NCAA hits Penn State hard, but ‘death penalty’ appropriate (UPDATED with video)

Mark Emmert moved fast and hit Penn State for their actions (and inactions). (AP photo)

Mark Emmert moved fast and hit Penn State for their actions (and inactions). (AP photo)

(See video blog with CineSports’ Noah Coslov below)

(Updated at 6:40 p.m. with comment from Penn State president that school accepted penalties to avoid death penalty)

Let’s start with this: NCAA president Mark Emmert acted swiftly and justly. That’s a rarity for the NCAA.

Emmert didn’t need a 17-month investigation by an overworked and underpaid staff to unearth something that we didn’t already learn from prosecutors and witnesses in the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse trial, or from the exhaustive, 267-page Freeh Report, conducted by a former director of the FBI. Anybody who believes Emmert moved too quickly on Penn State without the NCAA doing its own leg work must not having been paying attention for the past several decades, when policing college athletics became far too big of a job for that relative mom-and-pop organization.

The NCAA appropriately slammed Penn State Monday for its perceived enabling and cover-up of Sandusky. Emmert referenced an athletic culture “that went horribly awry” and a misguided “hero worship” that led to it. He didn’t bury the lead.

The penalties will double-over every blinded school official, player, fan, alum and misguided individual who hugged and tried to protect the Joe Paterno statute. The school was hit with a $60 million fine, equivalent to one year’s gross revenue for the football program (the money will fund an endowment that will fight child sexual abuse).

There’s also a four-year bowl ban; the loss of 40 scholarships over four years; the freedom for existing Penn State players to transfer to another school without having to sit out a year; the vacating of all victories since 1998, a symbolic punch to the gut for the memory of Joe Paterno. (The quarterback for Paterno’s last official win in 1997: Mike McQueary, whose eyewitness account of seeing Sandusky in the shower with a young boy was ignored years later.)

The sanctions will cripple the football program. But Emmert still fell short.

The NCAA, as I’ve written previously, should have gone one step further and shut the program down for one to two years. It would’ve been more than just a symbolic hit.

There is a need for a cultural change at Penn State, as Emmert himself said frequently Monday, and the “death penalty” would have increased the likelihood of that happening.  It would have prompted anybody who ever took part in a cover-up or ignored whispers about Sandusky to reflect during Saturdays in the fall when football wasn’t being played at Penn State. Beaver Stadium could have been used for weekly prayer vigils for the victims.

Penn State officials need time to process this. They need to consider where, when and why they jumped the rails on their mission. While there’s no question the NCAA’s punishment will make them feel the pain of their actions, nothing can equal the silence of an empty stadium, the absence of weekly pep rallies. No program in history deserves to be shuttered as much as the Penn State football team. We send criminals to jail. We don’t tell them, “OK, you can still go back to that bank that you robbed, but now you’ll have to take the bus, and just don’t do it again.” Penn State needed to lose its freedoms, its privileges.

For some reason, the NCAA apparently gave Penn State a choice. President Rodney Erickson told the Centre Daily Times the school accepted the sanctions to avoid the death penalty: “We had our backs to the wall on this. We did what we thought was necessary to save the program.”

Some believe the death penalty would have been a softer punishment than what Penn State received. I don’t get that. Has anybody seen SMU since the death penalty?

Emmert believes the death penalty would’ve caused “unintended harm” to those who were innocent in this mess. That’s true. Unfortunately, the innocent always get hurt in NCAA probation. New players and often new coaches are in place when sanctions hit for past misdeeds.

Those who believe Sandusky’s crimes didn’t warrant any sanctions because they did not give the school a competitive advantage are missing the big picture. Question: If Jerry Sandusky was a chemistry professor and not a former high profile football coach, do you believe he would’ve been protected? Of course not. Penn State’s actions and inactions were about preserving the competitiveness, image and profitability of the football program.

Even without the death penalty, however, it was encouraging to see Emmert take charge. The NCAA has needed somebody with logic and courage to run things. The hope is that this won’t be an isolated case, because the leaders of college athletics have long since lost perspective.

Emmert said the Penn State case “involves tragic and tragically unnecessary circumstances. One of the grave dangers coming from our love of sports is that the sports themselves can become too big to fail, too big to even challenge. The result can be an erosion of academic values that are replaced by hero worship and winning at all costs. In the Penn State case, the results were perverse and unconscionable.”

