Trusting the NCAA to do anything competent is usually an exercise in futility. Effectively the NCAA is has less ability to govern than congress. Nine-times out of ten the NCAA displays the utmost hypocrisy when it comes to any type of decision making, never mind in its feeble attempts to discern punishment for universities and athletes who break it's archaic and phony regulations. However, when it comes to Penn State and how to best punish a football program my hat goes off to the NCAA cause they actually got it right and here's why.
Maybe WE ARE to blame — perhaps not for Jerry Sandusky's atrocious crimes — but for the moral hazard that seemed to exist at Penn State. All of us. From the media, to the alumni, the students, and the boosters. Because we all helped in the canonization of Joe Paterno, who according to the Freeh report, covered up the fact that his friend and one-time heir apparent Jerry Sandusky was raping children. I know it sounds harsh, but that's the truth.
The day Paterno was fired from Penn State amidst the rampant speculation of what he did or didn't know about Sandsky's behavior, Ashton Kutcher (probably) innocently tweeted this,
“How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste.”
Somewhere along the way, Joe Paterno turned from a man to legend, which apparently made him and his decisions unassailable.
Frankly, that sums it all up. If you think Kutcher is just some sycophantic pretty boy celebrity who was popping off the mouth without knowing all the facts, he wasn't the only one; the riots at Penn State proved that. Somewhere along the way, Joe Paterno turned from a man to legend, which apparently made him and his decisions unassailable. And it wasn't some divine being granting him that power to run the football program as he saw fit — it was us.
There is an old saying that "absolute power corrupts absolutely," and what happened at Penn State was no different. Paterno probably should have retired in the 2003, but how do you tell a guy in his 70s who effectively runs the school and is beloved by everyone to step down? You can't. Because the Paterno is Penn State ethos had been so indoctrinated into the university’s culture, firing him would have led to a small nuclear implosion around the campus. He should have stepped down, but he didn't, and we all thought it was ok because as Kutcher put it, "How do you fire Jo Pa?"
We gave Paterno carte blanche because even when it was clear that the game had passed him by, we thought Paterno was building his team the right way. Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Pete Caroll, and Jim Tressel — those were the coaches cheating the system with their money handshakes and their negotiations with street agents and their laughable graduation rates. They’re what was wrong with college football. Not Paterno. He didn't do any of that, he found good kids who wanted to play at Penn State for the right reasons.
We created the mess at Penn State because of we fell in love of what we thought Joe signified rather than what he was. We immortalized Paterno in a blanket of immunity because of our lust to create a hero in college football, yet what we have learned is that he was just as mortal and as flawed as any other man (Ed note: more so).
We immortalized Paterno in a blanket of immunity because of our lust to create a hero in college football.
Our society now gives celebrities more and more power, and to question it means your just a "hater." Of course everyone should have some sympathy (aside from the victims, clearly) for the athletes both past and present who will not only have to answer incessent questions about their time at Penn State, but also now have to question just what kind of man they Paterno was a leader. My learned colleague Craig Lowell wrote a passionate article about why the Death Penalty wasn't good enough for Penn State, and while I disagree with some of his points, I agreed that the Death Penalty in this case was simply not applicable.
While we can and should debate the severity of the NCAA's decision, I guarantee you they simply walked ass backwards into the right level of justice for Penn State. Paterno had garnered the political capital because he was college football’s all-time winningest coach. Not anymore. Now, after the NCAA's sanctions, he went from the No. 1 to No.12. The school’s president seemed helpless to involve the authorities for fear of killing the golden goose, which was Penn State's football team. Now the Nittny Lions have been fined $60 million dollars and are unable to qualify for any Bowls until 2016.
There is little doubt that what has transpired at Penn State over the last year will hurt local vendors, restaurants, and even the school's psyche. Penn State football isn't going away, but Penn State football as we knew it is dead.
No one should mistake that it was Jerry Sandusky who committed the heinous crimes of which he was found guilty, but no one should also be so naïve to disbelieve that we created a culture at Penn State that allowed for his behavior to go unchecked until now.
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Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
Charlie Lobosco May 1st
This is a very compelling story because Mr. Collins is a very passionate, tough, intelligent, athelete taking on some additional responsibliity to help others as…
Scott Cohen May 1st
Charlie.. very well said.. he does have guts
Scott Cohen May 1st
but it shouldn’t require guts. .like you said it’s nobody’s business but his own
Hisham Zameeth April 30th
best player ever…..
Kareem Musa Mayowa April 29th
We don’t need to be hopeless about the situation bryant his. Because even david villa situation also up to the level of his own to…
Maritess Lim April 28th
I still believe in KOBE’s power…… He is still the best…… He will make it possible no matter what……
mimi_aragon84 April 28th
I feel no pity for him. First of all, it is EAGLE, COLORADO, not Eagleton, secondly he enjoyed success and adulation from fans from 2003…
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