Tense moments erupted during a question and answer period during Friday's Penn State Board of Trustees meeting. For the first time, alumni confronted university leaders about the Freeh Report and NCAA sanctions.
All Penn State alumni ever wanted was answers. Many want an explanation of why the board accepted Louis Freeh's findings without reviewing the report with all trustees. That decision led to harsh NCAA sanctions that would handcuff Penn State football in bowl appearances, playoffs, scholarships, and hefty multi-million dollar fines.
What they got in University Park was three minutes each and not a second more.
In July, the Board of Trustees decided to add a question and comment period in every meeting. Seven people signed up to talk. An eighth person had a death in the family and was unable to attend.
One woman asked the board for an explanation regarding the Freeh Report's decision. She was given a lengthy answer that provided not enough detail.
She probed board of trustee chairwoman Karen Peetz.
"So, you don't intend to do an independent review," she said. "Can you explain why not we do not intend to do an independent review."
Peetz replied, "We commissioned the report so we could have a set of recommendations for how we could improve our governance based…"
"Based on false info?" the woman interrupted.
"I think the time is up," Peetz replied. "Ma'am, your time is up."
Another woman who spent her three minutes voicing her mind prompted her question too late, according to Peetz.
"I would appreciate honest answers right here and right now," the woman said. My question is three-fold.
"I'm sorry, your three minutes are up," Peetz said.
NFL Hall of Famer and Penn State standout Franco Harris was the last to question the board.
"I'd like to pinch-hit for number eight," Harris said.
Peetz began to shut down the defensive all-star. Peetz tackled Harris' words attempting to get more answers regarding Freeh and the NCAA sanctions and her persistence paid off. Harris stormed out of the room.
One of the harshest criticisms came from a current Penn State student who said he and his fellow classmates continue to feel the brunt of the scandal.
"My students and I are very upset at the lies and the deception," the student said. "It's not the students bringing shame to the university. It's all most of you, except for the new trustees."
Another controversial topic of changing the name of the Gary Schultz Childcare Center was tabled for another meeting.
Peetz added that the search for a new president to fill Erickson's role will begin in November.