Raises followed ex-law school official's admissions efforts

CHAMPAIGN — A former admissions dean blamed for inflating entrance-exam scores and other student data to boost the University of Illinois College of Law's rankings worked for six years without a formal performance review and once received a 31 percent mid-year raise for recruiting top students.

Paul Pless, who resigned Friday as assistant dean for admissions after a two-month $1 million investigation by the university, was hired in July 2003, just two months after receiving his UI law degree.

Law school officials have little to say about his hiring, with then-Dean Heidi Hurd declining comment this week and current Dean Bruce Smith, who took office in 2009, referring questions to her.

But Smith and investigators said Pless was universally trusted and impressed administrators and faculty with admissions initiatives that appeared to get results.

Smith, who was named dean in February 2009, said Tuesday that he had no inkling of any problems with Pless until he got a call from UI investigators on the morning of Sept. 7 — 12 days after a tip had alerted the UI ethics office.

"That was the first I knew of a problem with reporting student profile data. I had no knowledge or suspicion," he said.

"He was very much respected and very much trusted, not only by me but also by prior deans, by our faculty, by our alumni, by our students ... and by the broader admissions community," Smith said.

That was reflected in a glowing performance review by Smith in September 2009, the first Pless ever received. He was rated "outstanding" in all categories, including knowledge, judgment, productivity, professional relationships, organization, reliability, supervision and overall performance.

"I don't think that assessment would be one that I would make now," Smith said Wednesday.

Campus legal counsel Scott Rice said it's not unusual for the college to hire recent law graduates for certain positions. The campus requires annual reviews for academic professionals, though it gives some discretion to individual colleges, he said.

In a report released Monday, investigators said Pless inflated the grade point averages and Law School Admission Test scores of the incoming class in six of the last seven years, and in some cases altered the acceptance rate to make the college appear more selective.

The report exonerated Smith and other deans but said the problem was a lack of auditing of the admissions data. Smith and others have pledged to correct that problem.

Pless' attorney, Martin Denis, said Tuesday that he and his client would have "no comment."

Documents show how a young administrator won the admiration of a series of deans bent on reclaiming the college's position as a top-20 law school, a stature it had lost during budget cuts in the early 1990s.

Pless joined the college as it was expanding scholarships in hopes of raising the median scores for its incoming law classes.

His first job was assistant director for admissions and financial aid, but it was short-term.

The former admissions dean left the college in May 2004, and Pless was promoted to director of admissions and financial aid, receiving a $20,000 raise to $58,500 a year.

Then-Dean Heidi Hurd said Pless had "proved himself to be a very energetic, sharp, thoughtful strategist who fully understands the complexities of attracting a talented and diverse student body."

Within a week his salary was bumped to $62,500, and by December 2004, he was given the title of assistant dean for admissions at an annual salary of $72,000.

It was during that recruiting year, investigators say, that Pless first altered data to improve admissions statistics. They found discrepancies in the 15 percent acceptance rate reported for the Class of 2008 (entering in fall 2005), which was later found to be 18 percent. Pless, they said, had underreported the number of students accepted to the college to appear more selective.

But the class overall showed significant improvement, with the median LSAT rising three points to 166, "the single largest LSAT increase ever achieved by a law school in a single year."

In September 2005, Hurd tried but failed to obtain a 15 percent mid-year raise for Pless, noting he had recruited the best incoming class in the history of the college "by a significant margin."

Pless had created an admission model that optimized criteria for incoming classes, from LSAT scores to net tuition revenue, she said.

"Had we been able to report this increase last year, holding all else equal, we would have moved from 26th to 20th in the U.S. News rankings," she noted.

She warned that Pless was earning $14,000 less than his predecessor and was in danger of being recruited away.

She tried again the following July, requesting a 31.8 percent "retention increase" in a letter to then-Provost Linda Katehi. She said Pless had proved himself "an immediate star" in his field, "in the hiring sights of every dean in America who wants to improve student rankings."

She said she was in "a fight" with another law school dean who had "wined and dined" Pless and offered him a salary increase. She proposed a salary of $98,000, still below his predecessor but about average for admissions deans.

The campus quickly agreed.

Pless made only slight changes for the next couple of years, but in 2008 (for the incoming Class of 2011) he inflated the scores of two individual students for the first time.

