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Penn State penalties should force a look in the mirror

Jul 24, 2012, 2:18 AM EDT

Joe Paterno statue

There will be no shortage of opinions on what NCAA president Mark Emmert did Monday morning. After years of watching collegiate athletics’ governing body be more bureaucratic boondoggle than effective leadership, Emmert and the NCAA acted quickly and decisively when they announced significant penalties against Penn State and its football program for its role in enabling convicted child molester and former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

Penn State will pay a $60 million fine and the football program will serve a four-year postseason band. They’ll also lose 10 scholarships a year for the next four years, limiting the roster to just 65 scholarships. Perhaps levying its strongest statement against former head coach Joe Paterno, the NCAA forced the school to vacate all victories from 1998 to 2011, stripping Paterno of the career wins crown in major college football.

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

This is a Notre Dame football blog and a forum I intentionally keep focused on the Irish and their opponents. Yet the Sandusky case, and Penn State’s role in it, so meticulously characterized by the Freeh report, is an opportunity for fans everywhere to take a step back and hopefully gain some perspective as they consider the football programs they support.

Certainly there will be debate about the severity of the NCAA punishment, unprecedented in many ways, and uncontested by Penn State school president Rodney Erickson. The scholarship limitations and the ability for current players to leave now or after the season are crippling to new coach Bill O’Brien, and will likely internally decimate a program that has already seen its national reputation implode.

Yet there will be football played at Penn State this season. And that is troubling.

For many people (me included), playing football was a transformational experience. While my experience on the gridiron ended after high school, the lessons I learned on the field are still ones I draw from today. The men who put their time in teaching me the game are men that I still respect. That Penn State’s key leaders would protect a monster and allow him to be around the program for more than a decade after multiple instances of highly questionable behavior with defenseless children is something that I’ll never be able to get past.

It wasn’t too many months ago that being a Penn State fan was like being a fan of Notre Dame. Both programs have a proud history. Both believe their football program was not just about excellence on the field, but also acts as a symbol of what the university stands for and represents. In Joe Paterno, Penn State had their Rockne, Parseghian, and Holtz all rolled into one. Even after that facade was shattered and Sandusky’s conviction tore away any ability for a rational fan to see differently, it took days of debate and chaos to come to the simple conclusion to remove Paterno’s statue from outside Beaver Stadium.

Throughout these sad months spent consistently reading reports that got nothing but worse and worse, I couldn’t help but wonder how I would feel if this was happening at Notre Dame.

The conclusion was simple: I’d want the program ended.

In this parallel nightmare, the Golden Dome wouldn’t be worth a can of glittery spray paint. And what to do with Touchdown Jesus? That mural would haunt a school where football and faith successfully co-exist.  The idea of Playing Like a Champion would seem awfully silly. And if the Fighting Irish wouldn’t stand up and fight for those that couldn’t protect themselves, that’s a crushing death blow that I wouldn’t want to try and recover from.

These are Notre Dame traditions. And I’m certain Penn State had just as many traditions that millions of fans also held sacred.

Collegiate athletics are a privilege, not a right. A privilege for players, for coaches, for the administrators, and the community. There’s no doubt that the penalty the NCAA levied on Penn State was a harsh one. But they gave the school the gift of allowing 107,000 people to assemble and cheer on a football program that might not deserve the right to exist anymore.

In the days and years to come, Penn State fans might look at Emmert as a villain that tried to destroy a program. Nonsense. The program was destroyed by the men most responsible for protecting it. Emmert merely did the best that he could to hit the reset button, all while understanding that the beast that is college football has been out of the cage for far too long.

“One of the grave dangers that stem from our love of sports is that the sports themselves can become too big to fall, indeed too big to even challenge,” Emmert said. “The result can be an erosion of academic values that are replaced by the value of hero worship and winning at all costs.”

For the people of Penn State, coming to grips with the fact that their program, their source of pride, and their communal identity was rotten to the core. Complaining about their future two-deep depth chart or hopes for a Big Ten title only prove that they’re missing the point completely.

Yet in today’s world of major college football, people should be weary before picking up a pitchfork. Be thankful a monster like Jerry Sandusky hasn’t infiltrated their community or athletic department. But also, be honest with yourself.

