The Price is Right

By Kyle Rowland on July 24, 2012 at 10:00a
Emmert's actions spoke volumes and sent shockwaves. 

Legions of fans flock to college football stadiums – cathedrals in some of their eyes – each Saturday in the fall. It’s the romanticized view of college football that drives many of them to remote outposts like Laramie, Wyo., Manhattan, Kan., and State College, Pa.

The pageantry and tradition brings alumni and fans back year after year. From the fight songs to the camaraderie among old friends, college football provides a link from the past to the present to the future.

Take in a game at Ohio Stadium and your ears will be ringing with shouts of “O-H” “I-O” for weeks; in South Bend, Ind., the Notre Dame Victory March seems to play on repeat; and Beaver Stadium’s anthem of choice are shouts of “We Are…Penn State!”

They can rephrase that now. We were Penn State.

After Monday’s landmark decision by the NCAA against the Nittany Lions’ football program, the artist formerly known as Penn State looks little like the powerhouse Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky built over four decades. Left in the ruins is Youngstown State East.

Despite the harshness of the penalties and the NCAA setting new boundaries of power, association president Mark Emmert should be lauded for taking a stand and delivering swift and decisive action against an institution and program responsible for the largest scandal in the history of intercollegiate athletics. 

The NCAA is about as unpopular with the American public as the Internal Revenue Service, but “We the people” got exactly what we wanted on Monday: the NCAA to deliver a knockout punch to not only a serious offender, but one of college football’s powerbrokers.

Consider it the “Death Penalty” without the dying part – or the Zombie Penalty.

  • $60 million fine
  • Significant scholarship reductions 
  • Four-year postseason ban
  • Vacation of wins for 14 years 
Penn State's famed "whiteouts" might take a vacation. 

The arguments will continue for decades about whether the NCAA overstepped its means, or if the penalties were too severe or too lenient. But Emmert appropriately said the circumstances surrounding the case were “completely different from other enforcement cases.”

“The great challenge that we spent most of our time on was, how do you craft sanctions that have the intended effect,” Emmert said. “Clearly, this calls for a punitive action, but it also calls for corrective action, to enable and also ensure that the kind of culture change occurs that is necessary at Penn State University, and, at the same time, has minimal impact on innocent parties.”

One thing is certain, Penn State has been decimated and the reputation of the university has been harmed greatly. Paterno, as revered and legendary a figure as there has been in all of sport, is at the center of the scandal that Emmert said “strikes at the very heart of what intercollegiate athletics is all about.”

When a football coach is more powerful than the governor, and he, the university president and athletics director are all involved in an intricate cover up of a serial pedophile, a culture change of epic proportions is needed. And that’s what has occurred since November at Penn State.

The Freeh Report gutted the community and led to the Paterno statue outside Beaver Stadium being removed. In the background, the NCAA sat by idly before Emmert’s iron-fist ruling came down. The importance of winning at Penn State was changed immediately when the NCAA doled out its sanctions.

“For the next several years now, Penn State can focus on the work of rebuilding its athletic culture, not worrying about whether or not it’s going to a bowl game,” Emmert said.

It's almost as if Paterno was never the head coach at PSU. 

Emmert and Ed Ray, chair of the NCAA’s executive committee and the Oregon State president, made it clear on Monday that the tides have changed at the NCAA and that the association took its role very serious. The scope and magnitude of the Penn State scandal warranted both swift and stern action.

Much like the fans that have been fed up with inaction by the NCAA and countless scandals over the past two years, presidents and chancellors also grew frustrated. In one gathering, Ray said the consensus among his peers was, “We’ve had enough. This has to stop.”

Apparently they meant it.

“Does this send a message?” Ray said. “The message is the presidents and chancellors are in charge.”

Ray continued: “The cautionary tale is that every major college and university needs to do a gut check and ask where are we on the appropriate balance between the culture in athletics and broader culture of the university and make certain they’ve got the balance right, and if not, to take corrective action.”

