Moody’s Could Downgrade Penn State’s Bond Rating, New President Emails Students

Now that the dust has begun to settle from the chaos at Penn State this week (though it's sure to still be blown by the winds of disappointing developments), the effects of Jerry Sandusky’s horrific actions are beginning to take shape.

The football stuff we will see tomorrow. But there will be other, greater issues the university will face as a result of both Sandusky’s actions and its own inaction during the first few days of this crisis. Here’s one:

Bloomberg News is reporting that Moody’s Investors Service may downgrade Penn State’s pristine Aa1 bond rating: 

Nov. 11 (Bloomberg) — Penn State University had its Aa1 revenue bond rating placed on review for possible downgrade by Moody’s Investors Service amid a probe into a child sex-abuse scandal.

Moody’s said it will examine the reputational and financial risk arising from the investigation, after the Penn State football team’s former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, was charged with the sexual assault of eight boys from 1994 to 2009.


Basically, Moody’s sees enough concern with Penn State's financial future that they are going to look into downgrading their rating of the school’s bonds, an action that casts some doubt on Penn State's ability to fulfill financial obligations.

There’s no cause for serious alarm – yet – but this goes to show how far-reaching the fallout of Sandusky’s actions could be.

In an (unrelated) effort to restore confidence with students, new president Rodney Erickson emailed students today. That email is after the jump.

From: "President Rodney Erickson" <[email protected]>

Date: Nov 11, 2011 3:46 PM

Subject: A Message From President Rodney Erickson

To: <[email protected]>


Dear Penn State community,

This note is the first of many that you will receive from me as Penn State's president. I will be sending emails periodically as part of my promise to you to provide meaningful and timely updates.

Today I am outlining my promise to the Penn State community, which includes the naming of an ethics officer and a commitment to transparency as the University moves forward.

Right now, the nation's eyes are upon us, looking at where we will go from here. Many of you already are representing this University's high standards for honesty and integrity. It is imperative that every member of our community model the best that Penn State has to offer as we begin to rebuild the confidence and trust that has been shaken this past week.

Please join me in this effort to rebuild our community. Below, you will find my promise to all of you.


President Erickson's Promise to the Penn State Community


1.   I will reinforce to the entire Penn State community the moral imperative of doing the right thing—the first time, every time.

-     We will revisit all standards, policies and programs to ensure they meet not only the law, but Penn State's standard.  To oversee this effort, I will appoint an Ethics Officer that will report directly to me.

-     I ask for the support of the entire Penn State community to work together to reorient our culture.  Never again should anyone at Penn State feel scared to do the right thing.  My door will always be open.

2.   As I lead by example, I will expect no less of others.

-     I will ensure proper governance and oversight exists across the entire University, including Intercollegiate Athletics.

3.   Penn State is committed to transparency to the fullest extent possible given the ongoing investigations.

-     I commit to providing meaningful and timely updates as frequently as needed.

-     I encourage dialogue with students, faculty, alumni, and other members of the Penn State Community.

4.   We will be respectful and sensitive to the victims and their families.  We will seek appropriate ways to foster healing and raise broader awareness of the issue of sexual abuse.

5.   My administration will provide whatever resources, access and information is needed to support the Special Committee's investigation.  I pledge to take immediate action based on their findings.



7 Responses

  1. (PS of this: )
    Not only is it Veterans Day, but today is the 73rd anniversary of God Bless America. Yes, on this day of the 30th anniversary of the Armistice (now Veterans Day, and also known as Rememberance Day or Poppy Day in the Commonwealth nations (former and present)) in 1938, you-know-who sang the song in public for the very first time. It’s recreated here:
    And, as they say, the rest is legend:

  2. Oops, a big mea culpa (there’s me reform-skool flunkie math for ya):
    In 1938, on November 11, it was the 20th anniversary of the Armistice. “Tempussies fewjet”, I guess they say.

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