• PENN STATE'S LITANY OF LIES


    What is the punishment for systematic crime that we have never seen before? The report that came out yesterday from the investigation led by Louis Freeh brought something to the sports landscape we have never quite experienced. According to several reports, experts familiar with the NCAA and their bylaws think that the NCAA will have a tough time bringing sanctions upon Penn State. Another discussion on this site centered around the issue on whether the scandal should remain a criminal and civil court matter.

    The victims in this case will get their money based on the facts presented by the Freeh investigation, but I think we should bring up some bigger issues. What role did our culture play into the ignorance of morality and reason over the protection of a brand? Regardless of what will happen, what is the fair punishment that should be brought forth? What punishment would you give if you could be in charge?

    College football has become big business. Saturdays on college campuses are larger than life. The coaches on the sidelines of the big games become larger than life. When the coaches become local heroes, that is when the institutions that should be centered around the world of academia become powerful “football factories;” which should be a grotesque term for the professors that teach at those schools. Instead, they sometimes become fans themselves.

    If recent history has taught us anything, we know that the age of rampant technology growth, information and social media that we live in has made it easier to bring down the icons of sports to the point that the cynics believe that there are no heroes. In a way, that is correct. Every person in a powerful position is still just a person. We are constantly taught that power corrupts. There have been scandals in the last twenty years involving some of the best college basketball coaches in the world, the best football players, the best golfer, the best basketball player, the best bicyclist, the best female runner, the career home run leader and worst assistant coaches.

    Penn State was supposed to be different. The mantra “We Are...,” was a symbol of a small town in the middle of Pennsylvania where the institution was the city and the city was the institution. Now? It seems that the mantra has to be changed. There will be people that will constantly proclaim “We weren’t...,” due to the actions of the four most powerful men on campus.

    With an aura destroyed and a scandal like no other proven, what should befall the university? Sports talk radio was filled with people clamoring for the “Death Penalty” that occurred due to rampant corruption all around SMU and the Big 8 in the late 70's and early 80's.

    Are you a person who is comfortable eliminating all sports programs at Penn State to send a message? Is it fair to alter the lives of the innocent volleyball player when his or her program gets cut from the lack of football? If yes, how long is a fair time frame? Should sports never return there? Would Penn State officials be better off trying to turn the university into an American version of Oxford?

    What do I think? I don’t know for sure. I think that the university’s endowment fund will be paying out a ton of money to give the victims’ families a more comfortable existence in the future. Then I think I have a problem with the fact that financial assistance does nothing for the spider web of families and people that were affected. Then I think I have a problem with taking the step to hurt the innocent students and faculty at Penn State who were not directly involved. So, I can only hope that the legal system does everything in it’s power to hand down punishment upon the guilty men and pray that we see a change in a system that has gone down the wrong path for nearly half a century.

    Finally, I leave to you. What do you want?

    Comments 35 Comments
    1. NickMykita's Avatar
      One thing is clear: This is a nightmare the NCAA really never wanted to have to deal with. The SMU decision seems much easier compared to this. We're not talking about paying players, or getting free tattoos. This is something much more sinister, and very disturbing.

      However, there is that golden phrase the NCAA likes to hang its hat on when handing down sanctions: "Lack of institutional control". I listened to the findings of the Freeh report yesterday, and judging by what they uncovered, it seems this is the most obvious example of lack of institutional control you'll ever find. The whole place had been corrupted by the supposed greatness of Paterno, and he wielded more power over that university than any football coach should ever have.

      Yes, I do think the NCAA needs to hit PSU, and hit them hard. Football is a sport, not a religion, and for it to have warped into this twisted cult-like atmosphere as it did in Happy Valley should not be allowed to happen again. I don't know if the Death Penalty is necessarily warranted here, but if they did, I can't say I'd be shocked.
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      I'll say this, beyond everything else, regarding how Penn State nation should react. It's true that "we weren't" what we thought. But "We are..." still does have meaning. Many people live by and believe in the virtues set forth by Joe Paterno and Penn State. We believe in and live by that ideal. Clearly this is a case where people did not practice what they preached. That happens everywhere. It's always easier to clean someone else's house than to clean your own. But it doesn't make the message any less true. And there are a ton of people, many of which were coached by Joe Paterno, who live by every one of those virtues.

