Tag Archives: NCAA

NCAA Decimates Penn State Football, But is it Justified?

Joe_Paterno_Sideline_PSU-Illinois_2006

A day after Penn State removed its statue of legendary football coach Joe Paterno, the NCAA brought crippling sanctions against Penn State’s football program.

The NCAA fined the program $60 million, a sum equivalent to the annual gross revenue of the football program, which must be given as endowments to programs preventing child sex abuse. The NCAA also banned Penn State from the postseason for 4 years and will cap the number of scholarships awarded to the program at 20 below the normal level of 85 for 4 years. On top of this, the football program will be under probation for 5 years, and any current or incoming football players are free to transfer and compete at other schools, essentially reducing the entire team to free agency.

Joe Paterno, formerly the winningest coach in college football, will also lose all wins accredited to him from 1998 through 2011, a totall of 112 wins. This makes former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden the winningest coach in college football.

The NCAA also reserves the right to levy additional penalties against Penn State.

These sanctions stop just short of the ‘death penalty’, which would shut down Penn State’s football team, many are calling for on the back of assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s conviction for child sex abuse and allegations of cover ups by high ranking school officials, including legendary coach Joe Paterno.

An internal investigation conducted by Penn State reports Joe Paterno not only covered up Sandusky’s abuses, but dissuaded others from reporting incidents to authorities.

Paterno’s family has vehemently denied these allegations, calling into question the objectivity of former FBI director Louis Freeh, who conducted the investigation. The family claims Paterno is being used as a scapegoat, since his death prevents him from defending himself, and maintain Freeh’s findings are an indictment that is unofficial and not representative of the entire truth.

Although the internal investigation suggested Paterno covered for Sandusky, Paterno’s actions in incidents in 1998 and 2001, when he reported his suspicions to authorities in the college, do call this finding into question, as does his willingness to have Freeh investigate.

The point is, there is contention, not clarity, about Paterno’s involvment. And this is a society where a man is innocent until proven guilty, so does Paterno really deserve to have his reputation destroyed before his involvment is conclusively proven?

And even if Paterno and other school officials are guilty, is that really justification for crippling the school’s football program? How does punishing the players vindicate the victims of Sandusky’s behavior or Paterno’s alleged cover ups? The players are not responsible for Paterno’s or Sandusky’s actions.

NCAA president Mark Emmert justified the harsh sanctions against Penn State by stating, “The sanctions needed to reflect our goals of providing cultural change.”

But is ‘providing cultural change’ really the prerogative of a collegiate athletic organization? Or is that the prerogative of the legal system? The NCAA exists to regulate the activity pertaining to the sports clubs within their organization, to make sure the teams play the game honestly and fairly, to make sure the players aren’t being endangered. As Paterno wrote in a letter to the Penn State community before his death, this is not a football scandal. The scandal does not revolve around actions committed when the individuals involved were acting in their capacity as part of the football team. And the football players do not deserve to be so completely decimated because of it.

If it is proven that Paterno is guilty of covering up Sandusky’s crimes, then his reputation as a coach deserves to suffer, since he championed success through honor. But certainly not before anything has been proven. This situation is precisely what John Adams was warning against when he stated that we are a nation of laws, and not men. Jo Paterno, and his football team, deserve to be fairly tried by concrete evidence, not just on the insinuations and allegations of the court of public opinion.

 

Penn State: A Season in Purgatory

Possible location of the new JoePa memorial shower?

Possible location of the new JoePa memorial shower?

On Saturday, September 8th, the University of Virginia has a once–in–a–lifetime opportunity to demonstrate how an institution obeys the same honor code that governs its students.

The Cavaliers can prove to the world that UVA’s honor code is more than mere words when they refuse to play their football game against Penn State.

But wait, you say, that would be premature. The NCAA has not made its decision regarding possible sanctions. So what. That’s like the 37 neighbors who heard Kitty Genovese screaming for help while being stabbed to death, claiming they didn’t want to get involved because the police hadn’t begun an investigation.

One of the core values at UVA is “honor and integrity.” What’s more, “students are expected to hold themselves and their peers to high standards inside and outside the classroom and to engage ethically in their local, national and international communities.”

How can the university hold its students to a standard it’s not willing to meet? Playing Penn State means turning a blind eye to depravity and what the Freeh report termed “the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims.” An individual or institution cannot associate with the dishonorable without tarnishing its own honor.

What Joe Paterno and the See No, Hear No and Speak No Evil cabal did at Penn State was against the law and the laws of decency, but it did not violate NCAA rules. The only role for the NCAA in this scandal is allowing any Penn State player who wishes to transfer to do so without losing a second of eligibility.