The college was turning its attention to improving GPA scores of incoming students, and Pless corresponded regularly with interim Deans Charles Tabb and Ralph Brubaker about the best balance of LSAT and GPA scores to use in admissions. The college set an ambitious goal of a median LSAT of 166 and a median GPA of 3.8.

When Smith, former associate dean, took over as dean in February 2009, Pless exchanged emails on the Class of 2012 applicants and the viability of enrolling a class with those numbers.

At a meeting with college visitors, Smith reported that he told Pless to "push the envelope, think outside the box, take some risk (sic) and do things differently" including striving for those numbers, the report said.

Smith said Wednesday that comment was in the context of broader recruitment efforts, such as aggressive scholarship initiatives and his own practice of teaching an undergraduate law class.

"This was not a statement about bending the rules, but initiatives we wanted to take to bring in great students," he said, noting the audience included "esteemed judges" and prominent alumni. "They were comfortable that it did not mean anything untoward."

Pless appeared to make the targets, improving the school's ranking to 21st, and his efforts got bolder, the report said.

By 2011, for the Class of 2014, he had changed the LSAT scores of 109 students and the GPAs of 58 students, making it appear to be the "most academically talented class in the school's history," the report said. Pless' salary was now up to $130,051.

After hearing the numbers in an Aug. 22 presentation by Pless, Hurd, now a UI law professor, congratulated him for "unbelievably impressive stats. ... without YOU this would not have happened. Not a chance. YOU are the reason this school will rise in the rankings, rise in national esteem, and rise on the merits beyond all other reasons."

Christine desGarennes contributed to this report.

Comments

News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

Illinois09Grad wrote on November 10, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Great journalism behind this article - it has to be the most balanced, non-reactionary and fair reporting I have read on these events so far. 


I am naively surprised at the blame-game Bruce Smith is playing (and it is clear from the official statements released on U of I's website that Smith's position has been carefully rehearsed and aligned with others further up the chain).


It was in 2009 that Smith sent an email to Illinois Law alum and students after a final report was delivered with respect to the "Clout-list" scandal, in which Smith stated, "As Dean of the College of Law, I am grateful to the Commission for its careful and comprehensive report.  The Commission properly recognized that the College of Law has already 'taken appropriate steps to rid itself of undue influence in admissions,' " and "Well before the Commission's inquiry began, when I became Dean in early 2009, I publicly pledged - before my students, colleagues, parents, and wife - to lead the College of Law with integrity, honesty, fairness, and respect.  I made that same pledge directly to the Commission and to the citizens of Illinois.  I will not compromise those values in leading the College and in setting its professional tone.  I am confident that the Commission's findings and recommendations will help the College of Law make good on its commitment to merit, access, equal opportunity, and fundamental fairness."


There is almost no question that Paul Pless failed in carrying out his duties, but his silent resignation is humble, respectful and preferable to any alternative.   While the public at large would surely benefit from an explanation (and an honest view of the circumstances surrounding these events), it is quite understandable that Pless has not offered one given the giant target on his back that so many members of the media and members of the College of Law community have taken aim at with reckless abandon. 


What about Bruce Smith and his pledge?  How has Smith taken any sort of responsibilities for his failures or the failures of the College of Law as an institution?  Who else's job, other than Smith's, is it to answer for systemic failures like this one, when Smith was without question heavily invested in achieving higher LSAT and GPA statistics?  In my opinion, Bruce Smith has utterly failed to uphold his promise.


The real controversy here is Bruce Smith's half-baked apology in which he smears the reputation of a former colleague, someone who he unabashedly admits he believed was a trustworthy person and a hard worker.  Smith's response shows a complete lack of compassion or loyalty, appears to be a thinly veiled attempt at misdirection, and begs the question: what does Smith have to hide?


In 2009, the College of Law and the University as a whole was given an opportunity to get on the right track.  It is when you have hit rock bottom and when you have nothing to lose that you can rise above your failures and the failures around you.  Instead of taking this approach, Smith and the College of Law continue to only address the issues that are forced into the public eye.  Smith's ability to state with a straight face that "no evidence" was found indicating that the College of Law's career statistics are flawed is reprehensible (read the report: the "investigation" of such statistics evaluated them based solely on Career Services records, and even then, significant errors were found - imagine what we would learn if an independent body (or journalist) surveyed the Class of 2010 with regard to their employment since graduation).  The College of Law is no different than law schools across the nation when it comes to gaming the system, bending rules to enhance statistics, and having the effect (whether intended or unintended) of encouraging thousands of students, many fresh out of college, to incur ridiculous amounts of indebtedness without knowing all of the facts.  Instead of using this as a defense, administrators and true leaders should view this as a problem and attack it head on.


