Wednesday Skull Session

By Sarah on November 9, 2011 at 6:00a

Good morning, friends. We're almost in the double digit days of November, which means the start of basketball season is nearly upon us.

I know some people claim an inability to engross themselves in hoops until the football season ends. Not me. After taking a hit of BB a few days ago, I'm ready to watch this team dominate.

Personally, I like to imagine the two sports fighting over my affections as if I were the Felicity to their Ben and Noel. But unlike that scenario, which had only one correct answer1, the appropriate response to the "football or basketball?" inquiry is both.

Like most of us, The Ohio State University is a complex entity with many different characterizations, and therefore, cannot simply be defined as a football school. If you can't get behind that train of thought, then know that my pusher skills have brought comparisons to Stringer Bell, and I will make it my mission to convert/take out any dissenters.

Now that we've established that 11W is your one-stop shop for references to Ohio State athletics, late-90s WB shows, and America's finest TV masterpiece, let's get this Skull Session moving. 

 DANGER WILL ROBINSON? The Toledo Blade's Matt Markey wrote an article about how due to circumstances this season and in recent years past, Ohio State should not take Purdue lightly. Of course, *shudder*, we all remember what happened in West Lafayette two years, but over the past decade, the Buckeyes have just a 2-2 record at Ross-Ade Stadium. This season, they are only 1-2 on the road.  

Along with that, the team is coming off a more-arduous-than-expected home win against Indiana and still shows signs of youthful inconsistency. Tyler Moeller, though, isn't worried because according to him, “We're tough. Anything that comes our way, I think we can handle."

The Boilermakers, on the other hand, are 4-1 at home. On the heels of two losses, one to Michigan and a 62-17 humiliation against Wisconsin, Purdue does not have to look far for motivation. Even if they did, there's always the "get used to THIS" 49-0 defeat at the hands of the non-existent 2010 Buckeyes. 

TURN IT OVER AND MOVE ON UP. One of the main reasons Ohio State lost that game in '09 was the turnover margin. Even though the defense forced three of them, the Buckeyes turned it over five times themselves. That can't happen if they want to leave West Lafayette with a win this weekend.

Doug Lesmerises delved into Fickell's emphasis on winning the TO margin2, something he has preached since he was first named interim head coach. At +4, Ohio State is the 31st rated team in that category, but that's a downgrade from recent seasons. A lot of the time on defense, creating turnovers is about intensity and discipline. According to man-beast John Simon:

"I would say turnovers are effort plays and hitting from behind when they don't see you coming and really focusing on ripping the ball out," Simon said Tuesday. "We definitely need to work on that."

For a defense that has had trouble playing a complete game, and for an offense that lacks versatility, turnovers could have a huge impact on the outcome of the game. 

I hear John Simon does not tolerate improper capitalizationWill the sight of John Simon scare him into TOs?

PURDON'T. Big plays were key in Ohio State's win last Saturday, and in their last two losses, Purdue's defense has been susceptible to giving up big plays. Wisconsin and Michigan combined for 98 points, 1,140 yards, and 13 plays of more than 20 yards against the Boilermakers.

PU will be looking for avoid that trend against Ohio State's 106th ranked offense. Still, Danny Hope's mustache acted more impressed with the Buckeyes than that stat. Besides referring to Boom as a "difference-maker", he also described Braxton Miller's skills as the following: "When he has the ball, he can make something happen."

Two wins short of bowl eligibility, Purdue has three games left against Ohio State, Iowa, and Indiana. 

BASKETBALL LIVES. With two days left before the season begins, time remains for basketball previews. The Detroit News' version covered Buford's emerging leadership, Craft's defense, and Sullinger's weight loss, of which Matta discussed:

"He appears to be, in my mind, moving more fluidly," Matta said. "The thing we talked to him through the preseason going through the rigors of the Big Ten, if we can move him around a little more, they won't be able to beat on him as much. Along with that, he's taken to improving his ball handling, his outside shooting."