Hero worship and winning at all costs doesn’t just exist in Happy Valley.

  1. yaketyyacc - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:26 AM

    keith, thanks for pointing out the gravity of the penn state betrayal that was perpetrated by those who we had come to hold in vey high esteem. Every true cllege football fan, and especially those of us that love and follow and support Notre Dame, have been saddened, but, not dissolutioned. let us not put this incident behind us, but keep it in front of us as a stern reminder.
    I am proud to say WE ARE ND, with all that this implies.

  2. acieu - Jul 24, 2012 at 6:17 AM

    Is it ironic that the Catholic Church has tolerated and covered up pedophile priests yet has not received the death penalty it so richly deserves?

    • nudeman - Jul 24, 2012 at 10:05 AM

      Actually you’re wrong.

      Are you completely unaware of:
      The hundreds of millions of dollars various Dioceses have paid out in settlements?
      Dioceses that have been completely shut down?
      Have you no knowledge of priests who’ve been defrocked, prosecuted and jailed?

      The Catholic Church is far from lily white, but they haven’t escaped punishment.

    • 1historian - Jul 24, 2012 at 8:46 PM

      There no adjectives available in the language which would adequately describe how idiotic this statement is.

  3. 9irish - Jul 24, 2012 at 6:53 AM

    I will say, with much confidence, that the administration of Notre Dame, has made a point of separating itself from football on purpose. Is it a moneymaker, an identity, yes. But Father Hesburgh initiated this back many years ago. I think that if Notre Dame ever was in a situation like this they would go batsh*t crazy at the first sign. I do not think that it would have played out the way that it did at PSU. Actually, I don’t think it would’ve played out that way at most schools. Paterno’s obvious senility (they tried to get him to quit about 10 years ago), did not exactly help his decisionmaking skills, that’s for sure.

  4. 9irish - Jul 24, 2012 at 7:08 AM

    I will add, and I believe I said it before, that having a head coach for 50 years or so, assistants for 35 years, coaches sons as assistants forever, etc, bred this “we are above all else” mentality. I find it weird.

    • 1historian - Jul 24, 2012 at 8:49 PM

      Well stated. I have read more than one story indicating that Paterno was just a rule unto himself and he felt he was above criticism.

  5. don74 - Jul 24, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    Well stated.

  6. ndgoldandblue - Jul 24, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    It is the focus on academics and institutional accountability that led me to love Notre Dame in the first place. I have stated on this blog before that I have nothing at stake in regards to Notre Dame. I didn’t go to UND (couldn’t afford it), I’m not from Indiana, I’m not Irish, and I’m not Catholic.

    My passion for ND football came from my father, a teacher. I remember watching Fighting Irish games with my old man when I was just a small boy. He told me that he loved Notre Dame because they were one of the few universities left who could be successful on the field while still requiring their athletes to prioritize education. Of course, that’s predictable coming from an educator, but the point remains. We’ve seen over the years with Res Life and the SBPD (whatever opinions you may have of them) that the University and the city demands more out of their athletes than most other universities in Division-1 college sports. Frankly, I like that about Notre Dame.

    Granted, I think that students should be able to have a beer or two without any hassle (especially around the time of mid-terms and finals), but we should never see the University and its players ever sink to the depths of Penn State, USC, Miami, or Ohio State. Those are all different situations with different levels of egregiousness, but the fact remains the same. Notre Dame keeps itself and its student-athletes accountable. I wonder what the college football landscape would look like if all universities held themselves to the same standards that Notre Dame holds itself to.

    • 9irish - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:08 AM

      Notre Dame is an institution that fired a coach, 5 days into his career, for lying on his resume! (still feel sorry for the guy). Notre Dame is Notre Dame, and always will be. The problem with Penn State is that Joe Paterno himself WAS Penn State…so they are in quite a fix now.

      • nudeman - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:25 PM

        Always felt bad for O’Leary too.
        Saw an interview with him on 60 Minutes after the fact and thought he was honest and forthcoming about his transgression. Blamed himself and no one else.

        And someone who never had the courage to identify himself tipped off the press in the first place.

        Coward.