Since 1998, those at high-levels at Penn State believed the image of the university and Paterno’s grand football factory were more important than the well-being of the youth of Centre County, Pa. It would have been too much for the community to bear if word spread that Sandusky, a legend in his own right at Penn State, was a child molester. It could have caused irreparable harm to Paterno and the football team if Sandusky was indeed inappropriately touching children at the football facility.

The trio – Paterno, former president Graham Spanier and athletics director Tim Curley – lost their jobs for their gross deeds. Now, the football program will be under water for at least a decade, giving the fans and university more important matters to worry about.

Spanier and Paterno's involvement in a cover up was shocking.

Perhaps the biggest or most symbolic penalty, however, wasn’t about scholarships, bowl games or money; it was the vacation of the Nittany Lions’ and Paterno’s wins dating to 1998.

One hundred eleven in all. 

It takes Paterno from 409 victories and the winningest coach in major college football history to 298 wins. Bobby Bowden now sits atop the all-time wins list. Paterno, meanwhile is No. 12. The incoming freshman haven't seen a Penn State win since they were four-years-old. For Penn Staters, Paterno’s status and wins record were the almighty. Paterno, stubbornly, refused to retire for years in part because of the chase he and Bowden were in to be the winningest coach. To take a record that meant so much to all involved is just as gut-wrenching as imploding the entire program.

The record book now says Paterno’s last victory came on Nov. 22, 1997 when Penn State defeated Wisconsin. The quarterback for Penn State: Mike McQueary. Irony at its finest.

Caught in the middle today are current Penn State players. They didn’t sign up for scandal. Instead, they enrolled at Pennsylvania’s big state university because of a legendary coach, historic football program and sterling academics. All but one of those are now lost.

Some point out that they don’t deserve to be punished, and there is certainly merit to that argument. However, they are allowed to transfer to any university without sitting out a year, an out-clause of sorts that they warrant. Silly season has already commenced for those still on the PSU roster. Schools from around the country are circling the waters in anticipation of a mass exodus.

“We don’t want to restrict a young man’s choice of schools,” Kevin Lennon, the NCAA’s vice president of academic and membership affairs, said. “They obviously find themselves in a very difficult situation. Should they already want to go a program that’s already at 25 (scholarships for the year) or at 85 (total), that’s something we would work through with that individual institution.

“Our key approach to this is we’re trying not to limit opportunities that students would want to pursue academically and athletically.”

With all the talk about change, though, from the NCAA and administrators throughout the country, therein lies the problem: win at all costs.


Comments Show All Comments

O-H Kee Pa's picture

Regardless of your opinion on the extent of the penalties, this is something I think every college football fan get behind:
“The cautionary tale is that every major college and university needs to do a gut check and ask where are we on the appropriate balance between the culture in athletics and broader culture of the university and make certain they’ve got the balance right, and if not, to take corrective action.”
College football should not be the root of so much pain and sadness.

Kyle Rowland's picture

Agree. This should be a lesson to all great fan bases, Ohio State included. I thought the same thing last year when Tressel was fired/resigned on Memorial Day. Everyone was mourning him no longer being the coach on a day reserved for honoring fallen heroes. That really put it in perspective for me. 

College sports are great (though they are entering a pretty sordid area) and I love my job, but every once in a while we need to be reminded that these are games. Coaches, athletes, etc. sholdn't be put on the highest pedestal there is, and loses should be treated as a minor disappointment. 

O-H Kee Pa's picture

All well said. Our fan's reaction to Tat-gate (e.g. trying to find every conspiracy theory that somehow might absolve JT), and my own personal worshipping of our student athletes to that point was enough for me to look myself in the mirror. Athletics departments have only built the monster that is big time college football because we've demanded/fueled it.

rdubs's picture

In some ways losing Tressel to the tattoo scandal etc. was helpful in terms of resetting some of that status here.  When the president makes an offhanded "joke" about how he hopes the coach won't fire him, it isn't a good sign of the health of the school.  In the end it turned out not to be true at OSU and we can be thankful for that.  
However we did go and hire the one coach who seems more untouchable than Tress did...  Let's hope he goes hard for 10 years and wins a lot of games without any NCAA problems and then retires to the golf course.

