NCAA Gets PSU Sanctions Right, But For Wrong Reasons

Submitted by Ace on July 24th, 2012 at 3:32 PM

Leave it to the NCAA to get the Penn State sanctions right, yet still find a way to screw it up.

The debate surrounding the—wait for it—unprecedented penalties handed down to the PSU football program has largely hinged on whether or not the NCAA had any jurisdiction at all over this issue, one that at face value went so far beyond football that it seemed inappropriate and insensitive to make it a football issue.* Criminal matters should be handled by criminal courts, so what basis does the governing body of college sports have to essentially decimate PSU football?

Yesterday, Mark Emmert decided to justify his swift and forceful actions by indicting the very culture that funnels billions into the pockets on his organization:

"The fundamental message here, the gut-check message is, do we have the right balance in our culture?" he said. "Do we have, first and foremost, the academic values of integrity and honesty and responsibility as the drivers of our university? Or are we in a position where hero worship and winning at all costs has subordinated those core values?"

In doing so, Emmert opened up the NCAA to—very fair—criticism about the sheer hypocrisy of the above statement, and that criticism extends to the penalties themselves**. Slamming "hero worship" when the NCAA extravagantly profits from—to take one small example—NCAA Football video games that advertise "a deeper game for a deeper devotion," is remarkably tone-deaf. The NCAA doesn't make their money from "academic values", but from fanatics (it's called March Madness, for chrissakes) who sanctify figures like JoePa and Coach K and Woody and Bo and the athletes upon whose backs this empire is built. The NCAA asking us to suddenly find perspective is like TMZ chastising their readers for caring too much about the lives of people they don't actually know; it's a nice sentiment coming from precisely the wrong source.

What I find more remarkable, however, is that the NCAA had the proper basis to levy these sanctions sitting right in front of them, and instead they took the hypocrisy route. It's simple: Penn State gained a massive, long-term competitive advantage by keeping Sandusky's heinous crimes quiet.

Why did Joe Paterno, when confronted with clear-cut evidence of Sandusky's sexual abuse of Victim 2, decide against alerting the Department of Child Welfare? It wasn't to cover for a friend; it's been well-documented that Paterno and Sandusky weren't exactly close off the field. No, this was a football decision, one that kept up Paterno and Penn State's untarnished image while avoiding a scandal that—even if Paterno did the right thing and reported Sandusky—would bring an enormous amount of negative attention to the program and potentially threaten Paterno's job status.

In March of 2002, when Mike McQueary reported what he had seen in the Penn State locker room to Paterno, Penn State was coming off back-to-back five-win seasons. Paterno was 75 years old, reaching the point where questions abound about his ability to run a successful football program, if he could retire with dignity before PSU would be forced to push him out the door. I can't claim to know the motivation behind the cover-up, but the timing of the 2002 allegations could not have been worse for Paterno from a football perspective.

Instead of facing the situation head-on, Paterno and Penn State kept quiet, and Penn State's program turned around; from 2002-2011, the Nittany Lions went 83-43 with two shared conference titles and two BCS bowl appearances. I have a hard time imagining that Penn State would have compiled such a lofty record while dealing with sexual abuse charges against their former defensive coordinator. I'm guessing JoePa thought much the same.

When looking at the issue from that perspective, the NCAA had little choice but to bring the hammer down on a Penn State program that gained an enormous, decade-long competitive advantage by covering up crimes of a most despicable nature. The scope of the penalties, which almost certainly doom PSU to a decade or more at the bottom of the college football barrel, are just given the severity of the crimes committed*** and their on-field consequences. While I commend the NCAA and Mark Emmert for coming through with these penalties, I have no earthly idea why they decided to base them on hypocrisy when there was such an obvious and justifiable alternative.

*The other point of contention was the potentially disconcerting precedent set by Emmert. To that, I'll say this: when do you expect something remotely close to the PSU situation to arise again? And, if we're unfortunate enough that something similar does occur, would it not merit the same level of action? I don't believe Emmert will exercise this executive power even for cheating as severe as Miami's or UNC's.
**Spencer Hall and Drew Magary, most notably, fell on the "scathing" end of the spectrum.
*** I'm referring to the cover-up, not Sandusky.



July 25th, 2012 at 11:11 AM ^

Because it doesn't reflect the Penn State situation. In your example it'd be if the Unversity found Sandusky getting too huggy or touchy with a kid, but didn't full on assault the child, and then later did what he did...once. That would be the equivalent.

