the last nine months especially you mentioned that. One of the reasons it. Year to -- you find particularly important -- people think he would be complicit here is because of your history. Of abuse in what is that history. Well I I grew up in. Difficult circumstances. That first on the Southside of Chicago and later in a northern suburb. I -- and the son of working class immigrants who came to the United States from South Africa -- my father was escaping from Nazi Germany. He lest there when he was fifteen. And had a very difficult life hand. As we went through that life he was. Very abusive. Towards me and others in the family. It. It went throughout my childhood in -- middle adolescence it was very persistent. It resulted in. Course some emotional scarring but also some substantial physical damage. And when he in what line. Well I've had for example for operations. As an adult to. Correct injuries. From my childhood that were inflicted by my father. To correct problems with breathing and with the internal structure in -- Face and and head it's difficult for me to talk about. But I can tell you from. That personal experience that I've never met any -- crime. Who has. Had a higher level of awareness. About such issues -- and I have handed. It's in large part responsible for why I chose my academic field. Dealing with children youth and families to try to understand these better these matters better. Shouldn't that can also hold you to a higher standard absolutely and in 1998. -- -- When an email that your copied on comes across discussing. Criminal behavior. An investigation that happened. Didn't mean to the person in question emotional and concerned about how it may have affected child. Shouldn't that have set off every single -- for -- well it did not. And I explained that several times to you -- ready -- that night set off any alarms because. I was copied. At the end of the process that said nothing happened. And it was just one. Thousands. Of emails that -- that I would have been copied him how he feel about that now. That that had come that had gone past the perhaps if I think any of us. Who. -- today in 2012. What we know about Terry's hand -- Wish that. We would have known more that more people would have come forward. So that we would have had an opportunity to intervene. But in retrospect. We didn't know I certainly didn't know we received no report of that kind at any time. And you know in hindsight you could look back. Fourteen years. Senior red flag and have regrets about it but we do we didn't see anything like that achieved you have regret is that how you would describe -- -- you -- about. Knowing. If I -- to date. What I knew then. I would still felt we handled it appropriately within the university. But knowing what we know now about -- sandusky. Of course you would do things differently. But he was a child predator who -- a lot of people he fooled. The parents. He fooled teachers he fooled his colleagues who were coaches. I didn't know Jerry sandusky I've only had one conversation with them in my life one conversation with only one only one. When was that. That was sometime after he retired when chancellor of one of our campuses. Was thinking that he wanted to start a football program and what about Jerry's hand -- keep coming out of retirement -- it. And I've met with them as a courtesy to hear them out but we have one football team and that -- enough. So that was the only substantive conversation I've ever had with -- -- -- The only other times I saw him -- just incidental like coming in the locker room after a game and shaking hands are giving somebody a high five. But. We didn't have much contact with the assistant coaches most of our contact was with Joseph Paterno so. I didn't know Jerry sandusky and really had almost no involvement with them. I also had no involvement whatsoever with the second -- I wasn't on the board the second mile I didn't contribute to the second mile. But yourself never -- -- second bombing I knew that a charity existed but had no involvement with it. And -- they're things I do want to move on to but the want to head and I do want to ask -- well you say that he fooled a lot of people. He can call the master manipulator. You are represented bring your representatives. But he was also caught. Witnessed. Time and again. During years. That you were the president of the university doing things to children on the university prop. Is that not in and of itself failure. You have no knowledge of those things as I've told you before. I want to ask about your relationship with Joseph Paterno -- obviously. -- -- he was there when you were there purses as a professor. Obviously there when you return. How it -- Characterize. Your. Relationship Jessica. It was one of my great privileges and life to have an opportunity to work with Joseph Paterno hand. I would say that we had as good a relationship. As any university president and head football coach -- That's another way of saying it wasn't perfect sound something of a backhanded -- out well there was always a little bit of tension because. My job was to oversee the university. And Joe's job was to oversee the football program and we occasionally disagreed on things and -- and be a handful. But. He was. In my estimation a person of great leadership ability. He wanted Penn State to be a great university. He always put academics first we were always -- here. The top -- graduation rates. He didn't break rules. Penn State was only one of two universities. In the country that never had a nature NCAA. Infraction. And Joseph was very committed to that he would keep players out of an important game of -- mr. -- He disciplined players. We had some times over the years where we might have disagreed on an issue I consulted with him when. NCAA rules were up for a vote for the university needed to take a position on any given matter. He was always very respectful. He came to my office for all meetings I was never in his building for a meeting. He would always tell me -- the president you have to make the final decision. Occasionally he would convince me that we needed to take a different point of view and sometimes I would convince him. If we didn't agree on a particular issue like where the new baseball park was going to be. I would make the decision and if he didn't like it he knew that I was the president needed to make that decision. -- Cho was was great to work -- I saw him I'm sure more than most presidents. -- either football coaches once or twice a week throughout the year and we rarely talked about football because he was involved in so many other ways and fundraising. And then academic programs and -- supporting the library for example. Weren't you more powerful than Joseph Paterno. I would -- Joseph was more. Revered. And more influential but in terms of decision making at the university yes I was more power. I want to ask you about -- 2004. You and the board of trustees decided it's time for Joseph Paterno to retire. In the new -- biography currently available. -- in fact says that. Actually he refused. -- -- Well I -- -- to -- I read that part of the biography and and that's not quite right so what will what is your assumptions and all right here's here's the story. We had had some down seasons we were not doing well at that point in time and -- knew that. The football program was struggling and he was taking very seriously about retirement and maybe now is the time change. Joseph actually called those meetings and it wasn't just one meeting we -- I would say three meetings maybe four point three that I can remember in which he broached the subject guys I'm thinking about one weekend after -- that we met. And he said. You know I'm thinking about retiring. He -- -- begun to contact other coaches around the country to see if they would be willing to succeed them. Whether if they did succeed him they might keep on some of his assistant coaches. And we went through those discussions. If this -- at the end of the year and we always had such discussions at the end of the year these particular discussions involve. Gary Schultz Tim Curley and we also -- chose request. He asked that Steve Garvin. Who