They were the perfect words to punctuate the punishment and begin the process of closure. Going one step further would have made it just a little better.

By Jeff Schultz

Here’s my chat with CineSports’ Noah Coslov on the NCAA’s sanctions against Penn State.
Yes, first you read me, now you can see me in living color!



525 comments Add your comment

5150 UOAD

July 23rd, 2012
1:05 pm

WELL tattoos——-to FOOTBALL PLAYERS–money for players under NCAA control
Penn St—boys with coaches— Not under NCAA control

The Grinch

July 23rd, 2012
1:06 pm

Glad to know that Bobby Bowden will now be recognized as D1s all time winningest coach. I think it best to have that honor bestowed on a man who ran a program that wasn’t tainted during his tenure. :roll:

Well

July 23rd, 2012
1:06 pm

“I haven’t ever heard you take a stand on shutting down the Catholic dioceses that harbored hard core child molesters – who happened to be priests and arch bishops.”

When priests and arch bishops become head coaches at a football school, maybe Jeff will weigh in. How about asking Jeff why he never talks about high gas prices or economic issues?

5150 UOAD

July 23rd, 2012
1:06 pm

I have Video evidence that PENN STATE won those games…………………..

Well

July 23rd, 2012
1:07 pm

“money for players under NCAA control”

And OSU got probation.

“Penn St—boys with coaches— Not under NCAA control”

Anything involved with NCAA sports is an NCAA issue.

Red Stick

July 23rd, 2012
1:07 pm

I think the penalties are severe enough without the death penalty. It will be years before Penn St recovers from this.

The University may also face a substantial fine from the US Dept of Education for failing to disclose the crimes on the Cleary Report. That’s a serious violation.

Geaux Tigers
Go SEC

5150 UOAD

July 23rd, 2012
1:08 pm

WELL…….hahahh BAD. You are a fool. The Catholic Church is richer than Penn St…..
Moral crimes are the same. the NCAA has NO BUSINESS in this matter.

Well

July 23rd, 2012
1:08 pm

” Doubtless, it wouldn’t have helped his governatorial campaign in 2010.”

Governors usually don’t get involved in university issues. Not sure how or why that would be relevant to someone getting elected.

JB

July 23rd, 2012
1:09 pm

Dawgs new S&C coach just left Penn St. last year. Knows every player there. With our vast openings, wouldn’t surprise me if Dawgs don’t end up with 2-3 of them…..But the Buzzards up that way will be circling also.

The Grinch

July 23rd, 2012
1:09 pm

5150 UOAD
July 23rd, 2012
12:59 pm

“Penn St……is not DEAD.”

True, true, they still have a pulse. But wait until 4 years from now when they have just 60 scholarshipped players (assuming all signees remain on the team during this period) on the team. Factor in that their entire existing roster is free to go elsewhere and I believe the program will be on life support in a short period of time.

Well

July 23rd, 2012
1:10 pm

“You are a fool. The Catholic Church is richer than Penn St…..”

The Catholic Church has nothing to do with college football, ma’am. Now get back to delivering pizzas.

gbal

July 23rd, 2012
1:10 pm

Drew ” It’s funny how you can defend the Braves, Falcons, etc. over and over but just love to crucify ‘other’ institutions….”

You must not read much of Jeffs stuff buddy…. The entire AJC sports staff will crucify the home team in a NY minute is it means getting blog hits. They will especially do it concerning UGA.

Go look back at a few archives buddy

phil

July 23rd, 2012
1:10 pm

This WAS the death penalty…

Shultz hasn’t the sense to realize it apparently.

And it was well deserved.

Well

July 23rd, 2012
1:10 pm

“Moral crimes are the same. the NCAA has NO BUSINESS in this matter.”

College coach rapes little boys. Yes, the NCAA does have a say in that. Sorry you can’t understand common sense.

5150 UOAD

July 23rd, 2012
1:11 pm

OK OK……………here

I get DRUNK….bad Drunk at a BAR. The Bartender kept serving me an allowed me to LEAVE in my car.

IS THE BAR RESPONSIBLE?
The BARTENDER made it happen, allowed it to happen and DID NOTHING to stop me from Driving.

Ted M

July 23rd, 2012
1:11 pm

The NCAA got this exactly right. I don’t think the vacating of wins since 1998 is entirely symbolic now no can say that Paterno is the all time leader in wins that title is now Bobby Bowden’s and he deserves it.

Joe Paterno was a self righteous dirty rotten ba$tard.

