NCAA Punts On Paterno
Joe Paterno was the untouchable king of college football. In the world of big money coaches, academic scandals, and team hopping conferences, Paterno was the one consistent constant. Penn State was a premiere college program. Joe Pa had the most wins of anyone who coached college football. He lived modestly, turned down big money jobs and donated millions of dollars to Penn State.
Then the dark secret of Jerry Sandusky was revealed. The fact is that Joe Pa and others at Penn State knew what Jerry was up to, that no one bothered to protect the little boys that became victims of the pedophile Sandusky. What was the bigger crime? Those committed by Sandusky in the Penn State showers or those that knew and did nothing?
Initially, the NCAA did the right thing. They fined Penn State, took away Joe Pa’s wins, and banned Penn State from bowls. I was amazed at how initially ESPN continued to give us the pro-Joe Pa view the Sandusky Scandal. How the fans stuck up for the Nittany Lions, whatever happened to accountability?
If you carry the moral high ground, then you should be held accountable for everything that happens on your watch. Paterno left and died shortly after leaving Penn State. Lawsuits from Paterno’s family and other groups pressured the NCAA to reverse its course.
Instead of sticking to the principal and enforcing the punishment on PSU, the NCAA decided to drop the bowl ban, restore JoePa’s wins, and other concessions. Their flip flop would make Mitt Romney blush. The Nittany Lion faith were elated. While Keith Olberman was rightfully angry. Most media outlets thought it was great. The NCAA was wrong to attack Penn State. Paterno’s family made a statement.
The reason, why the NCAA retreated faster than a defensive back on third and long is simple. Money and control. The cartel which controls college football fears that a ruling against them will impact sports like the falling of the Berlin Wall. If the court rules against the NCAA, then they have no power or regulatory control over member teams. The risk was not worth the potential loss in the eyes of the money men.
Imagine if the victims of the priest abuse scandals got the same treatment as the Sandusky’s? The sad fact is that Penn State should have received the death penalty for their intentional fumbling of this case. Then perhaps we would all believe that even the untouchable are accountable when they drop the ball on protecting kids.