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

Hurricane NCAA blowing through

July 23rd, 2012
4:03 pm

put a –> * <– by the record in ted bundyland, tallahassee.

Misty From Macon

July 23rd, 2012
4:04 pm

Sadly, the members of the CULT known as Penn State football don’t get it. They continue to make excuses for Paterno and refuse to realize how awful the actions of their school and Paterno have negatively impacted the school. WAKE UP!

Your school is referred to as Pedophile State outside of the bubble world you cult members live in. Don’t you think it is time to really examine what your school and pedophile protector Paterno did that has resulted in all the negativity?

From 1998 to 2002, Joe saw Sandusky bring numerous boys to practices and games and knew what type of person Sandusky was but decided, it wasn’t worth it to turn him in despite knowing what type of scum Sanduscky was. Just let it go Joe. The lives of little boys aren’t that important. Your legacy and Penn State football are more important. After all, you run the school and everybody in your cult would believe if you said the sky was green because after all, you are Saint Joe! Rot in hell Joe.

Can you excuse makers for Paterno explain to me how Joe could ignore what he knew after 1998 and confirmed again in 2001 how Joe could let Sandusky take children to practices and games from 2002 -2011 when he knew what type of scumbag Sandusky was? He knew the type of crimes being committed and did nothing! You cult morons.

You cult supporters of Paterno have become a national joke.
Instead of chanting, “We are Penn State”.
Your football cult can chant “We are Pedophile State”
That is how people in the real word view the school and this will never go away. You will live with this coverup for the rest of your lives.

Your continued support of Paterno will only fan the flames of people that UNDERSTAND how awful the cover up was. Time to take a sniff of reality and wake up to the fact that Joe Paterno was not a saint, and giving some money to build a library doesn’t make up for how he protected a pedophile that destroyed the lives of young boys for many years after he knew what type of scumbag Sanduscky was.

I’m sure you would think differently if your child was a victim! Unfortunately, the cult members of Penn State football probably wouldn’t care if it was their child. After all, we are Penn State is all that matters to you people!

too early?

July 23rd, 2012
4:05 pm

Penn St had sandusky and FSwho had ted bundy

Schultz, you got the red floppy feet on again

July 23rd, 2012
4:07 pm

If I am the other 3 directly involved, I am sick and very scared. I imagine the jury will take it out on them big time.

need some diversity

July 23rd, 2012
4:09 pm

Maybe some other teams might get to add a few white players to their rosters now that Penn St. players will start transfering.

Ah, the smell of college football is in the air

July 23rd, 2012
4:12 pm

little over a month!!!!

Schultz, you got the red floppy feet on again

July 23rd, 2012
4:19 pm

Paterno is now #12 in all time victories, but he has to be #1 in winning 0 games in 12+ years….HA!

yep

July 23rd, 2012
4:30 pm

on one hand I agree with dropping the hammer on Penn State. On the other hand it doesn’t do anything to the administrators and coaches involved in the cover up. They’re all gone. It doesn’t affect them at all if Penn State doesn’t go to bowl game in the next 4 years.

Schultz, you got the red floppy feet on again

July 23rd, 2012
4:33 pm

Ok. More facts. Of the top 10 DIV1 coaches in total victories, Osborn is number 1 in winning percentage, Bear is 2.

Didn’t know it but Grambling is a DIV 1 school. Not DIV 1 A but DIV 1. I thought they were like a DIV 2 school.

Marco Pillow Thrower

July 23rd, 2012
4:36 pm

What man would see a man raping a boy and not stop it? A sorry arse man I tell you.

Marco Pillow Thrower

July 23rd, 2012
4:39 pm

Chain Sandusky to the Paterno statue and dump it in the Mississippi River…

Marco Pillow Thrower

July 23rd, 2012
4:41 pm

Emmerts eye brows are 35 years old and the rest of him looks 60 years old agree?

Philmypockitz

July 23rd, 2012
4:43 pm

Now it’s time for Emmert to go after Awbarn and nail them for the $Cam Newton stuff. Death penalty to the Barners!

JSS

July 23rd, 2012
4:43 pm

Goodness, Jeff Schultz you may want to shut this one down for a change… The odd and easily distracted have taken over!

And to that point, Grambling and all of the SWAC is FCS in football… They rarely go to the FCS playoff s anymore because they make more money playing in HBCU themed post-season games or bowls

5150 UOAD

July 23rd, 2012
4:47 pm

Hope Solo…..Lolo Jones…..
If that didn’t get your flag flying as opposed to taking about lil boys being assaulted then get off the sports blog.

Schultz, you got the red floppy feet on again

July 23rd, 2012
4:48 pm

Yeah, Schultz shut er down, JSS is an idiot mucking up the place.

5150 UOAD

July 23rd, 2012
4:49 pm

JSS…….you don’t want to se Booty shak’n girls in front of a High Stepp’n BAND with a killer Drum corp?