And they're not punishing the school for Sandusky assaulting kids.  They're punishing them for sweeping it under the rug, and continuously, for a long period of time. If a coach kills his wife I don't want the NCAA stepping in.  If he does it and the University helps to cover it up so he can get away with it, then yes, step in...I don't care.

All this could have been solved if PSU did the right thing a decade ago and said hey, authorities, we have lots of evidence this guy is doing something you go...go get him. Till you do, we're not letting him anywhere near our facilities.  Then the NCAA doesn't have anything to say about any moral transgressions their staff might have taken, and they look good in the public light because they did the right thing.  


July 24th, 2012 at 4:36 PM ^

Your scenario is not even close to PSU.  Children were being raped in the football showers.  No one protected the children because of the power of the football machine.

Can you imagine what they would have done to McQuery if he went on ESPN in 2001?  Everyone would have crucified him and maybe it all goes away.

Now I would agree with your scenario if the school put on a huge party in the football locker room, paid with school funds, served underaged players, brought in teen-aged hookers, then an assistant coach got popped for DUI after said party.  Then the coverup would be similar but not the same.

If a coach gets drunk on his own time, off school property, without any contact or official school business; then I would agree with you that the NCAA has nothing to say about it.  Then if he kills a family of 4, there should be nothing said by the NCAA.

But JoePa covered up a crime.  The State Child Welfare was not called in.

I say this penalty is too light.  NCAA should have used the Nuclear Option and stopped everything.  The DOE should go in and pull all accreditation. 



July 25th, 2012 at 8:22 AM ^

the point isn't that my hypothetical is perfect... or akin to what happened at PSU.  The point is that now that they've opened this box they're going to have a hell of a time closing it.  Don't like the hypothetical I gave?  Fine, use a different one.  The point is that there are going to be a lot of gray moral matters and schools screaming "where's the NCAA now?!"  And those calls will be lead by Penn State.


July 25th, 2012 at 2:18 PM ^

if there was every an occasion to bring in the heavy hammer, this was it.  I personally would have liked to see death penalty.  I know this may be worse in the long run, but it doesnt have the sting as "Death Penalty".

I would like to see the NCAA over-reach its authority in a case involving innocent children then pu$$y-foot around like tat-gate and Bush-gate.  Hopefully the victims get some schadenfreude out of this.

ohio, USC and others will now sit up and notice this decision.  Hopefully nothing close to this ever happens again.

Mr Miggle

July 24th, 2012 at 5:52 PM ^

Because it would be ridiculous to detail every illegal and immoral act that the NCAA prohibits.

To assert that by hiding the situation they avoided the damage which would have come by exposing it and therefore gained a competative advantage is turning the notion of competative advantage on its head.

Really? This was the Penn State staff that used the clean reputation of their program as one of their selling points. They were certainly trying to turn that into a competitive advantage. Since they used that approach until they finally got caught, it's reasonable to think they had some success with it. Let's just suppose that someone from PSU had come clean in the summer of 2008. They would have had to admit to ten years of covering for and enabling Sandusky. This would have been a huge hit for the image of their program. Many of the recruiting battles that they won would have been lost. That's the essence of a competitve advantage in recruiting.

As far as your other points go:

1) It's not the NCAA's place to supplant legal action. But there is no reason that committing illegal acts should leave individuals or schools immune from NCAA sanctions. By your logic offering a recruit drugs or hookers is not an NCAA matter since it's against the law.

2) There is a tremendous difference between not divulging an arrest to the press and not reporting serious crimes to the police.


July 24th, 2012 at 4:16 PM ^

I saw first hand the cult worship of JoePA. No criticism towards him could ever be tolerated unless among Pitt fans (which I grew up as, so I am bias). With that said, it was obvious he didn't have what it took to maintain his level of excellence, and there was a potential for better people to lead the program. In my opinion, it's likely that Joe listened to his assistants the last few years and before his slump (ie. Sandusky). However, the worship of Patterno was greater than the football team. Think about this fact again:

Patterno refused to be fired. People who were higher than him and had more authority could not remove him.  However, he realized the public had his back. If the public has your back, then you begin to think you can do whatever you like and make the error of covering up a scandal. 

Given that circumstance, Patterno was the king of Penn State. He dominated everything, had his name everywhere, and often times had a positive influence. With that said, the public's opinion of him empowered him to act without any consequence. Many people at PSU have expressed their displeasure for these sanctions, but Ace makes a good point that they are just. Like he said, the punishments were not for the right reasons.