O-H Kee Pa's picture

And, that Urbz doesn't utilize the same double standard that he used at FL for punishing star players. Considering the monster that is OSU Football is only going to get bigger come 2013, morally we would be no better off.

OSUBias's picture

He needs the work on his golf game. Did you see him this weekend? Probably not because he had a negative the stableford scoring system. That's hard to do; requires a lot of double bogeys "or worse".

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

The bottom line, and this doesn't just apply to athletics or academics, it should apply to everyone's everyday life, is to be responsible and be accountable.  Mistakes happen and are forgivable, but before you can be absolved, you've got to come clean about it.  

Read my entire screen name....

Maestro's picture

Well said.

vacuuming sucks

penguinpower's picture

Couple things:
Not sure I agree with the NCAA in this case and here are the reasons why:
#1.  The people involved in this terrible scandal were mainly administrative/leadership.  However, the punishment will affect the fans, the businesses around the university and the depth of the B1G.
#2.  There are clearly criminal activities involved and this should be handled in court.  Nothing that happened at tOSU was criminal.  A legal contract was broken by Tress, but the students in our case did not commit a crime.  In the PSU case, crimes were committed and it was covered up by top officials.  The top of the PSU organization needs to pay for this, not fans and businesses.  Who has been prosecuted (no one yet?) and how do you make life painful for those that are running the administration at PSU?
#3.  I am a huge Buckeye fan, but in reality vacating wins has more impact on the student athletes and others that had nothing to do with the child abuse scandal.  It is not fair to the student athletes past and present that had nothing to do with what happened.  In addition, the communist organization (aka NCAA) happens to think that vacating wins on paper matters to fans and schools.  It means nothing.  Ohio State still beat TTUN & Arkansas in the bowl game the year before regardless of what wins were vacated when Tress got his azz in a bind.  This is like punishing employees for bad management.
#4.  If the NCAA wanted to do justice, they would develop a hotline for student athletes and coaches and implement periodic audits and follow-up visits to athletic departments as a corrective and preventive measure.  This type of solution would force the administrations of the universities to act appropriately.  This would drive continual improvement of leadership and provide a check and balance system that would prevent corruption and absolute power that exists today.
#5.  The $60MM fine will hurt all other athletics programs dependent on FB revenue.  Why should these kids and coaches pay the price for an administration that was intent on protecting their own butts?
At the end of the day Emmert has overstepped his bounds with an ineffective solution once again.  All schools have skeletons in the closet, some worse than others, but it amazes me that the SEC just doesn't seem to have any.  Is it a coincidence that Emmert was the SEC commissioner and none of his previous schools are in trouble? How many scandals in the last few years?  Do we forget USC, Miami, UNC?  But the Scam Newton case never got traction?  Give me a break.
I happen to think the Price is wrong.
And by the way, why the slam on the Youngstown State Penguins?  Please don't slam in state schools. The area around Y-Town is drastically changing with the sheet shale fracking.  It is getting really nice there.

simpson203's picture

"The punishment will affect the fans, the businesses around the university and the depth of the B1G..." 
These parties are not being punished, the university is.  They are collateral damage, which results from every scandal.  The PSU players, students, and fans are no different then everyone else thats affected by a scandal.  One only need to look back to the Enron and World-com scandals of the early 2000's to see a "real world" example of this.  Think of how many people lost their jobs and had to start over because of the illegal acts of a few at the top of their companies.  If I've learned anything in my 30+ years, it's that life is seldom, if ever, fair.  The innocent parties deserve our sympathy but that that does not make them immune to the fallout of this scandal. 