Mike Nesci

July 23rd, 2012
4:52 pm

Schultz, you got the red floppy feet on again

July 23rd, 2012
4:57 pm

the Cam Newton NCAA investigative farce has a whole lot to do with the severity on the sanctions. NCAA completely mishandled that mess. Again, why was Cam ruled ineligible for 1 day and then reinstated. What was discovered in that short period to reinstate him? Nothing. They caved.

Questions??

July 23rd, 2012
4:59 pm

Why punish the current kids attending classes who have nothing to do with Penn State’s past?

The current student body at USC was punished for something done by Reggie Bush and Coach Pete Carroll years ago while both making millions from the NFL. Why are they punishing the kids the attending these colleges today?

This was an easy call for the NCAA but not the right call. The NCAA is more corrupt than any of the colleges they so call represent. By the way whose pocket does the $60,000,000.00 line? I am sure it is not going to the victims and their families. These young kids are the true tragedies in all of this.

$60,000,000.00 to line the pockets of the NCAA cronies. What a Country!!

jerry

July 23rd, 2012
5:03 pm

Depriving Penn St. of a year’s football revenue was a better decision than giving them the death penalty, namely because a lot of people will have a job that otherwise would not have. No use in hurting innocent people needlessly and financially, it amounts to the same penalty to Penn St.

awbun cheetah's

July 23rd, 2012
5:03 pm

Awbun’s been on so many probations in their history, they don’t know which ncaa inquiry is for what.
Their cheatin’s the same, they just gotta figure out by which coach and player in what year.

5150 UOAD

July 23rd, 2012
5:12 pm

How much did CLINTON pay for Sexual Assault in the White House? Did the American population payoff M Lewinski?
Is the US taxpayer on the hook for the Police officer that was killed during the FAST’n FURIOUS crap?
WHY do the INNOCENT have to pay the COST for the actions of IDIOTS?

5150 UOAD

July 23rd, 2012
5:15 pm

College and Pro sports keeping REAL ISSUES the Voting public need to be concerned with off the front page.

What do Romney and Obama think?

Mangy Dogs live in Athens

July 23rd, 2012
5:15 pm

UGA may be 11th in All Time Win, but they are 14th in winning percentage and have played 80 more games than other SEC schools…..real proud stat their flea infested dog.

1eyedJack

July 23rd, 2012
5:22 pm

“WHY do the INNOCENT have to pay the COST for the actions of IDIOTS?”

Are we talking about football or our current welfare state?

5150 UOAD

July 23rd, 2012
5:27 pm

1IDjack………..good call. I t could be All Inclusive. LOL

GTBob

July 23rd, 2012
5:28 pm

Stewart Mandel sums up my feelings on the matter nicely:

“And so, Emmert made sure his organization responded accordingly — even if that meant revoking the traditional due process afforded every other school that’s ever been punished by the NCAA; invoking a nebulous, generalized bylaw about promoting integrity that could easily apply to hundreds of lawbreaking players, coaches and staffers across the country every year; and creating a precedent for dictatorial-like intervention that must now be considered every time a scandal of any proportion arises in college athletics.”

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/stewart_mandel/07/23/penn-state-ncaa-sanctions/index.html#ixzz21U1n4u5p

Gman

July 23rd, 2012
5:39 pm

Still can’t belive UGA is approximately 15 scholarships short of the limit with the current roster. If the NCAA did that to us we’d be howling at how it would cripple our program. Instead, we did it to ourselves!

chuck

July 23rd, 2012
5:42 pm

Jeff needs to go back to California with all the other loonies.

rawdawg

July 23rd, 2012
5:49 pm

Am I the only one that think the NCAA went way to far in this case? How is it fair to punish the athletes, students, and fans for the actions or inactions, however horrible, of a few coaches and administrators that have already been fired, are being prosecuted, and in some cases are already dead? How does penalizing the football program help the victims in any way? Is not the spectacle of revered coaches and (well not so revered) administrators being fired and prosecuted for their roles in the events spectacle enough to make administrators at other institutions think twice before allowing something like that to occur on their own campuses? Isn’t a situation like this so mercifully rare that it is unlikely that any such scandal will surface anytime in the foreseeable future without the NCAA piling on?

I think Sandusky should fry and the admins that covered it up should do serious time. Striking down the football team feels to me like collective punishment.

DunwoodyDawg

July 23rd, 2012
5:52 pm

The $60 million is just the tip of the ice berg. I expect PSU to be sued and hit with massive liability loses. The estimated number reaches over $100 million. This might cause them to have to dip into the schools endowment. If not the “death penalty” I think it would have been appropriate to take away all there scholarships for a year or 2.

Schultz, you got the red floppy feet on again

July 23rd, 2012
5:57 pm

Think about how empowered Sandusky must have felt when the four others turned a blind eye. That to me even makes this more evil.

If Sandusky is put with a pro PSU penal population, watch out. Oh wait. The state will protect him.