  7. bernhtp - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    Jack Swarbrick had a good interview on the lessons of Penn State a couple of weeks ago. It’s about fostering a culture that is open and tells the truth.

    http://www.wndu.com/sports/headlines/Notre_dames_reaction_to_Penn_State_scandal_162262045.html

  8. joeymagarac - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    Yet the Sandusky case, and Penn State’s role in it, so meticulously characterized by the Freeh report ….

    The key actors in the Sandusky scandal – the administrators that Paterno contacted after McQueary reported seeing Sandusky and a boy in a shower – were instructed by their lawyers not to speak to the people who compiled the Freeh report. That didn’t stop the Freeh report from drawing conclusions that may or may not be accurate, and it didn’t stop the NCAA from imposing sanctions based on it.

    We condemn lynchings because we value something called due process, which gives everyone accused of a crime the right to defend himself in a court proceeding that is designed to weigh evidence. Why then are we not uncomfortable with the way that the NCAA has proceeded here?

    The problem with having power is that you are tempted to use it whether or not its use is needed or requested. The NCAA’s Emmert wanted to do something with his power, so he brought the hammer down on Penn State without waiting for the administrators to testify or the full facts to come in. That is not somthing to be applauded.

    • nudeman - Jul 24, 2012 at 10:09 AM

      If the “key actors” didn’t talk to Freeh and just lay it all out there, then they have no right to bitch about the report.

    • shankello - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:04 AM

      nobody should condone anything horrific that Jerry Sandusky did
      but the NCAA sanctions dont necessarily fix the winning obsessed culture that allowed this whole situation to occur in the first place
      http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/michael_rosenberg/07/23/penn-state-ncaa-sanctions-mark-emmert/index.html?sct=cf_t11_a2

    • cmhirish - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:20 PM

      I’m not uncomfortable with the way that the NCAA has proceeded here because:
      a) It took less than 1 year for Sandusky to be convicted on 45 of 48 counts. There is no doubt of his guilt.
      b) There is indisputable evidence that all of the decision-makers at PSU at the time knew enough about Sandusky’s activities to take more action than they did in 1998 and again in 2001. They were obligated at the time to ask the tough questions and follow through. In Freeh’s report is a collection of handwritten notes taken on May 5, 1998 by Schultz (PSU VP): “Is this opening of pandora’s box? Other children?” This is particularly damning – rather than do everything in their power to prevent harm to children and expose the problems within their own program, they chose to cover it up, save face and hope no one would ever find out. THEY MADE A CONSCIOUS DECISION THAT THE FOOTBALL PROGRAM MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANY KNOWN OR POTENTIAL VICTIMS.
      In three year’s time, PSU will be selling football recruits the story that the people involved are no longer at the University, there is only one year of probation and bowl bans remaining, and that as a PSU recruit the player can help restore the program. Come to PSU and you get play early in your career, play in big time bowl games, and help restore past glory.
      Look at USC right now: just now coming off of two year’s probation, bowl bans, and scholarship reductions. Yet pick up any preseason poll or magazine, and USC has a top 5 ranking and is a national championship contender. PSU got hit harder than USC, true – but the PSU program will be just fine in 5 years time. If anything, the NCAA needs to hit these programs harder than they have.

      • shankello - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:27 PM

        I totally agree with this response, timely aggressive action in this situation is 100% necessary. However to quote Rosenberg:
        “Emmert came down hard on Penn State, and that is the easy thing to do these days, for obvious reasons. The crimes of Jerry Sandusky were nauseating, and the cover-up of those crimes by Penn State’s administration was a complete disgrace. It was all so horrific that any response seems reasonable.
        But Emmert is not fighting against the hypocrisy of college sports. He is acknowledging it, legitimizing it, and — in a way — even embracing it.
        Emmert can say that he is standing up against child abuse. He is not. The child abuse already happened. The people responsible are either in jail, going to jail or deceased. Emmert decided that Penn State put too much emphasis on its football team, and as a punishment, Penn State is not allowed to win football games for a while.”