The Sports Illustrated team preview offered this bit of final analysis: "Matta may have as many healthy pieces as he's ever had, and he knows how to teach unselfish players."

Despite the plan to see more time at the 4 position, the Sporting News named Sully as the top center in the country, and he, Buford, and Craft were all selected to the Naismith Preseason Watch List, along with five other B1G players (Draymond Green, Tim Hardaway Jr., Robbie Hummel, John Shurna, and Jordan Taylor). 

A SERIOUS MOMENT. During the offseason, when Ohio State was skinned alive in the press, we all wished that other schools' indiscretions would be brought to light. Of course, our minds were on the likes of Cam Newton and the menswear of Bama players. No one could imagine the horrific nature of what is being revealed at Penn State.

We have a justice system. Witch hunts are not the way we want to conduct legal matters. We don't have all the facts. As such, please mentally insert "alleged" after every other word3, but children were raped, and there were adults who knew and did nothing about it. 

Penn State students can rally around Joe Paterno and obtusely serenade him with songs from the McKinley High Glee Club catalog. I understand that he has performed many charitable acts in his life and is a coaching legend who has won more football games than any other Division I coach. The fans just want a return to normalcy, to focus on their 8-1 team, and to wake up from this nightmare in which their school is now embroiled. But children were raped, and there were adults who knew and did nothing about it. 

Some can argue that unless we were in that situation, we don't know what we would do. Thankfully, I have never been, nor do I ever want to find myself in such a circumstance. I'm pretty far from perfect and I'm not claiming to have the integrity of Atticus Finch every second of the day, yet I trust moral code enough to assert that yes, if I knew a child was being raped, I would damn sure take action.  

Although not everything in the world is black and white, this is not a gray matter. If you can stomach it, here are statements from some of the victims' mothers. And the alleged number of victims keeps increasing. The entire scandal is appaling, none more than the man who raped children and the adults who knew and did nothing about it.  

I NEED A LINK. Another MAC football(?) game... A live-tweeting of a marriage break-up in a Burger King... A Friday Night Lights tattoo... A Friday Night Lights album... The first and last are my main reasons to run... Public vs. Private behavior... A very honest warning sign... The anatomy of a Google search

  • 1 Ben.
  • 2 Turnover, not timeout...wait, I think I finally understand his timeout reticence.  
  • 3 I know it's important not to jump to conclusions, and I'll apologize if it turns out I was unfair or wrong about any of this, but based on what's come out, how can Penn State do anything but clean house? Also: not in the same galaxy as what Ohio State's gone through. 

Comments Show All Comments

Abe Froman's picture

I can see that nobody reads this at 6:29 AM.  Good article Sarah.  Kind of all encompassing.

Basking in the wake of mediocrity.....

beserkr29's picture

The live-tweeting of a marriage breakup is simultaneously hilarious and very sad.  Kids these days...

jenks's picture

I was losing it on the bus as I read through those tweets.

doodah_man's picture

Great Job Sarah.

Everyone's squeamishness with Penn State's problems is an indicator of where the problem lies. When confronted with issues such as this most people tend to turn away or let someone else take action (I'm talking to you Joe Pa).

Noticed this ( yesterday. Gives some great pro OSU perspective...

Jim "DooDah" Day

"If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” --Wilbur Wright, 1910

original buckeye's picture

"America's finest TV masterpiece."


Buckeyejason's picture

John Simon eats 5 pounds of Purdue chicken breats a day.

He says the Boilermakers aint shit!


btalbert25's picture

Yesterday, I was kind of taking a wait and see approach as it pertained to JoePa, but last night I was thinking about this situation and how horrible it all is and I think the whole damn staff at Penn State needs to be kicked to the curb.  From the lowliest assistant coach all the way up to the president of the university. 