was then a member of the board of trustees but -- -- a former colleague of Joe's and a former member of the football team. Attend those discussions as well. They were good discussions and they were not contentious. As is his biography points out although. From the notes apparently that he made before those meetings he was thinking they might be. Contentious and preparing -- -- I don't want to overstate it though because there's no question at that point in time we did have some members of the board of trustees who felt it was time. But at the end of our last discussion -- said look I've been thinking about this since her meeting last week. And I think with a few changes. May be a couple of changes in the coaching staff. And with the players the personnel we have coming back and recruits we have coming and I can turn this around. I'd like another season to turn it around. And if we're not -- for if we end up at 847 and five -- I know it's time but I think I can do better and he came back and he did better. So I supported him in Spain so in so it's not sure that you tried to. You wanted him to retire and he just said now we went into that meeting. Thinking. That it was a discussion about his retirement because he had advised me. That he was thinking along those lines. We ended up with -- names on the table he went through a succession of four names. Coaches. That he would have discussions with he was. He was that close. To wanting to do you never asked for his resignation they'll never. The board of trustees never reply -- I never in -- entire time as president of Penn State asked for his resignation. Joseph was planning on retiring this year we -- agreement -- that have a signed agreement actually. And he and die and Tim Curley. And just a few leaders of the board of trustees. Who I take it into my confidence. As appropriate. New one way or another this was going to be his -- here. But he wanted and we wanted him to have courtesy of announcing it. When asked about 2001. And now. Friday February ninth. Mike McQueary. -- the last building around 930. Says that he saw what looked like Jerry sandusky and they do quote. Having some type of intercourse and quote with the pre pubescent boy. EU met with. Gary Shelton to -- the following Monday. Can you describe that meeting as he best recall. Yes. Here's what I remember about that meeting it was not a scheduled meeting it was after what we call -- president's council president's cabinet meeting. And Gary Schultz and Tim Curley. Has to give me a heads up. It was sandwiched in between a series of other heads up meeting at that time time of the day. And they said we wanted to tell you that we received a report. From that a member of the athletic department staff. -- Jerry send -- -- in one of our athletic locker room facilities. After a -- He wasn't sure what he sought because it was incorrect and around the corner but it was described as course play. And I said to them. Are you sure that's how was described -- as horse -- horsing around and they say yes are you sure that's all that. We've sent and they said yes. We agreed on. Two courses of action first of -- we were. Very I'm comfortable with the notion that. Somebody would be -- shower facility with the youth. Hand. I just didn't want to have that happening. Under university campus. So. Tim -- -- to go back and -- Jerry sandusky and talent. Knock it off we don't want that anymore. Give him a directive that it shouldn't happen again. And secondly. Remember he had been retired he was no longer associated with the university. He was involved with the second mile. We should go to the head of the second -- Tim should meet with that person and tell him that we were giving jury this directive. And in fact we didn't want another second mile children. To be coming to our locker room facilities -- when you hear horseplay. What what do you think. Well again this is a very brief meeting might have been ten minutes perhaps. A little longer. I guess I was thinking back to my own. Childhood where horseplay involved throwing water around snapping towels I didn't ask about it but that's about this country now. Shouldn't that have set off some sirens do you think. Well you -- you have the advantage we all have the advantage now of hindsight many years later. Knowing about -- sent us team but at the time I regret that it could not. What do you make of any adult -- -- young -- is not this has -- Please don't make the assumption that I knew it was a young boy I was told it was one of his kids I didn't know what what that meant. I had. A vague recollection that the -- Huskies were Foster parents of many different children. He knew he was involved with the security. I can't tell you that I thought much about it. I've explained what was said to me and what we agreed upon and I can't really shed anymore light on it. And it would be it was something that made the staffer uncomfortable do you think. That witnessing. The snapping of Powell's wouldn't meet somebody uncomfortable enough to want to report it. I didn't receive a level of detail about it happen to us as I said I've explained to you everything that I heard. Did -- did you know that it made the staffer uncomfortable. I had that impression I don't quote the words that peppers. Why didn't you. Would actually asked did you asks who the staffer was questioned. No it actually it wasn't until two days after the grand jury report came out that I even heard. Mike McQueary name associated. With this incident why wouldn't you ask who it was. It was in the domain. The two people came to me who were the ones who received the report to follow. But wouldn't you want -- now. I didn't ask. Again in retrospect and hindsight. You might push further push harder and in 2012. Knowing more about the situation. We all wish that we would have. Asked more about it at the time based upon what we heard. We acted as we did. So. Why why did you not did not -- to you to want to speak to that staff. Talk about a child and shower. Conducting. Or trafficking and horse play with an adult male I -- send -- I have the same indignation. Right now that you accounts about all of this. Knowing what we -- -- knowing what we know now. About Jerry -- -- he's perverted. Illegal criminal activities. I have the same indignation now that you -- what was your indignation and then it didn't raise. Our. Didn't set off sir Alex know because we got a report that there was horseplay in the shower and there's horseplay in the showers if nothing else I don't you wanna know specifics don't you wanna know what horse -- means we have thousands of youth. In our athletic facilities every year. Thousands showering with -- send us some of them are showering. Showering alone with Jerry sandusky. Well you're you're being very. Very pro George in. I mean it can not -- that no did this is what was you -- told. This is that this is what you were told she trusted lieutenants I explain to you. What my value system was how we heard it and how we followed up. Did it tonight get a -- Australia they're watering honesty makes you. Did it. Did you ask if with regard to the -- and did it did it didn't occur to you that perhaps it had been sexual in nature now. Did a pretty to -- now. Why not. Have explain that -- you happy. Because you've because he's never had let let me let me be clear because I don't think you're here. OK let me just explain it to you one more time. Never. In my time. As president of Penn State did I ever received report. For even a hint. The jury's hand -- Was engaged. In child abuse. A sexual act. Criminal activity or anything resembling that. With any child. Had I known that are -- I even suspect it. I would. Have forcefully intervene. But I never heard a report of that kind and you can ask me that question. Ten different times and the answer is going to be the same. Because of the actions taken. But had you asked if nothing else to speak to the staff -- questioned you might in fact have learned. I don't want it. Speculate about what -- side have explained. The circumstances as they unfold but you. I guess you you referred you're you're using a lot today. That now that we know here in 2012 