      Right now is a time to reflect on the wrong that happened, and to make sure it doesn't happen again. But the future is about everything that continues to be right with the University, and with the community. There are a lot of people stained because of this who had absolutely nothing to do with any of it.

      Again, I am not an alum, but I am a product of that general community. And the Penn State virtues that were preached, if not followed, help to define who I am. That example that I thought I was watching had a very positive impact on who I eventually became. It was good to see a positive example so close to home. And that positive example won't be forgotten.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      However, there is that golden phrase the NCAA likes to hang its hat on when handing down sanctions: "Lack of institutional control". I listened to the findings of the Freeh report yesterday, and judging by what they uncovered, it seems this is the most obvious example of lack of institutional control you'll ever find.
      I strongly disagree.

      Lack of Institutional Control. That's not a sentance, it's a phrase. Lack of Institutional Control to do what?
      Let's fill in the implicit part of the phrase "Lack of Institutional Control (to Monitor and Prevent Players and Coaches from Violating NCAA rules)."

      It doesn't say "Lack of Institutional Control (to keep the campus safe, or fiscally sound or even integrated). And when you fill in the implicit part, the PSU case doesn't look like a prime example of it. Not at all.

      Did the University of Mississippi show a lack of institutional control when they rejected the application of James Meredith? I forget, how many games did they forfeit?

      The point is criminal activity by an employee of a University is not an NCAA offense Covering up that activity by the University Execs is not a NCAA offense.

      Is hiring your mistress an NCAA offense? Is a DUI by the Coach? the AD? the President of the School?

      Nope. and nor should they be.

      Time and time again, from Goodell to NCAA, we keep trying to punish people who do Real World wrong with a Sports Suspension. Jurisdiction matters. The FBI doesn't get to do a wiretap on me for parking tickets. The IRS doesn't get to audit me because have an unpopular political view. Jurisdiction matters. The NCAA doesn't have it here, and it makes no sense to want it to.

      Wanting to punish PSU for gross mismanagement is fine, but as a State University, it is not our call unless we live in PA. But doing so through the NCAA just because 1 person out of 4 who were the coverup perps was part of the Football staff doesn't make it a Football problem. The people involved will be hit with criminal and civil prosecution. That's all we get. Jurisdiction matters.

      ================================================== ==========

      And there is one other thing to consider. If the NCAA DOES sanction PSU, almost any sanction you can name will be seen as trivial compared to the crimes. 45 counts of child rape and a complete coverup and enabling for 13 years? How many bowl games does that add up to?
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Polish, you ask about culture.

      I don't believe this was a cultural issue. I don't believe it was about the excesses of college football, nor about our society's disproportionate admiration for sporting figures.

      In the broadest sense, this was about human nature. All people, and the institutions they constitute, have an instinct to protect what they have. You can see it in every country and in every walk of life. It's Watergate, it's JP Morgan resisting banking regulation as it posts a $5 billion loss, it's Putin's increasing censorship, it's price-fixing and monopolies, it's the Catholic church for hundreds of years.

      Humans are weak and will sin. I don't believe in much that's in the bible, but I think they got that one right.

      The lesson here is to never, ever put too much faith in the works of man. Always be skeptical. Always demand accountability. Never put a man or an institution on a pedestal.
    1. Polishguy00's Avatar
      @Trumpet I truly appreciate your comments on this matter. To clarify, what I mean by "we weren't" is that many will try to claim to not be a part of the mantra. I could be wrong. I do agree that "We Are" should be a new rallying cry to repair the damage, if that's what you meant.

      @wax, my comment on the culture is the culture of excess that surrounds college football, coaching and the NCAA in general. We, as fans, did help create that. I feel your last two sentences are your best.
    1. GoBigOrGoHome's Avatar
      Like Trumpet, I grew up holding a college football program in awe. My home town is also the home of the University of Michigan. Our version of "We are..." is "This is Michigan". While Bo Schembechler's legacy spanned a much shorter time than did that of Joe Paterno, his pedestal is very large.

      Given all that, I have tried to view the mess at Penn State as if the names involved had been Bo, Jim Duderstadt, Don Canham, and Robben Fleming. Cam Cameron could play the role of McQueary (I'll omit a substitute name for Sandusky).