chitown buckeye's picture

Exactly! I don't understand why so many people have a hard time understanding that collateral damage happens on almost 95% of any punishment ever handed out in life. It doesn't mean you shouldn't punish people or in this case PSU because it will hurt others. To take your example a step farther and to think about it in smaller terms. I was the first of my friends to turn 16, so I naturally was the first to get a car. My buddies and I had a big weekend of camping planned and I was going to drive us. Well, I screwed up the night before and did some things I shouldn't have and my parents punished me by not letting me go camping. Since I couldn't go camping, meant that now my buddies could not go and the trip was canceled. My friends were collateral damage of my parents decision to punish me. Should they not have punished me (which I deserved) because it was going to ruin the trip for others? how was I ever going to learn there are consequences for my actions. I realize this is small scale stuff but point being every punishment has collateral damage that screws over innocent people. That doesn't mean you shouldn't punish.

"I'm having a heart attack!"

smith5568's picture

I am also surprised at everyone's reaction. Football players should be used to getting punished for someone else's mistakes. It is extremely common for an entire position group or team to be punished because someone gets into trouble off the field or does a drill wrong or not at full speed. This was always the case when I played and Urban does this with the team now. Collateral damage is normal, especially in the football culture. 

BuckeyeBoyer85's picture

I like your #4. However, innocent players being punished for the improprieties of the program and administration is nothing new. Why are you so surprised at the power of the NCAA? It's been this way for years.

Wayne Woodrow Hayes

penguinpower's picture

NCAA membership is voluntary so it is suprising to me that they do what they do and retain all members.  Yes there is a lot of money at stake, but .....

BuckeyeBoyer85's picture

There have been rumblings for years about big-time programs leaving the NCAA to start another association. I don't disagree with you that The NCAA is power/money hungry and hypocritical. Collegiate athletics have been deeply rooted for over 100 years. It's not as though all the sudden the NCAA is too powerful b/c of the unprecedented measures taken in this extreme case. Many observe the corruption of college athletics as the fault of the NCAA, but what do you expect the institutions to do? Leave? The professional leagues in America (NCAA can be included) resemble the structures of major corporations, because they are. And we all know how corrupt American corporations can be.

Wayne Woodrow Hayes

onetwentyeight's picture

Yea but no matter how shady what major corporation in America other than the NCAA gets away with paying NOTHING to its workers? 

BuckeyeBoyer85's picture

Corporations use cheap labor forces overseas. Look at what Apple just went through in China. Maybe not paying em NOTHING, but student-athletes do get some compensation, albeit not much.

Wayne Woodrow Hayes

BuckeyeDave's picture

While I agree with your #3 - that everyone still knows who won the games, I think the goal here was to take away the record for Paterno.  The student athletes know who won the games, the fans know who won the games but now we don't face the future of seeing Joe Paterno's name as the "All Time Wins" Leader.  In this case they ARE punishing one of the people responsible for this mess.  Joe Paterno put his desire to be the Wins leader over his responsibilty to protect children and stripping him of that is actually the one punishment that hurts his family the most.

klfeck's picture

A key point that i have not seen discussed elsewhere is that the fates of both Tressel and Paterno were ultimately decided by a very simple thing that neither of them were probably very good with: email.
Call me a pessimist but I am betting both OSU and Penn State have both recently revised their data retention programs.........



Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

Ethos's picture

they are federally mandated to hold onto certain types of emails for certain amounts of time.