yes if we knew then I mean that's a that's a what do you. That's the same thing -- which is to say. Isn't the failure here. A failure. And institutional failure a failure of the hierarchy. Upon which you stood at the top. No I don't think so. The free report. Concluded. That there was an institutional failure that the leaders of the university concealed -- covered up. A known child predator but I certainly didn't know that and I don't believe the others knew that as well I believe that to be -- completely. -- -- us unfair conclusion. I do not believe that no. You don't see this is an institutional failure no I cannot. How I regret that it ever happened I mean the idea. That there would be any child predator in -- around the Penn State campus. Is is a terrible terrible thought. The idea that that there would be even one victim. I'm Jerry -- skis abuse is is. He is a horrendous thing to think about. And my heart goes out. To those children and to all the other people who have been affected by this. It is is unconscionable what he did but he is the villain here. We did not conceal or or cover up. Crimes that the university is always operated. From basic principles of trying to do the right thing and and if we -- -- there was a criminal out there. We would have turned him in just the way as we've turned and other criminal. I don't I'm not actually talking about concealing hear what I'm suggesting is he didn't do enough. And isn't that a failure. I think an answer that question. How unusual would it be. For some for something like this to be brought to your attention and the attention of Joseph Paterno and -- -- and this is an unnamed staffer so. Turns out it was my query. But it could have been a chance there could have been security guard walking into intelligent trying to pass such was. This unnamed staffers level of discomfort how unusual occurrences that. -- I would say. That there were. Several dozen instances. During my time as president where. Staff members -- come to me to report. Wrongdoing. Or matters of concern. So I don't think that was especially on usual although that particular. Type of report. Less than usual but. Began with. With hundreds of reports a year -- maybe a couple thousand about students who have engaged in different kinds of acts. Some I would hear about and -- I wouldn't hear about it it all depends on whether the people in the system -- me. Would have felt it was something that I I might like -- here. How many. How many involve children and and Jerry sandusky. There was no other reports about -- -- asking him children said. That didn't. Seem as -- something you should it especially involved. You -- the action plans but what to do here. Then you meet. -- with Tim Curley Schultz as you mentioned. And as you also mentioned or and according to care racial schism notes you have to tell the second miles you mention. You were going to -- juries and -- -- from bringing kids on campus. Any we're going to report just the department of welfare -- public welfare do you do you remember all that now know -- the but -- call from the meeting I was in was what I explained. Before and and have her repeated a number of times now. So the free or -- have that wrong. Yes. With respect to me. -- call agreeing. That we would do two things -- a matter of follow up. That -- -- would meet with Jerry sandusky and give him our directive. And that he would meet with the president of the second mile. Some days after that occurred concurrently caught me. Between meetings and said you know those two areas of follow up. They have occurred those discussions went well I think the matter is closed. And that's the last I heard of that for. About ten years. And so at no point. Were you involved in a discussion. That involved. Telling the department child well of child welfare about what happened to I have no recollection. Of being -- part of that discussion. Is it possible that you were and you just don't -- All I can say is I don't remember it might might be possible do you remember. Bill agreeing to offer -- professional help. I never spoke to -- No note discussing San having Tim -- -- and national Tim mentioned that in the emails that you reference -- set I'd like to offer jury professional help what's that a reference. Well he was going to tell Jerry sandusky. That. He couldn't. Shower with children anymore -- we did not find that acceptable. Hand. He was worried that if Jerry didn't hear that message. That. It would be of concern to all of us that he needed to understand why we were uncomfortable -- that. If he didn't understand that maybe he should be offered. Professional help. I thought it was humane asked him to offer. To do that. According to the notes again capped by Jerry Gary Schultz. He does include. As a part of the initial agreement of which you were part the decision to report this to the department of a public -- you would have to ask Gary Schultz about his notes I I am. -- have no. Knowledge of his notes -- -- what if that's true if if the free report did not actually -- that from whole cloth. Why would horsing around be reported. Can -- -- we did speculate about something we've discussed what. Fourteen or fifteen times or -- them. Was there any discussion to find out whose child was in the shower. I told you about the extent of our discussion. I've said that about a 100%. What occurred in that brief discussion. Did you want to did you want to -- I've told you everything that occurred. I think yes you have but I mean did you want to know would you. Do you do not see -- again you're asking me to think back more than a decade hand. Think now about what I might have thought that man I. I can't speculate about that. But again he's made it a point. That you. Are hyper aware of situations as they regard children yes. This was a child involved in. -- that made a staffer uncomfortable. -- Jerry sandusky. Shouldn't you. Didn't you have a moral. Obligation to find out who that childless and find out what happened. At the time when I heard the term first play. And asked if there was anything more than that and the answer was no I didn't conjure up anything more. Then. What I would have thought of as simple -- place don't know why I could think of of anything more than that. It's not in my nature to go around thinking the worst of people you know I'm not. A law enforcement. Agent I'm not an investigator. -- -- a university president you just don't. Think evil of people who are respected and revered at least at the time revered in the community. Who have a good reputation. It it just didn't enter my mind at the time. And yet you also say that protecting children. Requires the utmost excellence. Absolutely. Doesn't that demand that you. Think the worst of the situation like has been described here. -- just told you. Understand him. And the answer is. Now. I've explained how it handled the matter. -- and I just don't. Think I can they had anything. Else to that explanation and I. If you want to ask it another ten different ways. I I don't think the answer will change. I think. You want to. Condemn me you need to go on here and do that but I'm just trying to answer your questions and have a good honest interview. I'm not looking to condemn anyone I'm just so I'm just asking and given how you've stayed around feel having answered your questions -- us as best I can. And so again he did the free report. Makes note of an initial agreement had to -- panelists. And then following a discussion -- Tim Curley had with Joseph Paterno. -- communicate that in fact what he's decided. Against reporting. To. Child welfare authorities and instead he would. Simply. Follow up Jerry sandusky specifically. You -- you don't -- call that conversation you don't call a change to the plan. As. Was initially set. Now we we had. No conversation at that point only that email. That I apparently got on that Tuesday night with Tim -- -- plan and my replied that. I support it is his plan he should follow. Throughout all this industrious and ask you still being allowed to use. Various campuses for instance for summer football camps. Did that keep you pause -- not I was never aware of Jerry's football camps -- wasn't involved in the camp programs. A lot of questions as well especially during these initial. After -- these moments. Did it ever occur to you to discuss any of this with the board of trustees. Any of these conversations you had any of this concerns raised not until 2011. -- that. Well because my exposure. Was was so modest. In 2001 there was. This one report. Hand -- it was handled. By Tim -- and that was the end of the matter. So it did not raise to the level of something that you would report to the board. Any university that's just. Complex as Penn State with so many thousands of of employees and students. And issues that come -- day -- day. You wouldn't. Take individual incidents to -- board of trustees. In 2011. We did. Of course have discussions with the board of trustees have to we realized there was a grand jury inquiry and it was important for them to receive a report that. I want asked about a very specific ailment you know you -- you just mentioned that you thought -- -- humane approach to Carlton. That is worthy uses a specific team now. He wrote to Tim Curley and Gary -- -- want to read to you. This approach is acceptable to me speaking of the plan that you agreed to. The only downside for us is the -- is the message isn't heard and you put quote marks around the work -- And acted upon. And we've -- become vulnerable for not having reported it. The approach you outline is humane. And a reasonable way. To proceed. Do you remember writing. I don't remember it but it sounds like me it was as I say about 300000 emails ago. And what context was for that of course was receiving Tim -- whose email about his -- A -- -- and it seemed reasonable in light of the two things that we agreed would happen. If Jerry wasn't going to understand. What. We were asking for the reference to the message -- yes and that's what we mean by what I meant I'm sure by the message being heard. Then. We would have had to regroup and been more forceful about it because we -- all concluded that we didn't want that to happen again it was inappropriate that you use the word formal. It may not have been the best choice of the term but or certainly speaks to the idea that -- foremost concern is with regard to the impact it would have. On someone or something. Other than the children that. May or may not be endangered by Jerry sandusky or that the -- it was reaction to the the possibility. That. We didn't want this to happen and if he didn't accept that and understand it we would be disturbed by it and perhaps need to take further action but the message we got back was that he heard the message and was agreeable. Were you concerned about being. Liable. I knew I had no recollection of being concerned. About that we always. Tried to make the best decisions that we could about issues that came up. And and I am parson individual -- -- for not having reported it. Again I can't. Can't reconstruct a decade later. Thoughts about words in particular email -- -- reporting. It suggests that there was an instance that could or could not be reported. Two. As I said child welfare -- my recollection. Of the athletic directors concern was that if that message wasn't hurt by -- Then we might need to elevated to another level. To someone now. Who reads that in. How do you think that -- With regard. To what happened. Well I can detect how -- reading -- but. I think different people were greeted differently and I explained myself as -- site can. And even hear it. Did you feel you had a moral obligation. Looking back. I felt that. We who were involved at the time made the best decisions that we could make. Given the information that we had. By telling Jerry sandusky. Who -- again. Not. An employee. He had moved past not to take children and state. Anymore. What were you hoping to accomplish. We're hoping to accomplish anything we just felt it was an appropriate didn't want it to happen. Would it would. Would it not concern you however he was doing similar things not at Penn State. You're asking me to get into all kinds of speculation that I don't want to get into and have no. -- and never thought about and never entered my mind I can't. I can't talk about what other people are thinking and what other people's motives are -- how they -- things I can only tell you about. What I know and what I -- Personally than knowing what we know now about this instance particularly how do you feel about it. Personally. I think -- curious and ask he has done is. He is. Devastating. To the victims that he -- -- over the years. To the reputation of the university. -- colleagues. His own family. The people. At Penn State and and -- -- charity who've lost their jobs all of the donors to his charity. All of the people who believed in him have been fooled by him. And what he is as hasn't done has damaged the lives of people. It is of course criminal what he's done. -- can't be excused. At any level so I am personally. Outraged. By. What has transpired. And regret very much of that. This happened anywhere. On or near the university or in our community. The consequences have been profound. With the NCAA with a Big -- with. Our reputations. It's it's it's really unforgivable. I wanted to be rendered. The day before you testified. A trustee. Asks for information. About the investigation. And. You allegedly wrote the Penn statement you quote is only on the periphery of us and quote do you remember that. I'm not sure when that particular email exchange occurred but at the time that's what I was told that we were pretty much on the periphery of it. But it's an incident that occurs on campus that was witnessed by a Penn State -- I was not sure. During those months at the grand jury was in operation. What that investigation was about in fact it wasn't until I read the grand jury present meant. On November 5 I think it -- that I had any idea that Jerry send -- he. Was being investigated for what then was 48 counts. Criminal behaviors involving children. I thought that it was a doubt that one incident in the shower and I were called is involving just horseplay so. I had no knowledge that it was anything more than that -- in my interview with the attorney general's investigators. And later in my grand jury they just asked me a few questions. About about the -- And didn't didn't hint that there were multiple multiple instances. Over a period of years. Nor did the university's legal counsel. Who would sat in on some earlier meetings advise me. That it was about anything more than that and I don't I don't know if she knew frankly. So. No I had no awareness. About that big TC that you see what -- to the scope. Everything well I see -- -- that that. Members of the public and members of the media. Could read the free report. And -- do all kinds of nefarious conclusions. But I can tell you from my information. That that report is absolutely wrong it is wrong in its conclusions. I think some of the recommendations that come out of that are worthwhile. And I think the university will will make some changes as a result. But but I can tell you absolutely that the conclusions and that report that that in effect we conspired to conceal a known child predator. Are just incorrect that that is is is not truthful and I I think. The report is is greatly admire him putting that aside for a moment -- You've seen the scope of what we're talking when your. First scene the 48 counts -- you just mentioned. Does it occur to you that. If only with the benefit of hindsight. Right now. That he had done more on several occasions. There's no telling. How many of those instances would never have come to pass. With the benefit of hindsight. Any of us who have been involved. In this and who have herself suffer consequences from it. Would have done more had we known more at that time but didn't. Did you speak of suffering consequences is -- still because of that you you -- tacked. You have opportunities to act and you did not. Given the information we had at the time. We acted. Appropriately. Based upon what we heard and what we do. But. We had very scant information at the time certainly. The report I got was a report of of the few minutes maybe ten minutes or -- a little