        The problem in this whole case is that everyone was over obsessed with winning, to the point that helpless children were hurt because of it. NCAA penalties do little in the way of changing this. I love college football I have obsessed over Irish games since I was 5 years old. But no crime should ever be overlooked, because people are more worried about a collegiate athletics program

  9. seamus0317 - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    A very slippery slope. What happened at PSU was horrific. The coverup pathetic. Allowing Paterno to have that much power unfathomable. When the President and AD of the university go to the coach’s house and he throws them out – you have lost institutional control.

    The fine should have been more, the scholarship cuts fewer and the bowl ban three years. These kids and coaches had nothing to do with this mess.

    $10,000,000 over ten years to fund help for abused children would have been more appropriate – in my opinion.

    • 9irish - Jul 24, 2012 at 10:08 AM

      Eh….it’s such a tough question. I guess the thinking is that they are punishing the institution, and as a player you represent the institution, therefore have to bear part of the burden. They do have the option of leaving the institution. But I get your point. What a mess.

  10. nudeman - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    I just heard Brent Musburger and his surprising take on Mike & Mike.

    In essence he said that the NCAA overreached here, caved into popular opinion and levied penalties too harsh at a football program that is innocent. Said any financial penalties should go to the victims, and now the NCAA is on a slippery slope in that any time there is a proven allegation(s) of sexual abuse, this is the precedent they’ve set.

    He was passionate about this and very eloquent, but I couldn’t disagree more.

    1. The original crime was perpetrated by a high profile member of the FOOTBALL program
    2. He was allowed to use PSU FOOTBALL facilities to commit his crimes.
    3. The decade long cover up involved the Head FOOTBALL Coach and members of the Administration
    4. The cover up took place because PSU was trying to protect its FOOTBALL program. Period.
    5. There will be civil suits and private negotiations that will compensate the victims.

    Sorry, but if you don’t have a deified football coach in Paterno, and you don’t have an Administration that’s terrified of him, you don’t have Sandusky frolicking around nude with boys in the PSU football showers and getting away with it.

    The football program MUST pay a price. And I hope I’d have the courage to say the same if it was ND.

    • dbldmr - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:47 PM

      …and as Nixon discovered, the cover up is worse than admitting the crime. It reeks of unadmitted guilt.

    • alsatiannd - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:57 PM

      I was having a hard time seeing the fairness in punishing the football program (the fans, the current players, the future players, etc.) so universally and completely for the acts of individuals. But then I got to your point #4. Very persuasive.

    • 9irish - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:18 PM

      I heard that too….it’s so ingrained that you cannot separate the football program from what happened. I always thought Musberger was a drama queen weasel anyway.

  11. smurphdoggy29 - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Keith,

    Great article and many great points by the community here, very impressive, and of course the narrow minded who have to get their two cents in whom I pity for their lack of progressiveness.

    Like the kids say Haters gonna Hate.

    How sickening was the PSU scandal. For any who try to defend it I say four words, “What about the victims” ?

    Having said that your article made me reflect on if it were Notre Dame and more importantly on my very ardent pursuit of my favorite hobby College Athletics. I came to see that being a Fan-atic lead to being able to overlook certain failings, look past certain blemishes, and rework or reconfigure poorly reflective situations. It also helped fuel a somewhat delusional or manic devotion to “my” team.

    I would agree whole hardily with you Keith that if it were to happen to Notre Dame then complete shutdown should occur.

    I agree also that College Football has a systemic problem with this form of idolatry. It is apparent all over. I would like to believe that the heinous situation at Penn State is isolated in its nature, I hope the people at all other schools would react completely different than they did there, and I think they would because I know for myself that if I had seen what McQueary (and others) saw I would go to not only my superiors but to qualified personnel to report such violent actions.

    The only question I have going forward is this, isn’t it apparently obvious which programs are above reproach, and clearly get away with violations ? Since none of these programs have committed something so disgusting as Penn State’s, but simply have bent rules in terms of money, benefits, and failing to graduate their athlete’s does that mean then they’ll not face discipline ?

    I am firm in my belief that the type of crime committed at PSU is isolated. All the other big time schools, and all the schools for that matter, are diligent and watchful for things like that. For Penn State the Wolf slipped by. Tragic.

    Perspective, let us try and keep it, and every now and then something comes along to help with our refocusing. It is a kids game played by young men and those young men along with the kids need all of us to keep them safe !

