And while many observers have pointed to this as a smoking gun sign of a cover-up, representatives for Paterno and the other administrators have maintained the leaked portions of the eMails were taken out of context.

“What cannot be disputed … is that select eMails intended to smear Joe Paterno and other former Penn State officials have been released, testimony from witnesses highly critical of Joe has been revealed and purported conclusions condemning the culture of the football program have been widely disseminated,” the coach’s family said in a statement Tuesday. “The board promised a fair, transparent and impartial process. These developments are a threat to their stated objectives.”

For Curley and Schultz, both awaiting trial on charges of perjury and failure to report abuse, Freeh’s report could ultimately help or hurt their cases.

And for Spanier, who has not been charged with any crime, the report could more clearly define his role as a grand jury continues to investigate his actions in response to McQueary’s allegations.

But beyond those principal players, Penn State alumni, college football fans and universities across the nation will also be reading closely.

On Wednesday, Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, an alumni group that has heavily criticized university trustees in their handling of the Sandusky case, issued a 95-item checklist of additional issues it hopes the Freeh report addresses.

Attorneys representing Sandusky’s victims, too, will be paying close attention. Future civil suits against Penn State involving Sandusky’s crimes could succeed or fail based on Freeh’s findings.

“I’m going to be looking for . . . full and complete disclosure,” said lawyer Ben Andreozzi, who represents the young man identified in Sandusky’s trial as Victim 4. “It’s going to be convenient for the university to release certain information but to hold back on some of the details concerning potential information that could expose them to liability.”

In January, Freeh’s group issued a series of preliminary recommendations including changes to policies involving contact with minors, reporting abuse allegations and security of campus facilities. All have since been implemented by Penn State’s trustees.

Freeh’s firm has been paid million of dollars since Penn State’s trustees commissioned him to lead the investigation, a university spokesman said.

(c)2012 The Philadelphia Inquirer. Visit The Philadelphia Inquirer at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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