Someday there will be a law school, an administrator or a former administrator who will demonstrate true leadership in calling for the reform of legal academia for the benefit of current and future law students.  Bruce Smith's canned reaction (one that we have seen and one that we have seen fail before) falls far below this ideal. 

Alexander wrote on November 11, 2011 at 4:11 am

"There is almost no question that Paul Pless failed in carrying out his duties, but his silent resignation is humble, respectful and preferable to any alternative."

Your well written comment indicates you would do well as Pless' attorney.

I wouldn't attribute any of those three characteristics to his "resignation". As far as I understand, Pless was involved in a fraud for personal financial gain: 

"Humble": This suggests he had something boastful to say but withheld it. Do you care to indicate what that possibly could be? 

"Respectful": I suppose he could do worse, but that doesn't make it respectful. For example, my not swearing at someone on the street doesn't make my (non)behavior respectful towards said person; rather it's merely neutral.    

"preferable to any alternative": yes, for him. Better for the school would be for him to take clear blame for his wrongdoing, but one couldn't hope for that.

Illinois09Grad wrote on November 11, 2011 at 10:11 am

My assessment is based on not only the report, but my experience at the law school and personal knowledge and interaction with some of the individuals involved.  I used humble with respect to Pless's apparently submissive response, when Pless could easily participate in the political-minded mud-slinging that the University continues to engage in.  Again, I respected Paul Pless when I was a law student - it is perhaps because of this bias that I view his silence as respectful: I am outraged by Smith's conduct and failure as a leader, such that if I were in Pless's shoes, I don't know if I could sit in silent restraint and refrain from calling Smith out publicly.  I agree with you, that if Pless does speak up, the first thing he should to is openly and honestly accept blame for his conduct.  I know its the lawyer in me, but I have the unfortunately cynical view that Pless confessing his sins at this point in time would be stupid.  First, it gives the University more ammounition to distract us from the institutional problems and motivations that lead to this sort of scandal.  Second, there has got to be a future lawsuit in here somewhere and going on the record about anything is short-sighted, in my opinion.  He who is without sin should cast the first stone.


I make no qualms about there being a colossal failure on Pless's part.  However, I think it is rather abrupt to classify it as "fraud for personal financial gain."  Sure, Pless's historical salary had an upward trend, but whose doesn't.  Only recently did Pless begin receiving any sort of formal performance review.  I'm not saying its not possible, but the case has not been made to me that financial gain is the most plausible motive  (You would have me convinced if there was a letter out there telling Pless he would receive a $30k bump for every point the LSAT median was raised - but we haven't seen that).  There are several competing motives that might be at play.  For example, Bruce Smith is described both as a good professor and as a condescending one in the student-written ratings on ratemyprofessor.com.  Do you know what it is like to have a highly intelligent, condescending and results driven person as a boss?  Its not easy.  As I pondered on this last night I asked myself whether I have ever had to deliver "bad news" or "bad results" in my prior employment.   Maybe I'm fortunate, but I haven't.  There has never been a problem that couldn't be fixed.  If you ask me, it is patently ridiculous that in this economy, with these legal job prospects, Bruce Smith and the adminstration as a whole were setting "unattainable" LSAT and GPA goals.  Its even more ridiculous that these goals fell on a single individual????  Pless was set up to fail - it's like telling a real estate agent to improve his already exemplary median home sale price after the real estate bubble burst.  Pless was used to doing a good job.  He was used to getting praise.  To this point, his career was a resounding success.  When I put myself in Pless's shoes, the thought of failing to deliver the results Bruce Smith was demanding floods my mind with feelings of fear, inadequacy and hopelessness.  I know a lot of people upon reading this will be thinking "cry me a river," but as a relatively highly paid person who has never had to deliver truly bad results, I am afraid of the inevitable day when that happens.


I'm with you Alexander, when it comes to hoping that people were more honest and owned up to their mistakes.  Pless is backed up in a corner where any move he makes could further destroy what is left of his future potential for happiness and productivity.  I think the best thing Paul Pless can do is dedicate a substantial portion of his time to educating the public on how law schools work behind the scenes and how they can be reformed.


