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July 09, 2012

Football's clout at Penn State examined

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh is leading the investigation for a more in-depth look into Penn State's football program's disciplinary incidents. (rlw/Roger L. Wollenberg UPI)

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (UPI) -- An outside investigation into the Jerry Sandusky scandal has expanded to other incidents involving the football team, sources told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The investigation led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh is looking at the influence the program and its iconic coach, Joe Paterno, had when it came to disciplinary incidents involving its players.

"They're covering everything -- protocol, procedures, processes," said one university employee who was interviewed by Freeh's group. The source declined to be named because of a confidentiality agreement, the newspaper reported Sunday.

Of particular interest to investigators was an incident about five years ago that degenerated into a brawl involving as many as two dozen Nittany Lions players who had allegedly crashed an off-campus party. Despite a reportedly sharp debate between university officials and the athletic department, none of the players ever missed a game, the Inquirer said.

Paterno's influence over the university administration became a topic of public discussion after Sandusky, his former defensive coordinator, was arrested last year on sexual abuse charges that included allegations he assaulted young boys in a team locker room. Paterno, who has since died, said he relayed a report to university officials. Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts last month.

The Freeh report is due this summer and could be released as early as this week, a source told the Inquirer.

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