Jerry Sandusky’s football career was ended by his Second Mile work, not abuse allegations
The Freeh report includes an email from athletic director Tim Curley to university President Graham Spanier a month before the bear-hug incident, in which the men discuss Sandusky’s future at Penn State. University vice president Gary Schultz was copied on the emails.
Curley tells Spanier: “Jerry and I had several conversations this past week about the Assistant AD position. He visited Joe last week and is to let me know early this week if he’s interested.”
In an email the following day, Curley said Sandusky did not want the assistant athletic director position. Curley wrote, “Joe tells me he made it clear to Jerry he will not be the next head coach.”
Paterno wrote: “Jerry – We know it isn’t easy for you, and it isn’t easy for us or Penn State. Part of the reason it isn’t easy is because I allowed and at times tried to help you with your developing the 2nd Mile.”
According to the notes, Paterno told Sandusky, “If there were no 2nd Mile, then I believe … that you probably could be the next Penn State FB Coach. But you wanted the best of two worlds, and I probably should have sat down with you 6 or 7 years ago and said, ‘Look Jerry, if you want to be the Head Coach at Penn State, give up your association with the 2nd Mile and concentrate on nothing but your family and Penn State.’”
Curley reminded Spanier that the following year Sandusky would have 30 years in the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System. At the time, there was a “30-and-out” window allowing people with 30 years’ service to retire at any age without penalty and receive full benefits. That window would close in June 30, 1999.
As Paterno, Curley, Spanier and Schultz cast about for a post-coaching role that would suit Sandusky, the report of him showering with a boy came in. Sometime between May 27 and June 1, 1998, the Centre County district attorney decided not to prosecute Sandusky related to that incident.
Sandusky continued to coach.
The Freeh report includes a letter Sandusky sent to Curley dated almost exactly one year later — on May 28, 1999 — in which he opts for the 30-and-out retirement option.
“As I struggle with the difficult decision of a career change, many factors enter my mind,” Sandusky wrote.
“Foremost, I am concerned about my mental health, the financial security of my family and mother, and the well-being of The Second Mile.”
As Penn State officials negotiated the terms of Sandusky’s retirement a year after the investigation into his shower activities, the defensive coordinator demanded Penn State promotion of Second Mile events and on-going use of Penn State athletic facilities.
The Freeh report notes that a draft copy of the terms of Sandusky’s retirement was found in Paterno’s personal papers with his handwritten comments. Where it said Sandusky would have continuing access to training and workout facilities, Paterno wrote “Is this for personal use or 2nd Mile kids. No to 2nd Mile. Liability problems.”