The Graduate assistant who witnessed the act in the shower and told Joe Pa, is still on staff.  Jerry Sandusky was on campus last week and still has an office.  Not only did they all turn their heads, but the enabled this guy.  They all have to go.

Nappy's picture

My thoughts exactly, although I would spare anyone who didn't have knowledge of the situation.  It's obvious people who knew about this didn't do enough to stop it, JoePa included.  Therein lies my problem with anyone earning the right to finish the year.  This isn't college students getting free tattoos and selling swag, this is kids getting raped on campus and people in the know not doing enough to stop it. 

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

ArTbkward's picture

Speaking of McKinley High, anyone else see they brought in a new character, an Ohio State Football recruiter, to serve as Beiste's love interest.  Got a good laugh from that.

After the Wisconsin win, I was glad to see Indiana was next up on the schedule.  I was worried about the "hangover"  (or "Texas Tech", as I like to call it) effect that might occur after a big win.  I'm hoping that scare served as hair of the dog and the Bucks will return to normalcy.  OSU is the more talented team, so they play clean and without mistakes and things should be fine.

I can't even wrap my head around what is happening at PSU.  Give me Tatgate x 100 before anything of that magnitude.  I can't even muster feelings of smugness, I just feel bad for their fans, students, and alumni who have to endure knowing that the people in the highest positions prioritized the school and football over the lives and innocence of children.

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...

(Also, I'm not a dude)

Bucks's picture

Well, Paterno is supposedly announcing his retirement at the end of this season later today per the AP.

I truly hope this team doesn't look past Pudue. I can see an easy loss if they do.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

They'll be super motivated.  His contract was up anyway.  Damn this seems like a ploy to motivate their kids.  Maybe I'm a jerk for thinking that.  I'd like to see anyone who knew about this gone immediately.

BucksfanXC's picture

Isn't his contract up every year? Like he only renews it for 1yr every year?

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

buckeyes763's picture

a super motivated penn state is still not as good as nebraska, ohio state, and wisconsin

ArTbkward's picture

First, I agree with Sarah that these offenses between OSU and PSU are not in the same galaxy.  That being said, I find it interesting that what Tress and JoePa did are virtually mirror images of each other.

Tress did not do what legally right but did do what was morally right (protect the kids- in his case the players).

JoePa did do what was legally right but did not do what was morally right (Also protect kids in this case any that would come in contact with Sandusky).

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...

(Also, I'm not a dude)

William's picture

Actually Tressel's problems in no way involved any legal problems, whereas Paternos' did. In fact if the statements made by the GA McQueary are true then McQueary, McQueary's father, and Joe Paterno ALL failed to contact Pennsylvania authorities about Sandusky's suspected rape in the showers at the PSU facilities. If McQueary in fact did see Sandusky abuse the child in the showers, then all three of them should be charged because NONE of them reported to the proper authorities. What I find so unbelievably ridiculous is that McQueary was 28, a grown ass man and he couldn't call the cops, he had to run to his daddy, who didn't call the cops either. Then Paterno throws a shoulder shrug "whaddya mean" and passes this mess on to the AD. The whole lot should be charged.

DarthSweaterVest's picture

Completely agree with this, telling the AD should not relieve him of his duty to report it to law enforcement.  How many more kids got molested because of Joe Pa and others failure to report this? 

ArTbkward's picture

I was using the word legal in two senses (legal w/ NCAA vs legal w/ US law) which again, the two offenses are not in the same galaxy.

I completely agree, I am astounded that so many people did not notify the police.  That inaction is a very serious crime in the eyes of many, whether the justice system disagrees or not.

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...

(Also, I'm not a dude)

jenks's picture

Tressel's problems weren't "legal," but the NCAA rules represent a sublegal rule regime with a power of enforcement. In that sense, his problems were more legal than moral.