      I've tried to imagine this scandal taking place in the dorms at South Quad or West Quad or Mosher-Jordan Hall during 13 hot Julys when our city was crawling with kids of all ages in town for the many various summer camps sponsored by the U...

      I imagine my feelings would not be terribly different from those Trumpet is experiencing knowing that men I worshiped as a boy could be caught up in something so vulgar as child rape and the concealment of that crime. I imagine I would be a lot less forgiving toward the school that allowed to be uttered the phrase "This was Michigan".

      I think the best move for everyone involved is to move forward with an eye to NEVER again allow anything to supercede the overall integrity of the school. The whole school.

      The NCAA should stay out of it. They have not the moral authority to oversee something so absolutely amoral and corrupt as the conduct of Paterno, Curley, Schultz & Spanier. Stick to Cal Tech, ladies & gents. They are right up your alley.
    1. brauneyz's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by darvon View Post
      The FBI doesn't get to do a wiretap on me for parking tickets. The IRS doesn't get to audit me because have an unpopular political view.
      Wow, d, are you naive! Gimme some of that bubble you live in.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by brauneyz View Post
      Wow, d, are you naive! Gimme some of that bubble you live in.
      Indeed.
    1. BuckeyeRidley's Avatar
      This is one disgusting, nasty, sad pile of a mess and a half. The school and its head of respective operations didn't do anything/enough. Its shameful to think that this is apart of how our society works but it does. The Football Eclipse of the community has been so ingrained within the people that nearly bloody murder could happen. This is a Very Disturbing & taking down JoePa's statue will happen. There's so much pressure on the school and I think they will respond with meeting that demand. Also, How Long did any media member know about this? Scott Torgerson said on 97.1 The Fan back around June of last year that there was a Big Story that was gonna hit but he wasn't let in on what the details were. For an example, I recall hearing Chris Mortensen say that he heard rumors of dog fighting with Mike Vick for years before the federal investigators found the proof at Mike's Cousin's house. Somethings kept quiet like this can have multiple people's hands left with blood on them.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by darvon View Post
      The FBI doesn't get to do a wiretap on me for parking tickets. The IRS doesn't get to audit me because have an unpopular political view.
      Wow, d, are you naive! Gimme some of that bubble you live in.
      Perhaps I should have said I do not advocate the above. Whether it happens or not is not my point. I should also state for the record that I sold the computers to No Such Agency for Echelon. So I know a little on what actually happens.

      But I am not an advocate for just using whatever is handy to beat on whatever nail I think needs it.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      The OP is

      What is the punishment for systematic crime that we have never seen before?

      But I think the article is much more about a different question.

      WHO should do the punishing? Essentially a variant of the whole States Rights debate.

      Sandusky did several heinous state felonies. The State of Pennsylvania, via the Criminal court should punish for that. Sandusky also caused harm to several children. Those harmed can seek redress through Penn Civil Law.

      I personally don't think the mores of Utah citizens, nor NY nor Michigan, should have any bearing. I believe in the sovereignty of states.

      It looks like 4 people, Spanier, Schultz, Curly, and Paterno have committed both PA Felonies and caused harm under PA law. I wish the guilty to be punished, but I am respectful of PA jurisdiction and PA laws.
      Even if they would be punished HARDER under Arizona law, I do not wish them to be ejudicated under it.

      Penn State will be liable under PA civil law and probably under federal law from The Cleary Act.

      From that point, the electorate of PA will decide what to do with PSU. I might have opinions on that, but I respect that I don't have a decision on that.

      I am a graduate of a D3 school and a D1, BigTen School, Michigan.
      As such I am an "electorate" of both the NCAA and the Big Ten. Before my time, "we" set up the NCAA to govern intercolligiate sports in the US. Standardized rules (mostly), and to keep one school from having a disproportionate advantage over another, in the ways that we codify as rules. A larger stadium was fine, but paying players in cash wasnt, etc...

      "We" had jurisdiction in these matters, because as member schools, the issues of interfacing between school in games was germaine to all schools.

      However in the PSU case, heinous crimes were committed and were covered up and allowed to continue. What the people of PA want to do with PSU, i believe, SHOULD not be under the control of people residing in Michigan. Again, everyone has an opinion, BUT not everyone has a vote. If the electorate of PA want to shut down the football program, so be it. However, the NCAA, my NCAA, wasn't built to punish child molestation and I dont wish my NCAA to encroach into that territory even once.

