There’s a lot of talk floating around about whether Penn State should receive the NCAA “death penalty” for the Sandusky pedophilia morass. Naturally, the PSU haters trolling blogs and message boards on the Internet are rooting for Penn State to lose its football program for a year, or in the extreme case, permanently. The big question is going to up to the NCAA to decide, not on the basis of visceral reaction, but on fair and just application of its rules.
“The case for the death penalty for PSU football appears to be a little more salient now that we’ve painted a picture of an institution out of control without a properly functioning administrative hierarchy.” —TNT
The NCAA has been investigating Penn State since Sandusky, Curley, and Schultz were charged with felonies. “Institutional oversight” of the football program is at the core of the probe. Heretofore, NCAA had indicated that it would await the results of the Louis Freeh investigation before arriving at its own conclusions.
Institutional control of the football program? I suppose that comes down to wherein ultimate control of PSU football was invested. I think that we all know where that was: Joe Paterno. Oh, sure, some of us who live in denial (mostly crocodiles live in de Nile) would proffer that Paterno had a boss (Tim Curley), who in turn had a boss (Graham Spanier); however, they know in their heart of hearts that this was never true.
One need go no farther than the 2004 episode in which Spanier and Curley showed up at Paterno’s door, intent on firing him after several lousy seasons of football. Paterno told them he wasn’t going anywhere and sent them home with their tails between their legs. The cowardly Lion (Spanier) and the brainless scarecrow (Curley) had failed in their attempt to assert their leadership over Paterno, which would never again exist.
In view of recent findings, namely the emails between Curley, Schultz, and Spanier from 2001, which implied that the plan, which originally was to censure Sandusky and report the sexual molestation to authorities, changed when Curley discussed the matter with Paterno, who “convinced” his “boss” to keep the matter internal. Curley, who in this Turkey’s opinion was always Joe’s sycophant from the time he was a ball boy, communicated with the cowardly Spanier, who wishy-washily concurred but added that he was “concerned” about vulnerability.
In an earlier post, this Turkey wondered whether there was a connection between the rebuffed dismissal attempt in 2004 and the Sandusky case. In other words, if Joe was fired, he could blow the thing wide open and blame his bosses, who technically were in charge of the program at the time. There is no record of Paterno having done anything at all, except via hearsay implication in an email from Curley to Spanier. But I digress.
There is no doubt in my mind anymore that Paterno called the shots with regard to the Sandusky cover-up. I had deluded myself into thinking that he was morally wrong to not report the incident to the police when no one else did, but that he had followed the law and university policy in reporting it to his superior. I was wrong. If the leaked email is authentic, then Paterno actually called for the cover-up in spite of a plan to go public with it by his supposed superiors — and got away with it. Who ran the football program? Paterno. No one else. His “superiors” essentially reported to him.
So, will the NCAA mete out the “death penalty”, which has been levied on a Division I football program only once before, to SMU in 1987? That institution was punished for massive rules infractions, especially with respect to paying players. The case for the death penalty for PSU football appears to be a little more salient now that we’ve painted a picture of an institution out of control without a properly functioning administrative hierarchy. The leaked emails no doubt added fuel to the fire.
Those who are interested in retribution and vindication will no doubt construct rationalizations in justification of the maximum penalty for Penn State, but that won’t help the victims one iota. In fact, it could hurt their civil cases against Penn State if a plethora of punishment started to garner public sympathy for Penn State. There will be none from the haters, I know, but perhaps the thinking public will begin thinking “enough is enough” at some point.
To hell with football, anyway. Let’s do what we can to restore decent lives for the victims.
What do legal experts have to say about the possibility of a stiff punishment, up to and including the death penalty, for PSU? The lovely Stefanie Loh of the Patriot-News interviewed several.
An AP story published today, “PSU Football Doesn’t Deserve Death Penalty” opines that it is not appropriate punishment.
Those of us who live, eat, sleep, and drink Penn State football might possibly require life support if capital punishment is meted out to Dear Old State. It took SMU 20 years before they could assemble a team that could play at a decent level after their football blackout. If this happens to PSU, many of us will become zombies.
Michael H. Geldner says
My heart goes out to the victims. I can’t imagine what the impact has been to them or what their future will be like as a result of this travesty. They have my greatest sympathy as do those who trusted this regime only to have their trust betrayed. I believe, however, that it is ultimately the individuals who perpetrated these crimes, cover-ups and deceptions who need to pay the price. Not the institution.
I think that “death penalty” referred to in the commentary above would result in no positive outcome. Rather it would stifle progress for many innocent people at Penn State and allow ill will to fester into a full-strength infection that would threaten the well being and future lives of those who come now to this institution seeking to better themselves, develop their full potential and become the leaders of our immediate future. Why should they suffer? What good would it do?
