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Penn State's Fate

With Wade Goodwyn in for Tom Ashbrook.

Penn State’s fate, after the scandal. Did the NCAA get it right?

A covering lies on top of the head of the statue of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno before it is removed Sunday, July 22, 2012, in State College, Pa. The famed statue of Paterno was taken down from outside the Penn State football stadium Sunday, eliminating a key piece of the iconography surrounding the once-sainted football coach accused of burying child sex abuse allegations against a retired assistant. (AP)

A covering lies on top of the head of the statue of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno before it is removed Sunday, July 22, 2012, in State College, Pa. The famed statue of Paterno was taken down from outside the Penn State football stadium Sunday, eliminating a key piece of the iconography surrounding the once-sainted football coach accused of burying child sex abuse allegations against a retired assistant. (AP)

Yesterday the NCAA slapped Penn State with the most severe sanctions since SMU was given the death penalty in 1986. No bowl games for 4 years, 10 less football scholarships each of those 4 years.  They’ll still play football in Happy Valley, but it won’t be or look anything like the past.

Not surprisingly, Penn State fans are crying foul, saying due process was by-passed by the NCAA and even some other institutions are hoping this was a one-time process. 

This hour, On Point:  What do you think, Penn State penalties, fair or foul?

-Wade Goodwyn


Ellen Staurowsky, professor of sports management at Drexel University and author of College Athletes for Hire: The Evolution and Legacy of the NCAA’s Amateur Myth.

Jason Lanter, outgoing president of the Drake Group, a national organization pushing for the reform of college athletics.

Dan Beebe, NCAA commissioner of the Ohio Valley Conference from 1989–2003 and Big 12 Conference from 2007-2011.

Kevin Blackistone, sports journalist and a frequent panelist for ESPN’s Around the Horn. 

From The Reading List

USA Today “Some members of the Penn State Board of Trustees are unhappy that the university’s administration agreed to severe NCAA sanctions announced Monday without first consulting the 32-member group.”

ESPN “The NCAA has hit Penn State with a $60 million sanction, a four-year football postseason ban and a vacation of all wins dating to 1998, the organization said Monday morning. The career record of Joe Paterno will reflect these vacated records, the NCAA said.”

Philadelphia Inquirer “College sports’ governing body today fined Pennsylvania State University $60 million and vacated more than a decade of its football team’s wins for its handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.”

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  • Mike Card

    Wow.  What a shame.  These poor Pennsylvanians won’t be able to profit from the Saturday football tail-gaters.  Is child-raping such a bad thing?  After all, it’s only the gate…What is the sacrifice if a few kids get scoured for life by only one sick deviant who nobody had the courage to stand up against?

    If Penn State got closed down and plowed under, it wouldn’t be sufficient punishment.

    • Phil

      Why stop at the university?  We should plow the whole state under.  Why stop there?  we should plow the whole country under.  Perhaps you should go out and buy some stock in John Deere Tractors as there is a whole lot of plowing that needs to take place.

      • Brett

        You seem to be driven by hysterics.

        • Phil

          Actually saying that the entire university should be plowed under would be considered by most people to be a hysterical overreaction.  Perhaps all of the Penn State grads should be put in prison for the rest of their lives as well?  Or should they be made to sit on the campus when the bulldozers come?

          • Brett

            Perhaps Mr. Cards comment was a bit over the top, but your absurd response wasn’t any less hysterical. I just simply chose to reply to you instead of Mr. Card. By the way, have you spent any time around the State College area? Paterno was treated like it’s the Second Coming and he was Jesus. 

          • Mike Card

            I confess that I’ve never been in Happy Hollow or Pleasant Treetop or whatever the name of that place is.  Much of my familiarity derives from the big whoop on TV every time PSU plays a football game.

            It doesn’t matter how good the football program was–it wasn’t special, except that the head coach enabled a pedophiliac monster who raped young boys.  Penn State could disappear off the map and there would still be more college football than any country ought to endure.

        • Jockfever

           The lynch mob is driven by hysteria.  The mob indulges its emotions and passions, setting aside the rule of law, due process, and other protections of a civil society, especially the principle that a person is innocent until found guilty in a court of law.  Joe Paterno was not charged, much less found guilty in a court of law.  He was lynched by the biased media, much the same way the Duke Lacrosse Team and George Zimmerman were lynched.  

          • Jockfever

            and yes there’s the Freeh report, which repeatedly paints Paterno, Curley and Schulz with the same broad brush, even though Curley and Schulz were declared not credible by the Grand Jury and charged by the state Attorney General.   The failure to clearly distinguish the different levels of culpability should be a scandal, attributable to one of the biggest bunglers ever to head the FBI.  Whoever chose Freeh to lead this investigation is a major accomplice to throwing Penn State under the bus, with dictator Emmert happily pandering to the mob by punishing the innocent.

