“The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.”
— Marc Antony, Act 3, scene ii, “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare.
So let it be with Joe Paterno. He was an honorable man who had faults. One of those faults led to one of the biggest falls from grace in sport’s culture.
Part of the fall from grace was the forfeiture of all games between 1998 and 2011. Those who look in the record book will notice the loss of those games. Those who played in those games will not forget the victories.
The NCAA has not revoked the diplomas of the thousands of student/athletes who played football, went to class and earned degrees. Penn State had one of the highest graduation rates in major college football.
The NCAA has once again meted out a punishment to those who had nothing to do with the crime. Those involved in the cover-up of child abuse should be punished. However, the NCAA has a history of punishing those who had nothing to do with the crime.
In its wisdom, the NCAA has banned the student/athletes who had nothing to do with the cover-up or the child abuse from participating in bowl games for four years. It has reduced the scholarships allotted to the football program for four years. (Even with reduced scholarships Penn State will probably graduate more student/athletes than most football factories.) It has given the green light to any student/athlete at Penn State to transfer without penalty and in doing so, it has encouraged the vultures from the schools that don’t graduate their athletes to go to Penn State and recruit. And they have done so in droves.
The NCAA has put itself above the law. Lawyers practice the law. Judges enforce and interpret the law. The NCAA is the law. It is judge, jury and executioner when it wants to be and when it is to its advantage
I am 100 percent in agreement with the $60 million fine because that is what the NCAA is all about. MONEY! They have yet to say where the money will go. Setting up a fund for the victims would be the right thing to do.
Taking wins away from a dead coach and players who played from 1998 to 2011 makes sense especially if one does not believe in due process or the Constitution of the United States of America. Jerry Sandusky was convicted of heinous crimes in 2012. The allegations against him came out in late 2011. The most known heinous incident took place in 2002. The cover-up must have started in 1998.
Again let me be clear. I am not defending the crimes or the cover-up of the alleged crimes, which they were until Sandusky was convicted. They are horrible. As a teacher I have seen the evils of abuse and the lives that it has destroyed. I have reported it to the Child Protection Agency, which is the law in California. Joe Paterno followed the law in Pennsylvania, but it wasn’t enough. Those guilty should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
The independent non-legal and non- binding report that the NCAA used to determine the penalties came to the conclusion that football at Penn State had too much power. It is ironic that the NCAA would have a problem with that. They have allowed the football factories to form a monopoly—the Bowl Championship Series (BCS)—and they have made it a Good Ol’ Boy’s Club. They have allowed superfluous bowls to exist and let teams with non-winning records, horrible graduation rates and cheating coaches and boosters play in the games just to make money. They allow basketball players to play one year to make money for the NCAA tournament.
The sports talk stations and the commentators are too concerned about the legacy of a coach instead of the shattered lives of the victims. They are too concerned with statues instead of statutes. The main concern should be for the victims.
The NCAA has gotten into the criminal law business. It should pay attention to its own business. The wheels of justice turn slowly. Let our justice system take care of the criminals. Let the civil and criminal courts take care of the criminals and take care of the victims. However, giving the $60 million that the NCAA fined Penn State would be a good start in helping the victims.
Shakespeare also wrote: “Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast.”