JLP36's picture

Tressel's problems were legal problems.  He found himself with info from a federal criminal investigation that he was not supposed to have and he got it from a lawyer who is or will be disbarred for divulging it.  By going to the NCAA, he would have blown up that investigation with multitudes of unintended consequences.  I am not saying that he would have marched straight to the NCAA with the info if he got it in another context, but the whole deal was a legal hornets nest for him, the lawyer, potentially the players - he could not know that - and certainly the defendant.

Totally agree that his actions were moral, if illegal per the NCAA.  Last I checked the NCAA regs did not supersede the United States Code. 

The media has completely ignored the legal aspect of Tressel's case because its complicated, kind of boring and gets in the way of tarring him.  Plus he rigged that prize raffle at the summer camp in 1988 - that bastard!


Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture

 As a father of 6 kids, I can tell you that this scandal has affected me tremendously.  I think of the victims and then wonder what went down at home afterwards; and then project my situation into the story.  I have never felt this angry over a news story.

I can tell you one thing.  Had Mike McQueary walked away from my son being raped, he would not be walking around today and I would be in jail.  His gutless action to leave and let that happen to an innocent kid is so heinous and reprehensible that words can't justify how low of a life form I find him.  He is way more evil than JoePa who is just a doddering old fool.  Its not my duty to post final judgement on anyone; but Mike McQueary's punishment will be less than justice demands no matter what it is.

On the wall guarding the North Coast from all Weasel invasions.

Miller's picture


+ 1,000,000


McQueary=gutless, spineless, self-serving coward

JLP36's picture

Sandusky is a million times worse. 


btalbert25's picture

The thing with MC Queary too is that he was not some kid who just happened upon something, he was 28 years old! I would've called the cops and said if you don't get here soon a murder is about to happen here because there's a pervert here doing unspeakable things.


JLP36's picture

They don't have 911 in Happy Valley?


BrewstersMillions's picture

McQ was a collegiate athlete and generally towers over any player he is talking to. Why didnt he stomp a mudhole in the old ass man when he saw what was going on? I have a hard time putting myself in that situation and not being enraged to the point of battery and\or bloodshed. He tucked tail and ran.

William's picture

Completely agree. How can you walk in on something like that and not intervene. 

jenks's picture

I'm not sure about the GA, but I thought the Korean War vet testimony shed some light on how horrific the scene was. If he couldn't do anything, I can see why the GA couldn't.

DarthSweaterVest's picture

It is sickening that someone who these kids trusted who do such horrible things to them and then to have other people find out and do nothing just makes it so much worse. Someone could have helped these kids years ago, maybe even prevented a lot of this.  Just awful.

btalbert25's picture

I just don't understand how they  let Sandusky stay around so long.  HE STILL HAS AN OFFICE AT PSU!!!! He was on campus last week.  What power did he have over the football program and university for them to let him stay around the university.

Nappy's picture

I don't have kids and this story pisses me off.  How anyone with knowledge of the situation failed to call the police is ridiculous.  Hopefully everyone is held accountable for their inaction.  PSU better hope there are no lawsuits filed because of this.

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

awwwwwwop's picture

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

BrewstersMillions's picture

Sarah, great piece as always. I would like to take note of one line, however.

"We have a justice system. Witch hunts are not the way we want to conduct legal matters. We don't have all the facts. As such, please mentally insert "alleged" after every other word3, but children were raped, and there were adults who knew and did nothing about it."

We do. The Grand Jury report is out there for anyone that has the stomach to read it. I barely made it through. Took me about 4 runs to get it finished. Its disturbing and it paints a picture that a lot of people knew a lot of things and let it all go by the wayside or 'circled the wagons' to protect a monster.

This link has a PDF to the entire report. I really don't recomend the read unless you want to have the ability to see through all the garbage Penn State is throwing out there. To be %100 honest, having read that report, I am of the mind that the school should be burned to the ground and the Earth around it salted. I have 0 sympathy for the institution or the remnants of Joe Pa's legacy here.