I know I am crawling back into fantasy land territory, but Bruce Smith and the University, on the other hand, have a true opportunity (one that they have had and squandered before) to be pioneers in reforming legal academia.  Until now, the response has been ignorant.  It is very easy to point out the guy who we all know has done something wrong - but this is a magician's trick.  Before you know it, everyone has forgotten that we all knew the system was flawed in the first place, and nothing has been done to fix it.

Alexander wrote on November 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm

I appreciate your quality response. Let me move beyond the "humble" etc issue:

(1) Re: motives and Smith -- I don't know anything about Smith, except what you tell me. You set up the scenario that Pless, being under severe pressure by Smith, was so emotionally despondent that he took the only route of manipulating statistics. However, I believe this is contradicted by the fact that he was awarded a retention raise. I would only expect such a raise in the face of an outside offer. If he was so abused by Smith, why didn't he just take such an offer and leave?

Moreover, his salary went from 72K to 130K in steps. These raises were tied to his performance (as most raises are).

I agree this does not prove his fraud was for financial gain, but in my untrained opinion, it seems like a prima facie case for it. (I should say that whether it proves his motivation or not to a criminal standard is likely moot. He will no more likely face criminal charges than the many CEO's on Wall Street who did worse. More likely, as you say, he might face a lawsuit. Even for that I'm unsure, since it's likely the University wants to have this all forgotten as soon as possible.)

(2) "Pless's historical salary had an upward trend, but whose doesn't." -- Many people these days don't. Anyway, not too many people have a 90% upward trend like his.

(3) "Pless was set up to fail -" --  Unless I misread, high expectations were built through his own manipulation of data.

(4) "Pless was used to doing a good job." -- Do you mean before taking his position? From my reading, he began manipulation of the data the first opportunity he got. Surely you are not going to use the fact that he was successful by deceit as a defense for further deceit?

(5) "He who is without sin should cast the first stone." -- fallacy of the excluded middle.

Illinois09Grad wrote on November 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Your focus is on Pless.  We agree that he engaged in wrongdoing so I don't care to spend too much more time on the details.


(1) You know the same about Smith as you do Pless (i.e. what was in the report or the media: it is alarming to me that the "objective" report makes normative judgments about the College of Law as an institution and about Dean Smith; note the intense management style - we've seen these warning signs in the other arenas you reference above).


(2) I certainly made a generalization - but that's my point.  Rising salary (even steeply rising salary) does not connect the dots to make a fraud.


(3) You are missing the big picture - read about other similar scandals (e.g. Villanova)- there is a trend.  Law school administrators are focused on numbers, not students.  Yes, the individual should be blamed.  So should the institution (and its leaders) for ignoring the bigger issue.  Illinois has had great classes with great stats without doctored data, even under Pless (I should know, ours was one of them). 


(4)  You must know that reporting LSATs and GPAs is not a whole job.  This is one particular aspect of one particular duty of Pless's job (which, as recommended by the report, should have been split among multiple people anyway), and Pless was engaged in countless other activities related to recruitment, etc.  


(5)  My intention is just to say that if you are going to put someone else on the chopping block, you should be prepared to step up yourself.


My focus is on Smith, because his failures haven't found their way into the media, yet.


 

Alexander wrote on November 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I do agree with you that more oversight was needed, and that the lack thereof was a form of negligence on the part of the higher administration. Thank you for your insights on this matter.

Chi-Illini wrote on November 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I'm going to start with full disclosure.  I too am a 2009 U of I Law Grad.  I know the original commenter very well - he stood up in my wedding.  Now you have my biases and a better understanding of where I'm coming from.


I must say that Alexander's critiques of my friend's posts largely miss the mark - not because they aren't somewhat valid, but because they aren't about the actual substance of the posts.  The main point wasn't that Pless did nothing wrong - that wasn't even a minor point of his - but rather, that there are systemic/institutional problems that allowed this to occur and it is wrong and hipocritical for one person to take all the blame - when there is clearly plenty to be spread around.


