I’m seeing speculation online that the NCAA will be hitting the Penn State football program with a 5 to 7 year bowl suspension and reduced scholarships for 7 years. I also saw a separate report of a monetary fine in the tens of millions of dollars. This is too harsh.
Edit: 7/23, 9:30 pm ish: As everybody now knows, the penalties include a four year bowl ban, four year reduction in scholarships, a 60 million dollar fine, five years probation, and vacating of all wins going back through 1998. I stand by my assessment that this is too harsh.
No, I’m not trying to be an apologist for those who would cover up child rape. Frankly, I think people like Jerry Sandusky ought to face the death penalty. You know, the real death penalty, where the government puts a permanent end to your oxygen consumption. As for the rest of them, the people who were involved in the coverup are either dead, in jail, or out of PSU and facing potential jail time of their own.
Basically, there’s nobody left at PSU to punish who was actually involved with the coverup.
A posthumously published letter supposedly written by Joe Paterno asserted that this scandal wasn’t about football. Well, it is to the extent that nobody covers up child rape for people who aren’t involved with important sports programs, but it really didn’t involve the operation of the program itself.
This reeks of a power-grab by the NCAA to assert its authority into an area outside its jurisdiction. By doing what it appears it will do Monday morning, the NCAA is punishing a whole lot of people who had nothing to do with Sandusky’s crimes while failing to punish anybody who actually DID have something to do with the coverup.
Those outside of the “Penn State community” – an amorphous term that describes not only the current students, faculty, and employees, but generations of alumni, and pretty much anybody living within a fifty mile radius of College Township – largely do not understand why some people are being defensive of the PSU football program and JoePa’s legacy. The football program has been popular for reasons other than winning, remaining reasonably popular even in lousy seasons. Joe Paterno –JoePa– should by all rights have been let go years ago, but was allowed to remain in large part because the community loved him. The football program itself was a largely clean program, and JoePa always emphasized the academic performance of team members, a pride validated by the academic statistics. JoePa was loved because the community saw him as a good and decent man. He was not just some son of a bitch who won football games by any means necessary, he was viewed as a throwback to a more noble and sportsmanlike era. That some continue to defend Paterno is largely a result of the incomprehensible incongruity between the JoePa persona and the Joe Paterno of the Freeh report.
The “culture” of the Penn State community is that people appreciated a clean program that performed reasonably well. This is what the NCAA intends to punish.
To the extent that the NCAA wants to punish rabid college sports fandom, I think they might as well take the George Will position that multi-million dollar sports franchises have no business being attached to institutions of higher learning, and the NCAA ought to try to put itself out of business by eliminating college sports altogether.
(Note: I will not get an opportunity to update or edit this post for many hours after the official NCAA punishment is announced. Please comment accordingly.)
Addendum: 7/23, 9:30pm-ish: I basically stand by the observation that the NCAA is inflicting a lot of collateral damage against people who had nothing to do with this and really can’t punish those who did. The vacating of wins strikes me as just plain silly, an arrogant and pathetic attempt to literally re-write history.