Tuesday, November 08, 2011

In Penn State sex scandal, Gannett's school ties

As Penn State University sinks under a sex abuse scandal involving a former football coach, students at a journalism center there associated with Gannett hold front-row seats to one of their industry's biggest stories.

The John Curley Center for Sports Journalism was co-founded in 2003 by its namesake: former Gannett Chairman and CEO John Curley. In 2004-2009, he directed $115,000 in Gannett Foundation money to the university under a program that allows current and former executives to earmark charitable gifts to non-profits. Curley retired as chairman in 2001.

When he helped launch the sports center, Curley was a professor and Distinguished Professional in Residence at Penn State.

The center's undergrad program includes sports writing, sports broadcasting, sports information and -- crucially in the current scandal -- sports and public policy, which is offered with the school's Dickinson School of Law.

The center has other GCI ties, too: Its 29-member advisory board includes USA Today reporters Jon Saraceno, a 1979 Penn State graduate, and Kelly Whiteside, a former president of the Football Writers Association of America.

Other board members have included Tim Curley, the Penn State athletic director who was indicted Saturday in a criminal case where former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky has been charged with sexually abusing eight boys across a 15-year period. Curley stepped down as athletic director late Sunday.

(I do not know whether John and Tim Curley are related; I've found nothing on the school's website to indicate they are.)

John Curley's ties to Penn State go back many years. Then-President Bryce Jordan appointed him to the board of visitors for the college in 1989. In addition to being that board's chair for more than 10 years, he is currently chair of the Capital Campaign Committee at the college, according to his school biography. He has been a featured speaker on panels and lectures as well.

At the Curley center, the George E. Paterno Memorial Scholarship Fund provides support for top students who specialize in sports journalism, according to the school. That fund apparently is named for famed coach Joe Paterno's brother, George.

Related: USAT's coverage of Penn State includes editorial today saying school officials flunk a morality test.

[Photo: Penn State]


  1. It sounds like the "Derek Zoolander Center For Children Who Can't Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too."

  2. Thanks for this interesting backgrounder.

  3. Nice Jim. I guess John Curley is a child molester?

    This is you at your absolute worst.

  4. 12:46 That is a 100% misreading of this post.

  5. Tim & John Curley are not related.

  6. Another USAT connection is former sports reporter Malcolm Moran, who holds the Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society:


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