    GO Irish !
    GO Common Sense !
    GO Compassion and Understanding !
    God !
    Country !
    Notre Dame !

    See you in Aviva !
    Defeat Navy !
    Pray for the victims, which include some of us !

    • ndgoldandblue - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:43 PM

      “Since none of these programs have committed something so disgusting as Penn State’s, but simply have bent rules in terms of money, benefits, and failing to graduate their athlete’s does that mean then they’ll not face discipline?” -Excellent point, and this is something that I have pondered over the last few years. It’s pretty obvious now that the penalties toward USC seem like nothing but a slap on the wrist. The only punishment that truly hurt the program as a result of their transgressions was having their national title stripped from them in ’04. Indeed, that would hurt any program. I would hate for one of Notre Dame’s national titles to be stripped from them years down the road.

      But the punishment going forward really didn’t do much to hurt the program. That may sound preposterous, but let me tell you why. Through appeals, loopholes and certain deferments, USC was able to avoid going through the scholarship restrictions and the two-year bowl ban at the same time. Plus, everyone at USC, Pat Haden included, acted as if they had been wronged in some way by the NCAA even though they cheated. The perception that I got, through their protests and indignation, was that they had been victimized, and they played as if that had been the case, with a chip on their shoulder. Now, they’re right back up to the top.

      Now, I will whole-heartedly admit that what happened at USC with Reggie Bush was nothing compared to the atrocities that occurred at Penn State. However, I will say that both programs were both guilty of putting football ahead of morality.

      USC isn’t the only one. What’s going to happen to Miami? Will they actually feel any substantial negative effects from their transgressions? My answer to your question is yes. They will receive some sort of discipline. But I don’t think it will be enough to deter them from breaking the rules in the future. I agree with you that the Penn State situation is isolated. The cover-up of child molestation will probably never happen again. But will other programs overlook and possibly cover up other forms of rule-breaking in the future? I have no doubt. All they have to do is look at USC: #1 pre-season ranking in the country.

    • 1historian - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:02 PM

      Let’s not forget the fact that Alex Anzalone is coming to ND and one of the reasons is the creep who got his picture taken with some of the OSU football players.

      (It must be said of course that his putting a move on an OSU FB player is not in the same league as doing it to a 12 year old boy.)

      The point is that College FB in particular and College athletics in general are SO big that all kinds of people are going to be drawn to it.

      • smurphdoggy29 - Jul 25, 2012 at 12:42 AM

        Thanks to many on here my Faith in the Vigilance of good people has been strengthened ! I get concerned from time to time that the masses might get caught up and allow the “monsters” such as Sandusky to wreak their havoc. Truly this will not be the case, and such behavior will be contained.

        I agree completely 1historian & ndgoldandblue with your very succinct conclusions. I just am flabbergasted still that the governing bodies (who obviously see these things happening [USC/Bush et al] as we do through various media outlets, sources, and technology, yet do little ! The impact on USC is well noted they got nothing ! The sad victim role they play is weak at best, and now with this scandal as a backdrop, it is ludicrous !

        Please tell me someone will lead the charge and start picking off the vultures !

        GO Irish !
        GO Common Sense !
        GO Compassion and Understanding !
        God !
        Country !
        Notre Dame !

        See you in Aviva !
        Defeat Navy !
        Pray for the victims, which include some of us !

  12. michigandomer1984 - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    I love your articles. This one is my favorite. The reason I hate reading NDNation blogs is the single minded focus on football and winning. They often trash ND leadership at every turn. I like winning as much as every other fan, but ND football is only part of a much bigger and more important institution. The PSU situation provides perfect evidence of what can happen when things get out of balance. I applaud ND leadership for fighting the good fight and trying to maintain what I believe college athletics is meant to be, even if it means we don’t have the same chances at a national title as other schools. Can we do better? Any organization can, but not at the price of selling our soul.

