Penn State Sanctions To Be Undone?

southernstatesbuckeye's picture
January 4, 2013 at 12:16a
63 Comments
If you have not read the entire 43 page lawsuit filed Jan 2, 2013 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania against the NCAA, then you need to do so immediately. A link to the document is already provided by the staff at Eleven Warriors. I, like most people, did not look beyond the surface of the public outrage and cries for punishment. It seemed almost wrong to defend the Penn State position in any way. However, upon reading the legal document, it is very clear that the NCAA operated not only outside of its own established procedure, but in the end, could not cite a single NCAA infraction committed by the program that was Sanction worthy". Despicable and vile criminal acts by a sexual predator, yes...but nothing of an actual violation as stated by their own "Manual". The Attorney General and the Governor's office has correctly cited some past gross criminal violations at colleges under NCAA authority in which it took NO action whatsoever. How about murder? In 2003, one Baylor basketball player killed a teammate, and it was found that the other players were coerced to lie about it and say the victim was dealing drugs (subsequently proven false). The NCAA reaction? Nothing. How about the case of the Montana football players raping multiple girls on campus? Nothing. Or how about the Lacrosse star who murdered his girlfriend, a member of his university's women's team? Yep. Nothing again. The legal document describes multiple instances where the NCAA doesn't get involved in the criminal, even sexual criminalities, of member institutions, but rather leaves it rightfully to the court system set up to handle those crimes. The document goes on to detail clearly how the sanctions came improperly from the NCAA president, Emmert, and the board, which are BOTH explicitly barred from such action by their own bylaws. The Committee on Infractions is the only arm of the NCAA permitted to mete out punishment. It is clearly demonstrated that the NCAA broke ALL of its own internal procedural guidelines in order to deliver a decision intended to repair its own tarnished enforcement image and flex muscle it did not legally have. Conclusion? Well, you may have heard it right here first...I absolutely believe that when this case goes to court, the severity of sanctions will be dramatically reduced or eliminated altogether! If you would like to comment, I urge you to read the legal document first. Yes, it's a bit of a read, but extremely absorbing once you get into it. What are your thoughts?

Comments

GH_Lindsey's picture

Link to the lawsuit?
 
I think the NCAA knew it was overstepping its grounds when it levied the sanctions, but counted on public outrage to keep the university from fighting it. Now that the shitstorm has died down for the most part, PSU is fighting which is good for them.

TheHannimal's picture

There are WAY too many posts here to read through, so perhaps this was covered somewhere but...
Can one of you legalese experts/nerds explain to me how in the hail the NCAA can levy a ~$60mil fine against a public/publicly funded university then take that state funded money and disperse to national charities and/or charities outiside of that state???  How is that possible in the NCAA's "jurisdiction"?

smartfootballrankings's picture

I'm sure they could just not pay the $60M and then no longer participate in the NCAA.  That would cost them even more than $60M.

buck-I.8's picture

No offense, man, but I think, though some of your points are good ones, you may be looking at a notice and outline of the suit as being unbiased. Having been to civil court myself, I'm no stranger to the vastly skewed legal writing that goes into these briefs and how they can easily sell the defendant being more than they are. That said, some of the points are quite valid.
What will make or break the case, however, is that the trustees-- on which Corbett himself has been in the past-- at a state institution agreed, no matter the circumstances, to accept the punishment being handed down. That basically means that those that represent the state in a business sense for the university agreed to sanction details, and the state is now in a contradiction because they couldn't build this case before everything went down. The defense will basically take this into the courts with the argument that all this rhetoric is clouding the issue "that no matter the 'extraneous' details, the issue is with the sexual crimes that occurred and the culture that fostered the cover-up. Whether you agree with it or not, the punishment will stand.

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

While I understand your counterpoints, I need to ask...did you read the brief? There was very little "positioning", while the bare facts point to a decidedly contemplated decision on the part of the NCAA to "strike with excessive force". Just read all the actual legal points and then offer a thought. I was of the same opinion as you are, yet after that read, I understood the legal blunder the NCAA made. Like an officer failing to read Miranda rights, or a suspect who is denied legal counsel, the courts will, in my opinion, overturn this under the cited antitrust violation committed by the NCAA. It very well may go to the US Supreme Court, but if twenty years of legal practice have taught me anything, it is to recognize a "merited case". This is one I would gladly move forward with, being confident of the failure of the NCAA to abide by their own stated constraints. All I ask is that you read the brief, at least the first twenty five pages (each page is not that long), and see if you, as a jury member, would not be persuaded by the factual evidence presented.

buck-I.8's picture

I read the brief when it was posted, but have since pulled it up in reference. To your point about the positioning, there are numerous points that are purely speculation, and while they have some theoretical validity, they are meant to be persuasive rather than objective:
"The NCAA should not be permitted to exploit the tragedy... merely to enhance the NCAA's own reputation and the competing football programs of the NCAA member colleges and universities."
The above is strictly rhetoric. Obviously it cannot be proven that the NCAA's actions were self-motivated, and to say that they acted as they did to increase the competitive advantage for other member schools is almost laughable, because it sounds just like some of the posters on this forum do when they claim that ESPN hates us. This is the way of a persuasive legal brief, and to say that the spin is merely percieved is to be dishonest with ourselves.