There is one question I was interested in and it speaks to William's response about his thinking that everyone should be charged. I'm not versed in the law here but Sandusky did transport some of the victims across state lines-bowl games mainly. Is that enough to invoke Federal Law? If it is, there is a VERY broad scope the government can use to go after anyone who had knowledge and didn't act-Joe Pa and McQueery included. I don't know how this falls but it at least creates the possibility that some very serious Federal involvement can take place-I'd like to say sorry in advance if anyone out there has a better grasp of the law than I and I am completley off base-Just a thought I had about the whole thing.


Sarah's picture

I just meant that as far as the court of law, there has been no ruling, hence the disclaimer. 

BrewstersMillions's picture

I understand now. Thank you for the clarification.

jfrank373's picture

Ever watch the TV series, on NBC I think, called what would you do? It's where they stage a fight, an argument, or any akward situation really and see if by standers intervene or do the right thing. It's astonishing to see how many people try to dodge a somewhat sticky situation because "it's none of their business".

While I agree that McQueary, et. al could have done a whole hell of a lot more, it's tough to put yourself in that kind of situation and think about fearing your life if this guy gets a hold of you or your family. Keep in mind that the district attorney who never filed charges came up missing and was pronounced dead sometime in 2004 or 2005. His car was found in a river close by and his computer's hard drive was inside, too badly ruined to pull useful information.

I think McQueary, growing up in State College and knowing the moving parts and how people are, probably feared his life more than anything. That doesn't make it right, and I'm certainly not trying to take his side, but as a 28 year old myself I can't imagine being faced with something like that. It's a total let down for all parties involved but mostly for the administrators and Joe Pa who had the power and the clout to change what was clearly going on for over a decade.

wrockhold's picture

Wrong is wrong and then there is this horror. I'd rather fear for my life and die early over living the rest of my days seeing what McQueary saw and not doing anything. Shame and cowardice.

Sarah's picture

I know about Kitty Genovese and the bystander effect, so yes, sometimes people don't always do what's right when confronted with what's wrong. But when you actually witness someone, not a stranger either, sodomizing a child and don't go to the police? And basically enable this man to do the same to others? Yeah, I have no problem passing judgment there. 

BrewstersMillions's picture

The timeline for McQ's assent through the PSU rank and file is pretty rapid too if you ask me.  GA to Assistant Coach\Recruiter in 3 short years is pretty astounding to me. Hush money is one thing. Hush promotions are another. I want to make it clear that I am speculating, %100 but some times things that quack and waddle are ducks...



JLP36's picture

Not call the police and then work alongside him and others who know for years


AC1972's picture

I think that I am more disapointed in McQuery and the PSU administration first, and then JoePa.

Being a grown man and witnessing such an act would have called for immediate intervention to protect the child.  You absolutley are not a human being if you do not. I would have knocked Sandusky on his a$$.

That said, we were not in the room when McQuery told JoePa about the incident.  Perhaps McQuey had erased part of what he saw from memory or did not manage a full description.

Regardless, JoePa started out doing what is required based upon the information potentially given.  Just about any organziation has rules along the lines of reporting suspected wrong-doing to proper administrative personnel, who is then responsible for conducting an internal investigation and calling the police or other legal entity as necessary.  Where JoePa failed (mainly becasue he did run that department, and had the power to do something) is following up.  He needed to push the administation and not just except whatever response they gave, he had more power at the university than both those jokers combined.  I think JoePa was fed a line, and he should have known better and done something about it.  Least of which would be to make sure Sandusky never set foot on campus again.

jenks's picture

From the grand jury report (the bad stuff ellipsed out):

Petrosky described Jim as being upset and crying. Jim reported that he had seen [everything]. Jim said he had "fought in the [Korean] war .... seen people with their guts blowed out, arms dismembered .. .I just witnessed something in there I'll never forget." Andhe described [everything he saw]. Petrosky testified that Jim was shaking and he and his fellow employees feared Jim might have a heart attack. Petrosky testified that all the employees working that night except Witherite were relatively new employees. In discussions held later that shift, the employees expressed concern that if they reported what Jim had seen, they might lose their jobs.

