NCAA's Emmert Doesn't Rule Out Death Penalty for Penn State

July 17, 2012 at 10:03a    by Jason Priestas    
33 Comments

Comments

LouGroza's picture

This is what everyone that doubted the possibility of the death penalty needed to hear. Emmert saying they are not afraid to make the courageous decisions and do the right thing speaks volumes. Glad to hear it and hope the proper message is sent. 

FROMTHE18's picture

If the death penalty occurs.... how does this impact PSU and the Big 10? Obviously depending on number of years they are not allowed to play means another game needing to be scheduled but if the NCAA takes harsh action, does the Big 10 follow their lead and potentially replace Penn State all together? Something to think about perhaps.

NC_Buckeye's picture

Well, kicking Penn State out of the Big Ten totally screws up college hockey. With five members, we would no longer have an automatic entry into the NCAA tournament.
And the CCHA & WCHA are not in a place where they could re-absorb our members back into the leagues. The CCHA will no longer exist after this year.
I really like college hockey and was looking forward to having a "little brother" to beat up every season (instead of being the little brother that gets beat up). So let's stop the kick-PSU-out-of the-Big-Ten talk.... please?

mastermiind's picture

haha. i'm a big hockey fan, too. but, let's be honest, on the list of priorities, maintaining the college hockey status quo ranks right below bleaching my perineum and giving my mother-in-law a kidney. 

hgvyt54trtfvt56

NC_Buckeye's picture

Yeah, you're right. It's just... I was looking forward to the Big Ten finally having it's own league in college hockey. 
Okay, Illinois. You're up. Time to step up and play with the big boys.

omahabeef1337's picture

The death penalty would be stupid. That's more than just taking a bowl trip away from kids that had nothing to do with these heinous crimes at Penn State who are now just players on the team. The death penalty would kill lots of jobs of people who have nothing to do with this at all.

FROMTHE18's picture

Any punishment targeted at the entire program hurts plenty, and by plenty I mean the other 99%, of those that werent involved... i.e. look at Ohio State, how many of the current players were involved in tatgate? Miami is going to get punished, USC got punished for the mistakes made by those no longer with the program. Even if a punishment hits one player, if that particular player is a large part of the current teams production, then the entire team suffers. This is how every NCAA punishment is, it hurts the ENTIRE program in one way or another, regardless of what punishment is actually handed out.

Bucks43201's picture

@OMAHABEEF1337:  couldn't disagree with you more. Something bigger than just a bowl ban needs to be done, (btw - who is to guarantee PSU even qualifies for a bowl the next few seasons?)...something more tangent that doesn't look just like business as usual needs to be done for the victims. Worry more about the victims than PSU players, fans & stadium workers. They are collateral damage. Did the SMU stadium workers deserve to lose those jobs? Nope - then why would the Penn State collateral damage victims be spared? How about he USC players being punished for something a player did 7 years ago? Not exactly fair either, right? That's just the way it works. It's an imperfect system, I agree. But the point is: why make an exeption for the most out-of-control program ever?
Think about SMU, USC, UNC, Ohio State, etc.. ... basically every sanctioned team in NCAA history,  in terms of past & current NCAA penalties....add them all together and not's still not 1,000,000th as bad as the 14-year child rape cover-ups at PSU. It was not just one man. It was systemic - to protect image, reputation, legacy, jobs and...a football program. This PSU program & institution needs correlating punishment.
The footall program itself benefited directly from these cover-ups, which led to on-the-field competitive advantages.

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

omahabeef1337's picture

Right, so what I'm saying is that NCAA's method of punishment is stupid. If I understand right, had the NCAA understood what would happen to the SWC and the SMU program, the NCAA would not have used the death penalty.

BucksfanXC's picture

Punishing innocent parties isn't good, I agree. However, PSU has to be punished. It has operated a program for decades under the premise that everything can be handled internally. They thought that they were above the rules, procedures and authority of the NCAA, Big Ten, even the university itself. This cannot be encouraged. The message needs to be sent to other programs that might be doing this, or think about doing this.
PSU was a unique situtaion, being it had a coach for 40+ yrs, who was canonized, it had a small town community that was totally insulated from the outside world, and it had a great reputation to fall back on as a cover. But it was all masking and creating the problem. The people in charge became subordinate to the football coach and the football program. Football was more important than child welfare, let alone NCAA rules, academics and anything else. The law, the Dept of Ed, CIC, Big Ten, NCAA and several civil lawsuits are going to come down hard on PSU. The innocent will have to pay, but that is life, it isn't always fair.