Giving all the power to one person allowed Patterno to avoid the situation. His fame created the program's popularity and corruption, which allowed Sandusky to form an organization that enabled him to harm children. For those reasons, I believe everyone who provided this power is to blame. I hope that the penalties handed down by the NCAA will help the public forgive the Penn State alumni, students, fans, and my close friends who created a corrupt system. 


July 24th, 2012 at 4:21 PM ^

The idea, which many beside Ace believe to be true, that there was football advantage gained by keeping quiet is ludicrous. Imagine a world where Paterno or PSU, instead of keeping quet, instead turned Sandusky over to the police and addressed the matter in a press conference after the 2001 incident. There would be not one single negative piece of fallout from doing that--Sandusky was already retired. Paterno would have been HAILED, once again, for doing the right thing and adding to his legacy of honor, as would PSU. There would have been a firestorm of media, but all the media about Joe would have been positive. Because of the awful nature of the crime, no one would have thought, unlike other scandals, that there were other child molesters around. No sane parent of a recruit would have thought there was a risk to their kid attending PSU--if you don't believe that, witness the fact that recruitig didn't tank after this came to light. 

No, this was a cover up, like every other cover up, designed to avoid bad publicity. That publicity would have caused them unease, and would have subjected them to questions about Sandusky when he was there and did he molest any players, but doing the right thing would have ADDED to the Paterno legend. The NCAA didn't pursue that line because there was no competitive advantage gained.

snarling wolverine

July 24th, 2012 at 4:34 PM ^

In 2001?  There wouldn't have been any negative questions asked?  I think there would have been a lot of questions asked about why JoePa was letting a guy who had been investigated for child rape three years earlier hang around in his football facility, and rightly so.  That, coupled with the fact that PSU had losing seasons in 2000 and 2001, might have been enough to give PSU the guts to fire him.





July 24th, 2012 at 4:54 PM ^

Sandusky was in the PSU Trustee's Box the game before his arrest.  Everyone knew the arrest was coming.  The Grand Jury heard hours of testimony.  Grand Jury's almost always hand down charges.  Grand Juries are for prosecutors that are spine-less to go after corporations etc.

So how in the hell can anyone in their right mind believe that the walls were coming down?  I can answer that.  It is because of the power structure that had been in place for so many years.  "Nothing is going to happen to us".  Enron, GM, Lehmen Brothers, all come to mind.


July 24th, 2012 at 4:50 PM ^

asked, I didn't say there wouldn't have been. But IMO it is undeniable that Paterno would have been hailed, as I said, and there would have been zero recruiting problems for PSU because of it. Hell, they were recruiting well until yesterday. Competitive advantage was never gained, that is why the NCAA never pursued it--if they could have, don't you think they would have? That was their lever to do so.

snarling wolverine

July 24th, 2012 at 5:03 PM ^

Again I disagree.  He might have been hailed as a hero at the beginning, but after it came out that Sandusky had been investigated for child rape in 1998, I think people would have started to ask a lot of hard questions about him - about what he knew, how he couldn't have seen this coming and how he could allow Sandusky access to his program.  That would have been a problem for a coach who claimed to be running a "grand experiment."  

As for the NCAA "never pursing it," I have no idea how you draw that conclusion.  Why do you think they vacated all those games?  The NCAA vacates games precisely when it thinks a member school has gained an illegitimate advantage.




July 24th, 2012 at 5:34 PM ^

The vacating of games was a punishment for the PSU "culture," as they said again and again in the press conference. This entire action was based on moral outrage at the non-action of PSU, not on anything at all to do with football. That is why even an ex-chairman of the infractions committee of the NCAA was quoted by ESPN as being troubled by the action yesterday, since he said it has nothing to do with competitive advantages or level playing fields, which is what sanctions are designed to ensure. 

I'm not saying they shouldn't have punished PSU (though I do have misgivings because I believe this was a matter for the civil and criminal courts, not the NCAA). But at minimum, it's far from clear that this was a football matter.


July 25th, 2012 at 9:23 AM ^

I agree the NCAA's decision had nothing to do with any supposed competitive advantage (see my comment above).  However, I disagree with your statement that this "entire action was based on moral outrage at the non-action of PSU, not on anything at all to do with football."