  • Jason

    I was really surprised that the NCAA did anything this significant. And after giving it some thought – IT’S NOT ENOUGH.

  • William

    A rich school that did not care because the victims were poor. This punishment is a joke.

  • LinP

    It’s not enough. Not, not, not enough. If this situation at Penn State does not warrant the death penalty, then what the hell does?

    • Guest

       You, with that attitude

  • Phil

    In their thirst for blood, the NCAA ignored their own policy of doing their own investigation and instead relied upon another report.  Although the Freeh investigation was very extensive, there should still have been opportunity for those accused of wrongdoing to respond to it with subsequent investigation based upon their responses before the report was issued.  But Paterno’s head was required so full steam ahead.  

    As far as vacating victories for the past 13 years, that is simply an attempt to re-write history as in the book “1984″.  Paterno and Penn State won those victories in a sportsmanlike fashion, and Paterno will be Number 1 in terms of victories forever.

    Wrong was done, no doubt about it.  But the eventual assignment of guilt needs to be based on all of the facts, without regard to a shortened time frame because blood is required.  Because of the ramifications of being found guilty, the investigation should have been more thorough and should have been allowed to take as much time as is required.  That was not done. The volume of hate posts on ESPN/etc. even before any investigation was done just showed that people do not believe in due process but want to simply rush to judgment.

    • Brett

      So, your issues are 1) that abortion is wrong in your view, therefore pro-choice folks should give Penn State a pass because they don’t stand up for unborn children, and 2) It is the investigation that is flawed, and 3) Paterno was beloved and won football games so he should get a pass.

      Okay, then.  

      • Phil

        Your overly simplistic and distorted interpretation of what I said is not even worthy of a response other than to point out the fact that is is simplistic and distorted.

        • Brett

          You tried to make some comparison between child rape and abortion; you made the point of the investigation not meeting certain standards; you wish to make some mitigation of Paterno’s lack of action with regard to stopping Sandusky because Paterno did a lot of other good things. You are simplifying and distorting based on comparisons that have no real relationships. I’ll admit, my reply took your comment toward absurdity, but you were moving in that direction all on your own, without my “help.”

  • Phil

    How many of you calling for the heads of those who perpetrated these crimes on innocent children are ok with the murder of the most innocent children, namely the unborn?  I am in no way justifying what was done to the children in the Penn State case.  But man’s ability to justify certain actions while excusing other actions, namely abortion, is truly amazing to me and shows just how far we have fallen.  Again I am not justifying anyone being harmed, but you should now understand why those who get so upset with Planned Parenthood and others who justify and support abortion get equally passionate about what they perceive as an even more egregious injustice, namely the murder of those even less able to defend themselves, the unborn.

    • Vasco DeGrabya

      Completely different issue.  This attempt at linkage is not helpful, and may in fact be distasteful.

      • Brett

        I was going to reply to Phil, but you’ve said what I would have said. 

      • JGC

        I am a graduate of Penn State University, and I was raised Catholic in a small northwestern PA  town that has THREE Catholic parishes within the town limits.  What you got here is a head-on collision of the two true churches: Football and Jesus Christ, and really I don’t know which claims the Ultimate Authority in State College.

        What I do know from being raised there, is support for football and the unborn comes well ahead of support for those luckless children who fell into the pedophiles’ traps where morality is presumed until proven otherwise.      

      • Ed

        I think abortion does have revelance because it goes to how our society treats children in general. And one is struck by the ferocious response to Penn State, right or wrong, and the complete lack of penalty for abortionist doctors.

    • Al in NH

       If you don’t like abortion…don’t have one.

    • Gary Trees

      Raping cognizant children and aborting a fetus are two completely unrelated issues.  If you’re looking for lively debate about whether or not abortion should be legal, I’m sure there are many other venues for this discourse.  If you fail to stay on topic you just come off as a zealot (which may be your intention, for all I know).  There’s probably a subreddit that would hear you out.

    • Chris B

       Sing, Johnny-One-Note. . . .

    • Don_B1

      All fetuses are not equal; some have developmental problems that will prevent them from living outside the womb for more than a few hours or days, and some will do incalculable damage to the woman in the process of being born. The numbers of women who die in childbirth is still too high and sometimes this is the result of a problem with the fetus. Is it right that the mother of previous children or future children should be prevented from nurturing them to adulthood?

      Women of wealth will ALWAYS have access to abortion; it is the poor who do not have the money to adequately raise their children in this current world where a child’s success in life is so dependent on a loving supportive family which is not continuously rent by financial problems. Just in this recession, the number of cases of child abuse has been rising, particularly in families under financial stress.

      I would feel a lot better about restricting abortion if those same people who are so bothered about an aborted fetus had nearly the same concern about making sure that the child not aborted had access to the love and education necessary to have a good life.

