David Mackey has this important commentary about the Sandusky matter at Penn State. He notes that Penn State did not have general counsel between 2001 and 2010 - and that this might be why one reason university administrators botched the handling of the 2001 McQueary sexual abuse report. From Mackey:
Because Penn State didn’t have a general counsel, a university senior vice president called outside legal counsel. Outside counsel’s bill reflects a telephone call, some legal research, and then another telephone call: 2.9 hours in all. Outside counsel, based on advice from his own lawyer, has now refused to discuss the legal work that took place that Sunday. But two things seem clear: There was no report to any law enforcement or child protection agency, and no record of any follow-up from outside counsel to Penn State to ensure the matter had been properly reported and that the child had been identified and treated.
It's mind-boggling to think that a school like Penn State didn't have a GC for a decade. Can you imagine any other entity with over 11,000 employees having no GC? And how about one involved in a highly regulated, and high stakes business? (I was thinking here of federal research money, and the danger of violating false claims laws...but you might have been thinking FOOTBALL!) I can hardly think of a better piece of evidence on the NCAA regulatory concern: the lack of institutional control.
We don't know what transpired in those critical 2.9 billable hours from outside counsel but we do know the aftermath: untold damage to human and professional lives - and reputations.
There is no guarantee a GC would have done anything differently. But Mackey is right: institutions and companies must take compliance seriously. I'm baffled that is news to anyone.