The NCAA punished PSU because the school allowed its culture to reach such a point that the President, AD, and Sr. VP of the university chose to protect the PR image of the football program over the welfare of boys whom, they had very strong reasons to suspect, were at grave risk of being abused by a former assistant football coach.  If the accused pedophile was a physics professor with the same track record as Sandusky, do you think Spanier, Curley, and Schultz would have behaved the same way?  Hello no!

That's why this whole scandal was all about the warped culture that had grown up around PSU football.  The football-first culture is what corrupted the university's highest ranking leaders.  And for this massive and reprehensible failure of leadership, the NCAA was warranted in punishing PSU's football program.


July 26th, 2012 at 5:01 PM ^

if it was Graham Spanier, that is for sure (IMO). Or for any well known person at the top. Or for the COO of McDonald's, or any other organization. Every organization tries to avoid bad publicity, they are paranoid. Even if they did the right thing, they'd try to keep it quiet in a case like this. That's why I maintain it had nothing to do with football


July 24th, 2012 at 10:41 PM ^

I absolutely agree with every word you wrote except one:  2001.

Change it to 1998 and you are spot on.  1998 is JoePa regretfully finding out something bad about a close associate and doing the right thing.  Nobody has an ill word to say about Joe Paterno or Penn State.  There is no negative publicity about the school itself.  It's a sad story that could happen anywhere.

But 2001 is a three year+ cover up.



July 24th, 2012 at 4:25 PM ^

No doubt that this move by the NCAA is simply in response to the public's bloodlust.  I dont think the NCAA had true authority here and the plausible arguments (like the one presented here) are contorted and usually weak. Sorry Ace. The problem then is, who actually has authority? No one.

Huge institutions like this get away with this sort of behavior because of plausible deniability and limited liability.  The only people who actually did (did not do) anything, have paid the maximum price they could actually be asked to pay (their jobs). Meanwhile the institution, dusts it's hands, says "our bad" and moves on with business as usual give or take a few token words/deeds. There are other examples...

I dont mind Penn State having to wear a scarlet letter around for a bit. I'd rather it not be necessary but it's way too late for that. In this case I think public opinion got it right. And in the grand scheme of things PSU is just fine. But, but, but... football. Oh noes.

It's an interesting concept for justice , really. Due process to determine accountability, crowd source the penalties.  Judges render final ruling, then get re-elected or not. Society at large is the only true moral authority, but where do we go to set up an appointment?


July 24th, 2012 at 4:41 PM ^

OK, I guess I buy this as an argument but in reality, I don't really think the NCAA had to justify why they did it.  I mean we know why: we're talking crimes that have the perpetrator behind bars for a hundred plus years, and the accomplices covering the atrocities up because of football. Right reason, wrong reason, it had to be done by the NCAA. Media, no media, something had to be done. Society is none the worse for this judgment. It's better. At least they did something. Sometimes people don't do anything, and that's when we need to worry. 


July 24th, 2012 at 4:47 PM ^

we all get that the NCAA is big and greedy and hypocritical but not every issue needs to be an excuse to throw it in to the discussion. Your argument in this case wether it's right or not is unecessary.


July 24th, 2012 at 4:49 PM ^

I pretty much agree with this.  We can't know for sure, but I think they benefitted from 2002-2011 when they swept the scandal under the rug.  The one thing about the punishment that surprised me was that they decided to vacate the 1998-2001 seasons as well, where I think it was a little murkier about whether PSU acted appropriately.


July 24th, 2012 at 4:52 PM ^

Penn State deserved the punishment they got, and the NCAA had a valid excuse to dole it out to them, its really strange that they completely ignored the sound excuse for bringing the hammer down and chose to go about it the wrong way. Penn State did the right thing in fully accepting the penalties, but the NCAA dropped the ball in their reasoning. Penn state needed to be punished, and their deluded fanbase needed to be taken down a peg, and the victims certainly need advocates, but the NCAA needs a better excuse than that to blow up the program. They had the right excuse to do it too, but they made a grab for the spotlight instead. If they had performed any kind of investigation, listed punishable infractions committed by named individuals, followed some kind of due process, or didn't pretend to be the caretakers of college footballs moral compass then they would've been the good guys here, but it really feels like they did it as an excuse flex some authority after being a bit of a laughing stock and so many schools cheating so flagrantly. I'm hoping this at least means they'll dole out more severe punishments when the next tatgate or Bush/Newton scandal comes around.