  13. irish2009 - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    Keith,

    I love your work, but I don’t believe you should be referring to the Word of Life mural depicting Jesus and the saints as potentially “haunting” Notre Dame, should, God forbid, a terrible tragedy and scandal like that at PSU happen at Notre Dame. That is the type of hyperbolic nonsense that betrays a lack of understanding of ND that I would expect from an ESPN writer, not an alum like yourself. Other than that (important) nit, you make great points. I would expect ND to never be caught in a situation where football dominates the rest of the university like it did at PSU, and I would expect ND fans and alumni to react differently than what we’re seeing on TV from PSU, if we were in their shoes. Keep up the great work.

  14. bernhtp - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    There were two crimes committed at Penn State: child rape and enablement/cover-up. Any institution is subject to the former. There can be a child predator in your midst and you don’t know about it until the unspeakable evidence is discovered. Thankfully, monsters like Sandusky are usually found out fairly quickly and put in a place where they can no longer harm children.

    This was not the case at Penn State. Institutionally – up and down the football program and administration – they apparently valued their name over the safety of children, and they feared scandal more than continued child rape. That they not only covered up his crimes, but continued to provide him a venue and the imprimatur of Penn State to lure and rape children is their most damning crime – in many ways worse than that of Sandusky himself.

    This is why when the NCAA sanctions committee looked at the detailed evidence in disgust and horror, they ultimately did what they could to show that this cannot ever be tolerated. The statement was certainly emphatic. Penn State, their football program, their students and their fans are taking the brunt of the penalties, but it is also a salient lesson for everyone. The sanction do nothing for the Sandusky/PSU victims, but they likely will ensure there are fewer in the future.

    Notre Dame is certainly not immune from having a criminal in its midst. Maybe a monster like Sandusky will someday slip through and find a position of prominence at ND too. But what defines Notre Dame as an institution and as a name that stands for certain beliefs and values is how it responds to that evil. I pray that it forever continues to be far better than what we witnessed at Penn State. Ugh!

    • nudeman - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:29 PM

      The scary thing about PSU is that if we were to all name the LEAST likely universities where something like this would be so poorly handled, PSU would probably be on all our lists.

      Pedophiles are everywhere and a rogue idiot like Sandusky can show up on any college campus, administration or sports program. But for a respected program like PSU to fumble the ball so badly and for SO LONG … unbelievable.

      And one other thing no one has said. Paterno was Catholic.
      No Catholic who’s been on the right side of the sod for the last 30 years is unaware of the insidiousness and ugliness of pedophilia. He knew EXACTLY what he was doing by looking the other way. Protecting his brand at the expense of young boys lives.

      • dbldmr - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:44 PM

        Right…and your point that any Catholic should understand it is accurate. That same behavior for which Penn State is being pilloried was modeled by our senior clergy who felt that hiding the shameful behavior would somehow allow the institution to escape scandal. It doesn’t. It merely postpones and magnifies the scandal to come.

        Evidently this is a hard lesson to learn since the individuals who staff our bureaucracies and institutions, civil and clerical, seem to forget it with disappointing regularity.

      • dickasman - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:39 PM

        Guys, I think paternomeansyes probably got sucked into it and got in over his head and by then it was too late and easier to just hide the facts. He’s probably a good guy but got sucked into the bad situation. Believe me, I know. I didn’t want to snort all those lines from strippers boobies and go have orgies with them with each session lasting minimum of hour at a time. But I was surrounded by the situation and couldn’t say no. I dont know what happens when we die but in this world we live in today, bad generally wins because bad is easier.

      • bernhtp - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:22 PM

        Dick: Sorry but “getting over your head” or “sucked in” within the context of kids getting ass raped is certainly no excuse in my book. After all, wasn’t Paterno supposed to be a strong, respected leader instead of the craven enabler he turned out to be?

        I also agree with the previous comments that said Paterno, as a Catholic, was in an even better position to know what to do, and his faith/conviction should have given him yet more strength and clarity to take the appropriate action.

        The Church sadly made bad choices in its own pedophilia scandals. Under the guise of repentance and redemption, it allowed clergy that so shamefully violated their vows and public laws to slink into a new area without the needed public accountability. Thankfully, the Church seems to have learned the hard lesson that public accountability is a necessary component of repentance and redemption when the crime is so heinous.

  15. fnc111 - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Any good cornerbacks on the penn state roster? I think if Kelly wants to beat his wife’s alma mater for once he might want to start poaching from that roster like Kiffin
    already is.