      I am certainly not advocating that any country take China’s one couple, one child policy which mandates abortions for an “accident,” etc., but many of the problems this world faces, from peak oil to climate change, have an “over-population” component. Birth control is necessary, but it is not perfect, and accidents do happen. But those that are against abortion are now revealing that they are just as adamantly against contraception. So they have an agenda which will bring ruin to all of humanity.

      This is another example of the Tragedy of the Commons, where all the people in the town put their cows to pasture on the town common. Then each family sees that they can produce more milk and increase their income by getting more cows, until the common is depleted of grass. Each family did what was ‘best” for it alone but the townspeople together “killed the golden goose.”

    • Ashleyyoshida


  • dirk in omaha

    how does this ruling address the widespread corrupting influence of money,and the fears that potential whistle-blowers have of community backlash, in college sports?

    • dirk in omaha

      from the WSJ: “A
      big-time football program can generate tens of millions per season, and
      though profits are hardly guaranteed—a stunning proportion of athletic
      departments run at a deficit—this pursuit can be used to justify a
      program’s excessive power on campus.”

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    Stick a fork in Penn State football for a decade. 

    The crime was horrible.  The punishment is draconian. The unfortunate part is the punishment hits many innocents.

  • Prairie_W

    Not much respect is due for either the sports establishment or the university.

  • Hidan

    Great outcome hopefully this will change the Pen State culture and other Universities as to the seriousness of sexual assault on children.  

    Yes it’s going to hurt for a good deal of time but if someone robbed a bank can’t claim that they can’t go to jail or lose there job cause there family is depending on them.

  • Gary Trees

    I may be in a lonely camp, but I think that this was a very appropriate punishment.  If the intent is to bring about a new atmosphere around the sports culture in Penn State, one in which the student athletes are students first, this should get the job done.  There is a caveat that could prove to be tricky though: the boosters. 

    I have little doubt that the bulk, if not the entire sum, of the monetary penalty imposed on PSU will be picked up by the boosters.  Especially if this is something that the boosters believe they can simply wait out and return to the ferocious football atmosphere that is expected by the boosters and alumni.  If the administration and the student body allow the boosters to be the out for this punishment, I fear it will all be for  nought.

  • Long One

    (1) Joe would have agreed to bring his own statute down.

    (2) Whether or not the NCAA got it right does not matter.  Although I am a Penn Stater and agree that the penalty was without a contractual basis (Note: I did not say “without merit”), I am pleased to learn that the athletes will be permitted to go elsewhere untarnished, if they please.  Penn State will be back someday, not that many of us alumni care that we have a #1 football program.  It’s just fun to go to the games with your family and root for the home team.

    (3) There is no evidence in the Freeh Report which shows that there was a cover-up to protect the football program.  Indeed there was a cover-up insinuated in emails between Spanier and Curley, and cryptic emails between the two and Schultz, but again nothing to point to an effort to protect the program.

    (4) Show me one piece of evidence which shows that Paterno covered something up.  It’s not there.

    (5) Paterno did what he was legally responsible to do.  His statement “In hindsight, I wish I had done more” is interpreted improperly.

    (5) What the media concluded was that four individuals got together to cover-up child rape.  As unbelievable as that is, what’s more is that there were no bulk of precedential incidents where those individuals or the institution itself conspired to cover up other incidents to “protect the program”.  There is one incident that the Freeh Report cites, wherein Paterno allegedly asserted himself into a Student Affairs Investigation regarding an OFF-CAMPUS fight between a number of players and other students.  The point that is missed there is two-fold: (i) what the “program” was asking for was leniency which allowed the players to practice until the investigation was complete, i.e. to presume innocence rather than guilt.  Even in that circumstance, “the program” still was compliant in not allowing the players to participate in games.  (ii) the Freeh Report lacked the necessary scope to cite the overwhelming and numerous times that Paterno dished out harsh penalties to star players, even mid-season, i.e. not allowing players to suit for games because of his higher academic standards, not allowing players to practice or play for skippping class, and stripping bowl privileges for pending criminal charges (not even convictions).

    (6) The Financial Penalty was too small.  Penn State should have offered a larger proceed of merchandising and ticket proceeds over the next 10 years, i.e. 10% of all proceeds from the same, plus a new department in Family Studies directed towards child abuse, plus a large endowment to charities focused on child abuse selected by the NCAA or another separate institution.  The NCAA probably lacked authority to demand this, but PSU should have offered it anyways.

    (7) Penn State Football was #1 in academics amongst its competitors in 2011.

  • Ed

    My own view, from the little I know of the situation, is that those involved should be charged criminally. But the institution – why is it being punished - unless it has a policy of promoting this, which it doesn’t. 

    • J__o__h__n

      What about institutions that had a policy of shuffling child rapists from one parish to another for decades?  His Eminence Cardinal Law was never charged criminally or even punished by his institution. 

