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.