  While I agree with Alexander's criticism of what looks like a defense of Mr. Pless in calling his resignation "humble, respectful and preferable to any alternative," (I don't see anything particularly lauditory about the way Pless stepped down) I disagree with his insistance to focus blame on one individual (who clearly did wrong) as oppossed to the systemic problems within the institution itself.  But maybe he just wanted to have an argument with a straw man, who is in Alexander's mind, defending Pless through such comments as "I make no qualms about there being a colossal failure on Pless's part."  Talk about misunderstanding the actual point (sorry for throwing you under the bus, Alexander, but I hate it when people misconstrue the words of others).  The important institutional point that was well delivered in the last two paragraphs of the first post is where the discussion should be. 


To be clear, Pless should be held responsible for his part, but so should his superiors who either knew about it, or chose to create a system where there was no oversight of the one person who handles the numbers and then chose to maintain that system when the numbers jumped without explanation (except for Pless' aparent tactical genius), and then did not even examine the admissions system two years ago when we had a seperate admissions scandal.


The bigger story, which this News-Gazette article completely ignores, is the implausibility of one person pulling this off for so many years.  There are two options:  1) the superiors knew, 2) the superiors were grossly negligent in their duties by having a system that provides no oversight over, what in the law school world, is very important information.  The incompetence is only magnified when one considers 1) the improvement of results was huge (the largest LSAT jump by any lawschool ever from one year to the next) and 2) we just had an admission scandal in '09 and the law school administration, including Dean Smith, assured us that they had looked into the matter and that everything was ok with all the admission process.


I have no inside knowledge that Dean Smith, or Dean Hurd, or anybody else, knew about this dishonesty.  But either way, Dean Smith and the institution he runs should be put under more scrutiny.  Giving him the benefit of the doubt, that he didn't know, he still allowed an obviously flawed admissions system that lacked any oversight to continue - even after there had been an admission scandal that had been "investigated" in '09.  I'm sorry, but that is not good leadership. 


I hope that the News-Gazette will do more than print the College of Law's press release with regard to this story.  I'm sick of my school being run through the mud with nobody being held accountable.  Shouldn't there at least be questions about how this was allowed to continue for so long?  Lack of leadership is the best case scenario, and compliance with rule-breaking is the worst.


How is institutional incompetence not the story - or even part of the story?

Alexander wrote on November 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm

To Chi-Illini (and OP): My arguments didn't constitute an attempt to rebut the thesis of systemic problems with the law school. Moreover, I have no argument as to whether Pless acted alone, only that he did act. I don't see how one could construe my posts otherwise. I was remarking on a specific argument of the OP about Pless.

Moreover, I did not attempt to construct a straw man argument: how could one do that in direct response to an assertion of the OP?

If the intended thesis is X={systemic problems} then one should stick with X and don't introduce the much weaker claim Y={Pless' blame should be mitigated}. It's a form of bait and switch. Fine, enough said about Pless.

I tacitly agree(d) with the OP and you about the possibility of systemic issues; so I had nothing to say or add in response to that. The analogy to the financial world is very natural: the US lacks substantive regulation. 

Illinois09Grad wrote on November 11, 2011 at 4:11 pm

I get where you're coming from Alexander, (and CHI ILLINI appears to agree with your problem in re my characterization of Pless).


I stand by my original post, with the caveat that my comments regarding Pless were not intended to bolster my argument regarding systemic problems and Smith's failures as a leader and administrator.


Nor is my point that Pless's behavior should be mitigated: part of my point is that the media reports and the "objective" investigative report should be looked at with more scrutiny and cynicism than that which has been applied by most commenters: remember that most of the articles on this subject have been a simple regurgitation of what was written in the report, as opposed to a product of investigative journalism. 


I appreciate the discussion, and I hope that others read it and the discussion continues.  I hope this isn't the last we have heard from the university on the subject, either.


 


"I'm sick of my school being run through the mud with nobody being held accountable."  Amen.

Chi-Illini wrote on November 11, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Did you mean "were intended" in the second paragraph?  If you mean were not intended, then I'm confused about what you were trying to say if they weren't a contrast to Smith or about mitigation for Pless.

Chi-Illini wrote on November 11, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Thanks for the clarification, Alexander. 


I read your statement "Surely you are not going to use the fact that he was successful by deceit as a defense for further deceit" as you believing that Pless was being defended.  But I guess you were arguing that OP was trying to mitigate Pless's responsibility and that you believe his responsibility should not be mitigated. 


I don't really see mitigation of Pless as being the point of OP's posts- especially when it was stated multiple times that he messed up hard.  I just reread them and I still don't see an attempt to mitigate.  I see an attempt to call attention to other people/problems who should share in the blame.  But that is different from attempting to say that what Pless did was not that bad. 