      • TFRX

        When Ed, the biggest RC apologist on this site, brings up Penn St and this scandal and coverup, unbidden, I think of something my late grandfather used to say:

        “Quit while you’re behind.”

  • 99TalkBack99

    Those that were in on the coverup deserve every bit of the punishment,
    as well as the program for the proscribed term – take away the  bowl
    games, et al. As far as rest of the penalty
    Penn St, and Pennsylvania itself, should be breathing a collective sigh
    of relief that Penn St football didn’t get the “death penalty”. 

    But how do you take away wins? That’s history. It happened. This wasn’t a
    cheating issue, where games were thrown or performance enhancing drugs
    were used. But  to negate years of
    hard work and dedication by students and staff that had no idea of
    happened, nor of the cover up, when it was a very select few that covered up
    this heinous incident? That’s too much. The record of the team should stand, as taking it away as serves
    no purpose other than to spike the ball, so to speak, on the reputation
    of good students that did nothing wrong, in the name of “justice”.  Since when does our society require that entire program be retroactively punished for guilt by association?  How many people would be in jail, or at least their lives ruined, because some relative or employer committed a crime?

    Penn State’s already down; and
    the rest of the NCAA schools fully understand what’s at stake should
    anything like in the past, present, or future should raise its ugly
    head. Gibe the players back their reputation.

  • psu97

    The problem with this punishment is that the people who allegedly participated in the cover-up don’t feel the pain of it – the NCAA is punishing the wrong community.  Jerry Sandusky? On the way to prison.  Graham Spanier? Fired. Joe Paterno? Deceased.  Those being punished are current students, staff, and the local community.  No matter how you feel about football, it has been significant source of revenue for the surrounding State College community.  Many local businesses derive a significant portion of annual revenue from September to November and this is a blow to those who have nothing to do with the scandal.

    I am a 1997 graduate of PSU and will remain proud to be part of the education I got there.

  • MarkVII88

    Those in the administration and those in the Basketball program at Syracuse University must be soiling themselves right about now since their internal investigation exonerated their asst. basketball coach of sexually inappropriate behavior with kids.  I bet they hope nothing more develops that will bring NCAA scrutiny down on them like Penn State.  

  • Tina

    I just wonder:  does this “verdict” obliterate the winnings of the student athletes who played with all their might over all those years?  If so, it seems like the net is catching people who don’t deserve to be caught in the net, and on that point only, I’d object.  

  • Vic Volpe

    I would like to know if the Freeh Report, by examining only the management structure at Penn State and not going into a criminal investigation, is limiting the investigation and avoiding an expanding investigation into the role of the Second Mile Foundation and possible political connections in this scandal.
    It is hard to believe that  Sandusky could operate for 14 years and only four people at the University are held responsible and no one from Sandusky’s Second Mile Foundation is held accountable.
    I bring this up because Dave Zirin (sports columnist for The Nation magazine and host of Edge of Sports Radio) claims that Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who has drawn criticism for his handling of the Sandusky investigation while serving as the state’s Attorney General and preparing for a gubernatorial run, took campaign contributions from donors to the Second Mile Foundation in the amount of $650,000.

    • Robert

       ever hear of the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union scandal? I wonder if the Second Mile was something like that.

    • JGC

      I think Freeh was contracted by the University trustees, and so investigation outside of the milieu of Penn State was not in his consideration.  I am sure the Second Mile will eventually get the headlamps shined in their direction, but under whose authority, I do not know. 

  • D-gann

    The NCAA is punishing the wrong people, the students, both current students and alumni. 

    I agree with Bob Kravitz;


  • Kayjay

    Children were molested and raped.  The people at the top covered it up.  These are the facts.  It is not about the student-athletes, it is about just a little punishment for horrible crimes.  I am surprised that only one guy is in prison – just typical.

  • margaret

    The NCAA is punishing the wrong people. They’re penalizing former & future football players; stripping them of the games they did win & rendering future wins pointless. They should get the $60 million from the Sandusky & Paterno families & from the salaries of the Penn State officials who let the abuse happen.

    • Bea

      I don’t understand how former players have been penalized.  Did they put their win/loss record on their resumes?  Did the record affect their GPA?  You go to school, you learn, you graduate, you move on into society.  While playing a sport may mold you as a person, surely sport’s influence is shared by all, not just the winning teams.

    • DaveL

      I agree that the NCAA is generally punishing the wrong people, except that I do think the institution should  participate significantly in the financial penalties.  

      I also think that the NCAA rushed to judgement at least in part to avoid the horror show of holding their own hearings and dealing in a public manner with this disgusting situation.  I would like to think that if the NCAA had been more deliberate, and followed normal due process, that they would have found a way to be more targeted in their sanctions, hopefully focusing them more on those really responsible, and focusing them in a way that could possibly create real change.  They may in the end also have been harsher if they had followed normal due process.   