Instead, this calamity opens the door to an opportunity to revisit and instantiate those strong, admirable morals on which Penn State was founded and operated on for so long. I say that the Penn State and the NCAA should bring this to a rapid close, then rehabilitate athletics at Penn State rather than “execute” it for the good of all those who are here now and are yet to come.
Let decency, morality and strength of character light the way!
The Nittany Turkey says
Wise words, Mike. Alas, there are those who are bent on retribution and who are frustrated by Paterno’s death. Two things would appease them: the death penalty for PSU football and removal of Paterno’s statue. Symbolic justice? Lynch mob mentality? Sandusky is in the can, probably for good. The others involved, save Paterno, will pay for their screwups. Penn State will pay out big bucks for civil awards to the victims. That’s good enough for me. No need to bring down an entire institution.
K. John says
Alas, people need to realize a few things, one, there is no evidence indicating any wrong doing at Penn State. In fact, all evidence, including the recent emails, indicate that Penn State handled the situation in an entirely responsible fashion, even if the trolls don’t like it. People really need to put the emails into context and the key bit of information there is the fact that Mike McQueary did not witness a crime, only assumed one had happened. Furthermore, at least four of the first five people he talked to have testified that McQueary did not inform them of a crime and quite possibly all five. Are all four (maybe five) lying or is the one with the ever evolving tale not being completely upfront? If it is the later, the emails disprove the media’s narrative. Which is more likely?
The Nittany Turkey says
The leaked emails, which CNN now says were read to them but not seen, if accurately reported, provide a portent of what might be reported in the Freeh probe, which is to be released late this month. However, we will never know the complete truth no matter how much the matter is investigated, because Joe is dead. In my opinion, the two significant purported facts arising out of these emails were that Spanier had full knowledge that something was amiss, and that Curley had a second conversation with Paterno to run the Curley/Schultz plan up the Godfather’s flag pole to see if he’d salute it. Apparently, he didn’t. Whether that was because Joe believed that nothing really happened or because he wanted to cover up a crime, we’ll never know.
Isn’t anyone concerned that this stuff is being leaked prior to the release of Louie’s report? Also find it hard to believe that this “cover-up” was concluded in only 4 messages. Curious that CNN first reported they had the emails, than reported that they had seen them and finally that they were read to them. This information from the same organization that screwed up the Obamacare SC ruling and also the organization who’s viewership is down 36% from last month. I’m waiting to see the report and background before I believe anyone on this.
The Nittany Turkey says
I find myself wondering what the motivation might be, and you’ve provided one possibility. However, I doubt that CNN would fabricate the emails to increase their sorry ratings, as it would surely backfire on them. I have to wonder just who leaked the emails—whether it was from the Freeh committee or the PSU administration—and what they had to gain by doing so.
Al Schade says
….there is no evidence indicating any wrong doing at Penn State….
WTF are you talking about? Seriously? WTF?
K. John says
Al, you really need to stop reading the papers and start looking at the evidence in a logical manner. Mike McQueary spoke to five people concerning the incident. His father, Dr. Dranov, JoePa, Curley and Schultz. Four of the five descriptions are very consistent. We do not have John McQueary’s Grand Jury testimony yet but given a chance to contradict his son on the stand, he surprisingly forgot about past testimony. Mike McQueary’s testimony has also evolved over time and he has offered inconsistent testimony and has flubbed some details.
Simply put, the entire cover up story is based entirely on McQueary’s claim to have informed Schultz and Curley that he witness a crime. We know he didn’t actually witness one, he said so himself. He assumed one had happened. How he made such an assumption based on the details he gave is beyond me because they don’t support his story and the Sandusky jury largely agreed. We know he didn’t report a crime to Paterno. He said under oath that he deliberately watered down his story, which at its most graphic demonstrates that he didn’t witness a crime. Curley and Schultz also spoke with his father and Dranov who encouraged him to talk to Paterno rather than the police. Do the math. There is no evidence of any wrong doing and these emails leaks actually support Curley and Schultz’s side of the story. Right now, unless something actually damning comes to light, ALL evidence suggests there was no wrong doing. Worst case scenario, Shultz and company made a mistake.
Al Schade says
No, the “worst case scenario” is that a sick twisted demented monster is allowed to use a charity for vulnerable boys as his personal victim farm.
Do you really believe that “there was no wrongdoing” at Penn State? An esteemed employee routinely raped young boys on it’s property. An athletic director, president, head of the police and head coach all knew something was drastically wrong and they chose to soft pedal it. Do you really believe this was the “humane” way to go?
No, I will not stop reading the papers. You, ‘tho, should put down the caraffe of Penn State koolaid and look at this “logically”.
Is football really that important to you?