February 6, 2016

Osborne comments on the Freeh Report and about Joe Paterno (AUDIO)

Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne expresses sympathy for the victims of the sex abuse scandal at Penn State, but recalls the Joe Paterno he knew as an honest, ethical coach.

Reaction across the country is mixed on the report released by former FBI Director Louis Freeh on how Penn State University handled allegations that assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky abused children on campus. The report found that Penn State officials, including former University of Nebraska Chancellor Graham Spanier and coaching legend Joe Paterno, buried child sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky to protect the reputation of the football program.

Osborne expresses sadness and sympathy for the victims, as well as concern that Penn State didn’t do enough to prevent further abuse, saying the report “pretty clearly implicated people in leadership at Penn State who didn’t react in an appropriate way. Osborne added, “Obviously, it would appear from the Freeh report that Joe made some mistakes, as did several others.”

In terms of coaching, Osborne says the Paterno he knew was an upstanding coach and recruiter. Osborne calls Paterno a friend and a man who was “honest, and ethical,” in recruiting players to the Penn State football program.

AUDIO Three soundbytes from Tom Osborne interview with KFAB

Spanier, who was chancellor at NU from ’91 to ’95, also came under harsh criticism for his lack of leadership, expressed in the Freeh Report. Osborne refuses to comment on Spanier, who held his position during Osborne’s coaching career.

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