Any “death penalty” sanctions the NCAA might take are outside its authority and simply unnecessary if the universities on Penn State’s football schedule live up to the bromides they broadcast to students.

One of the many problems undermining the country’s future is American passivity. We sit and wait for government or some outside “authority” to take action while we check The Drudge Report to see if anything has happened. We don’t trust our instincts on almost anything. We rely on “experts” who tell us how to raise our children, train our dogs and relate to our fellow man.

In the face of great outrage a self–reliant person or institution can and should act individually to try and repair the fabric of society. I believe the operative phrase is “think globally, act locally.”

Sure, refusing to play Penn State and urging the other schools to do the same requires a little more effort and commitment than starting a Facebook page, but the result is much more impressive.

Still I can hear the administration’s objections. Refusing to play the game will result in lost revenue for the football team. What that excuse tells students is UVA’s convictions are rock–solid as long as they are convenient and cost free. Besides this reasoning is eerily similar to the rationalizations Paterno and his shower sleuths used to justify refusing to report child rape to the police.

Where I grew up a decision by UVA to live by its honor code and refuse to associate with a football program defined by lies and exploitation is called putting your money where your mouth is. (Here in Washington I believe the term is a “fiscal commitment demonstration project.”)

Then there is the legal excuse: UVA has a signed contract; the school is committed.  Then break the contract. Surely it contains a “moral turpitude” clause, and if not I’ll contribute to UVA’s legal defense fund.

There is, however, a solution to the revenue problem that allows UVA to maintain its honor. Instead of playing Penn State, UVA plays the University of Ohio, which is Penn State’s first opponent. The Bobcats expected to be annihilated by Penn State anyway; so visiting Charlottesville merely changes the locale of the execution.

Once UVA and Ohio refuse to play Penn State the pressure not to play begins to cascade on the remaining schools. Positive peer pressure — a phenomenon almost unknown in modern America — is revitalized and the rest of the schedule falls into line.

It’s fine if Big Ten conference schools attempt to replace Penn State by scheduling a team that doesn’t bring the ghosts of molested boys into the locker room. Or, on what would’ve been game day, the schools can hold one of the “conversations” that are so popular in academia and discuss “social justice” for little boys.

Refusing to play Penn State is the right and honorable thing to do. Even better, the refusal leaves Joe Paterno with a fitting legacy for his last team. The 2012 Nittany Lions will be undefeated, unscored upon and untouchable.

Sioux Me

Don’t you get tired of thin skinned cry babies? Once again there is a big flap about the offensiveness of a certain Indian mascot. But this time, it is not the Indians, excuse me, Native Americans, who are offended. Instead, the group offended is the NCAA and are demanding the University of Dakota get rid of their 81 year old sports team name, the Fighting Sioux. Here is the bottom line: the majority of the members of the local Sioux tribes view the use of their name as a badge of honor. The NCAA needs to stop telling the Sioux that they are supposed to be offended. Once again, political correctness tries to reign.

Some claim that these Indian names perpetuate myths about their ancient ancestors being hostile, aggressive and warlike. Well, the truth is, a lot of early native American Indians were warlike against the invading palefaces who began claiming the land they had lived on for centuries. The Indians were not warlike without reason.

Mascots are named after certain people groups, animals, or forces of nature for a reason. Cowboys, Vikings, falcons and tornados are all aggressive and destructive. It’s all in keeping with the spirit of fighting, which is a part of competitive sports. Not all Native American Indians are offended, but a thin skinned, liberal minority of politically correct people claim to be offended, and sane thinking people are tired of liberals telling minorities to get offended. If they had their way, high schools, colleges, and professional teams would be known as the Westside Weeping Willows or the Pennsylvania Mighty Oaks or the Davidson Daises or the Washington Redwoods. But then, tree hugging EPA nuts might get offended. Of course we could then turn to lower forms of plant life like the Atlanta Algae or the Kansas City Kernels, until champions for these underclass groups arose for their defense.

In Philadelphia, Mississippi, on the Choctaw Indian Reservation, at the Choctaw High School, the mascot is the “Warriors” illustrated by a picture of an Indian brave. Someone needs to tell the Choctaws they are absolutely politically incorrect and should get with the times. I do not think, however, they would take very kindly to being told they need to become the Choctaw Acorns or Choctaw Chickens or some other non-aggressive, inoffensive name.

Apparently the Choctaws haven’t been approached by the PC Police. If they ever are approached, I hope the Choctaws will use good common sense and tell them to get real. Freedom of choice is important, even if it’s only over the issue of being able to choose a mascot that fits an aggressive athletic team. If people are not free to choose names, the only other option is to join the ranks of the insane and become politically correct.