      The NCAA may also have come to its sense and realized that vacating wins does not make sense in this situation.  The problems at Penn State were not related to how they won their games.  Penn State was not discovered to have been cheating on the playing field or breaking some other rules related to how the game is played.  The problems were related to institutional and personal arrogance, placing the glory (and associated money) of the football program ahead of personal morality.

      In some ways I see what the NCAA has done, despite its apparent severity and claims of swift justice, as circling the wagons for college football, protecting their own, possibly as a move to head off action by others, so Penn State can claim that they have already paid their debt to society and move on.

  • Greyman

    Institutional loyalty vs. individual responsibility: the former trumped the latter at Penn State for over a decade, and Sandusky was not the only culprit in that.

  • Craig from Omaha

    Problems with Penn State’s football culture go back to the early 1980′s.  For instance, the refs in two critical games made outrageous calls that gave Penn State victories against ranked opponents.  In 1982 in “Happy Valley” against undefeated #1 ranked Nebraska on a 4th down play a Penn State receiver caught that ball a yard out of bounds on the 3 yard line with seconds left in the game.  The refs ruled him in bounds for a 1st down. Penn State then scored a TD & won 27-24.  Penn State won the rest of its games that year and was awarded the national championship.  Nebraska, with a backfield of future NFL stars (Mike Rozier, Irving Fryer, Roger Craig) finished 2nd.  In a subsequent season, Alabama came to Happy Valley, and the refs ruled a Tide receiver who caught the ball at the back of the end zone out of bounds.  Television replays showed the refs made bad calls in each of these games, but that was before video reviews.

    • Kyle

      I don’t think you can compare refs calling bad games to child molestation, or say that bad calls from refs is due to the culture at penn state and deserves vacated wins, fines, or a bowl game ban

      • dirk in omaha

         yes, sadly this is how twisted the “culture” of big money college sports is and how corrupting it is on the wider culture.

  • Kate

    Clearly the NCAA was afraid of under reacting to this issue, as the Catholic church has, for example. It was gratifying to see that they responded strongly. But, what will the $60 million be used for and how do you erase the actual history of Penn State’s wins?

    • Nick

      I can’t reply in terms of the $60 million, but the vacating of Joe Paterno’s wins from 1998 will strip him of the recognition as the winningest coach in college football history.  

      • SomeGuyNamedMark

         Sanitizing history is a very slippery slope.

        • Ashleyyoshida

           So are lies of omission.  Those wins were contingent on a conspiracy to protect a pedophile and serial child rapist so how valid were they?

          • SomeGuyNamedMark

             Replace one immoral act with another?

          • Ashleyyoshida

             If the wins weren’t valid, why would erasing them from the record be immoral?

      • Ashleyyoshida

         And that would be appropriate and just punishment for someone who tolerated child abuse to earn that title.

  • Mike from Rutland

    When the head football coach accounts for the highest wages,
    even surpassing the president of the college, you tell me who’s really in
    charge of a university’s direction?  When malfeasance of this proportion
    (or even lesser) is covered up by private or public companies it’s EXPECTED
    that the head of the institution is chopped off and vilified.  Because
    Paterno was in effect the defacto leader of the college’s direction and focus
    (football) it’s only appropriate to penalize all things associated with his football-centric

    • Kyle

      you lost me at “it’s only appropriate to penalize all things associated with his football-centric vision.”  I dont think because someone does something bad, everything that individual has ever done should be destroyed.  Everyone does good and bad things, so I don’t think we should destroy the good things because of who created them.  The president is the head of the university, and made comparable pay to paterno (both were in the $500,000-600,000 range).  Both were involved, and both should be punished, but unless you are going to make a new regulation about how big any college football program can be, it does not make sense to act against this one

      • Ashleyyoshida

         Does your logic also apply to Hitler?  Pol Pot?  Come on!  The man sodomized little boys on the campus, in the showers for God’s sake!!!  How can you compartmentalize his life?  The man was a monster.  You might feel differently if he had raped you or one of your children.

        • Kyle

          I’m not saying the man should be pardoned, I’m saying the institution is not the man.  should the 36 olympics be rescinded because they were in hitler’s germany? should we not have gone to the moon because we used nazi rocket technology to build off of?

          • Ashleyyoshida

             Maybe so.  If that’s what it takes to create an atmosphere where the cost benefit analysis takes human suffering into account.

  • Mike in PA

    identify one piece of direct evidence that shows that Paterno deliberately conspired or unilaterally covered up any incident.

  • paul b

    NFL-NCAA-Student athletes. have not heard any idea that NFT uses top colleges as recruiting/training camps.they watch, have insiders telling them what goes on in the programs and keep track of strong candidates for the draft. Where are they in all this and what of the question of paying student athletes?