July 24th, 2012 at 4:57 PM ^

If a math teacher is molesting a child on school grounds, and only a handful of people that work at the school know about it and don't do anything, does the entire school or math department get punished ten years later?

snarling wolverine

July 24th, 2012 at 5:08 PM ^

That is not a good analogy.  PSU benefitted from the coverup in recruiting and fundraising, by keeping its reputation intact.  I don't think the math teacher in your hypothetical needs to recruit students to perform in front of 100,000 spectators.  

I think we're also going to find out in the coming months that a lot more than "a handful" of people knew about Sandusky.  


July 24th, 2012 at 5:00 PM ^

Let's say Joe Paterno had reported Sandusky the instant he became aware of the issue. There would have been ZERO damage to Penn State football. Indeed, Paterno's image — as a no-nonsense guy who ran his program the “right way” — would have been enhanced.

Of course, everyone would have found Sandusky revolting, as they do now. But no one blames you for having a monster in your midst, as long as you forcefully eject him as soon as you become aware of his true nature.

Now, it could be that Paterno perceived that the unmasking of Sandusky would hurt his program. But the actual competitive advantage was zero. Everyone would have realized that Sandusky was an aberration, and would have praised Paterno for acting quickly and decisively as soon as he realized what was going on.

The real problem may be that by 2002, Sandusky’s problems were no longer new. The Freeh report found credible evidence that Sandusky was showering with young boys as early as 1995. And I would not be surprised if it went back farther than that. Paterno’s problem in 2002 was probably that, if the story came out, people were going to ask why it took him this long to realize it.

But if Paterno had actually done what he should have — to report Sandusky as soon as his fondness for little boys became apparent — Penn State football would not have suffered one bit.

Mr Miggle

July 24th, 2012 at 6:16 PM ^

but I think there is more to the story. By 2001 Paterno was invested in the coverup. If anything was disclosed then he would have faced a lot of tough questions about why Sandusky was given the kind of access he had since 1998, etc. The others involved were similarly invested in continuing the coverup since their initial involvement.

Sandusky's attorney argued that men don't suddenly become pedophiles in their 50s. He was correct that it generally manifests itself much earlier. Sandusky had been at PSU since before Paterno was even the head coach. He started Second Mile with the accompanying access to many vulnerable boys in 1977. The charges brought to light 3 times he was caught at PSU in a relatively short period of time. It seems very possible that in the previous 30 years he had been caught there at least once. I don't want to go too far in speculation, but I could see a scenario where Paterno was invested in the coverup well before 1998 and that someone else was similarly vulnerable the first time Paterno became aware of Sandusky's activities.


Smash Lampjaw

July 24th, 2012 at 5:08 PM ^

It may be that it is not possible for them to act without hypocrisy, given their tasks and their funding sources and their employers. Are they primarily advocates for student-athletes? Are they primarily umpires ensuring fair competition between institutions? Are they milking the cash cow for maximum advantage to their members? Are they in positions to object to the desires of the conferences, university presidents and trustees? (It seems to me that criticism of the NCAA is being judged here a little less harshly than yesterday, when I got bopped for suggesting some of these problems.)


July 24th, 2012 at 5:14 PM ^

How about Ohio State?  During the height of the furor over Tressel, the President of OSU stated, "I'm just lucky that Jim Tressle allows me to be President."  

This is where the rubber meets the road.  The atmosphere, environment, system, attitude, mindset that exists to make a President of the University say such a thing.  The NCAA should discipline OSU for that statement because that is exactly the attitude that lead to the PSU disaster.  Hit the disease before it metastasizes. 




July 24th, 2012 at 9:52 PM ^

While one can chalk this up to hubris, hero worship, or just plain, ol' fashioned greed, we're talking about bending (or breaking) some rules related to the "amateur" (/smirk) status of athletes in the OSU program -- and (in St. James Tressel's case) lying about it to the NCAA. The tendencies of human nature may be similar in that case to Penn State's, but in the latter, we're talking about a deliberate and sustained cover up of several major felonies of the most reprehensible kind over a 14 year period. And, on top of that, not one of the so-called leaders in that institution showed even the slightest remorse nor motivation to put an end to what they all knew Sandusky was doing and would continue to do (in their own facilities!) unless he was stopped.

In my mind, that goes way, way past anything even remotely similar to what Jim Tressel was found to have done.