Sandusky’s wife is a dirty rotten criminal she should be in prison for a minimum of 20 years.

Well

July 23rd, 2012
1:12 pm

“The entire AJC sports staff will crucify the home team in a NY minute is it means getting blog hits. They will especially do it concerning UGA.”

Atlanta has ONE championship in its entire sports existence. Going after Atlanta sports teams for sucking is well deserved.

Big Crimson 75

July 23rd, 2012
1:12 pm

Bob, here is the problems with each :
1. They had their chance. They blew off 20+ yrs of abuse. I’m surprised you even said the University. Based on LOTS of factors, the U would be the last choice to run this investigation.
2. Biased bureaucrats. Too much public influence would involved.
3. Not the Govoner’s duty to punish a State University.
4. Way too biased….PSU has had it too good up there. Too much envy & jealousy will be involved.
5. Handing down athletic sanctions is not their role in government.
6. They are the last humans on earth that need to get involved!!
7. Maybe, but they will refer everything to NCAA by laws.

GT4EVER

July 23rd, 2012
1:12 pm

Well Oh goody, another person taking the Bible out of context. What you’re referring to is Old Testament Jewish law. We don’t live under Old Testament Jewish Law.

If this is the case then EVERYTHING in the Old Testament is irrelevant.The twelve tribes used to practice animal sacrifice too .It’s very to hard to stand here today and pick and chose which parts of the Old Testament are applicable simply because they match some modern thoughts on morality.
The good book also allowed polygamy and that is still practiced in some countries,are they living in sin today?

Well

July 23rd, 2012
1:12 pm

“IS THE BAR RESPONSIBLE?

The bar has nothing to do with anything, ma’am. You were not employed by said bar. Make sense?

5150 UOAD

July 23rd, 2012
1:13 pm

WELL …..so the BARS are RESPONSIBLE for WHAT a DRUNK does after they get him drunk and let him leave?

Ted M

July 23rd, 2012
1:13 pm

I’m curious… do all the losses since 1998 officially count?

The Grinch

July 23rd, 2012
1:15 pm

5150 UOAD

July 23rd, 2012
1:15 pm

WELL..the Bar Promotes the Environment for later Criminal actions to happen LIKE apparently PSU did to Allow Sanduski to do what he did.

Well

July 23rd, 2012
1:15 pm

“The twelve tribes used to practice animal sacrifice too ”

Yep, and God sent His son Jesus to earth as a sacrifice for our sins. Animal sacrifice became irrelevant.

“It’s very to hard to stand here today and pick and chose which parts of the Old Testament are applicable simply because they match some modern thoughts on morality.”

So stop doing it then.

“The good book also allowed polygamy and that is still practiced in some countries,are they living in sin today?”

Where does the Bible tell people that polygamy is fine. If you are referring to King David or King Solomon, you should really go back and do some studying up on that.

The Grinch

July 23rd, 2012
1:16 pm

5150 UOAD

July 23rd, 2012
1:16 pm

Grinch….long no time no see….Welcome back.

Well

July 23rd, 2012
1:16 pm

“so the BARS are RESPONSIBLE for WHAT a DRUNK does after they get him drunk and let him leave?”

Not that I know of. Again, you’re taking a scenario that has NOTHING to do with the blog topic and trying to turn it around to justify your opinion.

PSU Alum

July 23rd, 2012
1:17 pm

What I don’t get is why the NCAA had to go so hard on Penn State? The people behind this are gone. Sandusky had not been a coach for years!

It’s like punishing the Falcons because Jamal Anderson got a DUI.

GTBob

July 23rd, 2012
1:17 pm

Big Crimson 75, serious question. Would you be ok with Sandusky being punished by the NCAA and not in a court of law?

phil

July 23rd, 2012
1:17 pm

Jeff Schultz

July 23rd, 2012
11:19 am

Truth — “The sanctions are essentially the death penalty.”

We disagree.
**********
Who is “we”?

Penn St. football likely will never be relevant again. Period.

What more of a death penalty does anyone want? Typical media person writing without thinking, standing on a perceived pedestal of righteousness. Never mind the hundreds or thousands of jobs closing down the program would affect….

They deserve every bit of what they got and more, based on what has come out. Enough. They’re finished.

Well

July 23rd, 2012
1:18 pm

“the Bar Promotes the Environment for later Criminal actions to happen LIKE apparently PSU did to Allow Sanduski to do what he did.”