BED's picture

One of my law profs said something that has always stuck with me, for when you read any legal argument: adverbs are substitutes for arguments.

i.e., Whenever you see words ending in "ly" the lawyer doesn't have a strong case.

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

smith5568's picture

As a law student, there is ALWAYS "positioning". Everything is to be skewed in your clients favor, even the "unbiased" statement of facts. 

NJ_BUCKEYE's picture

They wouldn't want to hand the court an unbiased law suit or else how would you have a suit in the first place???  Clearly you need to try and demonstrate to the judge that the case is worthy of further review or whatever the legal jargen entails.
The only thing that could happen in the near future would be a judge could issue an injunction, but due to the odd nature of this suit my guess is at best the court would issue an injunction in regards to the fines only.  The rest of the penalties I would guess would stay in effect.
This is similar to a CBA issue in regards to the NCAA representing a "union" of sorts and one that PSU voluntarily participates in.  If the NCAA offers an argument about voluntary membership then the response from the PA would be that there is no other comperable alternative, and then you could argue the NAIA is technically an alternative (def. not comperable from a revenue perspective).  
My guess is the gov. or ex gov. drops this garbage as soon as he is defeated or reelected.

UrbanWoodrowEarlTressel's picture

I hope the sanctions are adjusted so that Penn State gets the Death Penalty they should've received in the first place. Then boot them from the B1G.

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

Sorry. I believe that sets a precedent that allows the NCAA to be, literally, a dictator. I am not a Penn State fan, but I am a fan of college football, and as such, I think the NCAA leadership, and Emmert in particular, are interested only in wielding more power, and that is not a good thing. Emmert said it himself when he took over in 2010, that he needed to strengthen the image of the NCAA by exercising its enforcement power over a future offender. Sadly, the court of public opinion has galvanized this issue by the vileness of the criminal acts themselves, bleeding over into imaginary football violations...although none were cited!

Scott K's picture

The NCAA already IS a dictator, judge, and jury.  To be honest, I hope the state of PA does win, and this helps to bring down the whole ridiculous, unnecessary beast that is the NCAA.

"There's a fine line between stupid, and....clever.  David St. Hubbins/Nigel Tufnel

buck-I.8's picture

As a continuation of my post above:
They further state that the "culture" created at Penn State is not unique to the institution, and is furthermore created by the NCAA in the first place. This, while accurate, is not an adequate argument in the state's favor. Firstly, yes, other institutions may demonstrate the same culture, but not in a way that has been found to be an outwardly detrimental element, lest said institutions be punished accordingly. In the same sense, the NCAA does not instruct its members on how to integrate the institution as a creation of revenue, and while creating an avenue for the "football culture", has no causality for the harms that it may do at a given location. That's like saying that all guns should be illegal because a few people used them in a negative way. 
Not to mention, the argument is somewhat contradictory. It's like they're saying "the NCAA is wrong for creating such a culture in the first place, and should be kept in check, but we should be allowed to keep the money that such culture creates for us."

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

I for one, will be following this case closely. I think you will be surprised then at the outcome, as I believe it eventually will be determined that by circumventing an established "due process" for institutional violators, and delivering a punishment that affects the local and state economy in such a massive way, that this will be undone under those antitrust protections afforded to states and counties. But thank you for your intelligent additions. Sigh...I just wish we had some Buckeye football, and neither of us would have to resort to this bleacher seat entertainment!

buck-I.8's picture

Count me as one that finds this as interesting, albeit in a different sense, as the football itself. It will be interesting to watch how it plays out, while I disagree with your prediction of the outcome, I will continue to enjoy the recourse that comes from the scenario. While feel that the state's actions are ill-conceived, they have every right, as does any American to challenge any actions levied against them and their institutions.