July 24th, 2012 at 5:35 PM ^

The Ohio State example is what I've told several people today.  How is PSU's culture of football is king different from OSU, Oklahoma, or any SEC school outside of Vandy?  If a significant part of the penalty is aimed at "changing the culture" at PSU, then they better start working on a bunch of other schools come tomorrow morning.


July 24th, 2012 at 9:55 PM ^

I'm not trying to equate the offenses, just the NCAA statement of trying to change the entire university's culture..  The criminal activity was committed by 4 people and the ones living are being prosecuted.  The whole university didn't have a culture of burying serious crimes.


July 24th, 2012 at 6:28 PM ^

It's the culture of silence regarding criminal behavior that needed to be changed.  The idea that it's ever a bad idea to turn in a criminal who happens to be associated with your program.  The NCAA made an example of PSU; they are going to expect other schools to heed it.



July 24th, 2012 at 6:08 PM ^

This is not to defend Penn State and in no way am I supporting their position in this situation.

However, my main question is about the $60 million fine which, I assume, will be raised on the backs of hard working students on loan programs. How is that money being collected? yes, it's a "season's worth of football revenue" but I am not sure football revenue will be used to offset it. I get the idea of punishing them severely and support that, but I am wondering how PSU and the NCAA can gurantee that this money does not come from the pockets of inncoent, hard working students because that seems to me to be targeting the wrong people.

It reminds me of economic sanctions against a nation; the rich stay rich and the poor get hungrier. Does anyone know if there is anything in place to earmark money for this fine?

This is my only problem with the penalties.


July 24th, 2012 at 6:26 PM ^

It's $12 million per year for five years.  If their annual football revenues are indeed $60M, they should be able to pay for it out of athletic funds.   Where it will hurt PSU is in trying to update any of their athletic facilities or hire new coaches - they're not going to have enough money for that.



July 24th, 2012 at 10:21 PM ^

Without bowl participation and, pretty much a lack of non-cable coverage of their games, I rather doubt they'll see anything close to that number. 

The NCAA has mandated that PSU may not reduce spending for any sports program during this period. There is no way to clearly see how this will effect PSU's other sports.



July 25th, 2012 at 11:23 AM ^

And they'll still get that. Doesn't matter what channel they're on, they get an equal cut from the Big Ten as Ohio State or Indiana. Bowls are usually break even to a loss anyway. Attendance may eventually creep down, but probably not till the end of the pay period. They've already sold all their tickets for this year (mostly). Yeah, merchandise and donations and stuff will be hurt, but most of those earnings are fixed. They'll take a hit...but I don't know if it'll be great. It'll just keep them from doing extra stuff as stated above, like facilities and such.


July 24th, 2012 at 7:21 PM ^

Unless it's 100% paid by the athletic department in a situation where the AD is self-funding, then it will somehow be paid by the students. Unless some donors step up to pay it or they dip into the endowment.

It's kind of a moot point though, that $60M is going to be dwarfed by the civil suit payments and government fines for violating the Cleary Act. If the students don't want to pay for those fines, or feel they won't get their money's worth in education due to possible cuts, they should transfer now. Is it fair to them? Not really, though they chose PSU, and now have the choice to cut ties. Sucks, but sometimes life is like that.


July 24th, 2012 at 10:18 PM ^

The lawsuits; to me, that's a different ball of wax and I agree. But for the NCAA, an organization that is set up for and by the institutions and which should be protecting students,  to punish the students financially is really troubling to me. I hope your 100% theory of AD is correct. Again, I think a fine is fair, but the process of getting that money should be bleeding the atheltic department dry, not taxing tax-dollar sibsidized loans and student debt and re-distributing it via the NCAA from middle and working class kids truing to get an education.

Class of 1817

July 24th, 2012 at 6:30 PM ^

"Penn State gained a massive, long-term competitive advantage by keeping Sandusky's heinous crimes quiet."

Yep. And that's it. And that's why the NCAA has the authority to do what they did.

A great evaluation, Ace. One that cuts to the quick of what everyone seems to be talking around, ignoring, or missing completely.


July 24th, 2012 at 6:54 PM ^

I have scanned through all the posts, and want to focus on something I don't believe has been commented on regarding the NCAA.

Often, there has been criticism of the NCAA that they are far too ponderous, and lenient, and have no teeth, and never do anything at all. I can't tell how many posts I have read bemoaning the fact that Ohio got off with so little in the way of punishment. Now, a significant number are posting that Emmert and the NCAA acted hastily, harshly, without due process. From my perspective, the NCAA is criticized no matter what they do. I don't have the time or inclination to search out posters who complained first about the scant punishment doled out to Ohio, and now complain about the quick gutting of PSU.