LakeDawg

July 23rd, 2012
6:00 pm

I agree with the penalty. Its very harsh and it will take PSU a minimum of 10 yrs to recover and they might never be a powerhouse again. The people of PSU will contemplate what happened every Saturday as they live through 3-9 or 2-10 yrs. And yet, this penalty allows innocent people, such as the town, fans, students, vendors, and athletes of other sports to avoid, as much as possible, the fallout of this.For once, I think the NCAA got it right.

Dave

July 23rd, 2012
6:01 pm

Schultz….so you think it’s right for the NCAA to penalize PSU…and…none of this is covered under the NCAA rule book…explain how something that is covered under the penal code falls under the NCAA rules…..and this mess is a horror that should be heard and judged in the courts not by a sanctimious former university president. The people that should have done something a long time ago didn’t….but the whole of PSU is not guilty….or do you DS think that it’s right to take out your anger on a school that has upheld the title of student athlete better than most because a handful of men couldn’t do the right thing. Lastly, lets give the football players a out…..they didn’t do anything…yet, you Schultz think they should have to wear some sort of scarlet letter for going to Penn St…..you seem to think that the sins of the leaders should be placed on the players back….what a crock….let any and all walk away if they so choose and not have to sit out a year….then JS, you’ll end up with your death penalty…only not in the name death penalty

Schultz, you got the red floppy feet on again

July 23rd, 2012
6:09 pm

Dave, Emmett was also a cheerleader at Washington too. Let’s get all the facts, ok.

You don’t get the reason for penalties do you? For the accused and those watching. This is about everybody else too.

Well

July 23rd, 2012
6:10 pm

“Now it’s time for Emmert to go after Awbarn and nail them for the $Cam Newton stuff. Death penalty to the Barners!”

Please shut up, fool.

Well

July 23rd, 2012
6:11 pm

“Awbun’s been on so many probations in their history, they don’t know which ncaa inquiry is for what.
Their cheatin’s the same, they just gotta figure out by which coach and player in what year.”

UGA hasn’t been relevant since Reagan first took office. UGA fans = Chicago Cub fans.

Also, the NCAA has cleared Auburn of ALL charges.

Get over it, losers.

JSS

July 23rd, 2012
6:11 pm

At 4:46…
HEY, there’s a fresh pile of muck right there at your feet, enjoy! C’ya

Well

July 23rd, 2012
6:12 pm

The NCAA should investigate UGA for cross dressing professors who run prostitution rings out of their homes.

kral

July 23rd, 2012
6:18 pm

GT BOB if penn wanted due process..they would not signed on in agreement ..it is called waive your rights..a lot of people do so when they are found guilty

JSS

July 23rd, 2012
6:20 pm

Well POAD, if I were a 17-year-old boy or girl or an alumnus of a school which had people talented enough to pull that off, possibly… However, it is not my cup of tea but I will never begrudge those folks their enjoyment! Funny, Pete Rozelle must have enjoyed it since they made up the halftime performances of the 1st 7 Super Bowls…

By the way, after Thursday morning, ” fast and furious” is the least of most people’s worries…

Short Circuit

July 23rd, 2012
6:21 pm

As we all know you have been wrong a bunch in your career. So this is your opinion and you get paid a lot of money for yours and we don’t

Jackson

July 23rd, 2012
6:24 pm

Where does that 60 mil go? Slush fund? Money made on this horrendous scandal? Hopefully it will be used 100% to help sexually abused youth.

Skeezix

July 23rd, 2012
6:26 pm

Too many College Presidents have forgotten that the football coach is a subordinate.

kral

July 23rd, 2012
6:29 pm

or some college coaches..skee..seen it happen at the at high school -level

kral

July 23rd, 2012
6:30 pm

Enter your comments here

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

July 23rd, 2012
6:32 pm

What a joke the State Penn fans are

To cry about the harshness of the penalty give me a break

Penn St deserves what they got and should have gotten worse

Penn St fans are a joke and so are some of these media talking heads that say poor Penn St fans

Give me a break

Techster

July 23rd, 2012
6:34 pm

And isn’t it about time there was a crack down at Georgia and they placed a higher priority on recruiting student athletes and developing men if character?

I’m a Tech fan, but the bulldog program has become an embarrassment to the state.

gt75

July 23rd, 2012
6:37 pm

I totally disagree with this penalty. I’m not a Penn State fan and don’t have any feelings about Penn State one way or another. What if a Chemistry Professor did this? Would you fine the school $60M? Would you vacate all the Chemistry degrees of all the people that graduated during that period? Would you remove scholarships for future Chemistry students? No, you would fire all the people involved or had knowledge of it, but you would not punish the people that nothing to do with it in the past or in the future. All the guilty have been punished and the school will have to pay out a lot of money in civil suits. What was done to those young kids was very wrong, but stop punishing the innocent past, present, and future. To make things worst Sandusky was not even part of the coaching staff at the time nor was he an employee of Penn State when he did all this.