Ruffle My Feathers, a weekly sports column by Justin Lewis
The (Nittany) Lions Share
The NCAA made ANOTHER bad call with the Penn State debacle, what a surprise. The University is still reeling from the NCAA’s “judgment”. Once again the NCAA “officials” have their noses so high in the air they can detect when rain is coming from the clouds. They always feel they have to flex their muscles and show their “power”. When in reality you look ridiculous because you continue to belittle and berate a deceased man. The deceased man I speak of is none other than former Penn State University Head Coach Joe Paterno. The man who CAN’T defend himself is being made into the scapegoat. This goes out to the NCAA President, his underlings, and all other folks who continue to demean Paterno, ONLY COWARDS CONTINUALLY BLAME THE DECEASED!
Why are the media, commentators, former/current players, spectators, etc so quick to judge and crucify Paterno? I don’t think they even care about the good he has done for the program and the people outside the program as well. I have to admit that initially I wasn’t a big supporter of the guy because I didn’t think he was that good of a coach, but it wasn’t all about X’s and O’s for him it was about influence, power, motivation, and dedication. Those qualities factors helped me appreciate him more. It disgusts me how many folks are willing to step & spit on Paterno’s grave/legacy despite all of the good he has done; AND to make matters worse all of the critics KNOW he can’t defend himself. No, I don’t know how the victims or the families of the victims feel nor will I try to imagine, but the fact remains that the man is dead. He wasn’t extended the same courtesies as the other people who were involved (who coincidentally remain out of the public eye). His legal counsel didn’t have a chance to reply or defend him against the allegations nor did they have a chance to interview key witnesses. *Sarcasm included* The NCAA handled the punishment aspect perfectly, right? Covering up the area where Paterno’s statue was, prior to ripping it out of the ground. That’s the exact opposite of how the alleged parties involved (Penn State officials, coaches, etc) “covered up” all of the evil that occurred in the past, right? WRONG!
It’s eerily similar to how Penn State “covered” everything up. So if the NCAA handled it in the same fashion as Penn State, how is that better? Oh I get it, it’s because your INTENTIONS were good, right? You are simply trying to rectify the situation the best way you can and it just so happens that you will destroy the legacy of a deceased man and force current and future student/athletes to make a choice of whether to tough it out or go elsewhere AFTER they were set on attending Penn State University, right? If that doesn’t keep you awake at night, you should have a seat in a chaise next to the gentleman/lady with the notepad and Kleenex, because you’re nuts.
In regards to the removal of the statue I have a question. Do you think removing that statue will erase what occurred in the past e.g. the pain and anguish? All you’re doing is “covering up” what happened. By enforcing such a strict penalty you (NCAA officials) are making yourselves look like very petty people who are abusing the power that was given to you; instead of being what you were hired to be which is a professional who handles themselves with class and dignity. Remember you’re not punishing the deceased (Joe Paterno), Jerry Sandusky (The Real Culprit), or the other parties that were involved. You’re punishing the young adults who are going to lead us into the future. Way to think rationally.
Back to another key problem I have with this punishment. As usual instead of going after the people who were DIRECTLY (physically AND monetarily) involved you go after the man who didn’t “…do more.” (Paterno’s words). The people who had the most impact/influence in the situation will be slapped on the wrist and forgotten about but you are willing to ruin the legacy of someone who put so much into the school and helped so many people; AND on top of that you are going to penalize current and future student/athletes of Penn State. How is this program supposed to move forward with so many penalties enforced on against them?
Quite a few people have asked whether this ruling had the same severity as SMU’s “Death Penalty”. I believe Penn State’s infraction was a bit more beneficial because they didn’t have seasons taken away and they have the name and revenue earning power to stay way above water, but the loss of scholarships is a very big thing.
Let’s compare the two “judgments/rulings” shall we:
- SMU’s death penalty:
- 1987 season canceled, all home games in 1988 season cancelled (SMU chose to cancel their away games as well), loss of 55 new scholarships over four years, three-year ban from bowl games and live television, they were only allowed to hire (5) full-time assistant coaches instead of the typical (9), no off-campus recruiting until August 1988, no paid visits could be made to campus by potential recruits until the start of the 1988-99 school year.
- Penn State
- $60 million fine, four-yea bowl ban and loss of 40 new scholarships over that same four-year period. To add insult to injury The Big Ten conference announced that Penn State will forfeit their share of bowl revenue for four years (valued at approx $13 million).
NCAA President Mark Emmert made it his mission to make an example out of this school, its students, the former coach, and the alumni. He stated, “This is unlike any other case we’ve ever dealt with. This is so public, so shocking, so disturbing that it called for a very different approach.” Really Mark, I didn’t notice. It obviously called for a PETTY approach. Mr. Emmert then went (AGAINST procedure I might add) and bypassed the infractions committee (yes the people who were deemed qualified; and normally HANDLE things of this nature) and let the NCAA executive committee and its Division I board of Director’s decide on the penalty. *Insert Sarcasm Here* That makes so much sense! I’m going to override all previous processes and procedures and CREATE a punishment that will make us (especially me) look like heroes; but in reality you look like someone who is trying to be the judge, jury, and executioner. Pretty honorable Mr. Emmert, great job. Did you learn that from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?
Emmert later went on to say, “What we’re trying to do with these sanctions isn’t just penalize and punish the school, but help them reshape that culture so that they never say the culture of hero worship or the culture of sport is ever going to overwhelm our values again so that we don’t make the right choice at the right time.” Now I may be wrong, but doesn’t that sound like a “political” answer? You know the answer that whisks you off of your feet but never really catches you and you land right on your face. In other words there’s a lot of smoke blowing upwards right now.
Paterno took the Lions share of the punishment and he isn’t even here to defend himself; the student-athletes (future and current) and Paterno’s family also took some hits but the most important people in the situation aren’t the alleged people who did wrong, it was the people who have been wronged. I cant even imagine what they are going through nor will I try, but they are the people who should be receiving the most attention and assistance because scars like that may heal but they are never forgotten. The Lions share of attention was on the wrong person Mr. Emmert and I believe you know that, yet you continue to step on Paterno’s name/grave. If you spent the Lions share of your time tending to the victims and their families instead punishing the alleged culprits you may have a greater influence on the future.