VintonCountyBuck's picture

  I know i may be in the minority on this topic, but I feel that the Penn State matter is/was a legal (read: criminal) issue and thusly should have been treated as one all along.  The NCAA in my opinion did overstep their boundaries by instituting a punishment on an unprescedented scale.  I think fines of future athletic proceeds, merchandise and bowl revenue would have served the NCAA's purpose. The reduction of scholarships, serves only a competitve purpose, punishing those who were not involved.  In doing so, the future revenue-pool will also be reduced.  Basically handcuffing the entity that supports an entire athletic department at a state-funded University and many businesses in the surrounding communities.  This, for me, was too much.
 Once again, this is just my opinion, but I would've liked to see all parties involved with the university in this case been brought before the Courts, Governor or the Pennsyvania State Legislature and a thorough investigation been performed other than just the Freeh Report.  Kind of along the lines of Congress' Steroid-investigation into Major League Baseball a few years ago. Form an elected committe to clean the entire university system of this aweful tragedy and then guide this school in a new direction.  Penn State is after all, a publicly-funded institution.
  Simply put:  While I agree that Penn State deserved to be punished, the NCAA should have allowed the state representatives and lawmakers to exact the proper scope of punishment for all parties involvede from an entity of their state. Whether it be prison time, seizure of properties, or hefty financial penalties. Then once the dust was settled, used the conviscated funds to set up a type of crisis center, support system, or charity to help these victims of this tragic crime.  Because, in reality, it is Sandusky's victims who have recieved the harshest punishment of all.

“Right now, Michigan is not at the pinnacle of college football, and that’s all Urban Meyer cares about...He’s been there and knows what it takes to get there.” 

buck-I.8's picture

But the state representatives and lawmakers are members of the governing body of a state institution, and they are expected to be able to more adequately decide the proper disciplinary action than an outside body? Even without the conflict of interest issue with Corbett's direct former affiliation with the school he now 'objectively' defends, it's fairly ridiculous to say that letting member institution-run NCAA trustees decide punishment is any more interest-based than letting the institution decide its own punishmment. That's like taking a murderer to court and saying that the proper punishment is whatever his family members decide is right for him. It's counterintuitive. 
I don't disagree with many of your points, but I do think that while possibly exerting undue influence, the NCAA at least had warrant to be involved in the ordeal.

VintonCountyBuck's picture

  +1 Buck-I.8
  As I said, it was only my opinion.  Simply that the courts and legal systems handle the legal matters of this case and the NCAA handle the athletic ones. 
 

“Right now, Michigan is not at the pinnacle of college football, and that’s all Urban Meyer cares about...He’s been there and knows what it takes to get there.” 

buck-I.8's picture

If it was that cut and dry, I'd be right with you, but sadly, nothing ever is haha

mtharp's picture

 

Little boys were raped by a member of the athletic program and the covered up by the rest of the program on all sides for over a decade.  The NCAA is a ruling body of PSU athletics and did/does have every right to come down on them with any punishment deemed fit for the crime.  In my personal opinion they didn't go far enough.

Oyster's picture

What NCAA rule did they break? 

mtharp's picture

 Institutional control

Oyster's picture

In regards to athletics?  How so?

tennbuckeye19's picture

I'm not saying I think it's completely valid, but the argument was that the cover up by coaches, athletic administrators, and school administrators was a sign of a lack of institutional control. The thought is that they were protecting the image of the football program over and above everything else. The involvement of the coaches and AD made it an athletic matter in the eyes of the NCAA. 

Oyster's picture

But isn't the LOIC 'violation' again in regards to an athletic program and how it was or was not being run within the bylaws of the NCAA?  What NCAA rule addresses criminal matters and what authority does the NCAA have in enforcing actual laws?
If the NCAA wanted to send a message (which is what they obviously wanted to do) they could have simply wiped the name of JoPa from the history books, he essentially never existed.  I can also see them making PSU set up a fund for child abuse as a penalty being reasonable also.  Other than that, they were using a set of bylaws that are designed to make all members compete under an even playing field in terms of competition to punish PSU for criminal acts. 
This is a slippery slope and most are very firm in their belief of what should have been done (or not done) by the NCAA and in most cases you will never change anyones mind on this matter.  Much like the current debate on gun control, the sides are drawn and no amount of civil discussion will change a persons position on the subject.

mtharp's picture

" Other than that, they were using a set of bylaws that are designed to make all members compete under an even playing field in terms of competition to punish PSU for criminal acts. "
 
They were covering up actions by PSU employees to maintain a percieved clean and wholesome enviroment and maintain a recruiting advantage over "lesser" schools with NCAA violations. LOIC is the same as conduct detremental to the NFL.  It covers all.
 
The main point of the story is, the world is a bad place because of people like Jerry Sandusky, its a horrible place because of people like JoPa and others at PSU for allowing/covering up the actions of Jerry Sandusky to maintain the front of a good small town college football program.

NC_Buckeye's picture

But isn't the LOIC 'violation' again in regards to an athletic program and how it was or was not being run within the bylaws of the NCAA?  What NCAA rule addresses criminal matters and what authority does the NCAA have in enforcing actual laws?