“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

Poison nuts's picture

@bucksfanxc - I tend to agree with you - but I go back & forth on the subject...I would hate to be living in Pennsylvania and have my livelihood taken away from me because a group of people I never met covered for a child molester. On the other hand - the culture obviously needs to change there.
Whatever happens this is an unprecedented situation and I would hate to be in the position of deciding the consequences. It gets sadder by the minute...

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

BucksfanXC's picture

Well that's life though. I feel bad for all victims of all crimes, but that doesn't mean we should never punish anybody unless it only effects them. It may not be all the students and current staff's fault, but it is PSU's fault and PSU needs to be punished. That is exact what happens when OSU has to serve a bowl ban even after Pryor and Tressel left. There are other examples, not just NCAA ones, but it is a recent and familiar one. I'm trying to think of a criminal effect, like what if you work for a construction company and the bids were fixed by the mob and the mob gets busted and all the contruction jobs get shut down. You didn't do any thing illegal or know that your bosses were, but you lose your job anyway. I don't know, I might be reaching.

“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

Bucks43201's picture

btw - things are only going to get worse. I hate to say it, but more things are going to get uncovered. It's going to get uglier, unfortunately. So, the NCAA & B1G should rule on the safe (obvious) side of harsher penalties. If they just issue a bowl ban or something similar & ultra-soft, and more stuff comes out - they'll be wishing they issued the death penalty, (which is justified so far, i.m.o.).
As for PSU donating money to victims, charity groups -- that's good & all, but it's not tangible enough. Take away the one thing that most led to this disgusting cover-up: the football program. At least for a few years. Besides, these victims will get that $ via civil lawsuits.

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

Poison nuts's picture

We're on the same page here. As I stated - I tend to agree with the death penalty. I am just conflicted about it. This is not a case of a husband going to jail which causes the wife & child suffer... This has far reaching effects - across a good portion of a state & maybe further. While I agree with the the death penalty in this case (& possibly even PSUs removal from the B1G) I was really only saying that this is going to hurt a lot of people, many not related to PSU & that sucks. On the other hand, when you think about what happened there & the mentality & culture that allowed this to happen - there is no other choice but to teach a tough lesson that no one will ever forget.
 
Edit: meant to reply to bucksfanxc on the comment. My bad...

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

cplunk's picture

The hurting innocent people means you shouldn't delve out the punishment argument is a bogus argument. 
There are many criminals in jail who were the sole breadwinner for their spouse and children. we don't refrain from putting someone in prison for committing a crime because it doling out the punishment puts the family in a tough economic situation.
If the situation warrants punishment, then that punishment should be doled out regardless of its effect on others.
 

BucksfanXC's picture

Exactly, and sometimes it's not even this direct. The punishment has to happen. It's not because of a "someone has to pay" mentality, it's because if we let this go, we have to let everything and anything go unless we can punish only the guilty, which is just not feasible in many cases.

“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

LouGroza's picture

Yeah do not get the can't punish because innocent people will be affected thing. That scenario is in most cases be it criminal or NCAA. Punishment especially when extreme is meant to shake the violator to its core. The PSU core is football. Take it away and get their attention. Many of their fans along with the Paterno family are still denying.

CincyOSU's picture

Do you really think the victims care if the football team, comprised of players who did NOTHING, has its season or not? Justice for the victims will come from the courts, both criminal and civil. I see someone keeps using the analogy of a man who is the sole breadwinner for a family that goes to jail...that is not the same thing at all. First off, he committed a crime and the punishment is jail. He knew the consequences of his actions. His family may be affected, but you don't punish the families of his friends or families of his co-workers who did nothing wrong. Those INVOLVED in the cover-up are/will be charged with crimes...and will go to jail if proven guilty. But to punish an entire region, not to mention other members of the B10(don't think for a second this won't hurt OSU), is absurd.
I've slowly started to come around on the belief that PSU should be punished. Heavy sanctions are one thing as it will still do damage to the program and bring about the "culture change" ppl are asking for but at the same time spare those on the outside who did nothing wrong.