I tend to think that you can't have it both ways. To some degree, the public howling for blood has played right into the hands of the NCAA. All those who think that USC, and Ohio, got off easy, in a process that took too long, are getting what they asked for. I wouldn't be surprised if this opens the door, at least a crack, for both UNC & Miami to receive harsh punishment (even though their transgressions in no way compare to those at PSU.)

I also think there is an awful lot of hubris going around. While it is hard to imagine something like Sandusky happening elsewhere, I believe that there are many individuals out there who would willingly compromise themselves and their schools in order to win. Winning at any and all cost is something that happens far more often than we may realize.


July 24th, 2012 at 7:10 PM ^


86% of NCAA funding is from March Madness media rights. Basically none of the NCAA's funding is from football. Which is odd given that the NCAA has historically laid down harsh penalties in basketball while not touching any power football teams until recently.

I think Emmert mentioned the college presidents granted him this power to make this unprecedented punishment. Therefore he's really just the conduit for the punishment. As a result, I don't think it's hypocritical for him to decry hero worship, it's not hero worship that pays the NCAA's bills. Ace says the NCAA extravagantly profits from this. The NCAA doesn't profit at all. It just redistributes revenue and hold championships. There's no NCAA stockholder swimming in a money bin from EA Sports license payments. It's the schools that benefit, and they can all opt out at their own discretion and pursue an Ivy League approach if they want to. But they don't, because they enjoy the money, power, and prestige.

In reality, it's nice that the NCAA (empowered by the presidents) did anything, because if you had to leave this policing up to the conferences (which are the ones that hold the biggest media right contracts and distribute the most money) they might just let it slide for the competitive advantage over other conferences.


July 24th, 2012 at 10:02 PM ^

Thank you Ace!! People have totally forgotten how precarious JoePa's job status was at the time. I dont think he would have survived the scandal then. This just makes the actions of Paterno even more revolting. With what we know now, it is totally plausible that Joe was afraid that the failure to act on the 1998 information would sink him, so he squashed things. I don't know if that is what happened, but JoePa had self serving motive, and PSU did gain competitive advantage. Thank you.


July 24th, 2012 at 11:05 PM ^

Which begs the question . . . why Paterno did not act on the information in 1998 or whenever it was that he first really knew about it?

At that point, there was no issue of having to protect the program or Paterno himself.  At that point Paterno and Penn State were riding high.  This would have been just one of those unfortunate things that could have happened anywhere.  There would have been no impact on Penn State or the program.

Paterno's motivation in covering it up must have been out of some bizzare misguided sense of loyalty, of "protecting our own".  There was nothing really in it for him or the program.




July 26th, 2012 at 11:41 AM ^

It didn't have to. Point is that in 2001, Joe wasn't strong enough to survive any allegation that he dropped the ball. It would have been used as over the hill evidence, and he would've been gone. So in 2001, he had motive to cover up.


July 24th, 2012 at 10:32 PM ^

Sorry, but the NCAA isn't responsible for the effect of the punishment - whatever it might have happened to be - on current or former players. The NCAA, by contrast, has made every reasonable attempt to mitigate collateral damage to the current team.

Responsibility here rests solely with the four men who aided and abetted Jerry Sandusky for at least 14 (!!) years. These four did everything in their considerable power to avoid collateral damage to the football program, their own reputations, and their careers that would surely have been manifest had the allegations against Sandusky been made public in 1998 or 2002. As others have pointed out, by 2002, JoePa was in his mid-70s and there were plenty of people inside and outside of Penn State who thought it was time for him to ride into the sunset. He thought otherwise, and thought himself more important than those children - so much so, in fact, that he was prepared to commit perjury before a grand jury to perpetuate his own self-serving, mythical status.

Had JoePa and the PSU Administration had one iota of concern for its football team as a consequence of this scandal, they would have accepted whatever fallout that came to them personally, largely secure in the knowledge that the football program would continue. But, they didn't.

So to suggest that the NCAA should now be the one concerned with "fair" treatment of the current players (or fans) is also to suggest that it should have more interest in fairness and concern for them than any shown by JoePa, Curley, Spanier or Schultz; or that their interests weigh heavier than the misdeeds done by those men. I just don't buy it.