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

BuckeyeDave's picture

Andy Staples (CNN/SI) addressed this last year in his "Cheating for Dummies" column. 
2. Nothing in writing
No major college football or basketball coach should have an e-mail address. If he does, he should never use it. That way, when a do-gooder such as former Ohio State player Chris Cicero sends an e-mail about the star quarterback and star receiver trading memorabilia for cash and tattoos, the head coach can be completely honest when he tells the NCAA: "I never saw that." If Tressel had ignored his e-mail during his Ohio State tenure, he'd still have a job. This rule applies to players, too. If an agent gives one of your players a South Beach shopping spree or a VIP night at some club that charges $12 for a Bud Light, make sure your players know better than to narrate in real time the receipt of impermissible benefits on Twitter or Facebook.

BigBuck623's picture

Can't wait to see what punishment Emmert hands out to U Miami as a result of this year's ridiculous recruiting scandal.  My bet is that the phrase "rebuilding its athletic culture" is only actually needed if a school is north of the Mason-Dixon line.

rickyu22's picture

I think the punishment fits perfectly...i would even say they should have put a longer post season ban on maybe 10+ years for all those years they covered it up. 
The smartest thing i've heard is Desmond Howard say (even though he is a SCum) is that they are giving the football players an opportunity to choose if they want to stay at Penn State get a degree and play football there or transfer out to another school but the victims were not given a opportunity to choose because they were not protected the football program was.This is punishing the one thing that they were trying to protect the football program. Bottom line is they should have turned Sandusky in and protected the kids. 

penguinpower's picture

But nothing in the punishment addresses the root cause and it does not support any type of corrective action.  The punishment basically sends the message, no matter what you do, don't get caught.  Records retention policies will likely be changed in many schools.  The punishment is not effective.  It seems that nothing the NCAA does is effective.  Do you feel comfortable that OSU athletes will not sell their memorabilia after alll of the bad press, scholarship reductions, and bowl bans?  What has changed that will prevent this?  Was it Tress's fault and Urban will stop this because............he's Urban???

faux_maestro's picture

Records retention policies are federally mandated so they can't be changed.

Your mom told me she wants a Dicken Cidar.

rickyu22's picture

The only person that can fix the problem is the school not the NCAA. The schools should set better checks to make sure that things like this dont happen again either there or at Ohio State. The NCAA just gives them the punishment for what they did and give them some guidelines to help them out. Just like when you got punished as a was up to you to not do it again. 2 lessons to learn here...your cant hide your sin and when you sin it doesnt just affect you. 

rjenkins26's picture

When i saw the title of this article, i thought it was the story of Auburn football...

toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

"The punishment will affect the fans, the businesses around the university and the depth of the B1G..."
As a youngster in grade school, I was stuck in the collateral damage in my classroom several times. It was always one kid who misbehaved in some way behind the teacher's back. The teacher turned around and asked "who did it?" No one talked, no one wanted to squeal on the brat. Then the teacher told us that all of us would stay after school if we wouldn't give up the kid. That's the similar feeling the fans at Penn State are having. Yes, they're punished for the sins of the few. But that's how life goes. They will have to deal with it like the Southern Cal and Ohio State programs and their fans are doing right now with no bowl bids, scholarship losses, etc.

Xenia_Buckeye's picture

Everything that I've heard is that Penn State was negotiating and agreed to these terms from the NCAA and agreed not to protest them. Since there seems to have been some negotiations going on does this mean that the NCAA had harsher punishments slated and that they were negotiated downward on the condition that PSU would not appeal the punishments? I can't really conceive of anything harsher than what has been levied...

OSUNeedles's picture

The current president said it was between this or shutting down the program (not clear whether 1, 2, or more years). My guess is that they accepted this to minimize the collateral damage to other people & businesses that everyone has been talking about.