Anything sports related in college is an NCAA issue. The NCAA grants colleges/universities the same rules.

Make sense?

SawThat1nce

July 23rd, 2012
1:18 pm

The enablers should be charged as accessories and stand trial.
Too, bad Paterno is not still alive, so that he could stand trial with the rest of the enablers.

Well

July 23rd, 2012
1:19 pm

“It’s like punishing the Falcons because Jamal Anderson got a DUI.”

Except Anderson never raped little boys.

“What I don’t get is why the NCAA had to go so hard on Penn State?”

Child rape. If you don’t get that then you are truly stupid.

What A Laugher!

July 23rd, 2012
1:19 pm

“Football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people” – Mark Emmert

Big Crimson 75

July 23rd, 2012
1:19 pm

51 — how ya doin? Never blame the bartender dude!!
Grinch — good to see you again ol pal!! Hope life is well. Getting closer to some Football!!
Stein — I agree. These charges are not the typical rule violations that get Programs in trouble, butt this is still the nc2a’s call.

5150 UOAD

July 23rd, 2012
1:20 pm

GRINCH I think you are helping my argument. LOL
Sarcasm in my posts.
it is either Personal responsibility or it is concerted effort to Allow and promote crimes because somebody is making money off the crime.

phil

July 23rd, 2012
1:20 pm

Fire Joe Paterno!!

The Grinch

July 23rd, 2012
1:20 pm

PSU Alum
July 23rd, 2012
1:17 pm

Can the NCAA punish the Atlanta Falcons? :shock:

Well

July 23rd, 2012
1:22 pm

“NCAA had to go so hard ”

“The people behind this ”

IRONY: A PSU grad typed that.

PSU Alum

July 23rd, 2012
1:23 pm

Again….Sandusky was not part of the coaching staff.

PMC

July 23rd, 2012
1:23 pm

Penn State should just shutter the Athletic Department. It’s over anyway. All of this sprung from athletics.

Shut it down, focus completely on academics.

phil

July 23rd, 2012
1:24 pm

PSU Alum – Are you really this stupid? This thick-headed? So completely out of touch with anything remotely approaching reality that you think this wasn’t deserved?

You are a PSU alum, apparently, so I guess I know the answer…

The Grinch

July 23rd, 2012
1:24 pm

PSU Alum
July 23rd, 2012
1:23 pm

But he was granted access to the university’s facilities where he raped little boys. Is your obvious love for the PSU Football Program so blinded that you can’t see the vulgarity of what happened and what was covered up?

Browncoat

July 23rd, 2012
1:25 pm

Dawg’88 LOL

phil

July 23rd, 2012
1:25 pm

Yes.

Sandusky never coached at Penn State. Logical conclusion.

Big Crimson 75

July 23rd, 2012
1:25 pm

Bob — NCAA sanctions alone would not be enough.
Sandusky had his day in court. He was found guilty. Good enough for me.
However, the NCAA should control the sanctions against penn st.

DP

July 23rd, 2012
1:25 pm

“SEC Fact Finder”, good to see that you’ve shown Marco Pillow Thrower that McQueary isn’t the only one who would have been gutless and pathetic enough to think about the chain of command within a football program when confronted with the sight of a grown man raping a small boy in the showers instead of thinking about his responsibilities as a member of society and the human race. It’s good to be reminded that there are plenty of loyal organization men like you out there, which is why we get scandals like Penn State and the Catholic Church.

And by the way, when McQueary saw Sandusky raping that boy, Sandusky had been off the Penn State staff for 2-3 years and clearly not the heir apparent to Paterno, not that it would have made any difference except to those whose inclination when confronted with a heinous crime was to think about their own career and an organizational chart instead of stopping the crime and protecting the victim.

Ray

July 23rd, 2012
1:25 pm

@ Well

You call me an idiot, but do you realize within a matter of days that little $60 mil dollar fine can be paid off by a former alum.

That’s why I’m saying to Penn St. that $60 mil is nothing to them if I’m not mistaken when all this was going down they had already over $200 mil in donations from former alums.

That’s why I said $60 mil fine to Penn St. is a $100,000 to $500,000 fine to a NBA player or NFL player they look at it as if that’s chump change.

Well

July 23rd, 2012
1:25 pm

PSU Alum

I’d like to know what you think is “fair?” You’re putting your schools irrelevant football program over the most horrible event in college football history. Says a lot about where your priorities are.