longer it was a heads up. And it was being handled by others thoughtfully I presumed. And that was pretty much it. Did two instances that we discussed the 1998 incident in 2001 it turns out that perhaps. At the very least you were not informed of all. Fox of your trusted lieutenants and again. You did express unconditional support. And just so loud I know do you regret making that statement -- Do you still feel that -- one. I've been criticized for. Speaking well of my colleagues and supporting them. Based upon what I knew they told me and based upon working with these folks. Every day for sixteen years. I trusted them. I believe that they. We're doing the right thing that they've been honest with me so in that context I I don't regret. Being supportive of them degree failure -- have their they'll have -- day in court did they failed and I -- I won't say that we we don't. And until their cases adjudicated. It would deem inappropriate for me to. Speculation. About how they handled the matter. I can tell you that I trusted them. They have been very valued colleagues I have every reason to believe that they have always been. Open and honest with me and that they handled the matter as well as they could. That was my belief then and a life. Still feel the same way now but they we'll have their opportunity. To to make their case. You were removed as president days later if you could taking me through. What exactly happened were you. Did you resign. Where he fired. It's something is -- what how how would you characterize. When we. Saw the grand jury report that Saturday in early November. I immediately called a meeting with my staff members. The president's cabinet and and other senior administrators at the university. And then we had an emergency. Telephone call meeting of the board of trustees. We -- had another meeting the following night of the board of trustees which I told them everything I -- The board of trustees decided on that Sunday night that they wanted to manage the matter that they would handle it. Hand that they did not. Feel that this was something that that the president should deal with it was it was likely to be too big in the board needed to handle it. So. I was not in a position to go out and managed the crisis normally that would have been my instinct I've managed not to crises -- -- the years. As the next couple of days unfolded it became clear to me that it was going to spin out of control and that I needed to step aside. To give the board the opportunity to manage this so initially on accused -- morning. I informed the chair in the vice chair of the board that I was considering. Stepping down. They asked me to hold off and that. And the following morning I met with them again and told them -- was stepping down and gave them. A letter. Saying that I was doing that as well as a statement from the media that I plan to -- They said that they wish I wouldn't do that but they could understand why I would. And I asked them to then. Formally accept that action at the board of trustees meeting another meeting they were having that Wednesday night. Under a provision in my contract that allowed for me. To terminate the presidency without cause. And they did make that decision took that action that night to you resigned and were not fired. That is correct. Watching under the provision that we had agreed on that day yes. Watching it all -- -- you say you would have liked to manage the crisis what would you have done. -- -- things that. You would have done that they didn't we were ready seeing protests. Around campus they were roving protest downtown -- -- how's the steps of old main. I was in my office late at night. Trying to manage to deal with us as best I could -- in regular contact with the chair. And the vice chair of the board of trustees. If I would've had the opportunity I would've gotten out in front of it had a press conference answered questions. And -- and exercise some some control over it. But nothing much was was happening and in that regard until very late that Wednesday night -- and by then. The media had descended I would describe it very much as a media frenzy. And in that vacuum him in that -- sentence. Someone from the university being able to. Standing before the cameras and the reporters and answer questions it. It it got a little bit out of control when you reached out to where -- did anybody drop on your. Experience wisdom ask for your opinion. The chair in the vice chair of the board of trustees. Asked for my advice on two matters. -- that Wednesday morning. They asked. What to do now that I was stepping down and that it would be accepted that evening. Who should they appoint this press -- And I recommended they appoint pro post who's the executive vice president and the number two with the university. He's a very very fine person and dealing with the current circumstances under. Very differ in a very difficult situation hand hey have always had the highest regard for him. And recommended that they put him in that position and they said that is a good idea that's what they would try to do. They also said that many members of the board were thinking about. Firing Joseph Paterno and what with my advice be. I did not think that was a good idea. I thought that. It could be riots that it was a rush to judgment. That. They knew very well that this was going to be Joe's last season anyway and he deserved. To be treated better and go out and out and high note. But it wasn't my decision to make it was the board's decision and that was -- the decision that that they made that night but those those with the two items that I was asked for advice on that day. You think Joseph Paterno deserves that. -- he says it. Mike with Mike McQueary told him that it was in -- something sexual nature that it happened. In that. Locker room I've never had a conversation with Joseph Paterno ever. About this incident about this episode about Mike McQueary -- one so I'm not going to. Speculate about his involvement. Wolf -- like to watch the rights. Well at that point on that -- Wednesday night I was back the president's. Residence. And. At that point Wednesday night I was back at the president's residence so I -- not see it firsthand but. It's uninteresting thing that happens when your and that transition from being president and feeling you're still in charge the ten realizing wait a minute you're an African -- today. Your instincts are to call the university police chief and say I think they're going to be riots are you ready. We had experience with that indeed. He was ready for it was the chief of police downtown so. I didn't witness them personally but I had a great deal of concern about what was unfolding at the university is a troubling to note that after testifying before the grand jury. Fewer than two weeks before he was in fact the rest -- -- Jerry sandusky was sitting in the president's box. Football he was not sitting in the president's -- that's not true now. -- he's never been against him in my box. And so and again that is he may have been some we're in the athletic complex is that are currently there are sweet send. Other other boxes but I I didn't see him and he was certainly not my -- Reflecting that upon where we stand. First -- the NCAA punish him. Does it fit. You are speaking to a former chair of the board of the NCA -- former division one -- chair. -- someone -- -- a very lead role in athletics has been me. Chair of the board presidents overseeing the PC pasture -- the Big Ten Conference. I was on the NCAA board when a lot of current rules regulations were put into place and I was one of the leaders of the reform movement that is still under way with the NCAA. You're asking for my honest opinion about the NCAA sanctions in my opinion is. That. DN CAA's actions go well beyond its mandate. There's no precedent. For. What they did. I believe that Penn State to serve its day in court. I think accepting the free report as -- basis for the NCAA sanctions. It's not appropriate. It would it wasn't conducted for that purpose on this -- pointed out the conclusions. Of that report. Her -- not accurate. So I'm very concerned. About the NCAA actions and the Big