I suppose the closest thing to potential mitigation is where OP makes the point about the pressure Pless was under to attain unreasonable goals.  I think the point of saying he was under pressure to attain unrealistic goals isn't an attempt to mitigate Pless' conduct, but rather an indictment of the law school's lack of oversight.  I mean, why don't you have simple oversight over somebody who you know has lots of incentive to cheat.  That's bad management, or possibly a sign of complicity. But perhaps OP can clarify if he meant it as mitigation because if he did, his argument is spectacularly weak.  So weak that I didn't even consider that it might exist, and I have argued enough with OP to doubt that he would make it.


Perhaps you thought the comment about the respectable way Pless stepped down was mitigation for his behavior.  I read it, and I believe it was intended to be a contrast to the behavior of other administrators (Dean Smith) at the law school who have not stepped down quitly despite, what was at a minimum, creating a system that gave every incentive to cheat and then falling asleep at the wheel.


While I don't think OP was trying to mitigate I will say that if he was I agree with you that there really isn't any way to mitigate what he did.  He either did it alone or with others, but either way he did it.  I also agree with you, enough about Pless.  We all know what he did.


Let's see if the News-Gazette walks away from the story now.  My point is that they should not.  If you agree with me, Alexander, or if anybody else reading this agrees with me (though I doubt many people are going to follow so many lengthy posts) please join me in expressing your desire for the press not to stop questioning the situation.  We're talking about a multi-million dollar state of Illinois institution lying to the public.  This is a big deal.  Taxpayer money has been wasted on investigating this scandal and it could have easily been avoided.  And nobody except Pless goes down? 


We are also talking about the value of my degree, and the degree of thousands of others.  It makes me sick that my administrators have exposed the school that I am proud of to two admissions scandals in 2 years, and only 1 person goes down?  Maybe its true that Pless fooled everybody.  If it is, then the press should at least point out the utter failure of the administrators.  No more free passes.  I hope the paper is not done on the story, but I fear they are.  

Alexander wrote on November 11, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Some random thoughts:

(1) Frankly, it seems to me that if you want Smith to pay via press pressure, you'll need the Tribune involved. I have mixed feelings about it in the sense that it might not help the value of your degree or the stature of the university to have the whole scandal continue in the press.

(2) The OP and yourself are talented writers and alumni. Why not write directly to the upper upper administration? 

(3) I'm curious as to the timing of the report. It's lucky that it came down simultaneously with the Penn State scandal which share some kinship (in the sense of lack of oversight).

(4) Suppose one were to claim that, in effect, Smith peformed malpractice for his profession (administration). Then I believe the relevant question is whether the generally accepted practice at universities is to have multiple layers of accountability over admissions data. If it is, then that's a clear indication of failure by Smith that would more concretely be actionable. If it is not, then that's a defense.

Good luck.

Chi-Illini wrote on November 13, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Alexander, thank you for thoughtful suggestions.  It may not surprise you that OP and I have spoken about contacting the tribune, but I probably won't take the time to do it now that the tribune wrote an editorial on it calling into question the competency of the administration.  I'd really like the N.G. to do the same.


Good catch on the suspicious timing of the announcement.  I certainly don't know if it was buried intentionally, but it would be p.r./damage control 101 to do so.


Also, Alexender (and OP/anybody else who is reading this) I'd request that you take a look at this article on the PSU scandal published in the N.G.  I am very passionate about the issue of preventing child sexual abuse and I think that the only silver lining about this horrific scandal is that it gives us a platform to discuss the issue.  To that note, I was very disturbed by how the N.G./Mr. Tate has chosen to use their platform on this important issue.  I would invite you to read this article and if you agree with my posts I'd appreciate your support in pressuring the NG sport's department to offer real analysis of what is - in my opinion- the most important sports related story of the year.  If you disagree with me, of course you're more than welcome to share those comments  as well.

Chi-Illini wrote on November 13, 2011 at 3:11 pm

http://www.illinihq.com/sports/illini-sports/football/2011-11-10/tate-paternos-role-scandal-remains-unclear.html#comment-353091


Oops.  I forgot to include the link on the last post.  Here it is above.  I believe public discourse can make a difference in our community and I'd love to see it directed in a postive direction that, in my opinion, really could help people.


Thank you.