NW Buckeye's picture

Cincy - You really don't get it.  It was the football "culture" at PSU that is the sole reason for the cover up.  Dr. Triponey has pointed that out in many interviews both before and after the Sandusky thing blew up.  Everyone in PA dismissed her revelations as sour grapes.  Since this cover up has been exposed many other PSU employees both past and present are echoing Dr. Triponey's accounts of special treatment for anyone and anything involved with football.  Yet, there are still many within the PSU football culture, both those directly connected to it and those not, that are still parroting the same "spare those on the outside" logic that you spew.  And, they just don't get it.  It is their "head in the sand" mentality that is the problem. 
Just ask yourself if Sandusky had not been associated with football and been just another member of the PSU faculty would have been a cover up to this magnitude?  The obvious answer is no.  And, if and when the Feds issue any sanctions for violation of the Clery act who will be affected most?  It won't be the four involved in the cover up.  It won't be the football program.  It will be the thousands of students and faculty who had nothing - absolutely nothing, to do with the cover up other than being part of the PSU "culture".  The people involved with football (current coaches, support personnel and players) are more connected to this cover up than any other individuals at PSU.  Without football, this (the cover up) would never have occurred. 
That is why many of us, including some distinguished faculty members at PSU (Malcom Moran, just to name one) and many prominent members of the media (Bob Costas, to name one) see that the NCAA needs to get involved and issue heavy sanctions as this is the worst NCAA football scandal ever. 

hodge's picture

The Death Penalty isn't what killed SMU; it was the rest of the NCAA's draconian sentence that formed a storm powerful enough to cripple any blue-blood institution.  Remember, UK basketball was given the Death Penalty for the '52-'53 season, yet it did nothing to affect their traditionally dominant ways.  The penalties, per wikipedia:

  • The 1987 season was canceled; only conditioning drills were permitted during the 1987 calendar year.
  • All home games in 1988 were canceled. SMU was allowed to play their seven regularly scheduled away games so that other institutions would not be financially affected.
  • The team's existing probation was extended until 1990. Its existing ban from bowl games and live television was extended to 1989.
  • SMU lost 55 new scholarship positions over 4 years.
  • SMU was required to ensure that Owen and eight other boosters previously banned from contact with the program were in fact banned, or else face further punishment.
  • The team was allowed to hire only five full-time assistant coaches, instead of the typical nine.
  • No off-campus recruiting was permitted until August 1988, and no paid visits could be made to campus by potential recruits until the start of the 1988-89 school year.

One canceled season, lessened scholarships, and a bowl ban will not kill Penn State.  It will hurt them about ten times worse the USC, but they'll survive and be back on the right track in about 3-5 years.
I honestly like the idea of forfeited home games this season, a 3 year bowl ban (and the inability to recieve the B1G's collective bowl payout during that span--which Delany will donate to child abuse charities), and a 1-2 year television ban (with forfeiture of all football-generated profit coming from BTN during that span), along with maybe 25-30 less scholarships over the next 5 years (5-6 per year).  This would establish the NCAA's response as about as strong as they can possibly make in this day and age, and prevent said institutional cultures from ever running a BOT the way athletics did at Penn State.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

If PSU were to face sanctions as heavy as you describe, at that point, would make it sense to kick PSU out of the BT?

hodge's picture

I personally wouldn't.  The B1G is so much more than an athletic conference; and even though Penn State is being punished because they let athletics take presidence over all else, they're an invaluable academic institution and financial commodity that happens to have the world's number-one alumni network to boot.  We're better off as a conference with them, and keeping them may very well be the only way towards getting them back on their feet.

BED's picture

You may know the answer to this, since you seem pretty knowledgable on the sanctions Hodge, so I'll ask:  If you're subject to a TV ban, how does that impact your opponents?  Doesn't seem to be fair to the opposing fans.  Is it just home-market blackout?