Njia's picture

Being a U-M alum, I've been terribly conflicted about joining 11W, but the quality of the writing here on the PSU/Sandusky/Paterno story has been so outstanding I could no longer help myself. Kyle's contribution today is no different.
In particular, I'm drawn to the notion - espoused mostly by the PSU faithful, but echoed by no shortage of Wolverine and Buckeye fans, not to mention more than a few sports writers - that a punishment meted out by the NCAA should somehow be "fair" to the athletes (past and current), coaches, students and fans of that institution. Sorry, but that's not how it works with the NCAA or in life.
Frankly, any claim to a "fair" punishment went out the window when Paterno, Curley, Spanier, et al - and, yes, even Mike McQuery - swept the whole Sandusky matter under the rug. They did it - as Kyle so rightly points out - to avoid the "collateral damage" to their institution and its reputation (not to mention their own) lest Sandusky be caught and punished. As a result, their athletes, fans, students and the rest got about 14 more years of blissfully believing a lie, and reaping the benefits in the form of bowl games, hero worship, and so on.
So, those are the chickens coming home to roost, and they've demanded the penthouse apartment. PSU fans would do well to remember that it's not the NCAA that created this mess; nor, for that matter, the collateral damage. Their school's former leadership did that as soon as they decided to bet against anyone finding out the truth and some form of justice finally being served. That the punishment is now a hundred times worse for them is only a fraction of the measure of injustice done to those children victimized by Sandusky and abetted by a head coach who self-perpetuated his mythical (and undeserved) status.

onetwentyeight's picture

The sole reason I can think of for the people who claim this punishment is unfair since it hurts current players is that PSU happens to be a B1G school. When USC got hit for their "crimes" (Oh how trivial they now seem), Matt Barkely had to give up bowl games for stuff that Reggie Bush took when Barkley was in ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. I didn't hear much of an outcry around these parts then, bc it was U$C and Lane kiffin being punished. 
I also don't get how anyone other than the current PSU players would have any beef with this at all. IMO they got off SUPER easily. Think about this: Bowl bans, schollie reductions, SO WHAT ?? -->  They don't even lose ONE potential game. EVERY SINGLE home game they would've had for the next four years will still be played.
Why are people trying to find more unintended "victims" in all this? All the "local businesses" in State College that depend on football should THEORETICALLY not lose a penny. Of course, if their so-called "Loyal" fans begin to not attend games after they suck, then who's fault is that? 
The 60m fine is peanuts compared to their endowment. Even if you add in ~100m for civil lawsuits, PSU will not even feel this. It's a total joke that sounds like a hefty number to Joe Sixpack but to behemoth corporations like PSU it won't mean a thing. 
Whether or not the NCAA actually had the power to do this in the present case, is another story. But if we're already assuming that they will act to punish, it's my feeling that you might as well go and NOT HALF ASS it. 5 yr death penalty, followed by 5 yr bowl ban, relegation of the school to I-AA. 
[EDIT: after further consideration, why not just knock them down to I-AA right away and allow them to keep playing with no other penalties other than scholarship reductions? That alone would be the ultimate punishment, and we wouldn't have to hear belly-aching about how the poor current players got screwed. They still get to play football! ] 

smith5568's picture

I completely agree. As I just stated above, punishing players for another person's mistakes is common in football and most other sports. 

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Nicely stated - even for a U-M grad (sorry, just can't help it!).  The amount of complete lack of reality coming out of PSU and their fans is astounding!  Oh woe is me - we can't compete in a f@#$ing bowl game even though it was because our entire football administration supported and enabled a hideous monster to sexually violate children on campus and team bowl game trips.  The fact that the Paternos are sitting their whining about how they weren't consulted about the punishments or any other matters concerning their precious Joe Paterno legacy STILL baffles me to speechlessness.  Sorry, your husband/dad is only a few steps below Sandusky for had this POS had the intestinal fortitude to do the right thing - NONE of this would been happening.
I am still astonished how they continue to ignore the facts that are in the Freeh report and justify it based on some ridiculous notion that it is somehow flawed in its conclusions because of - Fill in bizarre reason here -.   No PSU - nobody made this all up to bring down your precious university.  It isn't a conspiracy by the media to bring down your institution.  It was all caused by PSU people.  About the only person that was from outside of PSU, Vicki Triponey, was run out of town because she dared question Paterno's methods.
This entire scandal and the delusional reactions of PSU is just plain disgusting and sickening.