Classic BSD subterfuge. Again... the NCAA didn't levy sanctions because of the crimes. PSU was punished because of the cover-up.
And just to be clear, this is all spelled out in Emmert's notice to Penn State president, Rodney Erickson.
Article 2.1 - responsibility of each member institution to control its intercollegiate athletics program

Article 6.01.1 and 6.4 - failure to meet principles of institutional control will result in infractions

Article 2.4 - athletes and coaches have to adher to fundamental values of civil society (respect, fairness, civility, honesty, responsibility)

Bylaw 10.1 - unethical conduct explained

Bylaw 10.01.1 - representatives of athletic program must act with honesty and sportmanship at all times (Emmert alleges that the deceitful and dishonest behavior of the cover-up specifically violates this bylaw)

Bylaw 11.1.1 - repeats 10.01.1

Bylaw 11.1.2.1 - head coach has the responsibility for promoting an atmosphere of compliance with these rules within his athletic program

Unky Buck's picture

In all seriousness, I would love to see a PSU fan who has blindly defended the university throughout and see what their argument is against this. Of course it agrees with my opinion so I'm all for it, but when trying to be as impartial as I possible can, I think it would be tough to lobby against.

...

mtharp's picture

sorry just my opinion....
guess im just gonna have to agree to disagree

GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

Your avatar pic..... its beautiful.

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

NW Buckeye's picture

Southern - You need to read the opinions of the Wetzel (he is no friend of the NCAA) and ESPN's legal analyst, which were both detailed in this thread:
http://www.elevenwarriors.com/buckshot/2013/01/pennsylvania-governor-tom-corbett-sues-the-ncaa
They both point out why this suit has about a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding.  Corbett's best option is to try for an injunction, but that is extremely rare, and is usually only invoked where the case presented is solid and has a high probablility of success.  Where this all really falls apart is the "waiver" aspect of PSU knowingly and willingly accepting the sanctions handed down.  They did not have to do that. 
Without any injunction the best that PA could hope for is a trial by jury which could easily be 4 years down the road or better.  And, the cost of pursuing such option will dwarf the fines imposed by the NCAA. 
The actions of Corbett are only proving that some of the culture that is PSU still has their heads up their behinds.  Heck, Corbett himself and the state could have prevented this debacle if he/they had just implemented a thorough investigation when this all began many years ago.  I really think this is just a smoke screen by Corbett to protect himself - many individuals in PA are saying this cover up went way beyond PSU and well into the State government.  For Corbett, his best defense may be to go on offense.  They can grandstand all they want about crimes committed at other schools with no subsequent NCAA actions, but the NCAA actions at PSU were not because of the crime, they were because of the lengthy cover up that went on and allowed for multiple victems.  And it was all done to protect the brand of PSU football so they could continue to brag about how clean their program was.  You don't have to take my opinion on it.  But, just look at PSU - they are scrambling to make sure the NCAA knows that they had nothing to do with this frivilous suit.  That alone should tell you that this is mostly grandstanding on Corbett's part. 

popeurban's picture

Thanks for the link.

beserkr29's picture

NW Buckeye hits the nail on the head with his points on why this lawsuit is going to be dismissed as frivolous and patently without merit.  In agreeing to accept the sanctions, Penn State removed any and all ability to shrug off the sanctions legally.  We can debate the merits of the NCAA's punishment and their influence until we're all blue in the face, but legally Penn State is on the hook according to the agreement they made.  Even oral contracts can be considered binding contracts with the right amount of proof and there were high profile examples of Penn State's trustees agreeing to whatever the NCAA handed down.  While the fine may be fought over for a very long time, the scholarship reductions and bowl ban most likely would end up being moot anyway, since there's little chance this case would ever be completely settled in less than 4 years.  In short, at the risk of being redundant, this lawsuit is essentially toothless and will only serve to help the governor's image amongst the Penn State fanbase, while not really ever accomplishing anything of import.  In my opinion, anyway.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I have zero legal training, but I'm skeptical of this principle that if one party agrees to some civil sanctions or settlement under the authority of an inter-organizational rules body - possibly even under a hypothetical scenario of having a virtual gun to its head (although I'm not saying that was necessarily the case here) - that said agreement limits that party's lattitude in challenging the legality of actions by the rules body that are possibly causing wrongful damages, etc.
Again, I know little of the law, but logically I'm inclined to believe that the NCAA's positions concerning how they handled the PSU case (or any other case) must stand on their own merits, regardless of whether they got some party to agree to a settlement under duress.