  • Kyle

    The student athletes do not need to be barred from bowl games, everyone involved needs to be in prison.  That is the real issue.  I have seen the news about spanier’s emails supporting not telling the police but I have not seen any arrest. These things are not perpetrated by institutions, they are perpetrated by people.  If my action causes me to go to prison I am much less likely to do it than it my action leads to an institution getting fines.
    The NCAA is not the appropriate entity to punish penn state, as no one in the athletics department is the same as the people involved, they should not be the ones punished

  • http://twitter.com/danaran123 Dan Wilson

    As a recent graduate from a rec and sport admin Masters program I have seen first hand how Athletics in general attempt to “throw their weight around” to get what they want.  I personally believe that the monster the NCAA has created is too large to control.  Further how can you just erase wins?  That action in itself undermines the validity of win/ loss statistics.  Slamming Pen State with millions of dollars does nothing but take from the students and athletes.

    • Mike Card

      The NCAA is probably the least-qualified body to have acted on this situation.  We need only look at the cesspool of self-dealing and corruptactivity surrounding the so-called BCS championship series.

      It would have been far better if this action had been taken by the Justice Dept or the Big 10 or even the State of Pennsylvania; for all I know, the membership at Augusta National Golf Club might have had more credence.

      It’s just silly to think that this NFL uncompensated farm-club organization should have been ceded the power to destroy a smal college town’s economy in the name of protecting children.  Not excusing the crime or the criminal, but it was decided in a kangaroo court and deserved to have been adjudicated in an actual court.

  • Jadot – State College, PA

    Something that isn’t being mentioned or considered by advocates for a hiatus or cancelled seasons is the impact on the local economy. I work downtown in State College, and many businesses generate over half of their annual revenue during the football-related tourism season — like a beach town does in summertime. Shutting down the program entirely would also deliver a death sentence to some of these businesses, which are already weak in the current economic climate. The NCAA was correct to consider this collateral damage in its decision.

    • Mike Card

      I wonder if Joe Pa decided not to call Sandusky in “for a talk” on that basis.

    • Ashleyyoshida

       Maybe the community can take this opportunity to publicize how damaging looking the other way for profits can be.

      • Ashleyyoshida

         If this man had been arrested and jailed years ago, as he should have been, innocent children would have been spared and the local economy wouldn’t have been built on quicksand.

  • JennyJohnston

    I really wish that American people would stop placing so much importance on athletics.

    • SomeGuyNamedMark

       You can’t even get Americans to rationally deal with guns even after one mass murder after another.  What makes you think they’ll care about their sports obsession?

  • Liftmyself

    1998 generated as the first date paterno heard about the abuse

  • Ben H.

    I am confused about the people who somehow feel that Paterno is an upstanding citizen and are torn about the removal of his statue and other people who can say that “he has his faults as we all do and made a mistake”. He conspired with other people to rape young boys. This is not a mistake or a misunderstanding, this is a crime. It’s fantastic that he donated money for the library, but he conspired to rape young boys. My huge concern is that this fine levied will end up hitting the academic side of Penn State somehow. I don’t know if you can fine a university 60 million dollars (which is larger than most departments budgets) and not have it impact students who are so far removed from this mess and had nothing at all to do this with crime. Also, I have a feeling that anyone who was even tangentially involved with this crime will be arrested and end up serving jail time and I hope that this doesn’t turn into a witch hunt as it so easily could. 

    This said, I am in full agreement with your speakers with concerns that this does nothing to stop this from happening and I still don’t understand how the NCAAs actions will end up preventing a conspiracy like this from happening again.

  • Sirgrahame

    I can’t help but contrast the reaction to this to the reaction to the Catholic Church scandal. I still don’t understand why the level of outrage there doesn’t match what is going on with Penn state. The hypocrisy is just so overwhelming. The Catholic Church is every bit as bad if not worse. This was one coach with accomplices. The church was priests and choir boys and was worldwide yet hardly any charges or sanctions have been applied. Yet it’s the same crime. And it still goes on. Why isn’t the outrage there?

    I would think this would make a very illuminating topic for another show. Lots of questions there too. I am not criticizing the Penn state outrage. I’m just wondering where the other side of the coin is.

    • Greyman

      A useful comparison to invoke, I agree, but I would not stop there: perceptions governing “institutional loyalty” (when it comes to predation and molestation, whether heterosexual or homosexual) are also at issue in terms of US public education, where sexual predation cases are far more numerous, according to a USDE survey from 2004. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/AX765BP75N73HIB6NCVEUZVVQQ Brett Gildersleeve

    Listening to the episode now… As usual, On Point is delivering a very good, level-headed analysis of the issue. My comment: People have been very quick to demonize the “Penn State football culture” over the past few months, as if it’s a problem at a single institution. However, when you really get to the heart of the issue, this is a nationwide problem. The same culture unfortunately exists at every school with a big revenue-generating sports program.

