Monday, July 30, 2012

Sophie's Reaction to the PSU Sanctions

The past two weeks haven't been good for Penn Staters.

If you haven't been following my ravings, I am a Penn State graduate.  Twice over, in fact.

I've written about the events of the past year at PSU twice now.  First here, then here.

First, let me again say that I KNOW that whatever has been dished out to PSU is nothing compared to the suffering of those who the monster Sandusky molested.  Everyone gets that, ok?

Right.  This is about to get opinionated and a lil' nasty, folks.  Fair warning.

So, the NCAA handed down sanctions to the PSU football program.  See them here.  It was either these or Four years without Football (advocated by many people who went to other schools who PSU beat over the years.)

Here's a quick summary, with my thoughts on each in Red:

Sixty Million Dollar fine, to be paid into a fund for abused children.  That's equal to one year of football revenue.  This will be paid over five years.  Very fair.  And it goes to help Children, not into the NCAA's pockets.

Loss of Ten Scholarships.  That's half of them.  For Four years.  This punishes the Current players who weren't there and had no knowledge.

No Bowl games for Four yearsPunishes Current players.  See above.  Why not just confiscate all Bowl revenue?  That said, with loss of scholarships, etc, did they REALLY think we'd be going to any bowl- even the Weedwacker Bowl?  That said, "Penn State's proceeds from Big Ten bowl revenues from the four years, amounting to an estimated $13 million, will be allocated "to established charitable organizations in Big Ten communities dedicated to the protection of children." (Quote from above linked site)

Probation after.  Very fair.  And to be expected.

Vacating ALL wins from 1998-2011. This means Paterno is no longer the winningest coach.  Now he's 12th.  The winningest coach is now Bobby Bowden... who has ALSO been hit with NCAA sanctions in his career.  Perfect role model.  This is the bit that doesn't make sense.  Paterno is DEAD.  They're punishing a Dead man.  Somehow, I don't think he cares at this point.  I'll get back to this.

"Any current or incoming football players are free to immediately transfer and compete at another school."  (Source above link again)  Sounds fair, but this is where the "punitive example" part of this whole thing falls apart.  If the point is to show that Football isn't the Most Important Overriding Reason for a University (as the NCAA says it is), why is the NCAA allowing coaching staffs from over ONE HUNDRED schools harass current PSU players?  They've camped out in the Football practice facility parking lot, for God's sake!  The message this sends is simple: they want Better Players to make a Better Team that will Earn more Money and be more Important.  Which runs counter to what the NCAA says it wants to say.  Seems like "The Example" didn't work.

Ok, so this past week, the Penn State players had THEIR say.  See that here.  The quarterback wrote "I am a Nittany Lion and will remain one. I believe in the core values I have learned in this program. It is not Nittany Lion Football. It is Nittany Lion family."  (Source: the above link).  About forty players then gave a press conference and said :

"This team is sticking together. We aren't going anywhere. And we could not be more proud to be Penn Staters now. We look at this as a great opportunity to have the ability to bring back not only a team but an entire university.

"This team has taken on more adversity than any team has faced in history, which is a testament to our commitment to our team's character, our fans, and our university. One man didn't build this program, and one man sure as hell cannot tear it down. This program was built on the backs of the thousands of great men who put on the Penn State uniform. Today it is no different.

"No sanction or politician can tear this team apart. No one can take away what this university means to us. We will stick together and create our own legacy. Our loyalty lies only with our teammates, coaches, fans and families. No one else.  (ibid)

I watched the press conference and I have Never been Prouder to be a Penn Stater.  These guys GET IT.  They are saying "Ok, we'll take the heat for others and we'll stick it out because that's who WE are, and what this University is."  THAT'S Penn State.  WE are Penn State, not those criminals who turned their backs on the suffering of Children.

The Criminals.  Ok, so the students are being punished.  The University is being punished.  What about those who actually did the crimes?  Let's take a look.

Sandusky: Convicted.  May he rot in hell.  Curley and Shultz: Indicted.  Will probably be convicted and do time.  Spanier: grand jury looking into him.  Charges probable and deserved.  Paterno: Dead. 

PA Governor Corbett:  Just as culpable.  He let Sandusky run around free while accepting HUGE campaign donations from Second mile (Sandusky's charity) and from families of Second Mile board members.  $650,000 in fact.  He did this KNOWING about Sandusky because, as Attorney general, he had the case on his desk for years.  And only assigned one person to it.  He then gave Second Mile THREE MILLION DOLLARS of state money in return when elected.  This is the same guy who rammed through huge cuts to education while awarding millions in tax cuts to his corporate donors and ALSO rammed through Jim Crow laws designed specifically to give the GOP election victories.  Don't believe it?  GOP state house majority leader Mike Turzai when ticking off GOP successes in the state said "Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania -- done.”

So.  Of those Criminals, FOUR are still breathing free air.  One will never be charged, never mind convicted by his hand-picked AG: Corbett.  One is Dead.  Let's look at that one again.  After all, I said I'd get back to it.

In September 1658, Oliver Cromwell died, probably of malaria.  You may remember him as the winning side of the British Civil War, executioner of King Charles I, etc.  He set up his own little monarchy, but it didn't last long.  In 1659, Charles II returned from exile and the old monarchy was restored.  Here's where it got interesting.

