August 26, 2014

Penn State Receives NCAA Sanctions

Last night was a night of rumor and speculation around what would be handed down to Penn State today from the NCAA. No reason to wonder anymore.

Penn State has a 4-year bowl ban, a $60 million fine, and lost scholarships to deal with. To top it all off, all PSU wins since 1998 have been vacated giving Joe Paterno 298 career wins.

It is certainly a hefty punishment as the world discusses whether or not the NCAA had the the right to step in in this case.

The fact remains that with vacated wins, Ohio State is undefeated against Penn State since 1998. Vacating wins seems so silly, doesn’t it? Congratulations to Jim Tressel, I guess.

  • Tron

    Vacating wins seems like it was only done to remove JoePa from the winningest coach of all time record.

  • Jack

    Which is the most agreeable of all the sanctions, IMO. He certainly does not deserve the title.

  • Natedawg86

    What exactly does vacating wins do besides remove the wins from the coaches record? Nothing. Will some of the recruits head to The Ohio State University now that PSU has these penalties?

  • Natedawg86

    I just can’t see how someone would try to cover this up. Had he told the truth in the beginning, he would have been labeled a hero and honorable man. No friendship is worth what they hid not to mention all of the lives they affected…i don’t get it

  • BenRM

    I agree. Vacating wins is a punishment in name only.

  • porckchopexpress

    I agree in a lot of situations vacating wins is pointless. This time it seems to be the best punishment. Bowden and Paterno both knew that in 30-40 years (assuming football is still around) that final win total is all people are going to remember. No one is going to scour through box scores to see how Paterno won games. They’ll look at the totaland say “He was the 10th winningest coach ever. Paterno sacrificed his morality in pursuit of being the guy at the top of the list. The list meant everything to him therefore its the most important thing to take away.

  • Jack

    I don’t think friendship was the driving factor. It’s like John Candy in Cool Runnings. Once you start winning, you get addicted to winning…and you do everything you can, sacrifice anything and everything to win.

    What a weak willed man.

  • Jack

    The denial from former PSU players is really awful.

  • Garry_Owen

    My main problem (apart from legal concerns) with the NCAA doing anything at all is that the NCAA is punishing a “culture” at Penn State. Granted, the Paterno culture at Penn State was arguably greater than it was at another university (with terrible, horrifying results), but Penn State’s football culture did not and does not exist in a vacuum. The NCAA thrives off of schools that prize their football records and reputations above all else. Penn State was the product of a broader insidious Culture in this regard. I understand the desire for justice, but I do wonder what these sanctions actually punish, partcularly considering that the prime “suspects” are now either dead or in jail (or soon headed there). How does the NCAA punish a culture without addressing the Culture – indeed, by simultaneously ignoring and feeding off of the same Culture?

  • BenRM

    It’s a good question.

  • humboldt

    This is of course an oversimplification. Human beings are powerfully affected by symbolism, and the vacated wins are a symbolic removal of Paterno’s legacy and an attempt at moral redress.

    It is a necessary step in helping the public feel that justice has been carried out, and is, perhaps, what is resonating most with people right now (at least in what I’m seeing in the news and via social media).

  • yngfnst

    I see you were watching t.v. last week,and here I thought I was the only one actually watching it!

  • humboldt

    Trying to sort this out myself. A sympathetic interpretation is that this heralds a new era in NCAA sports in which the governing body is trying to establish a healthier set of governing principles for college athletics. For instance, I really appreciated this quote:

    “These events should serve as a call to every single school and athletics department to take an honest look at its campus environment and eradicate the ‘sports are king’ mindset that can so dramatically cloud the judgment of educators.”

    It is easy, of course, to be cynical about the NCAA, but they brought out the big stick in resolving this situation. All college presidents are now well-advised to adapt to the culture change implied by the severity of the PSU punishment. This means, greater emphasis on institutional control, focus on academics over athletics, no more Gordon Gee-like “I hope the football coach doesn’t dismiss me” mentalities, etc. If ever there was an opportunity for a watershed moment and a culture change, this would be it.

  • Garry_Owen

    In other news, Bobby Bowden reportedly just broke his hip doing a back flip.

  • BenRM

    isn’t it disgusting? Somone on air last night called the “piling on” of JoePa “disgusting and reprehensible.”

    I wish someone would have smacked him upside the head and said, “no, the cover up was disgusting and reprehensible.”

  • penguinpete

    So who won the osu psu game in 2010 now?

  • Steve

    That last line shows the problem that I have with so many people wanting to bash Penn St. The reaction is “now we can get their recruits” or “now we can beat Penn St”. That simply just plain sad and pathetic.

    I didn’t want to see the NCAA include bowl bans or scholarship reductions. The federal legal system is designed to handle the crimes that were committed here. The NCAA was not designed to deal with these situations. Now, if the NCAA, or Big 10, say that they don’t want to be associated with Penn St, then I can support that, but to sit here and say “we’re going to give you the pseudo death penalty” doesn’t make sense to me. At SMU, players were receiving checks that normally were legal, but the NCAA banned because it created an unfair advantage. That is why the NCAA had to step in. The feds can more than handle what Penn St deserves to get.

  • Ritz

    Agreed, very good point

  • Steve

    No one. Considering the standards that both schools employed, everyone comes out a loser.

  • Ritz

    The NCAA had too, and indeed should, show that this type of culture in college sports is wholly and completely immoral and unacceptable. Breaking NCAA bylaws is one thing, but an atmosphere in which a winning football program provides the motivation to cover up and enable to rape of children is so much more horrible.