Jack Fu's picture

I think the NCAA was wrong to issue sanctions against Penn State because no NCAA rules were broken, the justice system was already punishing the individuals actually responsible for the crimes committed (or was about to in the very near future), and the NCAA acted outside of its due process in levying the punishment.
However, I had a professor in law school who was fond of saying that, essentially, "there's no crying in contracts." The decisionmakers at Penn State were under no obligation to sign the consent decree agreeing to their punishment. Many (including myself) thought it was unwise for them to do so. But they did. I agree with Lester Munson and Buck-I.8 above: that pretty much blows this suit out of the water almost from the get-go.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Excellent response! Except that it seems like courts do allow "crying over contracts." 
We've also heard lately, in reference to Maryland leaving the ACC, that courts will sometimes waive (or reduce) the contractual penalties that are triggered when contracts are breached because the penalties are sort of out-of-proportion with the actual damages. In this example, the ACC would fine Maryland $50 million for breaking their contract, yet ACC teams get, what?, only about $12 million per year from the t.v. deals, suggesting that exit fee is disproportional to the damages. It might not matter that Maryland agreed to these disproportional terms in the first place. The court might deem the contractual penalties as not binding independent of whether parties agreed to them. 
And don't we see that fairly frequently concerning "fraud" cases: an elderly couple is deemed to have been taken advantage of by agreeing to unfair contractual terms? Or more similarly to the Maryland example, if a client hired a general contractor to build his $300K dream home and the contract stipulated that if the work was completed one-month behind schedule the contractor had to pay a $100K late fee, those penalties might be reduced a court even if the contractor signed the contract.
Now, the PSU case probably involves a different analysis, because the NCAA sanctions were not triggered by a violation of contractual terms, right? They agreed to the penalties as a separate matter. Nevertheless, if there really is crying in contracts, maybe PSU can cry over their contract too?  

Jack Fu's picture

Well, Maryland's argument is that the exit fee, which is nominally supposed to be to compensate the ACC for lost revenue that Maryland would have generated them, is actually punitive and not meant to compensate the conference for their exit. That's a contract with a liquidated damages provision that is now under dispute. It's two parties, years ago, saying "IF X happens, Maryland will pay the ACC $Y." And then X happened, and they're arguing over whether the damages provision is fully enforceable. It's different than Penn State actually agreeing to their punishment for actions that already occurred. That's "Yeah, X happened, and now we'll agree to do Y."
As for some kind of "fraud" or "duress" allegation, I mean, both sides were presumably represented by counsel in coming to the terms of the consent decree. It's worlds apart from your hypothetical elderly couple getting swindled. If Penn State is really going to cry duress under these circumstances, well, good luck. To say nothing of the fact that the lawsuit is actually being brought by the governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, not PSU itself. Is he going to argue "hey, Penn State was stupid to sign the decree and shouldn't have done it"? If that's the case it would seem that his dispute is be with PSU itself, but they're not a party to the suit.
As for my old professor's phraseology, obviously it's a simplification. You can cry all you want. But you'll probably lose.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Another excellent response. I'm inclined to think that you're analysis will prevail in the court(s) and that remedies will ultimately be pursued via other channels. The NCAA's years are numbered.

Unky Buck's picture

Agreed, Fido. I'd actually go as far to say that many of the responses on this thread have been some of the best, most well thought out responses I've read yet on any thread.
While I may know a ton of lawyers (I have a sister who is a lawyer, 4 previous roommates who are lawyers, 2 cousins that are lawyers, my best friend is a lawyer, his wife is a lawyer, another friend's wife is a lawyer...and the list goes on and on), I definitely don't have a law degree or vast knowledge of any legal concepts. Most of what I am basing it on is basic knowledge and sort of a common sense (from my view) approach to it. While I see many parts in the lawsuit that are intriguing, including articles #4 and #5, much of it is purely based on a premise that the NCAA is just out to get Penn St. It's almost a childish approach that even gets to this finger pointing aspect of "Hey, look at what they did" in an attempt to avert attention away from the problem at hand. With PSU officials accepting the punishment and the plethora of other issues at hand, I just have a tough time believing that this will end in favor of PSU.
And I think it was mentioned before, but while I think the NCAA was harsh on PSU, the bottom line is that this was all done in an effort to not tarnish the brand name of Penn St. football. So while no competitive advantage was gained by anything that was done, there was a strong degree of football comes before the greater good mentality at PSU...and that is where the problem lies. Even Corbett is almost screaming it in some of the articles in the lawsuit. That's why the institution itself was punished. So even looking past the PSU officials accepting the punishment or Corbett's previous affiliation with PSU, will a judge/jury look beyond the reasoning behind the cover up? I don't know...I'd like to think not, but we may not know. I'll definitely be paying close attention to this all though, that's for sure.

...