"Charles' new parliament ordered the disinterment of Cromwell's body from Westminster Abbey and the disinterment of other regicides John Bradshaw and Henry Ireton, for a posthumous execution at Tyburn. After hanging "from morning till four in the afternoon",the bodies were cut down and the heads placed on a 20-foot (6.1 m) spike above Westminster Hall. In 1685 a storm broke the pole upon which it stood, throwing the head to the ground, after which it was in the hands of private collectors and museum owners until 25 March 1960, when it was buried at Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge."  Source here.

So.  They dug up and executed a DEAD MAN and put his head on a pike, where it stayed for 26 years.  Rather vindictive, wouldn't you say?

As Cromwell was DEAD, I don't think he cared.  unless he was actually a Zombie.  "Roundbrains... ROUNDBRAINS!!!"  Ok, that was a stretch.

Mortal punishment is really lost on dead people.  Funny that.  As for Eternal punishment, that's not up to Us is it?  And that's another debate entirely.  My point, reinforced, is that removing Paterno's wins didn't hurt Paterno.  He's dead.  And disgraced.  The Statue is gone, and rightfully so. 

So whom does it hurt?  The Players who played on those teams and who had NOTHING to do with it.

So I guess my overall point is this: the NCAA ruling (and who elected them anyway?) hurts a LOT more than those who were responsible, while not being "an example" to anyone.  And as long as ANY of those who were involved in the cover up are free, most of the sanctions are Petty.

Maybe I'll change my mind when Corbett is behind bars.  But not until then.


  1. Sophie,
    I had actually been waiting for your comments on the PSU sanctions. As surely as bears poop in the woods I knew you would have your say.

    After reading this post twice I find that I am in almost complete agreement with what you have to say.

    Sandusky was an evil man and he will never see the light of day. Those who had 'actual' knowledge of his conduct and did nothing to stop it merit punishment. Curley, Schultz and Spanier should be made to suffer individual personal and financial sanctions.

    Thousands of good men and women who are PSU have been hurt in so many overt and subtle ways. That is not fair. PSU is a fine educational institution. It should not suffer. The young men who sweat and toil for the football team, now and in the past, are not at fault. Why should they suffer?

    I see no merit or gain in stretching the punishment to hurt the current or former students and ball players. Those who should pay the price should pay dearly. Where there is proof let it proceed. Where there is no proof of crime or cover up let those people go back to their lives.

    I cannot join you in your hatred of Corbett. I do not know him or his politics but it seems that you detest him primarly for merely being a Republican. Corbett convened a grand jury to investigate Sandusky and it was this grand jury that indicted Sandusky and whose charges have put Sandusky in jail. The report by Louis Freeh, former FBI director from 1993 to 2001 did not fault Corbett's handling of the matter. Freeh is a pretty tough judge.

    Your claim that Corbett is just as culpable as Sandusky, Schultz, Corley and Spanier strikes me as political mudslinging on your part. Dredging up images of Jim Crow Laws and wrongly connecting them, as you do, to the GOP is false. It was the Democrats what enacted Jim Crow laws to counterdict the civil rights protections that followed the Civil War. Many of those Jim Crow laws were not eliminated until the Civil rights legislation that the Republicans in the Senate pushed through in the 1960s. It just seems that your effort to stretch the stench from Sandusky all the way to the potential for Romney to win the state in November is overboard.

    While you seem to desire that the Republican Gov. Corbett be sent to jail you do not say how you disagree with Freeh's finding Corbett's handling of the situation to be without fault.

    I did like the historical refresher course on Cromwell.


  2. Funny you should mention that freeh didn't say anything. He stated that Corbett's actions or inactions were outside the scope and mandate of his investigation. Same criticism someone on the commission leveled at the NCAA- their punishment without investigating themselves was "beyond the scope."

    That said, Freeh isn't exactly the cleanest and most unimpeachable person himself. But he did what he was hired to do.

    Corbett's affiliation does not matter. His actions do. He essentially took bribes from Sandusky even when he knew Sandusky was under investigation. Google his role in the investigation and you'll see a LOT. A lot of inaction and either blatant incompetence or flat out foot dragging.

    You are correct- Dems enacted Jim Crow laws then. That was THEN. GOP is enacting them NOW... as African Americans now vote Dem. Funny how that works.

  3. Sophie,
    I think that I am with you wondering about whether campaign contributions caused the investigation to get sticky and slow. Pa. taxpayers should be upset if any money went to Sandusky's group. I tend to have a reaction against many forms of spending of public money.

    Freeh is a tough cookie. I have been with him a few times and up close and personal he gives off an evil vibe. I did not like him but I did see him as a better Clinton appointee than Janet Reno.

    I do not know Corbett but we have had our share of winners in NY with Eliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner, et. al.

    About 15 years ago I presented a seminar with Andrew Cuomo. We got along well and I liked him. I get along very well with one of his first cousins. He is a friend and colleague...although we often find ourselves on opposite sides of many issues.

    I do not see voter ID laws the same way that Eric Holder does. Holder is going around the country trying to create racial divisions and some people accept his politicking. I do not see the role of AG as being as political as it has become under Holder. I do take offense that Holder and others refer to the hateful Jim Crow laws to engender racial and class warfare. I agree with you that the Dems have been very successful at group politics. I see group politics as sad...but that may just be me.