Ten actions that that followed those. I don't know whether it's possible for those to be revisited. And I don't want to second guess the university leadership. On this one thing former president should not be doing. He is making judgments without all the information. That their successors Hanover that the governing board so why I don't want -- feel like you don't have all the information. I I don't have all the information that was on their plate when they had to make a decision about accepting those NCAA. Sanctions. Or signing the consent decree. But. I'm not comfortable with where they ended up -- -- and I'll tell you why I'm not comfortable with it. We ran the cleanest programs in all of collegiate athletics. And I don't care what people might think -- say about that but that is the fat. I have to be one of the handful of university presidents that actually signed personally. Every extra compensation approval for every staff member and athletics. I didn't delegate that someone I approved it seventeen years in a row I met. With every member of the athletic department staff at the beginning of each year. And told them we follow the rules here if any have you ever knowingly breaks and NCAA rule. You are fired. We then met. With all of the new athletes at Penn State about 200 of them a year in an auditorium at beginning of the year of the athletic director and -- made it very clear. You are the representatives of the university. You will be disciplined if you break a rule there will be no special favors. And in recent years I invited the district attorney. To those sessions with me. Because we wanted to make it clear that we operated Penn State. In the most honest way we did not break rules. Joseph Paterno never asked me. To have the university break a rule or to give his athletes special privileges. He would sometimes advocates for its players he had opinions about the disciplinary system and what what should be under his purview. Where the university's purview. But he operated with integrity he set a good example for other coaches and we did not break rules at Penn State. The NCAA sanctions. Seem to have built in -- them. A conclusion. That we were major rule breakers and certainly in this case that that that we didn't have institutional control. -- you we had more people in intercollegiate athletics who reported to. People outside of athletics the academic support personnel. The counselors the did you have to -- it matters draw people did absolutely did we had strong institutional control. In following the rules of intercollegiate athletics. I insisted on it I demanded that the athletic director demanded it. We push in that direction at every opportunity. And any of the coaches at Penn State will tell you that they have heard me personally. On numerous occasions. Tell them that when we hire a new head coach and I -- hired many of them. That is a fundamental part of our discussion with them and in the contracts that we now do. We make it very clear you break a rule you're out. You mentioned lack of institutional control with regard to violation of NCAA rules do you feel like you had institutional control. With regard to protecting children. From home from a monster to -- York we have at Penn State more than 20000 children a year and sports camps. We have hundreds. Of children and youth on our campus every day at Penn State in the athletic facility -- I work out there are always. Youth in there. That's worked well for us at Penn State for decades. Now because of this one individual. This one. Criminals who abuse the system. The university is going to need to put some new policies in place to tighten things up and I think it's appropriate that they're doing that. And there will be even more control and -- if they abuse the system and I. What role do you feel you've played. And failing those kids. We talked about -- I just can't get anything else beyond what I said. Do you feel like -- failed. -- -- I wish. In hindsight that I would have known more. -- -- -- -- And his his terrible terrible hidden past. So -- I could have intervened because it would have been my instinct to do so. If I would have known more about him but I did not what would you say to the victims now. My heart goes out to the victims what what has happened to them. Apparently in the sandusky home. In public places. Around second pile of parents and perhaps around the university. What has happened to those victims is. It is too terrible to comprehend. Hand. My heart goes out to them I wish them the best -- I hope that they have an opportunity to put this behind them. And I hope something like this never happens again you see -- perhaps -- regarded things happening on Penn State campus. This is just hard to accept the facts. That this happened -- repeatedly. On the Penn State campus I do not know the facts of what did and did not happen on the Penn State campus so I can't comment -- does he's been found guilty. -- -- Aside I'm just not familiar with the details. Of what -- did not happen. I don't -- William when you say you're not familiar with and I knew I was not at his trial had not heard witness testimony. I'm just not familiar enough to comment on the specifics of what happened with different. Me. -- -- If you just him and bring and I think -- With regard to victim testimony. I'm not gonna comment on any victim testimony -- I'm just not. BC and I can only really -- -- I'm not familiar with. If you read it it would be the first time I would hear it and -- -- and just don't think it's appropriate for me to comment on. But I'll read it and then I'd just like your reaction. In this this victim for. Speaking about Jerry sandusky he would maneuver himself so that my head was between his lay -- and his penis in my face. If it were the other way and then he would kiss my thighs. He would be Iraq. He would sneak we tried to put it in mind now. On another occasion he attempted dislikes penis and to me that was later on it would happen on almost every time. More -- where he was sticking his penis in my mouth. Even a few occasions when he -- Felix. And the coaches' locker room. And the new often. Happened on the path to cap. What -- read is his repugnant. I'm sure to me and any other. -- It's it's it's terrible what he did it's unforgivable and I I regret very much that anything like that could have. But it in the end. You don't feel. That you are at all culpable. For your ignorance of what happened. -- Years long stretch. On the Penn State campus. The most horrific things you can imagine happening to children. I knew nothing about -- standard -- And these kinds of behaviors. Absolutely nothing. Any. Feeling. Human being. Who would have known something like that would have intervened. At that would be my hope and expectation. But I certainly -- time. Did not know he feel like you could have done more to now. I think I answer that question. What is life like for you now in Penn State in state college. It's tough when you're. President of maybe the most complex university in the country with. 24 campuses and -- hundred hour -- schedule to be. To be dealing with everything -- your life chopped up in the fifteen minute segments and couple thousand meetings a year to all of a sudden have that stopped suddenly so there has been an adjustment. It's been nine months now. It's been very tough psychologically. Physically emotionally. For me. When I'm out and about around town. People have been very nice people come up and expressed their support I've had hundreds of people do that and and received now couple thousand letters and email messages. So I I. Have the feeling that people. Believe in me. Appreciated what I did in my time as president of Penn State. Everybody regrets what this is done to the university. And the community. And of course put me at the top of the list. You speak about emotionally what what what are those in moments like when the day when -- they strike. Well. It's on your mind all the time that. You've been in the news. In an unfavorable way that people have. Perhaps drawn conclusions about you that are not warranted. It was hard enough stepping out of the job I -- But. In some ways it was even