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

Fido, I believe this is what may happen...because the "deal" given by the NCAA was only on the table for a very brief time, and PSU was promised that if they leaked any information to the media or tried to consult attorneys before agreeing to waiver their right to any future recourse against whatever the NCAA would do, that the deal would be pulled immediately. If that doesn't stink of signing something under duress, nothing does. Although the analysts think this suit will fall apart, I think it will end up forever changing the way the NCAA operates, and will result in a lessening of sanctions. Again, I am not a PSU fan, but in comparison to the NCAA...I BLEED BLUE AND WHITE! I think the heavy handed tactics are bad for football, were ill conceived and illegally applied against NCAA protocol, AND will set up a very bad precedent for the next time they want to make an example out of some school whose "violation" doesn't fit any convenient and stated category.

GoldenBearBuckeye's picture

Agree 1000%.
Board of Trustees was agent for the University and for the State.

Nick's picture

Interesting for sure, but they would probably serve the four years scholarship reduction before it was settled in court. The 60 million fine though may not be paid in the end.

Edit: also with scholarship reductions dont think the court can affect that since the ncaa is a voluntary association for the school. I guess same argument can be had with the fine as well..

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I have no idea of the legal merits of the State of PA's challenge.
My concern all along was that the NCAA, via its PSU sanctions, had effectively turned itself into a quasi-public policy agency, issuing sanctions that only loosely relate to sports competition, yet which have very significant, widely-dispersed socioeconomic impacts.
That's more of a "political" or policy concern - i.e., the NCAA could have been acting legally and yet doing so in ways that are detrimental to the public good, etc. It's not usual for a government authority to first challenge the authority of a non-governmental body via the legal branch(es), but if that doesn't work, then pursue legislative and/or executive remedies.
Regardless of how this case turns out, it is a shot-across-the-bow at the corrupt, bloated, rusty old NCAA tanker boat.   

buckeyestu's picture

hopefully by the time this gets through the court system, it will be like 4 years from now and penn state football is the pits

FROMTHE18's picture

just want to say that there are some fantastic comments in this post, great opinions and great reads...I for one feel that the sanctions will stick and this is just a governor acting on behalf of his constituents... I am also of the opinion that PSU fans and supporters need to let this be and continue the healing process begun by the University. PSU and the football team are not victims in any way here IMO...every NCAA sanction impacts players that have little to absolutely no involvement in what happened and tends to punish innocent fans and players; that is just the nature of the beast and PSU fans and players need to get over it...this situation is more important than some football game and I for one would have prefered no football at Penn State until the victim's cases are settlted by the courts...its just a game, not life, and I think Penn State fans and supporters forget this simple and obvious fact.

buckatron32's picture

I took the time to read the entire document and there were two things that really stuck out to me. 
The first was that Ohio State was mentioned twice, both in a negative light. The first instance was in relation to the perception of the NCAA as being weak, specifically mentioning the cases involving the scandals at USC, Auburn, and OSU. The second was comparing the culture around the football program at OSU to the one at Penn State, specifically mentioning Gordon Gee's admittedly dumb comment about Tressel not firing him. Both cases seemed to be an attempt to divert attention from themselves by mentioning other's indiscretions, which are in no way comparable to the actions taken by Penn State. 
Also, as the OP mentioned, the document listed other cases where criminal activity was mentioned, including the Baylor murder case. The attempted cover up by the Baylor coach is mentioned, but this is not a good example in my oppinion. For one, the Baylor basketball program faced major sanctions because of the cover up and the actions that the coaching staff was trying to hide. This brings me to the second point, which is that the cover up was not of the murder, but of payments made by the coach to the deceased player. Comparing these two cases doesn't really make sense to me and doesn't support the state of Pennsylvania's case. 
Just a couple things I noticed from the document that I thought I would share. 

NC_Buckeye's picture

SI's Michael McCann brings up what may ultimately be the goal here. Which is to throw the full weight of the state of PA's legal resources at the NCAA and see if the NCAA blinks. Most of these cases have been filed by individuals and groups which don't have the legal resources to contend with the the NCAA and long drawn out trials. NCAA lawsuits that have been successful were conducted mostly by large institutions with almost unlimited resources.
I find this very disparaging personally. Almost everyone I know agrees that PSU acted immorally in covering-up Sandusky's transgressions to protect the reputation of its football program. And NCAA by-laws do indeed specify that member institutions must act morally in conducting their athletic operations. And now because the furor has somewhat died down -- we are seeing more and more support for this notion that the NCAA over-stepped its authority. I'm in shock by the number of Buckeye fans who are coming out of the woodwork to support this view.
Jesus. Really? The NCAA didn't act because of the crimes. They acted because of the cover-up. The cover-up that occurred to protect PSU's football program. THIS GOES TO THE CORE OF WHY THE NCAA EXISTS. FUCK.
Believe me when I say this is systematic maneuvering by the PSU stakeholder/power-brokers. First step is to stem the blood-loss occurring from the sanctions. Basically this lawsuit. Next step is to buy-off the victims and get them back in the fold (if they ever left in the first place). Victim 4's attorney, Benjamin D. Andreozzi, currently is spinning the media with the fact that his client doesn't support the NCAA sanctions and wasn't consulted by the NCAA. How much you want to bet that Andreozzi is a PSU booster?
After that find a way to get the Spanier/Curley/Schultz charges dropped. Which should effectively kill the Dept. of Education investigation.
PSU might come out of this smelling like roses if successful. But both you and I know that Happy Valley deserved an A-bomb for what transpired there.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