  • Guest

    JoePa is lucky he is dead with this lazy, unprofessional “research” into the Penn State situation. JoePa is being hung out to dry, as the expression goes and I am glad that he doesn’t have to suffer this group of jelly-bellies. Talk about a bunch of  whining, lying, sacks of compost running around trying to hide from the truth.

    As others have said, Show me ONE thing that Joe Paterno didn’t do. He reported it to his higher-ups on information that was reported to him. He didn’t witness any of this and is not responsible, as are so many others.

    This is publicity trying to clean the slate but they are pointing at the wrong field.

  • dave buffalo

    are you serious? Just because Joe reported to his superiors is that where his responsibility stops? If you knew something and no one did anything after you reported it would you let the wrong continue and wash your hands of it? I would hope not! I would scream from the mountain tops until action was taken…ahhh but there is the crux of the problem. Was everyone more concerned about the ramifications of further actions????

    • Jersey4life

      It must be awesome to be so morally sound. If someone told you they saw “something of a sexual nature” between a nameless child and a grown man, would you not for one second be concerned that you did not have a victim filing a complaint? Would you not for one moment wonder if you could legally be destroying a career if the case was unproven? Would you not be overwhelmed with the legal ramifications of accusing someone of an act that you did not see? Would you not perhaps try to hand the information off to people who were better able to conduct an investigation? In hindsight, we are all very brave when typing on the kedyboard. When dealing with reality many other factors exist that make people quite frankly, human.

  • Akilez Castillo

    Humanity ever since been blaming other people.

    We’re always not satisfied and we still convict those people who weren’t even involved in the rapes that occured.

    What if the football player played so much that he broke his knee or shoulder and won the the game? but all those sacrifice he lost physically and emotionally

    Only one man is responsible and we all know who that man is.

  • Akilez Castillo

    Humanity ever since been blaming other people.

    We’re always not satisfied and we still convict those people who weren’t even involved in the rapes that occured.

    What if the football player played so much that he broke his knee or shoulder and won the the game? but all those sacrifice he lost physically and emotionally

    Only one man is responsible and we all know who that man is.

    • DredWisely

      I suspect a whole community is responsible. We know pedophiles exist. We expect vile behavior from those repugnant creatures and lock them away when we find them. The outrage here is the scores of people were exposed to what was happening over the years and didn’t find it necessary to go to the cops. I don’t see how an eyewitness can sneak away, call their daddy for advice, tell their boss, call it a day and be considered anything other than an accessory. The rumors that must have floated around that place boggle the mind. How may players or staff over 15 years just happened to go to the bathroom and overhear the abuse? I suspect the Board of Trustees bears significant responsibility.

      • Akilez Castillo

        Society lives in a blame game world. the innocent suffers so much. NCAA is trying to prove to the world that they can do something to punish other people like the football players and perhaps the entire school.

        We accept the decision of the NCAA because as I said we are not satisfied in one conviction we want everyone in Penn State convicted and that is the goal of Evil to create a chain reaction of hatred.

        • Akilez Castillo

          Speculations just like saying how the neighbors of the Aurora shooter never saw the danger coming.

          • DredWisely

             The assistant that allegedly witnessed Sandusky raping a child did not go to the police. He most certainly saw Sandusky bringing children through the school after that day. How can that be seen as anything other than accessory or criminal negligence? The very idea that a public institution can have its own process to deal with matters that belong in civil and criminal courts is repugnant. The NCAA is removing scholarships from people that were 4 yrs old when Sandusky retired. Vacating wins? These sanctions primarily punish students, not anyone who had anything to do with the scandals. The NCAA is just trying to rehab it’s image as a multi-billion dollar sweatshop that negotiates 10 billion dollar tv deals, pimps out the images of student athletes for video games sitting on the top of a pyramid to too big to fail football dynasties.

          • Ashleyyoshida

            No, it’s not.

  • Akilez Castillo

    Everyone lost!!!!
    The victims and parents.

    The football players and Paterno that worked so hard to get those achievements. The store keepers or vendors during football games, livelihood down the drain and the list continues

  • SomeGuyNamedMark

    I can understand all parts of the NCAA’s punishment except for the removal of their record.  Unless they cheated during those games the NCAA has no grounds to do this.  The crime committed had nothing to do with the outcome of those games.  What next?  Remove wins for cheating on their personal taxes?  It mainly hurts the kids who worked to win those games. 

    This reminds me of Stalin ordering his enemies airbrushed out of photos.  They can pretend all they want but those games were played and won fairly and no amount of pretending otherwise will change that.

  • stan

    Dr. Emmert missed a big opportunity to use this unfortunate situation in a positive way. Instead of handing out punishment why not require that a certain portion of football revenues directed to child abuse education and causes. 