    • nudeman - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:54 PM

      I’m not a PSU roster expert but think I saw something the other day that there is a CB (I think) last name of “Amos” who is worth looking at. Can’t remember if he’s a new recruit; think he might already be on the roster.

    • dickasman - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:30 PM

      Any good waterboys on that team? We need to replace Xavier Murphy first stat!

  16. dickasman - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    NCAA should now go after Alabama, LSU, Florida, Florida state and Cincinnati so nd can have a fair shot at a title. Semi good guys need a title or two every once in a while.

  17. tlndma - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Keith, I was wondeing if you’d do a piece on this. Let me just say,”you nailed it.”
    I wonder if the NCAA’s only reason for not giving PSU the death penalty, was the other programs it would affect?
    Taking away the victoies from 98 to 11 was the NCAA’s way of punishing a dead man. His family’s reaction to all of this has been disgraceful. Talk about “myopic”.

  18. irish1958 - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Nudeman,
    I suggest you substitute CATHOLIC CHURCH for FOOTBALL in your prior discussion and then explain how this differs from the PSU scandal.
    In your additional note, you pointed out that the Catholic Church was punished. Are you aware that in the US, only one low level official has been convicted of a cover up which included thousands of victims in the US and world wide? Of course, a few of the perpetuators have been convicted, but how many of the administrators in this world wide mess have been? When the authorities wished to place Cardinal Law under oath, he was immediately transferred to Rome, with the knowledge and ?direction of the then Cardinal Ratzinger and most probably JP II. Similar protection was afforded to a French or Spanish prelate who was bonking some children in his protection and managed to father at least three children.
    Please explain to us how these administrators have been punished?
    Taking a few pennies on the dollar from the Catholic Church really doesn’t cut it in my opinion.
    For the record I am Catholic but I am obviously p….d off.

    • nudeman - Jul 24, 2012 at 10:09 PM

      Irish 1958
      I’m not going there. These are two distinctly separate tragedies.

      The failings of the Catholic Church are well known and not worth rehashing here.
      Not saying at ALL that their transgressions don’t matter.
      I’m saying this is a football blog and let’s confine this to football and related matters.

      I respect it if you have major differences with the Church on this matter.
      And frankly we are all embarrassed by what’s gone down the last few decades.
      Just saying this is not the time or place to discuss and I’m not the guy to make an argument on that, one way or another.

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Jul 25, 2012 at 7:24 PM

        Nude, did you mean to say “who’s gone down the last few decades” ?

  19. gtizzo - Jul 24, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    Keith you should be screaming at the NCAA,

    This is obviously a “piling on” by the NCAA to beat Penn State while it is down. The NCAA wants to get some good press from a media and public that hates it. Paterno is dead and thanks to the NCAA he is the scapegoat while the guy who committed these terrible acts gets to hide in prison. Don’t look know Keith but if the Big Ten should join the NCAA beat down party of Penn State and kicks them out guess who media is going to look at to fill the void?

    • nudeman - Jul 24, 2012 at 10:22 PM

      Keith is busy coming up with his next defense of TR argument

  20. gtizzo - Jul 24, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    No Nudeman Keith has moved on from the TR argument. So have I and so has everyone else who posts on this board. You seem to want to carry a candle for TR…

    • nudeman - Jul 25, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      gtizzo

      “so has everyone else who posts on this board.”

      Uh, wrong. Have you been reading the posts the last week or so?
      I’m hardly the only one who mentions it.
      Still a hot topic

      • gtizzo - Jul 25, 2012 at 8:01 PM

        You said yourself you rip TR to much, yet you seem hell bent on the kid. Plus TR made his own bed with an off the field mistake hardly worth more comment. I would say the QB topic is hot, not TR at the position.

  21. 1historian - Jul 25, 2012 at 6:18 AM

    Not to diminish the gravity of the subject, but could someone, preferably Keith, please explain to me – what is ‘a 4 year postseason band’?

    • 9irish - Jul 25, 2012 at 9:38 AM

      That’s an easy one…it means they can win all 12 games by 50 points, but they cannot play in the Big Ten championship game, or then go to any bowl game, including the Nat’l Championship game.