NC Buckeye: very good comment. Your reasoning is sound, but it all follows from an initial assumption that the NCAA system is just and viable, whereas I see the NCAA's mission as fundamentally corrupted. Even if PSU deserved an A-bomb, it's not clear that the NCAA is the appropriate authority to drop it.
I also found ironic that what you're accusing PSU of doing has been the NCAA's modus oparandi for decades: intimidate less powerful individuals/groups (e.g., college athletes) with the threat of overwhelming (legal and other) resources; systematic maneuvering to use and expand their powers against would-be opponents; turn witnesses in their favor; utilize its vast PR resources; get complaints/challenges to NCAA authority to be dropped; circumvent due process; come out with the NCAA smelling like a Rose. 
If the NCAA presumes to be a power broker, should the NCAA be surprised when other big dogs attempt to broker their own powers?

NC_Buckeye's picture

There have to be consequences for bad acts such as what Paterno/Spanier/Curley/Schultz conspired to do. If the power-brokers behind this get their way and Happy Valley returns to business as usual, then the NCAA might as well cease to be. The by-laws are worthless, toss them out. If it's not okay for players to get extra benefits or schools to engage in academic misconduct, but it is okay for schools to cover-up crimes which would affect an athletic program's reputation --  well, that's pretty fucked up.
The disdain you have for the NCAA... I feel that way about the legal system. It's not about getting at the truth. Our legal system is more like a negotiation process in which the more powerful, resourceful litigants usually secure the favorable decision. I'm not confident that truth will prevail in any of the lawsuits and criminal proceedings that have commenced in PA. And I think the PSU faithful are counting on their guys being able slime their way out of this mess. Which is why they've been advocating for "due process" since the start.

Bucksfan's picture

NC_Buckeye, I also agree with your very good point about the coverup, and how this goes to the core of why the NCAA exists.  Even furthermore, the Freeh report did not ONLY investigate a mere handful of emails that may have referred to Sandusky or Paterno or whoever, which may be interpreted as a coverup.  They also questioned former university brass to create a sketch of the environment at Penn State.  After a very thorough investigation, with all things considered, it was their conclusion that the REASON the university's administrators did nothing was to protect the football/Paterno-centered status quo at Penn State, and that they found no other reason that could have satisfied the facts.
Let's say everything was the same, but it didn't involve Joe Paterno or the football program.  If the university administrators had done the same coverup, but in this case for the head of the Penn State business school, for example, then the NCAA wouldn't have gotten involved at all.  But because this involved football coaches, football facilities, and repeated coverups by those involved with the football program and higher, the NCAA got involved.
Ohio State didn't get in trouble because Terrelle Pryor and four others took impermissible benefits.  They got in trouble because the head of the football program covered it up.  It's always the LIE that gets you, not necessarily what you did wrong.  We all should know this far too well.  So, I'm with you 100%...I don't understand why Ohio State fans are folding.
Do I think the penalty is harsh?  Yes.  I'm not really sure what authority the NCAA has to remove 60 million dollars from a state of the union.  They certainly have the authority to limit Penn State's participation in competitive sports.  So, the lawsuit may hold some water in that regard.  I do not think they should be going for the NCAA's throat, because I do not believe a court will waste its time evaluating the NCAA's rulebook enforcement.  But they will definitely hear a case regarding interstate commerce.

NC_Buckeye's picture

Just a hunch, but I think PSU power-brokers want to get that 60 million back so they can use that money (or a portion of it) to buy off the victims.

d5k's picture

I think if Penn State wins this lawsuit then that is the beginning of the end for the NCAA as regulator of big time college football.  The writing is on the wall already.

