Joe Schad quoted anonymous sources and Matt Hayes expressed his disdain for Cam and Cecil Netwon, neither of whom he has ever met.
Must be another scandal in college football.
Well, this time it's not really a new scandal. It is just the continuation of the worst scandal in college football history and one of the worst in the history of American higher education. The story is well-known. Former Penn State assistant Jerry Sandusky raped children in the Penn State locker room. The once-revered Joe Paterno helped cover it up. The president was fired. The former vice president and athletic director face perjury charges.
Early Sunday morning, the statue of Paterno that had stood beside the football stadium since 201 came down. And later Sunday morning, it was revealed the NCAA will announce punitive measures against Penn State on Monday morning.
From all reports, Penn State won't receive the so-called death penalty but apparently will be hit harder than any program has ever been hit, so hard that it will take years if not decades for the program to recover. Since there has been no NCAA investigation, no hearing, no due process of any kind, it would seem likely that the university must have accepted the sanctions. Columnist David Jones of the Patriot-News in Harrisburg, perhaps the most knowledgeable media voice covering Penn State, reports that there will be no appeal.
Lots of people will celebrate when it comes down. I mean, how can you not want harsh punishment for enabling and covering for Sandusky's evil?
Sandusky has been convicted and will never take another free breath. Former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz face perjury trials. Ousted president Graham Spanier could be next. The Paterno family continues to make noise when they should shut the hell up.
But is it an NCAA matter?
The NCAA exists to make rules of competition and enforce those rules, whether they be game rules, recruiting rules, academic rules. It is not and should not try to be a law enforcement agency.
What's about to happen could set a very ominous precedent.
Is the next school whose coach is charged with DUI going to be sanctioned by the NCAA? What about players? Does a player being charged with a crime now merit a loss of scholarships? Should the NCAA be concerned that Arkansas coach John L. Smith has had financial difficulties and will leave some creditors empty-handed? Where does it end?
That's one side of the issue, but it's not the only side.
Clearly, Paterno and by extension the football program had far too much power at Penn State. Presidents and athletic directors dared not make a decision without his support. When they decided maybe it was time for him to retire, he ordered them out of his house and they ran like a bunch frightened house cats.
Meanwhile, Paterno was hailed from coast to coast, from Canada to Key West, as a saintly man who did everything right. It was always a mirage. We just didn't know how much of a mirage. There are those who will tell you even his much-praised commitment to NCAA rules was more myth than reality.
Paterno had an unseemly obsession with winning more games than any coach ever, a record that might stand only until Monday morning. He was arrogant, so arrogant that he turned a blind eye to the suffering of children so his program wouldn't be embarrassed. And the result was that his program was so embarrassed by a scandal so ugly that it made football seem totally irrelevant.
No recruiting scandal, no amount of money given to players under the table, no academic fraud is even close to what happened at Penn State.
But do new coach Bill O'Brien and his staff really deserve to have their program destroyed before they coach a game? Do Penn State players, not one of whom past or present, enabled a child molester deserve to have their college careers thrown into turmoil? Should the NCAA be in the business of imposing sanctions, agreed upon or not, based on someone else's investigation and without a hearing of any kind?
Those are hard questions, but it appears Emmert has answered them to his satisfaction.
And Penn State football will never be the same.
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