Jay Witherite was Jim's immediate supervisor. Witherite testified that Jim was "very emotionally upset", "very distraught", to the point that Witherite "was afraid the man was going to have a heart attack or something the way he was acting." Jim reported to Witherite that he had observed [everything]. Witherite tried to calm Jim, who was cursing and remained upset throughout the shift. Witherite told him to whom he should report the incident, if he chose to report it.


Jim was a temporary employee at the Lasch Building, working there for approximately 8 months. No report was ever made by Jim Calhoun.

Jim had seen FAR worse, and had far more serious life experiences than McQ. He couldn't even bring himself to act. Nobody is calling him a coward though, so maybe we should go easy on McQ.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

They're both cowards.  Who cares about their jobs?  I wouldn't want to work somewhere where stuff like that happened anyway. 

Class of 2010.

jenks's picture

We can talk all we want about what we would have done in that situation, but the fact of the matter is you have 2 guys who were too shocked (whatever you want to call it) to do anything. One of them faught in a war and compared it to the things he saw there. His coworkers thought it nearly drove him to a heart attack. If he froze up, any one of us could have too. I just think we should all keep that in mind.

btalbert25's picture

My problem is, McQ is still with the program and has seen that son of bitch Sandusky ever since, he was on campus last week.  In the years that have followed he never thought that bastard needs to be stopped?  Or never had the courage to come forward and put a stop to that stuff?  More than 1 person employed by Penn State witnessed these acts over the years.  Did they choose not to report out of fear?  Were they handsomely paid to keep their mouth shut and that's why we've never heard anything about it? 

Obviously, the vet was very distraught, but to me the first person I talk to is the police, not my middle management boss of the janitorial department that I'm a temporary employee of.  I still think McQ's inaction is deplorable.  Maybe he was scared, maybe he was threatened, maybe he was paid off, but at some point in the 9 years that have followed when you continue to see this bastard around the football department, don't you eventually get up and beat the hell out of the guy, or take some action? 

jenks's picture

The report went on to say the vet has dimentia and is living in a retirement home now and can't testify. I have no idea when he started to decline though. Im making assumptions here, but if he was working a temp job at PSU that late in life, things weren't going too well, so he may have already started to get sick at that point. He certainly didn't have a full decade to come forward.

Also, while the grand jury found the hearsay credible, who knows how much will be allowed in at trial. Interesting nonetheless.

btalbert25's picture

I'm not going to be too hard on the old man janitor so much as I am Mc Queary.  How could you see Sandusky frequently over the last 9 years and refrain from doing something.  That's all I'm saying.  I'm just wondering what t he motivation by everyone at Penn State was over these years.  Did McQ get threatened?  Paid? Promoted?   Why would everyone on campus who knew about what was going on continue to let the man have an office there and keep coming to campus at all? 

There were a bunch of people who gained from keeping this under wraps, and they all are to blame for not coming forward.  Personally, if I'm McQ, I wouldn't be able to look myself in the mirror every day. 

Northbrook's picture

At a minimum JoePa and McQ need to be fired right now.

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

I suspect that if the soldier had seen the enemy do those things to his comrades, he would have known what to do and acted accordingly.  My guess is that he would have come to the defense of his fellow soldiers.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Sarah wants to have a three-way with football and basketball, that's what I got out of this column.



Nappy's picture

That would require a Brady Hoke sized vagina

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

Sarah's picture

Gross. "Brady Hoke" and "vagina" should never be used in the same sentence. 

theDuke's picture

oh god. brady hoke and vagina in the same sentence.  12/12/2012 can't be that far off can it? 


toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

Beware of Purdon't. I still remember that disaster there two years ago. Buckeye fans should not forget and never take the Boilermakers for granted on their turf.