NW Buckeye's picture

What I find most interesting about all these threads is the idea that the NCAA is some independent entity that forces its will upon hapless schools.  The bottom line is that it is actually an organization formed by and comprised of its members (schools).  The weight they throw around is the weight of their collective members.  The rules and regulations are proposed and approved by the members. 
The outcry at PSU is really no different than much of the same we have heard from any sanctioned school.  Things like "well we did this, but that school did that" and "these sanctions are uncalled for."  Heck, all (or at least a vast majority of) OSU fans thought our sanctions were too extreme.  And, what is really amusing about all that is that in all previous NCAA investigations and subsequent issuance of sanctions the folks over at PSU seemed to have the loudest voices of people calling for the NCAA to "go get 'em".  We went through our own bit of hell at the hands of the NCAA and the most vocal trolls on our site were not from TTUN or the SEC, but from PSU.  They fully supported the NCAA going after OSU.  Now that the monkey is on their back, it is a different story. 
The two situations (OSU and PSU) are similar only in the fact that they both involved coverups.  Many fans want to jump on Emmert's back about the severity of the sanctions, but he would not have endorsed such sanctions on either school if he did not have the backing of the members.  And, those members really believed that PSU had violated the conduct code of the NCAA by the cover up instigated by Paterno, Curly, Shultz and Spanier (every time I see their names together if brings up images of the three stooges).  It was at the members (presidents of the universities) insistence that the NCAA got involved with this, and many of those members believed much more severe sanctions were in order.  All of them are more intimately acquainted with the rules and regulations of the NCAA than any outsider. 
The NCAA exists because the schools want it.  The schools formed it, the schools run it.  As long as there are sports in college, there will be some sort of oversight organization to regulate the competition between schools/teams.  Don't look for the NCAA to disappear because of this suit.  There may be changes coming down the road, but whatever happens will involve the schools organizing and controlling it.  The NCAA is already in place.  They have a pretty good foothold.
I have to add here that I really am not a big fan of the NCAA.  I wish that their enforcement was more uniform across all areas of college sports.  But, they are what they are. 
 

Toilrt Paper's picture

The Commonwealth and/or the Governor of PA has no claim. The NCAA did not saction or fine the State of PA. Penn State could sue the NCAA, but not the Governor. This is a political ploy to assure reelection by the Governor of PA.

Poison nuts's picture

This is a great thread. As any feelings I have on the subject have already been posted by others, I just wanted to chime in & say - right on folks - way to have a discussion!

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

One Bad Buckeye's picture

You know that there's no way the NCAA can win this case, once you get politics involved....forget it.  Which is utterly discusting.  Do we as a society really need to have the NCAA write it in the rules: "Don't harbor filthy child molesting brutalizing monsters." to close a loophole for a corrupt place like PSU?!?!
It doesnt matter if they didn't break an NCAA rule...they broke laws!!!! If the state of PA wants to sue someone they should sue freakin PSU instead of the NCAA.  

"I'm One Bad Buckeye, and I approve this message."

Toilrt Paper's picture

BY FAR the worst case in NCAA history of Lack of Institutinal Control. From the President of the Universty to the head coach, knew about, did nothing and covered up Sandusky's bad actions. All done to protect the sanctity of the Penn State football program.
What if Gene Smith and Gordon Gee knew about Tressels actions, did nothing to report them and covered them up? All done to protect the sanctity of the Ohio State University's football program? YES, that to would be Lack of Institutional Control.

buckatron32's picture

This is a great point. Penn State supporters constantly claim that they didn't break a single NCAA rule, but what they fail to realize (or choose not to) is that members of the programs and school faculty deliberately covered up a for disgusting human being and his heinous crimes to protect the football program, and allowed it to continue in the team's locker room! They deserved the penalties they got, and it is starting to become truly scary how some continue to disregard Penn State's role in the scandal. 

aliosu1122's picture

I wish Penn State would not have waived their right to NCAA due process.  That scenario would have been really interesting.  What most people at PSU don't seem to understand is that the NCAA would have certainly investigated them for lack of institutional control or a similar infraction.  An NCAA investigation worth any merit would have taken at least a year with another year to determine sanctions. At that point, the football program would have been living under a cloud for several years.  Any professor who ever had a problem with JoePa would have come out of the wood work.  If I was a Penn State fan/alum, that alternative doesn't look very rosy either.  It would be downright ugly.  It could have been worse for JoePa's legacy.  By agreeing to sanctions, they completely circumvented the investigation process.  As a Buckeye who was vilified by a number of Penn State fans during Tattoo-gate, I told them that the best thing that happened to your university was you avoided an investigation.  The agreement would allow your university to move on much more quickly than the traditional process.  The $60M fine was hefty, and I was surprised Penn State agreed to that.  I could see that getting cut back, but I have a hard time believing that sanctions wouldn't have been placed on Penn State eventually if they hadn't agreed to the deal.  I guess there is some benefit to understanding the NCAA process... 

Toilrt Paper's picture

A letter to all Alumni would take care of the $60 Million fine overnight.

NC_Buckeye's picture

Probably not because the students and alumni are in temper-tantrum mode. They want to raise hell until mom & dad gives in and lets them out of the corner.
Now a lawsuit to fight the sanctions... yes they'd definitely come up with $60 million for that.