      Also others here have talked about "the culture of PSU". Some have talked about the culture of secrecy, or the culture of uber-football, but really it is about "the culture of celebrity". In PSU, the mega-celeb was JoePa. Using his power of celebrity, JoePa could ensure a tight coverup for over a decade. Many here are asking the NCAA to punish PSU for "the culture of celebrity".

      I do not believe the practitioners of "the culture of celebrity" should be punished. Punish actions which are illegal or liable. We ALL are practitioners of "the culture of celebrity". We post on a site provide by a Celebrity.

      We need to remember that Celebrity can be used for both good and evil, much like peanut butter.

      I believe in the concept of jurisdiction.
      I believe in the sovereignty of Pennsylvania.
      And I believe in Celebrities.
    1. Ragar's Avatar
      In the other thread I had posted the NCAA's guidelines for "lack of institutional" contorl as pubnlished on University of Illinois website, one of the items is very glaring to me:

      "6. The institution fails to make clear that any individual involved in its intercollegiate athletics program has a duty to report any perceived violations of NCAA rules and can do so without fear of reprisals of any kind. Compliance is everyone's obligation. Loyalty to one's coworkers, student-athletes, or athletics boosters cannot take precedence over loyalty to the institution and its commitment to comply with NCAA rules. There is a lack of institutional control if individuals are afraid to report violations because they have reason to fear that if they make such a
      report there will be negative consequences."

      From teh Freeh Report, we have the information of the janitor refusing to report. Quoted from teh ESPN article:

      "He said the collective inaction and mindset at the top of the university trickled all the way "down to a school janitor who was afraid for his job and opted to not report seeing sex abuse in a school locker room in 2000."

      At the end of the day, the most powerful people at the university covered up a criminal activity to protect the appearance of it's football program and former coach, who was by NCAA definitions and "emeritus" status, still a part of the program. As darvon pointed out in the other thread, the "ethics" portion of the NCAA manual has never been used exclusively as a reason for NCAA sanctions, however, I think this case can survive a legal battle on that issue if it were to come to that.

      I believe that Penn St. needs a year off from football games (all other sports have no punishments) It needs to hvae that black mark on their program for all-time. Will it hurt Penn St.? In the long run (as well as the short run) not at all. The culture of Penn st. has shown that they will rally around the University and an old man who allowed a sexual predator to remain at his University, use it for his gross deeds, and cover it up; as indicated by student riots when Paterno was fired, and by the second highest dollar donation and highest number of individual donors to the university over the last year. That is the culture of Penn st. (an sadly, probably all major programs).
    1. bluestree's Avatar
      As Ragar points out so well, this IS about the football program and a lack of institutional control. You can't make a case that because this is criminal activity, it doesn't fall under the NCAA's purview. If a booster pays a kid to play for his school, they are commiting a tax fraud. Even if they aren't charged, they break civil law as well as NCAA rules. The IRS doesn't have a regulation that says "You must report as income all money payed to you by athletic boosters interested in having you play for their school." They have a general rule about reporting income. Likewise the NCAA doesn't have a rule that states "Your program may be suspended if you allow sex crimes to occur on your facilities." They don't need one. Penn St. bought off a coach to protect their program from the law. I don't think it's a stretch to apply rule 6 as outlined by Ragar. "any individual involved in its intercollegiate athletics program has a duty to report any perceived violations of NCAA rules"
      Failure to report not violations alone, but "perceived" violations is all the authority they need. Common sense tells you if you observe a child being raped by a member of the Athletic Dept, their is a reasonable perception that this would be a violation of NCAA rules, whether it is or not. It's a reverse weasel that allows the NCAA to excersise broad authority over it's members, and if their was ever a case in which to stretch that authority to the limit, this is it.
    1. NickMykita's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by bluestree View Post
      Failure to report not violations alone, but "perceived" violations is all the authority they need. Common sense tells you if you observe a child being raped by a member of the Athletic Dept, their is a reasonable perception that this would be a violation of NCAA rules, whether it is or not. It's a reverse weasel that allows the NCAA to exercise broad authority over it's members, and if their was ever a case in which to stretch that authority to the limit, this is it.
      The only comparable scenario to the Penn State scandal is the death of Len Bias in 1986. Two days after getting drafted into the NBA, he dies of a cocaine overdose. That in and of itself wasn't anything the NCAA could use against the University of Maryland where he played. However, the NCAA did their due diligence and looked into the program just in case something was wrong. Turns out a whole lot of stuff was going at Maryland, including Bias being 21 credits short of the graduation requirement. Ultimately the NCAA hit Maryland with probation, TV blackouts, and a reduction of scholarships as a result of academic and recruiting violations.