      • 9irish - Jul 25, 2012 at 9:44 AM

        Ha! Okay, I get it…I missed the typo! yeah no more band for four years!

      • 1historian - Jul 26, 2012 at 8:20 AM

        In the last few days Bern has given us ‘read had’, dickasman has come up with the infamous ‘Mexican headbutterer’ (I STILL don’t know what that one is!) and now this!

        As Flakey Foont once asked Mr. Natural – What does it all mean?

        36 and a wakeup until the season starts.

  22. iloveflorio - Jul 25, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Im laughing so hard I can barely type. You my friend are the humor I needed today! Thx! Btw, how the heck do u have a job working for such a respected site?

    • 1historian - Jul 26, 2012 at 8:23 AM

      Are you talking to me? If you are thanks for the compliment.

      As to your question – What are you talking about?

  23. iloveflorio - Jul 25, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    I’m nudeman, hey don’t talk bad about something I believe in, we r supposed to be ripping stuff I don’t like, besides catholic priests molesting kids and having it covered up or transferring the perv to another town to molest other kids is totally different than penn st covering up and enabling a child molester, geez, don’t u know this is football blog! Now excuse me, I must continue throwing stones from the balcony of my glass home, nudeman out!!

  24. nchdomer - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:19 AM

    Very thoughtful opinions. However, the penalties seem too harsh and the Freeh Report too predictable in its assessment of the reasons behind the tragedy. There are many levels of punishment being and to be dispensed. Criminal and civil penalties through the courts will address many of the wrongs (though in an imperfect manner, which is the nature of the legal system). The “court” of public opinion will inflict its own penalties on Penn State. However, the “piling on” by the NCAA and Big Ten seems more for show and a money grab. Not sure how much of the money will get to people that really need it.
    All of the opinions seem to rely on the problem being identified as a hero worship/football is too big at PSU situation. That is not it. Football is too big at most schools now, including ND. That is, in part, due to NBC and ESPN. The TV money is out of control and now marginal schools and basketball schools are jumping on the football gravey train – building bigger stadiums and getting into hot water with the NCAA for football related issues.
    At the heart of the terrible events are people who made bad choices for individual reasons. And the main reason was to protect themselves – not PSU (which, in the proper context, is nothing more than an employer). No one goes to jail to protect their employer from embarassment. The problem seems to be the result of too many people knowing the real score on Sandusky and being afraid to do the right thing. At the top level, the explanation is simple, in my view. The moment they gave Sandusky a pass, they enabled the monster. If it was in 1998 with the first reported incident to police (I think it was sooner), this explains why Sandusky was pushed into retirement at the top of his career – heir apparent to Paterno. Clearly, he was forced to retire because of the incident. But when the issue was never pushed further by the people in charge, they set themselves up for what then happened. The shower incident was kept quiet for one reason and one reason only – to keep people out of jail. If it is made public, the question then becomes “what have you been doing for the last 3 years” instead of “what have you been doing for the last 13 years.” In my view, Paterno and the other administrators hoped the forced retirement would solve the problem. It did not. Sandusky now had leverage over the most powerful people on campus. It is not beyond the realm of believability to think that he took the approach (if unspoken), that “if I go down, you go down.” It sounds more grandiose to say people were protecting the University and football program, rather than their own skin. This also allows those institutions to be punished.
    At the lower level, Barry Switzer was right when he said at the outset that everyone knew. The only explanation for a person to slam a locker to make noise when he saw a kid being molested, rather than running in to break it up, is the person may have already known about Sandusky. Otherwise, the shock and knee jerk reaction would have been to protect the kid. This did not happen. Perhaps out of fear for the repercussions since it may have been known that this person was being protected by higher-ups in the school. And this raises one final issue. Why wasn’t Sandusky on the head coach short list for new coaching vacancies? The architect of 2 National Championship defenses never had his name come up once in media speculation for a replacement for a fired coach. A lot more people knew about this situation than has been disclosed.
    The employees of PSU, the students and the community are paying an unfair price for the transgressions of a few people who were only protecting themselves from jail or being fired from their jobs. Punish the guilty, not the innocent and unknowing.

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