harder when the free report came out. And I said to myself this is completely unfair and it's it's not right. And then having. Media. -- many in the public uncritically. Accept that report. That. That -- that was pretty devastating. Why do you think. I -- -- almost a collective people widened. Why do you think it was so wrong -- Why do you think it in the -- was produced the way it was. The report. I don't know. When I met with. Mr. freeh and his colleagues. I I have the feeling the report was ready written apparently it was -- -- I don't think anything and I said. Made huge difference. In the outcome of the report quoted you don't know now they they quoted. Me a little bit but. I I don't know. Why he ignored. Evidence. Of that would have come to a different conclusion. Such yes. Well all of the information that I gave them an answer to a lot of different different questions. About what actually happened. I I can't go back and right to report for them but I do know that their conclusion that to avoid bad publicity. And first and foremost to avoid bad publicity. That we concealed information about a child predator. He is is terribly Romanians because not only would we never have done that. We we didn't conceal anything. We went and told the second -- folks. We told me couldn't do that again he was investigated in 1998. We. Based upon what we new. We we didn't hide anything and -- we took action. And the last thing we would ever do was concealing. Somebody who had committed a crime it was not in our value systems to do that seems there -- two things it did. The question of whether or not -- concealed but also the question question of whether or not you failed -- -- duties to do enough. Well. Again the report. Written in 2012. Makes all kinds of assumptions that were not so that the times that. That events occurred so it is -- no it doesn't fit in my mind. Regrets. Finally do you have any. -- if so I have a couple of regrets. Certainly. I regret that. We weren't. More aware than we were at the time. Of the real Jerry sandusky. I don't know how we would have been more aware but again you look back you say gee I wish any of us would have known more because I'm quite sure that you Paterno or -- Schultz. -- earlier high. Or presumably others around him if they would've known war might have intervened and we wouldn't be here today talking about this. But they have their doubts skin -- the issue compared to some interracial design notes suggesting and now. We've covered that ground but I can't realize that but I did -- -- to say that telling you you know that. And it. And you know is this was unfolding in in November. Of 2011. -- I wish we could go back and maybe I could be more persuasive with the board of trustees about how important was. Even though we we had no idea what the charges were going to be of getting out front of it a little better -- They are all what -- now. That is the idea of hindsight. If you'd asked to talk to Mike -- Do you think this would all be different. -- I can't speculate I. Didn't know Mike McQueary I I had no. If you'd asked who it was who had approached Joseph Paterno in the first place and been told it was -- query. Well the matter was being handled by others and I don't know if they knew when they spoke to me or not I don't even know what that point if they knew. That it was Mike McQueary I don't know. 120000 feet. It's. In -- -- -- Why didn't you. -- how do you feel. Knowing that he shakes -- ask -- a shower with a single child. Knowing now that he's -- had a file. And a criminal who took advantage. Of children. You wouldn't want somebody like that ever to be showering with a child. Capsule question do you feel like -- You feel like -- -- to be appalled that here. I feel like many other people. There have been consequences for me because of the evil acts. Of one individual. But I'm not the only one I mean. The children who were victims you have to put them at its head of the list of the people who have suffered terrible consequences and their families. But look at all of our coaches -- assistant coaches who have lost their jobs secretaries. Support staff for all of us who are out of our positions now. But they haven't had blame placed and you have yes well I. I feel very badly about what's happened to me in there are days when when I feel like a victim. I don't mean to compare myself to anyone else and I don't mean to. To point the finger at anyone is if they were of the Warren are the ones. To victimize me now I I I just. There's no useful purpose and looking back and seeing that way what's most important -- -- that Penn State the community. The families involved -- -- that that we we get beyond this what your level of concern that -- face charges. I have no information about that I don't feel there would be any basis -- it. And it surprised. Yes because there there should be no reason why anyone would contemplate -- It. Much was made of the security plants that you received. Federal government looking. And investigating him on -- -- What can you tell us about their investigation. When you have clearances at the level that I have for work that I have done for years in the national security arena. And having the lead role in higher education and national security matters. When any incident pops up as the -- -- matter did they have to come in and re review you so. -- -- review was done for me. By the federal government spanning about four months. They interviewed a very large number of people. Including many at the same people that. The free group interviewed in some individuals. Who were willing. To speak. To the federal investigators. Who did not feel they could meet with free investigators. Mine clearance was -- Hand there was a conclusion of no wrongdoing on my part. I shared that information with mr. freeh and his colleagues. But they did not mention in their report they did not apparently give it -- so why do you think. I don't know. You would think it would be relevant. I also offered to share with them. Relevant parts of this security clearance report when I received it so that it might inform their report. But they issued their report before that that happened to. So they didn't decline they just they should report that's right. Can you tell us about the work you've done. What can you tell us about the work you've done well much from what I've done -- public's on this night. I chaired the national security higher education advisory board this is a board established. In the 20042000. Timeframe. Two. Brings federal government. And are higher education. Institutions closer together in a more cooperative mode. It was one of many kinds of initiatives that came out of 9/11. Around issues of counterterrorism. Counterintelligence. Cyber security. Criminal activities. And other matters that the FBI is concerned about our intelligence agencies Homeland Security. Defense Department and other agencies. Because. I chair that group and had that role -- it was also invited to be a part of the national counterintelligence. Working group. I also worked with a broad range of other government agencies on almost any matter that came up. That might give. Touched higher education in some way. I spent a pretty good amount of my time on that spent a lot of time in Washington sometimes several days a month. Working with them. Have been involved in. And in other matters that have higher level of classification. Them that the public thinks that I just described do you feel as though. They -- been upholding them here security plants exonerate team. With regard. To what's happened. Well. Let me put it this way. I don't feel -- need exonerate him because I know. What I know I know what I did I know how I have operated. Honestly with -- value system with integrity. Everything I've ever said about this is has been truthful whether -- in public and television interview like this with free investigators with the attorney general. With attorney general's investigators grand jury. Sometimes you may have a recollection that is not a 100%. But. I think everything nice that is as -- consistent is as -- can be so. The national. Security clearance. Yes I suppose in a sense is