      Now, everything Maryland got hit with fell under the typical NCAA guidelines. BUT, the only reason they were found out is because the NCAA chose to investigate something that DIDN'T fall under their normal guidelines. That's why, even if the NCAA takes no punitive action against PSU, they need to investigate anyway. When there's this much smoke, it would be foolish not to send the fire trucks.
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      Considering how much of a coverup there was regarding Sandusky, it wouldn't surprise me the least if there were other things being covered up during this time.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by hobbes27 View Post
      Considering how much of a coverup there was regarding Sandusky, it wouldn't surprise me the least if there were other things being covered up during this time.
      Exactly. Everything -- everything -- about Paterno's program is now open to question.
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by wxwax View Post
      Exactly. Everything -- everything -- about Paterno's program is now open to question.
      So have you changed your stance that the NCAA needs to investigate Penn State?
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by hobbes27 View Post
      So have you changed your stance that the NCAA needs to investigate Penn State?
      I have never opposed an investigation (not that my opinion matters to anyone but me )

      I'm ambivalent about NCAA penalties re: Sandusky cover-up.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      As Ragar points out so well, this IS about the football program and a lack of institutional control. You can't make a case that because this is criminal activity, it doesn't fall under the NCAA's purview.

      Strongly disagree. NCAA has a set of rules. It doesn't talk about child rape. The statute law of Pennsylvania does.


      If a booster pays a kid to play for his school, they are commiting a tax fraud. Even if they aren't charged, they break civil law as well as NCAA rules.
      Disagree. The player isnt committing tax fraud by taking money from a booster. The player commits tax fraud if he has unreported income, whether from booster, or selling his stock portfolio. If the player reports booster payola, no IRS problems.


      The IRS doesn't have a regulation that says "You must report as income all money payed to you by athletic boosters interested in having you play for their school." They have a general rule about reporting income.
      Agree.

      Likewise the NCAA doesn't have a rule that states "Your program may be suspended if you allow sex crimes to occur on your facilities." They don't need one.
      They do if they want to accuse PSU of violating an NCAA rule and therefore punish PSU (or more properly I believe the NCAA SHOULD have a rule violation prior to punishment. As I stated before, in this case the NCAA can pretty much do what they want). There have been a LOT of sex crimes committed by collegiate athletes. Not pedophilia, but rape and sexual assault. There has been NO instance of NCAA sanctions to the associated school. I used the NCAA database to scour through the punishments. If I am wrong, please provide the linkee.


      Penn St. bought off a coach to protect their program from the law.
      I agree. Actually I think they bought off 2.

      I don't think it's a stretch to apply rule 6 as outlined by Ragar. "any individual involved in its intercollegiate athletics program has a duty to report any perceived violations of NCAA rules"
      Failure to report not violations alone, but "perceived" violations is all the authority they need. Common sense tells you if you observe a child being raped by a member of the Athletic Dept, their is a reasonable perception that this would be a violation of NCAA rules, whether it is or not.
      I strongly disagree that a heinous criminal act, like murder, committed by a football coach would be viewed as a NCAA rule violation by most reasonable people.


      It's a reverse weasel that allows the NCAA to excersise broad authority over it's members, and if their was ever a case in which to stretch that authority to the limit, this is it.
      I may be a reverse weasel, but I again strongly disagree. For the NCAA to do so would be setting precedents that they will never be able to honor. Now precedent doesn't really bind the slimey ol' NCAA, but that is something that I also would like to change.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      I believe that Penn St. needs a year off from football games
      You know...I don't actually have a problem with that belief. But let the electorate of PA make that decision, not the NCAA.

      I don't have a problem with a prostate exam once a year either, but I want it to be from my doctor.

      Jurisdiction matters.