Now that the long-awaited Freeh Report has been released, the onus is on the NCAA to fully enforce the report's recommendations against Penn State University.
The Freeh Report is a chilling 267-page legal summary of various Penn State officials' failures to report the school's former assistant football coach Jerry Sadunsky's alleged sexual abuse of children.
According to the report, several of Sandunsky's offenses took place between 1998 and 2002. This past June, a jury found Sandunsky guilty in criminal court of 45 out of 48 counts of sexual abuse of boys.
The report goes at great lengths to explain a handful of university leaders' silence on this matter. It claims they did not report the abuse to avoid bad publicity and to preserve the school's reverential football culture (pp. 16-17).
Notably, the report found that the school's most famous figure—football coach Joe Paterno—was one of the individuals who concealed Sadunsky's sexual abuse of children (p. 14).
Now that this grave matter has been fully exposed, the public must demand that the NCAA enforce the Freeh Report's recommendations (Chapter 10) to prevent on-campus child abuse in the future.
The Freeh Report's detailed recommendations implore Penn State to make significant structural changes within all major governing departments.
The report expresses that Penn State should ensure vigorous, impartial governance to restore high levels of ethics and values in immediately addressing grave issues such as child abuse. The report notes:
"Certain aspects of the community culture are laudable, such as its collegiality, high standards of educational excellence and research, and respect for the environment. However, there is an over-emphasis on 'The Penn State Way' as an approach to decision-making, a resistance to seeking outside perspectives, and an excessive focus on athletics that can, if not recognized, negatively impact the University's reputation as a progressive function."
Notably, the Freeh Report has only issued "recommendations." The NCAA must act in due haste to mandate that Penn State apply them. It should establish a detailed timeline as to when the recommendations be accomplished.
The Freeh Report has the potential to be a monumental legal document, championing truth and impartial governance in favor of the safety of children and young adults on University campuses.
Let us hope that it will be enforced.