    Hopefully this punishment makes certain that this type of thing never happens again and that coaches, players, administrators, etc understand that we all have a responsibility to protect our children.

  • Steve

    Because it’s not as easy to tear down everything around you as it seems from the outside. Paterno reporting what he saw brings probably 80-90% of what Penn St just received. It doesn’t make it right, but it’s not as easy as banging the table on the outside looking in.

  • porckchopexpress

    I would say that culture is at the heart of institutional control, and you are correct that the football tail wags the university dog at almost every major college. However in this case the culture surrounding football wins was so poisonous that adult men in a position to do something either knew, or intentionally protected themselves from knowing that a man was raping children on their campus. They did not do anything because they apparently believed that nothing was more important than the image of the football team and by extension the university. I do not think it is out of character or hypocritical for the NCAA to stand up and say “We value winning and profitability over just about everything – but this goes too far even for us.”
    I was watching Eternal Sunshine… the other night so I’ll throw my own Bartlett’s quote that I feel someone should have left on JoPa’s desk 20 years ago;
    “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ” ― Paulo Freire

  • Ritz

    And this type of attitude is exactly why Penn State needed to be punished. To show that, no, it’s not OK to cover up the rape of children. How anyone can defend people who do that is beyond me.

    People ask, “Does one mistake by Joe Pa overshadow all the good things he did?”

    Well when the ‘one mistake’ happens to result in the rape of children, yes it sure does.

  • Steve

    The NCAA punished them because people would have been up in arms otherwise. The NCAA does not have the ability to properly punish the real criminals here, and I find most of their sanctions just a lot of blustering.

  • Ritz

    I find the $60 million fine against Penn State that will go to support victims of child abuse quite profound.

  • Ritz

    I think the best part of the NCAA punishment is the $60 million fine that will be used to support victims of child abuse, plus the money is not allowed to come from academic or non-revenue sports sources.

  • Garry_Owen

    Profound, certainly. Quite possibly also illegal. This may be the one component of the sanctions, if any, that is overturned. (Although I understand that Penn State may have already agreed to the sanctions, which would change the landscape a bit.)

  • Steve

    I agree with that, but that punishment was going to come from someone. The civil litigation against Penn St may make that $60 million seem trivial.

  • Ritz

    Ummm yes it is easy – stop the pedophile, easy as that.

  • Garry_Owen

    The civil litigation will make an NCAA death penalty look trivial.

  • Steve

    That’s easy to say. It’s not as easy to actually completely tear down everything you’ve worked so hard to build up.

  • tribetimenow

    Mike McQueary Was Penn State’s QB In Paterno’s Last Win

  • Natedawg86

    I am not one of those that wants to bash Penn St, or wanted them to be penalized and get the death penalty. There was a lot that went wrong but the two that were most involved are either dead or in jail. The ones effected by the punishment had nothing to do with the crime. To me that is not right.
    We are only as good as our conference. If it is weak, we do not perform well in bowl games, or do not make it to a big bowl game. If it is a strong conference, we tend to do much better.

  • Natedawg86

    That game never happened…

  • Steve

    Who cares about where the recruits go? That is more offensive to me than the people at Penn St who are upset that JoePa got a “raw deal”. The outcomes of the Penn St football team, or Big Ten conference, is not a concern here.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    If the powers that be at Penn St. reported Sandusky to the authorities the day they found out about it and he was subsequently arrested soon after, the fallout would have been miniscule compared to this. In fact, I would argue that most people would have applauded their decisiveness and “doing the right thing”. The thought that these men knew what was going on and thought the better option was to try to cover it up as opposed to reporting it is mind numbing…on a number of levels. It’s truly hard to wrap my brain around such a luck of morality and judgement.

  • humboldt

    It’s really fairly simple. Leaders represent institutions. They are given great authority, power, and resources to serve as the institution’s titular heads. When they fail, the institution is penalized by virtue of having vested these leaders as their main decision-makers.

    I work in the Penn State system and will be affected by this decision, and yet I think it was a fair and just punishment.

  • baclap

    The NCAA is punishing the cover up, not Sandusky’s crimes. That is the message with this punishment. If you discover criminal activity in your program don’t think for a second about covering it up to protect the program. Because once details get out they’ll come down hard on you.

    This is how it should be. Schools police themselves, and if they fail to do so penalize them.

  • baclap

    Is that a fact? How ironic.

  • Garry_Owen

    Maybe. Maybe not.

  • baclap

    Well said

  • Nova buckeye

    Moxie

  • Garry_Owen

    It’s plain surreal here in PA.

  • Steve

    If they outed him as soon as they found out, the story would be “well how long was this going on that they didn’t bother to notice?” We’re a vindictive society, there was no way Penn St was going to come out of this in anything resembling a positive light. Penn St was going to get hammered with penalties no matter what they did.

  • Ritz

    There is nothing that would stop me from protecting a child from being raped. Sorry, but it is an easy decision.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    OK…and if they had acted immediately there would be no evidence of a cover-up, no “smoking gun” incriminating emails, and not much to base any accusations on…unlike now. I’m not saying Penn St. would have come out unscathed, necessarily…but it would be peanuts compared to this. Not to mention, I think most people would have given JoePa the benefit of the doubt at that point. A lot of people wanted to give him the benefit of the last fall…until the evidence became too overwhelming.