part of exonerated me but. I don't just point to that as evidence alone -- I think you -- people have to know me. And what I stand for my values in the background I come from how I have operated. As a president of Penn State. As as a family sociologist. Has a marriage and family therapist what I have done with my life. That's what I hope people will will pay attention to and believe what -- said. Quick bookkeeping question and asked me how much time he spoke with investigators. Number of hours. Our interview lasted between four and -- half and five hours I would say approaching five hours. I was willing to spend more time because there were areas that they outlined that they would like to talk about that they never did cover with me. But it. They seemed eager to conclude the session and to to get on with the -- -- there are some interesting topics related to Joseph Paterno and athletics and how we operate today athletics I don't know how much of this you're gonna put on ESP and her memory back there somewhere behind the -- -- I mean one of the things that's never been on television before well that's always good. That's better at that I mean it yes it's kind of blockbuster. Is. Why there's instant replay in college sports. I tell you -- -- you know what tell you what I actually want to hear this idea wanted -- okay. To -- -- addition. And I hear you've got some blockbuster -- Instant replay which really ushered. So many sports that's -- especially football into the technological age should have here's here's the inside story and they had instant replay in professional sports before we headed in collegiate sports but you know we talked about that era where things were going well. At Penn State than Joseph Paterno was thinking about retiring. In that same -- when things were going real well. Joseph Paterno got kind of testy. About the officiating. In the Big Ten. -- -- a difference of opinion about how to handle it Joseph wanted to. Go out and tackle it head on by issuing statements in this press conference or allowing reporters to say hey what about the officiating. And I knew the rules. I was part of setting up those rules you don't criticize. Referees you could be penalized and sanctioned for it. I never played football I'm not a football -- Joseph started sending me video tapes. On Monday morning after the game pointing out to me officiating errors. And one day he'd have -- I can't remember it was probably after Michigan game but I can't sort of had. He had thought we don't let lot of bad calls in Michigan games. -- he came to my office with the athletic director the Tim Curley called me ahead at times that those kind of man he -- to come and see you. And he was a little out of control he said that's it we've got to do something about -- -- fishy in he was talking a little crazy. About this because. He he just felt there were too many calls that -- right. I got on the phone Tyson Joseph. Don't -- say anything about this you just calmed down and let me work atmosphere I'll get back to you. So I got Jim -- the Big Ten commissioner on the phone and said Jim chose very upset about the officiating. And we're gonna have to do something about it I mean if it is time to address the issue. And Jim said you know. There is this idea out there about instant replay. I said look. Let's do it. Let's try to see if we can get that in college sports. And Jim went to the NCAA. And said could the Big Ten get permission on a one year experimental basis. To do instant replay. One year experimental it'll be evaluated. Everybody in the country loved it and at the end of the year was adopted. Nationally. And that's why we have instant replay in collegiate sports because until you got so let's take a Monday morning delivering some -- Joseph Paterno was. Just unhappy about it and I said Joseph let me work on this let's -- -- then and now we haven't. That was. A good example where there was a healthy tension. Between Joseph Paterno and me in in that case. I'm not saying he was right about the bad officiating calls but he was right about the time had come for college football do something a little different than we pursued it and it -- I want it maybe this is where they did that. -- a lot of rivers arrive. -- A lot of people have said that this was the result of a football culture. Of a culture of athletics where athletics. Not just makes individual decisions. By individuals. But that. Sport. And and this case football is -- We've had -- long history. And intercollegiate athletics but you've also -- a very long history in school administration. I have been some great. Athletic schools. -- what do you what do you what do you make of what do you make of that assessment from those on the outside looking in here. I think anyone in the Penn State family. Anyone who knows Penn State athletics any of our thousands. Tens of thousands of former athletes. Cross 31 sports the thousands of athletes tens of thousands and our club sports. Know that that is not a fair characterization. Of athletics at Penn State. We had the best system of checks and balances so much so that NCAA review teams always commended us for how we did that. We had a strong system of oversight we had a president who paid attention. To athletics who made sure I knew the coaches and that that that the student athletes heard from me. Who make sure that that compliance coordinator knew that he could come to me at any time. The faculty athletic represented -- who oversaw academic integrity. Had a direct reporting line. To me. The faculty sent it reviewed the admission standards for athletes. You have. And CA standards. You have. Big Ten standards and you have Penn State standards. We graduated our athletes football graduated nearly 90% of its athletes we graduated our athletes. In all of our sport. And football. Was loved by many people it has to be if you're gonna fill a stadium with a 1101000. People. People like Penn State football but what they liked about it. Was how it operated. And how we did not have the tail wagging the dog at Penn State. I know of many universities where that was the case. I have shared -- CAA review committees I chair of the committee that had to review the Fiesta Bowl after it had its problems. I chaired the BC yes I know what goes on in collegiate athletics. And at Penn State I think we can be very proud. Of what we did and how we operated. That -- final question. Talk about its massive open door policy if nothing else to you take great pride in meeting with all these different people letting them know what happens rules -- People. Do you -- there to be. The notion that the overriding notion it seems that people can come to you would any time with -- thing yes. How does it make you feel -- Win. -- -- editor testified that having seen. He says was Jerry sandusky performing oral sex on a bullet and -- -- He felt like he reported that. -- get rid of all of us he said. I wish that custodian or anyone else. Who had witnessed something. Would have come forward. To their supervisor. To the police. To anyone at the university. That is not the kind of environment that we fostered and state and in my state my inaugural state of the university address. I said that I'm -- humanize the university in my number one goal is putting people first. And I gave that message every year to new employees to department heads. To faculty staff advisory groups in the faculty senate whenever I had the opportunity. Now -- like you did that to an area with four to the very end if 47000. The 47000 employees maybe not everyone heard it or felt comfortable going and making a report. But that was the environment that we tried to create at the university. And I hope that going forward. Anybody who sees -- -- that they're suspicious of would report it that's the kind of Penn State that I know. From the first the last people were -- first. Everybody should feel that --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"id":17290926,"title":"The Graham Spanier Interview","duration":"3:00","description":"Josh Elliott sat down with the former president of Penn State University after the Sandusky scandal.","section":"Nightline","mediaType":"Default"}