If anyone thought the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky scandal was over and done with after the release of the scathing Louis Freeh report and the subsequent punishment — and it most definitely IS a punishment! — handed down by the NCAA earlier this week, it seems that is not the case.
Personally, I think they got what they deserved. We cannot condone what was done here anywhere! Covering up these crimes for the sake of “public relations” makes the real victims double-victims and it’s unthinkable.
In all truth, if this had happened at Ohio State, I would say the same thing. The Jim Tressel affair is a burp compared to this.
I have found — unsurprisingly — that not everyone is happy with the way Penn State and its board of trustees handled its end of the bargain in regards to the heavy fine, bowl-game bans and severe scholarship reductions that the college football powers-that-be gave to the Happy (it might now be Sad) Valley faithful.
I’ve been keeping an eye and ear on the fallout after the decision by the NCAA was handed down.
I saw the gasped responses of many of the students attending the university. I suppose I’d have done the same thing had this been done to Ohio State or any fandom would have done had this been their beloved “Whose It University.”
Then I have watched the response of certain groups like Penn Staters for a Responsible Stewardship (a number of former players and other alumni) and they are more than a little peeved at what they termed the caving that the PSU administration did in the face of the $60 million fine — it has to be given to an organization not affiliated with the institution — the 4-year bowl ban (I assume that will start in 2012) and the reduction of 20 scholarships per year in a coming 4-year window (I assume starting in the coming offseason this winter; it’s too late to start it now because of the scholarships already handed out for this fall). That means that the Nittany Lions roster will be capped at 65 scholarships per year for those four years it starts.
Plus, PSU must forfeit all wins from 1998 on, thus taking Joe Paterno from the top spot in coaching wins.
PSRS feels that the NCAA overstepped its bounds by interfering in what they term a criminal investigation — that the NCAA is not a court or law enforcement entity and does not have that kind of power — and how the administration agreed not to fight it.
The PSRS also claims that the report on which the decision was based was nothing but an opinion piece and was not based on a lot of evidence — it was more of a “lawyer” advising a client — because Mr. Freeh did not have subpoena power, nor did he interview people like JoePa. I really wonder if this was the best way to go about it by PSU.
All agree that what Sandusky did and the later coverup of the crimes were despicable acts and they should be punished severely. I believe to this day that what “killed” Joe Paterno was not as much the lung cancer but the broken heart he had for not doing more, though I have no personal knowledge.
We all know people who died of a “broken heart” but that was not the “cause”.
In defense of the administration, they really had their hands tied. If they try and fight the decision, it will be seen — for public relations purposes and in the “court” of public opinion — as if they are “condoning” what Sandusky and the then-administration and coach Joe Paterno did (or did not do) in the years after 1998. After all, they commissioned this report.
If they “caved” in and agreed not to “respond”, as they did, then they are open to attacks that they should have defended themselves in a way not endorsing or understating the crimes committed, as well as defending current players who had nothing to do with it.
Perhaps the NCAA also had its hands tied: if they don’t come down on PSU with both feet, they will be seen as being soft on crime, especially after what has gone down before the last few seasons. If they come down this harshly, then they are termed “dictators.”
I heard one suggestion that PSU not be able to play a home game for a certain amount of time, like two years. I think there is some merit in that.
Some even suggested the death penalty for multiple years — football is TOO big and needs to be cut down to size, for example. I think that is true (about football and sports in general) but also a bit overboard, though with the reductions and bans, this might be the practical result.
Darned if you do and darned if you don’t.
This does bother me: some players that were not even in grade school when the first crimes were committed are now being punished. As well, the fines will come from the athletic department and other sports will be affected.
There might not be a way around this, though if there is, smarter people than me need to figure it out. Can you nail the people that should be nailed without punishing the innocent?
The fact that they can now transfer anywhere and not have to sit out a year might not be much; after all, how readily could they blend in and get up to snuff when camps open in less than two weeks, as well as go through the shortened recruiting process and all that it entails as far as making arrangements and deciding where to go?
After all, these kids WANTED to play for JoePa and Penn State!
We don’t know how many will actually take the offer and move, at least for now.
The PSRS also claims this decision gives the NCAA more power and will actually result in more such scandals and wonders how much it really has to do with football.
I have read more than a few bloggers and posters — including many PSU alumni — that term the PSRS as, well, this is a family newspaper.
More than a few agree with PSRS.
In the end, methinks there will be lawsuits and countersuits trying to address some of these issues — who really should have done this type of report, what kind of scope and power, etc.
As that immortal American philosopher, Yogi Berra, would observe: it ain’t over til it’s over.
To read the rest of this article please subscribe or sign in