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

CaliforniaBuckeyeGirl's picture

I just wanted to say thank you to 11W and the people commenting for keeping me up to date on these goings on. I had cancelled my cable a couple weeks ago, and had still been receiving it for free (nondigital, they just hadn't flipped the kill switch yet)....well, the cable company flipped the switch around 9:30am on Monday, as I was watching coverage on eSECpn. Horrible timing, Cox, horrible!  So anyway, thanks, everyone! :-)

KE's picture

I have two observations. First, one never knows the "culture" of a place unless they're in it or very close to it. The kind of culture that led to the downfall of PSU probably exists at any other university with a big-time athletic department, including OSU. I have little doubt that, had someone like Jerry Sandusky been working in Gainesville, Tuscaloosa, Norman, or Columbus, the results would not have been different. The reason is observation no. 2. People always talk a good game when it comes to protecting children, but they very rarely step up and actually do it. I've both prosecuted and defended child abusers, and I was constantly amazed at how infrequently adults actually stepped up to do something when abuse was staring them in the face. All sorts of armchair heroes adamantly assert that had they been in McQueary's spot, they would have done something about it. In my experience, his reaction and the reaction of the rest of the PSU staff, Paterno included, was depressingly ordinary. Maybe it's because people are confounded when confronted with child sex abuse, thinking that what they are seeing or hearing just can't be true. Everyone should take this whole story as a cautionary tale, because it easily could have happened - and does happen - anywhere else.

Njia's picture

You raise a good point ... However, had it happened only in 1998, I might have been swayed to believe that Joe Paterno couldn't fathom the very idea of the accusations against Sandusky. And then, it happened again. Only this time, it was McQueary who brought it to the coach's attention. That's not exactly someone who had any reason to make up a story like that (and every reason in the world to pretend he hadn't seen anything).
On top of that, the Freeh Report alleges that Paterno committed perjury during his grand jury testimony. Alone, that's evidence enough of JoePa's willingness to do whatever was necessary to protect his reputation and the school's, no matter the cost.
In my mind, the sum of those two factors greatly exceeds any rational limit for most human beings. At some point - and maybe I'm just too trusting in human nature - a person who valued the lives of those children on any level would have at least turned in Sandusky.

Menexenus's picture

I think vacating 14 years of wins was over the top and vindictive to Paterno.  The justification for vacating a team's wins is that the wins are spurious for some reason, like for instance, when one team had an unfair recruiting advantage over another due to underhanded practices.  Failing to report child abuse has no bearing on what happened on the field.  So I don't see the point in taking away Penn State's wins other than to stick it to Paterno.
Listen, dude f**ked up.  I get that.  I also get that the NCAA needs to make an example out of any program that lets something like that happen.  But to take away an old man's life's work and accomplishments...  I'm sorry, but that just seems too vindictive to me.

Real fans stay for Carmen.

Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture

When I was living in central PA in the mid to late 70s, Joe Paterno was derisively (by non PSUers obviously) called "The Godfather" because you couldn't get a speeding ticket without him knowing about it.  I have no evidence that he knew everything, but I KNOW he did.  

Its my opinion, and mine only, that Joe's involvement is much more nefarious than people think.  He knew Sandusky was doing what he was doing.  When Sandusky prooved he couldnt stop, Paterno quietly removed his friend from the staff.  But the wins kept coming, so that was all that mattered.  

In 2004, when it was obvious to everyone on the planet except Spanier and Curley that Paterno should be removed from his position as head coach, why do you think he wasn't?  Because he appealled to those two idiots to let him try and become the winningest coach of all time?  And they agreed that his legacy was more important than winning the B10?  HAH!  HE had the goods on them, and they all knew it.  Joe is in the basement apartment next to Al Capone right now.  He was the ultimate gangster coach.

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