  • Ashleyyoshida

    As a layperson who doesn’t know or care about college football,  the punishment sounded right to me.  Children being raped trumps everything else.  People tend to be extremely self-centered and not compassionate enough. “It’s a shame, but as long as I have my scholarship, my football team, my status, I don’t really care.” If that punishment creates a dialog and an awareness on the Penn State campus and at all college campuses, and beyond that child molestation is unacceptable, REALLY unacceptable that will be a good thing who’s time has come.  It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a village to be complicit in child abuse.  That monster wasn’t just raping those innocent boys, he was raping the university, the community, and the society at large. The penalty shines light on that fact.  The man is a monster who has hurt many, many young people.  The child molestation can’t be compartmentalized.  It’s only fair that the greater community share the burden.  

  • Ce

    In reference to the Penn State, Jerry Sandusky Scenario, this concern is being sent everywhere in the hope that it will be considered:
    “Adult Sexual Innuendo, in the form of Adult Soft Core and Adult Hard Core Pornography, Stimulates Pedophile Predation!”

  • Drozier

    The NCAA has set a disturbing precedent. That is criminal actions of those in your athletic program about which you knew or should have known could result in sanctions against your athletic program. I live in a college town I read daily about athletes being cited for criminal conduct. Query. If a repeat offender about whom you have knowledge commits a grievous crime I.e. rape vehicular homicide., has the University lost institutional control? Should sanctions be imposed? Jerry Sandusky acted alone. Where should the line be drawn?

  • Bigleyjoshua

    I think its fair.  I am not surprised–I am of the opinion that many men in these fraternal organizations are suspect.  Ahtletics, college fraternities–the republican party.  Texas.

  • Framincire
  • E.S.

    If you think that Joe Paterno’s statue should’ve stayed up, his
    name should’ve stayed on the Penn State library, or the NCAA sanctions were too
    harsh, then you need your head examined. To say that current and future players
    or coaches or students had nothing to do with the scandal misses the whole
    point: the culture surrounding college sports in our country – not just at Penn
    State – has everything to do with the scandal.  It’s precisely why this craziness was allowed to go on and
    on. Paterno, and others, knew about and did nothing to stop completely heinous crimes.
    And for what? For college football.


    What happened at Penn State could happen at any major sports
    program in this country. We blindly plaster our clothing, cars, mugs, and
    whatever else, with the mascots of our favorite college sports team, but we’re
    really just feeding the thinly veiled and unfettered commercial enterprise that
    is college sports.

  • Doug

    The program allowed Sandusky to continue his abuse.  It looked the other way.  Had Sandusky been outed early on, the program would have suffered.  Maybe not as much as it will now, but it would have suffered a loss of revenue, scholarships, prestige, top level recruits and coaches.
    The NCAA, and universities,  cannot allow these crimes to happen again.  That is the bottom line.  Penn State officials knew what was going on and did nothing.  They acted in their own self-interest. The school is being punished, and rightfully so. 

    It is unfortunate that current players, and students to some extent, will suffer. Their suffering is nothing compared to that of the victims.   Paterno and others should have thought about that, but they didn’t.

    • Ashleyyoshida


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1421666010 Wilbur Blount

    Ellen Staurowsky makes the claim that the NCAA has no moral right to judge Penn State since they certified the school three times between 1998 and 2008 as having the appropriate balance between atheletics and academics.  I would like to acquaint her with a legal term known as FRAUDULENT MISSREPRESENTATION.  What the Freeh report shows is that a group of high level university employees conspired to commit fraud in order to deceive legal authorities as well as the NCAA as to the control and reporting structure at the university.  The idea that the NCAA shouldn’t have weighed in as just absolutely ridiculous. 

  • Slipstream

    I feel pretty strongly that Penn State is being scapegoated here.  What is the hard evidence that there was a cover-up of Sandusky’s child abuse?  I have yet to see a news report that makes any reference to it.  Has the Freeh Report been called into question by anybody?  The story has been communicated so badly by the media that I still have no idea what happened or if there really was a cover-up.  Remember that the Freeh Report was not the judgement of a court of law – it was a report.  And even if the 3 accused are guilty, which has not been well demonstrated, why should the entire institution be viciously punished for their actions?

    If I were one of the leaders of Penn State, I would fight this.  And if the NCAA insists on pushing its punishment, they should pull out.  In the long run, the NCAA needs big state schools like Penn State more than Penn State needs the NCAA.  The real purpose of a major public university is to educate young people and prepare them for work and citizenship, not to put sports on TV.  The people at PS can play other games and follow other sports.  Football is not everything, in fact, it is only one pastime among many, and it is only one sport among many.  Where does the NCAA get the idea that its proper role is to pass judgement on the non-athletic problems of an institution, and to assess punishments thereby?

    The problem is that when you say anything about this, there are those who will see you as a supporter or enabler of heinous pedophiles, something I am certainly not.  Does the phrase witch-hunting ring a bell?

  • shrivti1

    Shorter OnPoint:
    caller “Children were raped as a direct result of the University’s choices”
    Wayde Goodwin “Well, yeah, but I like mah college football!”

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