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

mastermiind's picture

give 'em the guillotine. no, but seriously, we need them to stay or our basketball strength of schedule will suffer. plus, can we really place a value on how much revenue we generate by having access to the University Park market? i mean, there are tens of people there that we simply cannot lose.

hgvyt54trtfvt56

Doc's picture

I've said this before, and I'ma going to say it again.  PSU needs the death penalty AND booted from the B1G.  We could replace them with Pitt and really not miss a beat.  PSU is plutonium now and will be for a long time.  I won't be able to see their games without feeling disgusted and sad.  The victims need to be thought of in this discussion.  Yes, they will get their day in court, but I believe they need to see that the culture that allowed this to happen has been punished as well.  I stated in a different thread that PSU should voluntarily shut down its football program for 10 years.  That might be a little harsh, but 5 years is getting close.  Delaney needs to set a precedent as well and give them the ol' heave ho.  Having PSU in the B1G is a black eye for the conference.  A guilt by association type thing.  The university and its fan base are smug and arrogant.  Being tossed from the conference would be some comuppance.

"Say my name."

CincyOSU's picture

5-10 years is a just a tad harsh dont you think? Why not ban it forever at that point? And we really have no room to talk in regards to the perception of fanbases...seeing as many also say the same thing about us. I'll admit, at first I wasn't sure how I felt about punishing PSU football at all...that has changed after seeing how everything has played out. But in my opinion, I feel that the damage done to others, including other members of the B10(and no they aren't going to get kicked out), is too great. I really don't agree with punishing those who weren't involved(current team) but if you really want change let them play and suffer. Cut schollies in half, take away bowl appearances, take away local tv appearances, etc.

Bucks43201's picture

you're the type that like to over-apologize, right? I admit OSU has a few crazies in their fanbase. Everyone does. But, I'll take our fanbase over any other school's. Please don't put us down to the level of the arrogant delusionals at State College.

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

CincyOSU's picture

Never meant to imply that, but I have lived in other parts of the country other than Ohio, and we are not very liked. Heck, check out the comments on articles in the Cincy papers(in our own backyard)...the words most commonly used are smug, arrogant, rude, etc. I agree in that we are often characterized by the actions of the vocal minority, I just don't think its fair to go after other fanbases who MAY also be lumped in with the few crazies. You can't lump everyone in with what you hear on BSD and other PSU fan boards, just like you can't lump all OSU fans in with the nut jobs. There are actually quite a few PSU fans who are just as disgusted and embarrassed by this asa the rest of the country.

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

I say let them play. Just put every last penny of revenue to charity. People that had nothing to do with this keep their jobs. Players get to play. But not one cent of profit can be kept for PSU purposes.

J.Mo's picture

I don't know if the death penalty is necessarily the right choice but severe punishments need to be placed on the program. Maybe limit them to 48 scholarships (22 for offense, 22 for defense, 2 for Special teams) and make them fill the rest with walk-ons. Ban them from bowl games for 5 years. I don't know but death penalty MIT be too much.
 
But a severe penalty is needed. PSU fans still hang their hats on the fact Joe Paterno never did anything in 61 years to get them on the NCAA shitlist... Joe Paterno's reputation needs to be tore apart due to his negligence and severe penalties would ruin his rep as it needs to be.

Bucks43201's picture

I'm so sick of the argument that this was a cover-up by a "handful of men...who are not even there anymore". This was a deliberate & calculated cover-up, & it was SYSTEMIC. It's a PSU CULTURE problem. From the top down. From Joe to the Pres, to the AD, to the assistant coaches to the janitors! When janitors are afraid to report these horrific crimes, you know you've got more than just problem by a "few men who are gone"...it's deeper than that, it's a serious systemic culture problem.

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

CincyOSU's picture

It was a cultural issue, but one can make the argument that those that caused said culture are gone...which is why many, myself included, bring up that argument. The "head has been cut off the snake" here...that is a start. Now we need to see what the school does moving forward. I just don't see what killing the program will do...its not going to bring closure to the victims. If you want to see them suffer, let them play, but with severe restrictions.

schooey's picture

Yeah, I heard they even had classes on how to do it. BS! Stop wetting yourself.